Apr 2020 1st Edition

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Protecting SA together

Government and civil society have acted swiftly to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), keeping citizens safe and assisting them during these trying times.

Regulations published on 18 March, which came into immediate effect, restricted bars and shebeens from selling alcohol after 6pm from Mondays to Saturdays and 1pm on Sundays and public holidays. The same applies to liquor stores.

While gatherings are limited to 100 people, places that sell alcohol for on-premises consumption can only host 50 people at a time.

In addition, visits to child and youth care centres, old-age centres and shelters, prisons and substance abuse treatment centres are suspended.

All public pools have been closed and all beaches are closed for swimming.

People must get permission at their closest police station to conduct a funeral or wedding as gatherings of over 100 people are banned.

Another measure that will assist South Africans is the cutting of the interest rate by one percent, to 5.25 percent, which will help citizens in debt save money.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says government is preparing quarantine sites and training healthcare workers.

Payment of social grants

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu says all social development, National Development Agency offices and South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) pay points will remain operational.

SASSA has asked beneficiaries not to collect their grants on the first day of payment, due to high pedestrian traffic at shopping malls and other outlets, and has assured beneficiaries that once money has been paid into their accounts, it can be accessed on any day of the month.

In terms of managing numbers at cash pay points, the organisation together with The South African Post Office will ensure that the number of clients being serviced at a time does not exceed the national set number of 100 people.

Priority will be given to the elderly, frail, people with disabilities, mothers with young children, as well as pregnant women.

All staff dealing directly with clients will be supplied with all the necessary protective kits to ensure that their health is safeguarded.

The department has also suspended all Integrated Community Registration Outreach Programmes and home, clinic and hospital visits by SASSA officials. Clients are advised not to report to local offices for simple enquiries, but to call SASSA and the South African Post Office on their toll-free customer care numbers or visit their social media channels. For more information, call 0800 601 011.

Price hikes banned

With many people panic buying over the past few days, shelves in many retailers were emptied of non-perishable foods and other essential items like toilet paper and hand sanitiser, and some shops put their prices up on these items.

Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel announced regulations to curb this and has banned excessive price increases on basic food and consumer items and medical and hygiene supplies, among others.

Education

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said that schools will reopen on 14 April. If the dates change, government will communicate accordingly. Early Childhood Development Centres and creches are also closed.

“To compensate for lost days, the June holidays will be cut short by a week. Once opened, schools will be encouraged to extend tuition hours,” she says.

Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande announced that all post-school institutions are closed for early recess until 15 April.

Churches

A number of faith communities have cancelled or suspended large communal services, and either restructured to allow for smaller services or called on people to worship at home instead.

The Methodist Church had cancelled Good Friday and Easter Sunday services, the Muslim Judicial Council has cancelled Friday prayer and the Zion Christian Church has cancelled the annual Moria pilgrimage.

Travel and transport

South Africa has closed two-thirds of its land borders and two seaports, while immigration remains open at all airports. Foreigners from high-risk countries are not allowed into South Africa, while those from medium-risk countries face extended health screenings.

The Department of Transport has engaged taxi and bus industry leadership to generate awareness around COVID-19 and random testing will be implemented in the public transport environment, particularly commuter rail.

The Cross Border Road Transport Agency and Border and Health authorities will screen truck drivers at all inland borders that continue to operate.

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, says all non-essential travel to other countries should also be cancelled or postponed and all South African citizens returning from high-risk countries will be subjected to testing and self-isolation or quarantine.

“Increased health screening measures at ports of entry for international destinations, which may include entry requirements, border closures, flight suspensions and quarantines, can be expected,” she says.

All international travellers, including South African citizens, entering South Africa will be required to complete and submit the prescribed health form and hand it to health officials and immigration officers upon arrival. All travellers will be subjected to medical screening for COVID-19 upon entering South Africa and if required, can be isolated or quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days.

All travellers who have entered South Africa from high-risk countries since 15 February 2020 are required to present themselves for testing.

Research funding

The Department of Science and Innovation is engaging stakeholders to mobilise funding and reprioritise research strategies. It has already redirected R4 million from other projects.

The Department of Employment and Labour will, for now, keep its labour centres open. The Crisis Management Team will meet every day to assess the situation and put measures in place to promote health and safety of staff and its clients.

The queues at labour centres will be managed to adhere to the 100 people rule.

Did you know

Intentionally spreading fake news about COVID-19 can land you in jail.
 Intentionally exposing another person to the virus could see you prosecuted for assault, attempted murder or murder.

COVID-19 hotlines 

Two additional hotline numbers have been added to respond to enquiries, one for doctors and one for the public. 

• The public can contact 0800 029 999 or 0800 111 132, 24-hours a day. 
• You can also WhatsApp the word ‘hi’ to the Department of Health at 0600 123 456 and follow the prompts.
• For more information, South Africans can access government's coronavirus website for free at www.sacoronavirus.co.za.

Together we can fight the impact of COVID 19 

The world is in the throes of a public health emergency on a scale not witnessed in over a century.

The spread of the coronavirus, which causes the disease known as COVID-19, has been alarmingly swift and widescale, and is now defined as a global pandemic.

 It knows no geographical or territorial boundaries, has infected both young and old, and is on the rise in developed and developing countries alike.

 As screening and testing is scaled up, the number of infections in South Africa is expected to rise.

 I recently declared a national state of disaster, a measure proportionate to the severity of the threat to our people, to our society and to our economy.

 This will enable us to have an integrated and coordinated disaster management mechanism and to set up emergency, rapid and effective response systems.

 This virus will be extremely disruptive, and our priority is to safeguard the health and well-being of all South Africans.

 We also have to address the inevitable economic fallout. We must expect a decline in exports, a drop in tourist arrivals and a severe impact on production, business viability and job creation and retention.

 Cabinet is in the process of finalising a comprehensive package of interventions to mitigate the expected impact of COVID-19 on our economy. This is being done in consultation with business, labour and other relevant institutions.

