WASTE-PICKING OVERLOOKED BY GOVERNMENT DURING LOCKDOWN

South Africa fares well against other countries in terms of recycling with reclaimers commonly known as the waste pickers, accelerating the recycling rate. The recycling industry offers income opportunities to just over 60 000 South African citizens most of which are informal reclaimers. This hand-to-mouth opportunity for reclaimers has been recently challenged by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) which has forced the country to implement lockdown.

The lockdown stringent measures have been gradually and carefully eased off but that is not enough for reclaimers to provide for their families as they did prior the lockdown. The reclaimers receive little relief from the government and have their sole way of earning an income, put on halt. Earlier in April, an application that was submitted by Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) to the North Gauteng High Court on behalf of reclaimers to be recognized as essential workers was dismissed. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said that the application was rather “opportunistic” and that the work they do does not entail waste and refusal removal but rather a “collection and sale of abandoned material.”

Luyanda Hlatshwayo, a reclaimer from Bekezela informal settlement in Johannesburg and the head of the African Reclaimers Organization (ARO), says that the government is not giving them eyeteeth in this devastating time but in fact overlooking them.

In a radio show called COVID-19 approach hosted by Madibaz Radio, Luyanda expressed that the work they do helps many families because it requires no interviews nor documentation but one to wake up very early and collect waste. It is a significant approach to not only pollution but also the unemployment rate in South Africa.

With the government not helping, reclaimers like Luyanda are left to wonder how they will survive if their only means of making money has been put on hold. The African Reclaimers Organization head says that the waste pickers stay in informal settlement where information from the media takes a while to reach them.

“Most of the reclaimers only found that a national lockdown was being implemented on the first day of the national lockdown,” Luyanda said.

In a study conducted by Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), it was found that reclaimers save municipalities over R700 in landfill costs and waste pickers only benefitting on average, a meagre R75 per day. Recycling is an economy on its own, if the government recognized waste pickers as essential workers, alternatives ways of collecting waste could have been made that would have seen the government benefiting and waste pickers making off a living , Luyanda said. “We are environmental agents; we are the backbone of the recycling economy.”

By Ashley Malepe

23/06/2020

UNEMPLOYED YOUTH TAKING MORE HARD BLOWS DURING THE PANDEMIC

Millions of young people in South Africa do not have formal education or any form of training that could assist them in securing an employment. A report was released by Statistics SA in the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), stating that just over an approximated 8 million out of 20.4 million youth in South Africa are without a job. The youth unemployment rate is only expected to rise henceforth due to the lockdown if the government does inject more money to agencies like the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) that tries to curb the rate from rising.

 The pandemic of COVID-19 has encumbered economic development and prospects aimed to improve the lives of young citizens in South Africa. NYDA CEO, Waseem Carrim told Madibaz Radio on the COVID-19 report that they have been tasked by the government to offer relief funds to youth of South Africa during the pandemic and lockdown. This forms part of the development of the youth intervention plan that was announced by the President, Cyril Ramaphosa during the State of the Nation Address (SONA). This comprehensive intervention plan includes paid internships, opening of space that offers young people working experience and agile skills development. “the government has been trying to assist the youth of South Africa in many ways, one recent way was when they offered a special grant to the unemployed,” Carrim said.

The NYDA has a limited budget that they can spend to help young people and that is a backfoot as the budget cannot stretch to the lengths where all expectations of the youth will be met. When a relief fund was established by the agency, almost eight thousand of applications were received and only one thousand could be assisted. However, the NYDA still remain relevant and committed to assist the youth by running a handful of initiatives to meet the youth halfway such as assisting the youth in applying for the relief fund.

The NYDA CEO says that the COVID-19 pandemic has in the same breath helped the agency and the government set foot towards a positive path as far as the youth is concerned, “as much as the COVID-19 comes with its own challenges it also gives us a reason to be hopeful for the future.”

Waseem Carrim encourages the youth to be more active and entrepreneurial in their communities as employment in South Africa will remain an issue for some time and mostly affecting them.

By Ashley Malepe

24/06/2020

Student activism had a substantial role on transforming education system

Students have always fought for their rights in South Africa and even during the implausible times of injustice, inequality and divisiveness, students have been agents of revolution. It is a continuous trend from its earliest existence and was associated particularly to the marginalized black South Africans.

