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Airport attacks ‘critical’

THE POST / 12 OCTOBER 2017, 2:00PM / DOREEN PREMDEV

Durban – Police are convinced that the “follow home” airport attacks have dropped since July.
However, security companies say the situation is still critical.

Their clients are forking out R3000, and sometimes more, for armed security to escort them safely from OR Tambo International Airport to their destinations.

National police spokesman Brigadier Vish Naidoo said the number of “follow home” attacks have dropped since July 25 – from up to five incidents a week to nil.

This, he said, was until two weeks ago when 36 Dutch tourists were attacked and robbed by five armed men – one of them posing as a uniformed police officer.

The tourists were allegedly followed from the airport and forced to stop in Fourways, north of Johannesburg.

They were robbed of their personal items and luggage.

Allegations from security bosses and individuals involved in crime fighting initiatives say there is a syndicate operating at the airport – with some OR Tambo staff involved in tipping off criminals involved in the attacks. Naidoo said police could not rule out this possibility but it had not been conclusively proven.

“There are many theories and allegations have been made but no one has come forward with evidence to substantiate this,” said Naidoo.

“We have put into place a new revise strategy to deal with the attacks. One of the many strategies we have implemented to curb the problem, include a vetting process of staff employed at the airport.”

Naidoo said prior to July 25 the attacks were reaching unprecedented proportions.

He said this dropped after Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula intervened and a decision was taken for the police to further announce their presence.

Attacks

“We have established a close working relationship with private security companies, SA Tourism and guest house owners to find ways to combat and prevent these attacks. These criminals are after money, personal valuables and luggage.”

The general manager of Johannesburg-based Asar Security, Raees Shamar, said they offered private armed security escort to businesses and the general public from the airport for the last three years.

“We get about 20 calls a week for armed escort from the airport to a client’s home. The situation is clearly critical,” said Shamar.

“People pay from R3 000 for armed escort – there are three armed, trained and certified officers per car. Some request two cars as added precaution. The price fluctuates per car.”

He said his officers are alert and looked out for any suspicious activity and obstacles on the road.

Shamar added that he was convinced certain airport staff are involved in tipping off criminals.

“People coming back home with large sums of money or other valuables will have to declare this at customs and that is where they are being marked. There is no other way a criminal would know who to target unless they are getting inside information.”

Yaseen Theba , the director of Vision Tactical, an armed security company, said spotters working at the airport were a vital key to the “follow home” attacks.

He said to their existing clients, they offered free escort from the airport and charged a fee from R1000 to non-clients from the airport to Sandton.

This, he said, depends on the time of day, traffic and number of people travelling.

“While my officers don’t have the power to do what the police have, creating a presence at the airport and on the roads leading out of the airport serves as a strong deterrent to would-be criminals.

“We didn’t just offer this service because we saw a gap in the market and decided to capitalise on it. Our clients requested it due to the high number of attacks.”

Theba urged travellers to be discreet with large sums of money, jewellery and electronic equipment and to be alert.

Sizwe Sampson, the client liaison officer for Beagle Watch in Fairlands, said “follow home” attacks also happened to people who visit public places like the mall.

“We get about 100 calls a month for this service. It’s an alarming reality but people do get followed home from public areas.”

Crime activist Yusuf Abramjee said: “These robberies are going to kill SA tourism.

The negative reports are going across the world. If police are not able to protect people, the alternative would be to get private security. I suspect police involvement in some of these attacks, as in the case with the Dutch tourists. A policeman in uniform stopped the tourists – he is either a rogue or fake cop”

Naidoo said it had not been confirmed if the person involved was a policeman.

POST

Hope springs from tragedy as new support group is formed

A convoy of 150 cars, moving from Huddle Park, Linksfield, headed to the arena where the memorial service was held.

October 9, 2018 – Joburg East Express

The deaths of the three firefighters Simphiwe Moropana (28), Mduduzi Ndlovu (40) and Khathutshelo Muedi (37) brought the people of Joburg together in mourning.

Hundreds of representatives from private security companies, CPFs, neighbourhood watch groups, emergency medical providers and law enforcement agencies gathered at Ellis Park Arena to honour the fallen heroes.

