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Firearm
Outcry against firearms control amendment bill aimed to scrap gun ownership for self defence
24 May 2021, 5:53 PM

Public comment is now open on the Draft Firearms Control Amendment Bill. Among its aims is the removal of self-defence as a reason for applying for a firearm. This has caused an outcry from interest groups. They say, should this go through, it would remove the right of a citizen to protect themselves.

The draft was made public last week and comments can be made until the end of July.

The bill aims to provisionally suspend the processing of an application for a competency certificate where the applicant has been issued with an interim protection order in terms of the Domestic Violence Act. It also aims to provide for conditions under which a firearm licence for occasional hunting or sports-shooting may be issued.

But it is the provision that no firearm licences may be issued for self-defence purposes that is causing a stir.

‘Biggest contributor to murder’

Police Minister Bheki Cele says firearms remain the biggest contributor to murder in South Africa.
One mechanism the SAPS uses to clamp down on guns circulating in society is the firearms amnesty.

Over the past two years, the amnesty period saw nearly 150 000 firearms surrendered. But SAPS says more needs to be done.

Therefore, one of the clauses in the amendment bill, reads, “to provide that no firearm licences be issues for self-defence purposes.

Opposition to the bill

Some opposition parties have already started canvassing against the Firearms Control Amendment Bill, saying it takes away the rights of citizens to keep themselves safe.  They are among those unhappy with this provision.

The DA is fundamentally opposed to the recent proposals to curtail firearm ownership for self-defence. “We believe that every single South African should have the right to choose how they want to defend themselves within the law,” defends DA MP, Andrew Whitfield.

 

Freedom Front Plus leader, Pieter Groenewald says, “Everyone has a common law right to protect him or herself even via the means of using a firearm. the FF+ will do its utmost best in everything, to ensure that this amendment does not get accepted and that we all have the right to protect ourselves, even with firearms.”

Their sentiment is shared by ACDP Chief Whip, Steve Swart, who says, “(We are) deeply concerned of the proposal to remove self-defence as a reason to own a firearm. We have high levels of crime. Law-abiding citizens have the right to protect families. Authorities should rather be concentrating on those criminals that are terrorising communities. The ACDP will definitely oppose this in parliament.”

For the SA Gun Association, this is worrying draft legislation. Spokesperson, John Welsch, says defending oneself is a fundamental right.

“The armed citizen in our view is the first line of defence in responding to crime because police can’t do that. So, they must be armed. We can assume police and president and ministers’ bodyguards won’t be disarmed. The private citizen is in this regard his own bodyguard. So, (they) should have the right, the means and ability to defend him or herself sufficiently.”

Gun Free South Africa says while they would support less firearms in circulation, they will respond to the bill in detail in a few days.

Attempts to get reaction from the police were unsuccessful.

Dr Guy Lamb is a Criminologist and expert in crime and violence: 

RDP
Access to decent housing still a dream for thousands of people in rural Eastern Cape
24 May 2021, 5:12 PM

Access to decent housing remains a dream for thousands of poor people in the Eastern Cape. Many people’s names have been on waiting lists for years. Others have not even bothered to apply for housing, despite living in deplorable conditions.

Asive Mpinda was born in a dilapidated house at Lujecweni village in Ngqeleni, 25 years ago. He has since lost both parents and is unemployed.

Mpinda says life has been an uphill struggle since his mother died almost a decade ago.

“My mother in 2013 or 14, I can’t remember very well, she applied for an RDP house but she died without receiving the RDP houses even though the other people did receive the RDP houses. Then in 2017 the ward councillor came to me and told me I’ve been put on the second list and it’s been put on my name, so I should expect a house very soon. But that has not materialised even now.”

Now, Mpinda gets by with the help of others.

“I depend on neighbours to buy food. I depend on the church to buy clothes. To even finish school, I had to depend on donations from the church. I’m not asking for very much. I’m asking for a house. It’ll be easier for me. I can be able to buy myself clothes and food if I have a house. Building a house is gonna cost me too much. It’s expensive. I doubt I can be able to build it anytime soon. So, that’s what I would love from the government.”

Villagers assist where they can.

A member of a local church, Zwelidumile Sitshange, intervened and raised funds for Mpinda’s education.

“I got a report that Sive is one of the students who are struggling for varsity registration. When I looked into the matter, his mother was unemployed. She was still alive at the time. They did not have anything to eat. I told her that as a church we will try to raise money for Sive to go and register. Indeed, we managed to do that.”

Meanwhile, at Mbozisa village in Tabase near Mthatha, Nozimasile Xhentsa lives with her five grandchildren. All of them are undocumented.

“These children depend on me. I send them to school. I buy them food and clothes. I don’t even know where their mothers are. I’m just a poor woman who has to take care of them. We share this bed. All six of us sleep on this bed. They don’t receive child support grant because they have no birth certificates.”

The Department of Human Settlements is aware of the plight of these families.

Spokesperson Yanga Funani says plans are under way to address the situation.

“After the visit, we saw that the family requires urgent intervention. That is why we are in a process of providing them with a temporary structure while we try to find them a long terms solution, which is to build them a house.”

The Eastern Cape Department of Human Settlements recently handed over 87 houses to families in rural areas as part of a specialised R15 million housing programme focusing on rural areas. But the department is saddled with a housing backlog of more than 600-thousand units.

Housing Backlog | Thousands in the Eastern Cape still await decent houses

DA
DA leader John Steenhuisen emphasises the power of voting for his party
22 May 2021, 1:11 PM

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen says voting for the DA is more powerful than throwing a thousand stones.

