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KZN waste recycling project wins European Union’s Platforma Award
16 June 2020, 3:32 PM

A waste recycling project at Nquthu, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, has won a Platforma Award from the European Union. The Nquthu municipality has been working with the Belgian town of Bornem on the project since 2008.

The aim is to provide a platform for the local community to sell their reusable waste material. Jobs have been created for more than 143 people.

For years, Thulani Mtshali could not find work in the rural area of Nquthu in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Having three children to support, he was demoralised that he had to depend on his father, who is a pensioner. That is until Mtshali became a waste picker.

“I did not have any income, and I was wishing to get money due to the shortage of job opportunities, I couldn’t support my children. My father ended-up supporting my children, which was not good,” says Mtshali.

Puleng Mokoena is another local waste picker. Mokoena too, could not put food on the table.

“I can submit 24 tons and I get money. I can now support myself and my family. I have five years now doing this job in KZN, at Nquthu three years and in Free State, its ten years,” says Mokoena.

Mtshali and Mokoena are among the beneficiaries of the co-operation between the Nquthu municipality and Belgian town of Bornem, which started in 2008. With the support of Bornem, the Nquthu municipality runs a project to collect recyclable waste.

Waste pickers like Mstahli and Mokoena sell used plastic, paper and glass to the Buy-Back Centre. The centre, in turn, sells the collected waste to a recycling company. More than 140 people have found employment through the project.

Approximately R23 million has been spent on infrastructure development, buying machines and equipment, and also the running of the Buy-Back Centre. The centre is knowledge and sharing-based. The Nquthu and Bornem Municipality Co-operation took the second place in the European Union’s Platforma Awards 2020 with the ‘Waste for Employment’ project.

The mayor of the Nquthu local municipality, Zama Shabalala, has expressed his gratitude about the achievement and he says it will help the municipality to promote and attract investors and tourism.

“The level of Nquthu has improved as it recognised by the European Union and this shows that in Nquthu, we can make a difference in people’s lives and it gives a platform to whoever wants to form a cooperation with us to know that the town of Nquthu can make it better. It will help us to attract investors and promote tourism as part of improving the economy to another level,” says Shabalala.

Shabalala says he’s happy that the project involves mainly the youth.

“More than 51 youth that represent their ward also participate in the project and they make sure that people are taught by the project and they collect waste and bring it to the Buy-Back Center. I am happy that they can support themselves,” says Shabalala.

Ayanda Majola, Waste Ambassador Manager, teaches the community about the project. She says it has been an eye-opener to the community.

“I am happy as the community has learnt how to maintain waste, they have learnt that not all the waste must go to the landfill site, so most of the waste can be re-used and renewable for their own benefit,” says Majola.

Looking towards the future, Nquthu Youth Council executive member Khanyile Mazibuko believes young people should strive to form cooperatives to become independent.

“I would like if the municipality can help us to develop the businesses of the local youth so that we will rely on the municipality for financial assistance. We want to be independent. The youth must cooperate to support ourselves and be independent as youth,” says Mazibuko.

Mkhwebane releases 13 investigation reports
15 June 2020, 8:50 PM

Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane has released 13 investigations reports, including 13 matters that have been closed because they could not be substantiated. Among the reports is a matter between Ms P Petersen, a mother to the deceased lieutenant Daniel Petersen.

Lieutenant Petersen collapsed during an exercise marathon in 1998.

Although Lieutenant Petersen was admitted to hospital, he died the following day. Ms Petersen complains about how the death of her son was handled.

The Public Protector has found that the complaint is unsubstantiated.

Mkhwebane made recommendations directed to the SAPS National Commissioner and the SANDF Chief.

“To remedy this improper conduct and maladministration, I direct the National Commissioner of SAPS to consider amending the standing order to provide for informing the next of kin of progress made in an inquest investigation and apologise in writing to Ms Petersen for the failure to keep her informed of progress in the inquest investigation within 30 days. The Chief of SANDF is also directed to issue a written apology to Ms Petersen,” says Mkhwebane.

The Public Protector further issued reports on irregular staff appointments. The appointment of Ezekiel Motsumi Kgang to the position of District Sports, Recreation, Arts, Culture and Heritage Coordinator for the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District in North West was found to be irregular.

