Apr 2021 1st Edition

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Jobs: Department of Justice and Constitutional Development - April 2021

Area Court Manager

Ref No: 16/21/NC

Centre: Magistrate Office Kimberley

Salary: R 733 257.00 – R863 748 per annum.

(All inclusive remuneration package). The successful candidate will be required to sign a performance agreement.

Requirements: An appropriate three-year Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent qualification (NQF 6); Six (6) years relevant experience of which three (3) years should be at management level; Knowledge and experience of financial management, PFMA, office and district administration will serve as strong recommendation; A valid driver’s license. The following will serve as an added advantage: Experience in the court environment; Post graduate qualification in Public Administration/ Human Resources Management.

Enquiries: Ms S Segopa (053) 802 1300

Applications: Quoting the relevant reference number, direct your application to: E-mail address: DOJ-05-NC@justice.gov.za
 

Assistant Director: Collective Bargaining and Policy Coordination

Ref No: 21/81/HR

Centre: National Office: Pretoria

Salary: R376 596 – R443 601 per annum.

The successful candidate will be required to sign a performance agreement.

Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree/equivalent in Human Resource or equivalent qualification at NQF6; 6 years in Human Resource Management of which 3 years’ experience should be as a Human Resources Practitioner.

Enquiries: Ms M Qhamakoane (012) 357 8591

Applications: Quoting the relevant reference number, direct your application to: E-mail address: DOJ21-81-HR@justice.gov.za

 

Assistant Director: Employee Relations

Ref No: 21/82/HR

Centre: National Office, Pretoria

Salary: R376 596 – R433 601 per annum.

The successful candidate will be required to sign a performance agreement.

Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree/National Diploma in Labour Relations or equivalent qualification; Minimum of 3 years’ experience in Human Resources; 3 years’ experience in Employee Relations; Knowledge of labour legislation, including transformation guidelines and practical application; A valid driver’s licence.

Enquiries: Mr J Maluleke (012) 315 1090

Applications: Quoting the relevant reference number, direct your application to: EMAIL ADDRESS: DOJ21-82-HR@justice.gov.za

 

Assistant State Attorney, (LP3-LP4)

Ref No: 21/84/SA

Centre: State Attorney: Johannesburg

Salary: R301 452 – R847 047.

(Salary will be in accordance with OSD determination). The successful candidate will be required to sign a performance agreement.

Requirements: An LLB or 4 year recognized legal qualification; Admission as an Attorney; At least 2 years appropriate post qualification legal/litigation experience; Right of appearance in the High Court of South Africa; Conveyancing experience will be an added advantage; A valid driver’s licence.

Enquiries: Mr. E. Seerane (012) 315 1780

Applications: Quoting the relevant reference number, direct your application to: E-mail address: DOJ21-84-SA@justice.gov.za
 

Assistant Director: Provisioning Administration

Ref No: 54/21EC

Centre: Regional Office, East London

Salary: R376 596 – R443 601 per annum.

The successful candidate will be required to sign a performance agreement.

Requirements: Three year Bachelor`s degree/ National Diploma in Administration or equivalent relevant qualification (NQF level 6); Three years working experience in Procurement/Asset Management/Supply Chain Management; Three years’ supervisory/management experience; Knowledge of Public Financial Management Act (PFMA); Knowledge of the procurement systems asset management systems, policies and procedures; A valid driver’s license is essential.

Enquiries: Ms. Msimang (043) 702 7000

Applications: Quoting the relevant reference number, direct your application to: EMAIL ADDRESS: CeWilliams@justice.gov.za.
 

Assistant Master, MR3- MR5 (02 posts)

Ref No: 21/77/MAS: Centre: Master of the High Court: Pretoria (01)

Ref No: 21/80/MAS: Centre: Master of the High Court: Durban (01)

Salary: R257 073 – R912 504 per annum. (Salary will be in accordance with OSD determination).

The successful candidate will be required to sign a performance agreement.

Requirements: LLB Degree or four years recognized legal qualification; At least 2 years appropriate post qualification legal experience; Knowledge of the Administration of Estates Act, Compliance Act, Mental Health Act, Insolvency Act, Companies Act, Close Corporations Act, rust Property Control Act and other relevant legislation; Experience in the functional field and services provided by Masters of the High Court.

Enquiries: Mr. S. Maeko (012) 315 1996 & M. rC. Msiza (012) 315 4754

Applications: Quoting the relevant reference number, direct your application to: E-mail address: DOJ21-77-MAS@justice.gov.za, DOJ21-80-MAS@justice.gov.za

Estate Controller EC1 (06 Posts)

Ref No: 21/73/MAS: Centre: Master of the High Court: Durban (03),

Ref No: 21/74/MAS: Centre: Master of the High Court: Pretoria (02)

Ref No: 21/75/MAS: Centre: Master of the High Court: Polokwane (01)

Salary: R198 411 per annum. (Salary will be in accordance with OSD determination).

The successful candidate will be required to sign a performance agreement.

Requirements: An LLB degree or recognized four years legal qualification.

Enquiries: Mr. S. Maeko ( (012) 315 1996

Applications: Quoting the relevant reference number, direct your application to: E-mail address: DOJ21-22-MAS@justice.gov.za, DOJ21-25-MAS@justice.gov.za and DOJ21-30-MAS@justice.gov.za.
 

Errata

1. The closing date for all posts advertised in this publication dated 28 February 2021 has been extended to 06 April 2021

2. Kindly note that there are minor changes on the post of Director: Guardian Funds advertised in this publication dated 28 February 2021 in terms of job requirements. Please visit the Department’s website: www.justice.gov.za or www.dpsa.gov.za to view the full job specification.

Closing Date: 19 April 2021

Note: Interested applicants may visit the following website: www.justice.gov.za or www.dpsa.gov.za to view the full job specification of the above positions. Interested applicants must submit their applications for employment to the email address specified to each post. The email must include only completed and signed new Form Z83, obtainable from any Public Service Department or on the internet at www.gov.za, a CV with a font size of 10 and Arial theme font, copy of Identity Document, Senior Certificate and the highest required qualification as well as a driver’s licence where necessary. Attachments must be in a PDF format and limited to 10 megabytes. Emails that do not comply with the above specifications will bounce back without reaching the Department. Original/certified copies must be produced by only shortlisted candidates during the interview date. A SAQA evaluation report must accompany foreign qualifications. Applications that do not comply with the above mentioned requirements will not be considered. All shortlisted candidates for SMS posts will be subjected to a technical and competency assessment. A pre-entry certificate obtained from National School of Government (NSG) is required for all SMS applicants. Candidate will complete a financial disclosure form and also be required to undergo a security clearance. Foreigners or dual citizenship holder must provide the Police Clearance certificate from country of origin. The DOJ&CD is an equal opportunity employer. In the filling of vacant posts the objectives of section 195 (1) (i) of the Constitution of South Africa, 1996 (Act No:108 of 1996), the Employment Equity imperatives as defined by the Employment Equity Act, 1998 (Act No: 55 of 1998) and relevant Human Resources policies of the Department will be taken into consideration. Reasonable accommodation shall be applied for People with Disabilities including where driver’s licence is a requirement. Correspondence will be limited to short-listed candidates only. If you do not hear from us within 3 months of this advertisement, please accept that your application has been unsuccessful. The department reserves the right not to fill these positions. Women and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply and preference will be given to the EE Target.

Bela-Bela egg farm tells an excellent story

The Bela-Bela Communal Property Association (CPA) in Limpopo is regarded as one of the most successful land claim stories and stands as a beacon of success.