 It was Louis Pasteur who said that fortune favours the prepared mind.

 South Africa is prepared, and has been so for some time.
 Since the outbreak was first reported we have acted to put screening and containment measures in place.

 Our national response has been driven by an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) chaired and ably led by the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize.

The manner in which the IMC and the support teams have responded to this emergency has been both exemplary and reassuring, particularly in helping to quell public panic.
 I will be chairing a National Command Council to coordinate all aspects of our national response.

South Africa has a positive track record in managing public health emergencies.

We have the knowledge, the means and the expertise. Our scientists and epidemiologists are world-class.
We have put a raft of emergency measures in place, and will make funding available to support their implementation.

They include travel bans on visitors from high-risk countries; mandatory testing, self-isolation or quarantine for South African nationals returning from these countries; and strengthening surveillance, screening and testing at ports of entry into the Republic.

Social distancing is critical if we are to contain the spread of COVID-19.
 Gatherings of more than 100 people are prohibited and mass celebrations of national days are cancelled. Visits to all correctional centres are being suspended for 30 days with immediate effect. Non-essential international travel for government officials has been proscribed and non-essential domestic travel discouraged.

A total of 35 land ports and two sea ports will be closed, as will schools from the 18th of March until after the Easter weekend. We will soon be announcing measures with regards to universities and colleges.

Next month will be Easter, a sacred period for a number of faiths and a time in which mass services and gatherings will take place. The faith community should take decisions in this regard in the best interests of the health of their congregants and the country as a whole.

Hygiene control should be intensified in all sectors.

Every citizen should take charge of their own safety by observing measures such as frequent hand-washing with soap or hand-sanitizers and covering their nose or mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing.

As part of our national effort the Department of Health will continue with an intensive and ongoing campaign to raise awareness about prevention, transmission and infection symptoms. I encourage all South Africans to acquaint themselves with the relevant preventative material.

 These measures are similar to those in other countries, and it is important we all understand that they are not punitive but a matter of public safety.
One of the greatest dangers at this time is ignorance and misinformation.

We should stop spreading fake and unverified news, especially on social media. This can exacerbate an already tense national mood and damage the national effort.
We must also not give in to the expressions of bigotry that we have seen in other countries directed at nationals of countries from where the outbreak began or the current epicenter in Europe. This is clearly a virus that affects people of all nationalities.

 Let us lower the wing of compassion to those who are infected, and to those who have returned home from high-risk countries.

 Let us assist those in need and those more vulnerable, instead of shunning them. We will remain faithful to the values of tolerance and respect that define us as a people.

 On behalf of all the people of South Africa I thank the team who repatriated our compatriots from Wuhan, China, as well as the leadership and people of Limpopo who are assisting with the quarantine process.

This is a difficult time.

And yet it is in times of adversity that our strength is revealed.

 We will act decisively, with determination and with purpose. We will act as a collective, for it is upon the actions of every South African that the success of our efforts depend.

 The Thuma Mina moment is upon us, perhaps as never before.

 This too shall pass.

 We shall overcome.

 We are South Africans.

COVID-19 Coronavirus spreads

4 precautions to follow to avoid being infected

Advice for schools to contain COVID-19

Written by: Allison Cooper

The Department of Basic Education has provided guidance for childcare facilities and schools to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

To prevent the spread of the Coronavirus in South Africa government has announced that schools have been closed from 18 March until after the Easter Weekend.

To compensate for this, mid-year school holidays will be shortened by a week.

This was revealed by President Cyril Ramaphosa who has declared a national state of disaster. “It is true that we are facing a grave emergency. But if we act together, if we act now, and if we act decisively, we will overcome it,” said President Ramaphosa.

Director-General of Basic Education, Hubert Mweli also gave direction on how schools can deal with this national issue.

How to respond to COVID-19?

To prepare for possible community transmission of COVID-19, the most important thing for schools to do now is plan and prepare.

“As the global outbreak evolves, schools should prepare for the possibility of community-level outbreaks and possible recommendations from health officials for learners, staff, classes or grades to be quarantined at home. School dismissal could be recommended in certain circumstances,”
said Mweli.

He added that decisions about appropriate public health interventions should always be made in discussion with public health officials, who have access to relevant information.

Should COVID-19 appear in your community or school:

  • Make sure everyone has up to date information on how to prevent its spread.
  • Monitor and plan for absenteeism.
  • Review attendance and sick leave policies. Encourage learners and staff to stay home when sick.
  • Discourage the use of perfect attendance awards and incentives.
  • Identify critical job functions and positions and cross-train staff.
  • Determine the level of absenteeism that will disrupt teaching and learning.
  • Establish procedures to follow when learners and staff become sick at school or arrive sick.
  • Keep sick learners and staff separate from well learners and staff, until they can go home.
  • Share resources with the school community.
  • Create communication plans.

Reconsider international travel

“The risks of contracting COVID-19 infection are generally low and the consequences in most cases are mild,” said Mweli.

However, there are associated risks with international travel, including cancelled flights, new travel restrictions, airport closures and possible quarantine.

“Schools may need to postpone or cancel trips that could expose learners and staff to the potential community spread of COVID-19,” Mweli said.

For those who have been in contact with a suspected, but not yet confirmed case, no restrictions or special control measures are required. There is no need to close the school or send other learners or staff home.

“All close contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case are required to self-quarantine at home for 14 days, while being monitored for symptoms. They may not attend school,” said Mweli.

Take action if infection is confirmed

If a learner or educator is confirmed to be infected:

  • The school will be contacted by public health officials to discuss the case, identify people who have been in contact with them and advise on actions to be taken.
  • An assessment will be undertaken by public health officials, with relevant staff.
  • A risk assessment will be undertaken by the institution, with advice from public health officials. In most cases, closure of the facility or school will be unnecessary. This decision will be facility or school specific, based on factors, such as size and pupil mixing.
  • Prepare for possible school dismissal. This should only be considered following recommendations from a public health official.

