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Dead pilot’s heroism praised in Minister’s funeral oration

 

‘Capt Allister Freeman and first officer Sonja Bierman are true South African heroes…’ – Minister says in funeral oration.

Jetstream41 crash Durban Merebank school Sept 23 2009 NETCARE picture Oct 14, 2009 – The SA transport minister has praised the skills and courage of SA Airlink  pilot Captain Allister Freeman, who died of his injuries from  the crash of his Jetsrtream 41 commuter plane at Merebank in Durban on 24 september 2009. Sikbusiso Ndebele praised Freeman and his critically injured first officer Sonja Bierman as “true South African heroes’ in his funeral oration in Boksburg.

While also claiming that the SA airline industry ’remains among the safest in the world’, Ndebele announced that they would explore ways of minimising risks and reducing accidents at its National Aviation Safety Seminar on Friday 16 October, hosted by the SA Civil Aviation Authority.

Also, the General Aviation Safety Initiative was launched, said Ndebele, noting that ‘South African civil aviation has always focussed on one key objective, and that is to ensure that safety within civil aviation remains uncompromised.’

‘They landed on an open piece of land and saved many lives…’

At the funeral, Ndebele praised Capt.  Freeman and injured First Officer Sonja Bierman “for handling the last moments of that fateful flight with very clear presence of mind. Instead of landing in a populated area,  under what were clearly stressful conditions, the crew had the presence of mind, the experience and the orientation to land their aircraft in an open piece of land.

The SA Airlink Jetstream 41 commuter flight landed on a street near an empty Durban school for Asian pupils. During the crash, the two aviators and a crew member were injured on board and a municipal worker on the ground was hit by a section of the tail. The school and the street were empty because it was a public holiday. The two aviators, and one crew member were critically injured – Capt Freeman died of his injuries in hospital – and a  municipal worker also was injured on the ground.

School and streets empty because  of public holiday…

Said Ndebele: “These are the marks of true South African heroes. In directing the aircraft towards the school sports field in Merebank, Allister saved us from what could have been a worse tragedy. We are pained by his passing. We are bruised by the wounds inflicted on his person.  But with his passing away, we must find the energy to learn as much as we can from this …  In the run up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the reactions of all of the emergency services, following this accident, are being analysed to see how better we can strengthen such responses.” read entire statement on SAPA PR-wire: http://www.link2media.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5920&Itemid=12

He said: “Passenger airliners are not supposed to crash. An aeroplane is not supposed to crash. But when an aircraft crashes, with it crashes our hopes. Such a crash confronts our own greatest fears that we are but vulnerable as we fly from point A to B.”

“During this difficult period, our prayers are also with the other crew members who were on that fateful aircraft, FO Sonja Bierman and FA Rodelle Oosthuizen. Our prayers also go to Abraham Mthethwa, who was struck as the plane landed at Merebank Secondary School that day. We wish them all a speedy recovery so they can be reunited with their families and friends. To Allister's family and friends, we say thank you for lending us this valuable human-being. May your hearts heal in time from this tragedy. May God heal your wounds and comfort you at this time.”

Ermelo school wins Afrikaans language-rights battle in Constitutional Court

 

Kallie Kriel - Wednesday, October 14, 2009

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Kriel Kallie October 14 2009 -- The civil rights initiative AfriForum – which assisted  the Afrikaans-language High School Ermelo with funding for legal costs in the school’s struggle to remain an Afrikaans-medium school – welcomed the ruling of the Constitutional Court in favour of this school, as a victory for both mother-tongue education, as well as the rights of Afrikaans schools.

According to Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum, the Constitutional Court has confirmed that government had acted irregularly when forcing Hoërskool Ermelo to change its language policy.

“The authorities were even prepared to exceed their powers in order to drive an ideologically-motivated vendetta against Afrikaans schools,” Kriel added.

AfriForum’s view that the education authorities are specifically targeting Afrikaans schools, according to Kriel is substantiated by the fact that nationally not a single example can be found of a minister or education authority stepping in to change the language policy of a single-medium English secondary school.

“Contrary to this approach, the Minister and authorities deemed it necessary to deploy the full might of the State in order to try to ensure that Hoërskool Ermelo anglicises,” Kriel said.

Kriel reiterated that AfriForum has the greatest possible sympathy with the masses of children in the country who do not have access to good education.

“The argument about access has however been abused as a handy excuse only in order to strip Hoërskool Ermelo of its status as Afrikaans school, as sufficient facilities exist in the school's vicinity to accommodate learners who prefer English as medium of education,” Kriel said.

According to Kriel, the authorities have “created an artificial demand for English education” in order to promote an anti-Afrikaans agenda.

Kriel mentioned that numerous examples can be found which prove that the transition to a double-medium system is the first step towards a single-medium English institution, especially in view of the demographic realities of South Africa.

  • The fact that a mere 19 of the 150 graduate courses of the University of Pretoria are still available in Afrikaans, according to Kriel is a striking example in this regard.

“The demand for single-medium Afrikaans institutions therefore cannot be reduced to an effort to keep speakers of other languages out of schools at all,” Kriel stated.  http://www.therichmarksentinel.com/rs_articles_contributors.asp?conid=12&recid=710

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6i_z9A0ScuM