Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says undercover police have been deployed to Forest High School, in the south of Johannesburg, to monitor incidents of gang violence.
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TOKYO – Japan’s rugby captain Michael Leitch warned that the "Brave Blossoms" will fear no one at this year’s World Cup as the hosts target a place in the knockout stage for the first time.
The New Zealand-born flanker shot to fame four years ago when Japan won three games under Eddie Jones, including an astonishing 34-32 victory over two-time champions South Africa.
Just 100 days before Japan kick off the World Cup against Russia, Leitch is backing his side to make history.
"Our main objective is get out of the pool stages," he told AFP in an interview. "Once we get out of there we’ve either got New Zealand or South Africa, and we’re not going to lay down for them either."
Leitch’s bold decision not to kick for a draw with Japan trailing the Springboks by three points in the last minute of their 2015 opener in Brighton led to Karne Hesketh’s famous try – securing the World Cup’s biggest upset.
"That day I had a coffee with Eddie and he said ‘Just go with whatever you want to do!’ – that’s probably the best advice Eddie ever gave me," said Leitch.
"If I was smart I would have retired then and there and gone into the Hall of Fame," added the 30-year-old, who has become the face of Japanese rugby.
Leitch, who moved to Sapporo in northern Japan as a 15-year-old, credits Jones with laying the foundations for Japan’s success with his punishing training sessions.
"Back then we didn’t know what hard work was," said the hulking back-row forward, who is currently recovering from a groin injury.
"Eddie was all about the finer details. We had to just turn up and train – and play exactly how we trained."
But Leitch believes Japan – who also face Ireland, Scotland and Samoa in Pool A this year – have improved under current coach Jamie Joseph.
"With Jamie’s style the players have a lot more responsibility and accountability for their actions," said Leitch after a workout at his Japanese club Toshiba Brave Lupus. "The team has a lot more attachment to what we’re doing this time around."
But Leitch, who is targeting a return at next month’s Pacific Nations Cup, played down the pressure on Japan to progress from their group after their 2015 heroics.
"There’s a lot of expectation," he admitted. "But I don’t see that as pressure. I’m quietly confident we’ll get the job done."
Leitch predicted that Japan’s tournament opener on September 20 could be their most difficult test, noting how they only just pipped the Russians by five points last November.
"That will be the hardest game – coming up against Russia, the mental game," he said.
"That’s the game they’re targeting," added Leitch. "If they’re going to beat someone it’s going to be Japan, so we’ve got to be ready."
Leitch, who along with world number one tennis player Naomi Osaka, carries the flag for mixed-race or foreign-born Japan athletes, will lead out a multi-cultural World Cup team with roots in New Zealand, South Africa and the Pacific islands.
He also has plans to bring Mongolian teenagers to Japan to play rugby on an exchange programme that mirrors his own development.
"I’m not 100 percent rugby," smiled Leitch, born to a New Zealand father and Fijian mother. "But this year’s a bit different – I have been a bit selfish and everything is about rugby."
Leitch, who owns a coffee shop in Tokyo, is itching for the serious business to begin after a lengthy injury layoff.
A calming influence for Japan during the heat of battle, he is none the less happy to avoid the limelight.
"The way I operate in the team, I’m just an organiser – I don’t want to be the hero," said Leitch.
"I just try to lead by example. When things are going good I’m in the background, but when the sh*t hits the fan then I’m the one who will show face and give direction."
East London – Two Eastern Cape families want answers after two 18-year-old learners were brutally assaulted and burnt with an iron allegedly in their school dormitory.
The incident allegedly occurred at Advent Comprehensive High School in Maluti on the night of May 27 in the boys dormitory.
The families said that the two learners were assaulted allegedly by a group of nine people who accused them of stealing a tablet.
The families claim their sons were beaten up and burnt with a hot electric iron on their backs and arms.
The learners’ parents, who asked not to be identified in protecting the identity of the victims, accused the school headmaster Mandisi Mbobo of trying to conceal the gravity of the incident.
An East London parent of the one of the boys said: "I was contacted by the principal [Mbobo] around 4pm and (he) told me that there was a fight among pupils and my son got injured but there’s nothing to worry about.
"I discovered when I contacted him that something is wrong and I visited the school on the second day and find my son in principal’s bed and breakfast.
I was shocked because I could see how bad the incident was."
The parents of the second pupil who are based in Mthatha said the East London family informed them about the state of their son.
