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CAPE TIMES

NEWS

FRIDAY, JULY 17, 2009

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Rescuers still struggling to find missing mother, daughter after car swept away DEIDRE CRAWFORD RESCUE workers in Bonnievale are still struggling to find two missing family members whose car was swept away in the surging Breede River early on Wednesday morning. Metro Police, the SA Police Service and Overberg Fire and Rescue workers are using jetskis and speedboats to scour the waters for any sign of the missing mother and daughter and their car, said Inspector Lizl Viljoen of the Bonnievale

Another blow for Paarl Print employees STAFF WRITER MORE than 170 employees of fire-devastated Paarl Print are to be retrenched from today, says Nelia Burger, its public relations manager. When a blaze killed 13 people and injured several others on April 17 Paarl Print employed 366 people. “Plans to restructure had been in the pipeline before the fire,” Burger said. Initially, 65 to 70 people were meant to be retrenched in the original restructuring plan, but it has since sky-rocketed to 172. None of the existing equipment at the burnt-out site could be salvaged as it had been destroyed. This made it necessary to acquire new machinery with fewer people needed to operate it. Those remaining employed would receive full pay (inclusive of benefits) while rebuilding took place. Franklin Blankenberg of the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers’ Union said it tried its “utmost” to save more jobs. It requested Paarl Print to pay the retrenched employees until the investigation into the cause of the fire had been completed. Paarl Print said it could not due to financial constraints. lyndon.khan@inl.co.za

police. The body of a teenager has been found and three other family members survived. Police divers are on the scene, but cannot safely explore the river until the water subsides, she said. Rescuers cannot say how long they will continue to search. High river levels carried away the six relatives who were attempting to drive across the Drew Bridge about 1.30am on Wednesday while travelling from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town. The body of 16-year-old

Adrian Ruyters was found by rescuers on Wednesday, but they have not been able to locate Desiree Kannemeyer, 35, and her five-year-old daughter, Denel, or the white BMW in which they were travelling. Three of the family members managed to survive by swimming through the car’s open windows after it became submerged, said principal medical Officer D Perold, who treated the victims at Robertson Hospital. “They were amazed that the electric windows were working

under water and they were able to escape,” he said. The driver, Owen Prins, 19, Diane Ruyters, 35, and her daughter, Gaviano Ruyters, 3, were all treated for shock and extreme hypothermia at the hospital after spending between four and five hours in the water. They were discharged on Wednesday afternoon after their body temperatures had been stabilised and they had been counselled by nursing staff. Rescuers and family mem-

bers hope that a sustained break from the wet weather will aid the rescue efforts, Viljoen said. Relief staff across the Western Cape are thankful for recent dry weather. Ghairunisa JohnstoneAdams, director of the Mustadafin Foundation, said yesterday’s sunny weather had helped dry out areas around the Cape and it would most probably be the centre’s last day of working with the city’s Disaster Risk Management Centre to aid flood victims. The

centre helped 13 500 victims throughout the area with food, blankets and clothing during the most recent winter storm, and would continue to work with impoverished communities outside disaster management areas, Johnstone-Adams said. Residents had made an appeal for more warm clothing and plastic sheeting. Lucinda Seigels, of Stellenbosch’s Disaster Management Centre, also made an appeal for clothing and non-perishable foods, stating that the centre

had plenty of volunteers, but not enough dry clothing. NGOs working with Cape Town’s Disaster Risk Management Centre team had provided more than 35 000 people with meals in 80 informal settlements, and the last meals would be provided today, said Mandy Thomas, assistant disaster risk management officer for the city’s Disaster Risk Management Centre, yesterday. The SA Weather Service has predicted clear skies and sunny weather through to Tuesday. deidre.crawford@inl.co.za

‘THEY WILL PUT UP FENCES’

Iconic Sentinel might be expropriated by SANParks STAFF WRITER SA National Parks (SANParks) may expropriate the Sentinel, a Hout Bay icon it believes should form part of the Table Mountain National Park. It will also “strongly oppose” any move to build new access roads across its land to reach the Sentinel, which is surrounded on all sides by the national park. These two factors, and the violent protest on Wednesday by members of the local community opposed to the sale of the Sentinel, are likely to make prospective buyers hesitant about becoming the new owner of the mountain peak. About 300 protesters held a demonstration outside the Chapman’s Peak Hotel on

