A royal flush of queens to meet in Durban

A pack of queens:
King Goodwill Zwelithini's wives will be among the the largest gathering of queens in South Africa that will take part in a landmark conference to find ways for the queens to contribute to society. Photo: Daily News Archives

For the first time in South African history, an avalanche of queens from Southern African countries will gather under one roof in Durban at a landmark conference aimed at finding ways for them to take part in traditional leadership structures.

The queens will discuss, among other things, female leadership and their role in traditional and government structures.

The two-day conference, organised by Local Government, Housing and Traditional Affairs MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu, will be held at the Elangeni Hotel on North Beach. The theme of the conference is "Building the nation by co-operating with queens".

Other women in leadership roles including mayors and deputy mayors, heads of government departments and representatives of non-governmental organisations and women's rights movements will also attend.

This marks a departure from the past
The key issues that will be discussed at the convention are the participation of queens in traditional governance, their role in local government and development programmes in their communities.

"As government, we are of the belief that our queens can contribute massively towards participatory development within traditional governance and in building the nation," said Mabuyakhulu.

He said the meeting comes months after the promulgation of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Act, which calls for women to be included in traditional decision-making bodies in rural areas.

In keeping with the democratic ethos of the new dispensation, the act enjoins amakhosi to transform their traditional councils which make major decisions relating to the lives of the people who live under the jurisdiction of amakhosi.

This marks a departure from the practice of the past where traditional leaders had the sole responsibility of deciding the members of their councils.

The law now states that the councils of amakhosi should include women and youth.

Local Government, Housing and Traditional Affairs department spokesperson, Lennox Mabaso, said the conference also seeks to inform the queens about current policies in local governance and on legislative processes.

Among the queens expected to attend are the wives of King Goodwill Zwelithini and Swaziland's King Mswati III as well as queens from other Southern African countries.

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   Twelve held for robbing Durban shops

Twelve people, believed to be members of the "A-Team" - a gang of women accompanied by a few men who have allegedly been robbing businesses in Durban since the start of the security guard strike - were arrested on Wednesday, Durban police said.

Captain Gugu Sabela said 10 women and two men were arrested around midday.

"This group is believed to be part of the A-team that has been terrorising business people in the CBD," said Sabela.

"Information led to the arrest of the group after the latest robbery which took place in Grey Street on Sunday. The members are in their early to mid-thirties."

Sabela said the group had not yet been charged as they were still being questioned to determine whether they could be linked to a number of cases that had been reported.

The Daily News reported on its website on Wednesday that the A-Team had returned to unleash terror on businesses in Durban in the absence of striking security guards.

The team of about 30 women, aged between 25 and 45 years, all armed with knives, burst into stores and help themselves to clothing and other items, while staff, overwhelmed by the sheer weight of numbers, could only stand and watch.

They usually made their getaway in waiting taxis.

"We don't stand a chance against these criminals with the guards on strike - we are outnumbered by this A-Team," said the manager of Milady's in West Street, who did not want to be named.

The manager of Jet in West Street, who would also not be named, said: "A cashier who was stationed at the door last Tuesday was pulled outside and stabbed by a group of armed men thinking he was a security guard."

A Jet staff member, now stationed at the door, said he feared for his life.

"I am quite scared to stand at the door. It is not even my job, but I have to do it. We have turns to stand guard, but I feel that at any minute I am going to be attacked," he said.

A Milady's manager said: "We were hit on Tuesday and on Wednesday and there is nothing that we can do besides step aside."

Gus Brand, general manager of The Hub in West Street, said the store had been broken into on Tuesday morning and several units of stock had been taken.

"This is the second time in two weeks we have had a break-in and, with our daily shoplifting incidents, the situation is escalating out of control."

The Durban University of Technology had also been hit by the strike, with recent increases in muggings, car thefts, burglaries at residences and even a case of rape being reported on one campus.

"The increase in crime on the campuses can be attributed to the nation-wide security strike. The majority of our security guards are on strike," said university spokesman David Sedumedi.

Several students have embarked on a stay-away from lectures and tests as they feared for their security.

In Pietermaritzburg, some businesses had shut down temporarily after repeated robberies.

Sabela appealed to anyone with information to contact Senior Superintendent Kweyama on 031-325-4164. - Sapa

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   KZN tourism indaba to inject R250m into economy

Phindile Makwakwa, the communications general manager at Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, says more than 11 000 delegates from around the world are expected to attend the annual KwaZulu-Natal Tourism indaba which will inject about R250 million into the economy of the province.

The tourism indaba will take place in Durban early next month. Makwakwa says the event is so important to KwaZulu-Natal because it brings with it huge economic benefits for the city and the province. "We have estimated that the total spent after a four-day event will be in the region of R257 million and that is just an immediate economic impact."

Makwakwa says in terms of the repo effect, Durban and the province stand to really benefit because hosting such event really places them in a good position globally to showcase that "we are actually are a destination to be reckoned with in terms of capabilities to host events of international stature."

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   Tapping into Durban's rat-tailed maggot mania

By Irene Kuppan
There seems to be no end in sight to the maggot-mania that has gripped Durban and surrounding areas, with more sightings of rat-tailed maggots reported in KwaMashu, Chatsworth, Westville and Isipingo.

And while the maggots have become a headache for people, water purification companies are benefiting from their appearance.

Since the first rat-tailed maggots in Durban were spotted on Wednesday, the Daily News has received a number of calls from people in other areas who received nasty surprises when they opened their taps.

'I was getting a glass of water when I noticed the maggot'
Roy Smith of Westville said that he had come across a "baby rat-tailed maggot".

"I was getting a glass of water when I noticed the maggot. It was 3mm long and was swimming in the water," he said.

Smith said he is now going to get a filter to ensure that his drinking water is maggot free.

A teacher found three rat-tailed maggots when she opened a tap at her KwaMashu home.

She took the maggots to schools to warn her pupils about the creatures and remind them that they needed to be extra careful when using water from the tap.

Sightings of maggots were also reported in Isipingo and Chatsworth at the weekend.

And with more rat-tailed maggots popping up everywhere, business is booming for water purification companies and companies that sell bottled water and water filters.

Lilian Hamilton of H20 International said their telephones had been busy and people were constantly streaming into the store.

"People are very concerned about swallowing the maggots and also about the high chlorine content in the water," she said.

Hamilton also laughed off claims that the maggots were a sales ploy by bottled water companies to increase the sale of their products.

"People countrywide cannot be imagining that the rat-tailed maggots are in their water. How can this be a sales ploy when people are actually seeing the maggots?"

She said that members of the public she had spoken to were in an uproar, not only over the maggots, but because they had noticed there was more chlorine in the water recently.

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   Durban aims to slash cost of calls

In the next two years residents and businesses in the eThekwini Municipality will have unlimited internet access and telephone calls within the municipal district for as little as R50 a month when the council's proposed fibre-based network system is launched.

The city intends using its existing network - which connects all its departments and facilities in and outside the city - to provide residents, business and tertiary institutions with internet and telecommunications at far less than the Telkom tariffs.

The network could cut the council's R40 million annual telephone bill by R8 million.

Durban joins cities and towns like Johannesburg and Pretoria in Gauteng and Knysna in the Western Cape which are investigating the possibility of using their internal telecommunications networks to revive central business districts by boosting business.

The head of the municipality's geographic information and policy division, Jacquie Subban, said the project was intended to make communication accessible where it was needed most, at affordable prices. She said the network would be rolled out in five years, starting with business.

The network will work by adding businesses to the city's fibre-optic cable network with high-capacity cables.

In areas away from the network backbone, the city will use its power grid network which uses powerlines to carry telecommunication signals into homes. The network is expected to reduce costs to a tenth of what Telkom charges.

Organised business was upbeat, saying the system would dramatically reduce the cost of trading in the city.

Durban Chamber of Com-merce CEO Bonke Dumisa said the business community had been in constant contact with the city through briefing sessions over how the network would change lives.

