MEC Anroux Marais unveils Provincial Heritage Site plaque at Princess Vlei, 12 Oct

MEC Anroux Marais will officially unveil the Provincial Heritage Site plaque at Princess Vlei, off the M5 in Retreat.

Together with the expert assistance of Heritage Western Cape, the City of Cape Town’s facilitation and valued input from the Western Cape Khoisan leadership to the Princess Vlei Forum Heritage Committee, the cultural, spiritual, recreational and environmental significance of this site will be promoted in the public domain as a Provincial Heritage Site.

As a result of in-depth research and following the relevant official processes, the historical heritage significance of Princess Vlei can now be highlighted as it represents a unique landscape of peoples’ identity which is considered exceptionally important and desirable by the community as a heritage resource.

The declaration of Princess Vlei as a Provincial Heritage Site will acknowledge the community’s sense of place and purpose and unleashes its potential to yield information contributing to a wider understanding of the history of co-existence in the Western Cape and country at large.

All media are invited to attend

Date: Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Time: 10h30

Venue: Princess Vlei, off the M5, Retreat.

Kindly find attached unveiling programme for your perusal.

To adhere to current COVID-19 protocols by regulating the number of attendees, please confirm your attendance by 09h00 tomorrow. There will be opportunities for media interviews and photographs. Social distancing and mask wearing will be strictly enforced.

Source: Government of South Africa

MEC Albert Frits on visible policing successes by LEAP

Today, the Minister of Community Safety welcomes reports of LEAP successes in its endeavours to enhance visible policing in the crime hotspot communities in the Metro.

According to the report, a total of 7233 persons were searched in crime hotspots such as Delft (856), Nyanga (1227), Mitchells Plain (875), Kraaifontein (786) and others. A total of 211 houses were searched, while 811 vehicles were searched in 44 roadblocks. There were 63 inspections conducted at liquor outlets for on-site consumption, and 56 such inspections at outlets for off-site consumption.

LEAP Officers conducted 124 autonomous operations, as well as 102 joint operations with SAPS.

Minister Fritz said, “I want to emphasise that these totals are over a seven-day period. That means that in a crime hotspot such as Nyanga, more than 175 persons are searched every day. In Mfuleni, they searched more than 33 vehicles every day. An average of more than six roadblocks were conducted every day, specifically in our communities which are most affected by crime and violence. We are committed to enhancing visible policing in our communities as far as our powers allow us.”

Out of these operations, a total of 59 people were arrested for either being in possession of or dealing in drugs; fifteen people were arrested for being in possession of an illegal firearm, an imitation firearm or a dangerous weapon; and eleven were also arrested for other offences. A total of 100 arrests were made over the seven day period.

In addition to seven illegal firearms and five imitation firearms, 60 live rounds of ammunition; one panga, an axe and a fish knife were confiscated. Various quantities of Mandrax, 407 packets of dagga, 124 packets of tik and two straws of heroine were also confiscated.

Minister Fritz continued, “all of these weapons and substances would surely have only been used in all kinds of criminality. Our LEAP Officers averted all of that misery for the benefit of our communities. And that is what success is to us: ridding our communities of weapons and illegal substances.”

Minister Fritz concluded, “I would like to thank all of our LEAP Officers for their excellent work in ensuring that our communities are safer. I want to encourage them to keep at it. We are winning the war, slowly but surely. Our citizens deserve to live in peace, free from the ravages of drugs. And our work is in service of that goal. Let us never forget that!”

Source: Government of South Africa

MEC Tertuis Simmers on resumption of hearing to halt illegal occupations of land

Hearing on halting illegal occupations to commence again

Tomorrow, the hearing in the case, No: 8631/2020 in the consideration of the common law right of counter-spoliation by landowners as a legitimate means to repel land invasions, launched as Part B of an application by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) litigation against the City of Cape Town (Cot), is set to recommence.

This matter, where the Western Cape Government (WCG) has intervened so as to make submissions in support of the lawfulness of counter-spoliation as a constitutional means to prevent unlawful land invasions, will once again be heard in the Western Cape High Court before three judges- after it was reallocated when the first two judges disagreed with each other – and then postponed in March 2021.

Mandated on behalf of the provincial cabinet, Western Cape Minister of Human Settlements, Tertuis Simmers, said: “The hearing of this matter has become protracted due to no fault of the parties and I welcome the resumption of this hearing, particularly since it presents us with the opportunity to place our position before the court with the hindsight of the past 18 months of lockdown experience behind us. This hearing has been much delayed, which has cost all the parties both time and money but we remain confident in our argument that the common law remedy of counter-spoliation- which recognises an owner’s right to immediately retake possession of the unlawfully seized property, without approaching a court first – is both reasonable and constitutional.

All parties to this matter – including ourselves, the City, private landowners as well as individual residents, really just want certainty as to what can be done by them to protect their land rights immediately and lawfully, especially since the SAPS simply refuses to do so.

Large-scale state-owned land invasions are becoming rampant again, with 38 incidents during August 2021, has increased to 67 during September. In fact, between July 2020 – 4 October 2021, there have been 1 394 attempts of invasions across the Western Cape, with the majority being within the Cape Metro.

Eviction orders take months if not years to obtain, rendering urgent court redress a mythical goal and often a futile exercise for landowners at the end of violent or well-orchestrated land grabs.

