Jan 2008

Jan 2008 sadmin

Advice: HIV and AIDS

Advice: HIV and AIDS sadmin

Fighting HIV and AIDS together

Government’s Khomanani programme and other campaigns, like Lovelife and the TV drama, Soul City, are successfully helping to make people more aware of HIV and AIDS, how to prevent it and how to live with it.

This was found by a study done jointly by Health and Development Africa, the Centre for AIDS Research and Development, Soul City, and the American Johns Hopkins Health and Education company in South Africa. 


The study was funded by the National Department of Health and the United States Agency for International Development. The aim of the study was to find out whether the different Aids communication programmes were working in South Africa.

The study showed that there was an increase in the use of condoms, discussions about HIV testing between sexual partners, discussions about HIV between friends, knowledge of antiretroviral treatment for AIDS, and being faithful to partners to prevent HIV infection.

Aids programmes

It was found that the 19 AIDS programmes reached a total of 92,5 per cent of the adult population, which is about 27 million people. This means that there are some 2,2 million adults who are still not reached by the programmes.

The study also shows that television, through the TV drama Soul City, reaches the most people, followed by national radio programmes, community radio and local community events.

Some of the findings

  • Among those who have already had sex, 59 per cent have discussed HIV testing with a sexual partner, and 23 per cent have been tested within the last 12 months
  • People between the ages of 25 and 34 are twice as likely to discuss HIV testing than those in the age group of 35 to 65.
  • Young women are more likely to get tested than men.
  • Those who know someone who has died of AIDS are more likely to have been tested in the last 12 months.
  • At least 53 per cent were aware that antiretroviral medication was a treatment for AIDS and that it helps improve their health


The study recommended that new strategies were needed to reach the 2 million adults that are still not being reached by the Aids communication programmes.

Ndivhuwo Khangale

Orphans need your support

Government will protect these children while supervised by adults in communities.

Working group

To help government protect them, the department is getting together a national list of orphans and helpless children, including those heading families. Government also has various programmes to support such children. This includes treatment, food, skills training and psychological or social support. It also helps these children to get access to social grants, free education and health care, and urgent help in cases of child abuse and neglect.


In 2006, a total of 206 889 helpless children were found and helped through the OVC programme. About 357 000 families benefited, and 35 000 child-headed families were supported. 

In addition, the department started multi-purpose or drop-in centres where children heading families can get meals and lunch boxes before going to school. Some 1 700 organisations are also working with orphans and helpless children through the home community-based care programmes.

- Ndivhuwo Khangale



Agriculture sadmin

Reaching out with Project Ukuziza

The Ukusiza Project has uplifted the spirits of a number of small Ermelo farmers in Mpumalanga who are now able to become big commercial farmers. 

These new farmers have one goal - they aim to change from subsistence farming (meeting their personal needs) to farming to make money. The Ukusiza Project helps them to breed cattle which are suited to the conditions of the area. 

Ukusiza is a Zulu word meaning to “reach out”. The Ukusiza Project was started by the Department of Agriculture to reach out to farmers in the Ermelo district and to help them improve their lives.


Sixty one small farmers have been given some Sanganer cattle for a certain period of time. When the cows have calves, the small farmers are allowed to keep the calves. 

The breeding cows are then given to another small farmer who will also keep the calves born during that period. This system is repeated until all the small farmers receive their fair share. In this way, a number of small farmers have not only gained calves, but also valuable experience in farming with cattle.


Samson Thabede, who is also the chairperson of the farmers union, said so far he got nine calves from the project. He is also the proud owner of 13 cows, but says to be successful he needs more. “I believe that with time my stock will grow. More cows means that I can sell some of them and buy a large farm,“ Thabede said. 

“I now have what it takes to be a commercial farmer; it’s just a matter of time before I will become successful.”


Sabeth Mathebula’s greatest wish is that the project should continue. She said she could not wait for the donated cows to give birth so that she could forward them to another member after keeping the calves. 

“There are no jobs and the only way to fight poverty is for the community to work together in order to improve our situation,” she said.

Aaron Shongwe is hoping that the project will help him to improve his life and to take better care of his children. 

For Marvis and Hezekiel Hlatshwayo the project is a blessing. They already own 21 cows. After selling some of their cows, the couple has managed to send their daughter to a tertiary institution to further her studies.

Earn a good living

“We hope that these cows will have calves to add to our stock. There are no jobs and farming is the only means of survival for us. But we don’t just want to survive, we want to be able to earn a good living from farming,“ the couple said.

- Muzi Mkwhanazi

Rural development

Be responsible with your money

Be responsible with your money sadmin

Avoiding the debt trap

Studying at a tertiary institution after school is an important step towards your future career. You put a lot of money and effort into your studies, so if you decide to study at a private institution, make sure it is not a fly-by-night one.