"Any initiative to reduce telephone costs will always be welcomed by the business community and it also has a potential to revive CBDs in the country as it will reduce the cost of doing business.

"Also worth noting is the fact that the roll-out will help previously disadvantaged people as they will be able to call the municipality at any time of the day without worrying about the telephone bills," he said.

Dumisa said the introduction of broadband internet would also promote learning across the municipality, especially at schools that could not afford internet facilities.

It is estimated that by 2010 the majority of Durban business and residents would be connected and paying between R50 and R150 a month for telephone calls within the municipality.

Normal rates would apply to calls outside the metro and to cellphones.

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Dylan McCleod  : photo Kelvin Thomas

Dylan McCleod became the biggest name in South African longboarding today after he beat an accomplished field to take the 2006 Jeep/ Suncoast SA Longboard Surfing Championship title at Durban’s New Pier. McCleod, who seemed to be completely in tune with an angry ocean, managed to find some long waves which allowed him to link together some critical manoeuvres and a number of high-risk floaters.

McCleod finished ahead of Durban’s Jason Ribbink and previous SA Champion Matthew Moir from Cape Town. Eastern Province’s Greg Smith finished fourth after he had already used a lot of energy earlier in the day competing in the Senior Men’s division final, where he placed third.

Today the conditions were every competitor’s most feared rival as the howling onshore winds whipped the ocean into a frenzy of rolling white horses and churning 1.5 metre close-outs. In fact, conditions were so difficult to negotiate, a jet ski had to be employed to ferry competitors back to the backline after every single ride.

Durban’s Jordy Smith, however, revelled in the conditions and added the Junior SA Longboard title to his already large trophy cabinet.
Smith already has multiple SA short board surfing titles and a World Junior surfing title to his name and showed today that he is a jack of all trades and master of them all. Performing a series of vertical turns and extended floaters on route to his win, Jordy comfortably took the Junior final ahead of Justin Bing (WP), Mark Smith (WP) and Jono Hill (EP).

Cape Town’s Tara Hossack took the Women’s Division final ahead of Roxy Towill (WP), Simone Robb (WP) and Lisa Smith (KZN). Jessica Lefevre (KZN) battled bravely against the elements to take the U18 Girls title. Vinita Oosthuizen (WP) placed second ahead of Hannah Bing (WP) and Durban’s Nicole O’Driscoll.

KZN won the team event ahead of Western Province and Eastern Province respectively. The Puma Western Province team have only lost the South African team trophy once in the past 12 years of competition and have retained the title for the past six years on the trot. KZN’s win is a fitting end to an historic event that has seen an outstanding standard of longboarding being exhibited throughout the six days of competition.

Special thanks to Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World and Jeep Clothing and Accessories for their support of this years event.

Full results:

Mens Open
1. Dylan McCleod (EP)
2. Jason Ribbink (KZN)
3. Matthew Moir (WP)
4. Greg Smith (EP)

1. Jordy Smith (KZN)
2. Justin Bing (WP)
3. Mark Smith (WP)
4. Jono Hill (EP)

1. Tara Hossack (WP)
2. Roxy Towill (WP)
3. Simone Robb (WP)
4. Lisa Smith (KZN)

1. Saul Bernstein (EP)
2. Scott Lefevre (KZN)
3. Ryan Klynsmith (IND)
4. Papi Makanyone (WP)

U18 Girls
1. Jessica Lefevre (KZN)
2. Vinita Oosthuizen (WP)
3. Hannah Bing (WP)
4. Nicole O’Driscoll (KZN)

1. Dave Stubbs (WP)
2. Gary Jeeves (KZN)
3. Craig Daniel (KZN)
4. Brendan Callaghan (KZN)

1. Alan Robb (WP)
2. Craig Potgieter (EP)
3. Mark Theunissen (WP)
4. Jean Pugen (KZN)

Senior Men
1. Grant Gilmour (KZN)
2. Gary Van Rooyen (WP)
3. Greg Smith (EP)
4. Gary Kleynhans (WP)

1. Colin Whitmore (KZN)
2. Marc Brodowicz (KZN)
3. Mike Larmont (KZN)
4. Richard Brummer (WP)

Senior Woman
1. Lisa Smith (KZN)
2. Bernie Sheely (WP)
3. Therese Russell (WP)
4. Cherelee Bilson (KZN)

Super Legends
1. Jimmy Bell (WP)
2. John Grendon (WP)
3. Gustov Preller (KZN)
4. Ticky Ross (KZN)

Super Veterans
1. Hugh Thompson. (KZN)
2. Donald Paarman. (EP)
3. Dave Hill. (EP)
4. Dave Lee. (KZN)

1. Andy Austen. (KZN)
2. John McLeod. (EP)
3. Mike Patterson. (KZN)
4. Charlie Moir. (WP)

Surfer of the contest: Dylan McCleod.
Matthew Hough Memorial Trophy – Top Junior Surfer: Justin Bing.

The 2006 South African Longboard surfing championships are proudly sponsored by Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World and Jeep Clothing and Accessories. The supporting sponsors are Fosters, Aquellé, Hurricane, Island Tribe, Mad Buzz energy drink, Marshall Surfboards, Steffanuti and Bressan (scaffolding) and 3663.

For more information on the 2006 South African Longboard Championships sponsored by Jeep and Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World, please visit the South African Longboard Surfing Association website: http://www.salsa.co.za.

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   KZN poised to snatch SA longboard honours

By Brendon Thomas
In what has already been hailed as the most successful longboarding competition on South African shores, the 2006 Jeep/Suncoast SA Longboard Surfing Championships are set for a climax in Durban on Saturday.

Making use of their home-ground advantage, the KwaZulu-Natal longboarding team put in another solid showing, despite tricky surf at Durban's New Pier on Friday. The team now finds itself in good position to unseat Western Province from their longboarding dominance for the first time in six years.

Western Province have lost the SA team trophy only once in the past 12 years of competition.

Leading the charge is KZN team captain Mark Brodowicz
This year, however, the KZN team goes into the final day of competition with a slight points advantage over the long-time champions.

KwaZulu-Natal's attempt to win the trophy was aided by a solid showing in the grandmasters and the veterans divisions, in which they occupy three of the top four positions in both divisions.

Leading the charge is KZN team captain Mark Brodowicz, who has been in devastating form and is a favourite to take the veterans' title.

In the open men's division, four KZN surfers - Jason and Brandon Ribbink, Donald Brierly and Brad Trickett - will have to battle hard if they want to overcome the skills of Western Province's reigning SA champion Matthew Moir and their teenage wildcard sensation, Justin Bing, who is also competing in the junior division semi-final.

But Durban's Jordy Smith, is hoping to add the South African junior longboard title to his impressive bag, which includes the conventional SA and World Junior Surfing Championship titles. He will pose tough opposition for Bing.

In the women's division, Lisa Smith is the sole KZN representative, in a surging sea of Western Province names that includes Roxy Towill, Simone Robb and Tara Hossack. The Western Province girls surfed with power and aggression on Friday.

The Under-18 girls final is more balanced, with Nicole O' Driscoll and Jessica Lefevre representing KZN and Vinita Oosthuizen and Hannah Bing representing Western Province.

Donald Paarman showed that the Eastern province team are not to be underestimated either after he advanced to the Super veteran final. However, reigning SA Champion, KZN's Hugh Thompson, is determined to retain the title that he won in Cape Town last year.

The semifinals and finals of the Men's Open and Junior Divisions as well as the finals of all the other divisions will be run on Saturday at either Durban's New Pier or Suncoast Beach. Hotline number for confirmation 076 731 5644.

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   Another World Cup coup for SA

South African sport has secured another event as the country prepares to host the first official Surf Ski World Cup in Durban in July.

South Africa are the unofficial World Cup champions in the sport after the triumph of Dawid Mocke and Graham Solomon in a World Cup held in 2004. South Africa also hosted an unofficial World Cup in 2003 in Cape Town.