“Temporarily closing schools is a possible strategy to stop or slow the further spread of COVID-19 in communities. School administrators should work in close collaboration and coordination with health officials to make dismissal and large event cancellation decisions,” said Mweli.

During school dismissals, childcare programmes and schools may stay open for staff members (unless ill) while learners stay home.

“Keeping facilities open will allow educators to develop and deliver lessons and materials remotely, thus maintaining continuity of teaching and learning,” said Mweli. 

For more information and advice, visit www.nicd.ac.za, www.health.gov.za or www.education.gov.za. You can also contact the National Institute for Communicable Diseases community hotline at 0800 029 999.

COVID-19 info via Mpilo App

Written by: More Matshediso

The Gauteng Department of Health has added a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) feature to its Mpilo – Healthcare mobile app, which was launched last year to improve service delivery in healthcare facilities.  

The Mpilo – Healthcare App is the department’s digital platform that empowers residents with healthcare-related information.

In the wake a national disaster being declared by President Cyril Ramaphosa as a result of the new coronavirus, the department has added a COVID-19 feature to the app to help increase public education and awareness.

Most importantly, it will help with contact tracing. The app currently has a self-screening feature but additional features will be added to improve the efficiency of the collection of daily information of confirmed COVID-19 contacts in the province.

When you are self-screening on the app, the user can answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the questions below:

  • Have you recently had any of the following symptoms? Cough, difficulty breathing or sore throat from an unexplained cause?
  • Have you travelled to any country currently experiencing novel coronavirus infections within the past 14 days?
  • Have you had contact with any person who has travelled to any country currently experiencing novel coronavirus infections within the past 14 days?
  • Have you been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days?
  • Are you a health worker (this includes any person working in a health facility) who may have come into contact with a confirmed or possible case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days?

After completing the self-assessment, a report will be submitted to the department through the app and results will be communicated to the user.

The app is available on both Android and IOS. Residents are encouraged to download it.  

 

The app is currently zero rated with Telkom and Cell C, meaning it is free to use.

Coronavirus Q&A

President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged South Africans not to panic following his recent announcement of the coronavirus being a national disaster and pandemic. 

He also advises every citizen to take charge of their own safety by observing measures such as frequent hand-washing with soap or hand-sanitisers and covering their nose or mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing.

Below are answers to questions that you might be needing clarity on:

Does a pandemic reflect the severity of a disease?

A pandemic has nothing to do with how serious an illness is. It just means a disease is spreading widely and at an alarming rate.

I have flu-like symptoms, should I get tested?

The symptoms of COVID-19 include a cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or fever.  However, these are also symptoms of the flu. The National Institute For Communicable Diseases (NICD) recommends that you should only get tested if you display symptoms plus have:

  • been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 person
  • travelled to a high risk country
  • worked in or been to a healthcare facility treating people with COVID-19
  • have a severe case of pneumonia with an unknown cause.
  • Consult your medical practitioner immediately if you meet the above criteria.

What is self-isolation?

Self-isolation is a way to keep yourself from possibly infecting others if you think you might be infected.

Can I go work?

Anyone who is sick or displaying symptoms should not go to school or work. If you have been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, you should self-isolate for 14 days from the date of close contact. If you are concerned, contact your medical practitioner for further advice.

Where should I go if I want to test for COVID-19?

If you think you might have contracted the virus, you can call the NICD helpline and you will be advised on possible testing facilities.

What happens if I test positive?

Anyone who tests positive will immediately be notified and put into quarantine at home or at a facility designated to manage the outbreak. You will then remain in quarantine until repeat testing shows you no longer have the virus.

How much does the test cost?

Public sector testing is free of charge. Private laboratories such as Lancet, Ampath and Pathcare can also test. Enquiries should made be with the respective laboratory for their costing of the test.

How is COVID-19 infection treated?

There is no specific treatment available for the virus. Treatment is supportive by providing oxygen for patients with shortness of breath or managing a fever. Antibiotics do not treat viral infections. However, antibiotics may be required if a secondary bacterial infection develops.  

Who to contact on matters related to the Coronavirus?

  • For the latest coronavirus updates  Whatsapp Hi to 0600 123 456
  • If you suspect that you have the coronavirus call the National Institute for Communicable Diseases on 0800 029 999

New app to assist with food security

Written by: More Matshediso

The Agricultural Research Council (ARC) has developed the first-ever Maize Information Guide app to contribute to food security in the Southern African Development Community region. Matodzi Phaswana says the Maize Information Guide app was developed to assist farmers increase their harvests and contribute to food security.

Commercial and smallholder farmers can download the app from Google Play Store to easily access scientifically proven data on maize production; insect identification and disease management; and weed and nematodes control.

The app was developed by the Research and Development Applications Unit at the ARC.

The unit team leader Matodzi Phaswana (41) says the app was developed to assist farmers increase their harvests and contribute to food security through the integration of agriculture and information technology. 

“Maize is one of the top staple foods in South Africa and globally. Due to its affordability, it contributes significantly to food security and nutrition. As the ARC, we are committed to providing farmers and industry with technological solutions aimed at enhancing good-quality food production,” she says. 

“The app is user friendly. It also has the capability to identify pests and weeds on crops based on information inputted by users,” she adds.

Phaswana understands the importance of food security and farming all too well, after her rural upbringing in the village of Muswodi Tshisimani in Venda, Limpopo.

“Most maize farmers experience challenges, including plant diseases, pest attacks and weeds. This has a huge impact on the production yields of crops. We are well aware that agriculture contributes to the GDP of the country and the continent and it is of outmost importance that farmers are given tools to assist them in maximising their production yields,” says Phaswana.

“It is our intention as the ARC to expand the variety of applications that can be rolled out to farmers to assist in addressing the challenges they face. We are currently developing a cactus pear app, which will be launched soon,” she says.