The season of having fun, relaxing and spending is finally over and we are well into 2008. This is a good time to make wise decisions about your money so that you can have a good festive season at the end of the year.

New Year's resolutions are usually difficult to keep, but there is one that you must keep - being responsible with your money. This is even more important to young people who have just finished school and have started a job this year.


While young people are often excited about earning their own money and spending it without their parents' approval, the Credit Information Ombudsman warns that they should be disciplined and careful how they spend it. 

Spokesperson for the Ombudsman's office, Caroline Buthelezi, advises first time employees to find information on financial management and start adulthood on a good financial footing. She especially warned them against falling into the debt trap as this could lead to them being blacklisted.

First salary

Your first salary should help you achieve lifelong financial independence rather than getting you caught up in debt that you can't pay back.

One acceptable form of debt is a home loan. Buying a house is an investment and very few people can afford to buy a house without a loan. Most other loans like buying on credit, costs a lot of money. You pay interest on credit and most of the things you buy lose their value; be it a car, clothes, furniture or appliances. 

– Ndivhuwo Khangale

Tips to establish good financial habits from the start
  • Repay debt - if you have any debt like a student loan, pay it off as soon as possible. If you can afford it, pay more or double the instalment.
  • Budget - learn to live on a reasonable monthly budget. Find ways to keep expenses down.
  • Establish a good credit record - pay your instalments on time and in full every month. If you have trouble, consult the credit giver.
  • Don't spend more than you earn.
  • Salary increase won't fix things - when people get more money, they spend more and get back to where they started.
  • Save at least 10 to 15 per cent of your salary every month.
  • Expect to be offered credit - if your bank offers you a credit card, avoid it - it is one of the worst debts you can have.


If you already have financial problems, contact the office of the Credit Information Ombudsman for advice on 086 166 2837 or www.creditombud.org.za or Ombud@creditombud.org.za


Cartoon strip

Cartoon strip sadmin

Rural development

Celebrating our heritage: Traditional Xhosa dress

Celebrating our heritage: Traditional Xhosa dress sadmin

Xhosa women

The Xhosa's are a proud people and their cultural heritage is close to their hearts. Traditionally, the women's clothing and ornaments show the stages of their lives. A certain headdress is worn by a newly married girl; a different style by one who has given birth to her first child, and so on. Women's clothing include dresses in bright colours like orange, green, red and white with braiding and beads over a skirt. The headdress is a colourful braided turban. 

The Xhosa people are known for their beautiful beadwork and it forms an important part of women's traditional clothing. They wear long necklaces of beads, with collars of multi-coloured beads around the neck, as well as beaded arm and ankle bracelets. 

Other beaded items include ithumbu (the elaborate bead necklace worn by Xhosa women when they perform a traditional dance or iqakabod), iqoqo (a decorative, tasselled and beaded band worn around the lower back), the vulwakabini (a beaded top worn over the upper body and breasts) and isidlokolo (an animal skin hat decorated with large beads and used by healers in traditional dance or when working with patients).

Xhosa women smoking decorative pipes is a familiar sight in some areas of the Eastern Cape. The pipes are usually made from wood and often decorated with beads



Xhosa men and boys

Xhosa men traditionally fulfilled the roles of warriors, hunters and stockmen. Animal skins formed an important part of their traditional clothing. Different animals skins were used, but royalty could use leopard skin. Xhosa men usually wear a covering in the front and a short cloak from animal skin over the shoulders. The cloak is sometimes replaced with a blanket. Xhosa men traditionally also wore animal skin sandals.

During initiation, Xhosa boys whiten their bodies and wear a blanket or sheepskin to ward off evil.





Fun page

Fun page sadmin


Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor sadmin

Use opportunities even if you are pregnant

I am a girl of 18 who completed matric last year. I was supposed to go to university after matric, but I didn’t get the chance, because when I was writing my final exams I was pregnant. I thought it would be a good thing as a mother to stay at home and raise my baby, but then I realised I could get educated as well. I raised my baby while I was doing a computer course and attending HIV and AIDS counselling workshops. Now I am proud that I have computer and counselling certificates. 

I would like to urge other young girls not to stay at home doing nothing because there are so many opportunities out there.

- Rapuleng Sophy, Wepener, Free State

Confidence for success

Confidence is the single biggest reason why people succeed in life. A lack of confidence is the single biggest reason why people fail. Confidence is an undying and unquestionable belief in your abilities. But confidence does not mean that you don’t feel fear; it means that you have the courage to face fear. It also means that you are prepared to act despite fear. 

Confidence also goes along with being positive. To reach your goals you don’t need a rich family; you need to be motivated, hard-working, willing to take risks and have the ability to withstand suffering. 

- Jabu Maluleke Salani, Giyani, Limpopo

Let’s fight littering

I’m very concerned about the many places in our country that are dirty because people put their rubbish in the streets and everywhere else. Don’t just throw your plastic, paper and other litter away, put it in the dustbin. If we all stand together, we can make a difference and keep our country beautiful.