But this year's event will mark the first time that a World Cup is being sanctioned by the International Canoeing Federation (ICF).

"This is a massive achievement for the sport, and for South Africa," said Billy Harker, the organiser of the Discovery Men's Health Surf Ski Series in South Africa, which laid the platform for the country to propose a true World Cup to the ICF.

"There's never been a true World Cup of Surf Ski until now. This event is going to bring the world's top surf skiers to Durban and take the sport to an entirely new level."

A total of 14 international teams, consisting of four competitors each, will arrive in Durban for the World Cup on July 2.

The competition will consist of a 25-35km race, predominately downwind, with three of the four paddlers' scores to count, and with South Africa the favourites to take the title.

"Many people are unaware of the international standing our South African paddlers have. We are quite easily the leading surf ski nation in the world. Dawid Mocke is South Africa's National Surf Ski Champion, having won all but one of the Men's Surf Ski Series races in 2005. He's also considered one of the best in the world, having one the biggest races in the United States, Great Britain and New Zealand," said Harker.

The national surf ski series, which begins again with the Durban leg this weekend, will provide ideal preparation for a critical few months of local and international competition for South Africa's top paddlers.

The South African trials take place May 6 and will be used to select South Africa's two World Cup teams (four members for the main team and four for the Presidents team).

The SA Championships take place on May 7 as the final major tune-up before the World Cup. - Sapa

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   No Sugarbelt surprises

Off-road competitors heading for KwaZulu-Natal for the Nissan Sugarbelt 400 on May 5 and 6 will be relieved to know that clerk of the course Rex Boreham does not have any nasty surprises up his sleeve when it comes to the route.

The KZN event is round two of the Absa Off-Road Championship with the route always providing for a tough test of man and machinery. A mixture of fast and tight sections, with some serious drop offs, keep crews on their toes and it will be no different this year.

The event will again be based at the Beaumont Eston Farmers Club, and there is also good news for spectators. The route will be spectator friendly with a number of viewing points not far from the start and finish at the club that are easily accessible.

"I think the route is tough enough without us going out to look for ways of making it even more difficult," said Boreham. "It passes through the same sort of areas as last year and we have found some new sections but, by and large, there are no major surprises."

In one major departure from recent years, however, the Nissan Sugarbelt 400 will make use of a dedicated refuel pit area. At the end of the first completed lap of approximately 200 kilometres, all competitors will be required to pass through this area whether or not they intend refueling.

"The refuel area has its own separate time allowance," said Boreham. "At the end of the first lap cars will be booked into the designated service point for 15 minutes.

"After they have serviced crews will be booked out of the DSP, and will then proceed to the refuel pit area where they will be booked in for a further 10 minutes. Once the 10 minute allowance has expired, cars will pass through a control point and will be allowed to resume racing."

The opening west loop of about 113 kilometres will take crews towards Mid Illovo before returning to the designated service point. Competitors will then tackle an east loop of approximately 90 kilometres before heading back to the DSP for servicing and refueling.

Lap two of the event will follow the same format. Competitors will first tackle the west loop with the second east loop a dash for the finish.

"On the return leg the west and east loops join up about 12 kilometres from the start and finish at the club, so there will be continuous action along this section for spectators," said Boreham. "The most popular spectator viewpoint is again likely to be the high speed section next to the tar road about eight kilometers from the start.

"There is also a fast section on the other side of the road, and all spectators have to do to catch the action is walk from one side of road to the other."

Boreham added there were a number of other good spectator points on the West loop on the road towards Mid Illovo. The East loop, on the South Coast tar road, also offers three excellent vantage points. All spectator points will be very clearly marked from the main arterials.

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   Rat-tailed maggots discovered in KZN water supply

By Shahan Ramkissoon
Rat-tailed maggots have now turned up in the water supply at a square in the KwaZulu-Natal capital, Pietermaritzburg. The maggots have been found recently in piped water in Cape Town and then in Brakpan on Gauteng's East Rand.

Msunduzi municipal authorities in KwaZulu-Natal are trying to get more information from residents in Pietermaritzburg central. This is the first sighting of the maggots in the province.

The little critters were discovered by Collin Werner at his brother's house in Walthew Square at the weekend. Werner says he found the rat-tailed maggots in the toilet. He says his family is now drinking bottled water as they are worried about the tap water. Werner says they contacted the Msunduzi municipality at the weekend, only to be told that authorities will be sent to the area after the Easter Holidays.

Skhumbuzo Mpanza, the Msunduzi mayoral spokesperson, says they will look into the matter urgently. Unlike Cape Town where the authorities say the main water supply is safe to drink, it seems residents in this area will have to pay extra for one of their basic needs until they have clear answers.


   Frankie Obherholzer fires up at Lizzard Nandos Surf Pro

South Coast power surfer Frankie Obherholzer (Warner Beach) sent temperatures soaring during the Mens round of 32 at the Lizzard Nandos Surf Pro on Easter Sunday, when he posted two excellent 8-point scores in tricky 1-meter easterly conditions.

Performances went from mild to extra hot as the Pro Surf Tour veteran entered the water, locking in an 8.83 followed by an 8.77 to assume the heat lead as well as the highest heat score of the entire contest, a17.60 out of a possible 20.00 while his competitors scrambled to catch up.

“My strategy was just to get out there and find the long walls that would allow me to generate speed and do open face turns,” explained Obherholzer. “There were lots of bumps to ride but I was lucky to get two good ones at the start which allowed me to relax into the heat and be picky.”

Dylan Stone (Bluff) posted the second highest wave score of the day, an 8.67 after a series of low scoring rides against International Junior star Jordy Smith (Umbilo) who took the heat win – both surfers advancing into the quarters.

Defending Lizzard Nandos Surf Pro Champion Daniel Redman (Umdloti) opened his account with an 8.33, making his intentions clear and earning the first slot in the Mens Quarter finals.

“You needed to find the longer rides that went all the way to beach for a good score,” explained the New Pier local. “I’ve surfed here a lot in these conditions and I know what the banks are doing at the moment so it made it easier for me to find the right waves out there.”

Warwick “Wok” Wright’s (Durban) 8.17 on his first wave sounded alarm bells – but this did not deter Gavin Roberts (Scottburgh) from making his mark with two identical seven plus scores that earned him the heat win over ‘wok’ who failed to find a back up ride.

Stanley Badger (St Francis) joined the eight point leagues, advancing ahead of Mathew Kruger, Dane Patterson (Morningside) and Antonio Bortoletto (Durban) with his 8.0 and 6.5.

Top seeds in the women’s division came to life in their
quarterfinal rounds, all five advancing into the semi-finals tomorrow.

Fifth seed Tasha Mentasti showed tremendous form against her younger competitors. Choosing to sit wide rather than hustle with the younger girls, Mentasti connected two long rides for the highest combined two-wave total of the women’s division, a15.17 out of a possible 20.

Others to advance into the semi-finals were WQS campaigner Tammy Lee Smith (Salt Rock), fourth seed Penny Robarts (Strand), top seed Stacey Guy (Cape Town), second seed Tamarys de Maroussem (Westbrook), Michelle Hill (St Francis) Sacha Moller (Bluff) and third seed Sarah Maritz (Warner Beach).

Former Port Alfred resident Kyle Jacobs (Durban) caused a major upset when he won the toughest of the four pro junior quarterfinals, defeating International junior star Smith (Umbilo), Josch Redman (Umdloti) and Australian Junior series campaigner Josch Schmeltzer (Westville).

“I’ve come up against Jordy a number of times and never beaten him, so it feels good to do so”, gleamed Jacobs. “My strategy was to keep the other guys off the good waves because one good wave could put them in the lead.”

2005 South African Junior Champion Rory Beach’s (Durban) low centre of gravity and powerful backhand attack saw him secure a first place finish and a slot in tomorrow’s semi-finals ahead of number four seed Brandon Roberts (Cape Town).