"I am very disappointed with the manner the school handled the matter. The principal was dishonest with us, he tried to prevent us from coming and see what has happened," the boy’s mother said.
The two families said they intended to have their children transferred to another school.
Eastern Cape police spokesperson Captain Khaya Thonjeni confirmed that a case had been opened with the police. He said six suspects aged between 20 and 35 years were arrested while three other suspects were still at large.
He said the school principal and the boarding school master were also under investigation. Thonjeni said the police received information that the principal had misinformed parents that it was a minor incident, while one of the boys was kept at his B&B.
The Department of Education said they were aware of the incident and had launched an investigation.
Cape Town – Shoddy construction of government-subsidised houses in the province could delay projects indefinitely, adding to the housing crisis.
Already construction on one housing project in The Conifers, Blue Downs, was halted after residents alerted the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) to several defects in the construction of the infill houses.
The government is using smaller construction companies after larger companies lost their appetite for the government housing programme. Because of this the NHBRC has been mandated to crack down on inferior housing developments in the country.
On Tuesday the NHBRC’s registration committee was out in full force inspecting several building sites. Also monitoring work was a committee from the City of Cape Town and provincial government officials.
“This was an opportunity to show the council members what we are doing; the council oversees the work that we do,” said NHBRC chief executive Mziwonke Dlabantu.
The council committee visited two subsidised in Fisantekraal, Durbanville, and in Forest Village, Eerste Rivier, that are being developed by the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape department of human settlements.
The first site visited by the NHBRC was the Greenville Housing Project by Garden Cities, a City-owned project. The development is expected to eventually accommodate over 16 000 homes, schools, community facilities, public spaces and transport infrastructure. The second site was the R1.1 billion Forest Village Housing Project, in the Eerste Rivier area, in which 4 820 units will be built.
“Of course there will be one or two things that have to be rectified but the NHBRC has the ability to make sure that things are rectified. The projects that we have seen are very different because the challenge of housing in the country is very big, especially in the Western Cape,” said Dlabantu.
According to the NHBRC, in the 2016/2017 and 2018/2019 financial years the council has suspended 482 home builders and prosecuted 1 482 home builders for various contraventions including shoddy workmanship, failure to enrol new homes and contravening the code of conduct for home builders.
The Council had also deregistered 17 contractors and builders from its database of approved home builders following the outcome of the disciplinary hearing processes.
According to the NHBRC, it had has also opened 357 criminal cases against home builders.
The NHBRC was working closely with the National Prosecuting Authority and police in order to ensure that all the criminal cases opened were prosecuted.
“The NHBRC will continue to ensure that building standards are upheld and consumers are protected from poorly constructed buildings through its stringent requirements and regular inspections of all NHBRC-registered home building projects,” said Dlabantu.
He said that the number of projects stopped in the Western Cape that were non-compliant changed frequently.
The most recent development that made headlines after construction was halted by the NHBRC was a FLISP housing project in Conifers, Blue Downs. Over 30 non-compliance notices against the home builder were issued by the NHBRC.
“We don’t necessarily just stop a project; only when there are units that need to be built, that is the project we stop,” he said.
Provincial Human Settlements spokesperson Muneera Allie said: “All human settlements projects are required to meet specific standards as set out by the National department.
“All developments can only proceed for handover once they meet the necessary compliance standards. Should any development not be compliant, issues are attended to to ensure compliance before handover.”
On Conifers, Allie said the development had not started again after being stopped by the NHBRC.
“The department is in the process of investigating and consulting with stakeholders to attend to challenges. Construction will re-commence as soon as all issues have been attended to,” she said.
DURBAN – According to the most recent ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey, South African employers report cautious hiring plans for the third quarter of 2019.
With 8 percent of employers anticipating an increase in payrolls, 6 percent forecasting a decrease and 85 percent expecting no change, the resulting Net Employment Outlook is +2 percent. Once the data is adjusted to allow for seasonal variation, the outlook stands at +4 percent.
Hiring prospects remain relatively stable when compared with the previous quarter, but decline by 2 percentage points in comparison with this time one year ago.
Lyndy van den Barselaar, managing director of ManpowerGroup SA, provides insights into why South African employers are reporting cautious hiring intentions for the July to September time frame.
She said: "The trend of businesses remaining cautious around hiring activity continues into the third quarter of the year, with a large majority of respondents planning no changes to their hiring strategies and plans. The recently reported increased unemployment rate and turbulent economic environment further cement this sentiment, and will more than likely mean the trend is set to continue for the medium-term".
