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Deputy Minister of Correctional Services challenges men to do more in curbing GBV
2 December 2020, 6:03 PM

Deputy Minister of Correctional Services Phathekile Holomisa is challenging men to do more to help curb the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide in society.

Holomisa was addressing people at a National Male Conversation Seminar on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide in Pietermaritzburg.

The dialogue is aimed at finding solutions to the scourge of violence in the country. The dialogue, that brought together people from all walks of life, aims to find new ways of addressing GBV.

Sixolile Mbalo is a survivor of GBV. Her partner shot her, beat her and then threw her into a pit toilet to die. Although the man was sentenced to life imprisonment, Mbalo says she is left with permanent scars.

“I tried to crawl from that pit toilet but I couldn’t walk or talk. I tried to get help to go to the hospital. I spent almost two months in hospital. Unfortunately, they could not remove the bullet. I then went to prison where my abuser was but I was disappointed because he did not show remorse.”

GBV stats in SA:

35-year-old Ndumiso Khwela, who is a former teacher, is serving a life sentence in the Pietermaritzburg prison. He was sentenced in 2014 for killing his former girlfriend after discovering that she was cheating on him.

Khwela says his actions have changed his whole life. “Men should stop killing women as they are unable to defend themselves.  They should not kill children as well. It is very painful to hear in the news about these incidents. I have learned from my mistakes, this is wrong. These people are the future of the country. “

Finding solutions to the problem 

Holomisa says men need to play an active role in addressing this problem.

“Some have been looking for excuses and trying to find possible causes, asking why men have become the enemies of society. There is no need for such a futile exercise, be it rape and other forms of violence against women, none can ever be justifiable men. Men must drive the agenda in instilling the principles of equality, human rights and respect in the upbringing of boys and girls and for men to commit their families, friends and peers to the reversal of toxic masculinity .”

Holomisa has encouraged traditional leaders and community members to intervene when they witness gender-based violence.

“This notion of saying it’s a household matter, therefore, I cannot intervene is pure nonsense and rubbish. Such can only empower the perpetrator.  In the institution of traditional leadership, royals continue to be a pivotal part of the social structure. We expect traditional leaders also to play a meaningful role in the fight against gender-based violence.”

The three-day dialogue will conclude on Friday.

Stricter COVID-19 regulations possibly on the cards in Nelson Mandela Bay
2 December 2020, 4:51 PM

The Nelson Mandela Bay Metro continues to deal with the increase in coronavirus infections, but stricter COVID-19 regulations are possibly on the cards to curb the rapid spread. The acting mayor of the metro, Thsonono Buyeye says they are reviewing decisions around the opening time regulations and the sale of alcohol.

The infection rate in the Eastern Cape remains the highest in the country. The province is dealing with more than 8200 active cases.

Public gatherings and non-compliance to the regulations have been identified as the leading cause for the rapid spread.

Buyeye says their main priority is to minimise activities that may result in the spread of COVID-19.

“We had to make a call that can’t we make the closing time at taverns to be 10pm so that this gives people enough time to leave and be home by 12 and also gives the tavern owners enough time to close down. We have also been talking to tavern and liquor traders, like those in the township, that they must work from Monday to Thursday and that weekends they must only sell takeaways.”

Nelson Mandela Bay Metro overwhelmed by coronavirus cases: 

Labour challenges

The Eastern Cape Health Department is also dealing with labour problems affecting its management of the pandemic. The department suspended 38 nurses from the Empilweni TB Hospital in Port Elizabeth for allegedly refusing to work with COVID-19 patients.

The nurses downed tools after the hospital was turned into a COVID-19 treatment hospital.

Spokesperson for the Department of Health Sizwe Kupelo says decisive action will be taken.

“Our stance is very clear, that we cannot have employees who are on our payroll but are refusing to do their jobs. Simultaneously we are engaging with their respective unions to discuss issues relating to some of the concerns raised by the department and by unions. But we wish to appeal to everyone that during this time of the pandemic we need to ensure that we pull ourselves so we save lives of those who end up in our facilities.”

However, the health workers union, Denosa, says it stands by the nurses. Provincial Secretary, Khaya Sodidi says these workers remain against the department’s decision to convert the TB hospital into a COVID-19 one, saying they were never consulted.

“We are in full support of the 38 nurses suspended at Empilweni TB  Hospital. These nurses are suspended because they are refusing to accept the new conditions, which have been introduced by the department in that hospital, which have never been consulted on. That hospital is a TB hospital but the department woke up and converted it into a COVID-19 institution, which has also affected the working conditions of the workers at Empilweni.”

Initiation schools
Buyeye also expressed concern about the upcoming initiation season. He says with the shortage of health care professionals, and the congestion in hospitals, it remains unclear how the metro would deal with an outbreak in initiation schools.

But,  traditional initiations remain suspended for now and a decision to reopen the custom is still to be made.