Mkhwebane made recommendations in the matter.

“To remedy this, the speaker is directed to ensure that the council in consultation with the MM (Municipal Manager) declare the appointment irregular and the salary of Mr Kgang is reflected as an irregular expenditure in the municipality’s financial statements for the period 01 April to date and the Municipal Manager should within 90 working days take the disciplinary steps for those who were involved in the irregular appointment of Mr Kgang,” says Mkhwebane.

Still in the North West, the Public Protector found that the appointment of Lekwa Teemane Municipal Manager, Ndoda Mgenko was irregular too.

“The only allegation is about his 2015 appointment which is substantiated,” says Mkhwebane.

The Public Protector also investigated allegations of corruption, procurement irregularities and maladministration within the Department of Water and Sanitation. This is the complaint lodged by former Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Parliamentarian and Secretary-General, Godrich Gardee.

“I found that the allegation that the department irregularly procured the SAP licenses for itself and on behalf of the water boards is substantiated. I also found that the conduct of officials Mr Mkhize and Mr Mathe amount to maladministration and improper conduct while the expenditure incurred as a result of irregular expenditure was irregular, fruitless and wasteful.”

Mkhwebane also found an irregular appointment at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

“In the main, the complaint alleged that the SABC appointed Ms Chubisi to the position, permanently in April 2016 without following and adhering to the recruitment procedures and prescripts that were applicable at the time. So, they allege that she was preferred ahead of other candidates who were suitably qualified and experienced. I found that these allegations are substantiated,” says Mkhwebane.

In this video below, Mkhwebane issues the report:

Gender Based Violence
Rising GBV incidents across Limpopo raise concerns
15 June 2020, 6:09 PM

At least five women have been killed by their partners in separate incidents across Limpopo since the start of the national lockdown in late March. In the latest incident, 28-year-old Ntwanano Shisana was allegedly shot and killed by her 27-year-old boyfriend who then shot and killed himself.

The Limpopo Social Development Department has appealed to residents to make use of their counselling services when faced with challenges.

Shisana was last seen alive when she and her boyfriend, Wisani Mathonsi, left his home in his car on Saturday evening. A few minutes later, their bullet-ridden bodies were found inside the car on the side of the main road at Bungeni village.

It is alleged that Mathonsi shot her and later shot himself. Both died at the scene.

In this video below, two separate incidents of GBV in Limpopo:

Shisana’s mother, Tsakani Ngoveni, says her daughter had been in an abusive relationship for the past two years. She says the families held several meetings to intervene over the years. She also indicated that she has visited the local police station to get a restraining order against Mathonsi on several occasions.

“I am deeply hurt. My daughter was everything to me. I expected her to improve my life, for her to bury me. I would like to advise other parents that once your child is in a relationship that is abusive this is where it will end. I urge them to go to the police. I also frequented police stations. It just ended in her death,” says Ngoveni.

Mathonsi’s sister, Agnes, says the families have agreed to hold a joint funeral service as soon as the postmortems and permits have been arranged.

“I’m just feeling so sad. We are not happy. Like I’m saying their relationship was so good, but sometimes they’d be fighting but not for all the time,” says Agnes.

In a similar incident, 45-year-old Terresinah Patsu was hacked to death with a sharp object by her 42-year-old partner, Anthony Madzivi, who later hung himself at their home in Makhuvha village in Giyani last month.

In this video below, Botshelo Motsomi’s family distraught following her murder:

In another incident, a man allegedly stabbed his girlfriend to death at Phagameng, Modimolle on Saturday.

Police Spokesperson, Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo says the rise in Gender-Based Violence cases is worrying.

“There’s an apparent upsurge in incidences where husbands are killing wives or girlfriends like the one that happened at Bungeni. We were called when a car found parked along the gravel road in that particular area and the police on arrival they found the bodies of a man and a woman inside and they had bullet wounds. Our preliminary investigations revealed that the two were actually partners and they had marital problems,” says Mojapelo.

Limpopo Social Development MEC, Nkakareng Rakgoale, has advised people to visit their social workers when faced with challenges.

Meanwhile, the community of Gogobole outside Louis Trichardt is in shock after unknown suspects attacked a family yesterday.  A 90-year-old woman and her 60-year-old daughter were killed, while a teenager was injured. The suspects were looking for a young man who is a member of the family.