So please people, let us fight littering. Sometimes the impossible is possible. Other countries have done it, so can we.

- Sipho Khuzwayo, Estcourt, KwaZulu-Natal

Gansterism doesn’t pay

I’m a jobless man with a family to feed. The reason why I’m jobless is that I wasted my time running with gangsters. But there was no future. I thought they were my friends, but they left me behind and carried on with their lives.

I want to say to all young people out there, don’t wish to be a gangster because it doesn’t pay. You are the one who pays with your future.

- Nelson Zondo, Harrismith, Free State

Don’t criticise hawkers

People should stop criticising hawkers and making nasty comments about them. At least they have the guts to get up and do something for themselves. 

They are not committing crimes like stealing or killing for money and food. They are trying to make money honestly to support their families. They are not sitting back and waiting for things to fall into their laps.

I hate it when I see signs saying “No hawkers allowed.” Let us bring back ubuntu, humanity, respect, harmony, peace and other good qualities towards other people.

- SM Khumalo, Emondlo, KwaZulu-Natal

Talking is healing

We live in a country with people who have different cultures, languages, and beliefs. We all have our own ways of dealing with problems, but I believe talking is the best medicine in the world. 

I know it’s sometimes hard to talk about your problems with other people, especially those who won’t understand, but instead of destroying your life with “deep dark secrets,” talk about it. Talking is the way forward for a positive life.

- Asando Janbos Dimbaza, King Williams Town

Children must show respect

Children today have a say in everything. Every time they talk they say it’s their right to do so. They don’t have respect for anyone. They yell at their parents, sleep around, drink, smoke and use drugs. When their parents try to put some sense into their heads, they say their parents abuse them, and that’s not fair.

- Motaung Tselane, Lindley, Free State

Rights go with responsibility

Young people do not understand what their rights are. Most of them just do things their way without respecting other people’s rights. I want to say to them if you are misusing your rights, you will never get anywhere. Please remember that rights go with responsibility. Without taking responsibility you are altoghether lost.

- Isaac Chanchane, Braamfisherville, Gauteng


Life after the bucket system

Life after the bucket system sadmin

A better life for all

The hot summer days that most of us enjoy after winter have not been so enjoyable for residents of Snake Park in Soweto in the past. Instead, it brought misery to them, said 61-year old Rebecca Shingange. 

They did not have flushing toilets, which was especially difficult in summer. “Summer meant having to stomach an unbearable smell, and fighting flies all day and night,” she said.

Flushing toilets

But true to government’s commitment to improve people’s lives by removing the bucket system in all informal settlements, Snake Park residents are now among those who have flushing toilets. 

“My life has changed for the better and I’m very happy. I am living well now, because I don’t have to worry about my health and that of my children anymore,” Shingange said. 

But waiting for flushing toilets has been hell for them, she said. There was always the fear of getting sick because of the unclean conditions. The toilets used to get blocked all the time and water containing the waste material would flood the streets. It was a nightmare living like that,” she said. 

Joint effort

Some communities do not share in Shingange’s joy yet, especially in the Free State, North West, Northern Cape and Western Cape, but their turn will come. Under government’s bucket eradication programme all communities still using the bucket system will soon also have flushing toilets. 

In a joint effort, the departments of Water Affairs and Forestry, Provincial and Local Government, Housing and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) have vowed to end the use of the bucket system.


Government has promised that new houses in formal settlements will not be built without proper flushing toilets. Furthermore, bucket system toilets in residential areas started after 1994 will all be replaced through the Sanitation Programme by 2010. In informal settlements the sanitation problems will be resolved through the National Housing Programme by 2014. 

Both these government programmes will ensure that the joy expressed by Shingange, whose life had been changed for the better, will spread to every corner of the country to improve the lives of ordinary South Africans.

- Muzi Mkhwanazi

Rural development

Model school takes up technology challenge

Model school takes up technology challenge sadmin

Thanks to government's introduction of computer technology at Abel T Motshoane School in Mabopane, North West, learners are functioning on a new level. 

Learners at the school are now using laptop computers that in the past were thought to be meant only for high-powered business people.

Computer skills

The school's principal, Mafika Nkosi, said learners are enjoying their study material and gaining valuable computer skills at the same time. Using computer technology as a teaching tool forms part of government's efforts to motivate learners to take learning seriously. 

Abel T Motshoane School is the first in the country to use e-learning technology as a learning tool. The technology requires pupils to use laptop computers, which are connected to microphones and earphones. The teacher is able to give them instructions through their earphones, from his or her own laptop.

The Internet

In this way learners not only get computer skills, but are also taught to search for information from sources that are available through the Internet.