Just in the current 2021/22 financial year alone, the Provincial Government has already spent more than R 75,5 million to prevent land grabs and site invasions. This is an exorbitant amount, which could’ve been utilised to build, and excluding bulk services, approximately 454 Breaking New Ground/fully subsidised homes. The reality is, the common law remedy of counter-spoliation will assist greatly in stemming this invasion tide, as it will empower landowners to act immediately.

The hearing is set to commence on Monday, 11 October 2021 at 10 am.

Source: Government of South Africa

AU Endorses Joint Mission with UN for Somalia

The African Union says it wants to partner with the United Nations in a proposed joint mission to support Somalia in its efforts to battle armed extremists and achieve stability.

In a statement, the African Union’s Peace and Security Council said it endorsed an independent assessment team’s recommendation for a hybrid operation that would replace the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) after this year.

Since 2007, the regional peacekeeping mission, which operates with U.N. approval, has aided Somali government forces in their battle to stabilize the Horn of Africa country, mainly against al-Shabab militants.

The African Union communique notes “grave concern at the worsening security situation in Somalia … in large parts of the country, (which) has detracted attention from the critical processes of state-building and stabilization.”

The hybrid mission was among several options recommended by the assessment team in a report released in May. The plan, which the African Union has proposed to take effect in January, would need approval by the U.N. Security Council and Somalia’s central government.

It faces stiff opposition. Last December, a separate U.N. assessment team had proposed that the African Union reconfigure or modify its current mission. But it did not recommend military involvement by the U.N., which already has a diplomatic mission in Somalia.

Somali Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdirizak previously rejected calls for a hybrid plan.

“We prefer an option that emphasizes the Somali transition plan,” he said in an August interview with VOA Somali. That plan “pursues the enemy while building the capacity of the Somali forces and eventually transfers security responsibilities to Somalis.”

The African Union assessment team’s May report recommended the hybrid A.U.-U.N. mission have a mix of police (50%), military personnel (35%) and civilians (15%).

The African Union, U.N. and Somali government would have to decide on the strategic objectives, mandate, size and composition of the new mission, the statement said.

Currently, five countries — including Ethiopia, Uganda, Burundi, Kenya and Djibouti — contribute to the more than 19,000 AMISOM military personnel operating in Somalia. The communique said the African Union wants to expand the number of countries supplying troops.

The communique called for establishing the hybrid mission under the U.N. Charter’s Chapter VII, which it said would “ensure predictable and sustainable multi-year financing for the future mission through U.N. assessed contributions.”

Currently, international donors — mainly the European Union — cover the mission’s operating costs. The IPI Global Observatory has estimated it costs hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

In pressing for the hybrid plan, the African Union communique cited “deep concern” at the political impasse between Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (commonly known as Farmajo) and his prime minister, Mohamed Hussein Roble, and its “significant impact on ongoing political processes. …” The two are embroiled in a fight over the case of a missing female intelligence officer.

Somalia chooses its president through indirect elections. The country is in the midst of a slow-moving election process that could take months. Most lawmakers in the 54-seat Upper House have been elected, but the process to elect 275 members of the Lower House has not begun. The two chambers will vote on a president at a date that has not yet been determined. The next president was expected to have been elected by October 10.

The communique said that the leaders’ dispute is not only negatively affecting the political process and elections but is also delaying discussions on a post-2021 African Union mission.

The African Union seeks immediate consultations with the U.N., the Somali government and other stakeholders to work out transition plans.

Source: Voice of America

UN chief urges Ethiopian authorities to let UN help millions in need

UNITED NATIONS— United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appealed to the Ethiopian government to allow the world body help millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance.

“The United Nations will continue to play its mandated role and work with the government of Ethiopia and with local and international partners to support millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance in Tigray, Amhara and Afar, and across the country, in full accordance with the UN Charter and General Assembly resolution 46/182,”, he said.

He was speaking at the Security Council on the situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.

“I call on Ethiopian authorities to allow us to do this without hindrance and to facilitate and enable our work with the urgency that this situation demands,” said the Secretary-General.

The top UN official said “this means ensuring that visas for incoming personnel – from UN entities and from our partners — are issued quickly so that we can augment our capacity.”

“It also means that personnel inside the country are treated with dignity and respect as they carry out their vital work,” he said, adding that “the delays we have witnessed in the recent past are another obstacle to effective humanitarian aid.”

According to the UN chief, up to 7 million people in Tigray, Amhara and Afar are now in need of food assistance and other emergency support. This includes more than 5 million people in Tigray where an estimated 400,000 people are “living in famine-like conditions.”

“We must save lives and restore livelihoods,” the Secretary-General said.

“I urge the government to allow the unrestricted movement of desperately needed fuel, cash, communications equipment, and humanitarian supplies into regions in need,” said Guterres.

“I appeal to all members of the Security Council to do all they can to support these calls and to unify behind the efforts of the United Nations and its partners in Ethiopia.”

Guterres recalled his remarks to the Council last August that “all parties must immediately end hostilities without preconditions and seize that opportunity to negotiate a lasting ceasefire. Foreign forces should leave the country.

“Unrestricted humanitarian access to all areas in need must be guaranteed and humanitarian workers must be respected. Public services must be re-established.”