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The year in review

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Making headlines in 2017 ...

January

9 – Killed for his takkies: A 35-year-old Kimberley man, Joseph Thomas, was found stabbed to death, apparently for a pair of All Star takkies.

23 – Flooded city runs dry: Hundreds of residents flocked to the Roodepan Police Station to collect water due to an erratic water supply, while water problems were also experienced in other parts of the city.

24 – Billions needed to fix water: Residents are warned to brace for more water shutdowns, while the municipality announces that a massive five to six billion rand is needed to repair and maintain the city’s aging infrastructure.

25 – Battle for top ANC chair. While the ANC has denied that there are any factions, battle lines have already been drawn between the two front runner contesting the provincial leadership of the ANC, namely Zumani Saul and Sylvia Lucas.

February

2 – Sol plan man faces fraud charge: A 48-year-old technical assistant working in the building control section at the Sol Plaatje Municipality is expected to appear in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on charges of fraud and corruption to the value of R2.2 million.

7 – Still Alive: The faint cries of a baby led a Cassandra teenager to discover an abandoned newborn baby girl, who had been left next to a road in the suburb.

14 – ANC ‘at war with itself’: ANC members became embroiled in fisticuffs, due to infighting that disrupted the annual ANC provincial lekgota at the Horseshoe Motel in Kimberley, there the SAPS used pepper spray to disperse the crowd.

16 – Bombshell in gem trial: Shocking evidence, suggesting that diamond mining giant De Beers, as well as Kimberley Ekapa Mining JV CEO, Jahn Hohne, initiated and funded Project Darling, a covert police operation which resulted in one of the biggest illicit diamond dealing busts in the history of South Africa and the arrest of several high-profile names in the local diamond industry, was revealed in the Northern Cape High Court.

22 – Four die in flood: Three farmworkers in Augrabies have drowned and the police are still searching for the body of a fourth worker after their homes were washed away following heavy rainfall in the area.

March

7 – Hawks probe Sol travel scandal: A high-ranking office bearer at the Sol Plaatje Municipality is currently being investigated by the Hawks for allegedly submitting fraudulent travel claims involving nearly a million rand.

9 – Warzone: A domestic dispute between a former policeman and his wife, also a police officer, led to a bloody gun-battle at a busy intersection in the Kimberley CBD late yesterday afternoon. The former policeman as well as two police officers were killed during the shootout while another policeman was seriously injured.

10 – They are heroes: The two hero cops, who lost their lives in the line of duty during a bloody shootout in Kimberley, Warrant Officer Duncan Vertue, 46, and Sergeant Gregory Vis, 36, will be given an official funeral.

24 – Snake attack sparks protest: While a 52-year-old Kimberley man is fighting for his life in the Kimberley Hospital’s intensive care unit after he was bitten by a snake, his fellow residents in Colville took to the streets yesterday in a protest calling for service delivery and a clean-up of the area by the Sol Plaatje Municipality.

April

6 – Pub attackers found guilty: Three of the four people accused of attacking a Hadison Park resident at his house opposite the former Shadows Pub in 2014, have been found guilty of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm (GBH).

7 – A cry for help: A young child and a seven-month pregnant woman were among the injured after police opened fire with rubber bullets and stun grenades on angry residents who took to the streets in service delivery protests in Colville.

10 – Deadline to bring an end to city’s billion rand nightmare: The completion date of the ill-fated Kimberley mental hospital, which consists of 31 blocks and will accommodate 286 patients, has now been set for the end of this year – bringing to an end a 12-year billion-rand nightmare.

13 – Woman shot in hostage drama: A 32-year-old reservist constable was arrested after a hostage situation unfolded in Roodepan following a domestic dispute which culminated in the man’s wife being shot.

19 – Court halts Sol land sale: Cope has lodged a complaint with the Public Protector and the presidential anti-corruption hotline after vacant municipal land in Riviera was allocated to the Sol Plaatje executive mayor, Mangaliso Matika, and other officials during a council meeting last week.

21 – Missing man found dead: A 19-year-old man appeared in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court after the body of Ridhwaan Mackay, who went missing last week, was found on the R31 road near the Kimberley mental hospital.

26 – Court bid to stop ANC: In a desperate attempt to prevent the ANC’s provincial elective conference from taking place next month, ANC members yesterday gave the party’s Provincial Executive Committee until 10am tomorrow to postpone the troubled conference or face court action.

