29 Dec 2008
9 Dec 2008
2 Dec 2008
SOUTH AFRICA’s first mobile drug-testing device, which was launched last week, has been tasked with identifying drugged-up drivers abusing the roads.
The DrugAlyzer DrugWipe device, which is used internationally, was revealed to South Africans on Tuesday as a prelude to its use by the Western Cape Department of Community Safety.
Cheryl Roberts, spokesperson for Community Safety MEC Patrick McKenzie, could not confirm when exactly the department’s two drug testers, worth R25 000 each, would be put to work on regional roads.
But, at the launch event in Voortrekker Road, Salt River, McKenzie confirmed that authorities would make use of the devices at roadblocks during the department’s Safer Summer Season programme, which kicks off this month.
The drug testing device – a product of Trimega Diagnostics, a South African-based company that specialises in the procurement and development of diagnostic testing devices – will be used to determine whether or not a driver has used drugs. The instrument does this by testing a sample of the person’s saliva or sweat for the presence of various narcotic substances.
The test can be performed in less than six minutes. Should the candidate’s driving be hampered and his or her test prove positive, their blood can in future be sent for sampling, and the result presented as evidence in court.
Drugs detectable by the device include dagga, tik, cocaine, and numerous opiates.
Trimega Diagnostics, together with the department, carried out 22 research roadblocks across the country between April and November this year. Tests showed that 28% of those who took alcohol breath tests failed, and 14% of those who took drug tests also showed high blood-alcohol levels.
Of the candidates who tested positive for alcohol, 19% also tested positive for drugs, read the research report presented by the company.
Superintendent Pierre van der Riel, station commissioner of the Woodstock Police Station, highlighted drug testing as one of the challenges of policing. He said procedures currently in place rely mainly on the testimony of police officers, who must personally testify that a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs had not been in full control of their vehicle while on the road.
Van der Riel said doing so is “not always easy”. The driver suspected of the crime would typically be taken to the nearest doctor to be tested. Van der Riel welcomed any tool that could assist officers in putting drugged drivers behind bars.
With the country heading towards the festive season, McKenzie said that hundreds of roadblocks are planned for the next few months. “We are aware of a significant number of accidents caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol, and although no official figures exist, drugged motorists are also guilty,” he said at the launch.
While the Department of Justice and the Director of Public Prosecutions work towards adopting appropriate legislation to formally incorporate the use of the drug-testing device, its use will in the meantime help the department determine the extent of drugged driving in the province, and raise awareness of the wrongs of driving under the influence of drugs.
According to a comprehensive privately-funded report prepared by Trimega Diagnostics to accompany the launch, the current National Road Traffic Act of 1996 does not permit, among other things, equipment to be used to screen for drug-use on South African roads . Another section of the act also informs that a person may not refuse a blood or breath test to determine their alcohol intake. “Unfortunately this does not apply to any other type of test, e.g. a saliva or urine test,” the report continues.
Meanwhile, the department warns that motorists found to be “visibly affected by drugs” to the detriment of their driving will in the meanwhile be prosecuted on the basis of impaired driving, Roberts said. Should the test result prove that a candidate has administered an illegal substance, but driving has not necessarily been negatively affected, the person will be engaged on the dangers of drug use so that awareness can be raised around the issue.
25 Nov 2008
18 Nov 2008
South Peninsula residents remain the victims of an inadequate road system, in part because the Chapman's Peak concessionaire apparently have no incentive to open the road as government guarantees to cover operational, managerial and contingent costs.
Editorial cartoon for the People's Post 18th November 2008
11 Nov 2008
GANGS will be a thing of the past if a recent programme launched by the Department of Community Safety achieves its goals – but community organisations say success is unlikely.
The aim of the project is to reduce opportunities for gang expansion, offer “alternative options” to affected communities, and prevent and reduce the factors that drive young people into gangs.
According to Community Safety MEC Patrick McKenzie, what makes the programme unique is that various departments will “work holistically” to do effectively what “many never could achieve”.
“Instead of each separate sector working on its own, we think that by joining forces, this project will reach its full potential. It will be a partnership between the police, national intelligence, the national prosecuting authority, Metro Police and the South African Revenue Services, which will work towards combating the scourge of gangsterism, as well as bring high fliers to book.”
7 Nov 2008
5 Nov 2008
Those eligible to vote in 2009 for the first time, persons who did not register in the past and people newly moved into the area, should register now.Extract from a letter from ANC Cissie Gool Branch Ward 59
28 Oct 2008
Projects include improvements to Cape Town International Airport, stations and highways in the Cape metropole and outlying areas, new bus services, and better facilities and routes for pedestrians and cyclists.
In Cape Town itself, work is under way to ensure that thousands of soccer supporters and revellers can move safely on foot and bicycle from the Cape Town Station and the viewing site on the Parade to the Waterfront and new Green Point Stadium.
Various streets will be closed to traffic, while limited pedestrian traffic will be permitted on others. One of the streets in which only limited vehicle traffic will be permitted is Waterkant Street.
