Mon, Aug 3, 2020

Protests over electricity cuts not ending anytime soon

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Eskom black outs or electricity cut off is affecting the community of Diepkloof and other surrounding areas, Protests over electricity cuts is not a new thin and something that can end anytime soon for as long as Soweto residents pay their dues to Eskom. However, the major challenge is that most of the residents are unemployed; hence their inability to settle their dues.

Electricity protests in Soweto started on the 15th of June 2020 with the community protesting out side Eskom offices in Diepkloof Zone 6 and this was not the first time this is happening. Electricity cuts affects everyone including businesses. The army was deployed to monitor Diepkloof for the community burnt tires to blocked Immink drive not far from Chris Hani Hospital.

Residents protest over power cuts

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Residents embarked on a protest to Eskom’s offices in Diepkloof zone. During every winter season, Soweto residents face massive electricity cuts. Eskom states that Soweto residents owe money hence the power cuts. I remember between 2013 and 2014 we had a meeting with Eskom to state the case of residents that we want to pay a flat rate as Soweto residents since we waited for the decision to this day. Instead they have new electricity prepaid metres installed and these have not brought a difference because whether one pays for electricity or not they will stay in the dark., Despite efforts towards an agreement to pay a flat rate Eskom insist on power cuts. Power cuts are affecting people’s lives and healthy as some have health conditions which demand them to keep warm always.

Money pose risk of the spread of coronavirus

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By Mmabore Mogashoa

I went to one fast food outlet and I realized the risk of handling money during the pandemic. People use money in shops, public transport etc. Social distancing was maintained, temperature checked and sanitized. When paying the cashier used a tray to collect money and issue change. I realized that some just continue eating the food without washing their hands. In public transport if you are at the back you give the next person money until it reaches to the driver. There is no sanitization after handling money. With this kind of risk, there should be a better way of doing business so that consumers do not end up infected when getting change. We send our children to the shops, markets etc and no one wash/ sanitize hands before and after handling money. People who are selling in the street are also at risk as most of them do not wear cloves. Is there a way to keep money away from germs and viruses? Will the only way to solve the problem be to go digital?

Basotho HIV patients risk their lives

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Anonymous in Lesotho Leribe Maputsoe

When lock down was announced due to corona virus Lesotho citizens living and working in South Africa were faced with a problem of getting their ARVs. Health institutions in South Africa refuse to assist them with medication and asked them to ask Lesotho Health Institutions to send proof that they are HIV and AIDS patients before giving them ARVs. That’s when Basotho decided to risk their lives by crossing the river running below Ficksburg and Fourisburg borders because they can’t go through border gates as they still closed due to lock down. Yes it is illegal to cross through the river but this started when clinics where they reside refused to give them Medication because they say they can’t wait for border gates to be opened for they need to refill and the only way to refill is to cross the river to get at least 3 months supply.

Sale of alcohol can spike cases

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by Rapule Soweto in Vusimuzi Tembisa Ekurhuleni

On the first of June 2020 the sale of alcohol started with a bang when many people were happy for being allowed to buy alcohol for the first time after many days of ban. Many people had planned to have birthday celebrations before South Africa had its first case of the virus then lock down was declared. Many people could not celebrate their birthdays despite having planned them earlier. This was worsened by the banning of the selling of alcohol and people were allowed only to consume at home unfortunately that was not a case because people. The past weekend saw many people celebrating their belated birthdays and others were celebrating their birthdays as from the 01-06-2020 and if alcohol sale continues this will see an increase of the virus cases as people are now socializing more than before.

Being black is not a sin

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by By Mmabore Mogashoa

My heart is broken
My heart is bleeding
Killed for being black
It’s just a natural color
Something you won’t wash away
Something that does not lose its quality

Only the creator knew why he made others black and others white
One artist even said “Different colors, one people”
Meaning we are all created equally
And equal in the eyes of the creator

Being black is not a sin
Being black doesn’t mean I have no rights

Being black does not mean I am a slave

Being black does not mean I lack intelligence
I am black, that is my nature
I have rights
I am proud of who I am
Racism in 2020?
That is heart breaking
Do you think the world doesn’t belong to blacks too?
Will you survive without us? Well no!
You need to learn to live with us
Respect us
We are humans like you
Does anyone feel threatened by others being black?
George Floyd deserved to live
Why kill him?
Why didn’t they help?