May

4 – Illegal miners fight eviction: Hundreds of miners in Kimberley stand to lose not only their income but also their homes if an eviction order, granted by the Northern Cape High Court in December last year, is enforced, according to the group’s legal representative.

5 – Hackers clean out city man: A Carters Glen resident, whose cellphone SIM card stopped working, watched in horror after doing a SIM swop as message after message appeared on his phone indicating that numerous transactions – varying from between R3 500 to R5 200 each – were paid out of his account, resulting in him losing more than R71 000.

11 – ANC turns on Sylvia: Premier Sylvia Lucas dropped a bombshell when she announced a surprise provincial cabinet reshuffle, as MECs were making their way to the ANC provincial elective conference in Colesberg – a move which saw the axing of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism MEC Mac Jack, as well as MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison, Pauline Williams.

16 – Fat salaries but no meetings: While city residents are paying more than R27 million a year in salaries for the city’s 65 councillors, most council committees have only met once so far this year.

17 – Premier safe but must reverse cabinet reshuffle: The newly elected ANC Provincial Executive Committee said there were no plans to remove Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas, but has ordered that the MECs who were axed be reinstated.

19 – Dad’s reign of terror: In one of the most shocking cases of child abuse in Kimberley, a 33-year-old city father has pleaded guilty to assaulting his three-month-old son, resulting in the child being mentally disabled, as well as twice raping his 11-year-old stepdaughter, leaving her pregnant.

22 – Top cop denies chopper abuse: Reports that the Northern Cape Commissioner of Police, Lieutenant-General Risimati Shivuri, used a police helicopter for personal errands during the ANC’s elective conference in Colesberg, have been denied by the SAPS in the province.

26 – Seven life sentences and another 388 years: In one of the harshest sentences ever handed down to an offender in the Northern Cape, a serial rapist from Kimberley was sentenced to seven life terms in prison as well as a further combined 388 years imprisonment, after he was found guilty of 32 counts of rape and two counts of attempted rape.

June

2 – Top cop’s English policy under fire: The Northern Cape police’s English-only language policy will be challenged in the high court following the serving of papers by trade union Solidarity yesterday.

6 – “I will wear two caps”: Candidates contesting the ward 24 by-elections on June 14 believe that there may be a conflict of interest, where the DA candidate, who is also the CEO of the Northern Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sharon Steyn will be standing to be elected as a ward councillor.

7 – Fire hero: An 87-year-old grandmother and three young children were saved in a dramatic rescue after their house in Stokroos Street, Squarehill Park, caught alight.

13 – Axed MECs get jobs back: Personal vendettas will not be allowed to get in the way of the Department of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism serving the public to the best of its abilities, says freshly reinstated MEC, Mac Jack, who was sworn in, together with Pauline Williams, yesterday.

19 – More charges against dealer: Local businessman, Esias “Sakkie” Gerber, was arrested in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on 11 charges believed to be related to vehicle theft, fraud and money-laundering. He was in court following an inquiry into why he failed to appear for his on-going original case.

22 – Granny’s horrific rape ordeal: A 68-year-old grandmother is unable to sit after she was allegedly raped by her neighbour while her two young grandchildren were asleep next to her in her bed in Lerato Park.

29 – Flight chaos: Kimberley’s business people are losing millions of rands due to cancelled or delayed flights between the city and Johannesburg.

30 – Cops shot dead in station: The police launched a manhunt after two members of the SAPS were killed in what is believed to have been an armed robbery at the Koffiefontein Police Station.

July

3 – Hunt on for rhino killers: The slaughter of eight white rhino, which were poached on a farm near Kimberley, has resulted in mass outrage and a combined effort from law enforcement, government and other roleplayers, to ensure that the culprits are brought to book.

17 – Hungry dog eats owner: While the body of a 61-year-old man, found in his home in Herlear, has yet to be positively identified, the man’s dog had to be euthenised after it was discovered that it had eat flesh from the body.

19 – Anger over levy: A number of ANC members employed by the state in the Northern Cape feel that they are being coerced into paying a levy, which will be deducted from their bank accounts, for party fund-raising purposes.

20 – Traffic official guilty of assault: A senior clerk at the Sol Plaatje Traffic Department was sentenced in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court after being found guilty of assault following an incident where she stabbed a colleague several times with a knife in the office.