Others to advance included top seed Brandon Jackson (Durban North), Chad du Toit (Durban), second seed Keegan Nel (East London) and Captain of the National Junior team Klee Strachan (Warner Beach).

The Lizzard Nandos Surf Pro culminates tomorrow with the finals of the Pro Junior Mens, Women’s and Pro Mens divisions starting at approximately 12h30.

The Lizzard Nandos Surf Pro is a One Star rated World Qualifying Series event for Men and includes a Grade One Pro Junior and 2A Rated Womens divisions. The event holds a R92 000-prize purse. The event co-sponsors are Bavaria, Nestle Pure Life Water and Durban Africa.


   Just keep your cool in the Easter traffic...

By Bonny Verwey
The volume of traffic into KwaZulu-Natal will start to build up on Thursday morning as thousands of tourists make their way to the province to take advantage of the sun, sea and an array of activities planned for the Easter weekend.

Vehicles are expected to enter the province at a rate of up to 3 000 an hour, while Durban International Airport is also bracing itself to handle large numbers of travellers coming into or leaving Durban in the next couple of weeks.

Road Traffic Inspectorate spokesperson Colin Govender has warned motorists to obey the road rules and remain calm while travelling.

'If this can be done we can all have a calm weekend'
He said roadblocks had been planned at strategic points throughout the province during the weekend.

"We are asking for calm on the roads and for motorists to obey road regulations, to maintain safe following distances, to rest at least every two hours and to switch on their headlights to ensure maximum visibility.

"If this can be done we can all have a calm weekend, save lives and prevent collisions," he said.

Tourism KwaZulu-Natal chief executive officer Miller Matola estimated that at least 1,15 million domestic tourists and about 50 000 international tourists would visit destinations in the Zulu Kingdom during the holiday period, injecting more than R1-billion into the province's economy.

"KZN remains a leader as the most sought after domestic tourism destination, with the latest domestic tourism arrival statistics showing that we have the lion's share of the market at 34 percent," he said.

Tourism KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Phindile Makwakwa said visitors would be "truly spoilt" for entertainment throughout the province.

"The Easter calendar boasts the annual Splashy Fen music festival in the Drakensberg, the Moscow Circus at Durban's Suncoast Casino, the Umhlanga Sunshine Beach Festival and a host of sporting events," she said.

Airports Company of South Africa spokesperson Colin Naidoo warned that the influx of tourists by air would have a "major impact" on the already limited parking facilities at the airport.

He said Acsa would continue with various methods of easing the inconvenience to travellers, including using shuttles to and from the terminal.

Easter is also a time for religious celebration and many groups will be hosting and taking part in a variety of events which celebrate their beliefs.

The 21st Diakonia Good Friday service will take place at 6.15am on Friday at Sahara Stadium, Kingsmead.

The service will focus on poverty.

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness will be hosting its 18th annual Festival of Chariots (Ratha-yatra) on Durban's beachfront from 11am to 10pm from Friday until Monday.

The Jewish community will also be celebrating eight days of Passover, which commemorates the Jews being led out of slavery in Egypt by Moses.


   Alleged fraudster 'charmed women with lies'

by Karyn Maughan
Kevin Harvey has never studied at university, yet the 29-year-old has worked as a dentist, chartered accountant and chef.

Harvey has been accused of constructing a web of glamorous lies about his life to secure high-paying jobs and charm dozens of women.

But Harvey has denied the allegations, saying he was the victim of a "plot" orchestrated by a former client whom he refused to aid in alleged fraudulent activities.

An investigation conducted by The Star has revealed that Harvey, who admits that he has never been to university, has worked as or claimed to be a dentist, American multimillionaire, doctor, financial manager, chartered accountant, chef and cellphone company executive.

'He had a story every time'
And his series of adventures include shimmying down a four-storey drainpipe to avoid being forced to take a lie detector test by commercial fraud investigators; stealing his then-girlfriend's brother's identity; attempting to do a dental filling on an unsuspecting patient; and convincing a South African Revenue Service auditor that he was a bona fide chartered accountant.

The Star has also spoken to three women whom Harvey dated simultaneously in the past few months. The women - he was engaged to two - were unaware of the other's existence.

All three described him as "charming", "sensitive" and "the type of guy who your mom wants you to marry".

Harvey's criminal record dates back to 2000 and includes multiple charges of fraud and forgery.

In the past week, at least one member of Harvey's church in Durban is understood to have laid fraud charges against him, which are related to his handling of the man's tax returns. But Harvey claims he will expose this man as a fraud.

'Harvey is a pathological liar'
Harvey first hit the headlines in 2004, when his then wife Tertia Roos - a dentist in Gordon's Bay, Cape Town - successfully sought the annulment of their eight-month-old marriage on the grounds of Harvey's numerous lies.

It emerged in papers before the Cape High Court that Harvey had married his wife under the name "Kevin McKnight" and presented himself as an international millionaire business director who had lived in New York for seven years.

According to Roos, Harvey had claimed that he completed a PhD at Harvard University; had the highest IQ of any American college student; was a martial arts champion; had worked as a chef on a cruise ship in Tahiti; and had been a lifesaver in Durban, where he said he had grown up.

Roos said she hired a private investigator to dig into the past of her husband, after he had repeatedly failed to produce his ID book. What she found shocked her.

Not only did she not know her husband's real name, but she learnt that, under his management, her dentistry businesses had lost R800 000.

She also found that Harvey had hired his mother, Beulah Kirsten, as the business's bookkeeper.

Harvey was arrested but the Strand magistrate's court acquitted him. It found that although he had acted "wrongly" when he signed cheques on his wife's behalf, his actions did not amount to fraud.

Three months later, Harvey bought the dental practice of a Johannesburg family and allegedly practised as a dentist.

This week, Steven Greenspan claimed that Harvey negotiated the purchase of his dying dentist father's practice. But only a week after "Dr Harvey" had started working at the practice, staff began to suspect he was not a trained professional.

"We kept asking him for proof of his qualifications... and he had a story every time," Greenspan said.

The "final straw" was Harvey's near-bungling of a routine filling. According to Greenspan, Harvey ran away when he was confronted about his lack of qualifications.

Approached for comment, Harvey denied that he had performed any dental operations.

Another of Harvey's alleged victims was chartered accountant Shane Steele, who was almost arrested for the theft of a car, a laptop and cash in August 2003.

Steele, whose sister dated Harvey for four years, claimed that Harvey had stolen his identity and secured a job. He then allegedly went on a buying spree.

"I had to produce a photograph of myself to escape arrest... Harvey is a pathological liar," he said.

A Durban forensic investigator also claimed that he had been investigating Harvey for four years.

"We were asked to investigate him by a labour broker who suspected that he fleeced the company they had placed him at (in a financial manager position) and wanted him to undergo a lie detector test.

"Halfway through the test, Harvey asked to go to the toilet and managed to escape by climbing down a ventilation shaft and then jumping at least six metres to the ground.

"When we looked in his car, which he had left behind... we found multiple copies of photocopied identity documents."

The accountant said he and his colleagues had tracked Harvey down in Durban and facilitated his arrest.

He was therefore "surprised" when, a year later, another Johannesburg client contacted his company with a query about an alleged fraudster whose modus operandi strongly resembled that used by Harvey.

Photographic comparisons showed that the man was indeed Harvey and resulted in his being arrested, the accountant claimed. It remains unclear, however, if the charges were pursued.

Harvey admitted that he had pretended to be a trained chartered accountant and claimed that his previous employers were very happy with his work.

He also admitted that he had faced two charges of fraudulently using someone else's CV to secure a job and had used eight different aliases.

However, he claimed that he had done so only to protect himself and his mother from her violent ex-boyfriend, who he hinted had "cooked up" the other charges against him.

Police have confirmed that fraud charges are being investigated against Harvey.



Westville Boys got their hockey season off to a good start over the Ascension weekend when the first team played at the Paul Roos Invitational in Stellenbosch.

