City staff robbed, hijacked while doing flood repair jobs

Others have been robbed while fixing power lines or water pipes.

In the wake of flash floods and heavy rainfall last week, criminals are hampering mop-up operations and service restorations in the City of Tshwane, with one senior official being hijacked while supervising a callout.

City personnel have been attacked and robbed, City of Tshwane spokesperson Selby Bokaba said.

A director of energy in the city, who was on a callout in Nellmapius, Mamelodi on Saturday, was attacked by armed hijackers who took his car and cellphone.

“He was not harmed, but they took his vehicle, phones and belongings. These are some of the challenges we are faced with. “Some of our managers are driving their private vehicles to ensure our people get services, but they are exposed to danger. Their belongings are taken at gunpoint,” Bokaba added.

Technicians and electricians have been working around the clock to fix power outages that had left close to 80% of the city in the dark. Staff were “thinly stretched”, with each getting between four to five hours sleep before resuming duty, he added.

Most of the city had power again, but a substation on Eland Road in Koedoespoort was “completely vandalised” so there will be no power there for several days.

The city’s roads were covered in mud and debris after floods followed two days of non-stop rain.

Many parts of Pretoria had power outages or burst water pipes for more than 48 hours.

Roads were closed as potholes formed, with one car falling into a three-metredeep sinkhole on the R55 near Valhalla.

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Police warn residents to be on the lookout for ATM scammers

Police warn residents against potential scammers at ATMs following a complaint by an elderly woman. 

Parkview Police have issued safety tips to anyone who makes cash withdrawals at an ATM machine.

This follows a report from an elderly woman residing in Parkhurst, who alleged that two men attempted to scam her at the ATM located on 4th Avenue, Parkhurst, after she had withdrawn cash on 19 February.

The complainant, who would not be named, said the two men advised her to insert her bank card back into the ATM machine and enter her Pin as she needed to cancel her transaction before departing.

Following the report, Rosebank Killarney Gazette contacted the Parkview Police Station. Captain Tintswalo Sibeko, spokesperson at the station said, “This is the first report we have received from someone being scammed at an ATM. We, would, however, like to advise residents to be vigilant at all times while making use of an ATM.”

She offered the following safety tips:

  • Be alert and conscious of your surroundings when using the ATM
  • Never give your card or Pin ( personal identification number) to anyone, for any reason
  • Don’t write your Pin on the card or anything that is kept with the card
  • Do not insert your card until asked to do so by the display screen
  • Never use an ATM with a blank screen and, if the ATM is obscured from view or poorly lit, leave immediately and find another ATM
  • Stand close to the ATM and use your body and hand as a shield to make sure nobody sees you keying in your Pin
  • Make sure you keep your hand over the card slot to make sure nobody can swop or take your card
  • Never accept help from strangers when using an ATM. You should be wary of strangers asking for help
  • Criminals work in teams – one to distract you while the other steals your card or money
  • If your card is retained (swallowed) by the ATM, it is advisable to phone your bank’ s toll-free stop-card line immediately and stop your card
  • Never allow a bystander to call the toll-free stop-card line on your behalf – they could be tricking you into thinking your card has been stopped
  • Guards are placed at ATMs to discourage criminal activities and therefore cannot help you with transactions
  • It is advisable to set a daily ATM withdrawal limit at your branch
  • If you need help, ask a bank official.
SOURCE

Enterprise polony identified as source of listeria outbreak

More than 16 environmental samples from the Enterprise Polokwane factory tested positive for the listeriosis monocytogenes strain ST 6.
Image: ALON SKUY

Polony and products from an Enterprise Foods factory in Polokwane‚ Limpopo‚ are the source of the world’s largest outbreak of listeria.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi made the announcement on Sunday afternoon.

More than 16 environmental samples from the Enterprise Polokwane factory tested positive for the listeriosis monocytogenes strain ST 6.

The results from the factory were confirmed at midnight on Saturday at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases as the strain to blame for the outbreak that killed 27% of patients in South Africa.

“Avoid all processed meat products that are sold as ready to eat‚” said Motsoaledi. He told pregnant women to avoid any processed meat “like the plague”.

“The National Consumer Commission has issued the manufacturer involved [Enterprise] with food recall notices‚” Motsoaledi said.

This particular strain of listeria monocytogenes that infected so many people is sequence-type 6 and was particularly “virulent”. It was transmitted from food.

It led to at least 180 deaths and infected almost 1‚000 people.

“It is the worst outbreak in global history‚” Professor Lucia Anelich from Anelich Consulting Food Safety Solutions said earlier.

Listeriosis affects the elderly‚ those with compromised immune systems such as people with Aids and diabetics, and newborn babies.

The disease is particularly scary for pregnant woman who may have no symptoms when being infected with the bacteria but can pass it on to their babies.

It is believed the number of stillbirths may have increased as a result of pregnant women infected with it‚ said Juno Thomas‚ head of enteric diseases at the NICD.

One of the reasons it is so hard to find is because, even in solid food‚ a scientist may sample the infected food and not find it. For example‚ a slice of polony could be tested and have none of the micro-organism, but a different slice could have it.

Anelich said: “A micro-organism in a solid food is not homogenously distributed throughout food. A statistical sampling technique has to be used to ensure it is detected.”

It is also difficult to find in factories. Anelich said it could hide away in niches in the factory environment in cracks or bad joints and pipes.

Even if you sanitised a factory‚ you could miss the bugs hiding in cracks‚ she said.

Listeria bacteria can sense when it is near other bacteria and secrete a sugary goo. This substance is called a biofilm and can allow the bacteria to live on inanimate surfaces.

The biofilm protects the bacteria from cleaning agents. “A detergent could get superficial cells but leave behind some bacteria.”

Motsoaledi said that people at risk such as pregnant women‚ those with HIV and weakened immune system had to avoid all ready-to-eat products such as viennas‚ polony and frankfurters. These could be cross-contaminated in shops as they are often stored next to polony.

A Rainbow Chicken factory in Wolwerhoek in Sasolburg also tested positive for listeria monocytogenes – but it was not the strain causing this current outbreak.

Polony made by Rainbow Chicken has also been recalled.

Listeriosis – what to do with your Enterprise or Rainbow polony?

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