26 – Shack owners charge Sol: A case of theft and malicious damage to property has been opened against the Sol Plaatje Municipality after shacks were demolished at the Lerato Park informal settlement.

August

1 – Mineshaft in my backyard: A city resident woke up to discover a massive unused mineshaft next to her house which is part of the Hull Street housing project, after the layer of soil which covered the shaft caved in.

7 – City doctor found dead: Kimberley and its medical fraternity are reeling in shock following the unexplained death of West End Hospital medical officer Dr Caryn Collins, who was found dead in her bed at her home in MacDougal Street by her colleagues.

23 – Rare buck killed for food: Three young men appeared in the Barkly West Magistrate’s Court for allegedly poaching an extremely rare black oryx, believed to be the only one of its kind in South African and valued at around R8 million, on the Mattanu Private Game Reserve outside Kimberley.

25 – Unmoved: While a stand-off between hundreds of illegal miners, currently operating in and around Kimberley, and security personnel of Kimberley Ekapa Mining Joint Venture ended without incident yesterday, tension remain high as miners have vowed to return to the site of the their operations, despite threats of forced removal.

September

1 – School of mothers: A massive public outcry has erupted following reports that 30 pupils at one school in the Northern Cape have been impregnated by teachers, after their were allegedly given stipends for unprotected sex.

6 – R500 million boost for city: The Sol Plaatje Municipality has been given a R496 million injection from National Treasury to upgrade the stormwater channels in the city in a project that will be implement in three phases, with phase one focusing on Nobengula Road.

8 – Daylight raid in cell store: While ordinary members of the public were going about their business in one of Kimberley’s busiest malls, four armed robbers walked into a cellphone retailer, held up staff and escaped with pones and hardware, without raising any alarms.

11 – “Why we back Cyril”: The ANC in the Northern cape has been vocal in its support for Cyril Ramaphosa and the party’s provincial chairperson, Zamani Saul, has explained why the deputy president is the man to take the organisation and the country forward.

13 – Mine riot: Ongoing tensions between hundreds of illegal miners operation in and around Kimberley and security personnel of Kimberley Ekapa Mining Joint Venture boiled over resulting in mine security opening fire on the miners.

18 – Necklaced: A pair of feet were the only identifiable remains of a man who was murdered in what is believed to be a “necklacing” incident in Ritchie at the weekend after the man was apparently placed inside tyres and set alight before burning to death.

27 – Two busted with boot full of cash: Police have refused to comment on the apparent link between an alleged money runner, who was arrested in the Northern Cape in possession of a large pile of banknotes, believed to be around R2 million, and a family relation who is a high-ranking police officer based in Pretoria.

October

3 – Buffalo victim dies in hospital: A 63-year-old man, Willem Roux, who was admitted to hospital last week with serious injuries and massive blood loss, after he was gored by a buffalo on a farm near Kimberley, has died.

5 – Saying no saved my life: A provincial paramedic, who works in Kimberley, escaped almost certain death after she turned down a lift, offered by the driver of a bakkie, which minutes later smashed into a truck on the N12, resulting in the death of six people.

9 – Slaughter of the innocent: A Kimberley family suffered a devastating blow when they lost eight family members, including four children, in a horrific crash on the Barkly West road after their Toyota Corolla was hit by a Land Cruiser.

13 – Taming the tiger: It is all systems go at the Diamond Oval as Kimberley gears up for this weekend’s international cricket action, during an ODI between the Proteas and Bangladesh.

19 – No water to stop tragedy: Residents in Ritchie have blamed the Sol Plaatje Municipality for the death of 21-year-old Bulelane Mtunuka, who burnt to death in a shack after neighbours were unable to extinguish the blaze because their taps have been dry for more than a year.

20 – Racial attack rocks town: A 38-year-old man is due to appear in court after an apparent racially-motivated incident left a young Kathu man dead and another in hospital during an incident in which the driver of a 4×4 bakkie allegedly deliberately drove into four young men.

26 – Fire guts city clinic: The clinic at the Galeshewe Day Hospital will be shut for at least three weeks after damages, estimated at R16 million, were caused by a fire that erupted in the records room late on Tuesday night.

