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NUM looks to manufacturing sector to grow membership
17 June 2021, 7:30 PM

The National Union of Mineworkers says it is now looking at the manufacturing sector to grow its membership. This amid the ongoing decline of its traditional base in the mining industry.

The union celebrated Youth Day on Wednesday by holding a rally with new recruits from the manufacturing sector in Sebokeng, south of Johannesburg.

The National Union of Mineworkers was once the dominant force in the mining industry. However, the emergence of AMCU and its phenomenal growth in the last decade has seen NUM’s membership decline from a high of 300 000 members to around 170 000 members currently.

Now, having already expanded its scope to include the energy sector and the construction industry, the union now says it’s making inroads into the manufacturing sector.

NUM’s William Mabapa on the union’s plan:

Last year, the NUM merged with LIMUSA – a Numsa breakaway. It now claims to be attracting members away from Numsa.

The manufacturing sector currently employs an estimated two million workers. That’s far more than the mining industry, where employment levels have dropped to below 500 000 workers overall. It’s against that background that NUM sees manufacturing as its next frontier.

The NUM says it had planned to host hundreds of its new members from manufacturing at its Youth Day rally, but it was forced to reduce the numbers drastically because of the new COVID- 19 restrictions to combat the current third wave of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

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Biden to sign bill, creating holiday to commemorate end of slavery
17 June 2021, 7:17 PM

US President Joe Biden will later on Thursday sign legislation, creating a new federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the country. Both the House and Senate passed the legislation that has now been sent to the President’s desk for signature.

Juneteenth – marked annually on June 19th – celebrates broadly the emancipation of African-Americans who had been enslaved in the United States, but specifically when Union soldiers from the north brought news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas, on the same date in 1865 – two months after the breakaway southern Confederacy had surrendered to the north.

This happened about two and a half years after an Emancipation Proclamation was issued in September, 1862 by President Abraham Lincoln. Juneteenth will become the first national holiday since Martin Luther King Jr Day was created in 1983.

President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are expected to make remarks at the signing ceremony later on Thursday.

Black Lives Matter protests reignite calls for US to pay reparations for slavery:

Fix education system to give youth a better future, urges Amnesty International SA
16 June 2021, 11:00 PM

 

As South Africa commemorates the 1976 Soweto Uprising, Amnesty International South Africa is calling on the government to prioritise fixing South Africa’s education system, which the organisation says is failing.

The human rights group believes the move will give all the country’s youth, no matter their background, an opportunity for a better future. It says this will also make the Ramaphosa administration’s dream of enabling the full participation of young people in the economy, a reality.

“This, however, is not possible if the country’s education system is still broken and unequal,” says Amnesty International South Africa’s Executive Director, Shenilla Mohamed.

Amnesty International SA believes that the country’s high youth unemployment rate is also a result of the legacy of apartheid that’s dogging the country’s education system.

According to Statistics SA, 46.3% of South Africa’s youth, between the ages of 15 to 34, were without jobs in the first quarter of this year. It also showed that of the 7.2 million unemployed, more than half had education levels below matric.

“The youth cannot continue to be punished for the government’s failures,” Mohamed says.

Discussion on challenges facing young people:

An Amnesty International SA report in February highlighted how students from poorer communities have been cut off from education during extended school closures due to COVID-19, in a country where just 10% of households have an internet connection.

Impact of COVID-19 on SA’s education system:

Mohamed is urging the government to learn the lessons of what worked and did not work over the past year-and-a-half.

She says, this time round, authorities should ensure that all children have access to adequate learning and that the education system does not continue to be broken and unequal.

“We cannot expect every young person to have an opportunity to build a better life for themselves and society in the future if the government does not ensure that they uphold their right to decent education now,” she says.

Amnesty International South Africa says reforming the education system will also fulfil the dream of the youth of 76, who died for decent and equal education when the apartheid police fired live ammunition on them.

Lesotho marks Day of African Child
16 June 2021, 9:04 PM

June the 16th in Lesotho has been marked and celebrated as a Day of an African Child. This year marks 30 years since the adoption of African Charter and recommitment to accelerating efforts for and with children.

On Wednesday, the Kingdom of Lesotho inaugurated the office which hosts the Secretariat of the African Committee on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

Lesotho’s Prime Minister, Dr Moeketsi Majoro, says the relocation of this office will highlight more work that needs to be done to protect the rights of an African Child, and eliminate a high rate of abuse to orphaned children, mostly from people who are supposed to be protecting them.

The office seeks to ensure facilitation of the implementation of the Children’s Chapter, which is aligned to the agenda 2040, which pursues the main strategic agenda 2063 of the African Child.

The African Children’s Charter is supervised by the African Children Committee, which promulgates ‘The Agenda 2040 for an African Fit Child with effective child-friendly national legislative, policy and institutional framework in place in all African member states.

The AU Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development has welcomed the role of the Lesotho King as the Nutrition Champion in Africa.

SA logs over 13 000 COVID-19 cases, highest since January
16 June 2021, 8:45 PM

South Africa’s COVID-19 cases amid the third wave has broken the 13 000 mark.

The Health Department says 13 246 cases were reported overnight, which represents a 21.7% positivity rate.

According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, this is the highest number of daily cases and positivity rate since January.

Health activist Dr Kgosi Letlape reacts to rising COVID-19 numbers:

The country now has 1 774 312 coronavirus cases since the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020.

Hundred and 36 new fatalities were reported overnight, taking the total national death toll to 58 223.

The NICD is urging South Africans to remain vigilant and follow prevention measures as diligent as possible to help stop the spread.

It is also calling on young South Africans to assist the elderly register for vaccinations.

So far, 1 965 812 South Africans have received their COVID-19 shots.

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