They shot his relatives after accusing them of hiding him. In a separate incident, a 43-year old woman allegedly stabbed her husband to death after finding him with another woman at their home at Kuranta village outside Giyani.


Recent acts of racism have reignited worldwide protests
15 June 2020, 5:25 PM

The killing of black people by law enforcement officers in the United States and incidents of racism in some parts of Europe have caused worldwide protests, including South Africa. As part of the Youth Day celebrations, the SABC takes a look at some of the similar protests in the country, campaigns like  #Fees Must Fall and the removal of apartheid colonial statues.

In 2015, students at various tertiary institutions in the country began the #Fees Must Fall movement in protest against exorbitant academic fees. The movement was then followed by a broader campaign to get rid of the colonial and apartheid statues. Little did the activists know that their campaign will be paving the way for other nationals to follow suit.

On Tuesday, there are growing calls from other countries for colonial statues to be demolished, with at least one brought down in Bristol under the campaign Black Lives Matter. Here at home young people in 1976 began the protest against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction. Activists again are renewing their call, for apartheid and colonial statues to fall.

One of the pioneers of the hashtag Fees Must Fall campaign, Chumani Mxwele says the statues represent the old order.

“The symbolism of statues in our public places of cause it’s a product of apartheid and colonialism, Rhodes must fall in gardens, Botha must fall in front of Parliament.”

These statues scattered all over the country have their history rooted in colonialism and apartheid. While there is a view that they must be kept in museums, some believe they must be completely destroyed.

Vuyani Pambo, who is now an EFF MP and a former  Fees Must Fall campaigner elaborates.

“What we ought to be doing as black people, we ought to be organising so that we blow and destroy all these statues. That are a sore and a thorn in black people.”

Those against them say they must be replaced by statues of former freedom fighters.

In this video below, Youth Day celebrations are discussed:

Water issues resurface in Mamusa Municipality
15 June 2020, 4:45 PM

Five months since the new council at the Mamusa Local Municipality in the North West was elected, challenges related to water provision have resurfaced. This is despite promises and commitments that residents would not struggle again to access water.

Residents of Extension Six at Ipelegeng Township in Schweizer-Reneke have expressed concerns about the lack of water supply in their area which has been continuing for three months. The residents say at a time when the government is promoting hygiene to tackle the spread of COVID-19, this is now a health hazard.

According to Stats SA’s 2016 Community Survey, this municipality has a population of 64 000 people.

It has been experiencing water problems for almost nine years. In the Ipelegeng township, close to 10 000 people are reported to be struggling to get adequate access to water. Water tanks were introduced a few years ago but reportedly failed to improve the situation.

Currently, residents in some extensions including Extension 6, rely on one communal tap for water.

However, the taps have also dried up. Now, residents are forced to queue at the local sports ground waiting for a water truck, which they say, sometimes doesn’t arrive. Some of them expressed their frustration.

“We are struggling with water in Extension 6. Our toilets are smelling, and [President] Cyril Ramaphosa said to us we must prevent corona. So, we want to know why can’t we get water because, with corona, we must wash our hands,” says one resident.

“It’s been weeks without water, how are we expected to wash our hands? We can’t even wash our hands after using the toilet. We are cooking for our kids with unwashed hands, we can’t take it anymore,” says another resident.

Authorities at the local municipality have acknowledged the water crisis.

Mayor Gotsilekgosi Batsi explains what is causing the challenge.

“The challenge there is that we are busy with the water pressure booster pump that we are installing, and that is why today, as we speak there are challenges of water running water from the taps and that, is a serious challenge there. Because we never had a connection to yards for our own residents, our people tampered with the pipes because they wanted to arrange illegal connections,” says Batsi.

However, Batsi says his municipality has received R24 million from the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District, for the refurbishment of a water treatment plant. He says this will resolve their water crisis.

“The treatment used to store 25% of water. Now, as we speak, it stores 75% of water. We are here because we are refurbishing the reservoir and the treatment plant so that it will be our permanent solution. Our people are going to get water all over, all the wards, all the sections, more especially in Ipelegeng. They are not going to receive any crisis or any shortage of water,” says Batsi.

The municipality says the water treatment plant will permanently resolve their water crisis.



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