Most of the women in the group and community in Pietermaritzburg Central, KZN, are surviving on hand to mouth basis where, in a normal situation, spend the day doing different activities. depending on day today activity. The lockdown is stopping the women has stopped the women from being financially independent. Apart from that, the means of survival is becoming extremely undermined. At the end of the day their families are starving and their major worry is they will die of hunger and not coronavirus. Apart from being stripped of their financial independence, women are also now exposed to gender-based violence since they are forced to spent more time with their male counterparts which they are not used to.
Since the enforcement of lockdown has begun things have been very difficult especially when it comes to maintaining social distance. It’s been difficult for us to comply with at home because we are living in a RDP house which is one room and we are a family of 7 including my mother ,2 sisters, 3 children and myself. We are very concerned because we can’t keep one meter apart as we the house is too small for all of us. During cold weather it is like we are breathing the same air. We are not sure if coronavirus is going to spare us in case one of us gets infected.
On the 8th of March 2020, in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal, different communities’ leaders were distributing food parcels to citizens and these included 10kg of maize, 3 kgs rice and 4 toilet papers. The food was not enough for people and those who didn’t get the food were very frustrated, it was a painful experience. During the food distribution process, no one cared about social distance as everyone jostled to get a portion. To make matters worse, community leaders themselves did not have personal protective clothing and some did not even have hand sanitisers. People are frustrated more by hunger than issues to do with protecting oneself from the deadly virus.
by Vusi aka Mabaso
On Sunday the 7th of July 2019, around 1500hrs at Vosman under Emalahleni Local Municipality in Mpumalanga Province, when a 17 year old boy playing street soccer with friends, their ball fell inside the dam dug by mining activities. The clean water from the dam tempted the boy to swim and pick the ball and he disappeared in the dam. Unfortunately, the boy was found dead in the dam the following morning at 0850hrs. The loss of life is a result of irresponsible mining activities, where the mine did not rehabilitate land and fill the opened dam.
By Xolelwa Pona in East London, Eastern Cape.
A Clean-Up campaign took place at Needs Camp, in East London on the 26th of March 2019. The area was identified as a host spot by the community members because it is where people, but mostly women get mugged, raped, killed and dumped there. Most women restrict their activities because of the fear of being vulnerable. This reduces their level of community participation and makes them more vulnerable to be victims of crime. Now, that the space has been cleaned at least everyone can see the activities happening in the field and there are no trees and overgrown vegetation to hide in. “A community that is safe for women is a community that is safe for all.”
Residents of the southern suburbs of Cape Town from Plumstead, Wynberg, Claremont to Mowbray had no running water from their taps from Thursday, 7 March to Friday morning 2019. This is because of bursting of the main supply underground water pipe in Wynberg. The water shortages affected residents who were not informed of how long it will take for the pipes to be fixed. Water and sanitation workers from the City of Cape Town with heavy duty trucks and machinery were still trying to fix the damaged underground water pipes on Friday. People had to sleep and wake up with no running water. The main concern is that so much water has been lost as it was oozing out and flowing into the water drainage system. Cape Town has good infrastructure, roads, electricity, public parks and more. One of the biggest challenge is that the city’s infrastructure is too old and it is struggling to cope with a huge influx of people into this city.
By Dorothy Mabelebele
On the 5th of March 2019, Community Health Care Workers (CHWs) under the Gauteng Community Health Forum marched to the National Health Department in Pretoria against the fixed term contract that Carers recently received.
CHWs said that they will never sign the fixed contract because during the arbitration ruling that took place on the 27th of September 2018, led by Advocate James Motshekga, it was said that CHWs are permanent employees of the Department of Health.
CHWs went to the Minister of Health’s Office in Pretoria to shutdown his office so that he responds to them on the fixed contract because on 16 November 2018, at Nasrec, he announced that Carers will be absorbed permanently. Unfortunately, no one attended to their call and demands and security staff were called to stop Carers from entering the building.
Press release November 2018
Government’s intervention vital in the waste industry
Community activists are calling for government to intervene in the waste pickers industry. The community of Thulani Snake Park informal settlement in Soweto wants the government to regulate the industry by protecting waste pickers and thus allow the community to make a meaningful living from collecting waste.
“Residing in a community that is contaminated by mine waste radioactivity is not easy for the people of Thulani Snake Park, as this causes health hazards and endangers our livelihoods. People around the area are now making a living as waste pickers to survive” says community member and activist Thokozile Mntambo.
Picking up waste has allowed the community to make money from recycling, thereby ensuring that they can pay for electricity, paraffin and food.
Waste picking is not covered by any type of legislation or policy, and waste management policies in South Africa cover only the formal waste sector.
“It is hard for women waste pickers as they need to wake up early and walk long distance pushing a trolley to get items like metal scrap and plastic bottles for recycling” says Mntambo. In the suburban areas’ women waste pickers get labelled with derogatory names such as “bomalala pipes” while security guards also chase them away from picking up waste.
“Waste pickers also do not get enough money from waste collection because the scrap yard does not pay much, especially when the scale is small,” continued Mntambo.
A 2017 report by Department of Science and Technology through the National Research Foundation’s Centre of Excellence in Food Security found that on average waste pickers made between R290 to R 770 a week from the waste they collect.
In Thulani Snake Park, some of the waste pickers are drug addicts, who use the returns from selling scrap metal to feed their addiction. This contributes to the dangers faced by women waste pickers who are exposed to intimidation by these addicts.
“The Thulani Snake Park community is calling on government to formulate policies that will ensure that they are recognisedas an informal sector,and to stop the municipality from privatising the waste picking sector,” concludes Mntambo
NOTE TO EDITORS: The Ubumbano Community Voice website and application is a platform for community activists in Southern Africa to share stories of their struggles for dignity and justice, and for journalists and others to get direct access to those stories. It is supported by the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of faith-based organisations.
FOR MORE INFORMATION AND INTERVIEWS CONTACT:
frayintermedia: Account manager
Tel: +27 11 888 0140
Cell: +27 79 847 897
Thulani Snake Park community activist
Cell: +27 65 326 4565
ACT Ubumbano: Change Manager
Cell: +27 83 442 4497