A convoy of 150 cars, moving from Huddle Park, Linksfield, headed to the arena where the memorial service was held.

George Moraitis from Guardians Security, who is also part of the organising team, said the service was a proper way of paying tribute and giving support to the families.

“Last week’s fire was tragic and heartbreaking. Seeing so many individuals from the security industry come together gave us strength, the type of strength we wish to give to the families and colleagues of Joburg Fire,” said Moraitis.

The deaths of the three firefighters resulted in the establishment of a group called Fallen Heroes.

The group offers support to law enforcement and emergency services in times of tragedy.

An emblem was created to honour the firefighters and will be used officially in the future to honour those who die in the line of duty.

The three golden stars represent the fallen firefighters, the wings mean working together and the heart symbolises love.

The organisers of Fallen Heroes are Mohammed Modan, George Moraitis, Shaheen Theba and Yaseen Theba.

Yaseen Theba from Vision Tactical said it was wonderful to see how the community supports one another in such a difficult period.

“It’s encouraging to know that, no matter which company or department we represent in our daily life, we can stand united in times of crises and tragedy. These firefighters died serving, and for that they are heroes,” said Theba.

Mohammed Modan from Tau Protection Services said they plan to continue to keep the idea of Fallen Heroes group alive.

“We will continue to engage with the City of Joburg and the departments to work towards a safer Joburg.

“It’s important that the family and colleagues get sustainable support through the structures of the departments. We will plan to continue our support when a tragedy strikes. We don’t need donations. It is all about our presence and to offer support and time.

“The different departments will contribute what they have,” said Modan.

As the families and colleagues left the arena to the Bank of Lisbon building in the Johannesburg CBD for the wreath-laying ceremony, members of the convoy created a guard of honour to salute the #FallenHeroes.

“We salute the fallen heroes. Their sacrifice and dedication will not be forgotten.

“Our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the families, friends and colleagues,” said Theba.

#SAVEWATER EFFORTS TO INTENSIFY

MEDIA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday 8 March 2018

#SAVEWATER EFFORTS TO INTENSIFY

#SaveWater Ambassadors have called for increased saving of water following an announcement that there is unlikely to be “Day Zero” this year.

“We don’t want Capetonians especially to now sit back and think we’re out of the woods now. We are not!

“If anything, we have to increase the saving of water and focus on bringing down usage even further,” said Chief #SaveWater Ambassador, Yusuf Abramjee.

He said “the drought is serious and the fact that the taps may not be closed does not mean we can get back to our old habits of wasting water.”

Abramjee said educational campaigns and activations will continue and will also be extended to other parts of the country.

Ahead of World Water Day on Thursday, 22 March, a number of events are being planned by the Department of Water and Sanitation, Operation SA, Miss Earth SA and partners.

“We will also focus on other provinces including Limpopo. We want every South African to embrace saving water because #EveryDropCounts,” he added.

Department of Water and Sanitation spokesperson, Sputnik Ratau, said: “We salute everyone who is saving water. Thank you for making a difference. We need to all continue to increase our savings.

“We have a lot of work that still lies ahead. We call on civil society, business, the agricultural sector, NGO’s and the media to all work together,” said Ratau.

International Climate Activist and Co-Chief #SaveWater Ambassador, Catherine Constantindes, said: “We all have a responsibility to ensure that we play our part and save water.

“It’s the basic principles of sustainability that need to be a fundamental foundation of how we operate; this must be the new business as usual. We continue to advocate to #SaveWater and remember that we are a water stressed country and #EveryDropCounts.

“Through the Miss Earth South Africa programme, we hope to continue #InspiringWaterHeroes across our nation as we remember that water is life,” Constantinides added.

Teams recently visited 100 schools in and around Cape Town and engaged tens of thousands of learners.

Linda Magapatona-Sangaret
Chief Marketing Officer, Brand South Africa said: “The water scarcity should be the business of all citizens and not just Capetonians.

“If we all make efforts in reducing water usage and wastage, the challenge can be managed along with innovation. South Africans must learn to save this vital resource to ensure that other parts of the country don’t have to deal with a ‘Day Zero’ situation in future.