It all started after a successful land claim was lodged in 1998. The claim was accepted by the Land Claims Commission and then published in the Government Gazette on 7 November 2003.The Bela-Bela Communal Property Egg Farm knows how to incubate success.

When the Mabula community’s land claim was finalised, they resolved to do things differently and they are now reaping the sweet rewards of their decision.

The Bela-Bela CPA claimed land in the Mabula area of the Waterberg District in Limpopo.

The Bela-Bela CPA started with the construction of the Bela-Bela Communal Property Egg Farm in November 2013. Production started in 2014 with the farm producing 60 000 eggs a day.

Creating jobs

Chief Executive Officer of the Bela-Bela CPA Lefa Barrington Mabuela says the farm has grown over the years and now produces more than 110 000 eggs a day.

“We have employed 18 people and 10 of them are young ladies from the community. The plant is highly automated,” he says.

The farm has eight layer houses with capacities of 15 000 laying hens each.

The eggs produced at the farm are collected by Eggspert Eggs which grades, packages and supplies them to chain stores like Pick n Pay, Shoprite and Checkers, among others.

A success of the Bela-Bela CPA is being named the winner of the 2016 Vumelana Governance Award.

The award aims to reward and encourage good governance practices by communal property institutions.

Partnership

The farm also has a partnership with the University of Venda, which sees final year students in the Department of Animal Science visit the farm and be exposed to the day-to-day work environment in agricultural sectors and industries.

While visiting farm, students learn more about poultry farming and the running of the business.

The farm is one of the many farms benefiting from the Poultry Master Plan, which was signed in 2019 during the second South African Investment Conference in Johannesburg.

The Poultry Sector Master Plan was developed in a close partnership between government and a number of stakeholders in the industry, including poultry producers, processors, exporters, importers and organised labour.

The plan is expected to grow jobs in the industry through a number of measures that will be implemented in the coming years.

Source: SAnews.gov.za

Career guidance for job seekers

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

The Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA) has launched a career guidance portal to help job seekers find opportunities in the health, social development and veterinary sectors.

Chief Executive Officer of HWSETA Elaine Brass says the career portal is a digital platform that will help job seekers make informed career choices.

“The portal enables us to offer our job-seeking stakeholders a digital platform that will empower them with knowledge and give them access to a variety of resources to guide them on their career path,” she says.

People wanting to enter a specific field can use the portal to find out what subjects they need, where they can study and the jobs that are available in the field.

They can also find information that will help them prepare for a job interview and learn about community service and entrepreneurship.

“The health, social development and veterinary sectors make up a vast, challenging, dynamic and rewarding space,” says Brass, explaining that there is an abundance of careers to explore within these sectors.

“We want to play our part in shining a spotlight on these prestigious sectors as the HWSETA and to encourage young people to explore the many opportunities that exist in the related industries.”

The easy-to-use survey on the portal helps a person identify a suitable job. The newly developed portal also teaches people about the multiple funding programmes that are accessible through the HWSETA.

Brass says a lack of knowledge about HWSETA funding possibilities plays a huge role in deterring people from following a particular career within these sectors.

“As a skills development and training authority, we want to make sure that career seekers understand that their financial difficulties should not stand in the way of their dream careers.”

Brass says the portal is to be used as tool to gain information and knowledge on what a person who wants to take up a career in these fields is required to do.

The portal can be accessed at hw-careers.co.za.

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Climate change meets art

Written by More Matshediso

Art has the power to change the everyday environment that people live in, as well as their perceptions about important issues such as climate change and renewable energy. 

This is according to the Ambassador of Denmark, Tobias Elling Rehfeld, who recently launched three large public art murals in the Pretoria city centre in collaboration with the City of Tshwane, City Property and Kalashnikovv Gallery.Isaac Zavale uses art to highlight the importance of renewable energy.

Rehfeld says the Embassy of Denmark partners with the South African govern-ment on a number of green energy and water projects.

“Since 2017, we have had a collaboration on sustainable urban development with the beautiful City of Tshwane and the City of Aarhus in Denmark. The launch of the public art murals is about something that is very close to my heart – art, and the planet we all walk on. A planet that we have to pass on to our children one day."

He says the project gave the embassy and its stakeholders an opportunity to reach out to a group of young up-and-coming artists in South Africa and give them a canvas and a voice to express themselves.

Adding weight to Rehfield’s sentiments about the collaboration, the Executive Mayor of the City of Tshwane, Randall Williams, says a project-based memorandum of understanding was signed in September 2017 by the cities of Tshwane and Aarhus. They agreed to collaborate on issues such as city planning, environmental sustainability and eco-buildings.

One of the three murals was done by visual artist Lisolomzi Pikoli. He says his piece portrays how people need water to survive and how the mismanagement of water can put them in unfortunate situations like floods or droughts.

Io Makandal, who created the second mural, says her theme is also about water. “I was thinking about the environmental impact that rainfall has on cities because of the way they are structured; with their concrete landscapes which affect the ecosystem and the natural flow of water,” Makandal explains.

The artist who made the third mural, Isaac Zavale, says he is using his work to tell the public about the importance of renewable energy. “I decided to use solar panels because most people can identify and engage with them, and I target more viewers from the townships through the artwork."

Rehfeld says nothing is more important right now than the climate change challenges that are confronting the world and giving artists a chance to communicate important messages to the public is important.  

Coffee business grinding success

Written by More Matshediso

Mhlengi Ngcobo (26) is a true example of what can be achieved when you turn challenges into opportunities.

He is the founder and owner of a coffee roasting business called Coffee MM, which sells coffee online to individual and corporate clients and to the food and accommodation services sectors.Mhlengi Ngcobo is the owner of coffee roasting business Coffee MM.

Ngcobo, who is from Johannesburg, was diagnosed with young-onset hypertension when he was just 13 years old. The disease is basically high blood pressure found in young people and young adults.

“After my diagnosis, doctors warned me to stay away from caffeinated drinks. I did not understand what that meant at the time, so I researched a lot about caffeinated beverages and their effects on my health,” he explains.

“Fast-forward to 2016, when I was at the University of Stellenbosch studying towards a degree in Civil Engineering. I had a project management assignment to come up with a business and I chose coffee roasting. The following year, I decided to turn the assignment into an actual business,” Ngcobo adds.

He started his business with his own capital, grinding coffee beans using a cheap grinder he found at a local store.

Since then, Coffee MM has brewed up a solid client base and was recently named the business with the most potential by Stellenbosch University’s Small Business Academy, after Ngcobo completed its development programme.

In 2018 and 2019, Coffee MM participated in the Decorex exhibition in Cape Town and was also nominated as a top six finalist in the Cape Town Global Student Entrepreneurship Awards.

Ngcobo says Coffee MM’s highlight was its nomination to the Top 20 – out of 850 applicants – of the 2020 Food Lover’s Market Seeds of Change Supplier Development Partnership. This gave the company an opportunity to supply coffee to the national franchise.

“Our business specialises in Arabica coffee and I source raw coffee beans from local farmers and various African countries, including Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia,” he adds.

Ngcobo says 2019 was a good year for Coffee MM. The business grew its client base and received funds from the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) to purchase a R19 000 coffee grinder.

Unfortunately, like many other small businesses, the Coronavirus pandemic dealt Coffee MM a blow, but Ngcobo refuses to give up and is currently on a journey to get back on his feet.

For more information on services offeredby the NYDA, call 0800 52 52 52 or go to www.nyda.gov.za

Digital classes give ECD learners a boost

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

Digital learning prepares preschool children for a bright tomorrow. 