The vast world of information that the pupils have access to has been made possible by government's partnership with information and technology companies like IBM, Intel South Africa, Microsoft South Africa, Pinnacle Micro Systems and the Telkom Foundation. 

The partnership also contributes to increasing government's drive to ensure that previously disadvantaged pupils obtain information technology skills.

- Muzi Mkhwanazi

Protecting the environment

Young people can participate in taking care of the environment and protecting our natural resources. 

This will be done in line with the Imvelo Yethu report, which was launched by the National Youth Commission and the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. The report, developed by young people, gives recommendations on how to prevent natural resources being used up.

First of its kind

It is the first report of its kind for youth in the country. South Africa is also the first country to produce a state of the environment report in line with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The report will be a first step to start programmes that promote participation by youth in environmental management.

The future

Involving the youth in decisions about the environment and development is very important, as it is the youth who will inherit and manage our natural resources in future. 

The report, also available in Braille, will be introduced in the provinces early this year. It will be available in Provincial Youth Commission (PYC) offices, Thusong Service Centres, youth centres and libraries.


Places of service and and information

Places of service and and information sadmin

Thusong Service Centres 

Government is committed to improving the quality of life for all South Africans through better service delivery.

One of the ways in which this is done is through Thusong Service Centres. They give people access to information and services near their homes.

One-stop centres

These centres were first known as multi-purpose community centres or MPCCs. The name was changed to Thusong Service Centres. Thusong is a Sesotho word meaning ‘a place to get help or assistance’. 

In line with this meaning, the motto is ‘One-stop centres for services and information’. This is exactly what Thusong Service Centres are. 

They are central points of activity in a community, where different services are provided. So instead of having to travel to many different offices, residents can go to one place to have most of their needs met. Communities in deep rural areas and previously badly serviced areas are especially finding life much easier with Thusong Service Centres.


Government’s target is to start one Thusong Service Centre in each of the 283 municipalities in South Africa by 2014. So far, communities in 98 municipalities benefit from over 800 services. 

This means that previously disadvantaged communities in 30 per cent of South Africa’s municipalities can now access government services and information under one roof, or within walking distance of each other.


Services offered at the centres include those from the departments of Home Affairs, Labour, South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), Social Development, Government Communications, and Health. 

Other services like telecentres, the Post Office, libraries, agricultural support offices and municipal services, community development workers, the South African Police Service, non-government organisations and community-based organisations, are also offered at some of the centres.

- Louise van Niekerk


Preventing robberies and theft

Preventing robberies and theft sadmin

The police need your help

Crimes like theft, housebreaking, shoplifting, handbag or cell phone snatching, and theft out of motor vehicles lead to unnecessary suffering. 

If you buy stolen goods, more victims will suffer, because you provide a market for these goods. This means criminals will keep stealing them. When thieves go out to steal to meet the need for stolen goods, they often commit other crimes along the way. These include murdering or attacking witnesses or helpless victims, or raping and hurting women and children.

Stolen goods

Receiving stolen goods is also punishable by law. Reject any goods you suspect could have been stolen and report it to the police on Crime Stop 08600 10111.

Safety tips to prevent house robbery and theft

  • Know all the emergency numbers like the police, fire brigade and ambulance in your commu- nity.
  • Don’t leave your gates, front or back door open or partially open - it is like an invitation to burglars.
  • Never just open the door when someone knocks. Make very sure the person wanting to enter is expected. Check the identity of strangers who come to your house to do deliveries or repairs. Robbers sometimes pretend to be telephone or TV repairmen, electricians, plumbers, TV licence or municipality inspectors. People who are home during the day should be made aware of these scams.
  • When you are on your way home by foot or by car ensure that it is safe to enter and that you have not been followed. Be aware of persons hanging around at the entrance.
  • Always keep your keys in a safe place. Never leave house keys under a doormat, in a pot plant, or in any other hidden place for family members or children. Robbers often stake out a house and will find these hiding places. Do not give keys to people who do not live on the property or to anyone if it is not absolutely necessary.
  • Know your neighbours and build a relationship of trust and support. Exchange phone numbers. When you go away, inform them.
  • Keep your firearms in a safe.

- South African Police Service

Safety and Security

Role model: Spreading hope to people in need

Role model: Spreading hope to people in need sadmin

On seeing granny Nomfundo Zokozo's van coming, nine-year-old Bongani Mafanya screams on top of his voice calling to other children to come.

When Zokozo finally parked, children of all ages had already surrounded her car with empty plastic bags pushing each other to get close to her. Their mothers left whatever they were doing and ran to the car with empty buckets while their fathers abandoned their traditional beers and grouped together watching.

An angel

This is Vlakplaas settlement near Spruitview in Ekurhuleni. What is happening today is not new; Zokozo brings some light into the darkness of these people's lives at least twice or three times a month. 

