Aug 2020 2nd Edition

Abused children could become abusers

Written by Allison Cooper

An abused child is more likely to abuse others when they grow up, but this does not happen in all cases. 

This is according to Shaheda Omar, the Director of Clinical Services at the Teddy Bear Foundation, who says that when children are abused, they often feel powerless as they are unable to stop the abuse.

“If they become abusers themselves, it’s often to try and regain their power. It makes them feel that they are in control when they re-enact their own abuse. However, the feeling of satisfaction is short lived, so they keep repeating the cycle.

“They also do not necessarily carry out the same form of abuse they suffered. Sex offenders, for example, may not have been sexually abused, but could have suffered from physical abuse or purposeful neglect,” Omar explains.

What is child abuse?

Child abuse happens when someone caring for a child hurts their feelings or body. It can happen to boys or girls, in any family. 

Physical abuse is when a child's body has been hurt. Hitting hard with a hand or object, like a belt, can leave bruises or cuts and cause pain. Shaking, pushing, choking, punching, painful grabbing and kicking are also physical abuse.

Sexual abuse can include sexual acts, taking or sharing sexual photos and sexual talk with children; neglect is when an adult doesn't do what is needed to take care of a child, like not providing enough food or clothing; and emotional abuse happens when adults judge, threaten, put down, reject and withhold love, making children feel bad about themselves.

Signs of child abuse

Children often have a hard time talking about abuse, so knowing the signs is important.

Children who are abused might:

  • Have frequent bruises, especially in places they don't usually get them from playing.
  • Have stories to explain their injuries, that don't make sense or keep changing.
  • Not want to go home.
  • Avoid being with the abuser.
  • Avoid being with others.
  • Show signs of emotional trauma, like fear, anger or trouble relating to or trusting others.
  • Be sad or depressed.
  • Bully others.
  • Hurt themselves, like cutting.
  • Have nightmares or trouble sleeping.
  • Act out in class, have trouble paying attention or be hyperactive.
  • Use drugs.

If you suspect that a child is being abused, contact the Teddy Bear Foundation at 011 484 4554.

Back to work after Covid-19 a full guide

Written by Allison Cooper

When can you return to work if you have tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19)? The National Institute for Communicable Diseases has the answers you need. 

When I test positive for COVID-19, how long do I have to stay in isolation?

People who test positive for COVID-19, but don’t have any symptoms, must remain in isolation at home or in a government isolation facility for 10 days, from the day they receive their positive test result.

Those who have mild symptoms must remain in isolation at home or in a government isolation facility for 10 days, from the day their symptoms start.

Those who have severe disease, who have to go to hospital, must remain in isolation for 10 days, from when they are stable and don’t need oxygen anymore.

How can a COVID-19 positive people transfer the disease to others?

According to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, most people who have a mild infection can spread the virus for between seven to 12 days. However, people who become very sick could be infectious and be able to transmit the virus to others for a longer period of time.

Do I have to have another COVID-19 test, proving that I am negative, before I return to work?

No. Re-testing people who have experienced mild illness and have recovered is not recommended. 

A person is considered safe to return to work and come out of isolation if they are no longer infectious. This means they developed their first symptoms more than 10 days ago and have not had any symptoms for at least three days.

In most cases, employees can return to work without testing again if:

  • They have completed 10 days of mandatory quarantine or self-isolation.
  • Those who had moderate or severe symptoms undergo a medical evaluation.
  • They continue to practice personal hygiene and social distancing.
  • The employer monitors the worker to ensure they do not regress.
  • They wear a mask, from the date of diagnosis for at least 21 days.

I have tested negative but I still have symptoms. What now?

It is possible to get a false negative test result. This means that your first test could be negative, but you could test positive at a later stage. If you continue to have COVID-19 symptoms contact your healthcare professional.

What if I am still showing symptoms after 10 days?

It is common for patients to continue to have symptoms for longer than 10 days. Full recovery may take several weeks. If you still have symptoms, seek advice from your healthcare professional.

For more information about COVID-19, visit the National Institute for Communicable Diseases’ website at www.nicd.ac.za, the COVID-19 free website at coronavirus.datafree.co, call the COVID-19 Hotline Number at 0800 029 999 or send a WhatsApp to 0600 12 3456.

Bomb-buster’s explosive career

Written by: Allison Cooper

Growing up, Lieutenant-Colonel Daphney Gada (41) was surrounded by strong women. Although her family had little money after her parents separated, her life was rich in love and inspiration. Lieutenant-Colonel Daphney Gada fighting crime in the SAPS’s Explosives Division.

She was raised in Krugersdorp in the West Rand and while it was her policeman father who inspired her to join the South African Police Service (SAPS), it was her grandmother, mother, sisters and aunts who taught her to be strong and to love and respect herself and other women.

In her 16 years in the SAPS, she has moved through the ranks and today is a proud member of the Explosives Division in Pretoria, where she spends her days attending to explosives scenes and enforcing the Explosives Act.

With South Africa celebrating Women’s Month, she says it is a good time to remember that women are not second-class citizens. “Know your worth – you have the right to equality both in the workplace and at home,” she says.

An explosive journey

Lt-Col Gada was in her mid-20s and working as a hostess at a luxury coach operation when she saw a newspaper advert calling for police recruits in 2004. It had been her dream to serve and protect her country since she was 10 years old.

“I applied and was called for an interview, psychometric test and physical assessment. After being accepted, I went to the SAPS Training Academy.

Lt-Col Gada started off started off at the bottom as a trainee. “I and worked in the Client Service Centre and the K9 unit – where I was trained as a dog handler, before moving to the Explosives Section where I was trained as a bomb technician and an inspector of explosives.”  

Lt-Col Gada also holds a Bachelor of Policing Practice degree. 

“Highlights of my job include being part of one of the specialised sections in the SAPS that ensured the safety of the 2010 World Cup, inaugurations of the Presidents and important summits and events.”

Youngsters wanting to follow in her footsteps should focus on their schoolwork and finish Grade 12. “English, your home language, mathematics, physical science, technology and life orientation are subjects that will help you.

“This is not the job for you if you have a fear of water, heights or small spaces. You should be in good health, both mentally and physically, and have self-discipline and the willingness to work extra hours. Tertiary qualifications in policing and electronics are an advantage,” she says.

COVID-19 corruption to be stamped out

Written by Cathy Grosvenor

A new Coronavirus anti-corruption centre will urgently investigate allegations of corruption in areas such as the distribution of food parcels, social relief grants, the procurement of medical supplies and personal protective equipment.

Tough action is being taken against criminals and greedy government officials who have stolen either goods or money intended for government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) response.

Public servants who buy goods or services at inflated prices from friends or family members, who award tenders only if they get money in their pocket and who help themselves to food parcels are hampering the efforts of government to curb the spread of the infection and protect the poor from the effects of the lockdown.

