Dec 2005

Affordable Holidays

Traveling and tourism – many South Africans close their ears when hearing these words.

The reason is that for many people traveling or taking a holiday means an expensive trip to overseas places like London.

 But that is a myth. Anyone can take a holiday. And in South Africa there are holidays to suit just about every pocket.

 It’s possible

From visiting the mountains running across the top of Kwazulu-Natal, down to the Eastern Cape, to the beaches, dams, cultural villages and national parks, to the baobab trees in Limpopo, it is all possible.

To make holidays a reality for all, South African Tourism started Sho’t Left. This campaign encourages people to engage in local holiday travel. It says holidays are no longer only for the rich, but also for a person living in the village of Mtubatuba in KZN.  Sho’t Left is township taxi lingo that means the passenger wants to get off at the next corner.   The campaign targets ordinary South Africans and their families who want to travel but do not know where to start.

 Trips under R500

Sho’t Left works with Southern African Travel Agents (Asata) and its retail network of more than 5 000 agents. This makes it easier for the public to get information on affordable holidays.  With some traveling agencies offering trips at under R500, South Africans can now know their country better.

Campaign against abuse

The annual 16 Days of Activism Campaign started on November 25 and will last until December 10.  During this time, South Africans are asked to show their support against women and child abuse by speaking-out and reporting abuse immediately and get help.

Show your support

People can also show their support by adding their voice to the campaign by wearing a white ribbon during the 16 Days.  You can also send an SMS with the words “16 days” to 31616.  Your SMS will help raise funds for non-governmental organisations that help women and children dealing with abuse. Each SMS will cost you R5.  There are also postcards to be signed and sent for the campaign.

Sibongiseni Mngomezulu of Alexandra, Johannesburg is one of the men to be honest about his past. He wrote that he lives with the guilt of having been an abusive man.

“I have vowed that I will never lift my fists to a woman or a child. I have declared zero-tolerance on rape and all forms of violence. I come from a traditional family which taught me that a man is the head of the house.

“When I was growing up I misunderstood this culture, saw women as sex objects and my punching bags,” he said. He is now the director of Immaculate Theatre Production, a theatre company that deals with social issues including women and child abuse.

Wilson Mathathe used to beat his wife up even though she was the bread-winner.  Today he says: “I am learning that you don’t need violence to solve your problems.”

Change to grow economically

Creating work and fighting poverty – this is what voters in the 2004 elections told Government to do, to continue and speed up the progress made in the first ten years of democracy.

Although the lives of millions of South Africans have changed for the better, many still live in poverty. Although a lot has been done to create jobs and grow the economy , many people are still not employed. Billions of rands of grants have made all the difference for many poor people. But grants cannot go on increasing at the same pace. We need to grow faster.  . 

 Fast growth needed

From last year the economy has been showing signs of the faster growth needed to improve the lives of all. But we have to make sure it continues to grow faster and that everybody benefits.

So earlier this year in July a Cabinet Lekgotla asked the Deputy President, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka to lead a team to work on this. Their task is to see what more we need to do to speed up growth to reach about 6 per cent a year between 2010 and 2014.

If we get the economy to grow that fast, and in a way that creates still more jobs, then we can succeed in cutting down unemployment and poverty by half in the second decade of freedom. 

 Government consulting

In October the team reported to the Cabinet that it was making good progress in putting together this Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (ASGI-SA). Now government is busy consulting with its social partners, labour and business, so that what finally comes out gets everyone working together.

 What needs to be done

What the team has been doing is finding out what has been holding us back and how we can take advantage of our strong economy to overcome the problems.  The main kinds of action they are looking at include:

  • Building infrastructure
  • Strengthening key sectors of the economy
  • Education and skills development
  • Making government more efficient

They are also working on how to make many more opportunities for people in the Second Economy, who are finding it hard to get proper jobs – or any jobs at all. As President Thabo Mbeki said in his message toVuk’zenzele readers in October: “This is because they were denied the education and the skills that would have given them the possibility to find proper job or start their own businesses.” 

 Improve lives

Support to small farmers, for people benefiting from land-reform, and for co-operatives are some of the programmes government has introduced to create opportunities for the poor to improve their lives. So have programmes for Skills Development and the Expanded Public Works Programme.

 Can programmes like this be stepped up to create still more opportunities and open the way to more regular jobs in a growing mainstream economy?

That is the kind of  question being asked by the team working on Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa.

President Mbeki is expected to announce details of the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative in his State of the Nation Address. 