Phaswana says agriculture technology solutions – such as precision farming, smart farming and automation – make life easier for farmers.

Poultry farming: not for headless chickens

Written by: More Matshediso

Poultry farming may look easy to outsiders but it takes a lot of hard work to sustain the business. Thando Magane has experienced the ups and downs of chicken farming.

This lesson was learnt the hard way by Thando Magane (34) of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, after she left her job at a bank about six years ago to become a poultry farmer.

Despite two major setbacks, she eventually succeeded and now mentors other poultry farmers across the country.

“I started poultry farming in 2013. I was still working for a bank then, but I resigned the following year. Before resigning, I attended a couple of short courses to learn the basics of poultry farming. I would also sometimes take time off work to go work on a chicken farm so that I could learn the skills I needed to succeed,” she says.

After handing in her resignation letter, she went all out to grow her self-funded poultry farm.

“My first mistake was allowing myself to become overwhelmed by the hype of being one of the few women who were in this business back then. I neglected the job that goes into farming. I started attending unnecessary meetings that took most of my time and as a result, more than half of my chickens died. I lost a lot of money,” she explains.

That was a wake-up call to start focusing more on running the business and getting her hands dirty. Just as things were coming right, however, she was heavily affected by the bird flu outbreak of 2017.

“I lost everything,” she says.

Instead of giving up, Magane soldiered on, taking out loans to re-establish her business. She turned her challenges into learning opportunities and soon she started supplying eggs to franchises such as Spar and Mugg & Bean in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as selling surplus chickens for consumption. 

After witnessing other start-up poultry farmers struggling to establish their businesses, Magane started Fresh Nest Poultry Consultants. The business holds poultry workshops covering topics such as immunisation, broiler management, bio-security, layer management, hatchery management and financial management, among others.

“I work with a client for a couple of weeks after a workshop to ensure they get the basics right,” she says.

So far, over 100 people from various provinces have benefitted from her training.

To find out more, email Thando at thando.magane@gmail.com

Rangaka has designs on global fashion

Written by: More Matshediso

Why look to Europe for fashion inspiration when South Africa has such a rich story to share? Taking her passion in fashion to the world is Neo Rangaka.

The world is starting to look to Africa and a local fashion designer believes it is the right time for her to expand her brand.

Neo Rangaka (26) is the owner of Johannesburg-based BLVNK, a range of luxury streetwear. “The brand is all about telling African stories through fashion,” says Rangaka, who holds a degree in fashion design from the Villioti Fashion Institute. 

“I started my company back in 2017 while I was still studying. It started off as a consulting company, offering personal styling, custom-made garments, wardrobe consulting and shopping,” she says.

She got her big break when she came across the Design Innovation Challenge hosted by Edcon and Runway Productions in 2018. It is an incubation programme in which designers come up with new concepts and create something out of it.

“I saw this as an opportunity to start a clothing brand, which is something I had always wanted to do but I first needed to acquire the right skills and knowledge. That is how BLVNK was born,” she added.

She has so far managed to hire one permanent employee, who is responsible for marketing. However, she outsources human resources from local places, such as Victoria Yards in Johannesburg, from where her business operates.

“We [at the Victoria Yards] are a number of designers who share space and work together. I bring my designs to the team, which assists in meeting my manufacturing needs,” she says.

She sells her clothes at Victoria Yards as well as via an online platform called Vibe Life Culture.

“My ultimate goal is for the world to buy clothes in South Africa. We all want these well-known international brands. I also love and admire them but South Africa has so much to offer in culture and diversity,” she says. 

The Design Innovation Challenge is endorsed by Proudly South African as it helps create employment for young fashion industry professionals.

The initiative enabled Rangaka to showcase her clothes at the South African Fashion Week.

With the help of Proudly South African, she also got an opportunity to erect a pop-up store in Milan, Italy. Although the event has been postponed as a result of the coronavirus, she was among the local designers chosen to showcase their products at the next Buy Local Summit and Expo.

The National Youth Development Agency also assisted her with R10 000 that she used to buy fabric.

For Rangaka, resilience is what keeps her going because she believes talent and connections are not enough to survive in the industry.  

Free support for victims of abuse

Written by: Dale Hes

A Gauteng non-profit organisation with links to the police, courts, clinics and community structures provides legal, psychological and emotional support to abuse survivors. Rethabile Moses, Thalita Makansi and Phumzile Mnisi from Lawyers Against Abuse.

A heroic team of lawyers and social workers is tackl

ing gender-based violence (GBV) by providing free legal services and counselling to victims and helping them put their abusers behind bars.

Based in Diepsloot, Johannesburg, Lawyers Against Abuse (LvA) was established in 2011 by Professor Bonita Meyersfeld. In 2014, the organisation launched its pilot centre in Diepsloot, providing specialised legal and psychosocial services to GBV survivors.

To date, LvA has provided critical support to over 1 000 survivors. It has supported 208 survivors in criminal cases, gained 584 protection orders and provided 340 survivors with therapy sessions.

Rethabile Moses, acting executive director for LvA, says  the organisation was formed to combat the high levels of GBV in Diepsloot.

“Tragically, prevalence rates often multiply in poor and marginalised communities. For example, in Diepsloot, research revealed that 56 percent of men committed some form of physical or sexual violence against a woman in the past 12 months, with one third using both physical and sexual violence.”

LvA has formed strong partnerships with various sectors of society in order to give victims the best legal and psychosocial assistance possible.

LvA has played a crucial role in securing prison sentences for GBV perpetrators.

In 2017, Mantwa* was beaten and raped by her ex-boyfriend Joshua*, a known serial rapist and gang member. At the police station, she was referred to LvA for support.

“In the months that followed, LvA engaged with the investigating officer assigned to Mantwa’s case to ensure that it moved forward and did not fall through the cracks and provided Mantwa with ongoing trauma debriefing and counselling,” says Moses.

