Heavy storm wrecks havoc in Durban

JOHANNESBURG – Durban residents have been urged to stay indoors as winds of up to 70 kilometres an hour lashed Kwazulu-Natal on Tuesday.

Severe flooding had occurred in Amanzimtoti and on the N2 between Amanzimtoti and M7 Bluff, with some vehicles under water, ER24 said.

ER24 paramedics had responded after containers fell from a truck onto a vehicle in Bayhead, a family was trapped in their flooded home in Barlew Mews, an ambulance overturned leaving two medical crew injured along the N2 in Umgababa, and two taxis collided in Magabeni.

Local authorities warned residents to avoid driving or going out in the storm.

All roads in the southern parts of Durban have been closed.



The disaster management call centre was dealing with high call volumes and urges residents to use the number only in emergencies.








Joburg hit by severe storm

Twitterdbd8e32Johannesburg – The severe weather conditions that hit Gauteng on Monday afternoon have left one person dead and four more injured, paramedics confirmed.

The thunderstorms hit numerous parts of the province, upending roofs, damaging malls and resulting in a fire at a substation in Ekurhuleni.

Netcare paramedics confirmed that the severe storms had left one person dead and two others injured in the West Rand.

“We can confirm that paramedics attended to a scene on Hillside road in Krugersdorp where a structure collapsed.



“Paramedics attended to three people on the scene and found that one person had died.”

The remaining patients were then taken to the nearest hospital for further treatment.

Twitter198d3c4ER24 meanwhile, said two people were left injured after a ceiling collapsed in a shop at a mall in the Krugersdorp area.

READ MORE: WATCH: Thunderstorms cause devastation in Gauteng

“ER24 paramedics, along with Life Healthcare and other services, arrived on the scene where they found that some of the external structure of the mall had collapsed. Once inside the shops, paramedics found that some of the ceiling had collapsed on the patrons,” spokesperson Russel Meiring said.

“Two people were assessed by paramedics and found to have sustained minor to moderate injuries. Fortunately, no serious or fatal injuries were found on the scene.”

Meiring confirmed that the area was then evacuated while the injured patients were transported to a nearby hospital for further treatment.

In Ekurhuleni meanwhile, severe weather conditions resulted in an electrical substation catching, Ekurhuleni Disaster Emergency Management Services (DEMS) confirmed.

“We can confirm that an electrical substation caught fire in Boksburg, Jet Park. This might be as a result of the severe weather conditions we experienced earlier on,” spokesperson William Ntladi said.

No casualties have been reported.

Ntladi added that resources had been dispatched to the affected area, adding that firefighters were currently busy with putting out the fire.

Another area affected by the earlier storm was the Gillooly’s Interchange, which had to be closed due to flooding.

“There was flooding at the interchange, our emergency services were on-site and had to stop all vehicles and open up only one lane to allow traffic to flow.

“Right now, however, as we speak everything has subsided and all three lanes have since been reopened. Traffic is flowing.”

Monday’s severe weather caused extensive damage across the province, with damage reported in Sandton, Diepsloot and Alexandra.

Zimbabweans Arrested after Hyde Park Mall Robbery

Gauteng police have arrested five Zimbabwean nationals in connection with a robbery at the Hyde Park Corner mall this week.
The robbery occured when Zimbabwe Olymplic champion Kirsty Coventry was having coffee at the mall on Thursday morning.She tweeted about this just after the incident.

Six suspects allegedly robbed a boutique store on Thursday morning, fleeing with watches believed to be worth tens of thousands of rands.

Provincial Police Commissioner Deliwe De Lange says the suspects have already been linked to other mall robberies.

“They have already confessed to three mall robberies,” says De Lange.

The suspects are set to appear in court this week.

Cape Town soldiers robbed at Army base

Cape Town – Six rifles have been stolen and soldiers held up during a robbery at a military base in Harare, Khayelitsha, early on Friday.

News24 understands that five armed suspects stormed the 9 South African Infantry Battalion Base, overpowering guards at the gate and stealing their R4 rifles and ammunition.

The robbers forced the guards inside the base and overpowered five more soldiers in the armoury guard room.

It is understood the robbers forced the soldiers to open a safe.

A total of six rifles were stolen during the robbery.

SA National Defence Force spokesperson Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi confirmed the robbery, saying no further details were available as officials were still at the scene.

Police could not be immediately reached for comment.

In August last year a group stole military equipment, assault rifles and hand grenades from the Simon’s Town Naval Base.

They were arrested.

One of the three taken into custody, Duncan Gouvias, was earlier in 2017 handed an effective 43 year jail sentence.