Student activism may be understood as actions or practices that seeks to change the way the system functions and challenge the particular structure whether in politics, society or academia. Activism of students in the society played a significant role in corroding apartheid laws that continued to exclude black students. Throughout the late 1960’s and the mid-1970’s, South Africa encountered countercultural instances of political violence that revolutionized modes and ideas of uprising, breaking regulations in various ways, some expressly linked to anti-apartheid and racialized imperialism policies and others implicitly political in the context of counterculture .There was an upsurge in the protests against apartheid and its separate and unequal education system.

In protest against the introduction of Afrikaans as medium of Instruction in local schools, school students displayed their strong commitment to social activism and were activists in foremost way, leading in the 1976 Soweto uprising, which invaded black university campuses at the time. As far as South African struggle is concerned, it is usually considered a void on the graveyard between the mid-1960’s and the mid-1970’s. Many students were murdered and tortured for rising up for their rights. Within the prominent and prevailing textual criticism, the Soweto uprising of 16 June 1976 culminated in a prolonged period of civic peace. About one day after the Soweto revival massacre of 16 June 1976, approximately about 400 white students from Witwatersrand University were irritated by the reckless actions of the government of that time in Soweto for murdering students. They then joined forces and marched in response to the killing of students across Johannesburg’s City Centre.

Yet again, recent trends in 2015 to 2016, the students exhibited a strong commitment to opposing hiking university fees and to decolonize pedagogy which led to several institutions being closed down. Many students were penalized, killed, tortured, and subjected to multiple mishandlings. This was prevalent to practically all higher education institutions. Recent disorder on campuses may represent a strong connection between universities and social change, particularly as society is negotiating a conventional definition of social status, race, and ethnicity .Student protests are focused on issues impacting students on or off the campuses and the activism of students in higher education has been a key issue throughout the country challenging access to high quality free decolonized education . Signed into law in 1996, the constitution marked the end of South Africa’s apartheid and the charter of rights made it a duty for the government, by reasonable steps, to make more and more education accessible. The #FeesMustFall protest from students stimulated new initiatives at the higher education institutions and launched an ongoing national discourse for the promotion of tertiary access and achievement by predominantly disadvantaged black students in order to eradicate racial inequality and dismantle patterns of oppression. The higher learning institutions saw a significant push for structural racism, particularly during student protest. The shift in status of black graduates had been called for an academic programming that is perceived as Eurocentric to be revamped. Students demanded free education in many respects to abolish tuition rates and on the other hand to ensure that South Africa’s post-apartheid content, methods and teaching skills are free from Eurocentric influences.

The #FeesMustFall has rocked the politics pillars of South Africa. The higher education sector has been a failure in recent years. University systems has seen an ongoing violence in many institutions which have left some campuses infuriating students and the police. Developments in South African universities have given rise to a continuing national debate on increasing educational access and advancement for students of color, shattering ethnic inequalities and undermining the disparity of opportunities.

Universities haven’t done much since 1994 to open up various components and sources of information in a new way and exploratory ways. Although all universities have a new inclusion, justice and transformation and reform agenda but systems, institutions, and epistemology have not significantly changed. There may be policies, but they are not ready for implementation.

Since June is a youth month. It is very vital to remind ourselves of the noteworthy role played by students particularly on transforming the education system that directly impact them.Student activism encouraged institutions to focus on the fulfillment of these undertakings.Students demanded their outcries and their rights to be considered. Rights of Africanized and decolonized higher education emerged as a key criticism and activism aspect, articulated vividly by student movements in South Africa. Institutional practices are generally deemed non-democratic if students are excluded, especially when spoken from their structures and developments when not represented.

Imagery: Student marching for fees to fall

Source: The Conversation

Caption:  rights to free quality education in South Africa

Source: https://news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/nmmu-students-protest-to-demand-reopening-of-campuses

: Heleta, S,2016, ‘Decolosing Higher Education’:Dismantling epistemic violence and Eurocentric in South Africa’, Transformation in higher education 1(1),a9.

http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/the.v1i1.9

The Conversation

By Sanele Thwala

Cleaning team steps up for University deep clean

Our cleaning teams are leading the way so that other University staff and students can return to campus in a phased approach when given the go-ahead.  A team of 20 cleaners have been sanitising areas that will be used by staff and students on their return from 1 June.

Last week, in preparation for the deep clean, all Cleaning Managers received COVID-19 specific training.

To ensure that the cleaning teams were protected, they were collected from home and deployed to various sites. At the end of each day, the cleaning teams return to the central point for a dress down, sanitisation and rescreening.  They are then taken home after leaving their PPE to be washed and sanitised.

