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School feeding case be heard on Thursday
30 June 2020, 4:00 AM

The High Court in Pretoria will on Thursday hear an urgent case brought by Equal Education (EE) and two Limpopo schools to ensure that meals are provided to all nine million learners who qualify to benefit from the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP).

Represented by the Equal Education Law Centre and Section 27, EE and the schools are asking the court for a declaratory order that there is a duty on government to ensure that all learners who qualify to benefit from the NSNP must continue to receive these meals, regardless of whether their grades returned to schools on 8 June.

“We are also asking the court to provide a structural order that requires both national and provincial departments to within five days of the court order, provide detailed plans and all the information on the implementation of this programme. We think it is critical in showing their commitment to fulfilling their constitutional obligation in ensuring that the learners are fed,” says EE Secretary-General Noncedo Madubedube.

The organisation says the impact of the suspension of the programme has been devastating.

“It is also affecting my siblings, especially my younger brother who will cry when he does not have food to eat. My family fights a lot over bread and necessities,” says a grade 11 learner from Gauteng.

A caregiver from KwaZulu-Natal says the suspension of the school feeding scheme has made their daily lives much more challenging.

“We need the school feeding programme to start again so that the school-going children in our household can eat and we can buy food that we can all eat.”

Madubedube says it is shameful that the government is being taken to court to fulfill its constitutional mandate.

“It is shameful that the national and provincial Education Departments must be dragged to court to ensure the delivery of school meals. The NSNP is fundamental to supporting the ability of children to learn and crucial to the right to basic education.”

In the audio below, Madubedube explains reasons behind the urgent case: 

 

Numsa, Sacca have reached deadlock in saving SAA: Irvin Jim
29 June 2020, 6:12 PM

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) say they have reached a dead-end with the Department of Public Enterprises when it comes to saving South African Airways. Numsa General-Secretary Irvin Jim says they are facing a crisis in saving and turning around the national airline.

“We think that it is time to put the record straight because we think that it is important for the public and everybody to know that we have reached a deadlock with Minister Pravin Gordhan about how we must go about to save this airline.”

The Department of Public Enterprises announced on Sunday that it was withdrawing from the Leadership Consultative Forum which was responsible for coming up with a business restructuring model to save SAA.

“ In our view, we think that the decision that the government has taken in particular, the Ministry DPE lead by Pravin Gordhan is nothing less than liquidating the airline.”

Numsa Secretary-General Irvin Jim says they are concerned about  job losses at SAA: 

SAA was placed under business rescue in December. In a statement issued by the Department of Public Enterprises at the time, the decision was taken “to restore confidence in SAA and to safeguard the good assets of SAA and help to restructure and reposition the entity into one that is stronger, more sustainable and able to grow and attract an equity partner.”

Jim says before the business rescue they warned the department of contracts that would negatively affect the airline.

“A couple of things must be said long before this airline was put into business rescue. Numsa and Sacca highlighted that it was important for the board of SAA, DPE to take decisive action and deal with exorbitant erroneous contracts that were bleeding the airline and we gave them a list of those contracts. They refused to deal with them up until they were taken to court by one union, Solidarity. They then filed for voluntary rescue, basically avoiding a situation where we can have an independent business rescue practitioner. The current business rescue practitioners have been appointed by DPE. “

Numsa and Sacca say they have been fighting with the business rescue practitioners in an effort to save jobs.

“What is shocking though is that in the recent past, a couple of months we have been boxing with the BRPs who wanted to basically retrench all workers. We ran to court, we rejected their attempt because they did not even present a business plan. And in the recent past, we were forced as a result of the failure of the BRPs to produce a plan whilst they were busy looting the money, you remember that they grounded the airline, they cut all the routes and the airline could not fly and we said that this was reckless, we said this is going to destroy the airline and they didn’t listen to anybody. ”

Below is Numsa and Sacca’s statement on the SAA situation:

 

 

BMW donates beds as Gauteng gears up for surge in COVID-19 cases
29 June 2020, 5:05 PM

Gauteng Premier David Makhura says the donation of at least 700 beds worth R76 million could not have come at a better time as the province braces for, what experts say, could be a massive increase in the number of coronavirus cases.

