Daily Archives: August 2, 2018

Operation Buya Mthetho makes a dent on crime

Efforts to combat aggravated robberies are paying off, with a significant reduction seen in Cash-in-Transit (CIT) heists, which dropped by 63% from April to June 2018.

From 15 April 2018 to June 2018, CIT robberies have declined by 63%, Police Minister Bheki Cele told a media briefing in Tembisa on Thursday.

According to the figures, Gauteng moved from 20 to seven CIT robberies. Mpumalanga moved from five to one, North West from three to zero, while the Western Cape and Eastern Cape stayed the same at two and four respectively.

A total of 42 people linked to CIT robberies have been arrested to date. Among those arrested is Wellington ‘Bibi’ Ceneda from Tembisa, the alleged kingpin behind more than 20 heists in Gauteng, the North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

Ceneda, whose crimes amount to over R46 million, was arrested in the Free State last week and made his first court appearance on Monday, 20 August.

Ceneda’s alleged henchmen — Tauyaborwa Spikiri Machika, Sello The Teacher Senyatsi, Thato The Bomber Gaopatwe, Collen Jabu Mmamadi, Calvin Boze Molete, Paul The Patriarch Sibande, and Stanford Madam Dihangoane — have also been nabbed.

These arrests are part of the nationwide stabilisation operation known as Operation Buya Mthetho.

Buya Mthetho is an operational plan by the law enforcement leadership in Gauteng to respond to the clarion call by government for an urgent plan to address the surge in lawlessness, restore safety and ultimately restore public confidence in the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster.

The multi-disciplinary investigative operation, consisting of members from Crime Intelligence, seasoned and experienced detectives and specialised tactical teams, has also seen the recovery of 48 firearms, 54 vehicles, 47 explosive devices and over 150 rounds of ammunition used in the heists. Millions of rands have been seized.

We are serious about turning the tide. We will not rest until we win the war on crime. We are breaking the backs of the criminals in the CIT space, Cele said before calling on community members to work with the police to apprehend suspects.

Reclaiming the streets from criminals

Operation Buya Mthetho is not only focused on CIT robberies but also other crime categories, which have also seen great improvements, especially in the City of Johannesburg. Mayor Herman Mashaba and Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina joined the Minister’s briefing.

In Tembisa alone, Cele said 84 suspects have been arrested in the last 36 hours for various crimes. The 84 suspects include four criminals on the country’s top 15 most wanted criminals.

We are serious about ensuring that our people are and feel safe in line with Outcome 3 of the National Development Plan. Crime cannot only be a police issue. We need to partner with other law enforcement agencies like the metro police officers, said Cele.

Going forward, the Minister said they will be focusing their efforts on ridding Gauteng province, the economic hub of the country, of crime. This will be done by increasing police visibility.

We want to clean up Gauteng because 50% of the crime committed in South Africa happens in this province. That is why we gave Gauteng 54 high performance cars to deal with criminals.

From illicit cigarettes to those who abuse women and children and hijackers, the Minister warned that they will be out to get the perpetrators.

Over 22 000 vehicles were hijacked in Gauteng alone in the previous financial year. Most of these cars, the Minister said, are used in CIT crimes, while others cross the border to neighbouring countries.

We will continue to stamp the authority of the State in our efforts to prevent, combat and investigate crime and we will do this without any fear or favour, Cele said.

He said they will also continue with their special focus and deal with issues of women safety.

If needs be, we will go toe to toe with these criminals. I want to make a clarion call to police officers to be very hard on women abusers, he said, adding that SAPS will now be working with the NPA to ensure that crimes against women are prioritised.

The Minister started his morning by engaging the community of Madelakufa informal settlement in Tembisa, who complained about high crime levels and service delivery issues, with housing topping the list.

Residents told the Minister and Masina that they moved to Madelakufa more than 15 years ago but are yet to receive houses, while others who have moved to the informal settlement more recently have already received their houses.

Masina, in turn, assured them that they have budgeted millions for the Clayville mega human settlements project, which will accommodate residents from Madelakufa.

Source: South African Government News Agency

N-Cape earmarked for fishing rights allocation

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Senzeni Zokwana says the Northern Cape is the first province that has been earmarked for the allocation of small-scale fishing rights.

The Minister said this when he briefed the media at the Imbizo Centre in Parliament, Cape Town, on Thursday.

This comes after Zokwana approved the final list of small-scale fishers for the Northern Cape in October 2017, the Eastern Cape in December 2017 and KwaZulu-Natal in December 2017 – with the exception of the Western Cape communities.

The finalisation of the list in the Western Cape was delayed after the department had to follow-up on a community tip-off to verify certain information prior to announcing the final list of fishers.

The process going forward is to announce the final list of successful fishers before mobilising the fishers into co-operatives.

The next step is to complete the small-scale fishing rights allocation process for all co-operatives and to facilitate support programmes after the rights have been allocated.

Northern Cape is the first province earmarked for the allocation of small-scale fishing rights, which is likely to be September 2018. The other provinces will follow in due course in 2018/ 19, he said.

The Minister said this as the department forges ahead with the implementation of the Small Scale Fisheries Policy, which is aimed at providing redress and recognition of the customary rights of traditional fishers and to promote the socio-economic development of the fishers and the communities in which they reside.

Zokwana said the department has to conducted an extensive registration and verification process for small-scale fishers in 2016 covering 216 communities and registering over 22 000 applications.

Minister appoints appeals panel

The Minister said, meanwhile, that applicants for fisheries rights were verified against a set of criteria and the provisional list of successful fishers were announced in communities in the 2016/17 financial year. He said this provided unsuccessful applicants an opportunity to appeal.

The appeals process has since been closed and the department has assessed all the appeals and made recommendations to the Minister on the final list of successful small-scale fishers.