Employers in three of the five regions expect to add to payrolls during the next three months. The strongest hiring prospects are reported in Gauteng and Western Cape, with Net Employment Outlooks standing at +7 percent, while
KwaZulu-Natal employers report an Outlook of +5 percent. Meanwhile, Free State employers forecast flat hiring activity, reporting an Outlook of 0 percent, and the Outlook of -1 percent in Eastern Cape reflects uncertain hiring intentions.
"The results of the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey for the third quarter of the year sees the continuation of the trend seen in the results from the second quarter, with Gauteng and the Western Cape remaining on top in terms of expected job creation provincially. These provinces continue to act as economic hubs for the country, which allows for the creation of employment opportunities across their main contributing sectors," explained van den Barselaar.
When compared with the second quarter of 2019, Free State employers report a moderate decline of 6 percentage points. Elsewhere, the Outlook for Kwazulu Natal remains relatively stable and hiring prospects are unchanged in Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Western Cape.
In a comparison with this time one year ago, hiring plans weaken in three of the five regions. Free State employers report a considerable decrease of 9 percentage points, while Outlooks are 7 and 6 percentage points weaker in Eastern Cape and Kwazulu Natal, respectively. However, Outlooks strengthen by 4 percentage points in both Gauteng and Western Cape for the same period.
Payroll gains are forecast for nine of the 10 industry sectors during the coming quarter. Finance, Insurance, Real Estate & Business Services sector employers report the strongest hiring intentions with a Net Employment Outlook of +11 percent, while Restaurants & Hotels sector employers report a cautiously optimistic Outlook of +10 percent.
Some hiring opportunities are forecast for two sectors with Outlooks of +7 percent in the Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry & Fishing sector and the Public & Social sector, while Outlooks of +4 percent are reported in both the Mining & Quarrying sector and the Transport, Storage & Communications sector.
"Besides the recent increase in employment reported around the local financial sector, other research by PwC recently reported that there has been a more positive response to digital transformation in South Africa’s insurance sector, with more businesses within the sector looking to add new value for their clients through technological innovation. This reflects our insights on the market and could be a contributing factor to creating employment in the sector, as the addition of new products, services and technologies often translates to the acquisition of the necessary skills to ensure these are implemented successfully," explained van den Barselaar.
When compared with the previous quarter, hiring plans weaken in five of the 10 industry sectors. The most notable declines of by 9 percentage points are reported in both the Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry & Fishing sector and the Construction sector.
Hiring intentions also weaken in five of the 10 industry sectors when compared with this time one year ago. A considerable decline of 16 percentage points is reported by Transport, Storage & Communications sector employers, and Outlooks are 9 and 4 percentage points weaker for the Electricity, Gas & Water sector and the Construction sector, respectively.
However, stronger hiring plans are reported in four sectors, including the Restaurants & Hotels sector, with an improvement of 4 percentage points, and two sectors where employers report increases of 3 percentage points in the Finance, Insurance, Real Estate & Business Services sector and the Public & Social sector.
Participating employers are categorised into one of four organisation sizes: Micro businesses have less than 10 employees; Small businesses have 10-49 employees; Medium businesses have 50-249 employees; and Large businesses have 250 or more employees.
Employers expect payroll gains in three of the four organisation size categories during the coming quarter. Large employers report healthy hiring plans with a Net Employment Outlook of +24 percent. Elsewhere, Medium employers forecast a slight increase in staffing levels, reporting an Outlook of +6 percent, while the Outlook for Micro employers is +1 percent. However, Small employers expect to trim payrolls, reporting an Outlook of -4 percent.
Hiring intentions are 9 percentage points weaker for Small firms when compared with the previous quarter, but improve by 4 percentage points in the Medium size category. Meanwhile, Large employers report relatively stable hiring plans and the Outlook for Micro employers is unchanged.
In a year-over-year comparison, large employers report an improvement of 7 percentage points, but the Small employer Outlook declines by 7 percentage points. In both the Micro- and Medium-size categories, hiring prospects remain relatively stable.
Globally, the ManpowerGroup research for the third quarter of 2019 reveals employers expect workforce gains in 43 of 44 countries and territories surveyed in the period up to the end of September.
Organisers of the Cape Town Marathon which takes place on September 15 have called on members of the public and athletes to support the race.
