Service Delivery Protests continue in Uitenhage

Rioters in Uitenhage disrupting access to certain areas by barricading roads with fires. They are protesting over service delivery and want houses of their own to live in. Roads shown in this video include: Corner of Cannon Street and Middle Street (Kabah), Kamesh Road close to Blikkiesdorp and Kamesh Road in the Thomas Gamble area.

Thanks to Rostin van Heerdan for providing the footage. This does seem to be a continuation of what started in 2013 here:

November 15 – Uitenhage community members claim police used live ammunition to disperse protesters on Thursday. At least one person has been taken to hospital with what’s believed to be gunshot wounds in both legs.

Strong ties bind Eastern Cape to journey to freedom

Enoch Sontonga – born in UitenhageIT IS no small feat that Enoch Sontonga – born in Uitenhage in 1872 – composed South Africa’s national anthem, Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.

And that the designer of South Africa’s iconic flag – said to be the world’s third-best known – attributes his success in heraldry to the nurturing of the Eastern Cape when he was a student at Rhodes University.

Sontonga’s descendants still live in Uitenhage and Frederick Brownell, now in his 70s, lives in Pretoria. Brownell also designed the Eastern Cape coat of arms.

“The powerful impact the Eastern Cape has on people is evident in the immense contributions of Enoch Sontonga and Frederick Brownell,” said Nomfundo wakwa Luphondwana, general manager of provincial communication in the Eastern Cape Office of the Premier.

“Today we celebrate 16 years of freedom and democracy. It marks a milestone in the history of our nation – and a time to reflect and celebrate the journey that we travelled to achieve our freedom and democracy.

“These two national heroes must be commended for the massive role they have played in shaping the symbolic backdrop of South African freedom.”

Sontonga’s beautiful hymn brought comfort and joy to millions of people during the struggle years.

Continue reading “Strong ties bind Eastern Cape to journey to freedom”

Paul Verryn: man of the people

by Reports by Katlego Moeng

Bishop Paul Verryn gives holy communion at Joburg Central Methodist ChurchPAUL Verryn is a member of the dying breed of activist priests. A church minister since he was 21, Verryn says all he ever wanted was to fight for – and with – the poor.

In an interview just before his suspension by the Methodist Church, this social activist spoke of his history and inspiration.

“My first social conscientising was at a very young age with our helper, Julie Nkadimeng. She always shared stories of how apartheid affected her family.

“What I took from her was that it was a system that alienated black people. She took a bet with me that I would forget what she taught me and I vowed to never forget.”

The embattled 58-year-old Pretoria- born clergyman admits that he “can be rude and my tongue can be cutting”.

He is no stranger to being at odds with the powers that be.

Continue reading “Paul Verryn: man of the people”

Taxi Strike

MAYHEM erupted late last night as the Nelson Mandela Bay taxi strike turned violent, with stone- throwing, petrol bombings and vehicles set alight across the metro.

Two clinics in Motherwell and an ANC office in NU7 were gutted by fire.

In Heugh Road, Walmer, youths in an attack on the municipal office near Ninth Avenue clashed with police, briefly exchanging gunfire, before they dispersed.

The municipality barricaded taxi ranks yesterday after the violence began, leaving a trail of torched and damaged vehicles.

Both municipal and private vehicles have been set alight since the strike resumed on Monday, again leaving tens of thousands of commuters stranded.

Police spokesman Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said several people were arrested for public violence and malicious damage to property.

They will appear in court later this week. Van Rensberg said the police would do everything in their power to protect the community.

“We will act against those who disrespect the law and we won‘t tolerate any disruptions.”

A heavy police contingent barricaded routes leading to the Govan Mbeki taxi rank after a municipal bakkie and a sedan were set alight during lunchtime yesterday.

Firefighters had to swiftly attend to two municipal vehicles, one in Strand Street and the other in Govan Mbeki Avenue, after they were petrol- bombed.

On Monday, a bakkie transporting people to work was set alight after its driver and occupants were forced out of the vehicle by a group of men travelling in two taxis.

Municipal spokesman Kupido Baron said four sedan vehicles were badly damaged after they were pelted with stones at Struanway on Monday.

Earlier yesterday, a tipper truck belonging to a private company was petrol-bombed by youths in Victoria Drive, Walmer, after they jumped in front of the vehicle, forcing the driver to stop.

Janse van Rensburg said the group threw petrol bombs at the truck and ran away, leaving its cab badly damaged.

Late last night, gangs of youngsters were seen in Heugh Road near Walmer Township stoning cars.

And on the Uitenhage Road motorists were also being stoned.

Congress of the People (Cope) regional interim chairman Mike Xego has joined those condemning the strike, saying the party does not want to see the community suffer because of a decision made by a few individuals.

“There are people calling for a consumer boycott, we are saying let us give all the role players involved two weeks to resolve this amicably.

