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AfriForum to take Basic Education department to court on matric results decision
17 January 2022, 1:20 PM

Lobby group AfriForum says it’s taking the Basic Education Department to court over its decision not to publish matric results.

The department says that the decision to stop publishing the National Senior Certificate results on media platforms was taken to avoid contravening the Protection of Personal Information Act.

AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel says the decision will have a detrimental effect on a number of stakeholders.

“Other arguments also remain, that you should have hype about the media release of these results, we believe it is good, it motivates students so that they work hard at the beginning of the year. After their matric you have the top learners that are also being published but that also won’t happen and we believe if you look at the top learners being published, it’s also a motivation for younger students to also get that kind of achievement and also the recognition,” says Kriel.

In a statement last week, the department informed media houses that the move was in line with the Protection of Personal Information Act (Popia), which came into effect in July last year.

The South African National Editors’ Forum says the decision not to allow media houses to publish the results is not only unfortunate but also came as a surprise as there was no prior warning or consultation.

Basic Education Spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga says they are awaiting the court’s decision on the matter.

SANEF says the lack of consultation also has negative financial implications for media houses that have already procured additional printing paper and created data sets to be able to publish the results in print and digital format.

Three organisations, including AfriForum, approached the courts to reverse the decision.

Reactions

Matric learners from Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape have mixed feelings about the recent announcement that exam results will no longer be published.

Some pupils support the idea, saying it will contribute to a decrease in the suicide rate associated with the release of matric results. But other learners at the opposite end, feel it’s a long-standing tradition that should remain.

Mixed reaction to decision not to publish matric results on public platforms:  

Mental health

Meanwhile, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) has reiterated its plea to parents and guardians to communicate with young people who are anxiously awaiting their matric results.

The group says the uncertainty around the results could have a significant impact on people’s mental health. The matric results are due to be released on Thursday.

SADAG Mental Health Counsellor Zinhle Mkrweqana says it is important to identify signs of emotional distress.

“The most important thing is just support and validation. If a child is not feeling well about themselves, that acknowledgment and validation help them through it. If you skip the ‘I don’t feel good about my results’ or ‘I am not happy’ then the depression comes in because you want to ignore it. So, address those emotions like: how do you feel this way and how can we help support you. Then it is how can we apply and do other things. But the validation right now is what you’re feeling is ok and appropriate and equal to what is happening to you at that moment.”

Mixed emotions over decision to not publish matric results:

Sick, incapacity leaves cost South Africa more than R14 billion since March 2020: Dlodlo
17 January 2022, 11:24 AM

Public Service and Administration Minister Ayanda Dlodlo says 881 152 employees have used normal sick leave and incapacity leave since the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020.

The Department says this has cost the Public Service R14 346 032 476 for 19 months from March the 28th 2020 to October 31st 2021.

Breakdown of figures at national and provincial government:

Dlodlo was responding in a written reply to a Democratic Alliance (DA) Parliamentary question. The figures she has provided include provincial and national government departments but it excludes State Security and Defence.

DA MP Mimmy Gondwe, who asked the question, says it’s also puzzling that most public servants were expected to work remotely during the financial period in question.

Gondwe says public servants are entitled to sick and incapacity leave but the figures are alarming.

“In fact, the response indicates that it cost the South African taxpayer R14.3 billion. Now there are an estimated 1.3 million public servants and if you are now talking about now over 800 000, having taken sick or incapacity leave during the financial year concerned. That means that during that financial year almost 70% of our public servants were not at work. Moreover, according to the information provided by the Minister in her written response, the figures she provides exclude the sick and incapacity leave taken by employees of the Departments of Defence and State Security, which invariably means that the estimated costs and the number of employees could be higher if we took into account the leave taken by the Departments of Defence and State Security,” says Gondwe.

Workers rights when no longer having paid sick days: Osborne Molatudi 

Dirks wants Ramaphosa to appear before SCOPA on alleged misuse of public funds
17 January 2022, 10:29 AM

African National Congress (ANC) Member of Parliament Mervyn Dirks wants President Cyril Ramaphosa to appear before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) in Parliament.

Dirks, who is also a member of SCOPA has written to committee Chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa to request him to call the President saying he should share information about his knowledge of the alleged misuse of public funds for political party activities.

Dirks says SCOPA should have the courage to implement consequence management when there are allegations of abuse of public funds.

He says there are various reasons for Ramaphosa, who is also ANC president to appear before the committee.

“In a widely circulated audio clip of a recently held NEC meeting of my political party the African National Congress, the President of the country His Excellency Honourable Ramaphosa states that he is aware of public funds that were used for party political campaigning at Nasrec. The President further states that he will rather fall on his sword than revealing which individuals were involved in this serious corruption and misuse of public funds. This statement by the president has far-reaching implications for our fight against corruption and maleficence. In fact, it leaves the president’s own New Dawn project in tatters. Furthermore, the president appeared before the Zondo Commission under oath and withheld this damning information of State Capture. Does this amounts to perjury,” says Dirks.

In conversation with ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa on party’s 110th Anniversary celebrations:

Prince Mashele looks at the theatrics playing out within the ANC 

Mafe to plead not guilty to charges against him
17 January 2022, 8:10 AM

Alleged Parliament arsonist, Zandile Mafe, intends to plead not guilty to the charges against him relating to the fire that gutted the old and new National Assembly buildings earlier this month.

He is also planning to challenge the authenticity of reported video footage which allegedly shows him committing the crimes that he is charged with. The charges include terrorism, arson and housebreaking.

In an unsigned affidavit handed to the Western Cape High Court by his defence team, Mafe claims that the terrorism charge is a ploy to make his bail application more onerous.

Parliament Fire | Zandile Christmas Mafe to challenge the authenticity of reported video footage 

He was admitted to the Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital last week following the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court order.

Mafe’s defense attorney, Luvuyo Godla, says the referral for mental observation without his client being given an opportunity to consult a private psychiatrist is draconian and questionable.

“If we were advised before the 11th, we could have made our own referral as well but now its water under the bridge. This court must determine on Tuesday whether or not that was lawfully done and procedurally correct,” says Godla.

Zandile Mafe | Update on bail hearing 

Vavi welcomes investigation into workers’ allegations against Clover
17 January 2022, 7:11 AM

South African Federation of Trade Unions’ (SAFTU) General-Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi says he’s relieved that Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel have agreed to investigate workers’ allegations against diary producer, Clover.

He says Clover has reneged on the terms of its merger agreement with Milco, a company led by a consortium of companies run by Israeli’s Central Bottling Company.

The merging parties agreed to a moratorium on retrenchments for three years and the creation of 550 jobs through project Masakhane.

Vavi says 2 000 workers could lose their jobs as a result of Clover’s proposed restructuring following the merger.

“The minister has now agreed to initiate a process where our allegations will be tested through an investigation by the Competition Commission. The DTI will then approach the Competition Commission to say the facts that are on the table that the terms of agreement of the merger are now being breached by Milco and Clover. We are happy with that,” says Vavi.

Clover Protest I SAFTU meets minister Patel over Clover 

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