Crystal MG Trading and Projects is helping 200 children at the Isiphosethu and  C-Unity early childhood development (ECD) centres in KwaMhlanga, Mpumalanga, by teaching them how to use tablets as learning tools.

Learners from the Isiphosethu ECD centre using their tablets.The company holds two sessions a week at each ECD centre to teach the children how to write, calculate, draw and paint using a tablet. Each session lasts an hour and is conducted by the company’s four-member team.

Mike Skosana (32), the co-owner of the company, says he and his business partner, Gugu Masilela (30), use online apps to deliver lessons.

“Our goal is to ensure that children are comfortable using computers and similar technologies by the time they go to school. The children’s literacy, maths and drawing skills improve quickly, because they enjoy using the gadgets,” says Skosana.

The principal of Isiphosethu ECD centre, Fikile Mthimunye, says the initiative has helped improve the children’s skills.

"They can write their names now and are more interested and attentive in class because they get to play with interactive tools.”

The lessons, delivered through the RV AppStudios apps, are in line with the ECD curriculum. “Our lessons do not replace what is in the curriculum. They are done in accordance with the syllabus so that the children have the same knowledge as children in the same grades,” says Skosana.

The company only works with ECD centres that are formally registered with the Department of Social Development.

The initiative was made possible by the National Youth Development Agency, which supplied R50 000 in grant funding to Crystal MG Trading and Projects.   

For more information on services offered by the NYDA, call 0800 52 52 52 or go to www.nyda.gov.za

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Education for the 21st century

Written by Sphelele Ngubane

The KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) government recently launched a specialised high school aimed at improving maths and science education in the province while training learners in the latest technology.

The Anton Lembede Mathematics, Sciences and Technology Academy in La Mercy, north of Durban, opened its doors this year. Although the school has only a Grade 8 class, it will eventually have 600 pupils in all five high school grades.The Anton Lembede Mathematics, Sciences and Technology Academy is providing learners with skills they need to succeed. Image: KZN Department of Education

Dr Enoch Nzama, the head of the Department of Education in the province, says government is committed to producing young people who are going to excel in the areas of leadership and innovation.

“This is one of the many focus schools that we intend to build in KZN,” he says.

The specialised schools will help address current skills shortages in the country, which will improve the learners’ chances of finding employment.

Nzama explains the school will ensure there are sufficient skills to serve the economic growth and development needs of the province.

It is the KZN government’s aim increase the number of learners who do well in maths and science and qualify to study towards university qualifications in these subjects.

KZN MEC for Education Kwazi Mshengu says the naming of the school after a struggle hero was not without reason. “Anton Lembede was one of those young people who understood the importance of education in any stage of the revolution,” he adds.

The provincial department spent R252 million to build the state-of-the-art school and its boarding facilities. All students live on campus and only go home during term breaks or at their parents’ request.

Speaking to Vuk’uzenzele, parent Thandi Mngoma says she heard about the school on the radio and applied for a spot for her daughter Slondile.

“I was a bit sceptical but when I went to the school and interacted with the staff, I was impressed. So far, teachers and the support staff are making the school feel like home for my child,” she says.

Parents have to pay fees for their children, however, subsidies may be given to learners from disadvantaged backgrounds. A scholarship application form can be found on the school’s website.

Applications for 2022 open on 1 April 2021. For more information, go to www.antonlembedeacademy.co.za,  or call the school’s principal Dumisani Sibaya at 082 384 0828.   

 

 

Empowering women to become rugby coaches

Written by Allison Cooper

Women’s rugby is often overlooked, despite the wealth of local talent in South Africa. The South African Rugby Legends Association (SARLA) aims to change perceptions and build the sport from the ground up, at coaching level.

SARLA and SA Rugby recently hosted the first World Rugby Level One Training Course, exclusively for women, at Newlands in Cape Town.

The training session was part of SARLA’s mission to empower 600 women to become coaches, with a strong focus on the importance of giving women opportunities to upskill in school and club environments.SARLA's mission in 2021 is to develop and upskill 600 female rugby coaches across the country.

“Rugby has always been a big part of my life and it’s such an honour for me to be involved in the sport. I learnt to be more assertive and to voice my opinions on the field,” says Jordan Konnight from Milnerton, who participated in the first course.

“There is so much untapped potential in women’s rugby. For SARLA to empower 600 women as coaches is amazing… We can’t wait to transfer this knowledge to our communities,” she adds.

Training courses were also held in the South Western Districts and Boland in March.

The courses signal a renewed focus on professional women’s rugby as the Springbok Women prepare for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand this September. SA Rugby’s first high performance manager for women’s rugby, Lynne Cantwell, will join the team for the tournament.

 “Quality coaching is a much-needed commodity in rugby. We want to see a long-term impact on the sport and get the message out there that women’s rugby in South Africa is world-class,” says Gavin Varejes, the president of SARLA.

SARLA’s other development projects focus on young players in disadvantaged communities who have traditionally been excluded from structured rugby training and grassroots level competition. For more information, contact SARLA at 031 312 0444.

Entrepreneur becomes backpack king

Written by More Matshediso

Growing up, Poloko Masizane (26) of Montshioa in Mahikeng would watch his mother and uncle mend clothes and design outfits. They inspired him so much that today, he designs backpacks and duffel bags.

Masizane is the founder of a bag brand called King Size, a business he started three years ago after resigning from his job in the retail industry.

The self-taught designer explains that he became curious every time he saw his uncle and mom using their domestic sewing machine.

“I guess that’s how I learnt. I went on to patching clothes and tearing backpacks apart and putting them back together,” he says.

Masizane was motivated to leave his job and start his own business when a friend admired Masizane’s backpack and asked if he could make one for him.

It dawned on him that many people use backpacks, meaning there was a huge market.Poloko Masizane is a self-taught bag designer.

“I realised that I had been carrying backpacks from as early as primary school and I also carried one while I was still working in retail. This is the case with many South Africans, especially in the townships, like where I stay.”

He called his new venture King Size to inspire people to believe in themselves. “People must believe they are the size of kings and nothing less,” says Masizane.

The young entrepreneur received help from the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda), which helped him get a small enterprise training certificate. This in turn helped him secure funding from the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).

“I received a business grant worth R50 000 to buy equipment, including industrial sewing machines. I am now able to produce products of great quality and to produce more items on time, thanks to the NYDA,” he says.

Apart from marketing his bags online, Masizane sells them in his township and also delivers around Mahikeng. He also has pop-up stores at a local mall on Fridays and Saturdays.

“I believe that social media and selling online can work for young businesspeople like me, as long as they make time to respond to clients, deliver on time and keep their social media pages updated,” he says.

For more information about getting support from Seda, call 0860 663 7867.

For more information on services offered by the NYDA, call 0800 52 52 52 or go to www.nyda.gov.za

GEP gives businesses a lifeline

Written by Sphelele Ngubane

Grant funding from a Gauteng government agency is helping a cooperative keep its doors open and create jobs during busy periods.

Five Tembisa women appreciate the opportunity they have to make money, thanks to government projects that have been sub-contracted to them for many years.

Before 1994, it was nearly impossible for black women to access business opportunities in government. Since then, there are many more opportunities. The Ontiretse 5 Sewing and Beading Primary Cooperative is making the most of the opportunities it has been given.

Ontiretse 5 Sewing and Beading Primary Cooperative is one of many women-owned cooperatives that have benefitted from government-supported projects.

The cooperative is sub-contracted by the Department of Social Development’s annual project that manufactures school uniforms for children from the poorest households.

