Mon, Aug 3, 2020

Activist call for a clear communication strategy when it comes to COVID-19


I am Amo Tshabalala in Sefikile Village North West Province under Moses Kotane Local Municipality. I think that is not fair for alliterate people as everything has happened so fast. It has affected us activists and everyone in the community so negatively. The illeterate people while they are still trying to understand what is this corona virus then the lockdown is effected and they don’t even know what lockdown is or what it means. Now we have to explain as community activists but its difficult since we can’t be seen outside along the road or anywhere for that matter without a serious reason. In my community/village they take everything serious even though they didn’t hear what you said exactly but they do what they think you said and in this case it is lockdown and they are indoors. People who are depending on piece jobs its hard for them now to put bread on the table as we all know that no unnecessary movement is allowed. Builders also got affected by this lockdown too as they also can’t do anything and we all know what that means, no food on the table again. Now, how many homes have no food on the table because of corona virus?

Every information should be written or given in indigenous languages but now I think everything has gone too much to social media and my concern is what about the illiterate people, those who can’t afford smart phones, and those who can’t afford data to get the info about corona virus? Information should be accessible by all including those in rural areas. We should work together and make sure that we are safe. #stayhomeandsafeyourfamily.

Small business hard hit by lockdown


For smaller business owners who are not operating online, times like these might be a setback for their businesses. Maybe people should be sponsored with data to run their businesses online or given a better option to do business. Yes, government is assisting but more needs to be done for the sake of the country’s economy and improving lives. People who were doing door to door business are suffering. What should be done to help them? Will they be able to make enough money to take care of their families? Will government be able to offer enough food parcels to make sure they do not go to bed on empty stomachs?

COVID-19 depriving security forces of their family time


by Nonkosi in Braamfisher in Soweto…On Monday 12 April four liquor traders were arrested for contravening the Disaster Management Act of 2020 by selling liquor and cigarettes during the lock down. This shows that people are no taking COVID-19 seriously.

One of the soldiers we interfaced with was so frustrated by people of Braamfisher’s behavior. I laughed and said at least you are making money and we SAPS members are getting not anything. He said you are fortunate because you are able to see your family. “I’m home sick and if people don’t listen and behave like this,we will be deployed and stay in our camps till this is over. Money won’t make up for the time lost with our family” said the soldier.
Its the little things that we take for granted that matters more. We are working for long hours forcing people to stay home for their safety. It is unfortunate that street vendors can’t operate their business and the extension of the lock down means that they won’t be able to provide for their families. Every time I go back home I am afraid that I can infect my family. To keep them safe. At least the little that people can do is to stay at home. Nonetheless, I would like to thank our petrol attendants who are rendering services to the essential workers.

Tembisa residents defy lockdown regulations


by Rapule Moiloa…Since the start of the lock down in Tembisa, people have never complied with lock down regulations for many people move around freely, stand in street corners in groups, get together and many people say that there’s nothing they can do whilst sitting at home and I’ve realised that most men make money through gambling and sitting at home for them is not an option because gambling is how they make money.

Lockdown- Women resort to brewing beer for income


By Steven Ramokhula…Since the extension of South Africa’s lockdown by 14days, people have been affected in different ways. Many unemployed single women in Ikemeleng have started employing their skills they acquired from their parents for survival. These women have now started brewing traditional beer and sell it to the community members for income.

In the past, people in the community used to drink home brewed beer only when there were cultural ceremonies. Now it is a way of making money. People are desperate for alcohol. unfortunately some of these women do not have the skills to brew beer. Their beers often cause diarrhea and one person was even admitted in hospital due to diarrhea cause by the ill-brewed beer.

Reclaimers hard hit by lockdown


by Dorothy Mabelebele

The life threatening COVID-19 is heavily affecting the working class people and migrants. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and his cabinet tackled the pandemic crisis in a different way which left out other South Africans and migrants with no protection from the government. Those left out include reclaimers, street vendors, self-employed, which were not part of  the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), the National Disaster Benefit Fund (NDBF) will be the one paying workers that their salaries will be affected during the COVID-19 pandemic and it will be a monthly payment of up to R3 500 for the three months.

African Reclaimers Organisation (ARO) is a Johannesburg organization of informal reclaimers from Johannesburg’s streets and landfills. ARO has close to 6 000 reclaimers who are waste pickers in Johannesburg, some of the workers are migrants from Lesotho which makes it difficult for government to cover them as some are undocumented migrants.

