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Monday, December 31, 2012

Babs Naim

The passing of Babs Naim on Christmas Eve marked the end of an era, as she was the only person living to have been present for the launch of The Repertory Players in 1931, the opening of the Reps Theatre in 1960 and both the 50th anniversary of the theatre in 2010 and the 80th anniversary of the society in 2011. A Theatre Foundation Member, she was the embodiment of service to others, not only through her connections with Reps and WVS, but through her many other community-minded activities over many decades. A moving eulogy given by her daughter, Linda, at the funeral on Sunday told of her life and her commitment to others and underlined just how much this wonderful woman gave to the people she served in her various capacities. The funeral was attended by the Reps Chairman and Vice Chairman, as well as a number of other Reps members and the Chairman was privileged to be asked to be a pallbearer. No words can truly establish just what a remarkable person Babs was. As a member of Reps she had a major impact on the society and its activities. That – and her presence in recent years sitting quietly just in front of the stage left usher seats in her wheelchair, listening (for she had lost her sight) to performances – will be hugely missed but will always be remembered and valued. We shall not see her like again.

Ignore roadblocks set up by only two cops

Ignore roadblocks set up by only two cops

on December 29, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Motorists should ignore roadblocks manned by less than three police officers
as they are illegal, a top cop has said.

Responding to questions from stakeholders in Bulawayo, the national Deputy
Officer Commanding Traffic, Assistant Commissioner Kenny Mthombeni, said
officers bent on corruption set up illegal roadblocks.

“When you see two officers at check points or a police officer trying to
enforce traffic regulations in a private vehicle, disobey their instructions
and report them to their commanding officer,” said Asst Comm Mthombeni.

He said corruption was rife in both the public and private sector, adding
that only a collective effort by stakeholders could put an end to it.

Asst Comm Mthombeni urged members of the public to supply police with
details of commuter omnibuses that allegedly flouted traffic regulations
because they were owned by police officers.

“We have heard of such vehicles. We have heard that they use undesignated
pick up points and some are without the necessary documents. Send
information to us about them and I assure you the Commissioner General
Augustine Chihuri will take measures and you will see the officers on the
street,” he said to applause from the stakeholders.

Asst Comm Mthombeni said police fines only went up to $20 and if any officer
asked for more, it would be extortion.

“Our fines are between $5 and $20. Anything above that would be done to
induce bribery. If anyone is caught doing that, we will need to refund the
motorist and the money will come from the officer’s salary,” he said.

The national Deputy Officer Commanding Traffic said it was wrong for police
to continue issuing a ticket for the same offence at different roadblocks on
a single trip.

“If you are ticketed the first time, at the next roadblock, you should be
stopped and taken to court. It is also police policy that when a vehicle is
stopped at a roadblock, officers inspect the vehicle and not the driver.
There is therefore no need for the driver to leave the vehicle and approach
the police. If this happens, corruption may be taking place,” said Asst Comm

He instructed the Bulawayo traffic department to remove all unregistered
vehicles from the road, as they were taking business away from registered

Asst Comm Mthombeni said police and the public should be guided by Exodus 23
Verse 8, which reads; “And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the
clear-sighted and subverts the cause of those who are in the right,”

Speaking at the same event, the deputy manager of the Vehicle Inspection
Depot (VID) in Bulawayo, Mr Exevier Dzimba, said about 75 percent of the
buses that have been impounded by his department in the city since 15
December, were driven by unlicensed drivers and most of them had no brakes.

He said the statistics showed the level of corruption at the VID and police
roadblocks. “To show that Zimbabwe is really dirty, after impounding the
vehicles, people from high up, including politicians start calling and
asking us to release the vehicles,” said Mr Dzimba.

Speaking after the event, Mr Dzimba said the VID always requested written
instructions from anyone making such a request and the people would back
down. The Bulawayo City Council’s head of traffic and security, Retired
Colonel Tobias Dube, said one out of three vehicles in the city had
outstanding traffic tickets.

He said the city practiced zero tolerance towards corruption and had stopped
officers from accepting fines that were not paid at the Revenue Hall.

The regional Traffic Safety Manager for the Southern Region, Miss Barbara
Mpofu said employers should ensure that their drivers had all the required
documents and their vehicles were fit for the road to avoid the need to pay

Other stakeholders, who attended the event included members of the public,
public transport associations, the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe and
senior police officers in the province. The Chronicle


My daughter, who is visiting from the States, had her handbag stolen last night at about 6pm from Grasmere Lane, Borrowdale.  It appears that a silver merc came down the lane with changeable number plates, 2 youths climbed over the wall, went into a bedroom where they grabbed the handbag and were then disturbed by the dogs.  We were all in the house.