Their record was impressive with wins against traditionally strong hockey schools SACS (2-1), Dale College (6-0), St Charles (6-0) and a 1-1 draw with hosts, Paul Roos. Their only loss was to a strong York team in a five-goal thriller (2-3).

The Westville U16 team played in the Maritzburg College Festival where they won two, lost two and drew one game. They defeated St Andrew's (E Cape) 4-1 and KES 3-1 and drew 1-1 with Pretoria Boys High, before losing 1-2 to St John's and by the same score to Jeppe.


   SA gets its own Survivor

Cape Town - South Africans now have a chance to show off their survival skills - and, maybe, win R1m - on the local version of the Survivor reality series, to be shot in Panama.

In a coup for MNet, the channel announced on Tuesday it would be producing the hit reality-format Survivor, in Panama, with 14 South African contestants.

Filming of the South African version of the show is due to start in June this year.

It will be filmed over 27 days on the Pearl Islands in the Gulf of Panama, 90km south of Panama City and will feature 14 South Africans battling it out for a grand prize of R1m.

The first episode is due to be screened on Sunday, August 27, at 18:00 in MNet open time, and the winner will be announced in the same time slot on November 26.

Entry forms are available in You, Huisgenoot, Drum, the Sunday Times and City Press, or on the MNet website: www.mnet.co.za.

Stringent tests for entrants

From the initial entries, 560 people will be chosen for auditions in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg with the final 14 contestants being selected by May 15.

Wannabe survivors will be subjected to physical, medical and psychological tests before being selected.

Carl Fischer, MNet's head of Original Productions, confirmed that the series would be MNet's flagship for the 2006 season, which meant there would be no Idols or Big Brother South Africa this year.

Entries are open to anybody over 21 who thinks they have the ability to outsmart, outwit and outlast their way to victory.

To be eligible to take part in Survivor South Africa, you need to be:

  • Over 21;
  • Have a passport that is valid until March 2007;
  • Be fit and healthy;
  • Be able to swim; and
  • Be available from June 1 until July 3 (and then again on and around November 27 2006).


       Durban Metro out in full force this Easter weekend

    Durban Metro police will be out in full force this Easter weekend to ensure the safety of thousands of holidaymakers who are expected at the city's beaches. Events such as the Vodacom Easter Adrenaline Festival and the Hare Krishna Festival of Chariots are expected to attract huge crowds.

    Roads in the vicinity of the beachfront will be closely monitored, but there are no plans as yet to restrict access to motorists.

    Alec Wright, from Metro police, says roads leading to the beachfront will only be closed if there's traffic congestion. He says it might be necessary to restrict access to ensure that emergency vehicles such as ambulances can enter the area if any incidents arise.

    He added that a full complement of Metro police - including those members on standby - will be deployed along the beachfront. Wright has urged motorists to park in designated areas, and consult with police rather than take the word of car guards. He says fines will be issued to those motorists who park illegally.


       Durban prosecutor arrested for corruption

    By Bongani Mthembu

    A Durban prosecutor has been arrested for corruption after he allegedly tried have the case of an alleged drug dealer thrown out of court by stealing the case docket.

    The prosecutor whose name is known to the Daily News was arrested on Monday by the members of Durban Organised Crime Unit for corruption, bribery and extortion.

    It is alleged that the prosecutor had colluded with Perumal Naidoo, 47, to steal the case docket in return for a payment of R20 000 from the alleged drug dealer.

    The alleged drug dealer was arrested at his Berea home three weeks ago. Naidoo was arrested on Friday in a sting operation.

    Reported to the police that he was approached
    Provincial police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Phindile Radebe said the two had been arrested after a trap was set up by police last week.

    "Naidoo was the first to be arrested after he received the amount of R1 800 from the initial mount of R20 000. A warrant of arrest for the prosecutor was issued after it was found that Naidoo was working in cahoots with a prosecutor in assisting the alleged drug dealer to be released," she said.

    She said the alleged drug dealer had reported to the police that he was approached by Naidoo who promised that he would "assist" him if he paid R20 000.

    "The man immediately reported the matter to the police who set up the trap," she said. Details of how Naidoo colluded with the prosecutor are not known at this stage as Naidoo does not work at the court.

    "He sells newspapers on the streets. It is believed that it was a group of people involved in the whole thing. We expect to make more arrests very soon," said Radebe.

    The Prosecutor is due to appear in the same court later on Tuesday.

    Radebe said Naidoo appeared in Durban magistrate's court this week and released on R2 000 bail.


       Robbie Williams hots up the stage

    By Sally Scott
    He came, he sang and he took Durban by the scruff of the neck and shook it - and we, in turn, turned out en masse to celebrate the fact that raunchy Robbie Williams was starting his world tour right here in our city.

    "I'm Robert, I'm an Aquarius and I'm from Stoke on Trent."

    We're not speed dating here, (although a large percentage of the women at last night's concert - ranging in age from 9-year-old Colby to 75-year-old Grace - "He can put his shoes under my bed..." - wouldn't have said no to Robbie).

    He's got the gift of the gab and the lad was just giving us all the chat up. And boy does he have a fine line in chat.

    Over two hours, between delivering pop classics like Rock DJ, Kids Are Alright, Millennium, Let Me Entertain You and the lighters-in-the-air anthem Angels plus the newies, Advertising Space, Come Undone, Pure and Sin, Sin, Sin, plus a nod to that boy band - Take That - with Want You Back, Williams regaled a capacity crowd of over 40 000 with tales of his best mate's wife "her waters broke tonight", questions on the fit of his jeans "does my arse look big in this?" and lessons in spelling: "Regarding this banner girls, knob is spelt with a k."

    Clutching a red G-string thrown at him, Williams rampaged up and down the three-pronged stage, winking, wriggling, getting the girls all hot under the collar and, dare one mention it, literally charming the bras off several women in the crowd.

    As one who succumbed put it afterwards: "For some reason I lifted my top up and bared all. Thank God my boyfriend wasn't here."

    So no, he ain't the best singer in the world, he even stuffed up some of his own lyrics. He's also had some really rough, self-imposed patches in life and made nude videos where ravenous female fans fed on his flesh, but the man's got what Simon Cowell calls the X Factor - in spades.

    Rude, crude and yes as he admits himself: "I apologise for my language it's fu***** awful", he can sweat it up in a frock coat and leap around in a track suit (neither suited to our humidity).

    One regret, no tracks from his album of classic Sinatra and co. standards, Swing When You're Winning. Robbie, you'll have to come back and bring a tux next time.


       Congo virus not contracted in KZN

    The Kwazulu-Natal Health Department authorities have said they are confident a man diagnosed with the deadly Congo fever did not contract it in the province.

    The 34-year-old man from Kimberley in the Northern Cape was holidaying in Margate on the south coast last week when he fell ill.

    He was admitted to Durban's Addington Hospital on Friday and is in a stable condition. His wife is also being monitored by officials.

    Eyewitness News


       Sharks attack to win Wild Coast

    SHARKS/NURIMAX sprinter Deno Van Heerdan shocked critics to take overall honours with a break away performance at the Wild Coast Classic in Port Edward. A well organised race which consisted of over 400 entrants saw the riders slog it out along the N2 Highway from the Wild Coast Sun to Oribi Toll Road and back.

    The Sharks riders went on the attack in the first 10km and looked unbeatable when they managed to get Dean Edwards, Richard Baxter and Shaun Botha in a break with one Mr Price/Westville rider. The peleton managed to get organised and the four-man group were brought back after 10km. Baxter, Mat Goetsch (Sharks) and Lee Muir (Westville) kept the tempo high doing a great job as domestique's.

    A Few Kilometres later Sharks riders continued to attack one by one. Botha went away with Donavan Van Gelder (Westville) but was caught at the turn around point, after their gap had reached 35sec at one stage. It was at this point where Van Heerdan made his attack and was quickly followed by Muir. When the gap reached over 1min the sharks riders continued to attack in the hope of getting more riders across to the break. As they continued to attack, the bunch had diminished down to around 15 riders.

