Mon, Aug 3, 2020

Taxi industry suffers a heavy blow from lockdown

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By Rapule Moiloa

I interacted with a taxi driver in Protea Glen, Soweto on how corona virus has affected him, the first thing he said was was to ask where this disease came from. He said coronavirus has proved to be a show stopper as he has been out of business since the announcement of the lockdown. He said business has gone down as people are now minimising movements and has since recorded losses. He highlighted how the taxi industry has suffered whilst highlighting that his brother have since lost his job because their company engaged in a massive job cut in face of the pandemic.

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.

Mixed feelings over reopening of schools

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by Rapule Moiloa

Interacting with someone regarding school reopening in South Africa to hear her views and how she feels about her kid going back to school I realised that some parents feel that in as far as they dont want their children to miss out on their studies, they are worried about their safety as the number of coronavirus cases continue to rise. She said that it is very unfortunate that the pandemic has put a stop not only on education but everything so all she could say is that it is not yet safe for children to go back to school.

On another note…people have different ways of understanding the same thing and it’s problematic. I have realised that in many places a lot of people do not have the same understanding of social distancing. Looking at the informal traders out side Palm Springs Mall failing to maintain social distance is worrying because some of the people won’t be putting on face masks and the question is if adults fail to keep social distance what about the children?

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.

Finally justice took its course

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by a Own Correspondant

In 2018, there was a case of a young woman from Umlalazi here at Eshowe who was caught raping a 10 year old boy during a function at the boy’s house. The case took long to be settled, however last week, the accused young woman was given a sentence and we are happy as a community that justice has taken its course. However, the majority of mothers in the area are now hesitant to hire nannies due to the fear of abuse of their children. A small survey I conducted with men on who took away their virginity mostly pointed out to nannies and such issues happen, however some boys are shy to report such cases.

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.

Diversion of food parcels meant for the poor, a cause for concern

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by Rapule Moiloa in Soweto

Lock down did not happen because it was supposed to but it was due to an unforeseen virus that left many people jobless, with out food and caused people’s lives to be on standstill. People who thought of the poor not just about themselves organised food parcels for the poor, the vulnerable and the needy so that they can eat together with their families. However I am disturbed by those who receive these food parcels that instead of taking these food parcels to the relevant people, they help themselves with the same food. These are selfish people who can afford to buy food themselves but they deprive the poor. What should be done when those who are supposed to distribute don’t do the distribution, what should be done when food parcels are found in the back of the car, what can be done when food parcels are distributed at night in the dark for the few or even sold, what should be done when the same food parcels distributed according to structures of the political party and what should be done when the problem is not yet contained?

Congestion during SASSA payouts compromised lockdown regulations

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The 6th of May was the last day of the SASSA pay outs.The roads were so packed and there was too much chaos due to people and traffic congestion. The scary part about this was that nobody seemed to be caring about the spread of COVID-19 as some of the people were not putting on masks and not following the 2 meter distancing. I am one of the concerned people about the Coronavirus lockdown going back to stage 5 as there are some people who thinks this pandemic we are faced with is a joke yet everyday we are updated about new cases and deaths caused by this virus.

Meanwhile, at Imbali Crossing there was a road block where all travelers were stopped and asked where they were going,what are they going to do there and were expected to produce permits. Most of the people were asked to go back because they didn’t have permits yet others did have permits and were told either that it’s not the ones they want or they are not specific enough and people who were going to collect Sassa pay outs had to issue their IDs and SASSA cards as proof. People who were going to purchase groceries and buy essentials were also told to go and get permits for that. My worry is where are we going to get permits to buy groceries?