The Gauteng Health Department and car manufacturer BMW have signed a memorandum of understanding to see the beds being added to some hospitals.

The hospitals are in the Tshwane region and include George Mukhari and Jubilee hospitals. Currently, there are 1 925 hospital beds for COVID-19 cases, of which 373 are critical care beds.

“I must say, that the storm has arrived in Gauteng. It will take all of us to weather the storm. In total there will be over 700 beds increasing what we are already doing as the Gauteng provincial government. We have been doing work to put over 2 000 additional beds in our existing facilities in all the key hospitals in our province. In addition to the beds, (there are) additional PPEs that we will need,” says Makhura.

Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku says while the number of hospital admissions for COVID-19 are increasing, most active cases in the province – do not require hospitalisation.

“We are still going to see the spike and we should brace ourselves for the peak. But when we say we are at the peak, it shouldn’t be to say we are running short of oxygen or running short of beds. But as the health care system, we should be able to assist those who require medical intervention. We are still in the fortunate side of things, that the active cases that we have, are not in need of medical attention.”

The Gauteng province has 36 895 coronavirus cases. This translates to 26.7% of the total number of coronavirus cases in South Africa.

So far the province has recorded 174 deaths with 8 580 recoveries.

Authorities say Gauteng’s infection rate might surpass that of the Western Cape, which is currently the country’s COVID-19 epicentre, after the clearing of the province’s testing backlog.

Below is a provincial breakdown of COVID-19 cases in SA:

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Domestic air travel for business purposes restored to all provinces
29 June 2020, 4:33 PM

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has opened domestic air travel to all provinces. Mbalula says international air travel remains prohibited, except for repatriation flights approved by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

Speaking in a virtual media briefing, the Transport Minister did not say when international flights will operate again. Mbalula says airlines can again provide meals for passengers, as long as it is pre-packed. He says all flights are only allowed for business purposes and people must be at the airports at least two hours prior to the flight.

“The following domestic airports will reopen from the 1st of July 2020: Braam Fisher International Airport. Free State, Bloemfontein, Mangaung, Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, Pietermaritzburg Airport, PE International Airport, Richards Bay Airport, Skukuza Airport and Upington International Airport.” 

The George Airport remains closed for now as it has not met the required standards.

Mbalula says aircraft are again allowed to take off in pursuit of agricultural and recreational purposes.

“Agricultural spraying, seeding, and dusting, cloud spraying, seeding and dusting, culling and construction. Aerial harvesting, aerial patrol, observation, and survey. Aerial advertisement, search and rescue, and parachuting. Recreational aviation is permitted for proficiency flights provided the flights are authorised by SACAA and remains within the general flying area or airfield boundaries,” detailed Mbalula. 

Air photography is also set to resume. Mbalula says since some airports were partially opened two weeks ago, it has shown that the precautions put in place are adequate to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

Below is Mbalula’s full address: 

 Taxi industry 

Meanwhile, the Minister also touched on tensions between government and the taxi industry, saying grievances should not result in lawlessness behaviour by members of the industry.

His remark comes as some taxi operators heeded South African National Taxi Council’s (Santaco) call on Monday and returned to operate their taxis on full capacity, which is a violation of the country’s COVID-19 regulations. According to the laws, taxis are only allowed to operate at 70% passenger capacity.

Santaco and the National Taxi Alliance (NTA) have threatened a strike if any taxis are pulled over for inter-provincial travel without a permit, or for loading passengers to capacity. 

In the video below, Santaco urges drivers to load to full capacity: 

 

FEATURE: Kabelo Letshwene talks about fine art
27 June 2020, 9:57 PM

 

Creatives Under Lockdown is a SABC News feature, which focuses on issues affecting artists. This week, fine artist Kabelo Lethswene talks about the craft. 

