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Thursday, 26 July 2018

Albie Sacks Former judge honours Madiba

Former Chief Justice Albie Sachs speaking about his friendship with Madiba at Camps Bay Primary School on Friday July 20.

Camps Bay Primary School commemorated Nelson Mandela’s centenary this past week with among others a visit by former Constitutional Court Judge and Clifton resident, Albie Sachs, who spoke about his friendship with Tata Mandela.
Mr Sachs said he connected with Mr Mandela through history. His first connection with Mr Mandela was in 1952 in the Defiance Campaign. He said he worked with him very closely when they were in the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) and working on the constitution.
“When he became a president, I was a judge and we had separation of powers and we were not supposed to mix too much because we controlled him through the constitution,” he said.
He said Mr Mandela respected the rule of law.
Mr Sachs described Mr Mandela as a person who was true to himself. He said even on TV, he was always human and recognised everyone. “He would joke, smile and notice everyone, from cameramen to boom operators, he connected with people and no one was invisible to him,” said Mr Sachs.
He went on to say that Mr Mandela was curious about the world and enjoyed all of humanity. “Even in his self-moment, there was a special composure about him, he spoke to the gardeners with the same respect and directness as he’d speak to Queen Elizabeth,” he added.
Mr Sachs said Tata Mandela was proud to be an African. He said to be an African to Madiba meant to represent the spirit of Ubuntu, graciousness, reaching out to others, musicality, warmth, concern and respect. “If the whites had been too narrow-minded, too close and too tight inside themselves, he’d show them that we can live together as equals but they’d need to get rid of their sense of superiority, but he did not shout and get angry, he just led by example,” he said.
Mr Sachs said Tata Mandela had a way of setting an example just by living his life with a sense of dignity, composure and showing that equality was what would take the country forward and African people as the majority would be in positions of leadership but not do what white people did to Africans.
Touching on the vision that Tata Mandela had, Mr Sachs said he wanted to use the constitution to tackle the hard problems such as economic challenges, social ills and injustices that continued to face society.
“When we voted for the first time, he said we were free to become free, free to get rid of terrible laws, injustices and the whole culture of white supremacy. Madiba’s vision was to make equality real in the lives of everybody,” he said.
Mr Sachs said he left the ANC NEC late in 1993 and dropped out of politics because he wanted to be considered for a judge. He said when he bid farewell to the NEC, he got a message that Tata Mandela wanted to see him. “It was a month before elections, I went to see him and found him looking so grave and tired and the first thing that he asked me was how the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was going to work.
“Tata wanted to know whether it gave amnesty to the generals and others who did terrible things to others. I explained to him that Parliament would lay down the terms and conditions and set up a truth commission and people would get amnesty if they came forward and acknowledged what they had done,” said Mr Sachs.
He said it was at that moment that he saw Tata Mandela vulnerable with the weight of history on his shoulders.
Touching on the current state of affairs in the country, Mr Sachs said the country needs to practise Ubuntu. He encouraged pupils to be kind and compassionate people.
He said people should unite and be true to the most important parts of themselves, and the things that they want for the world.
“We didn’t use the word Ubuntu so much in those days and that’s what we need in South Africa today; connecting with other humans beings to become better, richer, finer and more fun people,” he said.
Camps Bay Primary School principal Stuart collier with former Constitutional Court judge, Albie Sachs, on the far right, his wife Vanessa September and their son Oliver Lukutandu September Sachs.
By Sinazo Mkoko

Sewage spill

An aerial view of First, Second, Third and Fourth Clifton Beaches in the Foreground and Camps Bay and the Twelve Apostles in the background.

If you were thinking of going swimming, diving, water skiing, surfing, paddle skiing or windsurfing at Clifton First Beach, you best put those plans on hold after sewage spilled into the ocean from a nearby property.
The City of Cape Town said the spill emanated from a sewer blockage in Victoria Road, and mayoral committee member for safety and security; and social services, JP Smith, warned that “full-contact recreational activity” could increase the risk of gastrointestinal problems as well as skin, eye, ear and respiratory irritations.
Ocean pollution has been an ongoing concern on the Atlantic seaboard, with residents having concerns over the disposal of sewage disposal into the sea.
A senior professor and leader of the Environmental and Nano Science Research group at the University of the Western Cape, Professor Leslie Petrik, said this incident just added to “the mess” the City was making of the coastline.
Professor Petrik said the City of Cape Town disposed of as much as 28.4 million litres of raw sewage a day from the Green Point marine outfall, 2.4 million litres a day via the Camps Bay outfall and 5.7 million litres a day from the Hout Bay marine outfall.
“Our whole Atlantic seaboard is enormously contaminated. We have also reported this to the City via our own studies. We have found numerous compounds such as pharmaceuticals and perfluorinated hydrocarbons bioaccumulating in the aquatic organisms. We have also found that the beach sand and subsurface beach water is full of microbes,” she said.
Professor Petrik said even if the sewer was repaired, the damage being done was ongoing and that the City had shown no intention of stopping the millions of litres of untreated sewage going out to sea.
“The impact on our marine and coastal environment can only get worse as the discharge volumes grow continuously as the city grows.”
The City said its teams were hoping to repair the blockage as soon as they were able to gain access to the property. “City Health will erect signage to warn the public about the situation and will inform the public once the spill has been resolved and this area of the beach is safe again,” the City said in a statement released to the media.
Meanwhile, an image of green liquid flowing into the ocean at Sea Point beach has been circulated on social media over the past two weeks. While residents suspected the liquid was a toxic coolant, the City’s mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, Brett Herron, said inspections on site had shown no evidence of any coolant since the incident was originally reported.
“The City has identified various companies that both manufacture and use this substance in the servicing of commercial cooling systems but, as this investigation is ongoing, the City cannot release further details at this stage,” he said.
Mr Herron added they would be engaging with the various companies to make them aware of their responsibilities and that it was illegal to discharge this substance in to the City’s stormwater system.
By Sinazo Mkoko