Lydia Nkomo, the chairperson of the cooperative, says the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP) recently gave it a lifeline through a Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) relief grant.

“We received R12 000 and were told to use it in areas of our operations that were disrupted by COVID-19. We were short on our uniform manufacturing budget and used the money to get more material,” she says.

The cooperative manufactured 800 uniforms for seven schools in Tembisa and Daveyton. Six schools placed 100 orders, while the other place 200.

The GEP is an agency of the Gauteng Department of Economic Development. It provides financial and non-financial support to small, medium and micro enterprises and cooperatives.

This is not the first time that Nkomo received assistance from the GEP. In early 2000, she attended business training organised by the agency. There she met the other women who formed the cooperative with her.

“We were five founding members. The GEP bought us the equipment we needed to start working on big orders, including six industrial-model sewing machines, four overlockers, a hemming machine, bar track sewing machine, buttonhole machine and an electronic cutter machine,” she says.

When the cooperative has big orders, it often hires local people to assist.

“Even though it is short-term, it puts a smile on our faces as we can create jobs for a few people.”

The highlight of Nkomo’s work is skills transfer, as the women have taught each other their skills.  

You can contact the GEP at 087 057 2000, email enquiries@gep.co.za or go to  www.gep.co.za.

Get help for your child

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

It’s not only adults who suffer from depression, children can experience it too.

Parents with depressed children must not despair. While depression is a serious mental health condition, it is curable with the right treatment.

The mood disorder may cause distress and is indicated by a persistent feeling of sadness or a loss of interest in life that leads to behavioural and physical symptoms.

According to clinical psychologist Dr Marcia Zikhali from the Gauteng Department of Social Development, it is normal to feel sad sometimes.

Depression is when one feels sad most of the time, which can lead to suicidal thoughts.

“Depression can be triggered by a medical illness, stressful or traumatic events, substance use or the loss of an important person,” she says.

It affects adults and children differently. While a child will often withdraw from the adults in their life, they continue to socialise with their close friends.

A depressed teenager may experience changes in sleeping patterns and will, at times, express their feelings through anger and irritability.

“Although some children may continue to do reasonably well in structured environments, most children with significant depression will show a noticeable change in social activities, a loss of interest in school, poor academic performance or a change in appearance.

“Children may also start using drugs or alcohol, especially if they are over the age of 12,” says Dr Zikhali.

There are many signs of depression in children, some of which are:

  • Irritability, tantrums or excessive aggression or anger.
  • Self-isolation.
  • Decreased interest in favourite activities.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Changes in appetite.
  •  Difficulty concentrating.
  • Low energy levels.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt.

Parents can help their children by talking to them about what is happening in their life.

“Establish open communication before there are any concerns. Then, if concerns arise, they will be comfortable talking to you about what’s going on.

“Young children often have difficulty putting feelings into words and may feel ashamed or embarrassed about depression. Parents should convey their concerns and ask questions in a loving, supportive way,” says Dr Zikhali. 

Parents can seek help from a mental health professional, who can determine the best treatment for the child. Contact your local clinic or hospital or the South African Depression and Anxiety Group at 0800 456 789 or send a WhatsApp to 076 882 2775. For suicide emergencies, call 0800 567 567

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Help save lives

Written by Allison Cooper

The Sunflower Fund is calling on South Africans to boost the ethnic diversity of its blood stem cell donor database to save children’s lives.

Zyaan Makda’s life has turned around thanks to the help she received from a donor.According to Palesa Mokomele, the Sunflower Fund’s head of marketing and communications, thousands of patients are diagnosed with blood-related diseases every year.

In the past, this diagnosis was often fatal. Today, a blood stem cell transplant can be a potentially life-saving treatment as it replaces a person’s defective stem cells with healthy ones.

Sadly, many who could benefit from this procedure do not get the treatment they need because finding a donor with a similar tissue type is difficult.

“Patients of colour are at a disadvantage due to the low number of registered donors from black, coloured and Indian population groups,” says Mokomele.

A second chance at life

Zyaan Makda’s (19) world was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with heterozygote haemoglobinopathy, a life-threatening and incurable blood disorder, in 2007.

Her best chance of survival was a blood stem cell donor, but a match couldn’t be found. As a result, she had to have blood transfusions every two weeks.

“The veins in my hands collapsed and I had a port put in my chest. I also experienced constant fatigue, had my gallbladder and gallstones removed and suffered from an underactive thyroid.

I was frequently absent from school for medical reasons and could not take part in sports. Spending long periods of time in hospital was difficult,” she says.

Makda’s condition also caused memory loss and seizures and she had to take three years off school. Despite these challenges, she remained positive. Makda finally found a donor, but her journey to health was far from over. She had to have brain surgery to remove a scar on her brain.

“I’m now three years post-transplant and living a life I never thought possible, thanks to my German donor’s amazing act of humanity and kindness.”

Be someone’s hope

Naledi Senamela (14) was diagnosed with leukaemia (blood cancer) in May 2020. She joins countless patients who need a matching donor.

“Since my diagnosis, I cannot perform well at school. I can’t play sport or do the things I used to enjoy,” says Senamela, who dreams of becoming a doctor.

Willing donors between the ages of 18 and 55 can assist Senamela and many others in need of a donor by registering on the Sunflower Fund’s website.

All it takes is a simple cotton swab and a few minutes of your time. Request a swab kit from the Sunflower Fund by visiting www.sunflowerfund.org or call 0800 12 10 82.   

 

Join the race to end GBVF

Written by More Matshediso

Women runners are uniting to protect each other and to stand up against gender-based violence and femicide.

Everyone should actively demand change and do something to end gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF).

This is what the founder of Women For Change, Sabrina Walter, believes will end the continuous attacks on women and children in South Africa and globally.

The Women For Change movement was founded in 2016 by Catch Me If You Can (CMIYC), which was also started by Walter.Women For Change creates awareness about gender-based violence through running events.

CMIYC is South Africa’s largest all-women running community. Women have formed long lasting friendships, created a healthier lifestyle and reached their running milestones through their participation in CMIYC events.

CMIYC hosts races, challenges and weekly group runs to keep women healthy, fit and empowered while the Women For Change movement focuses on GBVF.

“Women For Change creates awareness to end GBVF through nationwide running events and awareness campaigns. Our running events also support non-profit organisations (NPOs) that work on the frontline of GBVF, such as Rape Crisis, Tears Foundation or The Safe House,” explains Walter.

“We use our social media channels daily to educate our society, support those NPOs that help survivors and create awareness nationally and globally,” she adds.

The ‘real’ epidemic

Walter describes GBVF as South Africa’s real epidemic and says the number of incidents is unacceptable.

“The fight to end GBVF in South Africa is long overdue. Women do not feel safe. We are all affected by crime, directly or indirectly – therefore, everyone should be active in demanding change,” she says.

Through the Women For Change campaign, Walter hopes to keep the conversation going and create a platform where women can unite for change and educate each other.

“As women, we need to stand united to put an end to violence against women and children. We will fight for our freedom, and we won’t stop until there’s no woman out there saying #MeToo anymore.”

Due to the Coronavirus and lockdown regulations, all CMIYC running events for 2020 were cancelled.

“However, three weeks later we started launching Women’s Virtual Challenges and Races, with over 10 000 women joining those virtual events in 2020,” she says.

This year’s Women For Change 5 and 10km virtual races will take place on 9 August. Entries open in May and women, men and children are invited to participate.  

Visit womenforchange.co.za or email info@womenforchange.co.za for more information.

