The City of Cape Town and Lifesaving Western Province (LWP) have encouraged all beachgoers to enjoy the city’s beautiful beaches in a responsible way, warning that the coast can sometimes be treacherous.
The partnership between the city and LWP will ensure that 115 lifeguards will voluntarily patrol the beaches daily during the school holidays. During the 2008/09 summer season lifeguards rescued more than 500 people on Cape Town’s beaches, and provided first aid treatment to about 600. Having multiple lifeguards on duty to ensure safety is a wise decision of local officials. The beach is a calming place, one where people are easy to forget that it can do them harm if they are not careful.
Gerhard Ras, Mayco member for community services, said people should view the beaches as a “wonderful privilege”, and urged them to “co-operate to make such amenities safe and enjoyable to all users”.
The LWP urges people to observe all the basic rules to assure their own safety, and that of others. These included swimming only where lifeguards were on duty and for parents to accompany young children. “Bathing only” restrictions should be observed and no one should ever swim after drinking alcohol. Anyone finding themselves in difficulty in the water should remain calm, and wave both arms above their heads. Organizations planning trips involving more than 50 people were urged to contact beach managers to ensure lifeguards were on duty.
These points illustrate the recklessness that some people might be guilty of when at the beach. However, self-harm is not the only thing that should be a major concern. The City of Cape Town has also warned of great white sharks. The warning came in the wake of reports by shark spotters that bathers and surfers were not heeding their sirens and warning calls, refusing to leave the water when a shark was spotted in the bathing area.
The city warns, “Great White sharks are apex predators and should not be taken lightly. The shark spotters are funded by the city as a service to the community, and they do not raise the alarm unless a Great White shark is in close proximity to beach users. The shark spotters provide an invaluable service under difficult circumstances and beach users should show their full support in assisting them by adhering to their instructions. Those who refuse to heed the warnings of the spotters are placing not only themselves at risk, but are indirectly placing others at risk who will need to come to their aid if they are attacked by a shark.” Sharks are a very real threat. Sharks are always on the hunt and when they see something they think might be edible; they investigate it, usually by smell, or taste.
These warnings are a great gesture to show the people of Cape Town that their safety matters to the government. They warn that although these beaches are pristinely beautiful, there are potential dangers that surround beaches.
An investigator for the United Nations, Philip Alston, found out that in April army troops from the Republic of Congo beat and shot a group of Rwandan refugees. The troops killed 50 people and burned down the camp the refugees were staying in. Forty women were also abducted, prompting the Rwandan Hutu Military to a revenge massacre. Ten of these women managed to escape, and tell stories of being raped and beaten.
The troops were rebels, from the Tutsi-led movement, who where recently integrated into the army. Tutsi movement which threatened to take over the provincial capital Goma a year ago.
Rwandan-Hutu militia murdered 96 civilians in a near by village for revenge.
Cuba and South Africa are taking strides towards strengthening commercial and political bonds between their two countries by signing several cooperation accords. Present at the 6th official Cuba-South Africa Intergovernmental session was South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane as well as Cuban officials. The new documents signed covered topics such as environment, biotechnology, higher education, mining and health. Previously rendered contracts that have expired from the 1990s were also renewed for the fields of geo-hydrology, operation and maintenance, and management and control of water conditions and wellbeing. During the signing Mashabane expressed gratitude to Cuba’s medical brigade, as they have trained many young South Africans to be health professionals.
Prior to signing the accords officials from both parties held meetings to review previous agreements and analyze potential offerings for assistance by the two countries in certain areas of interest. Areas of interest discussed were in the sectors of civil aviation, transportation, culture, and computer science. Specialists for the two parties look forward to devising plans of action in these areas for the 2010-2012 timeframe.
Regional security officers in the Great Lakes region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo reported cases of sexual violence are higher in that area than any other part of the world. This statement was made on Wednesday during a security meeting of officials from 10 African countries – Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Sudan, Angola and Zambia in Kampala. “Sexual violence against women is one of the greatest human rights abuses in the world. The Great Lakes region has had the worst cases of sexual violence and perpetrators of the vice,” said Stephen Singo, the regional program officer on peace and security. The following statistics were revealed at this meeting:
- 200,000 cases of sexual violence in eastern Congo since 1998
- 40 women are raped daily in Congo
- 13% are under 14 years old
- 3% die from the rape
- 10-12% contract HIV/AIDS
- 7,000 cases of sexual violence committed by Congolese soldiers
- 39% of women were sexually assaulted in their homes
- In Uganda, domestic violence is at 57%, sexual violence at 61%
- 24% of women had lost their virginity against their will
- 60 % of women experience physical violence and 16% during pregnancy
- Forced marriages exist
- 16% by the age of 15
- 53% by the age of 18