    With 10km to go the Sharks Junior rider, Mathew Funnel, who was riding under team orders for the Pro-Am outfit in place of Rowan Tyler (who is suffering with a strained back), set a hard pace up the last major climb. This caused the bunch to split up more and now consisted of only 10 riders. Up ahead Van Heerdan and Muir reached the final climb together before Van Heerdan attacked with 1km to go to take a 6th consecutive victory for the SHARKS/NUTRIMAX team in fine style 20sec ahead of Muir.

    As the chasing group reached the final climb Botha attacked with Funnel on his wheel to secure 3rd and 4th while Edwards came in a close 5th.

    "I am really happy with the way the whole team rode today. We wanted to get the top 3 positions which we didn't do but we raced really aggressively from the start and managed to get 4 riders in the top 5. This was our last race before the Tour and the guys have trained really hard and can now only give it their all on April 23rd. The two things that really impressed me was Deno's ride by staying away for nearly 40km. He is our back up sprinter and for him to stay away with a strong rider proved his determination. The other was the outstanding work our junior rider Matt Funnel did. He was really strong and gave 100% in the final 10km when we asked him to apply some pressure and after all that work he was still able to follow Shaun to finish 4th," Said Edwards.

    From The Sharks Cycling Club side, there were very good results to add to the Results of the day.

    The Team are in very good form for the upcoming Tour Durban in 2 weeks time, and as well for the Sharks club as well.

    Overall Race results

    1.. Deno van Heerden (Sharks Team) 2.21.04
    2.. Lee Muir (Leigh's cycle Centre)
    3.. Shaun Botha (Sharks Team)
    4.. Mathew Funnell (Sharks Cycle Club)
    5.. Dean Edwards (Sharks Team)
    6.. Richard Baxter (Sharks Team)

    Overall lady and ladies 30+

    1. Zillah Coetzee (Sharks Cycle Club)

    Overall Junior

    1. Mathew Funnel (Sharks Cycle Club)

    Overall 30+

    2. Dan Owens (Sharks Cycle Club)

    Overall men 50+

    1. Phil Godson (Sharks Cycle Club)


       Extra performances schedules for Swan Lake in Durban

    Due to the overwhelming call for tickets an additional two shows have been included in the schedule to meet the Durban demand – these shows will take place on 26 April and 1 May both at 7:30pm

    Fresh from playing at the London Royal Albert Hall, where it drew full houses and lavish praise, the St Petersburg Ballet Company’s magnificent production of
    Swan Lake, will be in Durban in just a few weeks time.

    The St Petersburg Ballet Company, is a classical ballet company of 55 superb dancers. In Durban they will be accompanied by the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra. The production premièred at the State Theatre in Pretoria, before moving on to Bloemfontein. It opens in Cape Town on 12 April and Durban’s Playhouse on 26 April.

    Konstantin Tachkin’s, St Petersburg Ballet Company provides a rare opportunity for South African audiences to experience the complete Swan Lake - three acts in four scenes with South African orchestras from each region under the baton of Russian principal conductor Alexander Kantorov. The ballet follows the original choreography of Lev Ivanov and Marius Petipa.

    The production has been applauded around the world and the legendary prima ballerina, Irina Kolesnikova is considered by Ann Nugent of Dance Magazine to be, ‘Exquisite’ and believes ‘she is a dancer of magnetic power, so much so that any ballet company in the world would welcome her with open arms’. Of the company she writes that… “The Swans are finely schooled”; “The dance of the Cygnets was magnificently articulated and unified, as good as any I’ve seen in decades” and …“The dancers seemed to achieve the near impossible”. Irina’s role is shared with equally magnificent dancers, Eleonora Adeeva and Sabina Yapparova.

    The St Petersburg Ballet Company with its 55 principals, soloists and a full corps de ballet, are brought to South Africa by International Producer Michael Edgley. It was Edgley who staged the blockbuster tour of The Great Moscow Circus earlier this year and has returned with a brand new circus also currently touring South Africa.

    Says Edgley of the ballet; “In my forty years in the entertainment business I have presented many classical ballet companies. The St Petersburg Ballet is an absolute gem. Their production of
    Swan Lake is theatrical, lavish and magnificently danced. South Africa is due for an absolute treat!”

    Ticket prices are R150, R250 and R350. Pensioners and children under 13 have a 40% discount on all performances except Saturday evenings. Block booking for ten or more are available, weekdays only. Book at Computicket on 083 915 8000 or on line at www.computicket.com

    Need your own web site? visit The Designer Boys for more info!


       Congo fever: Prof optimistic

    Lindsay Barnes
    Durban - Health officials are keeping a close watch on a Margate-based nurse and the wife of a man who was admitted to Addington Hospital on Saturday with the potentially deadly Congo fever.

    The unidentified man, a 34-year-old farmer from Kimberley, is in a stable condition and doctors are optimistic about his chances of recovery from the viral haemorrhagic disease, said Professor Alan Smith, KwaZulu-Natal's chief specialist virologist at Chief Albert Luthuli Memorial Hospital.

    "It's early days yet, but we are optimistic. We are monitoring his blood," he said.

    Provincial MEC Peggy Nkonyeni set up a team, including Smith, to trace and establish the risk of transmission of the disease to other people with whom the patient had been in contact in the past seven days, said provincial health department spokesperson Leon Mbangwa.

    The team is also in contact with officials in the Northern Cape as the man's three children are in Kimberley.

    The farmer's wife has moved to a bed-and-breakfast establishment in Durban and maintains contact with him by cellphone.

    Smith said she couldn't visit her husband as he was being held in an isolation unit in hospital.

    She, too, is also under strict observation, which means that she is seen daily by a doctor and if she develops any of the first signs of the disease - which are flu-like, including headache, high temperature and possibly backache - she will be admitted to hospital.

    Doctors were puzzled

    The nurse who treated him at Margate Hospital is also under observation, as are the man's three children.

    The patient was holidaying in Margate with his wife when he became ill and sought help at Margate Hospital.

    Doctors were stumped by his symptoms and had him transferred to St Augustine's Hospital in Durban, where he tested positive for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.

    Mbangwa said the hospital did not have the capacity to deal with his case and he was admitted to Addington Hospital at 02:30 on Saturday.

    Congo fever is a viral disease from cattle that it is spread to humans by the bont tick (Amblyomma variegatum) sucking on the blood of cattle, then dropping off when full to burrow under sand, he said.

    They re-emerge when hungry and scout around for the next victim which, in the absence of a cow, may be a warm and hairy human leg.

    Strong and healthy man

    It appears that the patient in this case was infected by a tick towards the end of March.

    Smith said the disease was not developing at a rapid rate in the farmer.

    "He probably received a small amount of the virus, and he is a strong and healthy man.

    "There is slow progression and therefore we are optimistic that he will do well," he said.

    The farmer was on supportive therapy as there was no medication specifically for the virus, said Smith.


       Durbs is where it's at this Easter

    If you're thinking of where you can go this Easter holidays, look no further. Durban is the place to be, with a host of events guaranteed to keep both bored children and frustrated parents entertained.

    For those who love the beach, Durban's North Beach will be buzzing with activity from April 14 to 17 when Vodacom Easter Adrenaline kicks off.

    A host of exciting events like motorbike stunts to big wave tow-in surfing and a freestyle jet-ski contest ensure a visual feast to get all beachgoers' pulses racing.

    Capper is also hoping to try the first backflip ever attempted on a trials bike in South Africa
    This year's beach festival site has stretched along the Golden Mile to include North Beach, Bay Beach and the Bay Lawns in order to accommodate the exciting new line-up of events.

    For those who love daredevil stunts, catch motorbike champ Brian Capper, who will be performing unthinkable stunts on his bike.