Addressing his party’s virtual rally, he said his travels across the country showed him that people are angry about local government failures.

Steenhuisen says communities are using service delivery protests to motivate.

“There is another form of protest that is guaranteed to get better results and that is the protest you register with your vote. That simple little action of drawing a cross and a block on your ballot paper carries more power and brings more change than a thousand tyres burnt and a thousand stones thrown and that is why this year is so critical.”

He adds: “Millions of South Africans that have been left to fend for themselves have a small but powerful window of opportunity to say no that is not good enough!”

ANC and EFF not ready for local elections: Zille

DA Federal Council Chair Helen Zille says the African National Congress (ANC) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are not ready for the local elections and are using the COVID-19 pandemic to have it postponed.

Speaking at the party’s virtual rally Zille said the pandemic is also being used to further the undemocratic purposes of government.

“The abuse of COVID to centralise all power to by-pass parliament to work by decree via command councils even that name it sounds like something from communist state command councils that we are being governed by. I mean the real president at the moment is Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Cyril Ramaphosa is just her spokesperson and the entire democratic system is being by-passed. Very few people realise that because of the fanfare when a few thousand vaccines arrive we are being conned.”

 

Masuku welcomes ANC NDC decision on his PPE corruption scandal
22 May 2021, 12:25 PM

Former Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku has welcomed the decision of the African National Congress’ (ANC) National Disciplinary Committee.

The ANC NDC has found no wrongdoing against Masuku and Presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko regarding the PPE corruption scandal.

Masuku was dismissed from his government post after a finding of impropriety was made against him. He says the decision has restored his faith in the ANC and its processes.

Former Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku on a quest to have his name cleared

 

Family
KwaZulu-Natal family sells home-made brooms in an attempt to fight poverty
22 May 2021, 11:41 AM

Poverty is forcing children from one family on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast to hitchhike over a hundred kilometres to sell hand-made brooms in Richards Bay so that the family will have food to eat. The Ndlazi family of Hluhluwe is one of over 7 000 households in the province that goes hungry.

South African Child Gauge’s 2019 study found that over a third of child hunger in South Africa occurs in KwaZulu-Natal. The study on poverty and over-population found that these figures are only partially explained by the fact that KwaZulu-Natal is the second most populous province in the country.

Twenty-six children and grandchildren live with 60-year old Getty Ndlazi in her RDP house at Hluhluwe. Most of the 19 grandchildren are not old enough to go to school yet.

Recently a video went viral on social media after someone stopped two of these young children while they were selling hand-made brooms in Richard’s Bay. In the video, the young boys say they are selling these brooms to buy mealie meal so that their family does not go hungry.

After seeing the video of the two boys, SABC News went to visit the home of Gogo (Grandmother) Ndlazi. She was surrounded by her 19 grandchildren, teaching the older ones how to make the straw brooms.

The children’s ages range between a few months and 16 years. Gogo Ndlazi started making brooms when her husband passed away in 1987.

The children here do not know what playing is. Once you are old enough to hold a knife and carve wood, you are taught the ropes of the business.

Gogo Ndlazi says some of her grandchildren hitch-hike on Fridays after school from Hluhluwe to Richard’s Bay, a 100-kilometre trip, to sell the brooms. She says they sleep at a garage when they do not make enough money to get back home.

“Their parents are not working, so when they run short, I take money from the profit that I get through selling brooms. On Fridays, when they come back from school they eat and then go to sell the brooms. They leave on Friday, sleep over at the garage and come back the following day. They sell in Richard’s Bay. They sleep at the garage and then continue selling in the morning and come back home.”

The children hide their money purses under their clothes. Gogo Ndlazi says she hardly sleeps at night when her grandchildren are away, although she gives them two cell phones to stay in contact.

“It’s painful to sleep knowing that my children are sleeping in the open. I keep contacting them over the phone.  I experience sleepless nights because I know that they might be in danger. It’s hard because these are young children.”

Gogo Ndlazi says the family rely heavily on child support grants to buy food. Sometimes when food runs low, Gogo Ndlazi she would let the children eat first and go to bed hungry herself.

“When my children receive their child support grant one buys 80 KG maize meal, another one buys maybe 25 KG of beans. They decide amongst themselves what to buy in the grocery. This grocery sometimes lasts for only two weeks. then I add with my profit. They also contribute towards the scholar transport for their children.”

A 13-year-old girl who also occasionally sleeps at the garage says their journey is filled with anxiety and fear.

“I am 13-years-old. When we are in Richard’s I always get worried because sometimes I can meet a stranger that can rape me. I wish people can bring us food, I wish my uncles can get a job and we also need a house, at the moment we all sleeping in one RDP house.”

Meanwhile, the 15-year-old Fanele Jobe says although they know that they are putting their lives in danger, they have to soldier on to be able to provide for their families.

“Whenever I leave home to sell the brooms in the street I always think about challenges that we often encounter. I always think about our safety at the garage where we normally sleep. Sometimes when we are busy selling, the street kids “amaphara” often ask if we have sold some then we say no, they also ask where we are going to sleep and we tell them that there is a car that will fetch us. Sometimes we find them waiting for us at the garage and the security from the garage looks after us.”

According to the study done by the South African Child Gauge, nearly 57% of South Africa’s children live below the upper-bound poverty line. Given the high unemployment rate, social grants provide an essential safety net for many households, according to South African Child Gauge.

And access to the Child Support Grant has increased dramatically since 1998. For the Ndlazi family, the concern now is selling as many brooms as they can before winter sets in. The winter cold makes an already dire situation even worse.

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