This street is not only being jazzed up with trees, but will also be transformed into a cyclist and pedestrian route that will be linked to Somerset Way with a bridge and controlled crossing over Buitengracht Road.
A three-metre-wide cyclist lane, as well as a three-metre-wide pedestrian path, will be developed along Somerset Way to Three Anchor Bay so that spectators and residents can reach the stadium safely. Also under development are a second cyclist and pedestrian route from the station over North Wharf Square, Coen Steytler Avenue; a cyclist and pedestrian bridge over the inbound lanes of Buitengracht, and a controlled ground-level crossing over the outbound lanes of Buitengracht to the Waterfront and ultimately the stadium.
21 Oct 2008
14 Oct 2008
Draft Animal Bylaw: more bark than bite?
THERE seems to be a great deal of confusion around this bylaw [the draft Animal Bylaw]. Who drafted it? Why? And what does the process of public participation involve?
Bylaws in the city arise out of policy discussions in multi-party portfolio committees. The mayor has nothing to do with their formulation until the bylaw reaches the mayoral committee and full council after the public participation process.
The City of Cape Town is an amalgamation of seven former separate local authorities, each of which had its own animal bylaw. There were also still three animal bylaws from the former municipal councils dating back to 1964. It is impossible to administer ten different bylaws across the city. As a result, there must be one consolidated bylaw. This bylaw is the first draft to achieve this outcome.
The proposed limit on the number of pets per property is also nothing new. Each of the previous bylaws limited the number of dogs and cats per property (in common with similar legislation across the world). Nine of the existing bylaws set the limit of dogs and cats per property at two of each. Only the old Cape Town administration dog bylaw allowed for three of each.
The portfolio committee, with the full support of all parties, proposed the “two-dogs-two-cats” limitation for the consolidated single draft bylaw for Cape Town.
There is no truth in the rumours that people will be required to “put down” their pets. Furthermore, if anyone wants to own more than two dogs and two cats, they will be able to apply for a permit to do so. If they meet the criteria, designed in part for the welfare of the animals concerned, they will be able to own more dogs and cats.
Public participation is an important part of the process of passing all bylaws, including the draft Animal Bylaw. The public participation phase began in June already. Four months of public input have been allowed, in addition to a workshop through the City Wide Forum, and the emailing of the bylaw to over 70 animal welfare organisations and animal activists. They had contacted the city before then, indicating their interest in the matter. This is in addition to numerous press releases and newspaper ads.
The bylaw was also referred to over 1 000 community organisations through all the ward forums, as well as to the subcouncils for comment.
For members of the public who would like to submit comment, a copy of the draft bylaw is available on the city’s website at the following address: http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/ByLaws/Pages/Draft_by-laws.aspx. Within the next few days it will be available in hard copy at city libraries and subcouncil offices.
The public can submit their comments or proposed amendments to the draft bylaw by writing to Mr Richard Bosman at Private Bag X4, Parow, 7499 – or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org – by Thursday 30 October.
Everyone has rights in a city, and legislation involves a careful balancing of competing rights. This is what we are trying to get right in this case.
Spokesperson for the mayor of Cape Town
8 Oct 2008
2 Oct 2008
30 Sep 2008
16 Sep 2008
13 Sep 2008
FOR years now, teachers have been calling for the scrapping of Outcomes-Based Education (OBE). Last week, a group of teachers met at South Peninsula High School to voice their dissatisfaction with the system. A sentiment echoed by many was that OBE was a flawed education system that has failed internationally and is creating a generation of children who may know how to socialise, colour in, and cut and paste, but can't read or write properly. This, say learners and teachers alike, will result in OBE graduates feeding the high unemployment numbers and the low income work force. What it won't do, is create fully rounded intellectuals who can think for themselves. The teachers will now mobilise colleagues and learners and their parents to take the call for the scrapping of OBE to Education Minister Naledi Pandor.
2 Sep 2008
26 Aug 2008
If you’re the type of person who can’t wait for summer, you should be on Fish Hoek beach this Sunday, 31 August, at 15:30 to show just how much life you’ve got in you.
Held for the first time last year, the Spring Splash separates the men from the boys, as it were.
The water temperature this time of year is certainly not for the faint of heart.
All are invited to take the plunge!
19 Aug 2008
A draft policy regulating boundary walls and fences and a draft by law aimed at stamping out unauthorised graffiti are two measures, which could potentially affect every homeowner. In their current form, they raise ethical questions as to whether council has the right to dictate standards, which in some instances are subjective in nature and arguably informed by practical considerations.
Boundary walls are considered to form part of municipal planning and in terms of Section 156 of the Constitution, the Council has the legal authority to make and enforce by laws regarding their administration.
With regards to the draft policy regulating boundary walls and fences, there is to be no razor or barbed wire in residential areas.
12 Aug 2008
9 Aug 2008
5 Aug 2008
29 Jul 2008
Editorial cartoon for The People's Post
Teens to be tested
RANDOM drug testing is soon to become routine at all high schools in South Africa.