Wednesday, where the auction of the Sentinel was taking place. When the crowd started throwing stones, police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse them. The auction was called off and no arrests were made. One of the registered bidders, who spoke to the Cape Times on condition of anonymity, said yesterday the auctioneers, the Julius Buchinsky Group, had said the Sentinel owners had refused an offer of R15 million and that bidding would start at R10m. “But there were no bids at all. Then when all the hassle started outside, the whole thing was abandoned,” he said. The Sentinel is owned by G&R Marine Services, which bought the land in 2004 for

OUTCRY: Children at play in Hout Bay’s Hangberg community on the slopes of the Sentinel which is up for sale to private developers, although many oppose it, demanding it be returned to the people for open, public use. Picture: MICHAEL WALKER R468 000. Mike Slayen, of Table Mountain National Park, said registered valuers had put the value of the Sentinel at R500 000. The valuers had taken into consideration the rugged nature of the terrain, not conducive to development, and the rural zoning, which allowed only a single dwelling. “We are exploring all options, including expropria-

tion,” Slayen said. Leno de Villiers, of Julius Buchinsky, said SANParks had not told it that it was considering expropriation. “The SA Revenue Service put the value at R11m, which it did when one of the owners died. The amount SANParks is offering is just unrealistic,” De Villiers said. He said because of the outcry from the pubic, it would

hold a private bid. Hangberg residents fear the new owners will fence off the land and they will no longer have access to it. Zubeida Samuels said yesterday: “It’s not right. That mountain is there for the snakes and animals. Parks must take it. All the years we’ve walked around on that mountain. Now they will put up fences.”

Hilton van Neel, one of the protesters, said: “They will build houses for the rich whites and we won’t be able to afford them and our rates will go up. Since I was a boy I used to play on this mountain.” Isaac James, chairman of the Hout Bay Civic Association, said: “The city council should buy the property and build houses there for us. We want houses.”

Most Capetonians ‘satisfied’ with city’s service delivery

City running smoothly – business survey

ANÉL LEWIS Metro Writer

METRO WRITER

WHILE residents in Khayelitsha, Du Noon and Masiphumelele have resorted to violent protests to demand better basic services, the City of Cape Town believes most residents are satisfied with its service delivery and that conditions in the city have improved. According to a survey by TNS Research Surveys, 54 percent of residents said the city’s performance was good or excellent. The number of residents rating the city as good or excel-

lent increased from 46 to 54 percent since the survey was first done in 2007/08. Mayoral committee member for strategy and planning Marian Nieuwoudt acknowledged at a media briefing yesterday that trust levels in the city council and its ability to provide basic services had dropped in Khayelitsha. She said it was difficult for the city to render services there because of “inherited” problems. The residents “really needed” basic services and did have a reason to be angry. More needed to be done with services such as stormwater

and maintenance, she said. But overall, the provision of services, in particular refuse removal, water and sanitation services, was being handled well, Nieuwoudt said. The survey also showed strong support for the city’s disaster management team, even though results may have differed during the wet months of heavy flooding. “There is room for improvement, especially in maintenance. Winter flooding remains a concern and an area we need to prioritise. Residents would also like to see us taking a stronger line on refuse dump-

ing and neighbourhood noise levels.” Healthcare and housing were identified as critical areas of under-delivery. But local government was not solely responsible for these services. “The city is busy with an upgrade of its rental stock, so there will be an increase (in confidence in this) with the next survey.” She said concerns about housing delivery indicated that this needed urgent attention. Scores for housing dropped from an average of 2.3 (out of five) last year to 2.1 this year. anel.lewis@inl.co.za

BUSINESSES have given the City of Cape Town the thumbs up for service delivery, although most say it needs to step up efforts to reduce corruption. According to an independent satisfaction survey of 500 businesses conducted between November 2008 and January 2009, 77 percent said the council’s performance was good, very good or excellent – an improvement on last year’s 69 percent. Three-quarters said the city had fulfilled its responsibility

to provide municipal services, while 78 percent rated their level of trust in the city council as fairly strong, very strong or extremely strong. Asked about individual services, the scores for water provision, street lighting, road signage and the cleaning of public streets and public toilets near business dropped relative to last year’s survey. Businesses said they were unhappy with the council’s electricity tariffs. However, most gave the city’s sewerage and sanitation services and refuse collection an acceptable average of three

out of five. The city’s ability to provide safe and affordable public transport rated low. As with the community survey, law enforcement services were rated as poor. Confidence in the city’s ability to control illegal street trading and stop corruption showed a “significant decline” since last year. Most businesses indicated that communication with the city council and the mayor was satisfactory. However, the city should shorten queues and waiting times at its offices. The city performed poorly in town planning and enforcing planning and building regulations.

