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New school meant to ease overcrowding in Joburg south classrooms won’t be ready for 2021

Due to lack of resources, pupils at the Tsakani Primary School in Kagiso are forced to use buckets, their school bags and other items as chairs. Others share chairs, or balance on chairs that have just three legs or no seats. File Picture: Antoine de Ras
Picture : Antoine de Ras, 01/06/2015

Johannesburg – A new school that the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) planned for the south of Johannesburg – as a reaction to learner influx in the region – will not be ready for the 2021 academic year.
MEC Panyaza Lesufi revealed that his department had acquired 3.4 hectares of land in Winchester Hills for a new school intended “to deal with admission and overcrowding pressures” in the southern suburbs.He was replying to a question the DA had asked Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga in the National Assembly. Motshekga referred the question to Lesufi as procedure for provincial matters.

. Two mobile classrooms, costing R500000, had been placed at the school to accommodate the new learners.

“It must be noted that the Johannesburg Central District received 6500 more applications than it did the previous academic year,” he said.

“Most of these applications were for schools in the southern parts of Johannesburg (Naturena, Meredale, Alan Manor, Mondeor, Suideroord, Ormonde, Ridgeway, Robertsham, Forest Hill, Turffontein and Haddon areas).

“The area also experienced an influx of learners from other districts in Gauteng, as well as relocations from other provinces.

“As a result, the district did not have sufficient space to place all learners in the area and alternative placement options were investigated,” Lesufi said.

He would not commit to timelines for the construction and readiness of the Winchester Hills school, revealing that the project was currently at “feasibility stage”.

“Preliminary investigations are being conducted to ascertain design requirements, and only after conclusion of these processes will the department be in a position to give precise projected timelines and costs.”

Lesufi said the project was handed over to the provincial Infrastructure Development Department “for it to expedite processes to implement the construction of the school given the extraordinary pressures in the area”.

The Infrastructure Department said on Thursday that the school would not be ready for next year.

Spokesperson Bongiwe Gambu gave a resounding “no” when asked if the school could be ready for 2021.

“A letter to hand over the project to (our department) was received on May 20 this year and was subject to the Gauteng Department of Education confirming the strategic brief for implementation,” Gambu said.

“Planning is to commence and time frames are still to be determined. Progress will duly be communicated.”

This was not the only school planned for Gauteng.

“The department is busy planning a total of 20 schools,” Gambu said.

Lesufi promised construction of more schools in the south.

“On a long-term basis, it is the department’s intention to construct additional learning spaces in the area to address placement and overcrowding challenges,” he said.

“This is in addition to the envisaged school (in Winchester Hills).”

The Star

ANC hits out at DA’s ‘warlord’ Bonteheuwel councillor Angus McKenzie

Ward councillor Angus McKenzie on a ride-along with City law enforcement officers in
Bonteheuwel. Picture: SuppliedCape Town – DA Ward councillor Angus McKenzie has come under fire from the ANC for “behaving like a warlord” while patrolling Bonteheuwel with law enforcement officers.
Dressed in a City Law Enforcement jacket, McKenzie accompanied officers during an operation in the area on Wednesday. He was pictured with officers while they conducted searches, which the ANC said was unlawful.

“In these pictures, councillor McKenzie is clearly demonstrating interference in the work of City employees. What we’re seeing is abusive power and contravention of the Code of Conduct, which is clear on what is expected of councillors,” read an ANC statement.

JP Smith, Mayco member for Safety and Security, said: “It is a pity that issues of public safety and policing have become so politicised that a councillor who is active in his ward is attacked in this manner when he joins police on a ride-along.Ward councillor Angus McKenzie on a ride-along with City law enforcement officers in Bonteheuwel. Picture: Supplied
In response to the ANC’s accusation, McKenzie said: “ANC city leader Xolani Sotashe and his misfit army of keyboard activists will be better suited to engage with their caucus on how to fix the SAPS rather than trying to visibly show how much they want places like Bonteheuwel to fail.”