Mantwa’s trial dragged on for over 16 months due to delaying tactics from the defence and intimidation and threats against the witnesses. But with continuous support from LvA, the man who thought he was untouchable was sentenced to life imprisonment in February 2019.

Apart from directly supporting victims, LvA also carries out community workshops, outreach programmes and school interventions throughout Diepsloot.

*LvA is located at Buffalo Street, Ext 2, Diepsloot. Call 072 031 1840 or email info@lva.org.za.

Parole systems to be tightened

Written by: Silusapho Nyanda

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola says the review of the parole boards will bring a more detailed system which will be used to determine whether offenders are equipped to re-engage with society. 

Parole is part of the total rehabilitation programme and it aims to correct offending behaviour.

It also includes the continuation of programmes aimed at re-integration while the offender is in the system of community corrections.

The review follows the arrest of parolees Moyhdian Pangarker (54) and Jacobus Pistoors (53) who allegedly killed eight-year-old Tazne van Wyk from Worcester and Tulbagh’s Reagen Gertse, respectively.

“Whilst we may argue that our parole system is flawed, but not broken, we should not be satisfied with a system that is not predictable."

The review will add new measures that will strengthen the parole boards’ decision making.

These new measures will see parole applicants assessed by human and criminal psychology experts. The assessment reports, on the applicant’s mind-set, compiled by a psychiatrist and a criminologist will form part of considerations brought before the parole boards.

The Minister also says a team comprising of these experts has already been set up to profile all gender-based violence and femicide offender cases.

Another new step will be the involvement of the South African Polices Services (SAPS) and social workers in the parole application process.

A social worker and psychiatrist will now assess the impact of the crime on the victim. They will submit a report to the police who will in turn submit it to the parole board for consideration as part of the application.

The Minister said as a step further in the parole programme his department will strengthen its monitoring mechanisms of parolees.

This will be done by working with community structures such as community policing forums and non-governmental organisation .

In light of the accusations against Pangarker and Pistoors, Lamola says they recognise that there is an urgent need to review the various rehabilitation programmes that parolees undergo to equip them with skills to assist them to distance themselves from their previous life of crime.

Pangarker was released on parole in 2016 after serving eight years of a ten year culpable homicide conviction.

Pistoors was released on parole, four months before he allegedly murdered Gertse, after serving seven years of a 12-year sentence for raping a five-year-old

Grow the economy, buy local

By supporting products and services made on home soil, South Africans will be able to help grow the economy.

Buying locally manufactured products will ensure that the money spent by citizens stays in the country.

It will also assist the country to realise its dream of growing the economy, safeguarding jobs and creating more jobs for those who are unemployed.

This is according to Proudly South African Chief Executive Officer Eustace Mashimbye. Proudly SA is the country’s only official buy local campaign. It serves interests of all local manufacturers and producers in the country.

“If South African buyers choose to purchase products and services that are locally produced and rendered, we will be able to grow the economy and create much-needed jobs,” he says.

He says when people buy a product or use a service that is imported into the country when a local alternative exists, they are in fact jeopardising local jobs.

Everyone has a role to play in turning the economy around, he believes.

In an effort to make locally manufactured products accessible to consumers, Mashimbye says Proudly SA is a partner in the rsamade.co.za initiative. This e-commerce website gives South African manufacturers the opportunity to advertise their products to local and global consumers.

Merchants are also able to display their locally manufactured products on the website, which enables them to reach a much larger retail field.

Mashimbye encourages local manufacturers and entrepreneurs to consider establishing partnerships with strategic buyers. “This will enable your business to expand, whether it is through giving you more exposure, linking you with more opportunities or both of you creating a product or initiative that can benefit you in the long run,” he says.

He says Proudly SA continues to form partnerships with industry bodies, associations and corporates that fund or support initiatives which benefit local manufacturers and entrepreneurs.

You can visit www.rsamade.co.za or www.proudlysa.co.za to buy locally manufactured products contact 078 584 8432 or email info@rsamade.co.za for enquiries.  

Artists become business savvy, thanks to NAC funding

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

Calling all arts practitioners:  South Africa’s official arts council has opened applications for funding.

Artists and people working in the arts field in the Eastern Cape have benefitted from a National Arts Council (NAC) funding programme aimed at developing the sector.

Port Elizabeth-based company On Time Projects last year trained artists in intellectual property and copyright ownership, as well as teaching entrepreneurs in the sector how to properly establish their businesses. 

The training was made possible by R201 000 in funding given to On Time Projects by the NAC. The NAC’s funding programme offers a minimum of R100 000 and a maximum of R500 000 to artists and art-related projects that are aimed at capacity building; strategic initiatives; and platforms, exhibitions and festivals.

The owner of On Time Projects, Thandile Phetshwa (43), says her company aims to develop administrative, business and entrepreneurial skills in the sector. “We teach artists about the legal side of things. They learn about the different types of contracts and what they mean.”

According to Phetshwa, business owners have learnt how to register a business, apply for funding and have been taught the different administrative requirements of running a successful business.

The NAC invites funding applications from artists and art-related projects and businesses. The closing date for applications is 2pm on 30 April 2020.

Projects applied for must fulfil two or more of the following arts outcomes: economic value, creative value, social value, therapeutic value or educational value.

The NAC especially encourages applications from arts organisations and individuals who support the involvement of women, youth and people living with disabilities, particularly in historically disadvantaged areas.  

Information and the application forms are available on the NAC’s website: www.nac.org.za. Interested people may also contact the NAC at 087 700 0683.

Rainwater harvesting helps drop water bills

Written by More Matshediso

South Africa is a water scarce country which means everyone needs to relook at their water usage and find ways to use less.

Investing in rainwater harvesting rather than new dams could be the best course of action in the face of South Africa’s water scarcity.

