Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 17 February, 2006 : - - A huge entry of more than 160 of the country’s best junior surfers have entered the first Billabong Junior Series event 2006 at St Michaels-on-Sea on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast next from Thursday to Sunday next week, 23-26 February.
Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, the popularity of the five-event series of surf contests for boys and girls aged 20 and younger that has done so much to groom the current crop of world-beating SA surfers has forced organisers to increase the duration of each event to four days.
And as an additional bonus, the event will see the South African premiere of the inspirational Passion Pop surf movie. Starring the entire Billabong surf team performing cutting edge manoeuvres in exotic locations around the globe, Passion Pop opens with sequences of SA’s own superstar Jordy Smith. Details of the premiere to be announced shortly.
The premier U20 boys division will showcase SA’s next generation of international surf stars and has attracted a full-house of 64 competitors led by the reigning series and Pro Surf Tour (PST) Pro Junior champion Brandon Jackson (Durban North), namesake Brandon Roberts (Sun Valley, CT), Josch Schmeltzer (Westville, KZN) and Keegan Nel (East London), all of whom earned invitations to the Billabong ASP World Junior Champs in Australia in January.
While this quartet are the top seeds for St Mikes, they’ll be hard-pressed by the likes of Dave Richards (Kommetjie) and Rory Beach (Queensburgh, KZN), who fly back from campaigning on the Australian Pro Junior circuit next week, and Durbanites Josh Redman and Rudy Palmboom Jnr (Bluff) who fill out the top eight on the rankings going into the event.
The Pro Junior (U20) girls division, where the series champ is also invited to the world championship event, will see another epic tussle between SA’s foremost 16 year-olds in Tarryn Chudleigh (Scarborough, CT) and Nikita Robb (East London). National junior teammates, Chudleigh was the country’s highest placed female surfer at the ISA World Junior Surfing Champs in California last year while Robb placed third in the ASP version in Australia in January and also won two other international Pro Junior events in 2005.
They are seeded to meet 12 year-old rising star Heidi Palmboom (Bluff, KZN) and Telana Flanagan (East London) in the final at St Mikes with KZN South Coast locals Nicole Annells (Warner Beach) and Danielle le Roux (Umdloti) and SA U14 champ Tanika Hoffman (Tokai, CT) ready to take advantage of any lapses in concentration by the seeds.
Chad du Toit (Durban) heads a highly competitive U16 boy’s field that includes Daniel Mace (Kommetjie) and South Coast stars Shawn Dennis (Scottburgh) and Blake Freeguard (Umdloti). However, the top four U14’s from last year have also moved up to this division in 2006 and epic confrontations are expected between the seeds and superstar in the making Shaun Joubert (Mossel Bay), Kommetjie’s Matt Bromley, SA U14 champ Brendon Gibbens (Bishopscourt) and Dale Staples (St Francis Bay).
Likewise the U14 boys division hosts a hot crop of last year’s U12’s with top seeds Beyrick de Vries (Umhlanga), Ryan Klynsmith (Winkelspruit) and Peter van der Merwe (Claremont, CT) having to fend off the challenge of Michael February (Kommetjie) and Dane Staples (St Francis Bay).
The youngest category – the U12 boys – provides another fascinating look at the emerging stars of SA surfing when the South Coast’s Josh Smit (Athlone Park) and Michael Venter (Warner Beach) face off with Capetonians Jarred Veldhuis (Sun Valley), Dominic Notten (St James) and Max Armstrong (Kommetjie).
A total of more than R200 000 in prize-money is at stake during the five events with the U20 boys share rising from R52 000 to R68 000. Each event includes the R1 800 winner-takes-all Von Zipper Airshow for the best aerial manoeuvre, the R1 000 Zigzag Blowing Up award for the best performance during the event and the newly introduced Best Kustomised Manoeuvre that rewards the most innovative manoeuvre by a local boy and girl with R500 and a pair of Kustom shoes.
The series champions are crowned after the fifth and final event at Jeffreys Bay in August. Each competitor’s best four results are accumulated and there is a total of R35 000 in the series prize pool shared by the top three in each division, half of which is provided by First National Bank (FNB) in the form of fixed deposit accounts.
