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SANDF
Police search for leaders of Elandsfontein land invaders
27 June 2020, 5:31 PM

The Midvaal Local Municipality says police are looking for ring leaders of Elandsfontein land invaders.

Residents invaded the privately-owned land earlier this month and erected shacks.

On Thursday, the army along with other law enforcement agencies demolished the structures following a court order obtained by the Midvaal Local Municipality.

It’s alleged that there is a syndicate in the area that is targeting poor and vulnerable people.

Some say they paid R250 for a piece of land.

Midvaal MMC for Community Development Mokete Motsamai says police are searching for the ring leaders.

Motsamai says those arrested will be charged with contravention of the court order.

“As the municipality, we successfully managed to get a blanket court order that then covers all the properties that were not initially included in the other court orders that was applied for by the property owners. So, this morning, as expected, the invaders assembled or had their own meeting to also deal with … their way forward. The information we got on the ground is they are planning to go ahead with the invading over a couple of days,” says Motsamai.

Mine
COVID-19 cases continue to escalate at SA mines
27 June 2020, 5:31 PM

Mining companies across the country continue to experience an escalation in the number of coronavirus infections.

According to the Minerals Council South Africa, the mining sector has recorded 1 796 positive cases and six COVID-19 related deaths.

Over 930 of the infections are in the North West, of which 450 of them are at the Impala Platinum Mine in Rustenburg.

Impala Spokesperson Johann Theron, explaining the situation at the mine, says: “I can confirm that Impala Rustenburg Mine to date has recorded 455 positive COVID cases of which 63 have recovered meaning that we’ve got currently 390 active cases. In addition to that, we’ve got 776 people presently in isolation.”

The mine says stringent measures have been put in place to curb the spread of the infections.

“The strategy that we have employed with isolation is for all people returning to work from outside areas to first test them where we can, but equally to put them in isolation for a 14-day period to ensure that before they return to work we minimise the risk of any transmission to our workforce. The number of people that we are picking up are not necessarily people being infected at the mines, but rather an indication of the general prevalence of COVID among the community.”

Below is a national overview of the number of infections in the country:

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Global coronavirus update:

 

Drugs
“Onus to quit drugs lies on addicts”
27 June 2020, 5:23 PM

More than 35 million people around the world are addicted to drugs. That’s according to the latest report from the United Nation’s Office on Drugs and Crime.

Friday was the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking – a scourge destroying families and communities.

Users say substances are easily available. Almondreaux Kaylas (35) started dabbling in drugs at the age of 12. His addiction went on for 28 years.

The father of two says he even suffered third degree burn wounds.

“I wasn’t forced to smoke. I can’t say I come from an underprivileged family, because my mother and father gave me everything I needed in life. It’s just a choice I made to smoke. I wanted to fit in with my peers and that resulted in me being addicted to Mandrax, Tik, Alcohol, Dagga and CAT,” says Kaylas.

Family members bore the brunt of his addiction.

“We went through a very difficult time, because Almondreaux was using drugs constantly. For one day, he will smoke like six times a day. We once found him on the grass and he almost drowned. He was stealing from the family. They had to hide everything in the house, like food everything just to get his next fix,” says his aunt Valdene Lloyd.

Kaylas lost his job, family and children, but he says he has now turned the corner.

“To be honest with you, I didn’t want to go to a rehabilitation centre and my mother had to take out a restraining order for me to go and I went as involuntary, and when I got there I realised that they gave me tools to recognise who I really am.”

The Northern Cape Social Development Department says it has limited resources to fight drug abuse.

While community members report drug lords, they say some police officers are in cahoots with the dealers.

“I can’t deny that. It might be possible. If they have information about police officials who are involved in criminal activities, especially dealing with drugs, they are free to approach us, so that those members can be dealt with,” says Northern Cape Police Spokesperson, Mohale Ramatseba.

Kaylas says police can work hard to clampdown on dealers or families can beg and threaten, but the onus lies on the addict to take the first step to quit.