We are members of the ANC in a party political system,we will not vote against the ANC-General Secretary Gwede Mantashe

Johannesburg – The African National Congress has warned that party MPs risk being fired if they vote with the opposition in a motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma in Parliament.

“There is no ANC member who will vote for an opposition motion, that will be uncharacteristic of the ANC,” secretary general Gwede Mantashe said.

The warning comes amid claims by opposition party leaders that ANC members had contacted them, claiming that they would support the Democratic Alliance motion for a vote of no confidence in Zuma.

Opposition parties have dared ANC leaders dissatisfied with Zuma to vote with their conscience, instead of toeing the party line.

Several senior leaders – including chief whip Jackson Mthembu, former tourism minister Derek Hanekom, and health minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi – have called on Zuma to go.

READ: It’s final: the ANC won’t save SA from Zuma

The SACP – which has several MP’s in Parliament, including Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande – also called for Zuma to step down. This has been supported by other alliance member Cosatu.

Mantashe said there was no notion of voting with conscience in the ANC.

“Why do you think the ANC is, Father Christmas? I don’t know where this notion comes from that we are a collection of individuals who have conscience. We are members of ANC in a party political system.”

“No army in the world allows soldiers to be commanded by enemy general,” Mantashe said.

Zuma’s reasons accepted

He said the DA itself had fired its own councillors who did not follow the party line in a council vote.

Mantashe was addressing the media on Wednesday at party headquarters Luthuli House, in Johannesburg, following the party’s extended national working committee meeting on Tuesday.

“If you say we will recall Zuma because opposition say that, it won’t work,” Mantashe said.

He said the party had accepted Zuma’s reasons for firing Pravin Gordhan, and that it was a mistake for party officials to differ in public over the Cabinet reshuffle last week.

Mantashe, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and treasurer general Zweli Mkhize had publicly criticised Zuma’s decision to reshuffle his Cabinet, saying they had not been consulted.

The trio said the list was written “elsewhere”.

Mantashe told the media that Zuma had informed them in November 2016 that he was planning to fire Gordhan, but they persuaded him to wait.

Consulted on Gordhan axing

He said Zuma had only consulted them on replacing Gordhan, but not on the rest of the changes in his executive. Zuma appointed former home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba in Gordhan’s place.

The SACP revealed that during a bilateral meeting, Zuma told them he wanted to replace Gordhan with newly sworn in MP and former Eskom boss Brian Molefe, which they rejected.

“The list was given to us, we didn’t discuss it, we don’t know where it was compiled, we didn’t discuss it, hence we raised the issue of not being consulted,” Mantashe said.

He said the party accepted that Zuma’s relationship with Gordhan breaking down was sufficient reason for firing him. Mantashe said it “made sense”, but added that speculation over Gordhan’s axing was complicated by the much condemned “intelligence report” that suggested Gordhan was holding secret meetings during his overseas investor road show to undermine Zuma.

Mantashe would, however, not give reasons for the “irretrievable relationship” between the two and compared it to a couple getting divorced. He said there were “tensions that made it difficult for the president and minister to work together”.

South Africa helicopter pilot who crushed and buried wreckage in Gwanda gets bail



The legal representative for a South African business tycoon, who concealed the wreckage of his crashed helicopter in Gwanda last year, has successfully applied for the relaxation of his client’s bail conditions.

Frederick Lutzkie was slapped with an effective 42 months imprisonment for concealing the wreckage of his helicopter that crashed in Gwanda on May 5 2014. The South African business mogul was charged for breaching various regulations of the country’s air space and immigration statutes.

However, Harare provincial magistrate Douglas Chikwekwe later granted Lutzie $2 000 bail, pending appeal against sentence at the High court. He was also ordered to surrender his passport with the clerk of court as part of his bail conditions.

Advocate Thabani Mpofu filed the application on Wednesday to enable Lutzkie have access to his passport until February 20 this year so that he travels to South Africa for a medical check up. The application that was not contested by the state was subsequently granted by magistrate Milton Serima.

The magistrate ordered Lutzkie to surrender back the passport with the clerk of court by February 20.

Circumstances of the matter were that Lutzkie came into the country without any clearance from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz) and also evaded the immigration authorities.

He flew his Hughes MD 500 helicopter registration ZS-RXZ to a lodge in Doddieburn Ranch in West Nicholson without clearance from Caaz.

While flying back to South Africa, his helicopter developed a mechanical fault and subsequently crashed four kilometres from the lodge, westwards of the Ranch.

The helicopter sustained damages due to the mishap, but Lutzkie escaped with minor injuries.

He then dug a 3,5 metre-deep pit using an excavator at the scene of crash before burying the wreckage to avoid detection.

The matter, however, later came to light leading to his arres