This also applies to companies and individuals who make fraudulent Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) claims. This was according to President Cyril Ramaphosa when addressing the nation recently.

The President added that fake non-profit organisations have even been created by people wanting to illegally get their hands-on government funding.

He explained that in April, government had announced a historic R500 billion social relief and economic support package to fight the Coronavirus and assist businesses, workers and households.

“But what concerns me, and what concerns all South Africans, are those instances where funds are stolen, where they are misused, where goods are overpriced, where food parcels are diverted from needy households – where there is corruption and mismanagement of public funds,” says the President.

New anti-corruption centre

President Ramaphosa says government will not tolerate this, which is why a new anti-corruption centre has been established. It brings together nine state institutions, namely: the Financial Intelligence Centre, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, the National Prosecuting Authority, the Hawks, Crime Intelligence and the SAPS Detective Service, the South African Revenue Service, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and the State Security Agency who will work together to end corruption.

The President says he is determined that every instance of corruption should be thoroughly investigated; that those responsible for wrongdoing should be prosecuted and that all money should be recovered.

“In order to speed up and strengthen the process of dealing with corruption, I have today signed a proclamation authorising the SIU to investigate any unlawful or improper conduct in the procurement of any goods, works and services during or related to the national state of disaster in any state institution,” he says.

If evidence of wrongdoing is found, the case must be sent to the National Prosecuting Authority for legal action and steps must be taken for the recovery of any government damages or losses.

At least 36 cases are currently in various stages of investigation and prosecution, says Kaizer Kganyago, the Communications and Stakeholder Head of the SIU after the President’s address.

Kganyago says the SIU will immediately investigate any alleged wrong doing. He says that in some of the fake UIF applications, the money has not yet been paid out. “So, we are able to block it before it ends up in the hands of those who do not deserve it,” he says.

“The SIU mandate is to trace, stop and recover monies,” he added.

The President will get interim reports ever six weeks so he can check the progress of the various cases.

“The consequences for those who break the law or bypass regulations will be severe. The people of South Africa require nothing less than full accountability from those who have been elected and appointed to serve them,” says President Ramaphosa.

Some provincial governments and municipalities have already started taking disciplinary action against officials accused of improper conduct and where appropriate, have reported them to the law enforcement agencies.

Since the declaration of the national state of disaster, the Competition Commission has investigated over 800 complaints of goods being overpriced. “It has so far prosecuted or reached settlements with 28 companies, imposing penalties and fines of over R16 million,” says the President.

The Auditor-General has also adopted special measures to safeguard funds committed to the fight against COVID-19. Special audits have been undertaken to detect and prevent misuse of these funds.

“The success of our fight against corruption depends on the involvement of all citizens and all parts of society,” the President declared.

 

COVID-19, mental health and drug abuse

People who abuse drugs or alcohol often do so to cope with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. A global pandemic like COVID-19 can trigger a wide range of emotional reactions, causing high levels of anxiety and stress for all of us. 

“Substance use and abuse during this time should be avoided but people turn to substances to cope with the stress and trauma,” says Estelle Raath, the deputy manager of Johannesburg-based South African National Council on Alcoholism (Sanca) Wedge Gardens rehab centre.

People often cope by using substances, primarily things that are easily available like alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and non-prescription medications, she explains. “That’s why substance abuse may rise during COVID-19. Substance abusers might look for a way to feel better and escape from the traumatic and stressful circumstances. 

“Many substance abusers have underlying medical conditions, which often place them at great risk of contracting COVID-19. The fear that they might get the virus by leaving their homes or going back to work can cause extreme anxiety for many. Anxiety and stress are huge triggers for relapse,” says Raath.

She explains that when a person’s stress overwhelms their coping skills, they are more likely to abuse substances, to relapse or to increase the substances they already use.

“We are social beings and in need of human contact. COVID-19 has exposed people to isolation, relationship challenges and financial insecurity. During isolation, no contact can have a negative impact on mental health and again there is a link between mental health and addiction.”

For those who are trying to stop using drugs or have stopped, it is important to reach out for help during this time. 

How to take care of yourself:

Reduce or stop taking any non-prescribed substances if you can do it safely.

Take prescription medication as prescribed.

Reduce the intake of caffeine and alcohol.

Connect with loved ones while maintaining physical distances.

Join addiction support groups; there are many groups available online.

Practice self-care.

Seek professional help if you cannot do it alone.

To find a Sanca rehab centre, including Wedge Gardens, visit www.sancanational.info, phone 011 892 3829 or send a WhatsApp to 076 535 1701.

Celebrating women through economic inclusion

Written by Cathy Grosvenor

In August South Africa celebrates Women’s Month. This occasion marks the anniversary of the day in 1956 when 20,000 women marched to the Union Buildings – a great sea of womankind speaking many languages, from different places and of all races. They were united in their demand for an end to the dreaded pass laws and for their right to live in freedom.

The status and position of women in South Africa today is vastly different to that faced by our mothers and grandmothers in 1956. We have come a long way in realising a South Africa that is non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, prosperous and free.

There has been real progress in improving the lives of South African women in the economy, in the political sphere and in public life.

At the same time, we know there is so much further we still have to go. Women still face discrimination, harassment and violence, and bear the greatest brunt of poverty.

If we are to truly realise the promise of our Constitution we have to tackle the economic and financial exclusion that makes women more vulnerable to abuse and violence.

We have joined a ground-breaking campaign that links us to global efforts to achieve gender equality by 2030. Generation Equality is an ambitious and transformative agenda to end discrimination and violence against women and for their equal participation in political, social and economic life.

As part of this campaign, we have joined two ‘Action Coalitions’, one for economic justice and rights and another against gender-based violence. Both of these themes are critical to our own national agenda.

Eleven months since the Emergency Response Action Plan to combat gender-based violence and femicide was implemented we have made progress in expanding support and care to survivors, and progress is being made in legal reforms to afford them greater protection.

During the month of August, we begin the implementation of the National Strategic Plan to combat gender-based violence and femicide. A key aspect of the plan is on ensuring greater women’s financial inclusion. This is because economic inequality and social inequality are interconnected. The economic status of women in South Africa makes them more vulnerable to abuse. We must therefore scale up support for women to enable them to become financially independent. We have made a number of commitments under Generation Equality that will be given effect to through the National Strategic Plan.

Firstly, we are going to drive women’s economic inclusion through public procurement. We have set the target of ensuring that at least 40 percent of goods and services procured by public entities are sourced from women-owned businesses.

Secondly, we are going to scale up support for women-owned SMMEs and for women who work in the informal sector or are unemployed. This will include engagement with the financial sector to make financial services accessible and affordable for women.

Thirdly, we want to ensure more women have access to productive assets such as land. It is essential that women are beneficiaries of the accelerate land reform programme. It is significant that of the R75 million in COVID-19 relief earmarked for farming input vouchers 53 percent of the beneficiaries will be rural women. We must ensure that women subsistence and small-scale farmers continue to receive support beyond the pandemic.

