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initiates
Fourth initiate dies in Eastern Cape following suicide
28 November 2018, 3:21 PM

A 17-year-old initiate has died after allegedly committing suicide in the Maluti area in the Eastern Cape. This is the second death of an initiate in the Alfred Nzo District bringing to four the death toll since the beginning of the summer initiation season.

Provincial Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Spokesperson Mamkeli Ngam says they have launched an investigation to determine the reasons behind the incident.

“On behalf of Cogta MEC FB Xasa, in the Eastern province, we would like to confirm the fourth death in the province. Preliminary reports that we have received from the Department of Health are that the initiate in question hanged himself. However, we wish to confirm that we would like to follow up with a proper investigation … the exact reasons for the initiate who has hanged himself. And MEC Xasa wishes to send his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and their relatives,” explains Ngam.

SABC building
Political parties speak against SABC retrenchments
27 November 2018, 8:43 PM

Political parties in Parliament’s Communications Committee were unanimous that the SABC needs funding to rescue it from the current financial crisis it is facing. The committee was also unanimous in speaking out against the proposed retrenchments. Some members say they are not convinced that the last resort has been reached to justify retrenchments. The board and management briefed the committee about the latest developments on the section 189 notice and their cost cutting measures. They were accompanied by the new Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni Abrahams and her Deputy Pinkie Kekana.

The board and executives have been struggling to get a government guarantee or to borrow money from the banks to overcome the corporation’s financial woes. The African Nation Congress ANC’s Lerumo Kalako explains how the SABC can be saved moving forward.

“We want to save the SABC. What is the first thing? All of us let’s push for the SABC to get this R3 billion, all of us and government by all means must come to the party, chair. We can’t just fold our arms and say an institution as big as it is and very important for the country just dies. We can’t do that but that depends on how the SABC leadership is perceived by both government and the public out there,” says Kalako.

National Freedom Party Chief Whip Nhlanhla Khubisa has described the SABC as an enterprise in a crisis that needs a government guarantee. He says retrenchments are not the best option.

“We are talking about an enterprise which is in a crises and I have also alluded to the fact that the issue of retrenchments is not really a favourable one. No one favours that. We are talking about an enterprise that may not be able to give the staff some salaries come next year March or February. Now then the question is what is it that can be done to ensure that they are able to serve through the storm? And in my mind rings the issue of a guarantee that we do need that guarantee to assist the enterprise to be able to serve through,” explains Khubisa.

United Democratic Movement UDM Chief Whip Nqabayomzi Kwankwa told the SABC board and executive management that their cost cutting measures are focusing more on retrenchments.

“I think in the last meeting, one of our criticism of the SABC and its management was the fact that even then it seemed that they had already taken a decision to retrench at all cost. It was like they were saying retrench-retrench-retrench! And as a result they were able to come up with a presentation where they could quantify the figures and say this is what it would cost us, but the failure of that presentation was to speak to this cost cutting measures and quantify them. We called them out for that because we are saying the weakness of your presentation is more on a dimensional to an extent. It focused on one issue. It did not focus on the cost-cutting measures that you have taken thus far,” Kwankwa says.

Democratic Alliance Member of the Committee Phumzile van Damme says it’s time that the committee meets with the SABC staff who might have better ideas of cutting costs and save the SABC. Van Damme agreed with Kalako who suggested that the unions should be called to also raise their concerns.

“I think honourable Kalako raised a very important point and I would like to support him in it that. We have heard from the board several times but we are public representatives and we have not heard from the SABC staff. They may have other ideas on how to cut costs and how to save the organisation. So I think we need to hear from the staff through the union representatives, next week is the last week of Parliament and it’s possible for us to have a meeting next week. I think it’s important to hear from the people, because it’s people. It’s not just a number. It’s not just ‘we need to cost cut the wage bill’ as if the wage bill does not include human beings who have bills to pay who have mouths to feed. So I think those are the people we need to now hear from. Because they might as well have ideas which the management does not have to better cut costs,” says Van Damme

Committee Chairperson Hlengiwe Mkhize hinted at the possibility that the SABC board retracts the section 189 notice to staff.

“We have been on this issue of the CCMA and the retrenchments, and I don’t know what difficulty will emanate from the board retracting the letter to staff to start with because in my understanding even the CCMA process, it has just been technical agreements of what will happen. The actual process will actually unfold next year so this letter is really a big elephant in the room. It’s causing a lot of anxiety and while processes are going on, it doesn’t talk to ubuntu-bethu. It doesn’t talk to the human element to this matter,” explains Mkhize.

 

In her closing remarks Communications Deputy Minister Pinkie Kekana said the Auditor General should also be brought on board in discussions, when the SABC is requesting for a government guarantee to get out of a financial crisis.  Kekana explains what should be the way forward to assist the cash-strapped public broadcaster.

“The approach from here is for us to bring the Auditor General AG, sit with National Treasury, look at all these things and then through them. It doesn’t mean that we must engage AG only when he deals with your audit. Even on issues which you want the AG to be on board on. Even proactively, sit with the AG and National Treasury, look at you scenarios and then be able to have a scientific approach towards that. So that’s one of the things one will canvass and recommend to the Minister,” explains Kekana

A final decision still has to be taken on when and where  the committee will meet with the unions that are organising at the SABC.

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Matric exams room
Matriculants to rewrite Geography paper one at Gauteng school
27 November 2018, 5:21 PM

As the 2018 matric examinations officially ends on Wednesday, some matric learners from a Gauteng school will re-write the Geography paper one on Thursday. The principal of Mphontsheng Secondary School in Katlehong east of Johannesburg, who’s also a Geography teacher, allegedly helped matric pupils with answers during the exam.

He was immediately removed from invigilating at the school after the matter was reported to quality assurance body Umalusi as well as the Basic Education Department. Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says the incident concerns less than 50 learners.

“We are pleased that we managed to carry the examinations up until the end. We had one incident unfortunately where a principal was alleged to have influenced learners to write answers for them in terms of a Geography paper. Obviously they are inconvenienced, it’s not of their own making but for the sake of the credibility of these examinations and also for the integrity of the examination we are making those arrangements so that learners can rewrite that examination. So besides that incident we are pleased that we had an incident free examination,” explains Lesufi.

Mortuary
Grieving families camp outside Fort Napier mortuary
27 November 2018, 4:15 PM

Families have resorted to camping outside the Fort Napier mortuary in Pietermaritzburg to demand the release of the bodies of their loved ones. Employees at the mortuary have been on a go-slow for more than two weeks, resulting in a backlog in conducting autopsies. This has caused delays for families who want to bury their deceased relatives. The families say this has prolonged their grieving process.

Meanwhile,  Nehawu’s provincial secretary Phakamani Ndunakazi says there are problems at all forensic facilities in the province.

Ndunakazi says they are in talks with the Health Department to seek ways of assisting the families to receive the bodies of their loved ones for burial.

overview of Durban
Durban wins bid for 2020 World Football Summit
27 November 2018, 3:42 PM

The 2020 World Football Summit is expected to boost KwaZulu-Natal’s economy when thousands of football delegates flock to Durban.

The city beat Hong Kong, Buenos Aries and Canada when it was announced as the host city. Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs member of the Executive Council MEC Sihle Zikalala says the world summit will inject over R800 million into the province’s economy. A number of international events are also planned to coincide with the event.

“One of the major conferences that we are going to have in the next 2 years will be the world football summit which will be held in Durban in 2020 and will inject about R800 million into the economy of the province beside that there are a number of events international events that will take place in 2019 in KwaZulu-Natal which will contribute a lot to the economy of our province,” explains Zikalala.

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