Cameron Dugmore, MEC for Education in the Western Cape, said: “Random drug testing is not in effect yet, but many high schools have been conducting drug tests with permission from learners’ parents.”
He said the new testing system would be compulsory.
Dugmore said the method of testing and date of commencement would be discussed at meetings with national education minister Naledi Pandor next month.
“Learners found to be drug users will be supported by receiving counselling,” he added.
Marcia Woolward, Grassy Park High School principal, says she has no objection to random drug testing “because drug abuse is a serious problem among the youth.
“This may be the aggressive approach to curbing drug abuse we’ve been looking for because right now only parents have the right to enforce rehabilitation.”
Jeanene Matthyse, Grassy Park High School counsellor, identifies drug abuse as a major problem in the community.
“I fully agree with the idea of random drug testing, but my hope is that things don’t end there. The learners should be given counselling and rehabilitation as a means of effectively combating the issue of drug addiction.”
According to Matthyse, blood-based drug tests are more effective and accurate than urine-based tests because “drug abusers have learnt different ways to lessen the chance of drugs being traced in their urine.”
24 Jul 2008
22 Jul 2008
SEALS spitting sinkers faster than tracer-bullets; seals hopping onto boats to snatch a snoek from the hands of a lowly fisherman; seals sinking their teeth into a sunbathing blonde. Barely believable but apparently true stories, according to the various fishermen who related them to People’s Post this week. These were in defence of allegations put to them that they or their crew were guilty of widespread killing and maiming of seals that dare to compete for the bounty of shoals of snoek that run off the Cape peninsula every year.
15 Jul 2008
ANIMAL protection organisations have questioned the feasibility of the proposed pet bylaw open to public comment which aims to control the amount of pets allowed on a property.
The bylaw, which will make it compulsory for dogs and cats to be sterilised, be fitted with tags and walkers to carry litter bags with them at all times, is open to public participation until October.
JP Smith, chairperson of the City of Cape Town’s safety and security portfolio committee, says two pets is the proposed limit of animals per household.
“However, other aspects such as the size of the erf as well as a lack of complaints from neighbours can have a specific family’s amount increased if they write a formal application to the city.”
He says the proposed bylaw, which is a combination of 10 existing bylaws aimed at animal control, will see law enforcement officers “reactively” carrying out inspections when pets cause problems in an area.
1 Jul 2008
24 Jun 2008
Fuel suddenly a hot number
LOCK up your trucks, tractors and fuel pumps, as you may become the victim of the latest crime trend.
The cost of fuel has almost doubled since a year ago.
In Cape Town, petrol costs R9,72 per litre, and diesel will set you back even more.
These prices brought along desperate times, but obviously new opportunities for criminals as well.
On Wednesday and Thursday, 18 and 19 June, thieves made off with over 1 000 litres of diesel.
Wednesday night, 300 litres were stolen from three trucks and a bulldozer on a Philippi farm.
On another farm, seven 20 litre containers of oil were swiped.
The following evening, another business in the Philippi farming area was targeted.
The company was robbed of about 800 litres of diesel. The diesel pump was also damaged in an apparent attempt to get more fuel.
It was also reported two weeks ago that drivers had filled up their tanks at service stations, then sped off without paying for their petrol.
A reader told People’s Post that he was approached by two men in the street, offering him petrol for R5 per litre.
17 Jun 2008
11 Jun 2008
10 Jun 2008
WITH predictions that the price of petrol could rocket to R16 a litre should the price of a barrel of oil reach the $200 mark, motorists are looking at their vehicles in a new light. Cartoonist Gavin Thomson sees a somewhat unusual means of surviving the time ahead ...
Editorial cartoon for the People's Post 10 June 2008
3 Jun 2008
Editorial cartoon Peoples Post 3rd June 2008
Everything, especially the kitchen sink
AS if copper thieves have not caused enough headaches, the fiends have now acquired a feel for steel.
Due to scarcity, the price of steel went up in April to R2,50 per kilogram – not much compared to the price of copper, which fetches an average of R35 per kilogram (with some scrap traders willing to fork out up to R60).
Even so, there has been an increase in theft of privately-owned steel objects, says Pieter van Dalen, the chairperson of the Copper Theft Unit – also known as the Copperheads. “These people will steal anything, even if it’s not valuable” he says.
To attest to this, a Grassy Park resident spoke of how even pot plants left outside had disappeared from their property.
There have been reported cases of security gates, fences even street poles and light posts being whisked off. Poles, which are cemented into the ground, are sawed off at the base, then carried off.
27 May 2008
20 May 2008
Police clamp down on second-hand book sellers
Cash strapped? Need extra bucks? Sell your second hand books – but don’t forget your ID.
Police targeted several bookshops in Long Street last Wednesday to ensure that stores were in possession of licences and registers permitting them to buy used books in terms of the Second-hand Goods Act.
Editorial cartoon for the People's Post 20th May 2008