Fourthly, we want to ensure that women are protected from gender-based violence in the workplace. In this regard, we will be working at a national and regional level towards the ratification of the ILO Convention on Violence and Harassment in the Workplace.

It is said that freedom is not given, but taken.

The emancipation of women is only words on paper unless it is matched by commitment from all sectors of society.

As we prepare for the reconstruction of our economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, we have said that we cannot simply return to where we were before the outbreak of the virus. We must build a fundamentally different economy which, among other things, substantially improves the material position of women.

This means that our investment in infrastructure must support not only the development of local industry, but also women-owned businesses. It must deliberately create employment opportunities for women in all stages of planning, financing, building and maintaining infrastructure. By the same measures, as we scale up our public employment programmes, we must ensure that young women in particular are identified as participants. In addition to an income, these programmes will provide them with an opportunity to acquire some of the skills and experience necessary to enter the mainstream economy.

As much as it is government’s responsibility to provide economic opportunities for women and create an enabling framework for advancing gender equality, everyone in society needs to play their part.

Businesses must support women-owned enterprises in the procurement of goods and services. They should employ more women and appoint more women to management positions.

This is all the more important considering that the private sector’s record on gender-representation at management level lags behind that of the public sector. This is an issue that is repeatedly raised in engagements I have had with a number of women’s business organisations. By equal measure, we must eliminate gender disparities in pay for men and women, and give effect to the principle of equal pay for equal work contained in the Employment Equity Act.

Women must also be protected from harassment and discrimination in the workplace. It is up to transport operators, university administrators, school governing bodies and religious organisations to create conditions for women and girls to travel, study and worship in safety.

We must forge ahead with our efforts to eradicate chauvinism, sexism and patriarchy. It is these attitudes that enable the oppression of women.

It is up to us – both men and women – to affirm that a woman’s value, position and opinions are no less than that of a man. It is up to us as parents and grandparents to treat and raise our sons and our daughters the same.

It is up to us as men to reject and speak out against gender-based violence wherever we see it, even if it is against our friends, fathers or brothers.

Let us be the generation that ends the oppression of women in all its forms, in our lifetime. The brave generation of 1956 marched for us all. We owe it to them, to ourselves and to future generations to not betray this noble legacy.

Clinic improves the health of North West community

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

A Rustenburg clinic built by a private company has improved the quality of life of the residents of five villages. Serving with pride are the health workers at the newly built Bethanie Clinic.

The Bethanie Clinic, which was recently handed over to the North West Department of Health by mining company Glencore, offers new services to the 3 500 people that visit it monthly, including dental treatment, daily maternity services and emergency oxygen supply for coronavirus (COVID-19) patients and those with breathing-related illnesses.

Community member Mis- heck Sono says that the clinic, which operates from 7am till 7pm, is a great improvement for the community, especially when compared to the clinic that the community was using previously.

Full-time staff include 11 professional nurses, two assistant nurses and another two registered nurses. Doctors visit the clinic every Monday and Friday. The clinic also has a pharmacy, a 21 000-litre water reservoir and an emergency generator.

“The new clinic runs very smoothly because it has enough staff and equipment. When you go there to fetch chronic medication, you no longer spend the whole day only to be turned away at 4pm,” Sono says.

The clinic is equipped with the latest pregnancy-support facilities in the form of a neo-natal ward – which has two delivery rooms; a four-bed antenatal room – where check-ups are done on pregnant women; and a six-bed room for those who have already given birth.

“In the old clinic, pregnant women would only be seen on Mondays and Fridays. If you went into labour between then, you had to make the 50km drive to Brits Hospital,” says Sono. 

The clinic is further equipped with isolation rooms and protective personal equipment (PPEs). Clinical manager Jennifer Molaakgosi says their employees are trained to handle suspected COVID-19 infections. 

Glencore Ferroalloys CEO Japie Fullard says the R30 million clinic will play a crucial role in helping to fight the pandemic in the area. “It is important to us that members of the community have hope and dignity during these trying times,” says Fullard.

 

Cookies bring in the dough

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

A social media-savvy entrepreneur is selling cookies like hot cakes, despite the Coronavirus lockdown. 

Kabelo Molepo (32) has managed to start a cookie-making business that has customers in three cities over two provinces asking for more.Kabelo Molepo is the cookie master who has turned his passion for baking into a business.

Called Daddy Bae’s Kitchen, the Johannesburg-based business was started during the lockdown after Molepo found himself without a job.

In the beginning of the year, Molepo lost his job at a big retail company. He explains that he had been sending his CV everywhere and when President Cyril Ramaphosa made the lockdown announcement, it dawned on him that finding a job would be quite a challenge. He would have to come up with another way to earn an income, he realised.

Molepo’s cookies are couriered to customers in Pretoria and his hometown of Kimberley at least once a week. Inspiringly, the business has grown from making an initial batch of 48 cookies to more than 200 per day.

“Being social media-savvy was really helpful as I have been able to make use of tools such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram business to tap into the e-market side of things. On these platforms, I can take orders, process payments and engage with clients on what they want and how they want it,” says Molepo.

He advises that budding entrepreneurs should make use of social media to create awareness about their businesses. 

Molepo says that the secret to the success of Daddy Bae’s Kitchen is making sure that he is in constant communication with his customers. This encourages customers not only to share the cookies on their own social media pages, but to also come back for more as they are supporting someone they know.

Molepo’s fiancée Poppy Louw runs the business with him. 

To buy Molepo’s cookies, contact him on Facebook at @DaddyBaesKitchen, or on Instagram using the handle @DaddyBaeCooks.

Get your COVID-19 result with COVIDConnect

Written by Allison Cooper

Over the past few weeks South Africans may have received an SMS or WhatsApp from the Department of Health with their coronavirus (COVID-19) test result, or an alert that they may have been in contact with a person who has tested positive.

The messages are sent by an official government system called COVIDConnect.

“One of the critical aspects of combatting COVID-19 is the ability to detect positive cases early and then track and trace their contacts to help them,” said Health Minister Zweli Mkhize when he recently launched the system.

COVIDConnect does exactly this. The digital system sends an SMS to tell people who have had a COVID-19 test, at either a public or private facility, that their test result is available.

The SMS directs them to a WhatsApp line, which provides their results – whether positive or negative. 

If the test result is positive, the system asks the person for the telephone numbers of the people they have been in contact with, and then automatically sends an SMS to those people to let them know that they could have been exposed to the virus. 

Your name and contact details are not provided to anyone and your privacy is protected.

“When the initial WhatsApp line was introduced in mid-March, you could get the latest information, news, prevention tips and wellness advice. We introduced screening and risk assessments a month later,” says Gaurang Tanna, Project Manager of COVIDConnect and Head of Policy Coordination and Integrated Planning at the National Department of Health.