Did you know?

According to the Labour Force Survey conducted by Statistics SA, half a million more people were working in March this year than a year before.  During the 1990s unemployment grew even though jobs were being created.  This was mainly because the number of people looking for work grew even faster than South Africa’s population.  For many people, especially women from rural areas, freedom has meant the chance to become part of South Africa’s economy.   

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Finally the troubled Taxi industry is on the road to stability

The six members of the Khula Enviro Group. From left to right is Bhekisisa Mayahi (with back to camera), Balindile Ndlovu, Siphiwe Mjadu (standing) Sizakele Mngomezulu, Bongamusa Dube and Musa Mdluli.

They knew that it would be up to them if they wanted to achieve something in life.

So, after finishing school, Siphiwe Mjadu, Sizakele Mngomezulu, Balindile Ndlovu, Bongumusa Dube and Sibusiso Bukhosini formed the Khula Enviro group in a small rural settlement around the Dukuduku Forest on the fringes of the Greater St Lucia Wetland in KwaZulu-Natal.

They had one thing in common — they were keen on the environment.

Before long, they were able to get some landscaping contracts.

“Completely on their own, they started an environmental group,” says Charmaine Veldman, of the Wildlands Conservation Trust. The Trust is an independent organisation that gets communities involved with taking care of the environment. Veldman said,“They approached me and offered their services. We taught them about alien plants and the damage they do and they began removing aliens and replanting indigenous vegetation.”

Veldman said this group is not only doing this to make money.

“They are really passionate about the environment. Everything they have achieved has been as a result of their own efforts,” she says.

Veldman says young people interested in becoming involved with environmental projects should offer their ser-vices as volunteers until they have the enough experience to make money from their work.

Recently the group received a R100 000 sponsorship from car manufacturer Daimler-Chrysler.

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IMBIZA feedback

This country has never seen such intense engagement with municipalities.

More than 100 municipalities by December this year – that is the number of municipalities touched by the Municipal Imbizo Programme since it started.

President Thabo Mbeki kicked off the programme in May in Rustenburg. As Vuk’uzenzele reported in October, the Cabinet decided that ministers and deputy ministers should join the programme.  

 Interaction

By now 36 Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers have been part of this interaction with municipalities. Together with provincial and local government representatives they have focused on challenges municipalities are facing and programmes  of national and municipal government that can deal with them.

 Making a difference

“This country has never seen such intense engagement with municipalities,” said Elroy Afrika, a Deputy Director General in the Department of Provincial and Local Government. “We have got municipalities thinking quite frankly about the problems they have experienced – delivery problems, social problems, internal problems.”

Has it made a difference? “We have seen municipalities and the other two spheres of government, provincial and national, make important commitments on how they are going to deal with these problems”, he said. 

 Bucket system

One example is the bucket system. “Quite a few municipalities have recognised this is an emergency, and we have got them to redirect money to eradicate it. Some of them have now committed from next year to redirect money from the Municipal Infrastructure Grant to deal with sanitation backlogs.”

Another issue is vacancies. A big reason for poor service delivery is shortage of well-trained managers. Yet during some izimbizo lots of vacancies in posts for senior managers were discovered. Afrika said some of the municipalities explained they were waiting for the local government election before filling them. “But the President and Ministers told them that this is unacceptable and that the vacancies must be filled as a matter of urgency. Since then we have seen some of them advertised in newspapers.”

 Opened doors

Imbizo has proved a trusted platform where ordinary people can raise concerns directly with government and talk about ways of dealing with them.

Project Consolidate is a two-year programme to help 136 municipalities that need assistance to improve service-delivery.

r communities to take part in improving their lives. It opened the doors for discussion of the real challenges faced by some municipalities.

The functioning of Ward Committees and contact with residents have also been a focus of imbizo interactions and the issue of corruption. The President condemned those who use abused their positions: “It is critically important to root out corruption. As you act on that matter you may then get instability that arises. But I think that all of us agree that it is better to have the instability rather than to continue with corruption in a municipality.” 

 Solve problems

To make sure that commitments made during imbizo are implemented, Premiers will be reporting to the President’s Coordinating Council where they meet two or three times a year with the President.

We asked Elroy Afrika if the Municipal Imbizo Programme will continue. He said it would: “We will review what happened this year and refine the programme. And we will give it even stronger focus on practical action to solve problems.”

INTENSE ENGAGEMENT

There are 136 municipalities which Project Consolidate is helping deal with service delivery problems.