Deputy Director of Support Services, Nikki Brown says “Cleaning in the “new normal” has required a lot of research, sampling and testing of various products together with an entirely new view on cleaning, in order to ensure that the cleaning that is done, is effective and compliant.

In addition, a major challenge has been that of finding new ways of working since many of the staff are unable to work due to age or pre-existing conditions, making them vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.

“We have tried to find solutions that will assist with the sanitising processes that do not require daily manpower.  For example, automated air sanitising dispensers, UV sanitisers and self-usage hand sanitiser stands.”

She says new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs and training have been developed and staff trained regularly on the basic COVID-19 rules.

“We have had to learn about decontamination, risk assessments, virus control and much more. Although a little scary, it has been a huge learning experience for all concerned,” she says.

(via the university portal)

Happy Freedom Day

This years theme is “Valuing Our Freedom In Difficult Times

”…And so we assemble here today, and in other parts of the country, to mark a historic day in the life of our nation. Wherever South Africans are across the globe, our hearts beat as one, as we renew our common loyalty to our country and our commitment to its future.”

On the first commemoration of the holiday, President Nelson Mandela addressed Parliament

On the 27th of April 26 years ago, South Africa held its first democratic elections. Freedom Day was set to mark the liberation of South Africa and its people from a long period of colonialism and White minority domination (apartheid). 

Before the elections, South Africans faced racial segregation which was enforced by the National Party to prevent inter-racial activity.

Here is a basic timeline that led up to the first elections:

1948 : Apartheid officially began. The National Party introduces it to enforce separate developments of racial groups. It banned inter-marriage and social integration between races.

1960: Demonstrations discarding their passbooks to protest apartheid. Police kill 69 people and injure hundreds in the Sharpeville massacre. The ANC and other organisations are banned.

1962: Nelson Mandela is imprisoned.

1990: ANC and other organisations are unbanned. Nelson Mandela released

1992: The Bisho Massacre and other protests which led to the negotiations that would end protests. A multiracial general election is agreed.

1994: The first democratic election is held. In May, The ANC is voted into power and Nelson Mandela is inaugurated as the president of South Africa.

The years after that led to further historic moments such as;

  • The adoption of the National flag and the National Anthem
  • Rugby World Cup
  • The development of the Coat of Arms
  • further elections

On this day, people usually celebrate by visiting historic places such as Robben Island and by hosting parties. However, due to the lockdown, we are all encouraged to stay indoors and to celebrate in our homes.

The theme this year is “Valuing Our Freedom During Difficult Times”

This theme is set to encourage us to stay home so that we may enjoy our freedom in the future. We are also encouraged to continue staying mindful and report abuses by those set to protect us in a lawful manner.

It is also important to be grateful for healthcare workers, cleaners, retail workers and all essential workers who continue to work despite the risks they are exposed to.

Freedom Day is about making history matter. About helping each other create a prosperous, just, equitable and equal society in which we protect and sustain each others humanity.

And lastly, this day serves as a reminder that the guarantee of our freedom requires us to be vigilant against corruption and to work towards eroding racism, inequality and enforcing our rights.

What is happening today?

Today thousands of prisoners are set to be released due to overcrowding and protests.

The President is set to address the nation via Live stream.

In conclusion, Freedom Day reminds us to stay united, remember our history and fight to enforce our rights.

COVID 19 Phase 2 rules and restrictions

The government announced some new rules and changes for the next phase of COVID 19 lockdown

As of the 19th of April, there are 3034 confirmed cases and 52 deaths.

 On Thursday 9th of April, the President announced an extension to the 21-day lockdown that was supposed to end on the 16th of April. This meant that there was now 2 weeks added to the 21-day lockdown which will now be due on the 30th of April.

The president has also mentioned that the average daily increase of the confirmed covid-19 cases has drastically decreased from 42% to 4% post the implementation of the lockdown.

The President introduced some regulations in his national address on COVID-19 update.

Here are some of them;

Rules that have not changed

  • Sale of alcohol and cigarettes are still banned – The sale and transportation of alcohol and cigarettes are still not allowed.
  • No sale of cooked food – Restaurants and fast food are still to remain closed and supermarkets open to sell essential goods must close their hot food section.
  • Community watch groups still not allowed to patrol neighborhoods – Only formal security guards can physically protect property.
  • Funeral rules– Funerals are still restricted to 50 people.