“COVIDConnect now supports the public in that they don’t have to wait as long for their results,” he adds.

It also provides information about isolation, quarantine and healthcare facilities.

How to use COVIDConnect

To use COVIDConnect, add the number 0600 123 456 to your cellphone’s contacts. Type ‘hello’ and send it to the number. If you don’t have a smartphone, dial *134*832# and follow the prompts.

To receive results on WhatsApp, send the message ‘results’ to 082 046 8553 and follow the prompts.

For the system to work, users must supply healthcare workers with their correct date of birth, physical address and cellphone number when testing for COVID-19.

Jobs: Department of Employment and Labour

The Department of Employment and Labour’s intention to promote equity through the filling of these posts with the candidates whose transfer/appointment will promote representivity in line with the numeric targets as contained in the Employment Equity Plan of the Department. 

 Audit Committee Chairperson (3 years Contract) 

Centre: Compensation Fund, Pretoria 

Reference No: HR 5/1/2/3/36 

Remuneration: The Chairperson shall be compensated according to rates approved by the Department of Employment and Labour. 

Enquiries: Ms B Gumbu: (012) 319 9320 

Requirements: A relevant three-year tertiary or equivalent qualification in Accounting, Internal Auditing and Risk Management, a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) or Chartered Accountant (CA) or Chartered Director (CD) for appointment as a Chairperson of the Audit Committee of the Compensation Fund for a period of three years ● Candidates should have executive management experience in the governance, risk management and internal controls environment within the insurance and medical sector for more than ten years ● Exposure in serving in the oversight committees ● A member of a recognised professional body, and a person who has Government interest in delivering a better service to its citizens. 

Audit Committee Member (3 years Contract) 

Centre: Compensation Fund, Pretoria 

Reference No: HR 5/1/2/3/37 

Remuneration: The Audit Committee Member shall be compensated according to rates approved by the Department of Employment and Labour. 

Enquiries: Ms B Gumbu: (012) 319 9320 

Requirements: A relevant three-year tertiary or equivalent qualification in Commerce, Corporate Governance, Compliance and Law for appointment as a member of the Audit Committee of the Compensation Fund for a period of three years ● Candidates should have executive management experience in Corporate Governance, Compliance and Law within the insurance and medical sector for more than ten years ● Exposure in serving in the oversight committees ● A member of a recognised professional body and a person who has Government interest in delivering a better service to its citizens. 

Audit Committee Member (3 years Contract) 

Centre: Compensation Fund, Pretoria 

Reference No: HR 5/1/2/3/38 

Remuneration package: The Audit Committee Member shall be compensated according to rates approved by the Department of Employment and Labour. 

Enquiries: Ms B Gumbu: (012) 319 9320 

Requirements: A Three year tertiary or equivalent qualification in Information Technology, a CGEIT (Certified in Governance of Enterprise Information Technology) CISM (Certified Information Security Manager) or CISA (Certified Information System Auditor) for appointment as a member of the Audit Committee of the Compensation Fund for a period of three years. Candidates should have executive management experience in the IT internal control , IT Governance and IT risk management within the insurance and medical sector for more than ten years ● Exposure in serving in the oversight committees ● A member of a recognised professional body and a person who has Government interest in delivering a better service to its citizens. 

Interested persons meeting the requirements are requested to submit a fully completed and signed Z83 form, accompanied by a recently updated, comprehensive CV as well as recently certified copies of all qualification(s) including a Senior Certificate and ID-document [Driving license where applicable] to: Quoting the relevant reference number, direct your application to: CFRecruitment@labour.gov.za on or before 04 September 2020 at 16:00 Suitable candidates will be subjected to a personnel suitability check. Where applicable, candidates will be subjected to a skills/knowledge assessment. 

For more details on each post, please be referred to the website: www.labour.gov.za 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. 

Category: 

Jobs: Government Communications (GCIS)

Deputy Director-General: Intergovernmental Coordination & Stakeholder Management 

Ref no: 3/1/5-20/49 

Branch: Intergovernmental Coordination & Stakeholder Management 

Salary: R1 521 591 per annum (An all-inclusive salary package) of which 30% may be structured according to the individual’s needs. 
 

Deputy Director-General: Content Processing and Dissemination

Ref no: 3/1/5-20/50

Branch: Content Processing and Dissemination 

Salary: R1 521 591 per annum (An all-inclusive salary package) of which 30% may be structured according to the individual’s needs. 
 

Deputy Director-General: Corporate Services 

Ref no: 3/1/5-20/51

Branch: Corporate Services 

Salary: R1 521 591 per annum (An all-inclusive salary package) of which 30% may be structured according to the individual’s needs. 

Centre: Pretoria 

Closing date: 21 August 2020

Enquiries: Ms Z Ngwenya, 012 473 0472

Application: The Director-General, GCIS, Private Bag X745, Pretoria, 0001, or hand deliver to Tshedimosetso House, 1035 corner Francis Baard and Festival streets, Hatfield, Pretoria.

Kindly visit www.gcis.gov.za for more information on the requirements and functions/key performance areas of these positions.

Category: 

Managing COVID-19: At home and at a dedicated facility

Written by: Allison Cooper

It’s extremely important to separate yourself from others, either at home or at a free isolation facility, if you have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Many South Africans who test positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) cannot self-isolate because their home is too small for them to live and sleep in a room that’s not shared by anyone else.

Government has ensured that dedicated isolation facilities are available for people who have tested positive, and dedicated quarantine facilities are available for people who are still waiting for their test results. Both services are free.

According to Dr Marlin McCay, a general practitioner based in Florida on the West Rand, the first thing you need to do when diagnosed with COVID-19 is to limit the spread of the infection. “You want to protect your family,” he says. To do this, you need to go into isolation – either at home or at an isolation facility. 

“If you are self-isolating it means you have to find a part of the house where you are totally cut off from the rest of the family. No one should come within three metres of you. You must eat on your own; use your own cutlery and crockery; use your own bathroom, if possible; and make sure there’s no contact with anyone else in the family.

“Your doctor or primary care giver should help you with certain basic medications to ease most of the symptoms, especially things like body aches and pains, headache and fever. There are also some good vitamins one can use to stay healthy,” he says.

It’s also important to get enough rest and drink enough water or clear fluids to make sure that your urine stays a pale clear colour. Most people with mild illness will start feeling better within a week of the first symptoms, but it’s important to monitor your symptoms carefully. 

If you develop any emergency warning signs, such as trouble breathing, chest pain or pressure in your chest that does not go away, coughing up blood, becoming confused, severe sleepiness or blue lips or face you must call an ambulance or go to hospital immediately.

For those who are not able to keep themselves away from others living in the home, government has setup free quarantine facilities around the country to keep you and your loved ones safe.

The Western Cape Government recently published some comments from patients about its isolation facilities.

