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Tag: Johannesburg

City Council Racing to Prevent Chernobyl in Johannesburg

There is a major concern that the infamous Zamamphilo gold mining camp in Ward 68 of Riverlea, which is located in western Johannesburg, poses a serious risk to residents at the camp and surrounding areas such as Horseshoe.

The mine is located on top of a Sasol gas pipeline as well as a Transnet fuel pipeline, with a Rand Water pipeline also running underneath the camp. Councillor Mpho Phalatse, the DA mayoral candidate for Johannesburg, fears that these miners could get too close to these pipelines and accidentally hit them.

’’Should the gas and fuel come into contact, this can result in a fatal explosion for much of the surrounding areas. The illegal miners are underground without the use of professional equipment or engineers,’’ Phalatse said on Thursday.

’’Should these miners get too close to these pipes and accidentally hit them, Johannesburg could see itself dealing with its own Chernobyl.

’’The existence of this camp also affects service delivery for residents of surrounding areas, where illegal electricity connections cause constant power outages for surrounding suburbs. With the illegal mining, water mains have been broken, while heavy metal has been introduced to the environment.

’’The increase in population of this mining camp has also resulted in a surge in crime, where miners often end up shooting each other during the day.

’’It is imperative that the municipality immediately commences with the process of relocating those living in this camp, so that their lives, as well as the lives of residents in surrounding areas, are not put in further danger and that this illegal mining activity also ceases.’’

An urgent debate has been requested on the matter in the Johannesburg City Council, which is set to take place later in September.

Two Dead in JHB Protests

Police are investigating the deaths of two people – one in Alexandra and the other in Jeppestown while trying to contain pockets of violence in some parts of Gauteng.  Police officers found the body of a man in Jeppestown late on Sunday.  Several shops were looted and properties set alight as violence in the area escalated.  Paramedics were forced to flee the scene for their own safety.

Emergency services were called out to a fire at the Naledi Mall overnight, but when they arrived, they could not perform their duties due to the protests.  Emergency services William Ntladi said fires were also started in other shopping centers in Gauteng.

“Shops were vandalised and attacked. The whole thing happened during the night where emergency services had to pull back physically.”

Brenda Muridili, spokesperson for the police’s, said they were on high alert: “The operational intelligence branch is working around the clock to enhance the operational capacity at a provincial level in response to incidents in which people appear to be undermining the authority of the state.”

Groups of protestors and opportunists ran amok in central Johannesburg, Alexandra, Vosloorus and Ekurhuleni, and other parts of the province on Sunday. They torched property and cars, intimidating anyone who got in their way or attempted to intervene, and ransacked businesses. Members of the media were also threatened and forced to cover the events from afar while trying to stay safe.

Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his address to the nation last night, said those behind the violent protests and anarchy would be arrested and prosecuted.

“As a nation, we will not tolerate any acts of criminality. We will not tolerate any acts of vandalism. Those who are involved in acts of violence will be arrested and prosecuted,” he said.

In KwaZulu-Natal, the provincial government has deployed the MECs for Community Safety and Economic Development to monitor and assess the Mooi River area where much of the violence erupted during the weekend.

Joburg Mayor Dies of Covid

Both government and political leaders have been mourning the death of Johannesburg Mayor Geoffrey Makhubo as messages of condolences pour in.  Makhubo’s death was confirmed on Friday by acting executive mayor Eunice Mgcina. She shared condolences with his friends and family, saying that she’d hoped that the executive mayor would beat the virus and return to work to lead the city as it continued to battle the pandemic that has devastated lives and livelihoods.

Makhubo passed away this morning, almost a week after being admitted to hospital with COVID-19 complications.  He tested positive late in June and immediately used the opportunity to warn residents.

“Joburg is officially in a third wave and residents are urged to take the necessary non-medical precautions. Wear masks, maintain social distance and limit movement in compliance with the regulations.”

Mayor Makhubo’s family has asked for their privacy to be respected while mourning his death.  They have also discouraged mourners and supporters from gathering outside his house.

President of ActionSA former Johannesburg mayor, Herman Mashaba said: “I am shocked to hear of the passing of Johannesburg Mayor Geoff Makhubo. In these difficult times, we are reminded of how fragile life can be. Our shared humility will always come before our politics. My thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends, and colleagues in the ANC.”

The MEC for Human Settlements, Urban Planning and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Lebogang Maile, said that Makhubo’s death was a huge blow for local government.

“Mayor Makhubo died at a time where the City of Johannesburg was accelerating service delivery in communities, especially in poor and working-class communities. We are saddened by Mayor Makhubo’s death. This is a low blow not only for Johannesburg but provincially.”

The City of Joburg spokesperson Mlimandlela Ndamase said that the news about Makhubo’s death was devastating.

“The executive mayor acting and the Speaker of Council will, in due course, announce any further details on the passing of the executive mayor.”

Geoffrey Makhubo was appointed as mayor of Johannesburg in December 2019. Prior to the appointment, he has held various positions in the city council, having served as the leader of the opposition in council from August 2016 and as the Member of the Mayoral Committee for Finance in the City of Johannesburg from 2011 to 2016.

He has also held the positions of leader of executive business in council and that of the chairperson of the governance cluster.

Makhubo obtained a B.Com degree from Witwatersrand University and a Management Advancement Programme (MAP) with the Wits Business School. He also held a Leadership in Local Government certificate from the University of Cape Town.