By December over 100 of these Municipalities were involved in the Municipal Imbizo Programme. Some were covered by District Municipality izimbizo with the President and Deputy President, others by local izimbizo with Ministers and Deputy Ministers.  36 Ministers and Deputy Ministers have engaged with municipalities.

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Letters

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Searching for woman of substance

Mosadi wa kono kono, a programme to celebrate the role of women has been launched by the Department of Arts and Culture.  Mosadi wa kono kono, means “A woman of substance”. The R4-million project will show-case women at grassroots level who use arts and culture to improve themselves and communities.

 Role Model

Mosadi wa kono kono is a national competition that encourages the youth to identify women who are role models in arts and culture. The programme recognises that women are the ones who give meaning and direct the youth and develop communities.  The R4 million will be used to run the competition in all the nine provinces. There will be a gala dinner in 2006 to mark the beginning of  the search for “a woman of substance”. Women will be judged in the way their work encourages the youth and brings in money for the community. 

 Final event in 2006

The National Languages Service, a section of Arts & Culture, will print with stories on the regional finalists. At the end there will be a ceremony to hand over prizes.  Some of the funds will help the provincial governments to start their own activities. The final event is expected to take place in August next year. One of our challenges is to highlight the role of arts and culture to develop the economy. Mosadi wa kono kono is directly addressing this challenge while rooting out poverty. Arts and culture creates jobs and promotes different cultures.  

 Launched

The North West government was the first to launch Mosadi wa kono kono.  The function was attended by hundreds of women from art centres and business.

For more information contact: 

Department of Arts and Culture: 012 - 3378000 or Call Centre at 1020   

Sibusiso conquers the world

Sibusiso rises above those who only dream dreams

At the age of 33, Sibusiso Vilane has done what many people thought was impossible - climbing the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest. Importantly he did it twice in three years.

 First African

Vilane was the first African to brave the freezing weather conditions of minus 30 degrees  and strong winds before topping Everest. He spent 24 hours in the icy temperatures in the area regarded as the “death zone”. Vilane first climbed Everest in 2003.  In an interview with Vuk’uzenzele, Vilane, now a motivational speaker, says his trip was aimed at showing people, especially Africans, that everything is possible. 

 Achieve goals

“Everybody can achieve their goals if they show determination,” he said.  Vilane said everybody has their own Everest to climb in life.  Vilane, who has been a game ranger for 12 years, said people must be patient in life because improving one’s quality of life was always “slow and frustrating”.

“I believe that in the end hardship will make a person grow stronger and enjoy the fruits,” he added.  In June 2005, Vilane – successfully climbed Everest a second time.  On his way to the top of Everest Vilane was “shocked” to walk pass bodies of people who died attempting to climb it.

“I felt the fear when seeing motionless bodies lying and covered on ice. But I managed to hold myself and continue with the journey.” The first trip took Vilane two months, whereas the second one took him two-and-half months.   

 Giving back

His second successful trip to Everest, he said, was driven by his willingness to give back to the community.  “Planting South Africa’s flag for the second time on top made me feel  so happy because I knew I was raising money for charity organisations,” Vilane said.  The organisations were Swaziland-based SOS Children’s Village, a Chris Hani- Baragwanath-based body doing research on children and Africa Foundation, an organisation that helps pre-schools have proper facilities.

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Six ways to beat TB

This is the popular and streetwise slogan the government is using to fight Tuberculosis or TB as it is commonly known.

The Hola 6 campaign  started in September this year. It aims to improve TB treatment and prove that the disease can be cured by taking your medication and following the doctor’s instruction for only six months.

Head of South Africa’s TB Control Programme, Dr Lindiwe Mvusi said that the time was right for the public and health workers to step up the fight against TB.

“TB can be cured. But its close relationship with Aids has made it difficult to control,” Mvusi said.

The Hola 6 campaign will continue until the World TB Day on March 24 next year.

 

Six ways to beat TB:

1.         Know the signs which are;

-         Coughing for more than two weeks, coughing blood, loosing weight and appetite, night sweats,
            unexplained tiredness and pain in the chest.

2.         Get  tested at any local clinic

3.         If you have TB, get treatment immediately at a local clinic

4.         Take treatment for six months

5.         Ask someone to help you keep to the treatment plan e.g. A community worker, health worker,
            family member or a friend and;

6.         Live a healthy lifestyle – stop smoking and drinking alcohol, don’t take drugs, eat healthy food
            and exercise.