Bitten surfer eager to be back in the water a week after shark attack CRAIG MCKUNE JUST one week after being mauled by a three-and-a-halfmetre shark, Claremont surfer Paul Buckley says he hopes to be back in the water very soon. He also said he was relieved the media furore was dying down. “I’m just grateful I’ve still got my leg and that I’m still alive. I pinch myself every day just to check,” he said. “I’m also grateful that my

new-found celebrity status is coming to an end.” Buckley was attacked by what is believed to be a great white shark at Jongensfontein near Stilbaai on Tuesday last week. Sitting on his board waiting for a wave, he was knocked into the water by the shark, which sank its teeth into his leg. After a short wrestle with the animal, when he grabbed on to its tail in an effort to stay behind it, the shark lost interest and

swam away. Buckley was left with a lacerated thigh and paddled himself back to shore where he was taken to a doctor and then to Bay View Hospital in Mossel Bay by bystanders. Doctors have said he was lucky no chunks were taken from his leg and that no main arteries were severed, but they warned of the threat of bacterial infection. Local CapeNature officer and spear-fisherman Rico Menezies examined the bite

marks left in Buckley’s leg and surfboard and said he believed the shark to have been a great white bigger than 3.5m. Buckley said yesterday he was “coming on very well” and was able to walk, “but with a little bit of a limp while the stitches are still binding”. “I’ll still be able to show the guys in a game of touch rugby and I should be back in the water very soon. I’m an outdoors kind of guy, so this is very important to me.”

He also said he received “phenomenal” treatment at Bay View Hospital. “When I get married and we’re having kids, I’ll take my wife there.” A great white shark researcher at the Save Our Seas Shark Centre, Alison Kock, appealed to people not to villainise sharks because of such attacks. She stressed that great white sharks were unlikely to target humans. “A lot of times they bite things for investigation.”

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GLAD TO BE ALIVE: Paul Buckley is relieved to still be alive after a shark attack. Picture: THEMBA GROOTBOOM

Routine tests for swine flu to end as cases pass 100 mark JOHANNESBURG: South Africa passed the 100 mark for recorded cases of swine flu yesterday, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said. In line with a World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation last week, the institute will stop routine testing of suspected cases, having established that the pandemic has reached South Africa. A shift from cases detected in people with a history of recent global travel to those of where the virus was transmitted inside a community were now expected. “Fortunately, all cases so far had been relatively mild, no different to the regular winter seasonal influenza which is in fact more common in the country at present,” the institute said. “There is therefore little reason to continue with the very resource-intensive practice of testing all suspect cases as, in the great majority of these cases, it offers very little advantage to clinicians managing individual patients.” Clinicians will conduct laboratory testing for the H1N1 virus which causes the illness if warranted, and will continue to chart the behaviour of the virus and monitor any changes in its characteristics. At a briefing earlier this week, the institute said an increase in cases next week may be expected as public schools return for the new term. Most cases have been reported through the private health system and there are no clear indications yet how it is affecting the wider community which relies on public hospitals. Already some private schools, like St Stithians College in Johannesburg, have reported cases. School staff have consulted the health department for advice. Symptoms are similar to the common cold or flu and can be treated in the same way, the institute has said. People with underlying illnesses, such as a chest condition, diabetes or HIV/Aids, may not recover as easily and are advised to see a doctor if their symptoms persist. According to the WHO, the virus is spread in droplets through speaking, sneezing or coughing. It recommends people stand at least a metre away from someone showing flu-like symptoms, avoid touching their nose or mouth, clean hands with soap and water, reduce the time spent in a crowd setting if possible, open windows in their living space and lead a healthy lifestyle. G Former premier Tony Blair’s wife Cherie is suffering from suspected swine flu, her spokesman said yesterday, as Britain’s death toll of people with the virus jumped to 29. Blair, a barrister whose husband left Downing Street two years ago, pulled out of a ceremony at Liverpool Hope University, said its pro-vice-chancellor Bill Chambers. But a spokesman for Mrs Blair told the broadcaster: “She has had to cancel because of a suspected case of swine flu.” The spokesman was not immediately reachable. Neither her husband nor her children have reported symptoms. The former premier’s office declined to comment. – Sapa-AFP

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