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30 December 2011

SAWDIS Holiday Alert 2011/2012

Durban Beachfront road closures in place

Authorities have warned that restrictions on vehicle access to Durban beachfront are now in place.
Metro police say they are keeping tight control on the number of cars allowed in, as some 40-thousand people are expected to descend on the beach during the New Years weekend.

The Metro police's Eugene Msomi says access routes such as Hospital, Monty Naicker and Pixley ka Seme Streets will have boom gates that will be closed once the area reaches high capacity.

He says only residents with permits will be allowed in after the closures.

"The other thing that we will be also doing is to make sure that people do not bring alcohol to the beachfront. We're having the access control [blockade] down at Blue Lagoon, searching vehicles that are coming in there to make sure that they don't bring alcohol.

There will be some congestion but nothing major. We will have enough members to make sure that people are assisted."

- East Coast Radio

16 Year old boy nearly drowns in Pietermaritzburg

Paramedics in Pietermaritzburg successfully resuscitated a 16 year old boy after he got stuck in a river yesterday afternoon.

The cause of the boy getting stuck in the river is unknown, but when paramedics arrived at the scene the boy was struggling with the water. Rescue divers from the region were called out to assist with the situation. Shortly there after bystanders lost site of the boy.

Rescue workers later pulled the boy from the river. He was not breathing and had no pulse. Paramedics immediately initiated resuscitation efforts on the boy. Minutes later the boy regained a pulse as the paramedics efforts were successful.

The boy was later transported to a nearby medical facility. He is currently in a stable condition. If it was not for the efforts of all Emergency Medical Services attending the scene the 16 year old boy would not be alive today.

- ER24

Wear a helmet for New Year’s Eve in Hillbrow

Fridges might fly and beds fall from the sky as residents in Joburg's Hillbrow district see in the New Year by throwing broken furniture on to the streets below.

Police will send in helicopters, armoured vehicles and special units on Saturday night to patrol the unruly area, which has earned a reputation as a trouble spot at the turn of the year.

Every year a dozen-odd people among those who dare to venture outside on December 31 are hit by crashing objects thrown out of high-rise apartment blocks – everything from televisions to kitchen appliances.

“We throw the old stuff because we got new stuff,” said computer repairman Dickens Patwell, a 24-year-old Zimbabwean, who had himself once tipped a bed over his balcony.

People toss “many things, like electrical stuff,” added his friend, fellow Zimbabwean James Thomas.

“Microwaves, broken stoves, televisions ...” the 26-year-old welder told AFP in a bustling Hillbrow street, as minibus taxis hooted loudly for passengers and vendors sold vegetables on the sidewalk.

“We don't throw things during the year, we can't afford to buy new things then,” he said.

But two years ago an 11-month-old baby girl was seriously injured after being struck on the head by a brick – one of nine people hospitalised during New Year celebrations in the district that year.

The following year, locals opted to hurl stones at police patrol vehicles rather than furniture from windows. But emergency services still treated 14 people, including one man who had been hit over the head with a bottle.

South African Beauty Dube, who has lived in Hillbrow for 16 years, said she would be staying indoors with her family to keep safe.

But Thomas said the objects were not supposed to hurt people: it was just an easy way to get rid of possessions that did not work any more.

“We know nobody's gonna be out. We're creating jobs for other people,” he said, echoing a popular belief that debris creates employment for street sweepers.

“Those who get hurt are drinkers” who stay outside too long, Dube added.

Officials are hesitant to blame the violence on foreigners for fear of inciting South Africans against immigrants.

Police believe the main culprits are people who have forcibly taken over buildings, said provincial spokesman Tshisikhawe Ndou.

This year, he said, officials planned an aggressive approach to curb the violence.

“Various units will be deployed: dog units, the flying squad, the equestrian squad, public order police, and the technical response team,” he added.

Authorities have also set up base camps in the surrounding area where victims can get emergency medical care.

Meanwhile, Thomas doesn't want to say what he'll cast away at this year's party, but it seems he won't be able to exchange the goods.

“Some stuff, Papa, 'cause they don't have guarantee.”

- Sapa-AFP

1 000 dead on SA roads and counting

Road accidents are the world’s biggest killers – and South Africa’s road death toll is double the global average.

More than 1 000 people have died on our roads since the beginning of December, and South Africa is counting the cost.

Speeding, not wearing seatbelts, not observing traffic laws and not being vigilant have been identified as some of the contributing factors to the high fatality rate.

The spokesman for the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), Ashref Ismail, said the severity of head-on collisions could be minimised if speed was reduced.

“Depending on the speed of impact, these types of crashes are the most devastating since in most cases, victims are trapped in the cabin. In many cases, vehicles have exploded on impact,” he said.

The physical impact on victims, he said, led to multiple fatalities; multiple fractures; brain and organ damage; or spinal cord injuries.

Quoting research, he said an 80 percent increase in the number of people wearing seatbelts in the front and back seats of a vehicle would bring an automatic 30 percent reduction in fatalities.

“Seatbelts reduce the chances of a fatality or serious injury by more than 50 percent,” he said.

During inclement weather, he implored motorists to reduce speeds and to be aware of adverse road conditions, such as potholes, oil patches, jagged tar edges and rutting.

“During wet weather, stopping distances are increased and therefore prudent following distances should be observed,” he said.

Tyres, he said, should have sufficient tread and wiper blades should be in good condition.

Department of Transport spokesman, Logan Maistry, said this year more than 11 500 driving licences had been cancelled or suspended – 1 497 from KwaZulu-Natal were cancelled, while 159 were suspended.