Being black is not a sin
And being black is not a disgrace
It is a gift from the creator

Who will police the police?

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Whilst the lock down is slowly eased I’ve seen that people can do anything to survive even if it means robbing others. I have also realized that some of the police officials are corrupt taking bribes from illegal gamblers. Gamblers are a group of people who stand on street corners pretending as if they don’t know each other so that they can scam passersby. It is worrisome because it is the police who should be ensuring that people do not gather because the lock down is not yet lifted and the spread of the virus is not yet contained. There are also reports that police are harassing foreign shop owners demanding money, food among other things and one shop owner stated that the same police officers came threatened them with arrests if they did not give them what they wanted.

Meanwhile, I have been following food parcels theft story. Councillors were told not to be part of any food parcel distribution but i have heard how it has been difficult for people to get these food parcels. Unfortunately people have been helping themselves with these food parcels. Early this month many people registered to get food parcels but only a few got the food parcels. Recently, I heard that a Councillor had his car filled with the same food parcels that were supposed to have been given to people in Vusimuzi. He was caught in Limpopo and he was arrested for theft then released after paying 5000 rand bail. Someone who declined to be named said that the same person took some of the mobile toilets that belonged to the people who stay at informal settlement in Vusimuzi to rent them out in Limpopo. The intergrity of our duty bearers is now questionable.

Porters exposed to the deadly virus

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by Rapule Moiloa

Talking to someone close to me about the work that he does as a Porter, he expressed his worry about his exposure to the virus. He works at a certain hospital as a porter in Soweto and he is equally exposed to the virus just like nurses and doctors. He is worried by the fact that many people forget that people who work as porters are also in the frontline and are exposed to the virus for they are the ones receiving patients regardless of the nature of their sickness. The work environment has also changed tremendously due to COVID- 19 because previously they would receive patients with out fear of contracting any disease. Although they are given Protective gear, wheel chairs and stretchers are not disinfected increasing their vulnerability to the deadly virus.

Wasteland turned into vegetable garden

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by Rapule Moiloa

A community waste land that lied for many years behind shops in Palm Springs in the Vaal is being successfully put into good use to ensure food security during lockdown as it has been turned into a vegetable garden. This piece of land used to be a home for rats for year and the community used to dump waste whenever it was not collected by the local authority. The bad ordour and rats from the dumping site affected people staying close by for years but now the piece of land has been cleaned for use on something that will benefit people because they will at least have fresh food from this garden. This garden was started by an old man together with a couple of guys who were called nyaope boys because they were addicted to nyaope drug that is still terrorising young boys and girls in townships. Today the community of Palm Springs in Section H is happy to have this vegetable garden rather than rats and what makes even the community happier is that the boys don’t steal anymore as they are now of great help to the community.

Around Tembisa

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by Rapule Moiloa in Tembisa

Many of the people in Tembisa believe in making money through selling cooked food. Their market place is out side shopping complexes, taxi ranks etc. What is worrying now is that they defy lockdown rules and regulations but only remember them when they clash with the law enforcement agents. I witnessed men cooking and selling mogodu just out side a shopping complex attracting many customers at once but with no safety measures in place. I have heard that Ekurhuleni is one of the metros with many cases of the virus that makes it a hot spot of the pandemic but I have realsied that people only put on masks so that they are allowed into the mall but remove them as soon as they leave the complex.

Meanwhile, it is worrying how those who are entrusted with distribution food parcels are helping themselves first before the people who are in really in need of the food. This is despite that fact that we are in a situation where many people have lost their livelihoods and can nolonger afford to fend themselves and their families. In Vusimuzi, the community registered to get food parcels that were donated and list of names were used to for the people who registered to get food parcels.

On another note, these days the SAPS department has been in the fore front ensuring that citizens adhere to rules and regulations of the lock down. Before entry at the Tembisa police station, officers scan people to check their temperature and the officers record each person’s temperature and they have implemented a no mask no entry principle at the premises whilst enforcing social distancing. I’ve witnessed the same at Spar Supermarket although they do note check temperature but the principle of no mask no entry is enforced.