“We must take lessons from what has happened. We salute the efforts of the #SaveWater campaign and all other initiatives to get citizens to understand, act and prevent a catastrophic situation,” said Magapatona-Sangaret.

Lerato Dumisa, Sunlight 2in1 Assistant Brand Manager said “finding a way to use a limited resource when you are accustomed to using a lot of water in your home is not easy for anyone. Yes, saving water is now a reality that we and our children have to work towards as we work together to create a #WaterSmartNation. Let us continue to do our part and be responsible citizens, ensuring we have access to water tomorrow.”

Aden Thomas, Breakfast Show Host at Heart FM said “we must change our relationship with water and continue to treat it as the scarce resource that it is.”

Operation SA activist and #SaveWater Ambassador, Yaseen Theba, said: “Its not enough to just defeat ‘DayZero’. Every South African has to change their mindset now so that over time, apart from just saving water, we can build up sustainable alternatives to deal with global water challenges.”

#SaveWater Ambassador, Lance Witten, live editor, Cape Argus said: “Even though Cape Town’s residents have done exceptionally well to avert a real humanitarian crisis by saving water and drastically reducing their water consumption, the fact that we may have staved off a ‘Day Zero’ scenario cannot lull us into a false sense of security.

“The reality is that we all have to come to terms that we live in a water-scarce environment, despite being surrounded by the sea. We can no longer rely on our wet winters to save us. For too long, we have been wasteful in our behaviour, therefore, while we celebrate the shift in mindset that led to ‘Day Zero’ possibly being averted in 2018, we need to remain mindful that continued water savings are needed.

“We need to inculcate #SaveWater in every resident, so that we change our entire water culture from one of gratuitous water usage and wastage, to a mindset of conservation and frugality. #EveryDropCounts – this is a message we must never forget,” Witten added.

Bridgetti Lim Banda, social entrepreneur and founder of the Facebook Page Cape Town Water Crisis said: “Our dams are not less empty and whilst acknowledging the phenomenal hard work and savings of most Capetonians we need to continue encouraging each other to save water in view of the uncertainty of the amount of rain we may get this winter.”

Deputy President of the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), Moulana Abdul Khalik Ebrahim Alli, said “we salute all the activists and the ambassadors and our local civic organizations for their sterling work in highlighting the great blessing and the valuable resource that water is to our community.

“It is this collective effort that’s brought about greater awareness to the community, to the students at schools and to all politicians and everyone in the Western Cape that brought about the shift of wasting water to preserving water,” Moulana Alli added.

He said the call to #SaveWater will continue.

Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris said: “Residents, businesses, visitors and farmers are helping to build a destination that is a world-leader in climate change resilience. According to our research, Cape Town has reduced its water consumption by nearly 57%. It took Melbourne, in comparison, 12 years to achieve the same percentage reduction. We cannot let our foot off the pedal now. We must work as hard as possible to continue this water saving effort, so that we set a new global standard that the rest of the world will look to follow. If we continue on this successful path, we will build a truly resilient city that will be even more attractive to live, play, work, visit and invest in.”

Michelle Bagley from the Amy Foundation also appealed to South Africans to continue water saving efforts. She said the “various partnerships and collaborations showed what can be achieved when we work together.”

Abramjee called on municipalities across the country to introduce #SaveWater campaigns.

“The City of Johannesburg is one of the few that has started awareness drives. We appeal to others to do the same with urgency and mobilize,” he added.

End

Enquiries:

*Yusuf Abramjee cell 082 4414 203

*Catherine Constantindes cell ‭083 747 7677

Stealing Gauteng municipal water — even to send to parched Cape Town — is still stealing

On Wednesday evening, a double tanker truck was found drawing water at a municipal point in Muldersdrift near Johannesburg, destined for Cape Town

01 FEBRUARY 2018 – 17:24 PETRU SAAL

Gauteng residents were urged on Thursday not to jeopardise their own water supply by sending truckloads of donated water to the drought-stricken Western Cape.

“The situation in Cape Town‚ although dire‚ is not in a place really where we need to be cutting water from all over the country towards it‚” Department of Water and Sanitation spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said.

Donated water is being sent to Cape Town as the city prepares for a possible Day Zero — when residents will have to queue to collect water.

