The homeless excited about Christmas despite lack of sumptuous dishes
25 December 2019, 11:39 AM
It’s a time for sharing and giving.
But many across the world are excluded from this generosity.
For the homeless, Christmas is just another reminder of their plight.
Reporter Jayed-Leigh Paulse visited some of the familiar faces on the streets of Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape.
She spoke to Joleen Finnis, who is raising her sister’s four children.
The family is squatting in a dilapidated building in the city. Although they don’t know where their next meal will come from, Joleen still she feels gratitude.
“I don’t know how I will be celebrating Christmas because we have nothing, but I am still alive and I thank the Lord above for this and the days I see, and I will always say thank you and will always be thankful to him that’s what Christmas means to me.”
Joleen and her nephews is spending Christmas Day hoping for food handouts.
So will Noel Williams, who has been living on the streets for 19 years.
He celebrated his 68th birthday on Christmas Eve, reading his favourite book.
Noel makes and sells trinkets, work he says, keeps his idle hands busy.
“Often people see your situation that you need help and then they bring food and cool drink and money so I am looking forward to a happy Christmas,” says Noel.
Noel says Christmas reminds him of the importance of family.
“My daughter committed suicide; my son is stinking rich in Joburg. We don’t see eye to eye, but I say happy Christmas to everybody.”
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Another initiate dies at an illegal initiation school in Johannesburg
25 December 2019, 9:31 AM
Another young life has been lost at an illegal initiation school in Johannesburg, Gauteng.
The 23-year-old man died on Christmas Eve at a school near Crown Mines in Johannesburg.
The owner of the school has been arrested.
Gauteng Controlesa’s Prince Manene Tabane says a post mortem will be conducted to determine the cause of death.
“The initiate he is from Sedibeng. The post mortem has not yet been conducted, but from what we got from the people around the initiation school was that he started to lose appetite on the 22nd then he passed on the 24th at 3am in the morning in the initiation school. The police have been informed I got a call last night from the NPC of the SAPS inquiring about the death of the initiate. When the police went there the school owner was arrested yesterday night,” Tabane says.
This is a second death at an illegal initiation school in Gauteng this week.
A few days ago 16-year-old Mpho Mothupi died after sustaining injuries at an illegal initiation school in Lenasia.
23 initiates were taken to hospital after another bogus school in Vanderbijlpark was shut down.
The CRL Commission has previously urged community stakeholders to do all they can to protect the lives of initiates.
Will South Africa survive its woes?
11 December 2019, 2:54 PM
Democratic South Africa emerged out of a period of unprecedented political violence.
Leaders who opted for talks over war helped ensure a smooth transition from apartheid, without horrors of a full-scale civil war.
The 25 year-democratic journey has been a roller-coaster ride for the country.
The quality of life for millions of previously disadvantaged South Africans has greatly improved; the country has at least 11 research breakthroughs in science and medicine; it is the Rugby World Cup holder; South Africa successfully hosted the 2010 Fifa Soccer World and run one of the most ambitious HIV/Aids treatment programmes in the world.
But, its highs are just as dazzling as its lows with some of the country’s citizens disillusioned by the state of democracy.
Political patronage, broken promises, the high rate of unemployment and an ailing economy has some reminiscing about the dark days of apartheid.
Marking the end of the SABC’s 2019 elections project, the Democracy Gauge team asked South Africans whether they are hopeful about the country’s future
Listen to some of their responses below:
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This week in 1994: Democracy 25
11 December 2019, 2:06 PM
As we wrap up our This week in 1994 series we look at the governing party’ national conference, which happened eight months after the African National Congress (ANC) realised its dream of a non-racial and democratic South Africa.
The conference was held in Bloemfontein, re-named Mangaung, in the Free State, from the 17th to the 22nd of December 1994.
It is the city where the party was established in 1912.
ANC Veteran and Head of the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection Joel Netshitenzhe says the conference’s mood was that of celebration and euphoria.
This was a striking difference from the ANC’s previous conferences, which had been marked by tension and heated exchanges over strategic decisions.
Netshitenzhe says beyond the exhilaration, however, there were concerns over the mammoth task that lay ahead.
“The apprehension deriving from that the ANC recognised the responsibility that it had to transform society; to ensure that those ideals for which generations had struggled are realised.”
Despite the hurdles before them, South Africa’s new political leaders hit the ground running.