New rules

  • Children may move between parents- Phase 1 of lockdown completely banned the movement of children between parents that don’t stay together if they did not have a parenting plan. The movement of the child(ren) should be accompanied with a birth certificate.
  • Artisans allowed to do emergency repair- The new regulations has allowed plumbers, electricians, roof repairs, glaziers and locksmiths to be called for emergency work.
  • Hardware and car parts stores will be able to sell emergency supplies- Essential goods now includes emergency hardware. They also can sell goods needed by essential institutions such as hospitals. However, they must keep a register of persons buying and they must keep a signed declaration from the buyer.
  • More call centres to open – Phase 1 regulations limited insurance call centres to those that service short term insurance policies. The new regulations has extended this policy to include retailers because of store credit cards.
  • Mines and imported goods- Imported goods will no longer have to be sanitized because research has shown that the virus does not survive long journeys. Some mines will be allowed to re-open.

The government is actively testing the community and isolating those infected.

Remember to stay at home and take precautions.

COVID- 19 Status Report

As of Monday 6 April 2020, this is what South Africa looks like

The streets are quiet. The pigeons probably think we have gone extinct.

Its been 11 days since the 21 national lockdown was implemented on the 26th of March to the 16th of April 2020. Despite the rumors and the speculations that the lockdown might be extended, South Africans are still hopeful that it will lapse on the 16th. We will look at why.

To date, South Africa has 1,655 confirmed cases and 11 recorded deaths. Gauteng has the highest number of cases at 693, the Eastern cape at 25 and the lowest number at 7 in the Northern Cape.

Africa however is coming to a collective total of 9,310 confirmed cases that have spread over the past two weeks.

As for the rest of the world, the UK has 51,608 confirmed cases and 5,373 recorded deaths. The USA has seen a more rapid increase to more than 240,000 on the 2nd of April.

What does the lockdown mean?

The lockdown meant the limitation of freedom of movement and accessibility by the restriction to walk, to shop, public gatherings like weddings were banned and funerals restricted to 50 people.

As for the economy, the lockdown meant the closure of all businesses that did not sell essential goods. Including alcohol.

The government has agreed to hand out grants to the elderly, people with disabilities and to small businesses. Private sector employees earning below R6500 will be a tax subsidy of R500 per month for the next four months.

Did you know?

The Nelson Mandela University Innovation has been manufacturing hand sanitizer in response to the national shortage on sanitizer.

Due to the slump in the economy, aa KFC owner has withheld rent from a landlord. Very sure they are more doing the same,

Here are some Dos and Do Nots from the World Health Organisation to remind you how you can prevent the virus:

DO wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, several times a day. Use soap and water or a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol:

  • Before cooking or eating
  • After using the bathroom
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

DON’T touch your eyes, nose, and mouth. If you have somehow come into contact with the virus, touching your face can help it enter your body.

USING SOCCER TO HELP THE HOMELESS

Get to the beach and help the homeless while having fun.

Third year Human Movement Science student Homba Mazaleni has combined socializing and physical activity with doing good. She has started a beach soccer tournament where all the entry fees go towards making food hampers for the homeless.

Held on the shore in front of Something Good on a Sunday afternoon, the entry to this 5-a-side tournament is only R10 per person (R50 per team) with the money going towards buying canned goods, rice and meat items to help certain homeless people in Port Elizabeth.

Currently the food parcels are intended to last approximately two weeks by providing one meal a day for five to ten people, depending on the number of entries at the game. The more people that attend, the more money there will be available to buy more food parcels and support more down and out people in the Bay.

An East London native, Homba is a quirky person with a soft heart. The 20 year old started this initiative after connecting with people in need and trying to provide nourishment out of her personal capacity. The next beach soccer day is planned for 4 April so keep an eye on her Instagram account @hombamazaleni for all the details.

This is a great opportunity to get some friends together and have some fun (and be a little competitive) while being charitable. If you’re more of a spectator, take a trip to  Pollock Beach, get some sun, watch the soccer and bring some canned goods or make a monetary donation to help out the less fortunate. Either way, a good time and a good deed are guaranteed.

By Gina Cossavella

PHOTO: Homba Mazaleni at one of the first beach soccer days that she hosted.  Photo: Sikuyo Mtengwane

Nelson Mandela partnership

by Ioanna Haritos

In honour of the 30th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, Nelson Mandela University and the Nelson Mandela Foundation have partnered together to further forward Madiba’s legacy.