Fine artist Kabelo Letshwene. Instagram@kabelo_letshwene_bic

Kabelo Letshwene was busy sketching during a class at Makgetse High School in Hammanskraal, paying no attention to the lesson. When his teacher approached he tried to hide the drawing but it was too late. The Setswana teacher insisted on seeing what was on the paper and instead of reprimanding him, he advised Letshwene to consider a career in the arts. A seed was planted. 

Resistance at home

 Convincing his parents to allow him to study Fine Art at the Tshwane University of Technology was a momentous task. However, Letshwene was up for the challenge. 

“There are times when we need to make our own decisions and me deciding to become an artist was the time when I had to be stubborn with what I wanted and push away whatever they (parents) wanted. My parents were not happy with the choice that I made, particularly my mother. As for my father he has always had an artistic eye since he is a carpenter, so it was not so difficult for him to understand that his son wanted to become an artist.”

He went on to complete a Diploma in Fine Art.

What is Fine Art? 

Fine artists use different technics to create art including, among others, weaving, painting, glass blowing, and sculpting. “They create art to send a message or provoke a feeling into the person observing their work. “

To Letshwene the craft brings fulfillment. “Doing art is a source of my joy. There is no greater feeling like looking at a complete piece and saying ‘wow did I really do this? I am mostly inspired by African cultures. I aim to preserve African images and values through art. I am also inspired by young children and the elderly because I believe that children are so close to nature and they possess spiritual knowledge.”

His work has been showcased both locally and internationally. He was involved in the Fazoo Project, which created artwork for the Pretoria Zoo and was in the top 100 of the Thami Mnyele Fine Art Awards. Annually the competition puts young professionals from across the country head to head.

“In 2017 I held my exhibition in my local area where the aim was to motivate artists who are interested in fine arts. It was a very successful occasion. In 2019 I was invited by the Depot Art Gallery to showcase my work in the US and then later that year I was also selected to showcase my work again at the Spectrum Art Fair in the US.”

Highlight  

Despite all his achievements thus far, Letshwene regards being the Thami Mnyele Fine Art Awards as his highlight. “It is important because that is where everything started. That was when I got hope and that was when I started to realise that there is life into this thing (art). It will remain my highlight regardless of what I will come across (in the future) because that is where I come from. “

Although he has come across some stumbling blocks along the way, he is adamant that he is going to continue in his journey as an artist until he dies. “This is what I am going to do for the rest of my life. “

Future goals 

Letshwene aims to make art accessible to young people. “One of my future goals is to own gallery space or a studio where local artists will learn more about art, where I am going to help them become good artists without struggling like I did because like, for instance, it was not easy for me to access these kinds of things. It is going to be easier for them because I will be their motivation and it would not be that far-fetched like in my case.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Please kindly vote for me by liking my artwork from “boeartofficial” account page. Thank you

A post shared by kabelo (@kabelo_letshwene_bic) on


Q: Who are some of your favourite artists?

A: Nelson Makamo, Lindo Zwane, Sizwe Khoza

Q: Of all the pieces you have created which one is your favourite? 

A: It is a piece called Monna, it depicts a man sitting on a bench, wearing vintage clothes. Behind him are portraits of women. It is about gender-based violence.

Q: What is your message to other fine artists?

A: They must do further research, they must also plan properly. They must be prepared for any challenges. They need to be strategic about their goals and they should not ever act impulsively.

Below is a podcast of the interview with Kabelo Letshwene:

Related: Part 1Starving artist’ a more meaningful phrase amid lockdown

Related: Part 2: ‘I don’t know myself outside my world of acting’

Related: Part 3:  Letshego Zulu on fitness under lockdown 

Related: Part 4: Uzalo’s Wiseman Mncube shares his journey

Related: Part 5: Artists advised to spend prudently in order to survive rainy days

Related:  Part 6: Thabo Malema on the new enemy, his dream and COVID-19

Related: Part 7: Musician Tribute Mboweni on her collaboration with DJ Ganyani

Related : Part 8: Musician Shade on life as an independent artist

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