Jackrolling becomes more prevalent

Picture from hyderabbadailynews.comIt is absurd to wake up to a screaming news headline, “a 17-year-old boy allegedly raped the girl in the bathroom of Busisiwe Primary School in Zola, Soweto.”

A survey conducted among 1,500 schoolchildren in the Soweto township, showed that about a quarter of all the boys interviewed believed that ‘jackrolling’, a term for gang rape, was fun.

The word ‘jackroll’ was used to refer to the forceful abduction of women in black townships by a gang called the “Jackrollers” which operated in the years late 1980’s in the Diepkloof area of Soweto.

Jackrolling has now become a trend among some Soweto youth with the aim to impregnate every woman under the age of 26 in the township in order to “earn respect”.  Jackrolling takes place

in public places which enhances the perpetrator’s status.

South Africa has the highest incidents of rape in the world. Gauteng community safety MEC, Faith Mazibuko told parents not to relegate their parental responsibility  to government and teachers, and it is about time that the government change how they deal with the issues of rape in general.

She further said the Minister of women, children and people with disabilities should join hands with activists and law enforcement agents to form a unit to deal with rape.   Campaigns to schools to teach young kids, especially boys about the dangers of engaging in rape and gang rape “jackrolling”, would be welcome.

“In South Africa we can no longer wait for yet another sex video before we express anger. The police have arrested only seven teenagers in Soweto but there are many other young kids across the country who thinks jackrolling (lepanta) is fashionable.” Isaac Mangena


Ex-Witsie sentenced to 15 years for drug smuggling

A former Wits student was sentenced today to 15 years in a Thai prison for attempting to smuggle drugs.

Nolubabalo Nobanda was caught smuggling cocaine into Thailand after authorities noticed a powdery white substance coming out of her dreadlocks.

Around 1.5kgs of cocaine were found in the 23-year-olds’ dreadlocks, with an estimated street value of $150 000 dollars. Nobanda was carrying the drugs to Bangkok for a cartel based in Brazil.

Nolubabalo Nobanda

South Africa’s International Relations spokesperson Clayson Mayonela told TimesLive  that Nobanda was also fined R250 000, and that her term was reduced from 30 years to 15 because she complied with the police.

There was confusion when the story broke in December last year when Wits denied that Nobanda was a student, while her family and friends insisted she had attended the university.

University spokesperson Shirona Patel said in a statement; “Wits University would like to place on record that Ms Nolubabalo Nobanda, an alleged drug mule, was never registered as a student at Wits University.”

However it was later confirmed by Wits that Nobanda had in fact been enrolled in 2007.

Drug mules like Nobanda are often used as decoys for larger quantities of drugs, which go through customs unnoticed while authorities deal with the first mule. Nobanda told her parents in a letter that her friend, also carrying drugs, made it through customs unnoticed.

Legal steps have already been taken in the UK to give drug mules more lenient sentences, as the women who end up carrying the drugs are usually have no other option to pay off drug debts, or sometimes do not even know they are carrying drugs. Sentences have been reduced to five years, with mitigating factors to be taken into account by judges.

Due to international law, the mules are tried in the country they are arrested, which means Nobanda will have to serve her sentence in a Bangkok jail.

More than 600 South African drug mules are in foreign jails, according to Locked Up, a website dedicated to drawing attention to the plight of South Africans held in foreign prisons.