“We must remember‚ the drought is not Western Cape-specific. Even as a country we are not out of the drought yet. So we really want to start looking at whether we should be impacting on other water systems. We need to be cautious‚” he said.

Nonprofit organisation Operation SA said on Thursday that sending water to the Western Cape was “not viable”.

“We reiterate that the option of transporting bottled water to Cape Town is not viable‚” the organisation’s Yusuf Abramjee said.

Yaseen Theba, also from Operation SA, said that during 2014 and 2015‚ bottled water was distributed to provinces without water due to poor infrastructure problems.

“At that stage we needed to get drinking water urgently to people that were literally dying of thirst‚ and bottled water was the fastest option. The current situation in Cape Town is different … We must use the time and the current water infrastructure to plan more sustainable drives to save water.”

On Wednesday evening, a double tanker truck was found drawing water at a municipal point in Muldersdrift near Johannesburg.

The tanker was impounded after a ward councillor‚ Molefi Selibo‚ observed “odd activity”. When confronted‚ the driver said the water was destined for the Western Cape. A case of theft was opened.

Witnesses told Selibo that it was the third truck that had drawn water on Wednesday.

“This is a gross violation of the rights of the citizens of Mogale City. We are sympathetic to the plight of the people of the Western Cape‚ especially the poor of that province who are living under severe strain socially and economically. We would certainly want to come to their rescue following a properly organised national water effort that rations what aid municipalities can or should give to the citizens of the Western Cape‚” Mogale City mayor Naga Lipudi said.

House break-ins a major headache for Joburgers

10 September 2017 – 14:45BY BAFANA NZIMANDE

dangerous burglar sneaking into the house with a knife in his hand

When Mandisa Manzini bought a house in Protea she was relieved that she would finally have a safe place to call home‚ but little did she know the headache that comes with owning property in Johannesburg.

The mother of two is a victim of two house robberies. The first incident occurred last April and thieves took electronic appliances worth more than R24‚000 while she was locked in her bedroom with her children‚ aged two and five years.

While intruders cleared her house‚ Manzini screamed and dialled the police who came hours after the criminals had left the area. Nobody was harmed during the incident but Manzini said it has traumatised her.

“I struggle to sleep at night since the incident. We live in fear because we don’t know when we might be robbed again. I have even considered moving out of this area because of the bad experience we have had‚” said Manzini.

Two other houses located along Manzini’s street suffered the same fate this June. Thembinkosi Mkhize‚ who lives next to Manzini‚ lost goods worth R30‚000. The experience has forced him to install an alarm system‚ build a boundary wall and beef-up security features in his house.

Based on the 2017 State of Urban Safety Report‚ Manzini and Mkhize’s frustration is shared by many in Johannesburg. The report said Johannesburg has the highest number of residential robberies‚ a trend that forces many to spend more on security.

Vision Tactical co-founder Yaseen Theba said the company is getting more clients from different Johannesburg suburbs and the figures keep on increasing as the December holiday season approaches.

“Crime is a national problem and those that live in lavish areas are more at risk because criminals want a piece of what they have. Criminals continuously improve their methods‚ that is why as security companies and law enforcement agencies we must be pro-active in our conduct‚” said Theba.

Without revealing too much detail‚ Yaseen said the company has deployed more guards in certain areas and has acquired technological gadgets to help combat crime. With armed guards on the ground and CCTV cameras‚ they also rely on a cellphone app that triggers quick response.

Head of client relations at insurance company OUTsurance Natasha Kawulesar said they have not observed an increase in the take up of insurance in Johannesburg but high crime statistics have an impact on the insurance industry.

Apart from increasing claims volume‚ high crime levels will see clients paying more on their premiums.

“Crime levels in an area affect the premiums in an area. Bear in mind this is based on statistics such as theft‚ fire‚ floods and other factors. One may deem an area safe but statistics may prove different‚” said Kawulesar.