She gives food and clothing to this poor and overcrowded informal settlement. People in Vlakplaas, Rondebuilt and other settlements in the area see Zokozo as an angel. 

She has struck a deal with grocery shops Pick 'n Pay and Woolworths to help her with vegetables, fruit, bread, meat, clothes and other products to give to the needy in the communities.

Single mother

Zokozo (60) also helps taking the sick to clinics and hospital, as well assisting them to get IDs, birth certificates and arranging funerals. After receiving her share, Agnes Moshabisha (56) said it was difficult to raise her three children, as she was unemployed and single.

"Two of my children are of school-going age, but because I don't have money, they stay at home. I sell traditional beer to make a living. Mama Zokozo helps me a lot with food and clothing for the entire family. I know with her around my children will soon go to school," Moshabisha said.

David Fumani (44) said his wife, who had died a week before, could not have been buried if it was not for Zokozo.


Zokozo started helping people in 1998 when someone died and there was no money for burial. She has worked for different hospitals, including Chris Hani Baragwanath, until she went on pension in 1993.

"Before approaching the shops for donations, a woman called Thobeka Mdikwe used to help me with money to help the needy," Zokozo said. "In 2004, I attended the Women in Dialogue conference hosted by President Thabo Mbeki's wife, Zanele. She taught us about ubuntu which gave me a lot of courage. She encouraged us to help others to make a difference in our country."

- Ndivhuwo Khangale


Rural Women's Day and World Food Day

Rural Women's Day and World Food Day sadmin

Honouring rural women

To make sure food is produced and that there is enough to eat, the world relies on farms. Many people who work on farms are women in rural areas.

These women should be treated with respect, because they contribute to the wellbeing of families and the development of rural economies.


"Rural women form the backbone of the agricultural labour force across much of the developing world." With these words from the Geneva Declaration for Rural Women, Agriculture and Land Affairs Minister, Lulu Xingwana, paid tribute to women farm workers. 

Talking at the World Rural Women's Day and World Food Day celebrations in Limpopo in October, she said there was a need to honour these women. She told of how a Limpopo farmer refused permission to bury Mukumela Tshivhula (92), one of his long- time workers, on his farm.

Her body was in the government mortuary for nine months before she was finally buried. This only happened after a court battle and talks with the farmer.

Food security plan

Although rural women who work on farms make a huge contribution towards producing food in the developing world, half a billion of them are poor and lack access to resources and markets.

In line with our Constitution, every citizen has the right to have access to enough food and water. To ensure that this happens, government has started a food security plan. The plan will bring together all the food programmes started by different departments.

The Department of Health has found that 33 per cent of children up to the age of six years do not get enough vitamin A. This can cause blindness and a weak immune system. They have also found that one in four children between one and nine years old are underdeveloped because of poor diets and poverty.


To help poor families, the Department of Health is now giving vitamin A supplements to children up to five years old and to women in all public health institutions.

In addition, food like bread and maize meal is strengthened with six vitamins and two minerals to improve people's diets.

The Department of Education also contributes to healthy eating by encouraging schools to start food gardens and providing meals through its National School Nutrition Scheme. The scheme gives meals on school days to about 6 million learners at 18 000 schools.

- Ndivhuwo Khangale


Security Master Plan for 2010

Security Master Plan for 2010 sadmin

Keeping it brief

More than 30 000 police officers are being recruited and trained specifically for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. This is part of South Africa’s Security Master Plan for 2010. To gain experience of monitoring security during soccer games, the new police officers will start doing duty at Premier Soccer League matches this year and in 2009. 

Another feature of the 2010 safety and security plan is that teams of police officers will be divided into sections. Different teams will focus on different areas like the FIFA headquarters, hotels, stadiums, fan parks, restaurants and tourist destinations. Special courts will also be available 24 hours a day and seven days a week to ensure access to justice during the tournament.

- BuaNews 


Eastern Cape

The Victim’s Charter, which aims to help victims of crime to understand and use their rights, was unveiled in Port Elizabeth in December last year. It will ensure that victims’ needs are placed first when cases are investigated and is part of government’s commitment to build a culture of human rights. The Charter has already led to the setting up of rape-care centres, which ensure that rape victims are treated with dignity.

- BuaNews

North West 

A special event to mark International Anti-Corruption Day was held in Mogogelo village as part of government’s plans to root out fraud and corruption. It was the first time such an event took place in the North West. The day is marked worldwide by countries that have signed the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. 

- BuaNews


A provincial AIDS Council was opened in Mpumalanga in December last year as part of government’s Strategic Plan for HIV and AIDS and STIs (sexually transmitted infections) for 2007-2011. Provincial AIDS councils will help the South African National AIDS Council to achieve its goals. These include reducing new HIV and AIDS infections by 50 per cent and reducing the impact of the disease on individuals, families and communities. 