The Billabong Junior Series is sanctioned by Surfing South Africa (SSA), the national controlling body for the sport. The U20 boys’ and girls’ divisions are also sanctioned by ASP Africa and the ratings points earned in all five events in the series count towards the crowning of the annual Pro Surf Tour (PST) Pro Junior titles.
The series is proudly supported by FNB, who along with their prize pool contribution also cover the travel costs of the four Pro Junior boys and top girl who qualify for the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships in Australia each January; Red Bull whose Wigwam and Energy Centre are highly appreciated by the competitors; Mentos sweets; Mrs Palmers surf wax and Blackfoot Productions who record, produce and flight the 30 minute television show on SuperSport covering each of the five events.
The 2006 Billabong Junior Series starts in St Mikes on the KZN South Coast (February 23-26) before moving to Durban (March 30-April 2), Cape Town (May 18-21), Victoria Bay in the Southern Cape (June 15-18) and wraps up in Jeffreys Bay (August 5-8) where the 10th annual series champions will be crowned.
|'These unroadworthy taxis are killing our people'|
|'A daily ongoing exercise'|
Cape Town - Anglican teenagers in the Western Cape are almost as sexually active as their peers outside the church, according to a survey reported in the latest issue of the South African Medical Journal.
The survey, in which 1 306 youngsters were questioned, was carried out by researchers from the Cape Town-based Fiklela Aids project and the University of Stellenbosch's theology department.
They said their findings implied that church-based youth did not behave significantly differently from their larger peer group.
A total of 31% of the Anglicans - aged 12 to 19 - were sexually active, compared with a figure of 38% reported for Western Cape youth in general by the SA Youth Risk Behaviour Survey.
The sexually active church-based youngsters appeared to have a higher rate of multiple partners ? 66% - than the 48% reported in the SAYB survey.
65% of the Anglican youngsters had not used a contraceptive during their first sexual encounter.
Only 33% of them believed that oral sex was actually sex, and 50% that anal sex was indeed sex.
The researchers said one way of improving church interventions was to have peer educators who were closer in age to the youth than at present and who could act as role models for change.
The church should also emphasise building of healthy relationships as a goal and not focus only on marriage.
Loss of virginity or even becoming pregnant should not lead to a permanent sense of failure or religious stigmatisation, but should be "reframed" as a lapse in sexual behaviour from which the person could learn and regain a "secondary virginity".
Recent occurrences of bird flu in Nigeria, although concerning, were no reason to panic in South Africa, said Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang on Friday.
"Yes, we have been really concerned about the issue," she said.
"Therefore the department of health... has been monitoring constantly global health developments in this area, and as such takes note of the recent confirmation of H5N1 influenza in domestic birds in Nigeria.
"The department wishes to emphasise that the recent development in Nigeria, although on our continent, should not be a cause for panic, as it poses no health risk to the South African population," she said.
Government was paying particular attention to the issue, and South Africa's animal health surveillance and monitoring system was recently commended by the world organisation of animal health, which declared the country free of avian flu.
To date, no case of bird flu caused by the H5N1 strain had been reported in South Africa.
The last time the H5N2 strain was detected was at ostrich farms in the Eastern Cape in August 2004, and had since been successfully contained.
However, the department would continue to strengthen its measures to reduce the opportunities for human exposure to infection by the virus.
A preparedness plan for managing any future pandemic was in place, said Tshabalala-Msimang.
Earlier on Friday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said: "The single most important public health priority at this stage is to warn people about the dangers of close contact with sick or dead birds infected with H5N1."
Spokesperson Maria Cheng said: "Experience in Asian countries and in Turkey underscores the fact that immediate, clear public information is critical to help protect human health. Slaughtering, de-feathering or butchering infected, sick or dead birds can put people at risk."
Cheng warned that the home slaughter and consumption of birds that appeared to be sick was dangerous. Those culling and disposing of birds should have protective equipment.
The WHO was ready to help all African countries take measures to reduce the risks of H5N1, Cheng added.
|'I just started screaming'|
|'Deadly exchange took place between the two hijackers and police'|
The Chiefs are ready to meet a desperate Sharks team, playing for their professional futures, when they open their inaugural Super 14 rugby campaign in Durban tomorrow morning (NZ time).