Steven Leeu from ARO said that

“We have been knocking in all doors of government to be assisted during the pandemic to help the waste pickers with protective equipment but they failed”.

 “Our members are dying of hunger during this Lock down because they are not working and not benefiting from the government. We have been asking for donations so we can be able to provide our workers with food parcels and other products during the Lock down.” added Leeu.

Landfills reclaimers had to be stopped working during the COVID-19 as they do not have protective equipment and government fear that they will spread the virus in their communities. According to Leeu, Marie Luis Landfills cite that they had to leave their materials in the landfill and denied access to take their materials to the buyer as buyers also don’t have permit to buy those materials. This issue affected workers in Johannesburg and Pretoria particularly. Therefore ARO has approached Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy to tackle the issue of the reclaimers but she refused the request for reclaimers to be an essential service during the lockdown, however the Department of Environment and Coca Cola South Africa in association with ARO managed to distribute food to 2000 Reclaimers across Gauteng, they are also looking to reach more reclaimers. South Africa which is on the Lock down on27 March 2020 has forced many businesses, schools, churches, universities to close down to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Infringement of human rights under pretext of enforcing lockdown- as livelihoods are threatened


Anonymous…On the 8th of April one guy was beaten so badly by police here near my flat in Durban, Russell Street. We are really suffering because this has been happening since the lockdown started, sometimes they don’t even ask where you are going they just start beating you. Some of our papers have expired we can’t go for renewal because we even scared to go to home Affairs. We have a fear that we will be arrested after lockdown because we are now illegal citizens because we have no papers.

by Michael…It’s day 12 of the lock down as I am getting ready to go out, buy grocery for PACSA garden assistant. My what’s app is full of messages, other forwarded from PACSA Process Facilitators. As per government directive, for me to leave my house I need permit, classifying my work as essential service! I wonder if fighting for social justice is classified as one, human rights watch is one them, buying groceries for the garden assistant is one of those. First two  kilometers from my house road block. Here is my conversation with the police officers;

Police: Where are you going,

Me: Going to buy grocery

Police: Didn’t you buy before the lock down.

Me : I did, but this time is not mine, its for a colleague who is being paid on a daily basis depending on the work he does and as we are in a lockdown he is in a danger of hunger and starvation.

SA citizens pour out their feelings on lockdown


by Nompilo…The conditions of conducting burial processes during lockdown are very frustrating and hard more especially in rural areas where the people strongly believe in their cultural practices and beliefs and where information about coronavirus has not been sufficiently spread. We had a very bad experience with my family at Maphumulo in Mambedwini, KZN having to bury our father under such restrictive circumstances. Having to adhere with the rules of lockdown robbed us opportunity and opportunity to mourn and bury our father in honour according to the dictates of our culture.  

by Njabulo Togane, PACSA, Pietermaritzburg, KZN…My name is Njabulo Togane and I reside in Cinderella Park which is a diverse community in terms of race. The community has different setups such as informal settlement, RDP houses and self-built houses. As we mark day 13 of the South Africa lockdown as a person who works with the marginalized constituencies who don’t have any means of communication but only meeting at PACSA office has been very much difficult to engage and communicate with them and I feel helpless because the regulations that were enforced upon us as the public of South Africa limited my movements.

by RapuleLucky not his real name is my friend from Soweto and he is one of the people who has a small business next to Bara Hospital. He sells sweets, snacks, cold drinks and he said to me last night that he is worried about paying his son’s fees, pay rent as he is renting for now the rent is 1000 rands because his business has been affected. He is contemplating to look for work after the lockdown.  

AnonymousIn my community(Eshowe) the problem now is alcohol it’s really scary the way people are in need of alcohol than to protect themselves from corona ,they are people who are selling it even police know them but they are keeping quiet about it, people are wasting money on alcohol than food, it’s really confusing what people are doing.

Lockdown stripping women’s financial independence as GBV increases


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. 

The Scourge of Unemployment for Young Women in Diepkloof


By Rapule Moiloa

Gender violence is real. Rights are violated by men who perpetrate criminal behaviour and abuse against women and children. Women face many challenges every day. Poverty, unemployment and low self-esteem puts young woman in awkward situations that find them in relationships where they are emotionally and physically abused.