- BuaNews

Tune in to economic opportunities - From 7 January, you can tune in to your favourite radio station to find out how to improve your life through government’s programmes. A series of episodes on SABC’s 12 African language radio stations will tell you how you can access economic opportunitIes offered by government, as well as where to obtain government services and assistance. The programmes will be broadcast on the “Ispani” slots. The table below gives more details.

Radio station

Broadcasting times

First broadcast

Last broadcast

Ukhozi Fm


21:05- 21:30

10 January 2008

24 April 2008

Umhlobo Wenene Fm



12 January 2008

26 April 2008

Lesedi Fm



7 January 2008

21 April 2008

Thobela Fm



8 January 2008

22 April 2008

Motsweding Fm



7 January 2008

21 April 2008

Phalaphala Fm



19 January 2008

3 May 2008

Munghana lonene Fm



12 January 2008

26 April 2008

Ligwalagwala Fm



12 January 2008

26 April 2008

Ikwekwezi Fm



12 January 2008

26 April 2008

Radio Sonder Grense



11 January 2008

25 April 2008




9 January 2008

23 April 2008

X –K fm



10 January 2008

24 April 2008

For more information about news items featured on this page, call 1020


Strenthening democracy, improving lives

Strenthening democracy, improving lives sadmin

The old form of governance where the chief gathers around his subjects in a large kraal to discuss issues affecting his people, has similarities with government's imbizo progamme.

Although the communities have grown larger and their needs and problems are different, government is using the traditional imbizo method successfully to attend to the needs of the people.

Checking up

The benefit of the imbizo programme is that government officials who visit the different communities serve as principals who check up on whether the local leaders are doing their jobs. If there are shortcomings, they are reported and corrected.

During an imbizo meeting in October last year at Uitval in KwaZulu-Natal for example, the community told government representatives about councillors who did not call meetings or deliver services in their communities. The residents were told about their rights to elect and remove councillors who did not do their jobs. They were encouraged to use these rights when necessary.

Child grants

Government officials also visited Wembezi in Estcourt, KwaZulu-Natal. The visit was a blessing to Ntobeko Dlamini, a 17-year old girl who has the responsibility of looking after her family.

Dlamini and her three siblings have been living alone in poverty since 1999 when their parents died. Thanks to the presidential imbizo, all the siblings soon got identity documents and they were helped with applications for child grants.


A widow, 40-year old Leah Phora, who survived on handouts, also benefited from an imbizo visit in her area. Her identity book was used to register her to receive a social grant and food parcels.

Another widow, who lived in a very small house with her six children, benefited when she got help with her application for a bigger house.


During izimbizo, people are also encouraged to get involved in activities like forming co-operatives to attract government's attention to their projects. Doing so will enable them to use funding opportunities made available by government instead of waiting for government to help them. 

- Muzi Mkhwanazi


Tackling the prolem of school pregnancy

Tackling the prolem of school pregnancy sadmin

The story of a Grade 11 pupil who gave birth at a school in Johannesburg last year, presents challenges to us all. This was the second incident in two months.


Other stories like this about schoolgirls becoming mothers when they are still children themselves, have been in the media in recent months. Many of these young girls are too young or too poor to take proper care of their babies. 

Last year, the Department of Education released a document called theMeasurement on the Prevention and Management of Learner Pregnancy. The document was sent to all schools in the country. 

It gives guidelines and steps taken by the Department of Education. It also warns of the health dangers of early pregnancy and of unprotected sex, which can lead to infections including HIV and AIDS.

Dangers and risks

Education Minister, Naledi Pandor, said schoolgirls put their health and their futures at risk when they get pregnant. 

“We know that teenage mothers are less likely to finish school. And that means they are less likely than their friends or boyfriends to get jobs,“ she said. ”Teenage mothers are likely to become single parents and to live in poverty. This puts their children, especially girls, at risk of poor health and of becoming teenage mothers themselves.” 

Pandor added that dropping out of school is also a major cost to our society and the country’s economy. “We need to keep schoolchildren in school until they matriculate so that they are able to contribute to economic growth and our national project of development and transformation.”

No discrimination

This is why the Department of Education aims to ensure that learners will have opportunities to continue their education.

The department uses the Constitution as a guide when handling learners who fall pregnant. It does not allow discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. 

The South African Schools Act states that a learner who falls pregnant may not be prevented from attending school. 

But while the department encourages learners to continue with their education, it also expects young people to take responsibility for their actions, as well as for their own health and the health of their babies.

Schools are places of learning and not for giving birth. There are no midwives at schools, and teachers should not be responsible for helping with births, the department said.


The department believes that learners who become pregnant should take full responsibility for their babies. A period of two years may be necessary for this purpose. No learner should be allowed to go back to school in the same year that they left school due to pregnancy. 