Insurance company, First for Women, also expressed concern about the high accident rate.

“Worldwide, road traffic injuries are responsible for the highest injury mortality,” said Robyn Farrell, managing director of the company. “But in SA, it’s shocking that the road traffic fatality rate (39.7 per 100 000) is higher than for any World Health Organisation region and almost double the global average.”

They also examined how to keep children safe during the festive period.

She said that according to the RTMC, SA had more than 700 000 crashes a year, with three children dying every day on the roads.

Correctly using and fitting car seats or booster seats could substantially reduce the risk of serious injury or death, she said.

“The next time you see someone driving with their children not in a car seat or safely buckled up, call 0861 400-800 with the car’s licence plate, the date and place you saw it occur and the RTMC will send them a warning letter. It could save a child’s life.”

AA spokesman Gary Ronald said it was important not to drive when tired. “Rest every 200km or after every two hours of driving. If you’re tired, it’s simple – don’t drive,” he said.

- Daily News/IOL

Fuel price drop welcomed

Economists have welcomed the Energy Department’s recent announcement of a petrol and diesel decrease next week.

The department said the petrol price would be dropping slightly with the price of the 93 grade of petrol decreasing by six cents.

One litre of 95 unleaded will cost five cents less.

The cost of diesel was also expected to drop by at least 20 cents per litre.

Economist Tony Twine said a lesser diesel price would not necessarily help to ease inflation.

“It will not help to bring down the inflation rate which is already above the Reserve Bank’s target range,” he said.

The department said the drop might be attributed to the deterioration of the Rand against the US dollar.

- EWN

Weather forecast for New Year's eve

Johannesburg residents were expected to usher in the New Year with wet weather, while people in Cape Town would have open skies accompanied by a breeze.

South African Weather Services said temperatures in Cape Town would be fluctuating between 16 and 28 degrees over the New Year’s weekend.

There is 60 percent chance of rain for Gauteng.

Forecaster Jan Vermeulen said the cloud bursts in Johannesburg would not be as heavy as the rains that hit the province this week.

“There are only scattered showers expected so we will have a fine New Year’s in Gauteng,” he said.

- EWN

ER24 Paramedici help hondjies soek ná botsing

BETHLEHEM. – ’n Ouma van Volksrust in Mpumalanga het haar malteser terug, maar haar klein baster-kettingboel (bull mastiff) is nog soek nadat die twee honde die pad gevat het ná ’n botsing tussen haar motor en ’n vragmotor.

Mev. Beverly Spreadborough en haar kleinkinders Chad Murray (18) en Chloe Spreadborough (14) was na die Kaap onderweg toe hulle Woensdagaand ongeveer 5km buite Bethlehem, op die pad na Paul Roux, in ’n ligte botsing met ’n vragmotor was. Hul motor se agterruit het in die botsing in skerwe gespat en die twee hondjies, die malteser Tilly en ’n baba-kettingboel, het verskrik uitgespring en weggehol.

Chad en Chloe is agter die honde aan. Reddingspersoneel van ER24 het ook kilometers ver langs die pad help soek. Die kettingboel is langs die spoorlyn langs die pad gekry. Tilly kon egter, tot haar eienaar se verdriet, nie gekry word nie. Spreadborough en haar kleinkinders het, nadat hulle vir skok en ligte beserings in die Phe­kolong-hospitaal behandel is, in ’n hotel op die dorp oornag.

Die baba-kettingboel was nie welkom in die hotel nie, en weer het ER24 gehelp.

Me. Marelize Bezuidenhout, paramedikus, het die kettingboel by haar aan huis laat bly vir die nag.

Spreadborough sê haar hart is baie seer oor haar malteser. Sy hoop wanneer sy terugkeer, het iemand vir Tilly gekry en kan sy haar op Bethlehem oplaai.

“Tilly het ’n blou halsband met fyn diamantjies op. Op die halsband staan ‘Smart Blonde’. Sy reageer ook as jy haar naam roep.”

Enigiemand wat dalk vir Tilly opspoor of sien, word gevra om ER24 by 084-460-7024 of vir Marelize by 078-177-0479 te bel.

- Volksblad

Two boys die sleeping in middle of road

Their intention was to sleep in the middle of the road hoping a motorist would stop and offer them a lift. However, two of the four teenage boys hitchhiking near Potchefstroom never woke up.

The police said the teenagers, aged 17 and 16, were killed instantly when a “speeding car” ran over them while they were asleep on Vereeniging Road at about 3pm on Thursday.

They said the boys, who could not be named until their next of kin had been notified, had been hitchhiking to their homes in Boipatong in the Vaal.

The two other boys survived, with one sustaining a minor leg injury. Now the police are looking for the driver of a charcoal or black VW Jetta who fled the scene and failed to report the accident.

The police said the bodies of the two boys were found on opposite sides of the road after the accident.

“It looks like they had been hitchhiking through the night and when fatigue caught up with them they decided to sleep right in the middle of the road so they could get the attention of motorists and get a lift home.

“One of the boys said he’d heard the car coming and jumped out of the way but was hit in the leg and he sustained minor injuries,” said police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lesego Metsi. The other escaped unscathed.

“Both survivors were traumatised and had to be offered counselling. They told the police that they were returning from an initiation school nearby.”

Metsi said they were looking for the driver of the Jetta, who according to the survivors, had stopped to pick up his licence plate, which had fallen off in the accident, and then fled.

He could face criminal charges.

- Pretoria News/IOL