Marie Jantjies from Witzenberg decided to follow healthcare workers’ advice and go to the isolation facility because her 97-year-old mother lives with her and her children and she wanted to protect them. “I was treated very well. The food was nice – even nicer than at home. I realised I just had to stay positive. I was anxious, but I prayed and tried to relax,” she said.

“That place can save lives! It really is the best,” said John Arnoldus, who recovered from COVID-19 at an isolation facility in Drakenstein. “One of my friends was in quarantine at home and he struggled to recover on his own. I told him to contact the people who cared for me – that is the way to get better. The support of the medical staff and the manager there – that pulls you through,” he said.

Arnoldus was initially hesitant to go to the isolation facility because of the wrong perception that if you go to a facility like this you will get sicker and die. “I expected the worst, but I was received so well. Hats off to the staff! They explained to me that as I already have COVID-19, no one at the facility could make me sick,” he said.

What can you expect from a quarantine facility?

According to the Western Cape Government, all of your needs are taken of. You will receive regular meals, health monitoring by a healthcare worker, laundry services, comfort and quiet while you recover and free transport to and from the facility.

If you are not able to self-isolate, call the National Coronavirus Hotline at 0800 029 999 for more information about your closest isolation or quarantine facility.

Managing kids while working from home

Written by Allison Cooper

With many children still at home due to the national Coronavirus lockdown, working women have a lot more to keep their home running smoothly.

“Balancing work with the other roles a woman plays in the home is especially challenging when children are not at school. “This can be managed by putting boundaries in place and through blocking time,” says Professor Renata Schoeman, a psychiatrist in private practice and Head: MBA in Healthcare Leadership at the University of Stellenbosch Business School.

She explains that time blocking is planning your day by allocating specific blocks of time for certain tasks.

“If you work from home, for instance, you could say that from 9am to 11am you will answer emails and from 11am to 1pm, you will spend time with your children. Expecting to be able to work an eight-hour continuous day is unrealistic.

“You might decide to put in two hours of work before your children wake up and to do another hour when they are in bed, which will leave you blocks of time to spend with your family without having to feel guilty,” says Schoeman. 

Many women experience feelings of guilt as they think that they are not committing fully to either their work or their family. 

“We all need a mind shift away from the number of hours spent at work as a goal to measure productivity. Instead, this should be measured by what we achieve.

“The same applies when it comes to spending time with your children. Rather than saying you will spend two hours with them, say you will make cupcakes or play a game with them. In other words, set a visible goal rather than a time-related one,” says Schoeman.

It’s also important to set boundaries. “It’s difficult to indicate what is work time and what is time for family, especially for women with children at home. You need to find a way to make children understand that while mommy is home, she is not available,” says Schoeman.

She advises women to use their time wisely, especially if they are having to do household chores while working. 

It’s also important to maintain a routine and be professional. “Get up, shower and get dressed. If you stay in your pyjamas, you will be sending out a message that you are relaxing,” she says.

New farmer finds immediate success with spinach

Written by: Dale Hes

When young farmer Ncumisa Mkabile recently harvested her first batch of spinach on a piece of land in Khayelitsha, it was sold by lunchtime. Running a successful spinach farm is all in a day’s work for budding farmer Ncumisa Mkabile.

Mkabile (27) is an inspiration to any young person who wants to become a farmer. She previously ran a small catering company but when the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) arrived in South Africa, she had to close down the business. 

“My only source of income dried up, so I decided to think of a different plan. I bought chickens and started selling them to people; that was my very first experience of anything to do with farming,” says Mkabile. 

But Mkabile wanted to do more. She decided to find a way to grow vegetables. 

“My plan was to start growing green peppers and plant them in September. But then I went onto the internet and researched the crops that can be grown in winter. Spinach looked like the perfect option because it was easy to maintain.”   

She rented a piece of land from a local leader and planted her first spinach crop in May. 

“There were challenges along the way because I had no experience of doing this. I also didn’t have any irrigation system so all the watering of the plants was done by hand.”

With the help of seven previously unemployed people from Khayelitsha, Mkabile successfully harvested her first crop of spinach. By simply posting on social media, she was able to find a market for her product before the harvest.  

“It was all sold out by lunchtime on the day of the harvest! I have been amazed by the response and support from people. I had no market when I started and now I have built up a name for myself.”

After her success made headlines, Mkabile has now secured supplier contracts with several supermarkets. She aims to become a commercial farmer one day, and is passionate about being able to provide employment to more people. 

The young farmer says that people who want to start farming should start small and use what they have. 

Ongoing support for people living with disabilities

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

The Department of Social Development (DSD) has put in place support programmes aimed at helping those live with disabilities through the era of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

This includes access to psycho-social support from the department’s social workers and psychologists to look after a person’s physical and emotional wellbeing.

In addition, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has introduced a separate grant collection date for people living with disabilities to reduce overcrowding and thus lessen their chances of being infected with COVID-19.

The older persons grant will now be paid from August 3, the disability grant from  August 4 and all the other grants from August 5.

SASSA CEO Totsie Memela says the process will be monitored closely and if needed, another additional payment date will be introduced to ensure SASSA complies with government’s social distancing guidelines.

“Beneficiaries should remember that they don’t have to withdraw their money on the first payment date but can withdraw it on any day after the payment date as it will remain in the accounts until they withdraw it,” she says.

Meanwhile, the DSD has kept its care facilities open during the lockdown so that people living with disabilities are able to get the support they need. These centres are run through non-profit organisations (NPOs) and provide temporary or permanent care, protection, support, stimulation and rehabilitation.

Day-care centres, also run by NPOs, have been made available to provide supervised care and activities during the day for people living with disabilities. 

Forty-four day-care centres for children with severe and profound intellectual disability have the salaries of their employees subsidised by the various provincial departments.

DSD Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu says that people who live with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

“The outbreak of COVID-19 threatens the safety and wellbeing of persons with disabilities as some of them depend on support from others to maintain their independence,” says the Minister. 

She explains that because of this, the department is working with provincial offices to put measures in place to ensure that people living with disabilities receive the care they need during the pandemic.

For more information, people living with disabilities should contact their nearest care facility or DSD office. Alternatively, contact the National DSD via SMS on 31531 or by calling 012 312 7727.

Port master is captain of her career

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

The Port of East London’s Sharon Sijako is one of three women captaining a commercial harbour in South Africa. Sharon Sijako is at the helm of the martime industry.

The 50-year-old, who was born in Mdantsane near East London, is the second female, after Jacqueline Brown, to be at the helm of her hometown’s 120-year-old harbour. 

Sijako is responsible for ensuring that everything at the port, which employs more than 350 people and can accommodate 11 commercial ships, runs like clockwork. 

Her career with Transnet began nearly 25 years ago and she worked at the ports of Richards Bay and Port Elizabeth before moving the Port of East London in 1998. She held various posts there and just before her appointment as port manager in 2017, she was the senior operations manager, a position she held for three-and-a-half years.

