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Public transport not safe, say youngsters

HALF OF young South Africans who use public transport feel it is unsafe to do so, according to a survey released yesterday . Fifty percent of youth questioned felt they were not very or not at all safe from attacks or accidents while using public transport. Forty-seven percent felt very or fairly safe. The cellphone survey by Pondering Panda was conducted among 3 573 people aged between 13 and 34. Respondents singled out taxis as the most dangerous form of public transport, with 56 percent saying it had the highest risk. Twenty percent said trains were the most unsafe, while 18 percent said it was buses. Sapa

Kids seeking asylum score court victory

Education authorities ordered to allow them to enrol at SA schools

Natural causes may have caused Maqubela death

ACTING Judge Patrick Maqubela may have died as a result of natural causes in a variety of ways that could not easily be detected, while his death by unnatural causes may also not be ruled out. This was the testimony of Professor Gert Saayman, head of the department of forensic medicine at the University of Pretoria, in the Cape Town High Court yesterday . Saayman, who has been in the medical field for 30 years and has conducted numerous autopsies, was giving his expert opinion on the reports compiled after the death of the acting judge. Judge Maqubela was found dead in his Bantry Bay flat three years ago, on June 7, 2009. The State claims he was suffocated by his wife, Thandi Maqubela, and co-accused Vela Mabena, two days earlier, on Friday , June 5, 2009. The pair are on trial for murder. Thandi Maqubela maintains her husband died of natural causes. She is also accused of forging her husbands signature on his will and fraudulently presenting it at the Joburg office of the master of the high court. Yesterday the case was postponed for three months to accommodate Saayman who will be unavailable for cross-examination until July . Saayman was giving evidence on reports compiled by pathologist Dr Sipho Mfolozi, who conducted the autopsy . He also studied other medical documents by the late acting judges physician, Dr Brett Murray, and medical opinions of other experts. The court cannot exclude natural causes as a cause of death in this instance I am not in a position to exclude unnatural causes, Saayman said. Saayman agreed with Mfolozi that the cause of death could not be determined. I think overall, this is an autopsy that was properly conducted and recorded, he said. Mfolozi had previously testified that suffocation could not be ruled out. Yesterday defence advocate Marius Broeksma asked Saayman to comment on the general health of Judge Maqubela after his physician had given evidence that he had been in good health before his death. Saayman said he could not realistically say that Judge Maqubela was in excellent health. He added that there were significant underlying diseases which were common among males in their late fifties. He said that based on Mfolozis autopsy report, there was significant disease and changes recorded regarding the heart, brain, liver and kidneys. The court had previously heard the late acting judge had suffered from hypertension. His heart was also found to have been enlarged and there was scarring surrounding it. Any enlarged heart is a risk for sudden death, Saayman said. Saayman said that when the cause of death could not be determined during the autopsy , natural diseases had to be considered. There could be a myriad of things, he said. The trial is to resume on July 24.

Napping rapist nabbed

AN EASTERN Cape man has been arrested in connection with rape after falling asleep at the crime scene, police said yesterday . Police found the man, 21, asleep on the floor in the shack of the 50year-old victim, said Captain Jackson Manatha. The victim... locked the suspect in her shack. She went to a nearby tavern where she met her friend and they phoned the police, said Manatha. Police said the suspects trousers were still around his ankles when he was arrested on Sunday . He was due to appear in the Butterworth Magistrates Court. Sapa


AWYERS for Human Rights (LHR) has scored a first-round victory for the rights of eight children seeking asylum in South Africa, but who have been separated from their parents for various reasons. The children aged from six to 16 may now for the first time enter South Africas education system. The Pretoria High Court ordered the education minister and Gauteng MEC for education yesterday to provisionally allow the registration and admission of the eight children in public schools this year. The court also ordered the education minister to review within six months the admission policy for public schools to comply with the constitution, by making provision for child asylum seekers and refugees. The court will at a later stage be asked to review the governments policy regarding all children who are dependants of asylum seekers, but who have been separated from their parents and are now in the care of family members or other carers. The children arrived in the country without any documentation, which means they do not have access to services such as education and medical treatment. LHR will ask the court to declare that all the children be assisted by Home Affairs to obtain documents in terms of the Refugees Act. These documents would make life much easier for them in this country . They would declare that these separated children were dependants of their primary caregivers. As things stand now, schools are fined if they enrol these children, who have no documentation. The court will be asked to interdict the government from issuing fines or punishments against schools that register these undocumented children who are dependants of asylum seekers and refugees. In the case brought to the courts attention yesterday , the eight children hail from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

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Education officials held

SIX OFFICIALS from the Education Departments Modimolle, Limpopo, district office have been arrested after allegedly creating ghost teachers and pocketing the salaries, the Hawks said yesterday . They are alleged to have pocketed more than R330 000 after renewing contracts of six teachers without their knowledge, spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloko said. The six officials were employed in the departments human resources and finance sections. They allegedly received the money between August and April. Sapa

Robbers strike at church

A GROUP of people were robbed at gunpoint in a Soweto church, Gauteng police said yesterday . Six armed men entered while the group was sleeping on Sunday night. The intruders took cellphones, guitars, amps, speakers, and other equipment and loaded the items into a kombi. Police were alerted and patrolling officers responded. The kombi was spotted and one person was arrested. The equipment was recovered. Five others fled. The group was sleeping in the church to safeguard the musical equipment, police said.