    Capper is also hoping to try the first backflip ever attempted on a trials bike in South Africa in his new flip show, which also includes a revised wheelie act.

    At the Pavilion, kids will be treated to a host of events from April 5 to April 15. The programme consists of days of jam-packed kiddies' entertainment, including face painting, jugglers, magic shows and a visit by cartoon characters Johnny Bravo and the Power Puff Girls on April 8.

    There will also be an Easter egg giveaway with "roaming chickens" on April 14 and 15.

    At Gateway, the major event for this holiday season is the fund-raising pentathlon "Da Bounce Session".

    Gateway has teamed up with the variety of sports facilities at the centre to raise funds for the charity Youth Extreme.

    The pentathlon includes go-karting, tenpin bowling, skating, rock-climbing, indoor soccer, skateboarding and will be wrapped up with an awesome, thumping, free concert on April 6 at Gateway's Superstar Zone.

    Ladies, if you want to see hot guys in action, head for the Vodacom Freestyle Jet Ski competition, which is set to attract top pilots like former SA freestyle jet-ski champion Wayde Staphorst, Andrew Ensor Smith and Greg Haylam in the sit-down class, with stand-up riders Dustin Motzouris, Tyrone Motzouris and Sean Valsechi going all out to win the lucrative cash prize purse.

    There will also be free wave-riding clinics on offer - when the Absa Ocean Experience team share their love of the sea - which are free and open to all members of the public.

    In Ballito, holidaymakers can look forward to a soapbox race, fishing competitions, beauty pageants and other activities where winners will receive great prizes from Webco Tools.

    For the kiddies, Rico the Clown will be entertaining children during the school holidays at the Durban Botanic Gardens from April 3 to 7.

    The show starts at 10.30am and tickets are R15 per person and can be purchased before the show. Music Revival also presents the Wouter String Quartet at the visitors' complex on April 17 at the Durban Botanic Gardens.

    The show starts at 11am and tickets can be bought at the Botanic Gardens or reserved by calling 083 417 4473. Tickets are priced at R60.

    The 18th annual Festival of Chariots also takes place at the Durban beachfront over the Easter weekend.

    The cultural festival, hosted by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, is a four-day event and takes place at North Beach from 11am on April 14. The traditional chariot parade takes place on Saturday, April 15.

    Need your own web site? visit The Designer Boys for more info!


       Record field expected at national track champs

    By Tommy Ballantyne
    Leading bicycle manufacturer Trek have come on board as the major sponsors of this year's National Track Championships to be held at the Cyril Geoghegan Velodrome in Durban from April 27-29.

    The preferred machine of Lance Armstrong, they will also be the racing bike choice of local professional club Sharks/Nutrimax, who will use top-of-the-range Trek bikes.

    Although it is some years since the nationals were held in Durban, as the sport continues to grow both in the province and nationally a record entry for the championships is expected, according to Wally Bodin of the organising committee.

    "Of the 220 entries already processed," said Bodin, "45 are from KZN, easily our largest contingent in many years."

    Bodin said that the renovations and upgrading procedures at the track were nearing completion, which would make the track safer and faster, raising it to modern standards.

    KZN track riders have had to make use of the below-standard Sax Young track in Pietermaritzburg for the past weeks for their preparations, and will use it for the last time this weekend at the KZN Provincial Championships to qualify for their respective time trial and pursuit events.

    These championships are on Friday evening and Saturday, with one of the highlights expected to be the clash between top junior rider Bradley Potgieter, of Pietermaritzburg, and World Cup track rider Dean Edwards, of the Sharks team, in the 20km race.

    But the elite category at the nationals is the one most likely to be hotly contested with some of the country's best professional riders on show, including Edwards, who is certain to be among the medals.

    Other KZN riders who were on the podium at last year's nationals include Greg Albert (Cyclesphere, 30-34 age group), Wickus Esterhuizen (Cyclesphere, 35-39), Bodin (King's Park CC, 45-49) and Michael Adey (Mr Price Westville, 40-44).

    The three-day programme is packed with heats and finals in a full range of events including the sprints, 1 500m, points race, time trial, individual pursuit and distance races.
    Need your own web site? visit The Designer Boys for more info!


       Robbie Williams tickets selling fast

    Gird your loins Robbie Williams fans, if you have one of those precious golden circle tickets for Monday night's concert and you are planning on being up close and really personal against the crash barrier of the pit, you'd better come up with a good excuse to take Monday off.

    At the time of writing, sales of tickets stand at 39 844. Capacity is 40 000. Due to the huge interest in the concert and all those fans just dying to get to the front to see their idol, "holding areas" for those queueing early will be open outside the Absa Stadium from 10am on Monday.

    The areas will have toilet facilities and catering and arm bands will be issued to help those who get there early to claim their rightful position once they get in the stadium.

    Gates open at 5pm. Support act Wire Daisies, from Cornwall, go on at 6.30pm followed by Freshly Ground at 7.45pm and the man himself will take it away at 9pm.

    Williams has been rehearsing this week in Cape Town, while, reportedly partying with the likes of model Minki van der Westhuizen, at the Mount Nelson Hotel. - daily news reporter
    The Daily News



    Westville Theatre Club are holding auditions for MUSIC MAYHEM!! Auditions will be help at the Westville Theatre Club in Attercliff Road (Next to Westville Swimming Pool) on Tuesday 2nd May at 7pm and Thursday 4th May at 7pm. They also need folk to assist with Backstage, Front of House, Sewing of costumes and Set Building etc. etc. For more information you can contact Jill Sysum on 705 1054 or click here

    Need your own web site? visit The Designer Boys for more info!


       Power cuts hit Durban

    Carvin Goldstone
    A wave of blackouts hit Durban on Monday, leaving areas without electricity for up to four hours.

    The electricity blackouts were experienced in Berea, Verulam, Warner Beach, Greyville, Morningside, Clare Estate, Reservoir Hills, Springfield, Overport, St Wendolin's and Klaarwater.

    A city electricity official said the department was aware at all stages of the blackouts and had dealt with them when necessary.

    The Ethekwini Electricity Department's Senior Manager for Network Operations, Ivan Laban, said the blackouts had been caused by a fault on a medium voltage system.

    "We managed to sort out the problem through alternate electricity sources, but people were without electricity from 11am to 2pm," he said.

    This was not an unusual problem, but because of a related April's Fools story in the Independent on Saturday he had had to field a number of calls of concern.

    The story said Durban would be supplying electricity to Cape Town and would go without electricity on certain days.


       Fuel for thought

    Gone are the days when diesel was mostly guzzled by rugged bakkies - these days diesel vehicles range from 4x4s to luxury sedans to even teeny little run-arounds as motorists from Tokyo to 'Toti cotton on to the fact that they offer excellent performance and great fuel economy. But what many new diesel converts don't realise, is that unlike the petrol price, the price of diesel is not regulated. This means that while dealers have no say over the price of petrol, they can discount the price of diesel in much the same way as a supermarket can discount a can a beans. So in essence, it pays to shop around if you drive a diesel vehicle. Relatively few service stations are charging less than R5,20 a litre for diesel, but you should be able to find one in your area that's chosen to sell it at less than R5,30.


       Copter saves pregnant leopard

    Steytlerville - A pregnant leopard's life was saved dramatically here on Sunday after she had been caught in a trap.

    An emergency flight by helicopter, an emergency landing and an overland race were all part of the operation which lasted almost 11 hours.

    Dr Bool Smuts of the Landmark Foundation which focuses on saving leopard and other predatory animals, said the whole drama started about 11:00 on Sunday.

    Kevin van Wyk immediately phoned the Jeffrey's Bay branch of Eastern Cape nature conservation when he found the leopard caught in a trap on his farm.

    Nature conservationist Gerrie Ferreira phoned the Landmark Foundation immediately and the rescue operation shifted into high gear.