For the sake of their own health and the health of their babies pregnant learners should go to their nearest clinic or doctor for advice and care. Boys must also take responsibility for their actions. Like girls, unmarried fathers have a parental responsibility for their children. 

“They should think long and hard about care and support and not leave women in a family to do all the work,” the Minister of Education said.


Mr Learners who go back to school after giving birth must have medical reports showing that they are fit to start with classes again. They must also prove that proper arrangements have been made for the care and safety of their babies.
Schools must strongly encourage learners to continue with their education before and after their babies had been born. 

Schools are allowed to develop their own programmes to support the prevention and management of learner pregnancy. But they must make sure that such programmes are in line with the Department of Education’s guidelines.

- Ndivhuwo Khangale






There is help for depression

There is help for depression sadmin

Mental health

The year 2008 is upon us and not everyone is looking forward to what lies ahead for them. 

For many people the beginning of the year is a time of sadness and hopelessness. Some of them are unemployed or are learners who have failed at school. For these people the future appears to offer no hope of success to such an extent that taking their own lives seems to be the only solution.


It is for this reason that government has put in place the mental health awareness programme. 

Mental illness is often associated with crazy people who make no sense when talking or run amok in the streets. But mentally ill people do not necessarily behave so strangely. Mental illness also includes people who are deeply depressed. At times they fail to see the difference between right and wrong and don’t believe their lives will ever get better. 

The South African Youth Risk Behaviour Survey done in 2002, showed that suicide is more common among young people. It showed that many young people between 20 and 34 years old commit suicide.

At risk

People who are at risk of committing suicide include those who drink alcohol heavily; drug users; people who face stressful situations like poverty, illness, death of loved ones; and those who see themselves as failures. 

For teenagers, things like failing matric, an unhappy family due to abuse and divorce, peer pressure and serious illness are among the causes of depression that could lead to suicide. 

Apart from government’s programmes, other organisations are helping government to deal with the problem of suicide. The South African Depression and Anxiety Support Group is one such organisation. The organisation says people who are feeling depressed should not bear the problem alone because there are trained people who are ready to help them.

Find help

Suicides can be prevented and depression and suicidal feelings can be managed with the proper treatment and counselling. 

Finding out what the causes of depression are and getting help, is a starting point in the healing process. If you are depressed and have suicidal thoughts that last for a period of two weeks or more, you must get help. You can start by talking to friends, relatives, teachers or elders from your religion or community about your problems. You can also contact the South African Depression and Anxiety Support Group. Their offices are open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week, even on public holidays.

- Muzi Mkhwanazi


Where does Government money come from? How is it spent?

Where does Government money come from? How is it spent? sadmin

Government is set to announce the country's budget for 2008. This means we will know how much money government will spend and what it will be spent on during the year. 

The different national departments will each receive a set amount of money to help government to achieve its aims of creating a better life for all.

Economic growth

But where does the money come from? In South Africa, government does not play a direct role in the economy. Its main role in the economy is to encourage economic growth. 

For example, government does not own big factories or mines to earn an income. It only partly owns big corporations like Eskom and Telkom. But the money earned from such companies is put back into the economy. This helps the economy to grow and creates conditions that encourage privately owned industries to succeed.


The money given to the national departments comes mainly from taxes paid by the country's people and businesses. Only people who have jobs and who earn more than a certain amount of money per month have to pay tax. The amount each person pays is worked out according to what he or she earns. Taxes are also paid on goods that are imported into the country from other countries.

The tax money is used to fund necessary services that people often take for granted. These include health care, safety and security, housing, roads, railways, harbours and communications. 

It also includes social grants like child-care and disability grants. Many people receive these grants unlawfully, which not only robs real beneficiaries of their money, but also has a negative effect on the country's economy.

Misusing funds

Misusing government funds could force government to increase taxes. It could also mean that money, which could have been spent on other important services like fighting crime or improving health services, must go to the social department. We should therefore never tolerate corrupt practices; it robs everyone of a better life.

Creating jobs

Another way in which government encourages economic growth is by putting money into infrastructure development. Recently government put billions of rands into the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). The purpose of the programme is to boost the economy by reducing unemployment and developing skills. 
This is achieved by giving unemployed people jobs in projects like road construction and building. In this way they not only earn money, but also receive on-the-job skills training.

- Muzi Mkhwanazi

Boosting agricultural growth

Small farmers in North West are replacing old farming methods with modern methods. Thanks to the tools given to them by government, these farmers will be able to produce more products and make a profit form their land. It is now easier for them to work the large pieces of land they received from government through the land redistribution process.

A blessing

Many of the farmers who received tools belong to the Iphuteng Youth Co-operative. Deputy Chairperson of the co-operative, Dithole Mokoma, said the farming tools were a blessing. Mokoma and his partners are farming a very big area and had no tools before. The tractor they got from government makes it possible to do what was impossible. 