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KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu has called on law enforcement authorities to investigate the circumstances that led to the killing of a teacher at the Masuku Primary in Folweni, south of Durban on Tuesday.
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Instagram will refrain from taking down an ultra-realistic “deepfake video” posted Tuesday of Facebook’s CEO bragging about controlling billions of people’s “stolen” personal data.
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Cape Town – Transport and Public Works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela has instructed officials from his department to meet with the leadership of the South African National Taxi Association to bring calm to the Blackheath area after a local taxi association leader and another man were shot dead there within minutes of each other.
Patrick Consani, 49, chairperson of Blackheath-Malibu Taxi Association, was shot and killed in front of his house at 6.04am on Tuesday, and a 24-year-old man was shot and killed in his car in Butskopp Road, opposite the petrol filling station, at 6.13am.
Police spokesperson FC Van Wyk said two murder cases had been registered for investigation.
“The motive for both shootings is currently unknown,” Van Wyk said.
A family member of Consani, who did not want to be named, said she was also in the taxi industry and feared for her life.
“I don’t know what will happen to me and my family. We live in fear,” she said.
Madikizela said the Blackheath-Malibu area had been plagued with route invasions by illegal operators in the past, which has caused flare-ups of violence and sporadic clashes between taxi associations and operators.
He appealed to the police to fast-track the investigation and bring the shooters to book.
“We will not tolerate illegal operations and route invasions and will work closely with the police and other law enforcement authorities to rid the minibus taxi industry of the criminals behind these callous acts.
“My department and I are encouraged by the recent arrests of suspected hit men behind taxi-related killings by the police’s integrated taxi task team,” Madikizela said.
“We hope that these apprehensions will lead to the arrest and conviction of those unscrupulous leaders who have masterminded and paid for these heinous crimes.”
Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said one of the biggest causes of such deaths was a spate in available guns with 171 of the murders being by gunshot.
He said the Western Cape Government remained committed to working with various stakeholders, including neighbourhood watches, Community Police Forums and other structures to build safer communities.
51% of South Africans don’t trust the news.
This disturbing statistic is contained in a report probing how news is consumed worldwide.
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PRETORIA – The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) raised concerns about healthcare facilities across Gauteng after touring the Mamelodi Hospital which has been in the headlines for poor service.
"There is a need to address issues concerning critical staff shortages because that has far-reaching consequences. Staff shortages translate to bad staff attitudes, high incidents of absenteeism, healthcare workers being overburdened and low staff morale," the SAHRC’s provincial manager Buang Jones said speaking to journalists at the hospital.
Jones said the SAHRC was also taken to the exact site where 76-year-old Martha Marais was tied to a hospital steel bench — an incident which was recorded on video and caused outrage on social media and protests at the hospital.
"The Commission has taken instructions from her [Marais] to secure appropriate redress," said Jones.
He said the SAHRC has observed that there were several challenges at the hospital which limited the provision of quality service to patients.
"We have observed that in the casualty unit they don’t have proper ventilation. There’s is also a shortage of beds. That is something that is concerning. All this points to the state of health [provision] in Gauteng. It is compromised due to some of these factors. We hope that the sixth administration of the Gauteng provincial government will prioritize healthcare and refurbishing of healthcare facilities – some of which are in shambles," said Jones.
"We have also noted that at this hospital they don’t have a full-time CEO. That is also a concern because you need stability at the top to ensure that we have a functioning healthcare facility. Those are my preliminary views and assessment of the situation at this hospital."
He said the Mamelodi Hospital staff were "very cooperative" during the SAHRC site inspection.
Mamelodi Hospital’s quality assurance manager Maesela Phogole said the Marais incident, and the general complaints about poor service at the hospital were regrettable.
"At the end of the day, we are here to render quality care to our patients. It’s one of the ministerial priorities to ensure that access [to healthcare] is gotten from our institutions. We will continue monitoring what is happening at the hospital," said Phogole.
Interacting with the SAHRC, some nurses at the busy hospital also highlighted the overcrowding which they said was a huge problem.
The South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) 2019 Elections coverage has received a thumbs-up from the Media Monitoring Africa’s (MMA) Final Elections Report.
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Ethiopia’s economy is expected to grow at 9% in 2019/2020 financial year according to Finance Minister Ahmed Shide, more than 1.5% higher than the International Monetary Fund’s growth projection of 7.7%.
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