This is according to Dr Jean-Marc Mwenge Kahinda (42), who works as a principal researcher and catchment hydrologist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. 

As a catchment hydrologist, Mwenge Kahinda conceptualises and leads research projects and supervises the work of junior researchers and students.

He says that if every household had at least five cubic metre containers to harvest rainwater, far less water would need to be treated at water treatment plants because people would be less dependent on the supply of municipal water for non-potable uses.

Mwenge Kahinda says rainwater harvesting might also be the best alternative water source for people in rural areas.

While he acknowledges that in drier years, rainfall harvesting will be less effective, he says people with the space for rainwater tanks should spend the money to install them because their water bills will be reduced. In the long run, they will save money while also helping to preserve this precious resource.

Water-saving tips

Mwenge Kahinda says the Department of Water and Sanitation often shares tips on how people can save water.

“If your taps are leaking, fix them as soon as possible. If you are brushing your teeth, pour water in a glass and don’t leave the tap running while brushing,” he says.

Other tips include using your bath water to water your garden and not rinsing dishes under running water.

Farmers must ensure they get the maximum return on their water expenditure. “Check the times that you irrigate your plants; it is better to do it at sunset because more water will infiltrate the soil than during the day when it evaporates,” he says.

He says there is generally a good understanding on what should be done to save water but the challenge is getting people to change their habits.

He adds that the primary benefits of harvesting rainwater are mostly related to improved access to water and to food security, especially in rural communities in South Africa.    

Cape Flats preschoolers takes the plunge

Written by Dale Hes

A learn-to-swim programme run from an early learning centre in a Cape Town township is helping to combat child drownings.

A pre-school in the Cape Flats is not only giving children from disadvantaged communities a quality early education but is also teaching them how to swim.

The non-profit Philippi Children’s Centre was started over 25 years ago to serve families from the Philippi farming community. Today, it cares for about 270 children from around the Cape Flats, ranging from crèche age to Grade R. Kissmea Adams with his students learning how to swim.

The centre gets support from the provincial government in the form of grants but is also given a huge helping hand from other organisations, including US-based non-profit Love to Langa. One of the most ambitious projects from Love to Langa was the building of a swimming pool at the centre, which is used to give weekly swimming lessons to children.

The idea for a swimming pool came from Kissmea Adams, a Cape Town-based director of Love to Langa.

“I find projects for our charity to support. Love to Langa wanted a build project and sent me a scope. I noticed that there was no supply of learn-to-swim pools in communities. It was shocking considering the high drowning rate among children,” says Adams.

Her idea was presented to the board of the Philippi Children’s Centre and a portion of land was used to build the indoor swimming pool in 2016.

The Love to Langa Swimming Academy now gives lessons to 220 children from the pre-school every week, as well as to the wider community, through Trevor’s Swimming School.

Nisreen Abrahams, who is the treasurer at the children’s centre, says the swimming pool has made a massive difference to the community.

“In a community where beach and pool drownings are the norm, the school is now able to provide a life skill to these children who would never otherwise have had the opportunity to learn to swim.”

Abrahams adds that Love to Langa has been a major sponsor and very supportive to the centre, a place which the community is in ‘desperate need of’. 

*For more information about Love to Langa, email info@lovetolanga.org

Jobs: Employment and Labour - Apr 2020

Assistant Director: Financial Liaison- Public Entities
Chief Directorate: Financial Management, Head Office         
Reference No:  HR 4/20/04/1HO
Salary: Commencing: R 376 596 per annum
Enquiries: Ms. M Sebaka, Tel: (012) 309 4591

Head Office

Chief Director: Human Resources Management:
Private Bag X 117, Pretoria, 0001.     

Assistant Director: Internal Audit
(Information Technology Audit)

Directorate: Internal Audit, Head Office
Reference No: HR 4/20/04/2HO
Salary:  Commencing: R 376 596 per annum
Enquiries: Ms. M Nkuna, Tel: (012) 309 4336/4428

Head Office

Chief Director: Human Resources Management:
 Private Bag X 117, Pretoria, 0001.     

Counsellor
Labour Centre: Jane Furse
Reference No:  HR4/4/6/121                            

Salary:

Grade 1: R579 147 - R642 765 (OSD)

Grade 2: R662 190 – R734 928 (OSD)

Grade 3: R750 024 – R832 398 (OSD)

Enquiries: Ms. TE Maluleke, Tel: (015) 290 1768

Provincal Office

Chief Director: Provincial Operations:
Private Bag X 9368 Polokwane, 0700.

Closing date for Applications:
23 April 2020 at 16:00. For full details of the advertised posts visit our website: www.labour.gov.za

Applications must be submitted on a Z83 form, obtainable from any Public Service Department or on the internet at www.gov.za/documents. The fully completed and signed form Z83 should be accompanied by a recently updated, comprehensive CV as well as recently certified copies of all qualification(s), academic records including a Senior Certificate and ID-document [Driver’s license where applicable](Certified copy of a copy will not be accepted). The certification must be within six (6) months as at the advert closing date. Non-RSA Citizens/Permanent Resident Permit Holders must attach a copy of their Permanent Residence Permits to their applications. Should you be in possession of a foreign qualification, it must be accompanied by an evaluation certificate from the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA) including Matric. Applicants who do not comply with the above-mentioned requirements, as well as applications received late, will not be considered. The Department does not accept applications via fax or email. Failure to submit all the requested documents will result in the application not being considered. Correspondence will be limited to short-listed candidates only. If you have not been contacted within eight (8) weeks after the closing date of this advertisement, please accept that your application was unsuccessful. Suitable candidates will be subjected to a personnel suitability check (criminal record, citizenship, credit record checks, qualification verification and employment verification). Where applicable, candidates will be subjected to a skills/knowledge test. All shortlisted candidates for SMS posts will be subjected to a technical competency exercise that intends to test relevant technical elements of the job, the logistics of which be communicated by the Department. Following the interview and technical exercise, the selection panel will recommend candidates to attend generic managerial competencies using the mandated DPSA SMS competency assessment tools. Successful candidates will be appointed on a probation period of 12 months. The Department reserves the right not to make any appointment(s) to the above post. The successful candidate will be expected to sign a performance agreement. The Department of Employment and Labour is an equal opportunity affirmative action employer. The employment decision shall be informed by the Employment Equity Plan of the Department. It is the Department’s intention to promote equity (race, gender and disability) through the filling of this post(s) with a candidate whose transfer / promotion / appointment will promote representativity in line with the numerical targets as contained in our Employment Equity Plan.