The Sharks finished last in the final Super 12 series last year, replacing their Waikato-born coach Kevin Putt with Dick Muir mid-season.
But the Chiefs say that is irrelevant for tomorrow's match at Absa Stadium. The visitors' most capped starting forward in the match, 56-game veteran Marty Holah, points out all the South Africans have a lot to play for this season.
"I think the Sharks are going to be desperate to get their season off to a good start, not only after what happened last year but also with the bottom South African team dropping out and being replaced by another next year," All Blacks open-side flanker Holah said from the Chiefs training base in Port Elizabeth yesterday just before they made a delayed flight to Durban.
In a move that is being legally challenged by all five South African Super 14 franchises, the South African Rugby Union (Saru) has ruled that the lowest finisher of those franchises will automatically be relegated to make way for the "sixth" franchise –- the newly created Southern Spears –- whom Saru have guaranteed a two-year stay in the competition.
The move is Saru's compromise solution to arguments over which South African team should be their new fifth entry in the expanded competition. The Central Cheetahs got the nod in the end, but the Spears were given the promotion promise.
If the legal challenge fails then one of this year's sides will drop out and face potential financial ruin, leaving players' futures up in the air. Many South African pundits are picking the Sharks and the Cats to be the leading relegation contenders.
"They are playing for their livelihoods," Holah said.
Holah said the Sharks up front were typical of all the South African teams in terms of their size and physicality.
"But where they do differ a little bit from the others is that they attack a bit more with their backs and they have more flair out wide generally."
That puts the onus on the Chiefs' pack to be physical at scrum, lineout, kickoff and breakdown time to stop the big Sharks' pack providing a platform for their exciting young backline.
Holah said the Chiefs had used the week in South Africa to settle in. They had acclimatised well to the time difference and hot conditions and trained particularly well in recent days.
"I think everyone is really looking forward to (this first game) and there's a little bit of confidence among the guys that's not really been there in the past.
"History has said we're not one of the better sides in the competition and that has always affected our confidence."
However, the historic run to the semifinals two years ago and the fact they were not starting this season with the same horrific injury toll as last year – skipper Jono Gibbes and five-eighths David Hill excepted – meant they had plenty to feel good about.
"We've probably come up with our strongest line-up on tour, except for Jono, for this match and that gives the guys a lot of confidence."
Tomorrow's match kicks off at 6.10am NZ time.
|Getting involved in the project 'to give something back'|
“There are some places that are pretty similar here to Durban but it is not often that you get waves like this for a competition, I’m stoked,” said Redman.
The Billabong Pro-Teen Burleigh Heads is the first of the five event Pro-Teen Series which comprises the ASP Australasian Junior Circuit and offers the series winner a prestigious wildcard slot into the trials of the Billabong Pro World Championship Tour event in Tahiti. (May 4th-16th). The Pro-Teen series also offers 60,000 dollars in prize money and is effectively the back bone of the Australasian Junior Surfing Circuit.
|One of the competition's most lethal attackers|
|Disruption to the university was minimal|
These will be first batch of farms to be expropriated in KwaZulu-Natal as owners had failed to reach an amicable settlement with the commission, the government's news agency BuaNews reports.
The country's Chief Land Claims Commissioner, Tozi Gwanya, announced this during a media briefing in Durban yesterday.
The expropriation involves two land claims, one in Gongolo and the second in Gujini both in Estcourt.
Gwanya said the land to be expropriated involved 29 000 hectares.
Deadlock in negotiations
In the case of Gongolo claim, he said the current landowners wanted the state to buy the land as "game reserve in waiting" and not as agricultural land, which was being used for stock farming.
"There is a deadlock in negotiations and dispute in a professional valuation report. The land in question has never been proclaimed as a game reserve and we cannot be asked to pay huge amount of money on the basis of hope," said Gwanya.
In the case of Gujini claim, he said there was a dispute between the owners and the state over the value of the property.
"The current market value of the claimed properties is over R8.9m by the landowners demand R12. 6m. There is, thus, a deadlock in negotiations," he said.
Gwanya said the Minister of Land Affairs, Thoko Msani-Didiza, approved the settlement of these claims as early as 2002 but the commission hadn't been able to reach an amicable solution due to "unrealistic" expectations by parties involved.