R100 000 DONATED TO CHARITIES TO ASSIST HAJJ PILGRIMS

MEDIA STATEMENT

THURSDAY 1 June 2017

R100 000 DONATED TO CHARITIES TO ASSIST HAJJ PILGRIMS

(From left) Haroon Kalla from Awaqaf, Publisher Yaseen Theba, Al Firnas Patel from Crescent Lifestyle, CEO of Awqaf SA ,Zeinoul Abedien Cajee, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to South Africa Ghorm Said Malhan, Shaheen Essop from the South African Hajj and Umrah Council and social activist Yusuf Abramjee.

Two South African charities received a boost when R100 000 was donated to them to assist needy pilgrims traveling for the annual Hajj Pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

The proceeds of the coffee table book, #Hajj2016 #AbramjeeOnHajj,  published by social activist, Yusuf Abramjee, were presented to Awqaf SA and Crescent Lifestyle in Pretoria today.

Abramjee published hundreds of photographs of his Hajj journey last year in a high-gloss A3 coffee table book.

“The idea was to create awareness of Hajj which is compulsory for all Muslim who can afford it at least once in their lifetime. Also, it brought back many memories for those who have been on Hajj. We need to promote social cohesion and religious tolerance and that’s what the book does,” said Abramjee.

He said the R100 000 raised from the proceeds of the book “will go some way to assist destitute pilgrims.”

Abramjee said the “Hajj Waqf” (Hajj Funds) helped scores of pilgrims annually.

Abramjee thanked publisher Yaseen Theba from Vision Branding and all the contributors and sponsors.

500 books were donated to libraries, schools and religious institutions.

#Hajj2016 received the support of scores of prominent South Africans including cabinet ministers, business leaders and social activists.

World renowned Islamic scholar, Mufti Islam Menk, from Zimbabwe, late stalwart Ahmed “Uncle Kathy”

Kathrada, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula and former Ministers Derrick Hannekom and Tokio Sexwale were among those who endorsed #Hajj2016 #AbramjeeOnHajj

Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to South Africa, Ghorm Said Malhan, said: “South African Muslims are a key part of South Africa as they became completely integrated into society and influenced all areas of life of SA culture.

“I would like to thank Yusuf for his book on Hajj and for his dedication and service to your community and country.”

“The book is indeed a clear example of the strong relations between Saudi Arabia and the South African Muslim community in particular, and the entire South Africa in general,” said Ambassdor Malhan.

He added that South Africans “should all be proud of their exceptional reputation for religious tolerance and diversity.”

The Ambassdor announced that the royal embassy of Saudi Arabia would also make a donation to the Hajj Fund.

CEO of Awqaf SA, Zeinoul Abedien Cajee, said: “We are proud of the

contribution made by Yusuf in the production of his #Hajj2016 Coffee Table album.”

“We are certain that the photographs presented will inspire many to look forward to this awesome pilgrimage-journey of a lifetime.

“We are also confident that the book will bring a better understanding about not only one of the great pillars of Islam, Hajj, but also about Islam as a complete  and comprehensive way of life, to both Muslims and people of other faiths and persuasions – especially in an era of Islamophobic tendencies,” said Cajee.

“The contribution to the “Hajj Waqf” from the proceeds of sales and donations of the book will be invested in the Awqaf SA Hajj Waqf Fund and its proceeds will be used on a sustainable basis to assist poor and needy pilgrims (or Hujjaj), and also to some the opportunity to experience the sacred journey.

Al-Firnas Patel, Managing Director of Crescent Lifestyle said: “We congratulate Yusuf on the successful publication of the #Hajj2016 book and its objectives.

“Crescent Lifestyle has for the past nine years added value to the lives of tens of thousands of South African Muslims through its unique product. In addition Crescent Lifestyle has also donated from its profits close to R4 million on behalf of its members to various beneficiaries and sponsored over 115 of its members to go for Umrah (mini pilgrimage).

“We welcome the funds towards the Hajj Fund received from Yusuf through his book and this will facilitate needy muslims to fulfill their dreams of going for Hajj.

“This is a noble and an admirable initiative and we encourage others to take on such initiatives. Together we can make a difference,” added Patel.

Enquiries:

Yusuf Abramjee

082 4414 203

@abramjee.com

Yaseen Theba

064 4 000 000

@yaseentheba

Vision Tactical expands its security services to include airport escorts

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Ebrahim Gangat chats to Yaseen Theba, director of Vision Tactical, a security company that provides private security to homes and businesses in Houghton, Killarney, Norwood and other surburbs in Northren Jo’burg.