Stay in touch with the department, visit: website: www.labour.gov.za 
Facebook: Department of Employment and Labour  | twitter: @deptoflabour

Jobs: Government Communications (GCIS)

Post: Director: Strategic Planning, Risk and Performance Management

Salary: An all-inclusive package of R1 057 326 per annum

Centre: Hatfield, Pretoria

Reference Number: 3/1/5/1 – 20/22

Closing Date: 4 April 2020

Enquiries: Ms Z Ngwenya; 012 473 0472

Applications: The Director-General, Government Communications, Private Bag X 745, Pretoria, 0001 or hand deliver to Tshedimosetso House, Corner Frances Baard and Festival streets, Hatfield, Pretoria.

For more information on the requirements and functions/key performance areas of this position, visit www.gcis.gov.za.

The National Household Travel Survey: What you need to know

Whether you live in the heart of bustling Johannesburg or among the lush green hills of Zululand, transport is what connects you to many important things in life – from family and friends to jobs and learning opportunities. And with more and more South Africans moving around, access to affordable, safe and reliable transport is more vital than ever.

To deliver an integrated, safe, reliable and effective transport system Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) in collaboration with the Department of Transport is conducting a research survey to collect data on the travel patterns of individuals and households across the country. The outcomes of the survey will be used as a planning platform for new transport services and infrastructure required in the future.

Officially known as the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) 2020, the research survey will provide  important insights into citizens’ travel needs and experiences. Hundreds of Stats SA fieldworkers  have been crisscrossing the country since the start of the year to conduct in-person interviews with South Africans about their transport challenges and behaviours.

The survey results will be critical for the planning of new and improved transport services and infrastructure.

“The information collected will aid the government in identifying public transport programmes that require immediate intervention and where more resources should be deployed in improving services and efficiency,” explains Statistician-General Mr Risenga Maluleke. The fieldworkers who will be conducting  the survey in person, will record the responses on a handheld device.

The NHTS 2020 is South Africa’s third household travel survey, with the first one conducted in 2003 and the second in 2013. The latest data will help the  Department of Transport, which commissioned the research, to understand how the transport landscape has changed in the past seven years to enable better infrastructure planning and resource reallocation for public transport.

The 2013 survey shed important light on the preferred  modes of public transport in the country, revealing that the vast majority of South Africans relied on taxis over buses and trains. The data collected as part of NHTS 2020 will help to inform interventions designed to give  passengers better-quality services.

“It will help decipher needs and issues in services such as the scholar transport system, the taxi industry and the passenger rail network to enable the  Department of Transport to plan interventions that will ensure continuity and quality of services,” adds Mr Maluleke.

A snapshot of the NHTS conducted in 2013 

The last NHTS conducted in 2013 indicated that individuals who attended educational institutions and used public transport were most likely to use taxis (69,5%), followed by those who used buses (24,7%), while 5,8% used trains.

NHTS 2020 at a glance

HOW TO IDENTIFY A STATS SA FIELDWORKER

  • Stats SA issued identity card
  • Black bib and a cap with Stats SA logo

To verify a fieldworker, contact the NHTS call centre: 0800 110 248 (toll-free number) or visit www.statssa.gov.za (for online verification).

City residents grow their own food and future

Written by More Matshediso

The City of Johannesburg’s Food Resilience Programme seeks to address urban poverty and food insecurity among residents.

According to Food Value Chain Sub-unit Head at the City of Johannesburg, Simon Motsusi, the unit provides interested residents with the means to develop their own food gardens.

“We encourage residents to plant fruit and vegetables in their backyards, on rooftops or in open spaces near where they live,” Motsusi explains.

“We also support small, medium and large-scale farming co-operatives that wish to grow food to sell to the public,” he says.Emily Dikgale and Phillimon Machipa from Diepsloot are able to put food on the table, through the Food Resilience Programme.

The unit identifies suitable land and provides farming information, pest control support, access to implements and seeds, business advisory services and access to markets.

Motsusi says agricultural production increases access to healthy and nutritious food and can be used to generate income and agro-processing initiatives.

So far, Motsusi says over
9 100 small-scale food producers have benefited from the programme. Additionally, 52 urban farmers have managed to create income-generating projects within the city and over 7 400 indigent families have benefited from food banks across the city. 

Emily Dikgale (55) from Blessings Co-operative in Diepsloot Extension Seven says the unit helped them identify the five hectares of land they currently farm, after they were told to stop farming next to a local graveyard.

“After a couple of years, we officially registered our co-operative and made sure we had the necessary documents,” Dikgale explains.

The City of Johannesburg makes a tractor available to the co-operative, as well as others in the area, to assist with planting.

Blessings Co-operative supplies maize, sunflowers, pumpkin, butternut, spinach, chillies, cabbage, onion and tomatoes to locals and residents from nearby areas such as Alexandra and Germiston. Some produce is also sold to Food Lover’s Market in Fourways.

Dikgale explains that the co-operative has enabled its members to provide for their families and also offers future security because, according to the co-operative’s constitution, when members retire or pass away, their places may be taken by their child or another beneficiary.

Her colleague, Phillimon Machipa (77), says he has 13 unemployed children.

“This is not a source of income, but it ensures that my family does not go to bed on empty stomachs,” he says.