"This had led to serious frustration of land claimants. It is in this vein that the commission is recommending to the minister to consider expropriating the affected land as a deadlock breaking mechanism," he said.
Gwanya was at pains to explain that the expropriation route did not equal to "land seizure".
"Even in this case we are prepared to pay what is just and equitable compensation for a piece of land expropriated", he said.
However, it's apparent the government would increasingly drop the route of what it considers as long and frustrating route of a "willing seller and a willing buyer" as it moves to step up the pace of land restitution.
KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union on Thursday urged farmers not to panic over the issue of expropriation, saying such route was provided for in the constitution.
"We don't see this as land grab. In terms of expropriation, the constitution further allows for fair compensation. However KwaNalu's view is that the expropriation should be the last resort, all avenues and channels of negotiations should be pursued first", KwaNalu CEO, Sandy La Marque said.
The government is running against time to settle 3 311 outstanding urban land claims in KwaZulu-Natal by March 2006.However, this figure excludes 1 935 outstanding rural community land claims that should be finalised by March 2008.
Harnessing scarce skills, raising government efficiency, and speeding up land reform were singled out for urgent attention in President Thabo Mbeki's state-of-the nation address on Friday.
The country's current skills shortage threatened the ability of the public and private sectors to meet the goal of halving poverty and unemployment by 2014, he told a joint sitting of parliament.
Mbeki thanked all those South Africans who responded to a government appeal to make available their expertise in project management and other specialist areas.
The first group of the 90 already identified and assessed would be deployed in their new posts in May.
Mbeki said the machinery of state, especially that of local government, had to function effectively for the success of the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for SA (Asgisa).
In recent audits of national departments, "critical areas" needing attention were identified as skills shortages, vacancies, delegated responsibility, and the relationship between national and provincial departments.
Government would address the issues raised, bearing in mind its critical role as one of the country's most important development agencies.
"We cannot allow that government departments become an obstacle to the achievement of the goal of a better life for all because of insufficient attention to the critical issue of effective and speedy delivery of services," Mbeki said.
Work would continue towards "the creation of one public service covering all spheres of government", realising this was a complex task that needed the agreement of all concerned. He gave no further details.
Mbeki also committed government to reviewing its willing-buyer, willing-seller policy this year, in an attempt to accelerate land restitution and help empower the poor.
The conditions under which foreigners bought land would also be regulated, "in line with international norms and practices".
The state would play a more central role in the land reform programme, Mbeki said - including a review of land acquisition models and the possible manipulation of land prices.
"Land reform and land restitution are critical to the transformation of our society."
|Kuben Chetty |
February 03 2006 at 04:31PM
A Durban couple who travelled the world, spent thousands of rands at casinos and lived lavishly, have been arrested by police for alleged fraud running into millions.
The couple are alleged to have used R13-million, which had been given to them by a business partner, to fuel their luxurious lifestyle which included buying a mansion and several luxury vehicles.
Police director Bala Naidoo confirmed the couple had been arrested this week and charged for fraud.
Julian Kasaval, a private investigator with Forensic Audit Analysis and Investigations, said they had been approached by their client late last year after promises made by the suspects were not being fulfilled.
He said his client and the husband entered into a joint venture in 2004. Kasaval's client belongs to a wealthy Durban family.
"My client was led to believe that this man was a car dealer who needed a partner to set up a business importing secondhand vehicles from Japan.
"He entered into a joint venture with the suspect in the middle of 2004 and, over a period of a year, he invested R13-million."
The suspect had run a successful car sales business that netted him R2-million profit in 2003 and his client was convinced they would both profit from doing business together.
However, said Kasaval, it was later established that his client's money had not been used to set up any business and that the couple was living a lavish lifestyle.
The couple will appear in court soon.
|Daphne has difficulty walking, her eyesight and motor-skills have deteriorated.|
|They are 'hopeful' that their trip to the US will not be in vain.|
|'Statutory obligation in line with government policy'|
|'Have refused to give out the figures'|
|'Employee benefits will be protected and are protected by the Labour Relations Act'|
|Police arrested a bystander for trying to steal from the injured|
|Another baby, believed to be just a few months old|