EFF demands justice for boy killed in Coligny in 2017
2 December 2020, 3:33 PM

The Economic Freedom Fighters says it is demanding justice for the boy who was killed for allegedly stealing a sunflower in Coligny, North West.

Last week,  the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein overturned the conviction and sentence of two farmers.

They were meant to serve time for the murder of Matlhomola Mosweu in April 2017, after he was allegedly caught stealing sunflower heads. But they are now off the hook.

North West EFF Provincial Deputy Chairperson Mothusi Montwedi says they reject the Supreme Court’s decision.

“We are not happy as the EFF because we are part of the community with the recently handed down judgment by the SCA in Bloemfontein on the matter involving the killing of a young man. We were in agreement with the initial judgment that the perpetrators must be behind bars for the ruthless killing of a young boy at his innocent age. The life of a young boy was taken by racists and what we are saying is that we want justice to be served against those who took the life of this young boy.”

EFF marched to Coligny police station to demand justice for Matlhomola Mosweu: 

Farmworkers Pieter Doorewaard and Phillip Schutte were sentenced to 23 years and 18 years behind bars respectively by the High Court in the North West in October 2018. They had been found guilty of murder, kidnapping, intimidation, theft, and pointing a firearm.

AfriForum welcomed the court’s decision.

Chief Executive Officer Kallie Kriel says justice has finally prevailed.

“We are happy about this judgment; you know, the justice system is not having people that are innocent in jail. From the beginning, we knew that they were innocent because it was clear from the evidence that the state’s only witness lied. And that is why AfriForum said we would fund the appeal case. We funded everything, we funded Advocate Barry Roux and the rest of the legal counsel. So now we were shown to be right and we are happy about that, it’s such great pain that someone died but we cannot put innocent people in jail and today we saw justice was done.”

Events cancelled in George as coronavirus cases increase
2 December 2020, 3:00 PM

With COVID-19 infections on the increase in some regions of the Western Cape, government authorities have taken the decision to close public facilities and venues.

George, on the Garden Route and the Kannaland Municipality in the Little Karoo, are among those affected.

The Western Cape government is getting tough on the Garden Route.  George is the commercial hub of the region, the second-largest city in the province, and a popular holiday and tourist destination.

It currently has the highest number of active infections in the province.

Public gatherings

With the holiday season approaching, Georgians will not be allowed to hold large public gatherings without prior approval.

“People who want to host large public events with a large number of people need to apply to municipalities for permission and also need stamps of approval from the disaster management entities. At the moment it is the Garden Route primarily where we’ve seen large spikes of COVID-19 infections in recent weeks and we are doing what we can to prevent this, to bring this down,” says Western Cape Local Government spokesperson, James Brent-Styan.

Events postponed

Once again the tourism industry may suffer.  Events like The Wine and Whatever Experience at Fancourt, which was set to take place later this month, had to be postponed.

“The main reason for this is that we cannot risk people getting infected and as you all know whenever there’s wine drinking or wine tasting, one has to take your mask off and that will just increase the risk of people being infected. We are very sad to cancel the event and we have realised that over the year COVID and the implications behind it is killing our industry. So we are really concerned about the industry and what will happen to it,” says organiser Alewijn Dippenaar.

Some out of the province visitors, such as Suraj Narrandes from Nigel in Gauteng, says they have cancelled their festive season plans.

“This December we made reservations for the holiday and we were very disappointed. We had to cancel because of the COVID stress that’s going on in George. It has really been a tough year for all of us and we thought it would be a nice getaway for me and the family. So, we will have to wait for next year to see if we can visit the Garden Route again.”

Provincial health authorities have asked visitors to be extra cautious if they plan on visiting the area.

Below are the latest COVID-19 stats:

 

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ANC Nelson Mandela Bay councillor, Andile Lungisa
Lungisa aims to continue serving his community
1 December 2020, 9:26 PM

Former African National Congress (ANC) councillor Andile Lungisa says his interest in politics is driven by his desire to serve the community and is not defined by whether or not he is a councillor. Lungisa spoke to the media following his release on parole from the North End Prison.

He was sentenced to two years for assault after he threw a jug on a Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor during a heated council meeting.

Lungisa’s future and interest in political positions remain uncertain since he was convicted of a criminal charge.

He says he will now begin serving his community away from the chambers. “ Politics have always been my nature, I’m not defined by being a councillor or not a councillor, I’m defined by working for our community on a daily basis. As early as today, and tomorrow that will be my work.”

Lungisa addresses the media after his release from prison: 

Correctional Services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo says Lungisa is expected to comply with a specific set of parole conditions and will be subjected to supervision until the sentence expires.

On Monday, the Free Lungisa Campaign expressed their optimism over the parole, saying that are ready and eager to welcome him back into society. Lungisa has been released among a group of prisoners to decrease the number of inmates amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Special Remission of Sentences granted by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 16 December 2019 reduced Lungisa’s sentence 12 months. Over 14 000 inmates have benefitted from it.

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