 

Treatment of TB in children

         TB in children can also be cured with medicines taken everyday for six months

         The medicines dissolve in water so it is easy for babies to take

         Children who are infected with HIV get TB more easily. Their TB may be difficult to identify.

 

How do I prevent a child from getting TB?

         All children should be immunised or injected against TB immediately after they are born.

         Children may be in contact with someone with TB in the family, at crèche, a child minder or
            domestic worker.

         Any child under the age of five who has had contact with a person who has TB should be taken to
            the clinic to be checked.

         If the child is healthy, he or she should be given medicines called Isoniazid (INH) to prevent TB.

How does TB spread? (box)

         TB is spread through the air. Germs go into the air when someone who has TB coughs spits or
            sneezes. It is spread easily in overcrowded places. TB germs attack the lungs. It causes holes
            and other damage in the lungs. It can also spread through the blood to other parts of the body.

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Taking the HIV/AIDS bull by the horn

The Health Department  has set up one-stop centres to make services accessible to all affected by HIV and AIDS

However, most of those who visit the centres are still  women. Men are still not too comfortable with knowing their status.

In the past many people died of Aids without anyone knowing about their status.

This happened mainly because those who were living with the disease were afraid of being isolated by their own communities.

Now with the government’s  comprehensive plan to provide better treatment and control of the disease, people’s behavior is changing.

More people are visiting HIV and Aids Service Points that the government started a year ago. At these stations people are able to know their HIV status and get free help . 

 Services

The points provide services such as distribution of condoms, HIV and Aids information and education, voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) as well as giving antiretroviral drugs and nutritional supplements.

The government is spending over R1,5 billion on the programme which also deals with caring, treating and giving support to those infected and affected by HIV and Aids. 

 Aim

The aim of the plan, which was approved by the Cabinet in November 2003, is to improve the services to people living with HIV and Aids and those who live with them.

When the programme started its aim was to have at least one unit in each of the country’s 53 health districts. That has been done and now the target is at least one service point in half of the 284 municipalities. 

 Target

“Currently we have already exceeded our target by covering 60% of municipalities covered with 192 service points especially in the rural areas,” he said.

Staff includes doctors, counselors, professional nurses, pharmacists, dieticians, and clerks. The number of staff at a service point depends on how many people it helps a year.

The programme dealt with amongst other things, prevention of the HI virus from mother to child, provision of treatment,  care and support VCT, visiting areas where prostitution is high, TB and other HIV related diseases.  

Did you know?

The Thembisa Service Point started distributing antiretrovirals in June 2004. Dr Ayanda Gasela and Dr Maryet Mogashoa who run the station said they see about 150 HIV patients a day. “We already have 17 288 adult patients and 2 682 children since June last year. A few patients have died, but many have made good recovery. Most of our patients are women because men do not want to tell their status.

“It is important to always take tablets and follow all the advice given by the doctor. While on ARVs, stop drinking alcohol. Do not use the tablets with other immune system boosters like traditional medicines,” Gasela said. 

At a V.C.T. point

You meet a counselor who will explain the importance of testing

The counselor will then ask you to sign an approval (consent) form to be tested

After testing, you wait for the results which could be available the same day or may take some time

When the results are out, whether positive or negative, you will be counseled again depending on your status and you are also told to come for another test after six months to fully confirm your status

If you have tested positive, your CD 4 count (the level of the disease in your blood) is tested, and if it is less than 200, you qualify for antiretroviral treatment and are therefore sent to a place where treatment is done if the station does not provide such a service

A tuberculosis (TB) test is done because many HIV positive people suffer from TB and other opportunistic diseases.    You will also be introduced to a support group where you receive counseling and get training on different life skills like starting your own  backyard gardens. 

How we did it

Dumisa Mbisi (38) of Thembisa, Ekurhuleni is a man full of energy. Mbisi is HIV positive. He is very popular with his jokes and loud laughs with other patients at a HIV and Aids unit based in Thembisa Hospital.

He is a totally different person from what he was in January this year Then he used to hide inside the house because he did not want the community to know about his HIV status.

“As a man I thought it will be very stupid of  me to make my status known. I could not walk or talk and my whole body had sores. My mother encouraged me to join other patients at the clinic. I started in January and was put on ARVs. Now I am a healthy person again and the community is very supportive. I want to encourage other men to come forward and stop dying in hiding,” Mbisi said.

 

 

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