The co-operative received tractors, cultivators, ploughs and planting machines.

They grow maize, sunflowers and vegetables and raise chickens. All their products are sold to local people in the province.

"I am really happy about the help we are getting from government. I have no doubt that our farm will become a successful business," Mokoma said.

Agricultural programme

The help given to the Iphuteng Youth Co-operative is part of government's Comprehensive Agricultural Programme (CASP). 
The programme offers support to farmers who got land through the land distribution programme. 

Government also helps small farmers through the Micro Agricultural Financial Institutional Scheme of South Africa (MAFISA). MAFISA helps small farmers with money to start new farming businesses and to develop them into successful enterprises.


Another farming project in the North West, the Mooifontein Central Primary Agricultural Co-operative, received a huge tractor worth over a million rand, five smaller tractors, ploughs and harvesting tools.

The co-operative administrator, Mompati Motlogedi, said the new tools would help them to reach their goal of running a successful farm from which they could make a lot of money. 
He said the farm used to employ lots of people before. Their dream is to restore it to its former glory and give jobs to many people. 

Their success will thus also help to improve the lives of others and to reduce unemployment Motlogedi said. "Government has put trust in us and the only way we can repay government is to succeed," he said.

- Muzi Mkhwanazi

The right to social security

To fight poverty, government offers different grants to meet the needs of poor people. All beneficiaries of these grants, must be South African citizens or permanent residents and must have valid South African identity documents.

Old age

The old-age grant is normally referred to as an old-age pension. Women who apply must be older than 60 and men must be older than 65. You must not be receiving any other social grant and must not be cared for by the state in an institution.


To get a disability grant you must be unable to support yourself because of your disability and have very little income. You must be 18 years or older. 

You must also have a medical assessment report confirming your disability. You must not be cared for by the state in a state institution and must not be receiving another social grant.

War veteran

To apply for the war veteran grant, you must be 60 years or older, or disabled, and you must have fought in the Second World War or Korean War. You must not be receiving another social grant.

Child support

  • The foster care grant is meant for poor people who are taking care of orphans or children who have run away from their families. To apply, you must have a court order showing your foster care status. You must have valid South African identity books for the child or children that you are caring for. The grant must be used to provide the child with enough food, medical care, clothing, schooling and shelter

  • For the care dependency grant, the child should be between one and 18 years old. The applicant must submit a medical assessment report confirming disability. The applicant must have an identity book and a 13-digit birth certificate for the child.

  • The child support grant is given to people who cannot afford to support their children. The child or children must be younger than 14. The care-giver must have an identity document and the child must have a birth certificate.

Grant in aid

This is for people with physical or mental disabilities who need full time care. A person who applies for this grant must not be cared for in an institution that receives money from the state. Applicants must be a social grant receiver.

Social relief of distress

This is a temporary grant to help poor people who are unable to meet their family's most basic needs. People who are waiting for permanent aid qualify for this grant. It is issued monthly for a maximum period of three months.

- Muzi Mkhwanazi

Cobras bite social grant cheaters

A few years ago, the social grant system was troubled by corruption, bad management and fraud. Some government officials also claimed social grant money for themselves. 
To stop this from happening, Social Development appointed the Special Investigating Unit to look into the system in early 2005.
Saved billions
Almost three years on, the Cobras, as the Special Investigating Unit is known, has already saved government close to R8 billion.
The Cobras work together with the South African Security Agency (SASSA). They employ nearly 200 investigators who focus mainly on government workers and those who are benefiting in the private sector.
Since it started, the unit has also found organised crime groups who were cheating the Social Pension System. Some of these groups and individuals are from outside the country. They focus mainly on disability grants and make fake medical certificates.
Across the border
The Department of Social Development found that at a border post between South Africa and Swaziland, at least 1 000 beneficiaries came across the border every month to collect grants in South Africa.
They expect to find that the same sort of thing also happens at the borders of other neighbouring countries, including Lesotho and Zimbabwe.
Together with partner agencies, the Cobras have started to tackle the problem. So far about 5 500 cases have been taken to court. 21 588 government employees were on the system unlawfully, but have since been removed. 
Some of them will undergo disciplinary hearings. Action taken against them will range from warnings to being fired from their jobs.
- Ndivhuwo Khangale

Taking steps

Part of the Cobra's responsibilities is to re-examine and improve the social grant system. They must also make recommendations to the Department and to SASSA on how to fix the problem areas in the system. Steps to be taken include:
  • Carefully checking information from applicants before disability grants are approved.
  • Marking applications that were previously refused, or where grants were cancelled because they were unlawful.
  • Double checking referrals from doctors and re-looking at medical files.
  • Visiting homes to prove that children registered on the system really exist, especially in the case of foster care grants.
  • Making sure that all Home Affairs officials can be clearly recognised.
To contact the Special Investigating Unit, call: 086 0748748