Using the ANC’s ready to govern document and election manifesto – Netshitenzhe says the governing party ensured that the new Government of National Unity implements the party’s Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), which ensured equal access to education, housing for the poor and free healthcare for pregnant mothers and children, among other milestones.
Mandela’s political report
In his ANC political report, then party President Nelson Mandela reflected on the party’s strategic decision to form the Government of National Unity, hailing it as a move in the right direction.
He urged party officials to lead with humility, bearing in mind that they are servants of the people.
The ANC’s strategic document: From Resistance to Reconstruction and Development was also discussed at the congress.
It contained the organisation’s three-year plan to transform South Africa.
Mandela was re-elected unopposed as party president; Thabo Mbeki as his deputy; Makhenkesi Stofile was appointed the party’s Treasurer-General; Jacob Zuma the National Chairperson; current President Cyril Ramaphosa as Secretary-General and Cherly Carolus his deputy.
On cadre deployment, Netshitenzhe says the question of who remains at the party’s headquarters, Luthuli House, to ensure that the organisation remains strong was Madiba’s concern.
He says this is one thorny issue that continues to haunt the governing ANC.
Other controversial matters that Netshitenzhe believes the party needs to resolve are the role of the branches and the appointment of leaders.
This week in 1994: Democracy 25
4 December 2019, 6:27 PM
This week we focus on the history of the Freedom Front Plus (FF+), a minority Afrikaner party that shook South Africa’s political landscape during the May 8 elections.
The party, initially the Freedom Front, was established just weeks before South Africa’s historic 1994 polls.
General Constand Viljoen and former Konserwatiewe Party (Conservative Party) leader Ferdi Hartzenberg were its founders.
Hartzenberg joined forces with Viljoen after he left the Afrikaner Volksfront (AVF) amidst disagreements over the seizing of an Afrikaner state (Volkstaat) through civil disobedience and resistance.
While he was initially meant to lead the revolution, the former chief of the apartheid army said he had changed his mind due to concern over the repercussions of war.
He dropped the bombshell on his Afrikaner Volksfront comrades following talks with the National Party (NP) and the African National Congress (ANC).
Viljoen’s party won 2.2% of the votes, securing nine seats in the National Legislature.
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The Freedom Front Plus also clinched a deal with the ANC about the formation of a Volkstaat Council, which was established after the elections.
It was dissolved in 1999 after finalising its report.
The Council probed the idea of the creation of a White Afrikaner homeland.
Viljoen led the FF+ until 2001 and was succeeded by Pieter Mulder.
After years of dismal performance in the country’s polls, the party gained significant support in this year’s elections from former Democratic Alliance (DA) supporters who are said to be worried about their culture and identity. They believe their heritage is under threat.
The Freedom Front Plus garnered 2.38% of the votes, bringing its number of Members of Parliament to 10.
It is now the fifth biggest party in Parliament and is led by Pieter Groenewald.
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Blow to Afrikaner’s self-determination plans
Viljoen’s decision to contest the 1994 elections was the beginning of an end for the AVF, an umbrella body for at least 21 Afrikaner self-determination organisations.
Another major blow to their plans came five days after Viljoen’s about-turn when the Afrikaner’s effort to bolster Bophuthatswana leader Lucas Mangope’s bid to retain power failed.
Viljoen, former apartheid Chief of Military Intelligence General Koos Bischoff and the ex Head of the Criminal Investigation Department General Kobus Visser were some of the AVF’s founding members.
Hartzenberg was the chairperson of the AVF’s executive council when he broke ranks.
The group’s formation had been preceded by the inauguration of the Volksverteenwoordigende Rand, which the coalition referred to as the Parliament of the nation.
The authority was to counter the work of the Transitional Executive Council (TEC) tasked with creating a climate for free political activity ahead of the April elections.
The unbanning of anti-apartheid movements and Nelson Mandela’s release from jail, the National Party’s decision to enter into transition negotiations with the ANC and the 1992 referendum, which ushered in a new Constitution that paved the way for the creation of a non-racial society raised their ire of the right-wing Afrikaners.
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According to Volkstaat.net, the right-wing coalition was preparing an army that would fight for town councils in the west of Gauteng (then Transvaal) that were under the Conservative Party’s control prior to the 1994 elections.
This included seizing their assets and finances.
The plan was, however, thwarted by the National Party government who declared a State of Emergency in April, ahead of the non-racial polls.
The Afrikaner right-wing group was in alliance with conservative Black leaders, including those of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), which decided to participate in the 1994 landmark elections at the last minute.
The AVF’s executive council was dissolved in 1996.