Having grown up near the harbour, Sijako says ships and the sea have always fascinated her and this helped her choose her career. 

She says the maritime industry is exciting with new challenges every day.

After passing matric, Sijako moved to Cape Town where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences and an Honours Degree in Business Administration from the University of the Western Cape. 

“It is important to have women in leadership positions across all industries and sectors to ensure we bring diversity to our management structures and to accurately reflect the communities in which we operate,” Sijako says.

Having women in top jobs will also send a message to young women that they can do any job and that there is no such thing as jobs for men or jobs for women.

It is hard, she says, to make time for your family while proving yourself at work but it can be done with determination and hard work.

Sijako advises those looking to make a career in the maritime sector to study towards a qualification in fields such as marine biology, maritime law and other relevant qualifications.

“I would also encourage women interested in the maritime industry to develop a skills in finance, human resources and business administration,” says Sijako.

Pregnancy does not increase COVID-19 risks

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

Some good news for moms-to-be is that their pregnancy will not make them more ill should they contract COVID-19 and they may still breastfeed.

Pregnant women and unborn children are not at a greater risk of contracting or developing severe symptoms of the coronavirus (COVID-19) but should still exercise good hygiene and social distancing.

The majority of pregnant women who contract COVID-19 will only show mild to moderate symptoms of the virus. However, pregnancy changes the immune system so pregnant women should continue with standard precautionary measures. 

Bongumusa Makhathini, a specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist at Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, says that tests done on the placenta and umbilical cord blood of COVID-19-positive mothers were all negative for the virus.

“The available data shows that during pregnancy and birth, women infected by COVID-19 are not worse compared to non-pregnant women,” he says.

Children born to COVID-19-positive mothers may be breastfed, provided the mother follows the right hygiene routine, including washing her hands before and after holding her child, sanitising her chest before breastfeeding and wearing a mask. Mothers must clean any surface before a child comes into contact with it.

As breastfeeding offers more benefits than the risks posed by COVID-19, new mothers are encouraged to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of a child’s life. 

Dr Makhathini says tests have found that COVID-19 is not present in breast milk.

“However, breast hygiene and other general COVID-19 safety precautions should be taken during breastfeeding or breast milk expression to avoid droplets and skin contact infections to the newborn,” he says.

Chronic diseases like asthma, diabetes and high blood pressure are known to increase the risk of severe symptoms of COVID-19 in the general population, and this applies to pregnant women too, says Dr Makhathini.

Dr Makhathini says that pregnant women who have COVID-19 and any other of these chronic diseases, must keep a close eye on their health and their unborn baby.

“Closer monitoring of maternal and fetal wellbeing is highly recommended,” he says.

He adds that pregnancy complications such as a miscarriage or going into labour earlier than planned have not been directly linked to the COVID-19 virus. 

Retrenched clerk bakes her way to success

Written by More Matshediso

Like most South Africans, Pfarelo Tshivhase’s life has been negatively impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The 29-year-old worked as a clerk for a travel company but because the industry is badly affected by the global pandemic and the lockdown regulations introduced to slow infections, Tshivhase was retrenched in May. 

Fortunately, she and her cousin Sandra Nemutamba (21) had already started a business called Sanrelo-sweetcorner, which produces cakes for various occasions, scones, muffins and cookies. 

“We established our business this year with the little funds we had. I invested my savings and Sandra used a portion of the excess funds she had from her bursary,” she explains. Pfarelo Tshivhase rolled up her sleeves and found solace in baking after being retrenched due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The business was inspired by the passion we have for baking, the fear of not having an extra income, as well as not having something valuable and sustainable to our name,” she adds. 

In the beginning, Tshivhase and Nemutamba shared their vision with close friends and family members, who supported them. They started baking on a small scale and sold their products to friends and family. 

They gained confidence over time and started posting their work on social media. Before they knew it, orders started coming through from various people. 

“We designed a professional logo and branded our business to give our customers and target audience the confidence that we are indeed providing uncompromised quality,” says Tshivhase.  

She says starting a business during these difficult times was challenging but with economic activity starting to pick up, things are getting better. 

The business follows all National Department of Health and World Health Organisation guidelines to protect themselves and their customers from COVID-19. “We have improved our hygiene routine by not taking cash but use various digital payment options and we ensure that we sanitise at all times,” she says. 

The business operates in Gauteng and Limpopo, where the two young women live.

To anyone experiencing retrenchment or unemployment, Tshivhase says: “Through this time of economic downturn, you are your biggest asset. Everyone has a talent; look into that talent and find ways to sustain yourself.” 

Tshivhase holds a diploma in marketing management and Nemutamba recently completed a BCom Economics and Econometrics from the University of Johannesburg. 

For more information about Sanrelo-sweetcorner visit its Facebook page@sanrelo-sweetcorner and Instagram @sanrelo-sweetcorner 

Safe termination care must continue during the pandemic

Written by Dale Hes

Every woman in South Africa has the right to reproductive health services, including the right to safe termination of pregnancy.

In the Bojanala District of the North West, Doctors Without Borders provides these services and also supports four Kgomotso care centres in providing care to victims of sexual violence.Kgaladi Mphahlele of Doctors Without Borders says all women should have the right to an safe termination of pregnancy. Photo: Doctors Without Borders

Doctors Without Borders has noticed that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is having a negative impact on women who need to access sexual and reproductive health services. Some providers of these services have been shut down, while at other times, women are too afraid to visit local clinics or care centres. 

Kgaladi Mphahlele is the termination of pregnancy and family planning activities manager for Doctors Without Borders in Rustenburg. He says Doctors Without Borders believes that safe termination of pregnancy should be treated as an emergency and has thus urged health officials to ensure safe termination care continues in public facilities during the pandemic. 

Mphahlele says before he became an termination provider, he was working as a nurse when a patient came in bleeding heavily and had to be admitted to hospital.

“She told me she bought termination pills off the streets from an illegal provider. When the bleeding wouldn’t stop, she came to the clinic. Termination of pregnancy is legal in South Africa, so why are people still going to the streets to end their pregnancies?” he asks.

One of the reasons is a lack of healthcare professionals in South Africa who will perform termination of pregnancies. 

“So I decided to become an termination provider,” says Mphahlele, “and I never turned back. At the end of the day, it is the woman’s choice what she wants to do with her body. We need to ensure that women always have access to safe termination care, especially during a global pandemic.”  

During the lockdown, Doctors Without Borders has also started telephone counselling – victims of violence, or those seeking information on termination services, can call into their centres to get help.

*To find out more information about the services offered by Doctors Without Borders, call 010 900 0840. 

Sport, Arts and Culture budget reprioritised

Written by Allison Cooper

The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture has redirected R1 billion of its budget towards government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) relief efforts.

Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa says government has been forced to take drastic measures to mitigate COVID-19. “This means one thing, reprioritising the budget.”

