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COUNCILLOR ARRESTED FOR COLLEAGUE’S MURDER

Knysna Ward 4 Councillor Velile Waxa (pictured above) was amongst the four men arrested last week in connection with the murder of local ANC Councillor Victor Molosi last month.

Thorough investigation by the SAPS Western Cape Provincial Task Team into the death of Molosi (50) led to the apprehending of the four suspects on Tuesday 14 August 2018, two in Knysna, including the 58 year old councillor, and two in Cape Town.

The popular, long serving ANC councillor Molosi was fatally shot at around 10pm on Monday 23 July, on the road outside his home in Concordia. He was on his way back from a school governing body meeting.

According to SAPS Spokesperson Captain Malcolm Pojie, an integrated task team convened by Eden Cluster’s General Reddy and comprising members from the Provincial Organised Crime Unit, Eden Cluster Detectives, Knysna Detectives and Eden Cluster Crime Intelligence, was established to investigate this case. Their non-stop efforts paid dividends when the investigation took them to Cape Town where two suspects (both 37 year olds) were arrested.

Simultaneously, investigations led to the arrest of another two suspects, aged 58 and 42 years old at their homes in Knysna. This brought the number of arrests for the entire investigation to five – the first suspect Mandla Tyololo (39) had been arrested earlier in the month and charged with Conspiracy to Commit Murder.

Councillor Waxa, along with Mwanda Makala (42) and Vela Dumisa (37), appeared in Knysna Magistrates Court on Thursday 16 August, all facing charges of murder. Tyololo joined them, appearing on his initial charge of Conspiracy to Commit Murder. The fifth suspect was released due to insufficient evidence linking him to the crime.

All were remanded in custody and the matter was postponed to 23 August 2018.

Pojie says that the investigation has been thorough and has progressed very well. He believes that the court prosecutor will have a strong case to present to the court.

When asked to comment on possible motives for the crime he said that they do not wish to make any speculations that may affect the court case.

A GIANT FAREWELL

by Melanie Baumeister
On Friday 29 June a wounded juvenile Humpback whale beached itself on the shores of Sedgefield between Swartvlei and The river-mouth, causing a heartfelt stir amongst our local, nature-loving community.
Almost immediately on site was scientific guide and marine biologist, Mark Dixon, who was able to confirm the extent of the whale’s injuries and, as it turned out, record the sad farewell of this immense mammal. According to the very moving footage posted on You-Tube the same day by Mark, the young creature sang its last song just before 14h00.
On Saturday 30 June, Cape Nature and SANParks conducted biometric measurements and biopsy sampling – skin, blubber and muscle samples were taken from the back, tail and wound area. Baleen (the whale’s mouth) samples were taken from the upper jaw and various length measurements were made with an overall length of 8.83m being recorded. The wounds, though not confirmed by forensic examination, did indicate possible Orca Whale or shark attack.
There have been numerous public enquiries as to why the animal was not dissected to check for stomach contents – and while there is a pressing need to check if plastic ingestion contributed to the death of the whale, there are some good reasons as to why this would not be viable: Permissions from the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), the South African authority which has jurisdiction over marine animals, are notoriously hard to acquire – it is almost impossible to get as an individual and it would be up to an organisation to submit a permit request.
Since the beaching occurred on a Friday the weekend became a bureaucratic obstacle too. As for experienced personnel to perform the operation – one was overseas at an international conference and the other unavailable. Even with red tape aside, the position and size of the creature would have made such a dissection logistically challenging and very expensive to even attempt.
As a result, it was decided to bury the whale where she lay, on Friday 6 July. In a combined exercise by SANParks and Knysna Municipality, a pit was excavated and the carcass laid to rest. Two earth moving machines were used, a front-end loader and a TLB compacting the sand at the base after the pit was dug. Then, in a series of manoeuvres, the carcass was rolled into the hole and covered up. Proceedings started at 10h00 and finished at 12h15.
It was noted before the whale was buried that part of the tail and a fin had been clandestinely removed from the carcass. While it is unsure whether this was for traditional medicine, illegal wildlife trade or simply as a souvenir, whoever did it came well prepared and knew what they were doing. Cuts on the tail and around the pectoral region indicated they knew where to cut between the joints to avoid sawing through bone, suggesting that this isn’t the work of a souvenir collector.
Sadness aside, from an educational point of view the presence of the whale carcass has been an ideal learning experience, with some schools arranging trips to see the huge mammal. Even during the burial, two groups arrived to learn about whales in particular and the dangers of plastics to our environment. In the passing of this magnificent young creature, Sedgefielders have had the opportunity to observe a marine event right up close and personal.
The Edge would like to extend our thanks to Mark Dixon of Garden Route Trails for providing us with all the necessary information, and for his communications with all the parties involved so that the community could be kept abreast of events as they happened.

