Thu, Dec 3, 2020

Sefikile parents bemoan lack of consultation in reopening of schools and not happy with going back to work

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by Amo Tshabalala

I have listened with disappointment the speech of the Minister of Education, Mrs Angy Motshegwa, that our kids have to go back to school when workers are still at home. There is even a time table on when learners are going back to school. Do we have a say on what the government decides or not? Since this COVID 19 is deadly, I think we as parents should be consulted as the risk is high. Do we have a say on matters affecting our lives? The community of Sefikile is more concerned about their children since they are going back to school and some parents feel like they should wait for the virus infections to recede before their kids could go back to school, saying that they should be consulted and have a say about their children’s well being.

Meanwhile, the opening of mines in Sefikile community worries us because of the health risk posed to our families. However, somehow feel that we have nothing to do since everyone else is going back to work and if you try to voice your concerns you will get fired. As for our families depend on us and we can’t disappoint them by not going back to work. We have to go back to work even if we don’t like it due to the obtaining crisis and we just hope that all necessary steps will be taken for our safety and also that of our families.No one answered but all in one said they shod be cancelled at ones for protection of their kids. They said it themselves that it is going to be bad for kids to distance them towards each other as they used to be close to each other and friends to each other.

Community Health Care workers during COVID-19

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By Dorothy Mabelebele

Community Health Care Workers (CHWs) plays an important part in the delivering of health care services to communities. CHWs have been crucial in health care system through various programmes including testing and preventing HIV and TB, treatment adherence as well a health promotion.

Sisanda Kulima, a CHW from an informal settlement called Lawley Clinic in Johannesburg, Gauteng has been a CHW for more than 10 years in which she participated in fighting for CHWs rights that were violated by the Department of Health. The Department of Health has been running around with the issues of making the CHWs permanent. Meanwhile CHWs are earning a stipend of R3,500 which Kulima said it is not enough for them because they risks their lives, visiting ill people in the communities daily without enough protection from any diseases.

The Department of Health announced that CHWs will be assisting in tracking and tracing COVID-19 cases but they didn’t give assurance of safety to these workers. It is unclear how the department is going to protect the CHWs in a situation with the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). “We have started with the screening for COVID-19 on 15 April 2020 at Fine Town in Johannesburg”, said Kulima.

There is a Petition making rounds on the social media about the Community Health Workers who are on the frontline who must be permanently employed and the petition was created by Change.org
Follow the link to sign the petition: http://chng.it/Dpz9wy9B

Its surprising how people defy lock down regulations when its meant to protect them

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by Rapule Moiloa in Tembisa Ekurhuleni

I have been asking myself questions with regards to how people treat the lock down. I wonder why during times of war people are not forced to stay indoors but do so voluntarily without complaining about their freedom of movement but the same people need to be forced to stay indoors when it is their health at risk. On Friday 24 April, the police were chasing people running informal small businesses out side Tembisa plaza and one lady who sells spinach took her stock and ran as fast as she could avoiding being fined but she still insisted that she is going to continue selling even if the police confiscate her stock it’s still fine because she wants money. To me it showed that people are not respecting the rules and regulations of the lock down.

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

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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?

COVID 19 PLAN/STRATEGY
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

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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?

Lockdown- Women resort to brewing beer for income

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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

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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.

Lockdown stripping women’s financial independence as GBV increases

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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

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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.

Poverty and Unemployment

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Poverty and unemployment are major factors undermining young women. When families are not able to provide the basics, young women are left to search for financial support.

“Poverty plays a big role, it makes us young women want to escape it to survive it even it means selling our souls. We have no idea what human dignity, dignity is foreign to us.”

“We have no money for even the basic stuff such as sanitary pads”

Many young women are forced to assist their parents, especially when the father is not present, to look after their siblings, to provide food, school uniforms and other needed things

Boyfriends with Money and Older Men

“Many of us rely on our boyfriends with money for basic things. Some continue toxic relationships simply because the man can provide for their needs”

“Young women date older men, because they are not working and they say at least they will be taken care of.

“A man buys a woman drinks at a tavern or even buy them food. Then they think that they are already dating and that they woman is his property”

Jobs for Sex

“A lot of time when women are looking for work there must be an exchange for sex for a woman to be employed. The pressure is great because the unemployment rate is very high.”

“It is hard to get a job if you don’t know someone. If that someone is a man, then he proposes sex.”

“After grade 12 I did an administration course at a college. Due to a lack of work I had to go and work as a domestic. I heard that our municipality has a post for admin. I applied and was called for an interview. A man called me saying I should come to his office. He told me that there is “nothing for mahala”, its rather a “table interview” or that I pay R2500. I pleaded saying I won’t sleep for work. Please wait for me to get paid so that I will pay you. The guy refused and insisted on sex. At first, I was tempted, but then I refused. I did not want to lose my dignity and suffer the danger of sexual diseases.”

Fake Marriages with Foreign Nationals

“Women in our township link up with foreign nationals. Foreign nationals take advantage of the woman’s state of poverty. They ask them to marry them and they promise them that they will give them an amount of R400 per month. This fake marriage means that they women cannot apply for a child support grant. use them to get permits. They marry them and then pay them a small amount of money. This

Prostitution

“Many young women end up in prostitution, even staying with an older man for regular payments is a form of prostitution”

“Out of 100% it’s only 25 % of young women who support their kids with the little they receive to buy food, clothes and the necessity’s for the kids but many of which end in prostitution because of unemployment and if only they can get money to buy booze to forget their problems and yes she stated that dating older men it makes it better to get what they need such as clothes, toiletries and other stuff”

“She said that unemployment pushes or drives young women in to prostitution in around Diepkloof to either get drugs, alcohol and other needs, many women end up being victim’s because of unemployment”.

The Problems with Setting Up Small Businesses

Women do attempt to get an income through small business activities.

“Women find it difficult to set up their own small business. They get no support from government”

“Even if one starts a small business of selling at a street corner, the JMPD (city police) will be there to harass people who are trying to build something for themselves. They have their possessions taken from them. If the government could protect and respect the rights of people selling in the street corners and pavements, then many people would create employment for themselves.

The Poverty Traps

“Poverty is more than just a lack of income or not working. Lack of resources causes one to think passively, includes shame and limited access to education.”

“Our parents can hardly afford money for us to go to school. We end spend weekends in the taverns. We sleep with different men in exchange for alcohol and money. We end up contracting diseases and having children we cannot support.

Failure of the Education System

“We we’re all made to believe that education is the key by our parents and the government but reality is that’s not true you go to school waste +-15yrs with the hope that when you finished school you’ll be employed and you’ll take care of yourself after graduation you become excited and say I won I have the key with me when you go knock on the door, the door slams on your face and the world is looking up to you to excel but how do you excel when you have a key that doesn’t open the door in front of you? You become frustrated in the sense that Boom you choose a short cut that takes you to the deep end which is drugs just to shift your focus and think it’s an easy way. You don’t have any more answers to your peers because they dropped out from school but you kept going until to the last bit (graduation) they still say the same thing that “you thought you were better than us but look now as you educated but we are in same WhatsApp group” we all not working despite the fact that you are a University graduate we drink together we might as well look out for Blesser (sugar daddy) to buy us alcohol and drugs we feed our cravings in exchange for sex.”