City of Joburg back to square one as fire and rescue vehicle tender is set aside

The City of Johannesburg has assured residents that it will move swiftly to procure fire and rescue vehicles – of which there is a shortage – in a legal, transparent and competitive manner.

The high court in Johannesburg this week set aside a tender worth more than R500m awarded to TFM Industries to supply the city with 92 fire and rescue vehicles.

The city, with 5.5 million people spread over 1,645km², has to turn to neighbouring metros for fire-fighting assistance.

Under former mayor Herman Mashaba, the city paid R172m towards fire and rescue vehicles that were not delivered.

City of Johannesburg spokesperson Mlimandlela Ndamase said: “The judgment now opens way for the city to undertake a legal and competitive process in line with s217 of the constitution for the procurement of fire and rescue vehicles to meet the current requirements and mitigate the risk now suffered by residents.”

Ndamase said the order stemmed from a high court judgment handed down in June 2020 which declared the tender process to procure a fire fighting fleet, and the decision to award the tender, as unlawful and constitutionally invalid.

“The declaration of invalidity was suspended by the high court pending its determination of a just and equitable remedy under section 172(1)(b) of the constitution,” he said.

Ndamase said executive mayor Geoff Makhubo had once more lamented that “the judgment confirms that the previous administration under former mayor Herman Mashaba was a corrupt and ethically flawed administration whose actions sought to award tenders in the city without adherence to due process and legislation”.

“The City of Johannesburg under the former [dispensation] paid R172m for fire engines that were and still are, desperately needed by the city but that was never delivered and were procured on defective specifications.”

Ndamase said: “These illegal, irregular and unconstitutional procurement processes that characterised the DA/EFF reign of impunity in the city have led to the city accumulating a record R3.5bn in unauthorised, irregular, wasteful and fruitless expenditure in the 2018/19 and 2019/20 financial years.”

He said the current administration was pleased the courts had ordered that vehicles already paid for by the city must still be delivered while the remainder of the order was terminated.

Mashaba has distanced himself from the illegal multimillion-rand fire engine contract, saying he wasn’t aware that monies were paid in advance, adding that his administration was trying to solve a life-threatening problem.

Mashaba said while the contract was signed under his administration, he wasn’t involved in the procurement process.

The court ordered that fire trucks paid for by the city be delivered within 60 days and that 15 grass fire units already paid for and delivered by the company be retained by the municipality.

The court further ordered that the company must register and deliver two level 2   accident vehicles, two heavy air trucks and one hazmat vehicle within 20 days of the court order.

The court further ordered that TFM must deliver five heavy-duty rear mount pumpers and three light rapid-fire and rescue intervention units, already paid for, within 60 days.

Co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said last month that Gauteng municipalities were operating with just more than half the required fire trucks.

Responding to a DA question in parliament, Dlamini-Zuma said Gauteng municipalities needed 205 fire trucks but only had 104.

Dlamini-Zuma said Sedibeng district did not have fire trucks at all, while only six of Johannesburg’s 21 trucks were operational.

Johannesburg metro confirmed last month that it had between four and seven operational fire engines to service the city and due to ongoing litigation around the procurement of 28 fire trucks was unable to procure more.

City of Joburg continues to be the epicentre of Covid-19

City of Joburg continues to be the epicentre of Covid-19, where the virus has already claimed the lives of 1 956 people out of the total 5 108 deaths in Gauteng as of Sunday, December 13.  The other worst-affected place is Ekurhuleni where the virus has so far claimed 1 241 people. Tshwane follows closely with 1 223 deaths, with Sedibeng at 363 fatalities.

With 325 deaths, the West Rand has recorded the lowest numbers of fatalities due to Covid-19.  The Gauteng Department of Health said there were 242 902 infections while the recoveries stood at 230 121.  A total number of 1 328 of people are currently hospitalised in public and private facilities

Johannesburg so far has 101 595 cases and 95 465 recoveries.  Ekurhuleni recorded 53 986 positive cases and 51 367 recoveries while Tshwane has 56 294 cases with 52 733 recoveries.  Sedibeng has 15 508 cases and 14 947 recoveries. The West Rand recorded 15 243 and 14 422.  There are also 1 716 positive cases that the department has no been able to assign to any of the districts in the province.

Doornkop, Soweto, Dobsonville and Protea Glen, which fall under City of Joburg’s Region D, continue to be the areas where the virus is wreaking havoc with 22 740 infections recorded.  Atteridgeville, Laudium, Pretoria CBD, Hercules, Danville, Saulsville, Lotus and Pretoria West, which fall under City of Tshwane, follow closely with 19 769 cases.

Out of that number, 144 063 people have completed the 10-day monitoring period with no symptoms reported and therefore they are de-isolated, the department said.

JHB News: Fraudsters arrested for creating fake jobs

Fake employment agencies are conning job seekers by promising to push their CVs to the top, unfortunately the job they applied for was fake.

On Wednesday, the Johannesburg Metro Police Department said that they had arrested the fraudsters.

According to JMPD spokesperson Wayne Minnaar, the alarm was raised after a woman paid the recruiters R450 for a job they promised she would get.

When the JMPD tried to contact the suspects, their phones were switched off and they weren’t seen or heard of again, Minnaar said.

According to Minnaar, officers  arrested the three women who posed as recruiters in their office in the Johannesburg CBD.

Piles of CVs, fake application forms and cash were found. A computer, printer, and four cellphones were also seized at their office.

The three woman are expected to appear in court.

 

Photo Credit: Unsplash

 

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