The ANC should concern itself with the party’s sanctioned release of as many as 19 000 prisoners from provincial and national correctional facilities, he added, or “why an arrested individual for an illegal firearm was released 12 hours later with no charge”.

“These are things councillor Sotashe should be worried about, instead of about individuals getting on the ground supporting their communities,” McKenzie said.

City Council speaker Dirk Smit added: “My office has received this complaint (from the ANC) and it is being formally investigated in terms of the code of conduct for councillors.”

Smit said it would not yet be issuing any further comment on the matter.

Cops shut illegal tavern and tuckshops selling expired food in Germiston

File Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)Johannesburg – A tavern in Dukathole informal settlement, in Germinston, was closed down along with several tuck shops found selling expired food during the Okae Molao operation on Thursday.
The operation was spearheaded by Gauteng Deputy Police Commissioner Major-General Johannes Pharasi in an effort to clamp down on crime in Ekurhuleni.Undisclosed crates of alcohol were confiscated from the tavern.

According to Pharasi, police closed down the tavern after they discovered that the owner had no licence.

They also found 25 litres of petrol. Pharasi emphasised that it was illegal to sell liquor without a licence.

“Strict measures have been put in place, especially for the sale of alcohol during this lockdown. So we will not permit owners to do as they please.Pharasi confirmed that the owner of the place was apprehended and an investigation into how she obtained the 25-litre petrol would be launched.

Community safety officials were also visible on the ground as they moved around the informal settlement issuing Covid-19 pamphlets to residents, educating them on how to curb the spread (of the virus) and keep safe.

SAPS members and other law enforcement agencies proceeded to other operations in Ekurhuleni where they partnered with the Department of Home Affairs in checking foreign national documentation.

Gauteng police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele said there were a number of foreign nationals found without documentation.
“We managed to make arrests where foreigners didn’t have the documents required. At the moment, we do not have the exact number of the arrests we made,” he said.

The integrated law enforcement operation was spread throughout Ekurhuleni, where motorists were stopped and searched to inspect whether they possessed any weapons.

The Gauteng Community Safety Department said that the tracing of wanted suspects through SAPS operations had led to the arrests of a total of 737 suspects.

Ekurhuleni recorded the highest number of arrests with 254, followed by Tshwane with 216, Joburg 149, Sedibeng 71 and West Rand with 47 from the operations which started on Wednesday.

Law enforcement agencies also made progress in their efforts to arrest suspects linked with gender-based violence, after a total of 70 arrests were made – with 69 being for women abuse and one for child abuse.

Effective aid requires communication and honouring tradition, says Old Mutual

Communication and use of acknowledged tribal hierarchies ensured that communities in the Vhembe District, Limpopo received food parcels essential for their survival during the Covid-19 lockdown.Move away from the nation’s cities into the heartland of South Africa, and you will find that traditions, leadership and time-tested values are deeply rooted in communities. Work within these systems, says Old Mutual, and when issues such as Covid-19 threaten, the result is a win-win position for both the donor and the people benefiting from corporate donations campaigns.

Within Limpopo, where settlements are often far from urban areas, poverty is widespread. Battling every day to find food and fill empty stomachs is an unavoidable part of life. Meeting the needs of people living on the edges of the economy, however, is a finely-balanced process that requires a deep understanding of what people must have rather than what they would like to have, and the dignity to which they are entitled.For companies operating within an environment like Limpopo, it is therefore important that consideration is given to how communication with communities should take place and how traditional leadership structures are honoured.

The importance of these principles and how they can be used to open discussions and deliver aid was recently demonstrated in the province where programmes aimed at relieving the threat posed by the Covid-19 pandemic were undertaken.

In fact, says Thato Mahapa, Old Mutual Provincial Management Board Chairperson for Limpopo, communication and use of acknowledged tribal hierarchies ensured that the poorest people in the Vhembe District received food parcels essential for their survival.

