Fri, Jan 21, 2022

Diepkloof Square Shops Slowly Opening after Looting

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After the destruction of shops and loss of jobs from the unrests that took place in parts of Gauteng, some shops at Diepkloof Square have started operating.

A number are still undergoing repairs to the destruction. New shops will be opened in place of others that closed permanently. The destruction and permanent closure left many people jobless.

Diepkloof Square Shops gradually open for business

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by Rapule Moiloa

After the looting crisis in Gauteng, infrastructure was destroyed and many jobs were lost ,especially around Soweto where many shops were looted. Meanwhile, some of the shops have started operating while others are still being fixed and being rebuilt. Indications are that new shops will be opened where looted shops were but it is sad because the shops that are not going to do business in Diepkloof square again have left some of the people jobless since they will not be opening their doors again. This will increase the vulnerability of the majority of Sowetans as poverty and hunger levels are going to rise to unprecedented levels.

Time to take farming seriously

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By Mmabore Mogashoa

I grew up in a village area and most of the time we ate food from our parent’s yards or fields. Things changed when there was no enough rain and by becoming an activist I started to understand why there was no rain. People have big yards/fields and because our area experience water shortages only few make gardens and some yards are only for livestock grazing. Our mothers used to plough crops and dry morogo for winter seasons so that we can eat pap with morogo or beans. Sepedi traditional food and drinks were made from what was planted. We didn’t want to eat morogo because as children we didn’t know the benefits of eating indegineous food. Our elders were strong and lived longer. We buy food that we don’t know how they are planted or how long they had been in tins/fridges. Most people are obese and suffer from lot of deseases because we consume junk/fast food or food that have grown/fed chemicals. We are natural farmers, now with poverty that is all over the world we need to start farming.

Camping for R 350

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by Rapule Moiloa

Since the announcement that unemployed people will get R 350 for six months but to these day its not everyone who received the promised R 350.

When these R 350 thing started people got text messages advising them to where to go to get the R 350 but few people got these money and other people’s applications declined due to irp5 registration with Sars and other reasons.

Te sad thing that i heard and surprised me is when people started to camp out side post offices as early as midnight its risky to walk a distance with out a taxi fare only to be in the que.

People are unemployed, desperate, valnerable and if they don’t camp in the early hours of the morning because the que will be long and they come from different areas.

A day about 140 people are assisted at the post office and if one does not camp it means they’ll be at the back of the que way back these could lead to camping again.

Impacts of COVID-19 on the poor

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by Rapule Moiloa

No one planned or was ready for such a distraction caused by COVID-19 which has killed people’s plans they had for 2020. Poor people are the hardest hit by the crisis as unemployment takes its toll. COVID-19 does not choose who to affect whether one is rich or poor. Poor people are now faced with food insecurity for many are not working and are relying on food handouts. In Orlando West, the community is getting food supplies from the Centre where the community have to register as beneficiaries to get food. I realized that even young women are affected not only because of the pandemic but by unemployment.

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.

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.

To what extent are the food parcels sustainable?

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On the 12th of May 2020, at Imbali Unit 14 in Pietermaritzburg, boxes of food parcels were delivered to the community members who applied. The distributors were moving around door to door assessing if the household qualifies to get the food parcel. The parcel was comprised of 5kg meal mealie, 2×2kg rice,4 butternuts, 4 onions, 2×500ml bottles of cooking oil, 1kg brown sugar, 5 cans of baked beans and 3 cans of pilchards. Now my worry is how many people can be sustained by this parcel and for how long will it last because one thing for sure is that there are families who solely depend on such parcels as such families do not have any sources of income.

Hunger strikes as children resort to selling

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by Rapule Moiloa in Tembisa Vusimuzi

Since the start of the locked down, I have realised that children play every where with no problem at all. To my surprise yesterday morning I witnessed three kids between the ages of 9 and 14 moving door to door selling tissues and steel wool without putting on face masks. When I asked whom the stuff belong to they said that they were helping their unemployed mother to generate income. They said she is engaged in an informal business which has since been affected by the lockdown and her returns cannot even buy these days makes a small profit not enough to buy a bag of mealie meal. The older one said that they had since registered for food parcels and to date they haven’t received anything and they now miss going to school.

On another note, I am worried by people who seem not to care about their health and safety or that of others. I am not sure whether it is out of ignorance or not if men sit together drinking home brewed alcohol form the same container denouncing the lockdown rules and regulations.

Meanwhile, the police became visible as of yesterday after many days of being inactive around Vusimuzi section in Tembisa as I witnessed some law enforcement agents announcing making an announcement that they will arrest those moving around without wearing masks.