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Newcastle community in shock, families urge police to effect arrests – SABC News

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The recent killing of ANC activist Martin Sithole has left the Newcastle community in northern KwaZulu-Natal in shock.

Sithole and his friend, Buthanani Shange, were ambushed by unknown men, who shot and killed them at the weekend.

The families of the victims have called on police to work around the clock to effect arrests.

Sithole’s relative Fikile Ndima says they will only find closure after police have arrested those responsible for the crime.

“We are still in shock and disbelief that Martin is no more. He loved his family and his community at large. He left his young children; it is so sad. We urge police to arrest those responsible so we can also know the motive for his killing.”

No arrests have yet been made. It’s since emerged that Sithole was a witness in the murder trial of Newcastle Mayor Ntuthuko Mahlaba.

Mahlaba was arrested in March this year in connection with the 2016 killing of former Emalahleni regional ANC youth league leader, Wandile Ngubeni.

“Sithole was vocal in the area and would often call other leaders into order,” says Mqapheli Ngcobo who was a friend.

The ANC wants swift action from police. “They hope that the killers are caught sooner. It would be a shame if politicians are involved in the killing of Sithole,” says Chris Mhlophe who is from the ANC Emalahleni region.

Witnesses say the suspects opened fire from inside a grey car before driving off. Sithole’s friends describe him as a dedicated African National Congress (ANC) member and a voice of reason.

Sithole is survived by his wife and four children.

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PICS: Occupied house left in ruins by now-evicted BLF members

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A lawyer from Pretoria has managed to have a group of Black First Land First (BLF) members who had occupied a house in Brooklyn, Pretoria, evicted – according to Sunday newspaper Rapport.

The paper reported that the sheriff of the court removed the occupiers on Friday after an eviction order was issued by the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

The party – who managed to garner a mere 0.11% of votes nationally on the May 8 general elections – suffered another blow last week when it was forced to give up on a court fight for its supporters who occupied the house in the posh Pretoria suburb of Brooklyn, Times Select reported. 

Times Select had reportedly seen a letter written by BLF leader Andile Mngxitama to attorney Mike Potgieter, the executor of the deceased estate of Willem and Dorothea Serfontein – the owners of the property at the centre of the legal battle.

“We confirm having arranged for the applicant’s attorney (Potgieter) to inform the court … that the respondent [BLF and the group of illegal occupiers] are hereby withdrawing from this case as they were unable to secure legal representation due to the lack of funds,” the letter reads.

“The respondents ask that the court make no order as to costs (each party to pay its own costs) and the respondents do not have funds to attend the court.”

Toilets were used but not flushed. (Deon Raath, Rapport)

The Citizen reported about the occupation of the house in August last year. 

House stood empty for years

The house “invaders”, who claim to be students, moved into the unoccupied thatched-roof house [in July 2018], The Citizen reported.

When confronted, they reportedly said they could not afford accommodation and called their “lawyer”, who turned out to be Mngxitama, who is not an attorney.

According to The Citizen, Potgieter launched an urgent application to have the students evicted, saying they illegally gained access to the property and were trespassing. Judge Nelisa Mali, however, ruled that the application was not urgent and struck it off the roll.

The main house on the property had reportedly been standing empty for years after the owners died, leaving the property to their sons, who both live abroad.

On Thursday, Judge A.J. Brand ruled that Amanda Mjindi, Dlozi Mthetwa and others living at 235 Brooks Street in Brooklyn must leave the property and carry the costs of the eviction order, Rapport reported. 

‘They moved in to destroy the house’

Rapport quoted Renier de Meyer of Interactive Security, who said the eviction was carried out without incident.

He told that publication that it appeared that the BLF members had moved into the house “to destroy” and estimated damages to the property at R500 000.

The kitchen was so dirty that security guards battled to open the door. (Deon Raath, Rapport)

Back in August last year, Times Select reported that, when its reporter visited the house, the neighbours, who did not want to be named, expressed concern about the situation and that their sympathy levels with the group of occupiers were low.

“I am worried about the value of my property going down,” one neighbour reportedly said.

According to Rapport, the house had been stripped of electrical wiring and light fittings, the interior of the house had been severely neglected, toilets had been used but not flushed and litter was lying around everywhere. The garden and pool were also reportedly in a state of severe disrepair.

Mngxitama requested that Rapport send him questions in writing. To this, he reportedly replied: “F*ck you.” 

BLF members on the pavement after being evicted from a house they had occupied. (Deon Raath, Rapport)

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Three Geeks Rescue a 50-Year-Old IBM 360 Mainframe From an Abandoned Building

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In late April of 2019 Slashdot reader Adam Bradley and engineer Chris Blackburn were “sitting in a pub on a Monday night when Chris happened across a somewhat unusual eBay listing…”

They eventually submitted the winning bid for an IBM 360 Model 20 mainframe — €3,710 (about $4,141 USD) — and proceeded to pick it up from an abandoned building “in the backstreets of Nuremberg, Germany.” (Where they tackled several issues with a tiny door that hadn’t been opened since the 1970s.) By day Adam is a railway software engineer, but he’s also been involved in computer history for over a decade at The National Museum of Computing in Bletchley, England.

Along with engineer Peter Vaughan, the three are now blogging “the saga that unfurled…and how we eventually tackled the problems we discovered.” But after much beer, whisky, and Weiner Schnitzel, Adam assures us the story ends with a victory:
The machine will shortly be headed to the UK for a full restoration to working order. We’re planning to blog the entire process and hope some of you might be interested in reading more about it.

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The hidden lives of ‘housegirls’ in Kenya

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In Uganda, young women are leaving their homes to try and find jobs as domestic workers, but for some their new lives can lead to mistreatment and abuse.

A charity in Kenya is calling for the introduction of laws to protect domestic workers, commonly referred to as housegirls, to ensure their safety.

For BBC Africa Eye, reporter Nancy Kacungira has been investigating why young women living near Uganda’s border are leaving their villages to find work in Kenya.

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