“Limpopo is one of the most impoverished provinces in South Africa. As corporate citizens, we regularly reach out to the entire province with CSI investments that are based on local requests identified by our various business channels and are then referred to us for discussion and possible action. As Covid-19 spread across the country, it became obvious that Old Mutual would be requested to help where it could,” says Mahapa.

“As in other provinces, a special budget was provided for our Covid-19 efforts in Limpopo. Because of our strong relationship with health authorities, we started with a programme for healthcare workers. We then met with the Premier’s Office to assist us in identifying other areas requiring assistance and had discussions with the Department of Social Development. As a result of our discussions, it was agreed that we should not only provide personal protective equipment (PPE) across selected areas but also work in the Vhembe District where people urgently needed assistance with food.”Old Mutual Limpopo, working together with the Old Mutual Foundation and the Nelson Mandela, Siya Kolisi and Imbuma Foundations, poured their support into the “Each1 Feed 1” and “Soap 4 Hope” campaigns to bringing relief to the most vulnerable people in the district.

It was when the process of identifying people requiring food parcels and the planning of the logistics began that the traditional leadership structures came to the fore.

Using the established hierarchy and systems by working from “the top” to win acceptance for the planned distribution began in earnest. Consulting with recognised local leaders ensured that the correct guidelines and programmes were adopted and that all concerned bought into the food distribution plans.

Most importantly, problems such as the misallocation of vital aid and distribution management errors were avoided. The final step in the consultation process across the hierarchy included the herdsmen operating as representatives of the chief within local groups. Within their settlements and villages, it was the herdsmen who recommended on the allocation of food and who should be considered for assistance.

“The local protocols also required that the heads of the selected household be consulted. What also had to be considered was the language used during all levels of discussions. People in Limpopo are proud of their mother tongue and wished to use it during deliberations and planning of the food distribution process,” says Mahapa.

MTN wants to recognise your Everyday Hero

MTN  is calling on all South Africans to “shout-out” their Covid-19 heroes so that they can get the recognition they deserve.Over the past few months South Africans have been inspired by the unrelenting and fearless work of those facing the worst of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, from the healthcare and essential workers doing dangerous but crucial work every day, to the journalists bringing us the news from frontlines of this issue.

But there are also the unsung heroes, closer to home, who have reached out to those in need to make a difference, no matter how small, during
this challenging time.It is these stories that MTN wants to hear as it calls on all South Africans to “shout-out” their Covid-19 heroes so that they can get the recognition they deserve.

“We want to celebrate every hero that walks among us. It doesn’t matter who it is, or what they’ve done. Whether it’s a retail worker at your local store, your local petrol attendant, teachers who have embraced online learning, your pharmacist, your doctor, nurse, local charity organisation, or anyone else that you feel deserves recognition, please share their stories with us,” says Jacqui O’Sullivan, Corporate Affairs Executive at MTN South Africa.

To highlight your hero, or heroes, or an organisation that is doing phenomenal work, simply post their story to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, remembering to tag @MTNza with the hashtag #WeGoodTogether. And don’t forget to tag your hero.

“We are faced with unprecedented challenges as a nation, but we can overcome this crisis if we all stand together and support each other. We want to celebrate the men and women going the extra mile every day to ensure South Africa comes out of this crisis as safely as possible, as it is their example of empathy and kindness that each one of us should seek to emulate,” says O’Sullivan.

Heroes will be showcased on MTN’s social media platforms and through the media, and the best stories and profiles will be showcased on the MTN Everyday Heroes mobi-site, which can be accessed by clicking here.

“We started collecting shout-outs on Friday, and already there are some beautiful stories. Please keep them coming as we stand together to celebrate the good work done and give all of our Everyday Heroes the encouragement and support they need, to keep going,” concludes O’Sullivan.