It is a cream/beige coloured leather handbag.  2 main zip compartments with small outside pockets.  In the small, back zipper pocket is an ID with her photo and name on it – Shelley Maasdorp.  Other contents included a US Android phone, apartment keys, medical eye drops, small blue iPod, large headphones, “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner” book and a blue travel pouch with an important US Government Work Visa document.  If anyone happens to find it flung over a wall or into a ditch we would very much appreciate them calling us on 0772-241-197.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Festive Season Security

Festive Season Security

The year has passed by in a flash and a blur, and in the rush to plan holidays and a good social we normally forget about basic security precautions .There is usually see an upturn in crime over the next month and here are a few basic tips to help keep you safe this Christmas season.

-        Advise us if you are going away/closing down, and ensure that you supply us with details of your key holders to contact in emergency, and who is staying on the property.
-        Ask your neighbours to keep an eye on your home if you do not have a guard, and give them our 24 hour numbers.
-        Ask your neighbour or a friend to collect your post.
-        Make sure your alarm system is working properly.
-         Make sure you have good battery back up to prevent the alarm dying in a power cut. (If you alarm activates when ZESA goes off and on  this is a sign of a  POOR battery )
-        If you have a house sitter make sure they know how to use the alarm properly.
-        Lock up early if you are at home and activate the alarm.
-        Keep gates closed and locked .Deny entry unless you are sure of identity and purpose of visit
-        Make use of alarm systems during the day if you are going out and double check that you have locked up securely before leaving home
-        Remove valuables from sight if you can ( laptops, phones decoders etc)
-        Never leave keys on the inside of glass doors
-        Make sure your external lights are working, preferably on a timer
-        Do not leave tools like shovels and ladders outside- they can be used to gain entry or as weapons!
-        Avoid holding large sums of cash either at home or when travelling.
-        Park in well lit and preferably guarded areas. Do not leave valuables on display.
-        Test your Cell Phone Panic and make sure you are registered before you go away. You can then call for assistance anywhere in the country with cell coverage.
We have staff on call in each centre, and a duty Director, 24 hours a day. If you run into difficulty, or just need advice please call. If you feel we are NOT giving you the service you need please do not hesitate to call me on the number below.

Finally travel safely, and have a peaceful and happy Christmas and New Year.

Thank you for using Safeguard

Andrew Mallon
0772 422 679


12 December 2012                                                                                Mount Pleasant Area


           At approximately 16:00 hrs (4 p.m.) yesterday afternoon, Tuesday 11th December, I was working just outside my gate.  I was standing on my stepladder, cutting a Bougainvillea creeper away from the electric fence wires on top of the wall.  My gate was half open.
           A large vehicle of the ‘people-carrier’ type, metallic silver-grey in colour, which appeared to be a Nissan El Grande but which I subsequently found to have a name something like ‘Basara’ (some of the letters were missing or obscure) on the back door, came past slowly with only driver and passenger on board in the front seats as far as I could see.  Both these men looked up at me as they drove past.  I noticed that the body moulding at the bottom left rear corner was damaged, with a piece broken out, but unfortunately did not get the registration number; but I would recognise it easily if I saw it again.
           Shortly afterwards they returned and stopped at the entrance to my driveway.  The driver, well-dressed and well-spoken, got out and addressed me, saying “Seeing you there, I wondered if you could let us have some water as this vehicle keeps overheating?”  I said yes I could do that, and told them to park just outside my gate and wait there.  I then walked up to the house to fetch a small (4 litre) container of water which I took to their car.  When they opened the bonnet I was puzzled to note that the engine was not excessively hot and no steam was coming from the radiator.
           The passenger kept re-starting the engine until I told him to switch it off and leave it alone.  The driver chatted politely for a few minutes, then put a cloth over the radiator filler cap and removed this; the radiator was full to the brim and certainly nowhere near boiling!  I now became very suspicious and realised that they were up to something.  However, they thanked me and drove away.
           When I returned to the house I found the back door locked and could not get in, so called to my wife to open it, and asked her why it was locked.  She told me that she had been sitting quietly in the lounge when she suddenly noticed, with astonishment, in the adjacent dining room, an arm, clearly not that of a family member, reach out and pick up a small zip-bag of mine which I had left on the dining room table.  She stood up and addressed this individual, telling him that he would not find anything of value in the bag.  He was extremely startled but quickly said that he was looking for pen & paper; my wife then thought that perhaps I had sent him in; she noted that he was well dressed and well-spoken, and was wearing a shiny pair of pointed shoes, so she asked him where he had got these, to which he replied that he had been in London.  He then left without taking anything, at which point my wife shut and locked the back door through which he must have entered.
           The extraordinary thing to me is how this third person, no doubt an accomplice of the two in the car, had managed to sneak in and out of my property without ever being seen by me, no doubt while I was being distracted by the two at the car.  Our concern is that this may have been a reconnaissance trip against a possible future ‘visit’, but I am well armed at home and also have a highly efficient wireless alarm system which has already foiled at least 7 attempted burglaries and thefts from cars in the past.  The lesson to be learned is that it is not even safe to assist people who are ostensibly genuine and respectable.

Signed . . . B