The shift of funds has affected the department’s Annual Performance Plan delivery targets for 2020/21 financial year.

“The budget adjustments and prevention measures put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 – including restrictions on the number of people who can gather, limitations on inter-provincial and general travel and the need for social distancing – have led to the realistic reduction of planned targets,” the Minister says.

The department’s initial 2020/21 budget of R5.7 billion is now R4.7 billion.

Budget reductions

The department’s budget reductions include R10 million less for the filling of vacancies; R86.9 million less for goods and services; and R312.5 million less for community libraries, which will scale back on purchasing library materials, the construction of some new libraries and the upgrading of some existing libraries. 

From the remaining R1.1 billion budget, R10 million has been reallocated for the decontamination of community libraries and the purchasing of personal protective equipment for staff.

“The department, in cooperation with provincial departments, will continue to provide financial support towards the construction of 12 new libraries, through the Community Library Conditional Grant, instead of the planned 32, and 45 upgrades.

“The delivery of public library infrastructure provides a solid foundation for socially cohesive communities and life-long learning,” the Minister says.

Other changes include:

  • The Mass Participation and Sport Development Grant has been reduced by R224 million.
  • Provinces will utilise R58 million from cancelled competitions to compensate the sport sector for loss of earnings.
  • R95 million will be used to compensate the arts and culture sector for loss of income.
  • As the implementation of various infrastructure projects and some legacy projects have been delayed, the budget has been reduced by R152.7 million.
  • Operation transfer payments of R82.1 million to heritage institutions and others have been reprioritised.
  • Cultural and creative industries’ development transfers to households, non-profit institutions and private enterprises have been reduced by R28.1 million.
  • As various activities in the Recreation Development and Sport Promotion Programme were suspended, due to delays in infrastructure projects at community arts centres, and goods and services and other transfer payments were suspended, R72 million will be used to compensate the sport sector for loss of earnings. 
  • The National Archives building project budget has been cut to R30 million.
  • The Community Library Conditional Grant has been reduced by R312 million.

Taking care of survivors of GBV

Written by More Matshediso

Survivors of abuse must not feel they are being judged when they tell the police or other people what happened to them because this will make them unwilling to seek help. 

This is according to the spokesperson for the Department of Social Development, Lumka Oliphant. She says cases of violence or abuse can be reported at a police station, hospital, clinic, church, white door safe space or to a traditional leader, among others. 

“The frontline officials in government departments are well positioned to identify and report cases on behalf of the victims of gender-based violence (GBV),” she says.  

These may include government employees such as social workers, police officers, nurses, labour inspectors, teachers, court officials, municipal councillors, Thuthuzela Care Centre staff and immigration officials in the Department of Home Affairs.  

Oliphant says when reporting cases, victims need to be calmed down and reassured that they are safe in the presence of a law enforcement, health or social services professional.  

“This is because a traumatised person who has been violated will be confused, fearful and lack trust in other people. They would have experienced something that is unexpected from another human being and may also blame themselves for what has happened,” says Oliphant. 

It is important for the victim to speak out about abuse or violence, she says, explaining that they will need the support of their family or close friends.  

Oliphant says social workers who work for the department and civil society partners are always available to provide psycho-social support in order to empower victims.

In addition, the Khuseleka One-Stop Centres provide different services under one roof, including medical, legal, counselling and other support services. 

The department also has a GBV Command Centre (GBVCC) which will support and guide victims of violence and abuse. Oliphant says that during the pandemic, the GBVCC has also been advising the public on the various relief measures offered by government to help all vulnerable people.  

GBVCC contact details Emergency line: 0800 428 428 Please call me: *120* 7867# (supported by a USSD)

Skype: Helpme GBV (for members of deaf community) SMS: ‘help’ to 31531 (for persons with disability).

Umhlonyane and COVID-19

Written by Allison Cooper

As the celebration of African Traditional Medicine Week take place in August, Vuk’uzenzele takes a closer look at umhlonyane also know as lengana which has been very popular amongst South Africans in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Traditional African Medicine is a holistic field involving the use of home-grown herbs and African spirituality. About 80 percent of Africa's population relies on traditional medicine for their basic health needs.

During the month of August, the Traditional Healers Organisation will celebrate African Traditional Medicine Week which takes pace from 26 to 31 August by;

  • continuing its advocacy work; 
  • intensifying its campaign to promote, protect and develop the traditional medicine industry; 
  • encouraging communities to consume traditional medicines; 
  • and discussing their benefits.

“Traditional medicine is part of our cultural heritage and a human right. People must be afforded every right to healing and treatment,” says Phephsile Maseko, the organisation’s national coordinator. 

“It is not only medicine, but food, and has contributed hugely to the healthcare of many people across the world,” she adds.

Umhlonyane and COVID-19

Many more people are aware of the plant Artemisa afra, known as umhlonyane, after claims from Madagascar that it can cure COVID-19.

According to Professor Alvaro Viljoen, the National Research Chair in Phytomedicine and Director of the South African Medical Research Council’s Herbal Drugs Research Unit at Tshwane University of Technology, umhlonyane is extensively distributed throughout South Africa and ranks as one of the most widely used plants in traditional medicine practices.

“The plant species used in Madagascar is claimed to be Artemisia annua, which is very different to the indigenous Artemisa afra found in South Africa,” says Viljoen.

He explains that it would be reckless to assume that the species are similar, as their chemistry is very different. 

“Umhlonyane is well-known for the treatment of upper and lower respiratory tract infections – where symptoms include chills, cough, throat infection, cold, fever, swelling of the throat, bronchitis and a blocked nose. Several in vitro studies have confirmed antibacterial properties of umhlonyane extracts, but no antiviral activity has been reported,” he adds.

“Research into whether it is effective in treating COVID-19 is ongoing. We have partnered with the Department of Science and Innovation to investigate its benefits,” says Maseko.

She stresses, however, that there is no danger in using traditional medicine, when prescribed by a credible traditional medicine practitioner. “You must mix it well with other medicinal plant mixtures and it must be used correctly,” she says.

 

 

What you need to know about the 2020 school year

Written by Cathy Grosvenor

The amended school regulations will see pupils returning to school in phases, with all grades back in the classroom at the end of August.

If all goes according to plan, the 2020 school year will end on 15 December for grades R to 11, with Grade 12s writing their last exam on that day too.

According to the revised school calendar, published by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) in the beginning of August, the academic year will be completed by the time schools close for the year. This means that all teaching, learning and assessments for grades R to 11 must be finished by then.

When President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that as a result of the increase in Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections, schools would be closed for four weeks, until 24 August, he mentioned that the current academic year might have to be extended into 2021.

However, the DBE says that with 163 actual school days for teachers and 156 for learners, all work could be completed this year.

“We are not going to dump the work we missed, we are going to factor it into 2021,” explains Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. 

