Weekly news wrap

2016-07-20 06:00
PHOTO: supplied Firefighters battle a blaze at a factory on Birmingham Road on Saturday night

PHOTO: supplied Firefighters battle a blaze at a factory on Birmingham Road on Saturday night

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Counsellor denied bail

THE parents of children who say they were abused by their former school guidance counsellor, and their supporters, were relieved yesterday when the 32-year-old man was denied bail. Magistrate M. Boikhutso said she found nothing exceptional in the counsellor’s evidence supporting his bail application. She said he had no previous convictions or pending cases and was reportedly very involved in the community, professionally and in sport.

He is single, and has family in KZN, but is renting property and does not own any assets. She therefore regarded him as a flight risk. She noted that two more charges of sexual assault were added to the charge sheet after he first appeared in court. Boikhutso said it was also important to note that the alleged offences happened on school premises.

Although the counsellor no longer works there, he apparently still enjoys support from his fellow teachers, she said. She found it was possible that the counsellor could tamper with evidence or influence witnesses if given bail. The man faces two counts of rape and two of sexual assault of boys aged between seven and 10. The state alleged in the hearing that the counsellor targeted dysfunctional children or those with learning difficulties who were referred to him for counselling.

Crackdown on illegal shebeens

POLICE searched customers at an illegal shebeen in the Haniville informal settlement at the weekend. One man was found in possession of an axe when police burst through the front door. The two-day operation was held to infiltrate and shut down illegal liquor outlets in the Copesville area that many criminals frequent.

ANCYL demands investigation into alleged Northdale Hospital racism

THE ANC Youth League in the Moses Mabhida region has demanded an independent investigation to probe racism allegations at Northdale Hospital. About 100 youth league members picketed at the hospital and handed over a memorandum. Provincial secretary Thanduxolo Sabelo said the hospital “remains the most untransformed” in the province.

Sabelo said black patients were subjected to long queues at the hospital while other races were allowed to cut them. Health department spokesperson Sam Mkhwanazi accepted the memorandum, which he said would be handed to the department head to look at. The hospital was given a month to respond or face more pickets and mass action.

Citywide prayer meeting

VARIOUS political and religious leaders got together at the city hall on Saturday morning to pray for the city following the violence the area has seen in the build-up to local government elections on 3 August. The religious leaders also expressed concern about the drought, which has left areas around the city without water for weeks.

Man killed by relative

AN argument over a geyser that was left on may have sparked the murder of 20-year-old Kuthula Mhlana, allegedly by a relative at their Allandale home at the weekend. The high-school pupil was allegedly stabbed four times in the chest, neck and stomach by a relative. According to Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Captain Gay Ebrahim, the incident stemmed from an argument between the two relatives. Numerous police sources allege an argument broke out between Mhlana and his relative over why the geyser in the house was not switched off. The relative allegedly flew into a rage and stabbed Mhlana to death. Police have recovered the knife as well as the relative’s bloodied clothes.

One-shoe thief

ENTERPRISING thieves in Pietermaritzburg are leaving their customers hopping on one foot in a sneaky scam involving high-end shoes. The modus operandi is to snatch single shoes off the retailer’s display shelves and sell them to the public for a quick buck. The sale is made under the pretext that the money paid for the single shoe acts as a deposit, and the criminal will return with the shoe’s left-legged partner, after which the remainder of the full amount can be paid.
However, having paid the money, the victim is left waiting with a single shoe, usually the right foot. QuickServ Shoes assistant manager Alvin Jerrier said their Church Street store had been struck 10 times in the past two months. HHilton College pupil dies in motorbike accident

KYLE Knoop (17), a Hilton College Grade 11 pupil died after falling off his motorbike on Saturday in Cedara. Reports from the scene indicate that he was riding through a forest when he collided with another biker and fell. Netcare911 paramedics stabilised the critically injured boy at the scene before transporting him to a nearby hospital. However, he later succumbed to his injuries.

Accidents on Saturday night

A WOMAN believed to be in her thirties sustained a serious fracture to her leg when two vehicles collided head-on on Murray Road. At about 10pm paramedics arrived on scene where they found the woman still trapped in her vehicle. The fire department had to use the jaws of life to free her from the wreckage. Once freed, she was stabilised and transported to Northdale Hospital. A family of four people in the second vehicle were assessed. They sustained no injuries and declined further care on scene.

SEVEN people were injured when a light-duty vehicle crashed down an embankment near the Dusi Bridge. Shortly after 10pm paramedics from ER24 arrived at the scene along a dirt road where they found the patients and members of the community. It is understood that the vehicle crashed several metres down the embankment. The community helped the occupants back up the embankment prior to paramedics’ arrival. Four men and three women were treated for injuries ranging from severe lacerations to multiple fractures.

A PEDESTRIAN was killed on the N3 south near the Church Street off-ramp. At approximately 6pm paramedics found the lifeless body of the pedestrian lying in the centre median. Some of his colleagues were standing around him at the time. He was declared dead on the scene. It is understood from the bystanders that they were on their way home and crossed the highway from the northbound side when the collision occurred. They were all traumatised - the vehicle driver was also in shock, but did not sustain any injuries.

A MAN was injured when his truck crashed through cement barriers along the N3 south near Townhill. At 9.15pm paramedics found a towing service indicating that the truck was lying down the embankment. The truck was not visible from the highway. Several residents in the area called emergency services after they heard a loud crash. Emergency services patrolled the route and found the break in the barrier where the truck had crashed through. Paramedics from ER24 assembled a rope system and abseiled down to the truck. Upon assessment they found that the driver was not inside of the truck. When they called out they could hear his cries for help. He was ejected from the truck and found about 10 metres below the wreckage. Local fire and rescue services assembled a hoist system to hoist the patient back up to the highway. After an hour the patient was brought to safety and fully assessed. He was treated for multiple lacerations and possible rib fractures and later transported to Northdale Hospital.

Fire guts Europa Foam factory

FIREFIGHTERS mobilised in full force to battle an inferno that engulfed a Pietermaritzburg factory in the Panorama industrial area at the weekend. The Europa Foam factory in Birmingham Road was left gutted after the blaze, with more than 80% of the structure torn apart by the flames. Investigators were still establishing the cause of the blaze. Deputy chief fire officer Jagathesan Padayachee said all units rushed to the distress call just before 1am on Saturday and found four different sectors of the factory alight. Padayachee said it took firefighters almost two hours to get the situation under control.

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