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KNYSNA DECLARED DISASTER AREA BY COUNCIL

(Pictured above:- Acting Municipal Manager Johnny Diuglas with Mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies)

In a special Council Meeting held this afternoon at Knysna Council Chambers, Executive Mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies tabled a motion to declare Knysna a ‘Local Disaster Area’, receiving full support from all the other councilors. This as flare-ups of the widespread fire are being reported in Belvidere, Brenton and Elandskraal due to increasing wind speed. 

In terms of section 55.1 of the Disaster Management Act, this declaration will give the municipality access to national, regional and local government funding reserved for such emergency situations, thus making them better-resourced to not only continue the ongoing disaster management but also mop up and rebuilding operations that will need to be faced in the near future.

At a media briefing before the meeting a visibly tired but determined Bouw-Spies pointed out that whilst the blaze had seemingly been under control for most of today, the wind had picked up again and reports of flare-ups were coming in, keeping the huge numbers of fire crew and the helicopter pilots busy. She asked that people avoid returning to evacuated areas as there was no saying if, when and where the fires could rage out of control again, and that ‘bombing’ the fires from the water-carrying choppers is not possible if people have moved back into the danger areas.

The Acting Municipal Manager Johnny Douglas said that firefighters had been arriving in busloads from all over South Africa to assist fighting the fires, and that they were starting to deploy members of the ‘Working On Fire’ crew to other areas.

Also at the briefing, SAPS Spokesman Captain Malcolm Poje reported that there had been misinformation doing the rounds regarding people being caught starting the fires.  He said all of these concocted rumours were unfounded and no cases of arson had been opened. Asked about ‘looting’ the Captain said seven people had been arrested for being in possession of stolen property, some of the property later being found to have been stolen from a fire-affected home in Brenton.  Answering a question about the availability of a ‘Missing Persons’ list of people displaced by the fires, he said that there had only been one report of a missing person, a 70 year old Sedgefield lady, who had been found at her friend’s home a few hours later.

Meanwhile the water situation in Knysna has become critical with some areas having no water at all, due to there being no power at a few of the pump stations. Water collection points have been set up in the area where residents affected may collect 400 litres per day.

 

DEMI-LEIGH IN MISS SA FINALS

It’s official! Sedgefield’s very own Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters has been announced as one of the 12 Miss South Africa finalists.

Surely the hearts of the whole community will be behind this lovely lass as she competes to wear the prestigious crown at the Sun City Superbowl on Sunday, March 26.

Should she be crowned Miss South Africa 2017, the ex-Sedgefield Primary School head girl will receive R1-million in cash from sponsors Sun International and Cell C, as well as a bouquet of prizes that have elevated the competition to one of the richest pageants in the world.

Demi-Leigh, who is a B.Com Business Management and Entrepreneurship graduate of North West University in Potchefstroom, took a break from her busy modelling career to come to Sedgefield and visit her family over the December holidays. During this time she raised over R6000 for the Fresh Start charity.

The Miss SA finalists come from three of the country’s nine provinces: eight are from Gauteng, Demi and one other from the Western Cape and two from Kwa-Zulu Natal.

When we caught up with Demi she took time from her busy schedule to share a Sedgefield memory.

“I moved to Sedgefield with my parents at the age of eight. The older I got the more I realized how privileged I am to have grown up in a town where everyone knows everyone and where people truly care and look out for each other,” she said.

“Living in a big city now, I thank my parents for giving me the quality of life every child deserves. Playing in the street until it’s too dark to see the ball anymore or taking a walk to school in the morning. Sedgefield made me humble and taught me to appreciate the small things in life. One of my life mottos is The small things in life add up to be the big things.”

Chuckling she added “My modelling career also started in Sedgefield when I won Little Miss Sedgefield in khaki safari pants and tekkies. Luckily my fashion sense has improved over the years.

Parents Anna-Marie and Johan Steenkamp, still living in Sedgefield, are understandably proud of their daughter’s achievements, but won’t take any of the credit for themselves.
“Demi is responsible for her own successes,” says her mother, “She works very hard, and once she sets a goal, she achieves it. We are very blessed as parents to have such an angel for a child.”

The EDGE has been following Demi’s modelling progress ever since she was a young Sedgefield Primary student – once even suggesting she was “A future Miss South Africa in the making?” Little did we know how prophetic that headline was!

For the first time in the history of the Miss South Africa pageant, members of the public have been invited to vote for their favourite competitor. Public voting for the finals opened on midnight on February 2 and SMS votes will have a 25 percent weighting of the overall voting towards the winner, with 75 percent resting with the official judges. Voting is done via SMS – and the public may send the number of their favourite Top 12 finalist (Demi’s number is 03) to the short code number 45791. Each SMS will cost R1.50 and proceeds from the competition will benefit the Cell C Girl Child Bursary Fund.