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Know your consumer rights

Written by More Matshediso

Consumer rights are protected under the law. This means people have a right to safe goods, quality services and fair treatment.

If you feel that your rights as a consumer are being violated, you can turn to the National Consumer Commission (NCC) for help.

“The main purpose of the NCC is to administer and enforce the Consumer Protection Act (CPA).

“The commission plays an important role in protecting consumers by investigating allegations of suppliers contravening the provisions of the CPA in the country,” says Acting National Consumer Commissioner Thezi Mabuza.

She adds that issues that affect consumers daily range from pyramid schemes to compliance with labelling regulations in the textile industry and excessive and unfair pricing by suppliers.

Despite the commission investigating many pyramid schemes in the past few months, people are still losing their hard-earned cash in these illegal, get-rich-quick schemes, says Mabuza.

“In terms of Section 43 of the Act, it is a prohibited conduct for any person to directly or indirectly promote, join or participate in a multiplication scheme, a pyramid scheme or chain letters. We therefore urge consumers not to take part in these schemes.”

About the CPA

The CPA recognises eight fundamental consumer rights which must be observed by businesses:

  • Right to equality: Prohibits unfair discrimination on the grounds of race, gender or socio-economic status in the provision of goods or services.
  • Right to privacy: Limits the use of consumer’s personal information (cellphone number, ID, address, etc).
  • Right to choose: Gives the consumer rights to select a supplier and purchase goods and services of their choice.
  • Right to information: Gives consumers the right to information in plain and simple language, display of prices, receipts, etc.
  • Fair and responsible marketing: Prohibits the use of force or undue influence in marketing goods and services.
  • Right to fair and reasonable terms and conditions: Prohibits the use of unfair contract terms, unilateral changes to contracts and contracting out of consumer rights, etc.
  • Right to fair value, good quality and safety: Gives consumers the right to safe and quality goods and services, free from defect.
  • Supplier’s accountability to consumers: Gives consumers rights to get their money back, with interest, in instances where the suppliers decided to sell goods bought on lay-by, etc.    

Consumers who believe their rights have been violated, can lodge complaints with the NCC at 0800 014 880 or 012 428 7000 during office hours.

Lighting the way for new artists

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

Drama enthusiasts are lifting the curtain on opportunities in the performing arts.

A drama group is working to instil an interest in the arts in school-going children from Soshanguve in Gauteng, by sharing its knowledge of acting and directing with them.

The Movement’s lead director Emmanuel Mashigo says the group visits schools in the township to perform for learners, while also inspiring the youngsters to pursue a career in the arts.

After these school visits, the group often invites interested pupils to join them at their studio.The Movement's lead director Emmanuel Mashigo.

“We try to impart the knowledge of all things theatre that we know. This ranges from acting skills, how to direct and the technical side such as lighting, state management and the use of doors as part of the production,” says Mashigo.

The Movement receives training through the South African State Theatre’s Education, Youth and Children Theatre (EYCT) programme, which aims to unearth talent rooted in community theatre.

ECYT manager Thabiso Qwabe says the programme offers master classes in theatre production, visual arts, poetry and choreography, among others.

The master classes are taught to semi-professional artists over a two-year period. These artists then educate children in primary schools in their communities.

“The youth theatre’s productions are performed during the festivals hosted by the State Theatre throughout the year,” says Qwabe.

In each cycle, the EYCT programme takes in 12 groups from Tshwane and three from other regions in the country. In 2021 and 2022, groups from Mahikeng, Pietermaritzburg and Polokwane will be part of the programme.

The training in the first year sees the groups interpreting existing work by a South African artist.

“In the second year, the groups produce their own work. Some of these productions make it to the Mzansi Fela Community Art Festival,” says Qwabe.

As part of its training with EYCT, The Movement produced a play, titled The Iron, which tells the story of gender-based violence and betrayal.

For more information on the EYCT and other State Theatre programmes, go to the theatre’s website at www.statetheatre.co.za.

Make maths a part of your life

Written by Sphelele Ngubane

A Durban-based man is helping children fall in love with mathematics.

Any child can learn to understand mathematics, says Dr Simo Mthethwa (30), a maths lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.Dr Simo Mthethwa believes that parents have a vital role in encouraging learners to love maths.

He says parents must help break the misconception that the subject is difficult and that you either ‘get maths’ or you don’t. “Some people are born with analytical minds; however, even those who are not gifted with that skill can be trained to understand maths,” he believes.

It all starts in the home, Dr Mthethwa explains. He says children must not be given lots of information to memorise, but instead should do maths exercises regularly and be shown how maths is part of everyday life.

He shares that for the past five years, nearly half of the country’s matriculants writing the National Senior Certificate fail maths. The class of 2020’s mathematics pass rate was only 53.8%.

Mthethwa runs a non-profit organisation, Mthethwamatics, that offers tutorials and career guidance to learners in Umlazi, Durban. The organisation will be expanding to nearby areas this year.

Mthethwa’s advice to parents to assist their child with maths includes:

  • Learning does not start at school. What shapes a child is what they are exposed to and taught at home. If a home downplays education, a child is less likely to pay attention to school.
  •  Maths needs constant practice. Even though there are chores, children need to be encouraged to go through their maths book and worksheets.
  •  Set an example by committing to ongoing learning. There are many government programmes available for adults, like the Adult Basic Education and Training initiative that focuses on basic learning tools, knowledge and skills, and equips participants with nationally-recognised qualifications.
  • Children should be given maths problems to solve and not information to memorise.

Advice for learners:

  • Generally, a maths problem is solved after multiple attempts. Keep trying.
  • If you do not understand a concept, move onto something you know or like.This will give you the confidence and motivation needed to retry the exercise you found challenging.
  • Attempt to do the exercises in your textbook that your teacher did not tell you to complete. This will develop your skills.
  • Be consistent. Work out a timetable for maths and stick to it. The more you do something, the better you become at it.  

For more information, contact Mthethwa at 082 776 6660 or info@mthethwamatics.co.za

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Passionate farmer gets a helping hand

Written by More Matshediso

Paulus Mashiloane (53) left his engineering job five years ago to follow his dream of becoming a farmer.

He invested most of his pension funds in buying a farm in Sedibeng in Gauteng.Paulus Mashiloane is reaping the rewards of hard work and government support.

“I also bought start-up machinery so that I could start farming because I grew up as a farm boy and my wife and children are also interested in farming,” he explains.

The emerging crop and livestock farmer was fortunate enough to benefit from the programmes of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development a few years after starting his farming business.

He was given an opportunity to lease 400 hectares of land through the department’s Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy. This is a national strategy that was established in 2007 to acquire land for land redistribution under the Proactive Land Acquisition Policy.

The land redistribution programme focuses on previously disadvantaged emerging farmers who are black, coloured or Indian. It aims to redress the imbalances of past discriminatory laws which prevented black people from owning land.

The department also granted Mashiloane farming equipment and seeds to plant maize meal and soya through its economic stimulus packages, which aim to turn black emerging farmers into successful commercial farmers.

Mashiloane planted maize meal and soya on the arable land and uses the rest for livestock. His efforts have created jobs for four locals.

Farmer assistance

Government identifies suitable land for farming and then advertises the fact that land is available on different media platforms.

People interested in farming then apply and their applications are assessed. Those who meet the criteria are shortlisted and interviewed.

If successful, their applications are submitted to the National Land Acquisition and Allocation Control Committee for final approval. Successful applicants sign lease agreements before they work the land and benefit from other support programmes.