On 3rd February 2020, university vice-chancellor Prof Sibongile Muthwa and foundation chief executive Sello Hatang signed a memorandum of understanding in the areas of social justice advocacy, human rights activities, and scholarship and research.

“The foundation and the university are both cognisant of the great responsibility associated with carrying the name of Nelson Mandela,” Muthwa stated at the signing ceremony held at the Mandela bench on South Campus. The collaboration was a “match made in heaven”.

The university and foundation’s shared vision of helping to create an equal, just society has given rise to a number of projects aiming to make a meaningful impact on society.

The Transdisciplinary Institute for Mandela Studies (TIMS), a joint project between the University, Foundation and the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) was launched last year, which uses Mandela as a lens through which one can view societal challenges and generate workable solutions.

Another project is the Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity (AFRE), which is a partnership between the Foundation and Columbia University, in New York City. Mandela University will assist with developing curriculum content for the fellowship programme.

The Foundation, in collaboration with the non-profit organisation Habitat for Humanity, is also looking into working with the University’s Department of Human Settlements on affordable community housing.

Words: 239

Sources:

https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=20190610082710836

https://news.mandela.ac.za/News/Nelson-Mandela-University-and-Foundation-partner-t

https://www.heraldlive.co.za/news/2020-02-05-nmu-and-foundation-partner-to-take-mandelas-legacy-into-future/

https://www.sanews.gov.za/south-africa/mandela-university-foundation-partner-advance-madiba%E2%80%99s-legacy

photo: NMU photo gallery on student portal

Happy Human Rights Day!

Who were 69 people that changed South Africa?

For this years Human Rights Day article, we will look at its history, its influence or impact and how we can celebrate it.

For the past years, South Africa as a nation has celebrated the 21st of March as Human Rights Day. However, this honorary public holiday stems back to 59 years ago at the police station in the South African Township of Sharpeville in Transvaal (today part of Gauteng).

Human Rights are recognized and enforced in all countries all over the world. There was a universal declaration of Human Rights after the Second World war on the 10th of December 1948 by the UN General Assembly. What did this mean for South Africa?

At this time, the apartheid system which was a policy of strict racial segregation was just introduced. Did this policy align with the Declaration of Human Rights?

To further answer this question, lets look at what exactly Human Rights are and how they influenced the Sharpeville Massacre.

“Right to life”

A simple and yet a demanding sentence.

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.

The 1948 universal rights based them humanity, freedom, justice and peace. In South Africa, they are entrenched in the Bill of Rights in Chapter 2 of the Constitution and they include the right to life, equality and human dignity.

The 7000 protestors

Imagine living in a society where failure to carry a little book detailing your name and origin would result to your arrest.

This internal passport resulted from the Pass laws that entitled police at any time to demand that Africans show them a properly endorsed document or face arrest which limited their freedom of movement.

On the 21st of March 1960, 7000 protesters peacefully demonstrated outside the police station against this passbook. The police later started shooting killing 69 people and injuring 180 others. Most of the injured people later died, suffered from paralysis and obtained major injuries.

“I survived by lying flat on the ground…”

“We can forgive, but we can not forget”

This event is regarded as one of the most triggering events in South Africa because it showed the world the extent apartheid had on its citizens. The lack of basic rights such as freedom of movement or speech and the non-existent relationship between the police and the people.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) regards the 21st of March as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The Sharpeville demonstration was influenced by women in 1956 who protested against the racist Pass laws, when 20 000 women marched to the Union Building in Pretoria, singing “wathint’ abafazi, wathint’ imbokodo meaning “you strike a woman, you strike a rock”.

How you can celebrate today

Considering the recent self-quarantine measures to control the spread of COVID-19, here are some things you can do today.

  • Research more about Human Rights Day and how it has shaped South Africa and the rest of the world
  • Educate someone about the rights they have
  • Learn about the rights not recognized or limited in other countries
  • Learn about your family’s history

It is important to note that Human Rights Day is not only about the Sharpeville Massacre, it is about reflecting on our rights, protecting them from violation irrespective of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation and to remind each other that they apply to everyone citizen or not.

Its also to remind us to remain vigilant and report abuse and cruelty, such as human trafficking, child labour, forced labour and violence against women, children, and the aged.

To conclude, Human Rights Day is one of the most important days in South Africa. The 21st of March made history and encouraged our independence which has brough us where we are today. Remember to reflect on your rights and learn more about them.

Wishing you a happy Human Rights Day from MadibazNews!