Providing safe return from airport

The Star Page 5 – 23rd May 2017

THE RISE in crimes committed around OR Tambo International Airport, including people being followed home from the airport and robbed, has spawned an interesting and lucrative business.

Vision Tactical is a security company that began in October 2014, which provides private security to homes and businesses in Houghton, Killarney, Norwood and other suburbs in northern Joburg.

Vision Tactical Owner: Yaseen Theba , speaks about the burgeoning crime of being followed back home from the airport.

Recently, the company expanded its security services to include airport escorts, because according to the company’s owner, Yaseen Theba, clients started becoming nervous about coming back from the airport and asked for vehicles to be stationed on driveways outside their homes for safety purposes.

“Then certain people felt nervous about landing at night or early mornings and asked if we could provide a guard inside the car that was going to pick them up.

“But we prefer using our own vehicles to follow our clients, because in the event something happens, we have our rifles and guns in the car.

“If it’s a family pick-up, we don’t like to have firearms in the vehicle when there are children. We prefer following a vehicle and ensuring that a family get home safely,” Theba explained.

Last Monday, a man was shot dead just outside OR Tambo International Airport’s drop-off area, in what was believed to have been a botched hijacking.

HAPPY ABOUT THE SERVICE: Dharmisha Makan speaks about her experience being followed back home from the airport.  Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips

It was this report that convinced Dharmisha Makan to use the escort service for the first time when she and a friend came back from India last week.

“As two women travelling on our own, we definitely felt safe just to know that we’re being followed by a security company that we are familiar with, as they do the guarding at our complex.

“They followed both of us to our homes and we felt safe. So did our family members, who knew we were going to make it home safe,” Makan enthused, adding that she would “definitely” use the service again.

Theba added that he was aware the police were trying to curb the crime of airport followings by doing stop and searches of cars leaving the airport.

“Then certain people felt nervous about landing at night or early mornings and asked if we could provide a guard inside the car that was going to pick them up.

“But we prefer using our own vehicles to follow our clients, because in the event something happens, we have our rifles and guns in the car.

“If it’s a family pick-up, we don’t like to have firearms in the vehicle when there are children. We prefer following a vehicle and ensuring that a family get home safely,” Theba explained.

Last Monday, a man was shot dead just outside OR Tambo International Airport’s drop-off area, in what was believed to have been a botched hijacking.

It was this report that convinced Dharmisha Makan to use the escort service for the first time when she and a friend came back from India last week.

“As two women travelling on our own, we definitely felt safe just to know that we’re being followed by a security company that we are familiar with, as they do the guarding at our complex.

“They followed both of us to our homes and we felt safe. So did our family members, who knew we were going to make it home safe,” Makan enthused, adding that she would “definitely” use the service again.

ON ALERT: A panic button was activated while The Star was patrolling with Vision Tactical in Houghton. It took the response unit roughly three minutes to react, but it turned out to be a false alarm.   Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips

Theba added that he was aware the police were trying to curb the crime of airport followings by doing stop and searches of cars leaving the airport.

But he said some of his clients were apprehensive about the police because of reports that officers – or people disguised as law enforcement personnel – were also part of criminal activity around the airport.

This has to do with the brazen airport heist in March, where more than R20 million was stolen by robbers who, it is believed, included police officers and airport security personnel.

“There are times when people get nervous about being questioned by police.

“People are nervous about sharing information with police at the airport because they are living in fear due to the reports about officers being involved in some of these crimes,” Theba said.

“So, if they know that they are dealing with a security company that they know and trust, they feel a lot more comfortable to talk to the police. That’s what we are trying to do – making people feel a lot safer.”

The company, Theba said, employed only highly skilled personnel, such as Boloka “Bravo 7” Diale.

He is a commander within Vision Tactical, and told The Star he was trained in special weapons and tactics, or Swat, and previously worked for the US Embassy and a cash-in-transit company.

Asked what the scariest part of the job was, Diale asserted: “For me, there is no scary part, because I am used to it. Maybe if I was starting out it would be scary, but right now it’s like having bread with tea.”