 

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Talking money sense to kids

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

Good financial health may be hard to achieve, but it is not impossible, especially if people are taught how to manage their money from a young age.

With this in mind, the Consumer Financial Education Foundation (Confef) and Ithala SOC Limited have started teaching schoolchildren how to better manage their finances through a newly-launched financial literacy programme called MoneyTalks.

Ithala SOC Limited is an entity of Ithala Development Finance Corporation, while Confef is a non-profit organisation registered with the Department of Social Development.

Confef’s Octavia Hlatshwayo says recent statistics show that university students are already trapped in debt, with some battling to service their monthly obligations.

“Empowering school children with financial management skills at an early stage of their lives will equip them to better manage their finances, thus creating a wealth legacy in the future. This programme will expose children to money matters such as the importance of budgeting and saving,” says Hlatshwayo.

According to a report released recently by the National Credit Regulator, there are 25 million credit-active consumers in South Africa and 10 million are behind on their loan repayments.

Research by Debt Rescue shows that only 23 percent of South Africans have money left at the end of the month; more than half of consumers use 75 percent of their salary to make debt repayments; and 38.9 percent of their income is used to repay personal loans.

Hlatshwayo says: “Living within your means is a priority element in your journey to financial wellness. This is not attainable without understanding the importance of budgeting as your compass that points you in the right direction in relation to your finances. This is followed by adopting a culture of savings, especially emergency funds which will rescue you in times of desperate financial need.”

The Money Talks
programme follows a four-step programme that can help people build their own wealth:
Step One – Get out of debt.
Step two – Start saving.
Step Three – Start investing.
Step Four – Build multiple streams of income.

The wealth-creation journey can start even before one becomes economically active. Often what makes wealth unattainable to a lot of people is financial illiteracy which leads to bad consumption-driven decisions,” Ithala Marketing and Communications Manager Sandile Xolo says.

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Springbok captain makes history

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

Springbok Women’s captain Babalwa Latsha (25) is leading the pack in women’s rugby at home and across the continent. She recently made history as the first African woman to become a professional rugby player after signing with Spanish team SD Eibar Femenino.

The forward can play in both the tighthead and loosehead prop positions, as well as the Number Eight position.

Latsha says her achievement means far more to her than personal glory – she hopes it will inspire other young women who play the sport.

“Being the first African female professional rugby player is a massive achievement not only for me as an individual, but for the game of women’s rugby itself in South Africa and in Africa,” she says.

Latsha says she hopes she will be an example to other young women and show them that with passion and hard work, anything is possible.Babalwa Latsha flying the South African flag high by being the first African woman to sign with a Spanish team.

The move to SD Eibar Femenino, Latsha says, came after scouts from the Spanish team spotted her during a game between the two countries’ national teams.

Latsha only started playing rugby seriously at university. As a youngster, she had briefly dabbled in the game, in her home township of  Khayelitsha in Cape Town, through the South African Rugby Legend’s Vuka programme, which aims to promote rugby in disadvantage communities and areas where it is not being played.

She then left the game until 2014 when she began studying law at the University of the Western Cape. During her first year, Latsha was approached by a group of female rugby players, who asked her to join their Sevens team which was going to play in the University Sports South Africa tournament that year.

Latsha ended up playing for the university team on a full-time basis. She went on to play for the Western Cape provincial team, which she captained at three consecutive SA Rugby Women’s Interprovincial A-Section championships – in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

In 2018, Latsha was part of the Sevens team that represented South Africa at the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in San Francisco in the United States of America. In 2019, she made her debut for the 15-a-side team. She was named captain of the team in the same year.

“I have captained the Springbok side for a season-and-a-half,” she says.

“As a woman who plays rugby, a male-dominated sport, you have to believe in yourself because you are most likely to be ridiculed for one reason or another. People will say you look like a man or are trying to be a man. They will say you are too muscular for a girl. You never fit into any box of society.

“However, you need to stand your ground. You need to be confident in yourself and remain undeterred,” Latsha says.

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Africa dances onto centre Stage

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

Dance and choreography enthusiasts can look forward to a fun-filled dance festival at the South African State Theatre from 2 to 12 April.

The event debuted last year and was initially named Dance Umbrella Africa. This year, it has been renamed the Kucheza Afrika Festival – an apt name given that Kucheza is theThe Kucheza Afrika Festival will leave dance fanatics asking for more. Swahili word for dance.

The festival aims preserve dance both in South Africa and across the continent. It will feature both seasoned dancers and choreographers and promising newcomers from Africa and beyond.

“We have intentionally and singularly curated an open programme – a platform to express the dynamism and uninhibited creative expression that Africa is known for,” says the State Theatre’s Artistic Director Aubrey Sekhabi.

“This dance festival also acknowledges our youth and their acute awareness of the challenges within society and their ability to narrate those stories, through their techniques and their interpretation of contemporary African dance,” Sekhabi explains.

The programme

The dance programme has been split into two categories:

  • The Main Programme will profile experienced dancers and choreographers, including Vincent Mantsoe who will perform his new solo-piece called SoliiDad. It will premiere on 3 and 4 April.

Another production showcasing on the same dates is the acclaimed Nijinsky’s War, which won the 2017 Standard Bank Ovation Award for artistic excellence. The piece is choreographed by Ignatius van Heerden.

  • The Young Artists Programme is a bespoke platform for young dancers who are finding their feet in dance.

Lulu Mlangeni, who’s the 2019 Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for dance, will dispel gender stereotypes with a piece titled The Encounter on 9 and 10 April.

Another activism work is Slave by Levern Botha and the Port of Expression Dance Company, scheduled to premiere on 10 and 11 April.

These are only a few of the fantastic shows lined up. Visit www.statetheatre.co.za for the full programme. 

Main programme show tickets are R120 and Young Artists Programme shows are R80. Tickets for all shows can be purchased online from Webtickets, at Pick n Pay outlets or at the theatre’s box offices.

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