In six of the cases the children were orphaned when their parents were killed in the DRC. They fled from that country and were in many cases reunited with relatives here. A six-year-olds mother was killed by Rwandan rebels and she fled to South Africa to be reunited with an aunt. A 14-year-old came to South Africa with her father, but he disappeared during xenophobic attacks and she was left in the care of an uncle. A seven-year-old fled to South Africa with her mother, but was abandoned here and now lives with an aunt. Advocate Ann Skelton, director of the Centre for Child Law, who argued the case on behalf of the eight children, said the application arose out of the need of these children for access to asylum seeker permits to be admitted to the education system. The separated children have their own legitimate asylum claims, but cannot get these processed, as they are minors with no legal guardians. The separated children are not the biological children of their primary caregivers, but in some cases they are related to them. The government, however, does not recognise them as dependants of their carers. They have no legal documentation which provides for their status in South Africa and are thus refused entry to public schools. It was submitted that this violated their basic rights, as enshrined in the constitution. The Department of Education indicated it would abide by any ruling the court gave. Home Affairs indicated it would at a later stage oppose some of the relief asked for, but it has not yet filed any opposing papers.

Thandi Maqubela at the Cape Town High Court yesterday. PICTURE: TRACEY ADAMS

Mpisane set for grilling over fraud counts

BUSINESSWOMAN Shauwn Mpisane, who is charged with 181 counts in three cases, will spend much of her time in the dock this week. While Mpisane only appeared briefly in the Durban Commercial Crime Court yesterday for her fraud and forgery case, she is expected to go on trial in her separate tax fraud matter on Thursday . In yesterdays case she is charged with 53 counts of fraud, forgery and uttering relating to her alleged submission of false documentation to the Construction Industry Development Board, boosting gradings granted to her company Zikhulise Cleaning, Maintenance and Transport cc and resulting in her being granted five contracts, involving more than R140 million, from the Department of Public Works between 2005 and last year. Prosecutor Joanna Bromleyanalysing evidence that is expected to be used at the trial. Meanwhile, Thursday will be the official start of the States case in the tax fraud matter after Durban Regional Court magistrate, Blessing Msani, ruled last year that documents the prosecution wanted to use were admissable. In this matter, Mpisane and her company , Zikhulise Cleaning Maintenance and Transport, are facing 119 counts of fraud involving R4.7m for having allegedly submitted fake invoices and financial returns to the taxman. Mpisane pleaded not guilty to the charges and in her plea statement blamed her former bookkeeper Kishal Reddy now a key State witness for any fraudulent tax submissions. Reddy earlier pleaded guilty to two charges, one of forgery and another of contravening the VAT Act. He was fined R30 000, or six months imprisonment.

Cop in court over graft, fraud, theft

A POLICE captain appeared in the Lebowakgomo Magistrates Court yesterday for alleged corruption, fraud and theft, Limpopo police said. Captain Mavis Maphula Tlooke was granted R500 bail and the matter was postponed to May 24 so that a date could be assigned in the regional court. Tlooke was arrested (last week) after she allegedly promised a police reservist at the Lebowakgomo police station that she will ensure permanent employment for him (in the police), said a spokesman. This was, apparently , despite his not completing the psychometric testing successfully . Tlooke allegedly demanded R10 000 and it was agreed that the reservist constable could make the payment in several instalments. When the reservist constable was not included on the lists of two separate intakes to the police training centre, he contacted police. Sapa


Gans asked for the case to be adjourned to July, because the States handwriting experts are still

Sim card used to trace driver in fatal car crash

POLICE used a sim card to track down the driver of a VW golf who allegedly ignored a stop sign and crashed into another car, killing a mother, her daughter and seriously injuring the husband. This emerged during the bail hearing of 28-year-old Kerwin Malgas, of Wentworth, the motorist accused of the crime and of fleeing the scene on foot. Malgas, who was granted R5 000 bail by Durban magistrate Vanita Armu, is facing two counts of culpable homicide and further charges of negligent driving, driving an unregistered car and failing to stop at the scene of the accident and assist the injured. It also emerged after questioning by the magistrate, that Malgas did not have a driving licence and this charge will now be added. The accident in which Salahia Dawood, 30, and her nine-month-old daughter, Maseehah, died occurred at a four-way intersection in Merebank over the Easter weekend when, it is alleged, the Golf crashed into their car. Husband Junaid Dawood who attended the hearing yesterday was injured in the accident. Testifying in opposition of bail, the investigating officer Warrant Officer William Palmer told Armu that the cars licence plates were false which made it difficult to trace the driver. However, the breakthrough came when Malgas was traced through a sim card found in the Golf by police who attended the scene. Palmer said he was worried about public outcry and possible interference with witnesses should Malgas be released. He told the court that when he interviewed Malgas April 13 after the accident in a flat in Wentworth, he claimed he had lost the sim card two weeks ago and denied being any part of the accident. He arrested him two to three days after the interview. Under cross-examination by defence attorney Shameer Goolabjith, Palmer conceded that soon after he interviewed Malgas, Goolabjith had offered to hand over his client if police requested. He argued that his client was not a flight risk, because police arrested him at the same residence where he had been interviewed by Palmer initially . He did not flee after you interviewed him and even though I told you over the phone that I can hand him over, you arrested him, Goolabjith told Palmer. You are assuming he will flee. There is no basis for your argument. Prosecutor Blackie Swart argued that bail should be denied because Malgas had failed to show remorse to the families because he had fled the scene. Testifying for the State, Rashid Suleman, the president of United Peoples Organisation, said Wentworth residents wanted to march to Malgass home and burn him with tyres. Suleman said Malgas would not be safe if released because there were radicals who could take the law into their hands. Suleman admitted that he knew the whereabouts of Malgas two days after the accident but did not inform the police because it is the polices job.

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