“My advice for other addicts out there is I know it’s not easy and you know, you wouldn’t want to admit there is a problem, but I can assure you that there is a problem and without you acknowledging it, you never come out of the hole that the addiction has on you,” says Kaylas.

Kaylas believe talking about his addiction will help others. He says, for now, his focus is to restore his dignity and to regain his family’s trust.

Pride Month
LGBTQI+ community appeals for acceptance as it celebrates Pride Month
27 June 2020, 4:50 PM

As the world commemorates Pride Month in June, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex plus (LGBTQI+) people in South Africa say there is little to celebrate.

Although the rights of this community are recognised in the South African Constitution, some LGBTQI plus activists say acceptance remains elusive. They say they are still faced with hatred and violence, which have dominated their community for years now.

“We don’t want them to love us. They must just accept that we are there and we’re still going to be there. Generations to come there will still be gays and lesbians.”

“‘I don’t gender identify as my assigned birth gender. People see it as taboo. They ask me questions like you are a man why don’t you just stay a man and I’m like but its not me. I see myself as a woman and I want to my entire life as a woman.”

“Pride month is not enough, it should be celebrated everyday. Pride is something within you. The confidence, your dignity, going out there wearing your skirt, going out there and not being judged about what you’re wearing. Not being questioned what you’re wearing because even at home when I go out they will ask my why are you wearing that. Still to this day they will ask me but they claim they have accepted me. I don’t think it’s acceptance. It’s more tolerance than acceptance.”

Executive director of LGBTI plus organisation Access Chapter Two Steve Litsike asserts that the Constitutional recognition of rights does not necessarily equate to the lived reality.

Letsike says the organisation sees a consistent pattern of the trampling of the rights of this community.

“We always say that freedom is meaningless if it is not celebrated by all and in this case of LGBTI persons, LGBTI person might have been exposed to element of freedom by the virtue of the Constitution but if the daily life or their livelihoods is challenged, that means LGBTI persons are not free,” says Litsike.

June was declared Pride Month after the LGBTQI+ community in America protested against police harassment more than 50 years ago.

Although commemorations usually include parades, concerts and marches, the coronavirus pandemic has moved the celebrations indoors and online.

Housing project
Ventersdorp residents claim incomplete housing project cause of criminal activities
22 June 2020, 9:03 PM

Residents in Toevlug in Ventersdorp, North West, say an incomplete housing project has become a haven for criminals in the area. The contractor reportedly abandoned the site without completing the project.

The project which began in 2018 was meant to build 360 RDP houses. But the provincial Department of Human Settlements insists that it will soon be completed.

The low-cost housing project to build about 360 RDP houses was left incomplete by the contractor. Some of the community members in the area who are beneficiaries of these houses had to complete several of the structures themselves.

Some of the houses have no window frames, roofing and doors. Some yards only have a foundation. However, residents say criminal activities such as rape and robberies are taking place in these houses.

A community representative, Christy Schalkwyk, says, “There is a case of a woman who was raped in this incomplete houses and there is a case of a child who hanged himself in one of these houses. That is why we have a plea to the department that these houses must be completed so that all this should be prevented,” says Schalkwyk.

Some beneficiaries say they have urged the provincial Department of Human Settlement to complete the project.

“We are still waiting for the contractor to install sewer pipes and they have not yet arrived and I am asking myself when are they going to finish these houses while they have not started with the sewer pipes. We are getting rent papers from the municipality. They say we must pay rent. Even in our yards, we do not have water meters.”

Lydia Monoto says she once found a young man hanged in her incomplete RDP house.

“Children are playing in these houses whereby a child climbed the window frames and he ended up hanging himself with a rope and he was injured badly and it was painful because there was nothing that we could do,” says Monoto.

Meanwhile, the head of the Human Settlements Department in the province, Neo Sephuthi, says the contractor will resume the project soon.

“The contractor is committed to finishing the project. We met last week Thursday in Ventersdorp with the community committee. We have agreed on the following; the contractor had ordered the material which will be delivered on or before the last week of June and he will be back on-site in the first week of July,” says Sephuthi.

The department has urged the community to be patient and allow the contractor to complete the project.

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