For enquiries, farmers should contact the following people at the department’s provincial offices:

  • Free State: Percy Raseobi at 051 400 4277.
  • Northern Cape: Moeketsi Ntsane at 053 830 4001.
  • North West: Frank Lesenyeho at 018 388 7000.
  • Eastern Cape: Thabile Mehlomakhulu at 043 700 7000 .
  • KwaZulu-Natal: Sipho Dlamini at 033 355 4363.
  • Mpumalanga: Zithini Dlamini at 013 754 8000.
  • Limpopo: Nicholas Magada at 015 230 5000.
  • Gauteng: Tshifhiwa Tshikhudo at 012 337 3707.
  • Western Cape: Vuyani Nkasayiat 021 409 0300.

For more information, go to www.drdlr.gov.za

Poets given COVID-19 voice

Written by Sphelele Ngubane

KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) poets have benefitted from Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) grants from the National Arts Council of South Africa (NAC).

The poets participated in the NAC-funded KZN Poetry Project, which ran from October 2020 to March 2021.

The NAC invited artists and arts organisations to apply for funding for projects that complied with COVID-19 restrictions and protocols and were aimed at educating and entertaining using digital technology.Xolile ‘Zion’ Vilakazi is the coordinator of the KZN Poetry Project.

The initiative formed part of the NAC’s response to the pandemic and focused on the creation, exhibition and showcasing of work during COVID-19.

The KZN Poetry Project was one of the successful funding applicants. Project co-ordinator Xolile ‘Zion’ Vilakazi says her project saw about 30 youth getting short-term work opportunities. She says the project received R100 000 in NAC funding, with an additional R20 000 coming from local company Mavundla Media.

“The call was open to any poet in the province. We shortlisted poets and additional creatives to support the operations. In addition, we had a graphic designer, four coordinators and three local videographers,” she explains.

The project was also extended to an orphanage in Ladysmith, which hosted a poetry competition and awarded winners.

One of the winners, Nothando Mkhwanazi from eSikhawini in northern KZN, recited a poem about COVID-19 awareness and another about gender-based violence.

“The pandemic disrupted me emotionally and financially. While on lockdown, I was emotionally unsettled, starting to doubt my craft. When I saw this project, hope was restored,” she says.

Another winner, Kwandile Hadebe from Umlazi near Durban, says: “Poetry speaks to a person’s conscience. When we recite, we communicate. This means poets can be a part of government’s initiatives, aimed at raising awareness.”

Vilakazi adds that the project inspired her to do more fundraising for other projects as she realised how helpful such opportunities are for up-and-coming poets.

“Organisations such as the NAC are here to help us develop artists and showcase our crafts.

“If anyone wishes to pursue a similar project, I would say have a good concept in mind, get your paperwork right and be realistic about your budget. This requires some project management skills,” she says.   

The NAC offers financial support to arts organisations and individuals involved in projects in dance and choreography, literature, multi-discipline, theatre and music and visual arts and crafts. For more information, call 011 838 1383, email info@nac.org.za or visit www.nac.org.za.

Protect our children

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

It is important to know the signs of child abuse so that help can be sought for any possible victims.

Child abuse is an ongoing problem across the world and South Africa’s children have not been spared.

Buyisiwe Sophazi, the director of Children Services at the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Department of Social Development (DSD), says child abuse is an intentional act to harm a child. This can be through physical, sexual or emotional harm.

“In South Africa, having sex with a child under 16 years of age is abuse, even if there was consent,” says Sophazi.

The law also prohibits employing children under the age of 15.

Abused children often have emotional, physical and other symptoms. Physical signs of abuse include bruises, burns and fractures.

Other signs of child abuse include:

  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Extreme sexual behaviour that’s inappropriate for the child’s age.
  • A sudden drop in school performance.
  • Developing eating disorders.
  • Self-harming.

Report abuse

Sophazi says the first step in helping an abused child is to report the abuse to the nearest police station, DSD office or a non-profit organisation that assists abused children.

“When people report abuse to the DSD, they can do so anonymously. However, we need the child’s name and the school they attend so that one of our social workers can contact the child.”

Sophazi says when abuse is reported, a child could be moved to a place of safety, such as a child and youth care facility run by the DSD. Here, they will receive counselling and other assistance.

“There are therapy sessions designed to deal with each individual child’s circumstances at these facilities. They also take part in group therapy sessions but we mostly focus on ensuring that the abused child gets help as an individual.”

Child abuse is often associated with neglect as well domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse, parental mental health issues, poverty and young people who are disconnected from their families. Very often, children are abused within the family, by a caregiver or someone they know.

A child who has been abused in the long term, often suffers from impaired development mentally, physically and emotionally.

Get help

There are a number of organisations that can help abused children. These include:

  • Childline – 0800 055 555
  •  National Department of Social Development - 0800 220 250
  •  Lifeline – 0861 322 322
  • GBV Command Centre – 0800 428 428 or *120*7867#
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Saving lives one jab at a time

Written by Allison Cooper

Doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers are relieved and excited to be among the first South Africans to receive the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) vaccine.Dr Sa’ad Lahri was one of the first healthcare workers in the country to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr Sa’ad Lahri (40) was one of the first healthcare workers in the country to receive the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine.

He was vaccinated at Khayelitsha District Hospital on 17 February, the same day that President Cyril Ramaphosa and Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize received their vaccines.

As head of the emergency department at the hospital and President of the College of Emergency Medicine of South Africa, Dr Lahri says he feels honoured and privileged to be among the first healthcare workers to be vaccinated.

“I am extremely humbled as well,” he adds.

Dr Lahri had a little bit of pain at the injection site on the day he was vaccinated and since then has had no other side effects.

Hope for the future

“It’s very important for healthcare workers to be vaccinated. We are on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19. It’s important that we are safe and healthy so that we can continue to serve those who are ill.

“The vaccine gives South Africa hope. Hope for the nation to recover from this devastating illness and hope for the country to recover economically,” he says.

Dr Lahri stresses that South Africans should not be afraid of being vaccinated. “The vaccine is safe and effective.”

Working on the frontlines during the pandemic has been extremely tough for Dr Lahri.

“We have lost many patients. Many colleagues have either passed away or been admitted to hospital.

“I am continuously inspired by all in the healthcare chain, from the driver of the oxygen delivery truck, to our porters, clerks, cleaners, nurses, administrators and fellow doctors, who continue to strive and toil to the best of their ability.”

Sisonke Vaccination Programme

By 18 March, more than 170 000 healthcare workers had already been vaccinated against COVID-19 as part of the Sisonke Vaccination Programme.

The programme started on 17 February, the day after the first batch of J&J vaccines arrived in the country.

The J&J vaccine provides 57% protection against moderate-severe disease, 85% protection against severe disease and 100% protection against death.

As more vaccines continue to arrive in the country, government has increased the number of vaccination sites, adding more private hospitals.

Once phase one of the vaccination programme is complete, phase two will focus on essential workers, persons in congregate settings, people aged 60 and over, and people over the age of 18 who have comorbidities. Phase three will target those 18 and older.

The vaccine is free of charge at various points of service across the country.

Scholarship recipients contribute to education sector

Written by Sphelele Ngubane

Two South Africans who travelled to the United Kingdom (UK) on a Chevening Scholarship last year have returned home to contribute to the education sector.

Cebo Mayekiso (30) and Nokuthula Mashiyane (43) were among the Chevening Scholarship recipients in 2019/2020.These South Africans were awarded Chevening Scholarships to study in the UK in 2019/2020. Image: Chevening

Chevening, the UK government’s global scholarship programme, awarded each of them funding to study towards a one-year master’s degree of their choice at any public university in the UK.