The four-week break announced by the President excluded matriculants, who were given one week off school, and Grade 7s, who had a two-week break.

According to the revised school calendar, the majority of learners will return to school on 24 August. This includes grades R, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 in primary school and grades 9, 10 and 11. Grades 5 and 8 pupils will return to school on 31 August.

All officials not yet back, will be expected to return on 17 August.

The new regulations gazetted by the department confirmed that schools may bring other grades back to school sooner, provided that they are able to meet the required safety measures.

Schools catering for children who have severe intellectual disabilities will be able to welcome pupils in Grades 1, 2, 3 and their final year from 24 August, while their G      Grades 4 and 5 will return on 31 August.

The regulations state that parents or caregivers must inform the school if a pupil self-isolates or is quarantined as a result of COVID-19 and also include guidelines for people who wish to keep their children at home because of health or safety concerns. The first step is to apply with the child’s school for partial or full exemption from compulsory school attendance.

“Schools must continue to practise physical distancing and, if needed, change timetables to ensure there is no overcrowding,” says DBE Spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga.

Mhlanga says while they understand that the Coronavirus is causing fear among pupils - teachers, parents, and all concerned parties need to work together to find a way to co-exist with the virus.

Important dates

The Department of Basic Education says a one-week break, from 26 to 30 October, would separate the third and fourth terms. 

Schools will close for the year on 15 December and re-open on 25 January 2021 for teachers. Learners will start a few days later.

With regard to matriculants, marking must be finished by 22 January and the results will be released on 23 February 2021.

Women earn money while helping others

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

Western Cape seamstresses are making face masks for those in need in an effort to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). A public-private maskmaking initiative is giving community seamstresses a small income while also providing masks for disadvantaged people.

Nicoleen Snay (40), a member of the Divine Elgin Designs cooperative in Grabouw, Western Cape, says they make masks as part of the Ubuntu Cloth Mask Initiative and also donate extra masks to community members.

“We mainly make masks for the Ubuntu initiative but because we started the cooperative to help the youth and unemployed women in the community, we donate any extra masks to people who cannot afford to buy their own. Our community is very poor and with COVID-19 having shut down a lot of businesses around here, we felt the need to help out where we can.”

The Ubuntu Cloth Mask Initiative was started to make quality cloth masks available for free, to poor communities, while also creating employment. The free masks are funded through the sale of additional masks to the private sector and the public, with 100 percent of the proceeds being used to buy fabric and pay the community seamstresses.

Already, over 4 000 masks have been distributed to vulnerable people in the province

The public-private partnership includes the Western Cape on Wellness (WoW!), the Health Foundation, Coconut Jazz, the Infection Control Africa Network and community seamstress networks. 

The masks have three layers and the middle layer is made of material that prevents 70 percent of droplets from passing through, it so that when a person coughs, COVID-19 is less likely to be spread.

Working with Snay in the Divine Elgin Designs cooperative are Euphemia Peitersen, Ivy Gertze, Estelle Williams and Renichia Jack. 

Snay says the masks have helped them put food on the table for their families and is also helping them grow their business.

To donate material or order masks from the Ubuntu Cloth Mask Initiative, contact Harry Grainger at harry@thehealthfoundation.org.za or at 072 613 3719. Masks can also be ordered online at www.ubuntuclothmasks.shopstar.co.za.

Young farmer gets funding relief

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

A coronavirus relief fund is helping a pig farmer sustain her business. Noxolo Dludlu is a piggery farmer who received support from the Department of Agricluture, Land Reform and Rural Development.

Asmall-scale piggery has received support in the form of R50 000 from the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development. 

Noxolo Dludlu (24), who owns the Zamukuthula Livestock and Agricultural Project in Ermelo, Mpumalanga, was able to buy 220 bags of feed for her 24 pigs with the money she received through the COVID-19 Agricultural Disaster Support Fund for Smallholder and Communal Farmers. 

Dludlu says she will no longer have to sell her pigs to raise feed money. “With pig production, the biggest costs are their feed. Each pig needs one sack a month, which costs around R230. This means it costs around R6 000 a month to feed my pigs.”

The aspiring commercial farmer currently sells her pigs to a local abattoir and to community members. She currently has one full-time and one part-time employee and plans to grow her farm to include other livestock. 

“My dream is twofold, the first is to become a major livestock commercial farmer that supplies the country with food. The other is to export meat to other countries,” she says.

She buys pigs that are weaned off their mother’s milk and resells them about five-and-a half-months later, once they are fully grown but before they start ‘eating my profits’. 

Dludlu calls on young people to start their own businesses as jobs are hard to find. The lack of jobs will be worse as COVID-19 continues to hit hard, she says. 

“I started the farming project after graduating from the University of KwaZulu-Natal with a Bachelor of Social Science degree. I wanted to do something that I have ownership of and which would create long-term stability.”

Some of Dludlu’s pigs are pregnant and she says that she is expecting her pig numbers to triple by the end of the year.

Young film-makers capture stories about COVID-19

Written by Dale Hes

Western Cape youth are being challenged to try something new while at the same time, creating awareness about community health issues.

Young people in Khayelitsha are becoming ambassadors for educating residents about the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), while also learning the skills needed to become film-makers. Young filmmakers from Khayelitsha are creating short documentaries about COVID-19. Photo: Eh!Woza

Non-profit organisation Eh!Woza is a unique collaboration between medical researchers, artists and young community members. Their focus is to create awareness about the impact of HIV and TB in communities. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the organisation has also begun to focus on the impact of this new disease. 

Part of their work involves providing film-making training to young people, through the Learner Doccies project. More than 100 high school learners and young people have benefitted from Eh!Woza’s projects over the past six years. 

Since March, Eh!Woza participants have created four documentaries related to COVID-19. These films are designed to highlight the issues faced by people in the townships during COVID-19, while also providing education on the pandemic. 

Samuel Flans, a Khayelitsha youth who is one of the participants in the project, has grown quickly with Eh!Woza over the past year.

“I started out providing some songs for the videos that were being produced by Eh!Woza. Then I started learning more about the film-making side of things. I am now employed by Eh!Woza and manage a team in Khayelitsha, where we have made the short documentaries related to COVID-19,” says Flans. 

“When we started in March, it was amazing to hear that people in Khayelitsha did not understand what COVID-19 was all about. They thought it would not affect them. But by the time we finished our fourth film, there had been a shift because they were seeing first-hand that it was affecting their communities,” Flans says. 

Tasha Koch, one of Eh!Woza’s directors, explains that the organisation focuses on using a hands-on approach to training. 

“A lot of the training happens by ‘doing’. Participants are guided in making films of their own and in this way learn the technical details of how to use a camera and edit film footage, as we all as the conceptual and ethical approaches to story-telling,” says Koch.

*To find out more about Eh!Woza’s work and to watch the films, visit the website ehwoza.com or call Koch at 084 627 6276.