Click here to see a video from News24 about Nobanda’s sentencing

Public transport gets a shot in the arm

The Passenger Rail Agency of SA (PRASA) recently unveiled a R500-million plan in an effort to boost public transport usage in Johannesburg. This is part of the R1-billion the company will inject into major stations in a bid to improve passenger numbers, PRASA CEO Lucky Montana said. The plans involves the development of its property around Braamfontein station and link it up with the Johannesburg in an investment that will cost about. The initiative is touted to increase rail passenger numbers.
But there are serious doubts whether renovating train stations will attract passengers to trains without a feeder network of buses and taxis.
The 2006 national household travel survey, undertaken by the national department of transport, found that 52% of Johannesburg residents had no access to train services in their residential areas, compared to 5% of residents who reported that there was a no taxi service near their homes.
Itumeleng Motaung, a young HR professional who works in Braamfontein and lives on the East Rand, said she preferred to commute by taxis because trains were unreliable.
“Taxis do delay (at times), but they are better than trains. Flexibility is important if you are a punctual person,” she said.
She expressed doubt that she would use trains even if there was a connection between Park station and Braamfontein because trains were more often full and unsafe.
When President Jacob Zuma took a train on Thursday—to travel with ordinary commuters between the three metros of Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg—he found that they were overloaded with passengers. Most of them reportedly complained about the lack of reliability and punctuality of trains when they travel to work in the mornings.
The problem is not confined to Johannesburg alone.
A recent Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report on the integration of Gauteng as a city region found that residents who live further than places of employment were spent more time than those who lived closer to them.

Women upbeat about Phiyega’s elevation

Women upbeat about Phiyega’s elevation

Incoming police chief. Mangwashi Victoria Phiyega. pic.
123people.com – Glenn Mashinini

President Jacob Zuma, this week, appointed the first-ever woman police commissioner replacing the controversial Gen Bheki Cele.  Mangwashi Victoria Riah Phiyega’s appointment comes amid severe criticism from different corners but some Johannesburg women are now feeling extremely upbeat and positive about their safety.

“Ms Phiyega brings a wealth of experience as a senior executive who understands the responsibility of government in the fight against crime and the duties imposed in dealing with state assets. I have every confidence that she will show leadership and acquit herself well as National Commissioner,” said the President

Zuma expressed his confidence in Phiyega’s capabilities to take up the hot seat. Prior to her appointment, Phiyega was the chairperson of the presidential review committee on state-owned enterprises and the deputy chairperson of the independent commission on the remuneration of office bearers.

Following her appointment the media, security experts, political parties and academics lashed out at Zuma for appointing an individual with no policing experience to   head up the police force.  However, in an interview with several women in Johannesburg, all were positive and optimistic that as a woman, Phiyega will fight hard to ensure their security and well-being in light of the ever escalating crimes perpetrated against women. They also agreed that she should be given a chance to prove herself before being judged and attacked even before she starts working.

“It is too early to judge when we have not seen her capabilities. People will be surprised that she can even do a better job than the former commissioner. Why is there all this attention on Phiyega’s appointment? After all the former commissioner had no police experience,” Thandi Khumalo, (not her real name) who works for a cleaning a company at Wits University said yesterday.

Ousted police chief. Bheki Cele. pic.Eyewitnessnews

For young women like Mlungisi Mokoena (not her real name), a School of Public Health student at Wits University, Phiyega’s appointment has come as a huge relief since women are often victims of violent crimes. Janda hopes as a woman Phiyega is better placed than a man to deal sensitively, carefully and urgently with rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment among other gross crimes perpetrated on women and children.

“It’s a plus for all South African women because we have someone who understands us better and who will be more sensitive to our issues,” she said.

Milsa Janda, a Johannesburg based journalist said that like all citizens, she would prefer someone who is experienced to take up such a huge post. She however added that Phiyega’s lack of policing experience should not count against her – instead she should be given the benefit of the doubt.

“I always wonder how such appointments are made. It would be in the public interest to know the selection criteria used in appointing people to such posts so we can input and also showcase all potential candidates rather than just announcing the name of the appointed person,” Janda added.

Although she admitted to having her own fears, Phiyega was happy to accept the challenges and responsibilities tied to the post.

SKA in SA – an international sensation

SKA in SA – an international sensation

Local and international media have been buzzing with news after it was announced that the majority of the SKA, the world’s largest radio telescope array, will be built in South Africa.