“If, after two weeks, there is no solution, then we, as Cope, will call on the community to gather in the halls and discuss a way forward.”

Xego said they could not allow the decision of a few to affect the majority. The people in the townships were suffering, children were forced to walk to school and adults were forced to walk to work.

DA provincial safety and security spokesman Bobby Stevenson called on the police to urgently intervene to ensure that a climate of freedom from fear of intimidation existed in Mandela Bay.

“It is a shocking indictment of our society that buses are not running because of fear of intimidation. A situation of lawlessness cannot be tolerated in a democracy, and our economy cannot be held to ransom.”

Stevenson said he had written to the provincial commissioner requesting that police members travel with commuters on buses equipped with radios.

Police vehicles should escort buses and that rapid response units be located in strategic spots to ensure the free movement of buses and other vehicles that wish to convey workers to work.

Port Elizabeth Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Percci) has condemned the acts of violence and intimidation.

Percci chief executive Odwa Mtati said: “The current situation is completely unacceptable as it removes the ability of business to plan and to operate effectively, and tramples on the rights to economic activity of individuals and businesses who are not party to the strike.”

SA National Civic Organisation secretary general Mcebisi Msizi yesterday warned that the strikes could lead to a backlash where consumers decided to boycott taxis.

“If taxis continue to abuse the sympathy of commuters, they might be taking them for granted,” said Msizi.

The metro‘s infrastructure and engineering executive director, Ali Said, said the taxi strike might jeopardise the expenditure of the directorate because construction on the BRT was suspended after construction workers received threats.

Said was speaking at a standing committee meeting yesterday.

The suspension might also compromise the hosting of the 2010 World Cup because, according to an agreement between the city and Fifa, there must be an accessible transport system and people must be safe.

“The strike was compromising both of these aspects.”

He said a report on the cost caused to the municipality by the disruption would be presented at the next committee meeting.

source The Herald

Additional reporting By Tabelo Timse and Nomahlubi Sonjica

For video footage of the taxi strike visit theherald.co.za

Ex-Bay woman blooms in Cope limelight

FOR a woman thrust into the political spotlight as the third in charge of newly formed Congress of the People (Cope) three weeks ago, Lynda Odendaal, who hails from Nelson Mandela Bay, shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

Standing little over 1,5m tall the diminutive Odendaal, 44, has already shown her size has nothing to do with her political stamina, working almost non- stop during the most crucial time for party campaigners – the build-up to this year‘s elections in May.

“The first week was a bit of a challenge in terms of media coverage,” admitted Odendaal, who now lives in Johannesburg. She was speaking to Weekend Post in between busy meetings on Thursday.

“The (frantic way of life) is natural now, except for the media attention. But it‘s important we communicate with our members and potential members and I want to maintain that.”

Having grown up in Uitenhage where she attended Riebeek College, Odendaal later went on to study at commercial college Beckleys in Port Elizabeth. Then she wasted no time in getting into business.

“I‘ve been in commerce for the last 20 years,” she said.

She left her position as chief executive of Network Support Services, an information and communication technology company, to focus on her burgeoning political career.

An enterprising business woman, Odendaal also owns recruitment, development and human resources companies which she keeps an eye on while not strategising with party officials ahead of Cope‘s election manifesto launch in the Bay on January 24.

But she insists her foray into politics was never planned.

“I haven‘t been actively involved politically up until now,” she said. “I‘ve been more involved with issues like women‘s rights and transformation and I still want to play an active part because there is still a lot to be done in these areas.”

Despite her hectic schedule, Odendaal managed to spend some quality family time over Christmas, quietly sneaking back home to visit her parents Anna and John in Uitenhage from December 24 to January 4, with her husband André and 12-year-old son. She also has three grown up children.

“I was in church with my parents on Christmas Day. I sneaked in and spent some time with my family. It‘s important. You never know when you‘ll get that time again.”

The decision to name her as the second deputy president of the party came as a shock even to Odendaal who found out about her new position just hours before Cope was officially launched in Bloemfontein on December 16. Many had expected ex-ANC Eastern Cape Amathole region chairman Mluleki George to be third in charge, but he was named national organiser instead. Since the launch there has been no let-up from the media wanting to know more about the woman who until last month was relatively unknown.

Observers believe Odendaal‘s appointment was a deliberate bid to attract voters looking for a different profile to the ANC, as well as to further Cope‘s bid to be “an inclusive” party, rather than appealing to any one race group.

With her pale face and blonde hair, she stands out among the Cope leadership previously associated with the ANC.

While she burst onto the scene in a similar fashion to US Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Odendaal by contrast speaks with clarity and a definite strategy.

Having begun work with the party behind the scenes after being moved by a radio interview with Cope president Mosioua “Terror” Lekota, Odendaal said it was Lekota‘s talk of change which struck a chord.

source Weekend Post