As part of the two countries’ bilateral agreement, Chevening awards scholarships to South Africans every year. The beneficiaries must have a plan to contribute to development in their home country after their studies.

Mayekiso, who holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Warwick, is involved in several social development initiatives focusing on youth development. He uses education as a tool to empower individuals from socially marginalised communities.

“We aim to understand the varied needs of the developing child and use a network of partners to create programmes to aid this development.

“We provide various services, from basic tuition in digital analytical skills and basic coding, to financial management courses and mentoring,” he explains.

Mashiyane obtained a Master of Arts in Mathematics Education from the University of East Anglia. On her return to South Africa, she joined OLICO Maths Education.

“OLICO offers a sense-making and confidence-building approach that makes maths accessible and meaningful to South African school children. This is done through the provision of high-quality tutoring and maths resources,” she says.

Mashiyane has always wanted to contribute to education solutions, make maths more accessible and engage in education research that is in touch with communities’ realities.

The two scholars encourage South Africans to grab Chevening Scholarship opportunities.

“Chevening will give you a unique global learning experience. It expanded my education knowledge and gave me access to the world,” says Mashiyane.

Mayekiso adds that it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“Chevening has unlocked newfound confidence in me as a result of the new skills and capabilities I obtained and enhanced during my time abroad.”

Chevening Scholarship opportunities open every September. For more information, visit www.chevening.org.za.   

Spend money locally to grow the economy

Written by Sphelele Ngubane

Where you choose to buy goods or find services can impact not only your local economy, but the country’s financial wellbeing too.

Proudly South African (SA) is urging the nation to support local small businesses as the country’s economic recovery is dependent on the small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) sector.

This was a repeated call during this year’s Proudly SA Buy Local Summit & Expo, which was recently held virtually.

One of the three-day summit’s multiple sessions was dedicated to SMMEs. Under discussion was how the public and private sector can support local entrepreneurs who have been hard hit by the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Local production

Proudly SA Chief Executive Officer Eustace Mashimbye described the SMME sector as an important and dynamic part of our economy.

“In an economy that is under pressure and has been even before COVID-19, we seriously need to buy from local producers. As a developing country, we need local production so we can create jobs. Unemployment breeds poverty,” he said.

Mashimbye urged local entrepreneurs to join Proudly SA as it has databases of both entrepreneurs and those needing services.Chef Khayakazi Kepe is grateful for the support she received from government. Images supplied by: Khayakazi Kepe

Lindokuhle Mkhumane, the Acting Director-General of the Department of Small Business Development, said government had already rescued many SMMEs through its COVID-19 relief funds.

He said although the government has funded these entrepreneurs, citizens still need to play their part.

“If you want to buy something, start by looking around your immediate community and once you are satisfied no one sells it, you may then move to another community or province. That way we will save our local businesses.”

Government support

Delivering his address at the summit, President Cyril Ramaphosa said while many SMMEs had been badly affected, some entrepreneurs have recovered.

He told the story of Khayakazi Kepe, a Port Elizabeth chef and entrepreneur who sent a letter to his office to thank him for the support she had received from government, which had made it possible for her to stay afloat.

“We have a positive case study of government, the private sector and small businesses working together in perfect alignment, with the outcome being that local business was supported, local jobs were saved and created and 100% locally sourced and produced products are gaining popularity among local consumers,” he said.

President Ramaphosa said all South Africans, including government and the private sector, must not only preach the ‘buy local’ message, but must practise it by buying local to sustain local businesses.

He said South Africa has to save existing jobs and stimulate the economy for new ones to be created. 

“Businesses that were on the brink of collapse during COVID-19 have to be rebuilt, and new ones formed.

“It is for all of these reasons that localisation and local procurement is essential. Wear local, travel local, eat local, watch local content, read local authors, support local music and use local raw materials in your businesses,” he said.

The SMME owner who wrote to the President

Chef Kepe runs Khaya’s Kitchen, which supplies ready-made African meals to Spar. Last year, she applied for COVID-19 Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme emergency funding, run by the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), to pay her 10 staff members after the pandemic affected her operations.

“The UIF payment to my staff members was from April to November 2020, and it was just below R200 000 in total. I had to top-up but a chunk of each salary was covered by the UIF,” she says.

Kepe says in 2019 she was awarded R4.2 million funding by the Small Enterprise Development Agency to set up her kitchen. When Spar awarded the ready-made meals contract to Khaya’s Kitchen, she was able to use the funding to find a suitable space and set up a professional kitchen.

“The government has many assistance programmes; I encourage SMMEs to be on the lookout all the time,” she says.  

For more information on the Proudly SA databases go to  www.proudlysa.co.za

Agencies offering assistance to SMMEs:

  • National Youth Development Agency, go to www.nyda.gov.za or call 087 158 6345/ 5738
  • Small Enterprise Development Agency, go to www.seda.org.za or call 012 441 1000
  • Department of Small Business Development, go to  www.dsbd.gov.za or call 086 184 3384
  •  Industrial Development Corporation, go to www.idc.co.za or call 0860 693 888.

 

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Support for students

Written by Allison Cooper

Government remains committed to ensuring that deserving students have financial support to continue with their studies.

The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, says government is firmly committed to providing fee-free higher education support to students from working and poor backgrounds, while putting a mechanism in place to support students from the ‘missing middle’ income bracket.

He adds the department and universities have agreed that fee increases for 2021 will be affordable but will still ensure universities remain sustainable.

NSFAS shortfall addressed

A shortfall in funding for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for 2021 meant NSFAS was unable to communicate funding decisions to institutions and students entering public universities for the first time. The Minister says funding has been reprioritised from the Department of Higher Edu-cation and Training’s (DHET) budget to ensure all deserving NSFAS-qualifying students receive funding support for 2021.

“NSFAS will be able to release funding decisions, and the registration process at pub-lic universities can continue as planned.

“No NSFAS-qualifying students have been affected by these delays, as universities had agreed to extend the registration period to ensure that students without funding decisions would not be prevented from accessing a place that they qualify for.”

He explains that NSFAS is working hard to finalise appeals so that students are not prevented from registering in time, and continuing students who meet the qualifying criteria have already been allowed to register.

NSFAS funding is provided primarily for students completing a first undergraduate qualification.

“In the past, NSFAS provided funding for some limited second qualifications in key ar-eas. Students who are already funded on these programmes will be able to continue as long as they meet the academic criteria,” says the Minister.

However, there is no funding available for new entrants on second or postgraduate qualifications.

“We will engage further with sector education and training authorities, where support may be available for programmes in particular areas, and to address areas of post-graduate funding where possible.”

Funding policy review

Cabinet has ordered an urgent review of government’s student funding policy and the DHET has started with this process.

“The purpose is to look carefully at funding requirements to support students in financial need in the post-school education and
training system, and to model the holistic requirements of students – including those from poor and working-class backgrounds and the missing middle,” the Minister says.

Both government and universities are concerned about growing student debt, which will be considered as part of the policy review.

Some student debt demands relate to students who are not funded by NSFAS but are doing well academically. The Minister will engage with university leadership teams to explore ways to ensure that final-year students are able to register for their final year through acknowledgment of debt arrangements.

DHET 2021 bursary scheme

The Minister says tuition and accommodation fee costs are provided for in line with the guidelines of the DHET bursary scheme for 2021, subject to the agreed consumer price index-linked sector-wide increases of 4.7% (tuition) and 6.7% (accommodation).