Friday, 20 July 2018

Cyclist snared

Cyclists say someone has been setting traps across trails.

A wire trap which appears to have been deliberately set for cyclists on the Glen trail has left one Camps Bay cyclist injured.
Harry Millar was snagged by a wire which had been maliciously stretched across the path at neck-height on July 7.
This has angered the cycling community who think the culprits may be those who have a sense of entitlement over the trails and do not want to share them with cyclists.
“A discussion with the culprit will simply not be enough, we will make an example of him,” said Table Mountain Bikers founder, Robert Vogel.
Mr Millar sustained injuries that has left him suffering to swallow.
Mr Vogel said cyclists in Cape Town are being targeted by a suspect who places wire traps to ambush cyclists and this was not the first time an incident like this has taken place.
“The first time this happened, I personally caught the culprit and it’s definitely one of the people who have a problem with cyclists in the Glen trails. Last year the culprits dragged logs and other obstacles onto the trail,” he said.
He said cyclists were now legally allowed to ride on the trails and some people feel their space has been taken away.
“This is serious, the victim sustained injuries but it could’ve been a lot worse, you can tell that this was planned and the culprit went to a lot of trouble to do it,” he
Mr Vogel said no one owns the trails and they must be shared by all residents. He said people who were unhappy with cyclists on trails should be voicing their unhappiness on the right platforms instead of resorting to violence.
He said they didn’t understand why someone would go out of their way to deliberately hurt others.
He said Table Mountain Bikers also paid for the maintenance of the trails and vowed that they would take legal steps on the matter.
Another Camps Bay cyclist using the trails, Ricky Lawrence, said since the incident happened, he’s been nervous to ride there.
“Hikers are grumpy when it comes to sharing the trails, but I find it hard that one would do that during the day, it could’ve been two naughty guys who were up to no good,” he said.
Some residents commented on social media that the incident was intentional with an aim to cause an injury and the culprit needed to be taught a lesson.
The hike leader of the Peninsula Ramblers hiking club, Glenda Dollar, said the person who did this was driven by malicious intent.
Ms Dollar said: “I saw on social media that people think it could be hikers and I can’t believe that people would think that about hikers. We never had a problem with sharing the trails with cyclists.”
Mr Vogel said they believed that the culprit is from the Camps Bay area and the Table Mountain rangers were currently doing patrols in the area.
They urged the community to help identify the culprit.
Camps Bay SAPS station commander, Captain Keith Chandler, said the police went to the crime scene and found a wire and a thick rope but no arrests had been made.
Mandated with managing the environmental integrity of the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP), SANParks is the managing authority of the TMNP and as such is the ultimate decision making authority within the boundaries of the national park. It has legislative power to establish rules regarding all activities within the TMNP. It’s responsible for among other things, monitoring activities, maintaining the designated routes and closing illegal or non-approved routes.
Atlantic Sun tried to reach SANParks on the matter, to no avail.
At least one cyclist was injured when a wire trap snagged his neck.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Bo-Kaap Interdicted For Protesting For Their Community

Bo-kaap in the old Malay quarter of Cape Town South Africa with Signal Hill behind the colorful homes just before sunset