30 – Row over city centre’s bill: While government departments have paid over R13 million to host events at the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre in Kimberley from 2013 to date, none of the proceeds have made their way back to the provincial coffers. The unpaid water and lights account, including interest, owed to the Sol Plaatje Municipality has risen to more than R9 million.

November

2 – Bullet in his bladder: A 32-year-old farm worker is facing a charge of murder and attempted murder after allegedly going on a shooting rampage, killing an emerging farmer and shooting another man in the testicles.

8 – Cops raid house after heist: While the police launched a massive manhunt yesterday for four suspects who shot two business people during a robbery in Galeshewe, a later development saw a heavily-armed contingent of Tactical Response Team members provide support during a raid on an upmarket house in Royldene.

10 – Killer Koekie gets a reprieve: The Supreme Court of Appeal has ruled that Gloudine “Koekie” Botha, now 70 years old and destitute, must be resentenced, after she was found guilty in December 2015 for the murder of her husband, a prominent Britstown farmer.

13 – Young girl dies in class: Mass hysteria erupted at Endeavour Primary School in Kimberley on Friday morning after 11-year-old Nayla Adams, died after suffering an asthma attack while sitting in her Grade 5 classroom.

15 – Cop in court after raid: Ross Henderson’s son, a Kimberley police constable, has been arrested and appeared in the Galeshewe Magistrate’s Court yesterday, together with a co-accused, on four charges of attempted murder and one of business robbery following a police raid at Henderson’s house earlier this month.

16 – Bucher faces rape charges: A prominent local businessman, Adriaan de Klerk, the owner of West End Meat Supply, appeared in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court yesterday on two charges of rape, one charge of attempted rape and one of sexual assault.

20 – The boot: Zimbabwe’s ruling party fired Robert Mugabe as its leader and gave the 93-year-old 24 hours to to quit as head of state or face impeachment, in an attempt to force a peaceful end to his 37 years in power after a de facto coup.

30 – Mine in troubled waters: Kimberley Ekapa Mining Joint Venture has been given an ultimatum of five days to begin dismantle a 50-metre ramp that was illegally built at Kamfers Dam, which is home to hundreds of lesser flamingos.

December

4 – Dogs feast on fire victim: Family members of a 21-year-old Greenpoint man, who died in a shack fire, were left horrified and distraught after dogs feasted on the deceased’s remains, which were apparently left behind by forensic officials.

7 – Equally guilty: While Gauteng High Court judge found Louise and Kobus Koekemoer guilty of the murder of Poppie van der Merwe, 3, he was so outraged by the failure of anyone in Orania acting against the clear child abuse, that he remarked that it could be argued that they were accessories.

12 – Sol defends “mini Nkandla”: The municipality has defended the hundreds of thousands of rands spent on “bells and whistles” to beauty the Sol Plaatje executive mayor Mangaliso Matika’s private residence in Henry Schmidt Street, stating that they were part of the perks that the mayor was entitled to, along with the security that was beefed up.

13 – Mayor needs new wheels: The Sol Plaatje Municipality’s Executive Mayor, Mangaliso Matika, needs a spanking new set of wheels after his Mercedes Benz E500 was stuck for almost two hours in the parking lot at the OK grocery store in Long Street yesterday morning.

14 – More charges in Poppie case: More people may be held accountable for the horrific abuse suffered by little Poppie van der Merwe and her five-year-old brother, after an NGO this week laid criminal charges of child abuse against those who saw the bruises on the children’s bodies, but never alerted the police.

15 – Disease claims first victim in province: A patient at Kimberley’s Lenmed hospital has died of Listeriosis (Lysteriamonocytogenis), which has already claimed at least 36 lives across the country, while local hospitals are on full alert for the detection of the infection.

19 – CR: In the end it was the number of votes that separated new ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa from his rival Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as Ramaphosa was called to the podium to take his place at the President of the ANC, 23 years after he had been overlooked for the role of Deputy President of the country.

20 – Bike man put on ice: Kimberley DA councillor at the Sol Plaatje Municipality, ockert Fourie, whose Facebook “vitriolic post” against bikers has gone viral, has not only been suspended from the party, but is also facing a hate speech investigation by the SA Human Rights Commission after he stated that he wanted to see the “blood and brains” of bikers, who made a noise, on “lamp poles and in the tar of the road”.

► Pictures: Soraya Crowie and Danie van der Lith