 “No funding can be provided by NSFAS in excess of these increases and neither can such costs be passed onto NSFAS bursary recipients,” he adds.

All NSFAS-qualifying university students on the DHET grant scheme (those registered before 2018) will be subject to the funding cap of R98 700.

For students on the DHET bursary scheme, the following will apply for the 2021 academic year:

  • Learning material allowance - R5200.
  • Living allowance for full time students in contact study - R15 000.
  • Incidental allowance - R2 900.
  •  Travel allowance - maximum of R7 500.

The National Skills Fund and Agricultural Sector Education and Training Authority joint funding will provide bursaries to approximately 4 000 students studying at agricultural colleges, using the NSFAS criteria.

“This funding will also ensure that we continue to step up support for black small-scale farmers and the implementation of the Poultry Master Plan and the Sugar Master Plan, amongst others.”

Contact CACH for help

Minister Nzimande appealed to students who applied on time for a place at public institutions but were not offered a place to study, to contact the Central Applications Clearing House (CACH) for help.

CACH also provides referrals to career development services and funding and skills development opportunities, including artisan programmes and learnerships.

To sign up, SMS your name and ID number to 31629. You will be called back free of charge. You can also register online at www.cach.dhet.gov.za

 

Traditional leaders key to recovery efforts

In the last few months, we have had to bid a sad farewell to two of our country’s most respected traditional monarchs.

The Zulu people recently laid to rest His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu who reigned for half a century. In January, the Bapedi people buried Kgoshikgolo Thulare Thulare III, who passed away less than a year after his inauguration.

With their passing, we have lost champions of the preservation of our heritage, and revered custodians of the histories of their respective peoples.

At the same time, they were vital players in rural development, and were committed to driving programmes to uplift the material conditions of their people.

With the advent of democracy in 1994, it was a priority of the new government to restore the integrity and legitimacy of traditional leadership in line with indigenous law and customs and subject to the Constitution of the Republic.

The institution of traditional leadership continues to play an important role in the lives of millions of people around our country, especially in rural areas. Traditional leaders support and drive development in their communities.

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in the debate on the opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders, which was concerned with the most pressing issues currently facing the country.

What was particularly refreshing about the robust engagement was that traditional leadership has a keen appreciation of the difficult economic conditions facing our country, and want to be part of addressing the many challenges of underdevelopment and poverty in their areas.

 I have consistently said that our economic recovery in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic must be inclusive, and that nobody must be left behind.

 The success of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan rests on forging strong partnerships between not just government, business and labour, but also with traditional leadership and other societal formations.

A constant refrain from participants in the debate recently was that they do not want to be dependent on handouts or for their communities to perpetually look to government for financial assistance.

They want to be provided with the necessary support, training and enabling environment to allow rural communities to be self-sufficient.

They want to bridge the urban-rural divide in access to government services and private sector resources.

What they would like to see is for rural areas to become centres of economic activity, industry and employment opportunity. This mirrors the aspirations of the District Development Model (DDM), which was launched in 2019.

 Traditional leaders are well positioned to ensure that district plans are informed by and respond to the real needs of communities and that they reflect the lived reality in rural areas.

Just as the DDM supports localised programmes that focus on the needs, strengths and opportunities in specific areas, traditional leaders have pioneered their own approach to local economic development.

They have developed the InvestRural Masterplan, which was launched in North West last month. It is greatly encouraging that traditional leaders have rallied behind the plan and want to work with local authorities to ensure it is a success.

During the debate in the National House of Traditional Leaders it was proposed that a major success factor for the InvestRural programme is that traditional structures are trained, strengthened and capacitated.

A number of participants outlined economic plans that are already in advanced stages of development. These range from agricultural projects to bioprospecting to renewable energy.

What was evident is that the institution of traditional leadership understands that professionalisation is necessary for rural businesses in the form of small, medium and micro enterprises and cooperatives to become part of the mainstream economy.

 The traditional leaders who spoke presented their vision of ‘developmental monarchs’, who see themselves as not just custodians of heritage but also as drivers of economic prosperity and progress. They have identified several projects and economic opportunities that will create jobs and improve livelihoods in rural areas.

Traditional leaders have also expressed their willingness to play an active part in the land reform process. Since 2018, traditional leaders have made around 1 500 000 hectares of communal land available for development, and it is hoped this will increase in future.

To develop a coordinated and sustainable strategy, we have agreed to hold a Presidential Land Summit in the next year. This will discuss pressing issues around land reform and its impact on communal land, much of which is located in rural areas.

The tone of the debate in the National House was a fitting reflection of a climate in which economic recovery is foremost among our considerations. At the same time it was a promising signal that traditional leaders appreciate their role in being part of the national recovery effort through being proactive and innovative.

The most fitting legacy of great leaders is that the seeds of development they sow during their tenure grow into mighty trees that protect and shelter their communities for posterity.

As we work together as a country to rebuild our economy, we will continue to count on the support of the institution of traditional leadership, which is an inextricable part of our past, our present and our future.

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Understanding autism

Written by Allison Cooper

World Autism Day, celebrated on 2 April, creates awareness about autism spectrum disorder, also known as autism.

According to Juliet Carter, the national director of Autism South Africa, autism is lifelong and classified as a developmental disorder. While it can be diagnosed at any age, many children show signs of autism by 18 months.

“Autistic people experience the world differently. It has to do with how their brain developed and affects how they communicate, behave and interact with people.

“Autism is a spectrum disorder because there are different conditions and the severity of symptoms can vary from person to person,” Carter explains.

Elfreda and Gavin Baartman’s oldest child Abby (10) is autistic. “She never wanted to be held and rocked, she hated it… I never experienced cuddling and rocking her to sleep, she would scream,” says Elfreda.

Abby had still not smiled by the time she was three, when she was diagnosed as autistic.

“She did not know how to cry, or so it seemed. The tears would roll down her face, with no facial expression. She also never crawled. All of her milestones were delayed.”

While there is no cure for autism, early intervention can assist an autistic child in many ways.

Abby started speech and occupational therapy and physiotherapy when she was diagnosed. She started school at five. “She really progressed. Her speech improved tremendously and her muscle development is much better,” says Elfreda.

She adds that autistic children can learn to become independent with the right intervention and support.

“All they need is love and acceptance. We made peace with Abby having this lifelong disability, and we love her just the way she is.”

Signs of autism

While the exact causes of autism are not known, we know that it is not caused by witchcraft or bad parenting, says Carter.

Risk factors include having an autistic sibling, older parents, certain genetic conditions and a very low birth weight.

There are various signs that could indicate that a child is autistic. These include:

  • Little awareness of others.
  • Poor imaginative play.
  • Unusual habits, such as rocking and hand flapping.
  • Unusual, absent or delayed development of speech and language.
  • Sense of touch, taste, sight, hearing and/or smell being heightened or lowered.
  • Sudden crying or laughing for no reason.

Dr Dudu Ngubeni, an occupational medical and wellness practitioner at Gauteng Provincial Government, says parents should take their children to their local clinic for check-ups and shouldn’t miss appointments.

“Any developmental delays should be investigated by a healthcare provider. Parents must voice their concerns and ask for a referral to their local hospital or a developmental paediatrician,” she says.

Autism art exhibition

Autism South Africa is celebrating the autistic community’s creativity and talent with an art auction.

Entrants can submit two works to be auctioned online. Submissions close on 15 April and the auction takes place from 17 to 30 April. All money raised goes to the artist.  

For more information, visit www.aut2know.co.za.