With regards to the Western Cape, I have recently appointed the Appeals Advisory Team on the Fisheries Rights Allocation Process and the Appeals Advisory Team will advise me for all the West Coast Rock Lobster fishery appeals, the work that will be finalised by no later than the 31st of August.

Department takes aim at abalone poachers

The Minister said he was concerned in the manner that abalone poaching was in the rise in the country, with sophisticated foreign syndicates at play.

He said more concerning was the fact that despite efforts of the marine Fisheries Control Guards, syndicates may have succeeded to infiltrate some of the department’s officials.

Zokwana said he has appointed a forensic auditor to conduct lifestyle audits on departmental officials to ensure that they are not fattening their pockets from abalone poaching.

I have been disturbed that despite our Marine Fisheries Control Guards efforts, which has ensured that we confiscate the stolen abalones that these syndicates have succeeded to infiltrate some of our officials who are colluding to smuggle abalone.

Recently, our own officials have been arrested for these acts of stealing abalone working with these syndicates, he said.

He said the department was dealing with the syndicates with deep pockets who bribe their way through.

In one case, on 16 July 2018, 12 suspected poachers were arrested and a boat was confiscated with 1 544 units of abalone in the Robben Island area. In other incidents, seven suspected poachers were arrested on 8 July 2018 in Bloubaai, Gansbaai area for the illegal possession of abalone, and a Colt bakkie and a boat were confiscated.

On the same day, in Port Elizabeth, a person was arrested and a boat and various types of fish were confiscated.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Concerns on Impala Platinum restructuring plans

Impala Platinum’s announcement to restructure the company is disconcerting considering the high unemployment rate in the country as reflected in the latest Stats SA survey, says Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe.

Now is the time to work collectively and make our country prosper, and desist from behaviour that is careless and without foresight, Mantashe said.

On Thursday, Implats announced that its Board of Directors had approved the next phase of the implementation of Impala Rustenburg’s strategic transformation.

This followed the recent completion of a strategic review aimed at restoring the Impala Rustenburg operation to long – term sustainability and profitability, the company said.

The plans, which will be implemented over a two-year period, are expected to result in about 13 000 job losses. Impala Rustenburg’s mining footprint will be reduced from 11 to six operating shafts.

The Ministry, once more, urges Implats to reconsider its actions and return to the process we all agreed upon. Now is the time to work collectively and make our country prosper, and desist from behaviour that is careless and without foresight, the Ministry said.

According to the Minister, the department was still at the beginning of engagements with Implats wherein the company was encouraged to consider different options of saving jobs and keeping their operations working.

We have consistently maintained that only an industry that does not regard workers as a valuable asset behaves in this manner. Implats actions are a display of arrogance, hence they can go against the grain at the time when the President of the Republic is calling on all of us to put shoulder to the wheel in turning around our country’s economic fortunes, Mantashe said.

Department of Mineral Resources Director-General Advocate Thabo Mokoena has established a task team to consider in greater detail Impala Platinum’s restructuring plans.

Government is of the view that as far as possible retrenchments should be considered only as a last resort, after all other possible options have been considered, Mokoena said.

Implats CEO Nico Muller said the only option for conventional producers today is to fundamentally restructure loss-making operations to address cash-burn and create lower cost, profitable businesses that are able to sustain operations an employment in a low metal price environment.

While employee rationalisation is inevitable in a restricting process of this nature, due care will be taken to ensure that job losses are minimised as far as possible through a range of job loss avoidance measures.

This major transformation will be phased over a two year period to ensure that we are able to mitigate the various implementation risks and socio-economic impacts, Muller said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

New laws to clean up towing industry

The Gauteng Provincial Road Traffic Act (No.10 of 1997) will be amended in an effort to better govern the towing industry and promote professional business practices.

According to Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport Ismail Vadi, the tow truck industry operates in an entirely unregulated environment and has come under increasing criticism from the public as operators constantly rush to accident scenes, disregarding road traffic laws and regulations.

There are cases of intimidation of accident victims by operators and allegations of clients being over charged or charged unfairly for services rendered.

Introducing the Bill in the provincial legislature on Thursday, Vadi said that the new policy will regulate the tow truck industry, promote road traffic safety and support economic growth and development of this transport sub-sector.

Gauteng has a population of over 13 million people who own over 4.6 million cars. With this, the risk of accidents and mechanical breakdowns on the roads has increased considerably.

In the absence of an effective regulatory system, allegations of misconduct against tow truck operators have increased.

These allegations include the bribing of police officers to get first notification on an accident occurrence, recommending panel beaters who pay commission to towing personnel, reckless driving and charging excessive towing charges, the Gauteng Department for Roads and Transport said.

Vadi said the need for quick removal of vehicles damaged in accidents and mechanical breakdowns has given rise to a highly competitive tow truck industry that must regulated in the public interest.

The proposed Bill provides for the MEC to prescribe requirements to be followed by an operator of a tow truck on a public road.

It also provides an enabling mechanism for the appointment of an inspectorate of breakdown vehicle operators, which function ordinarily is carried out by the Gauteng Traffic Police, the department said.

The department said tow truck operators will have to comply with the minimum requirements that are provided for in the National Road Traffic Act (No.93 of 1996) and those set by the South African National Standards (SANS), which apply to modified vehicles such as tow trucks before being permitted to operate as tow trucks.

Tow truck operators will have to carry a card issued by Registering Authorities that shall have information on the trade name, type of business, postal and street address, contact details and an original Tax Clearance Certificate, the department said.

Particulars of the tow truck operator and the driver must be printed on the Tow Truck Operator Card. These include full name, identity number, photograph of the person and contact details.

Source: South African Government News Agency