The Bo-Kaap community was interdicted by one of the developers who are seeking to gentrify the community. On July 4, the Blok Urban Living company filed an interdict against various Bo-Kaap community associations as well as the City of Cape Town. The interdict was regarding alleged trespassing by Bo-Kaap residents over a development in the area. The Daily Vox team rounds up.
On Friday, the Western Cape High Court granted the development company the interdict against all other persons trespassing, unlawfully conducting themselves or attempting to trespass or unlawfully conduct themselves.
Osman Shabodien from the Bo-Kaap Civic Association told The Daily Vox in an interview that: The interdict was given last Wednesday and the community moving forward is basically we went to court where the interim interdict was granted. The rest must be contested by the 15 or 17th of August.
The judge ordered that a meeting must take place between the Blok Company, Bo-Kaap representative Sheik Dawood Terblanche and the South African Human Rights Commission within the next 10 days.
On Monday, July 9 the community held a meeting to discuss the interdict and the way forward.
Shabodien said: “What we basically decided last night at the meeting was the question of us looking at a way forward by telling ourselves listen we can’t be sitting in this position purely because the court’s order makes it obligatory for us to do certain things. Like from the interdict we got two reps from the community that now have to liaise with the builders and developers in order to make our day-to-day lives easier. Like the noise. The whole question of jamming up our roads, of heavy vehicles. So it’s quite a disturbance in our community so that's the one thing the two reps must do. They are ordered by court to do that. But we are saying going forward is we must be able to match them legally. Like taking to court and saying listen this is now enough.”
With regards to the meeting with the company and the SAHRC, Shabodien said: “Well I think last night’s meeting settled. The court has given ten working days so between that and last night’s meeting we laid the basis of how it should happen. The community is very suspicious with the whole idea of talking openly to developers because they might take it as an acceptance of them being around. Our talking to developers has got nothing to with accepting them being around. We still don’t want them around.”
The Bo-Kaap community have been protesting for the past few months over the gentrification and development of their community by the City of Cape Town and private developers.

By Fatima Moosa

Thursday, 5 July 2018

New body fights Maiden’s Cove ‘gentrification’

“Developments can happen but not at the cost of reinforcing a divided city which will be economically exclusive to its own residents.”
These are the words of Maiden’s Cove for All (MCA) co-founder, Gary Stewart.
The organisation was established on June 22 with a mission to stop the proposed development of Maiden’s Cove.
MCA believes that the development will exclude economically marginalised residents from across Cape Town from enjoying the natural beauty of Maiden’s Cove.
The City sold the piece of land between Clifton and Camps Bay to private developers in September last year.
Developers plan to build among other things, a hotel and a block of apartments.
In April, the Bungalow Owners’ Association (BOA) filed an application with the Western Cape High Court to have the City’s decision reviewed and set aside.
MCA supports the application and is planning to intervene in BOA’s application.
“We formed this organisation because we couldn’t intervene in the BOA’s application in our individual capacity,” said the member of the NGO, Janey Ball.
Mr Stewart said there seems to be a pattern from the City of letting public open space fall into disrepair and using that as an argument to get the developer to take over the space.
“We find this problematic because it takes away the nature of what makes Cape Town what it is. The Maiden’s Cove is a precious space that is open to everyone and historically been utilised by people of colour.
“The City by either commercialising or gentrifying it, is taking it out of the hands of the broader Cape Town community,” said Mr Stewart.
He said that this was essentially economic apartheid and it would only be accessible by the wealthy.
The organisation said they want a correct public participation process where the City would include the voices of those who use the space.
Mr Stewart said when the City opened a public participation process on the matter, it only approached nearby residents and excluded the historic users across the city.
He said people come from as far as Ceres and Atlantis.
Ms Ball agrees. “The formal public participation process had not broadly included the communities that use the space,” she said.
She said the City called a public meeting at the Civic Centre in September 2015 and invited residents to come and hear the plans for Maiden’s Cove, but because it was a designed vision, people didn’t realise that it was going to the tender document.
“When we speak to the people who actually use the space, they either don’t know about the plans or they think they will get a wonderful coastal urban park,” said Ms Ball.
In its intervention application to an already existing application by BOA, MCA members said they plan to fight for community access and fairness. The organisation said they will fight for the space to remain accessible and open to all of Cape Town and hear what the communities want.
They said with the assistance of human rights activist and former Constitutional Court Judge Albie Sachs as the group’s patron, they’re hopeful.
An attorney representing the BOA, Richard Summers, said any initiatives by concerned groups, communities or citizens to engage in evaluating the merits of the City’s decisions regarding the Maiden’s Cove site were welcomed.
“Any involvement that highlights the broader public interest at stake in this case is important.
“It is critical that the broader public and the communities that have historically used the site appreciate the significance in the City’s decisions,” said Mr
He said the entire decision-making process relating to the Maiden’s Cove site appeared to have been rushed and, as a result, several issues were not considered in appropriate detail.
He said the City’s decision to privatise and develop a Provincial Heritage Site and part of the coastline ought to be of serious interest to concerned members of the public.
The fight for Maiden’s Cove will remind many residents of another civic battle not too long ago to save the Sea Point promenade from development.
It was one Ms Ball was all too familiar with being among the people at the forefront of the Seafront for All (Seafa) campaign to prevent the luxury development from going ahead and robbing residents from across Cape Town of a prime space for leisure.
Millions of rands later, the plans were finally dumped in 2012.