    JP Kleynhans rushed to Van Wyk's farm to anaesthetise the trapped leopard while Smuts arranged for the helicopter, the pilot and vet Dr Ross Cobus, who had to accompany the animal.

    Chopper forced to land

    Smuts said: "About 16:00 that afternoon we reached the animal on the farm, administered more anaesthetic and by about 16:15 we could take off to get the leopard to the National Addo Elephant Park.

    By this time everyone was satisfied that the animal, which had no fractures from setting off the trap, could be saved and released into the wild.

    But then the weather changed and thick mist forced the rescue team to make an emergency landing at the Kuzuku Nature Reserve on the northern side of Addo.

    Safe to release her

    One of Kuzuku's bakkies was borrowed and the team raced on in the vehicle to meet the Addo staff at Olifantshoek Pass, so that the leopard could eventually be taken to their facilities.

    Through all the drama, the vet was able to establish without any doubt that it would be safe to release the leopard immediately in her new home.

    "Gangrene hadn't set in yet - probably the best indication that farmer van Wyk checks his traps daily," said Smuts.


       210 species of birds vs uShaka airport

    Jani Meyer
    It is easy to miss the turnoff to Mount Moreland and the dirt road gives the impression that it is leading to an estate or a farm. But when the road turns to tar again, you enter a small enclave, nestled among the rolling hills of KwaZulu-Natal's North Coast, just inland from Umdloti and home to about 210 species of birds.

    Mount Moreland's claim to fame is the aerial display of hundreds of thousands of barn swallows when they come dipping and swooping in for their nightly rest before they prepare for their long flight to Europe.

    Birders flock to the area to enjoy the display on most evenings from early November until mid-April, when the birds make their final appearance.

    The tiny community is also right on the doorstep of the proposed uShaka International Airport and lies directly on the flight path at the end of the runway.

    'The noise and the fumes from fuel will ruin the environment'
    For almost three decades the ever-changing plans for the airport have been in the backs of the minds of the people living here.

    Hillary Vickers, chairperson of the Mount Moreland Ratepayers' Association, said there were 98 occupied homes in the settlement and, despite the uncertainty, people were still building or renovating their houses and new residents were moving in.

    According to residents, the only vacant land and estates are the property of Tongaat Hullett.

    Daniel and Riana Rademeyer moved in in December and love the tranquillity and "freedom" of Mount Moreland.

    Riana, a report analyst, said the area offered unspoilt nature and a place where children could play freely.

    "Where else can you walk in the streets at 10pm without being worried about crime? We love the freedom and nature, the birdlife and watching fireflies at night," said Rademeyer.

    Jeanie Beales and her family moved in 15 years ago because she was looking for "Hillcrest by the Sea". From their home in Bond Street, there is a panoramic view of the hills with the Indian Ocean visible in-between.

    "My husband and children are avid surfers and wanted to live close to the beach, but I was looking for a suburb like Hillcrest, and Mount Moreland offers the best of both worlds," said Beales.

    While she has no objection to the Dube Tradeport, Beales is against the building of an airport.

    "The noise and the fumes from fuel will ruin the environment," she said.

    Although the people living there do not want to move, resident Keith Doyle said the Dube Tradeport would be in the best interest of KwaZulu-Natal.

    "I work in distribution and I am pro-airport. The port will be the best thing that can happen to KwaZulu-Natal, but they (the developers) must put their cards on the table," said Doyle.

    Doyle, who hails from Britain, moved to Mount Moreland in 1993 and said he had been aware of plans to built an airport at La Mercy, but did not realise how imminent it was.

    Although in favour of the airport, Doyle will leave Mount Moreland with a heavy heart.

    "I have lived all over the world and this is the home of homes. I will be sad to leave. We are a close community and we all know each other. I don't know where I will go that can compare," he said.

    While most residents work in Durban and surrounds, some work from their homes. They include artist and conservationist Angie Wilken, the chairman of the Lake Victoria Conservancy.

    The "lake" is really a wetland and the playground of the barn swallows. It is also the winter home of migrants like the fiscal flycatcher, Cape robin and yellow warbler.

    As the hype surrounding the airport and the Dube Tradeport hots up, the future of the people of Mount Moreland and the birds is again in the balance.

    This is evident by a notice chalked on a board at the swallow look-out point, calling on residents to ignore "bad news" stories about Mount Moreland and to "stay strong Mount Moreland".

    Although the Dube Tradeport's management was looking at consultation over the next few months to find a solution for the community, the locals said they had had hardly any feedback.

    Rohan Persad, the Dube Tradeport's chief executive, said Mount Moreland was an area that "needed a solution".

    Persad said they were looking at different options that would be presented to the community.

    "We are still in the process of doing the environmental impact study. It is still early days," said Persad.

    Vickers said in November last year the Mount Moreland Ratepayers' Association and the Lake Victoria Conservancy had submitted comments for the scoping report - the first stage of the environmental impact study.

    "We were told that feedback from the consultants had been delayed until the end of April," said Vickers.

    Vickers moved from Pietermaritzburg 20 years ago and originally rented a house.

    "We loved it so much that we bought the house and stayed on."

    Not knowing what the future holds is the residents' main concern.

    "We just need people to speak up and tell us what exactly is happening. We just want to know," said Vickers.

    Wilken has collated a scrapbook on the history of Mount Moreland, including newspaper cuttings about the airport dating back 30 years.

    Vickers, a former education officer at the Natural History Museum, said the area had an interesting past. It was established in 1858 under the Byrne Settler Scheme by John Moreland.

    "The settlement did not develop much because it was not on the main wagon route, but it received a boost in the 1970s and was laid out with tar roads by developers when the airport was first mooted."

    Vickers said bans during the apartheid years prevented South African planes flying over Africa and an airport at sea level was needed so planes could carry full fuel loads.

    Before it could be constructed, the country obtained rights to land at Ihla do Sol in the Atlantic and the plans were shelved. The idea of an airport kept on cropping up over the next 30 years. Over the years they have planted the street verges and parks with indigenous trees and shrubs.

    "But, we are only really 'famous' for our birds - the amazing phenomena of an estimated three million migratory barn swallows coming to roost in the Lake Victoria wetland at the foot of Mount Moreland between October and April," said Vickers.

    In 1989 an article was published in the Daily News with the headline "R100 million spent on airport with no planes".

    After that it was quiet for a while. Wilken started the Lake Victoria Conservancy in 1996 while continuing to work as an artist. The family's burgundy-painted home filled with works of art is evidence of this. "We just lived as though it was not going to happen," said Wilken. However, in 1998 "it went mad".

    "It looked as though it was coming to a head and we went through absolute hell. Some officials came to talk to the community and told us that we had to go, with no mention of compensation or alternative accommodation," said Vickers.

    The cuttings file is testament to the turbulent times.

    "When we moved here we all knew that there was an airport site, but no moratorium was placed on the sale of land or development.

    "We have lived through several attempts to resuscitate the airport idea. Hopefully, after 30 years, it will be resolved one way or the other.

    "May this be done on sound facts and carefully considered reason, so that all people and the environment will benefit in the long term," said Vickers.


       KwaZulu-Natal blood supplies running low

    By Matthew Savides
    The South African National Blood Service in KwaZulu-Natal is still battling with a blood shortage that started a month ago, and blood supplies remain at an "unsatisfactory" level as the Easter holidays approach.

    The service prefers to have seven days' stock available but, at present, has only four days' stock.

    At the height of the shortage at the beginning of last month, the service had less than two days' stock.

    At the time, the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital in Durban, which is the province's main blood bank hospital, had only six units out of its normal 90 units of type O blood in stock. Type O negative is the "universal donor", as all blood groups can receive this blood.

    The situation has improved slightly, with doctors now being allowed to continue regular surgery. However, the stock was unsatisfactory", said Ianthe Exall, the service's provincial spokesperson.

    In the interim, the service has asked people to donate in time for the holiday period. The service can be telephoned at 080 011 9031 or 031 719 6500. - Mercury Reporter


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