Weekly news wrap

2016-07-06 06:00
PHOTO: Ian Carbutt Protesters gather near the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday. They are opposed to bail being granted to a school guidance counsellor charged with the rape of pupils.

PHOTO: Ian Carbutt Protesters gather near the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday. They are opposed to bail being granted to a school guidance counsellor charged with the rape of pupils.

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Guidance counsellor applies for bail

A FORMER school guidance counsellor charged with rape and sexual abuse of four primary school pupils applied for bail on Monday. The man currently faces two charges of rape and two of sexual assault, the fourth count of sexual assault involving a 10-year-old boy was only added to the charge sheet. While protesters outside the courthouse and the alleged victims’ relatives and friends made no secret of their strong opposition to the man’s release on bail, the counsellor’s lawyer, Siva Chetty, described him as a “destroyed man” by virtue of the as yet untested charges, and said he is entitled to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. The counsellor said in an affidavit he had excelled both academically and as a sportsman, and that he vehemently denies the allegations against him, which he regards as “malicious and fabricated”. He is a qualified teacher who graduated from UKZN and has a Master’s degree in psychology. He was a youth leader at a church, and is a well-known member of the cycling fraternity who also coaches mountain bike and track racing. State prosecutor Thandeka Mkhize told the court that the state has a strong case against the man, based on statements by the victims to police in which they named the counsellor as their abuser, and psychologists’ reports and medical evidence that supports the rape allegations. Magistrate M. Boikhutso will give a ruling on bail on 18 July.

Shadow over Msunduzi’s clean audit award

AFTER receiving an award for Msunduzi Municipality’s recent clean audit, the City management’s celebration was short-lived. The Department for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) handed a trophy to the municipality following their recent clean audit at the full council meeting yesterday. The trophy was handed over to Msunduzi Mayor Chris Ndlela by acting municipal manager Sizwe Hadebe, who said council should be proud of their achievement. However, DA councillor Bill Lambert said councillors should remember that “we are giving ourselves a pat on the back when there is so much bad going on”. “We have a suspended municipal manager, a new municipal manager who is suspect, investigations into Boniwe Zulu and Dr Ray Ngcobo and a suspended head of the internal audit,” Lambert said. Although ANC councillor Jabu Ngubo thanked “the person that was municipal manager at that time” and relayed her gratitude to the municipality’s finance team. “We just want clean audits one after the other,” she said.

Winter school pupils scammed

OVER 150 pupils from across the province, who expected to revise their school curriculum through a private winter school programme in Pietermaritzburg, were left stranded last Wednesday when a man responsible for the programme disappeared with their money. Pupils paid R800 each upfront, which was meant to cover tutors, food and accommodation. It was discovered that the man was known at a Durban university; however, he had not received permission from the university nor the SRC to operate the programme in their name. He apparently sent out a message about the winter programme throughout most of KZN, introducing it to principals and parents. The man instructed the confused pupils to move their belongings out of the property in Alexandra Road he was supposed to have rented for them, which is used by University of KwaZulu-Natal students during term time. Several outraged parents, who arrived at the venue, found the stranded children with their luggage outside the property. KZN Education Department spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa urged parents to check with the department when taking their children to private winter schools. “The department has winter schools programmes, which are currently operating for which pupils are not charged,” Mlotshwa said. Police spokesperson Mthokozise Ngobese said the police were aware of the incident but no one has come forward to

Midlands Mall road rage, accused granted bail

SHAKILE Saktu (31), who was sentenced to imprisonment last week for knocking down another motorist following an argument over parking at Liberty Midlands Mall, was granted bail on Monday pending his application for leave to appeal. Magistrate Bhekizitha Phoswa will consider Saktu’s application for leave to appeal against both his attempted murder conviction and sentence on 8 September. However, pending the outcome of the matter he agreed yesterday to grant Saktu bail of R3 000. Last week Saktu was sentenced to undergo seven years’ imprisonment after Phoswa found he had deliberately knocked down Luchelle Joubert with his car at the mall after the two were involved in an argument over parking. Joubert was knocked unconscious by the impact and Saktu did not stop to check his condition, but sped off. Saktu had said in his initial statement to court that he only wanted to “scare” Joubert. But when he testified he claimed to have acted in self-defence, said Phoswa. Saktu testified he “panicked” after hearing Joubert’s relatives say something about “getting a gun”. He swerved to avoid another vehicle and tried to go past Joubert, but struck him. He did not stop after the collision, but drove away and left the mall.

Phoswa said the facts revealed this was a “road rage” incident. The men were involved in a verbal altercation over a parking space that “turned violent”.

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