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Fourth Zimbabwean dies after attacks in Limpopo last month

Two of the other victims, at first said by police to have been burnt beyond recognition, have now been identified. The third victim is yet to be identified.
The death toll from the violent attacks on immigrants last month in Chavani village outside Elim in Limpopo has risen to four.
Zimbabwe Consul General, Melody Chaurura, said that Tops Mutanho had succumbed to his injuries on 26 September.
“Mutanho, a male Zimbabwe national from Chivi area village, succumbed to injuries sustained from mob justice after he was said to have been found in possession of stolen copper cables,” said Chaurura.
Two of the other victims, who were at first said by police to have been burnt beyond recognition, have now been identified as Johan Munago and Amon Munago, both from Chivi. The third victim is yet to be identified. More than 200 people fled into the bush after the attacks on 18 September.
Chaurura said the dead had not yet been repatriated because of forensic investigations. Dockets relating to the cases were opened at Waterval police station, but there have been no arrests.
Thomas Shonhai, a relative of the Munago brothers, told Groundup that he had been told by the community that the men were found in possession of stolen solar panels and cables.
“The angry community beat them until the two led the community to the person who sold them the solar panels. The accused denied stealing the solar panels. During the mix of things, the accused managed to escape, leaving the Munagos in trouble,” said Shonhai.
Shonhai is living from piece jobs and says he cannot afford to repatriate his relatives.
The Zimbabwean consulate says it has offered repatriation to families affected by the violence, but has no budget for repatriation of the dead.
Chaurura said the consulate would keep working with local authorities to ensure the protection of Zimbabwean nationals and provide temporary shelter for the displaced families. She said the consulate had identified 113 Zimbabweans affected by the violence, but some had not been counted as they were still in hiding.
Herman Moyana from the Red Cross said the organisation was waiting for donations to provide food to the displaced families. Psychosocial services had been made available, he said. DM
First published by GroundUp.

Breastfeeding is an investment in the next generation and the government must play its part

Breast milk is the most important source of nutrition after a child is born — and the only food they need for the first six months. Yet in South Africa, the number of infants who are exclusively breastfed is just 32%, among the lowest rates in the world.
This year’s World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) — marked during the first week of August — came at a time when South Africa is coming to terms with the devastating news of children in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal dying from severe acute malnutrition. Most shocking were reports that in January and February alone, 199 children succumbed to malnutrition in hospitals across the country.
In the face of this national nutrition crisis, WBW 2022 compels South Africans to reflect on the importance of breast milk in not only helping children survive, but also helping them to thrive. Breast milk is the most important source of nutrition after a child is born — and the only food they need for the first six months.
Yet in South Africa, the number of infants who are exclusively breastfed is just 32%, among the lowest rates in the world. Exclusive breastfeeding is the practice of feeding children breast milk only, and no solid food or water for their first six months of life.
Government has a key role to play in ensuring that breastfeeding is not only encouraged within the healthcare sector, but is also the norm in society as it is a key driver of optimal nutrition in infants and young children.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has set long-term global nutrition targets that require, and in turn, depend on universally prescribed breastfeeding practices. South Africa has committed to achieving these through its national health policies and planning and performance management systems.
According to WHO guidelines, breastfeeding has fundamental health benefits for both mother and child, and several policies in place that help, protect and promote breastfeeding. These include the International Labour Organisation’s Maternity Protection Convention, which promotes extra days being added to maternity leave and the adoption of the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.
It also promotes the provision of supportive health services with infant and young child feeding counselling during all points of contact with caregivers and young children, such as during antenatal and postnatal care, well-child and sick child visits, and immunisations.
South African laws
South Africa’s laws protect the mother’s right to breastfeed in the workplace.
The Code of ...

Solar-powered clinic greatly improves primary healthcare for Eastern Cape villagers

Nonprofit Bulungula Incubator’s community-based clinic has brought accessible healthcare to Xhora Mouth.
Nosizile Bonakele waits on the bank of the Xhora Mouth river at 6am to catch a small rowing boat and begin what will be a day-long journey to access the nearest government clinic.
She left her home at 5:30am. The boat operator asks R20 for a return trip across the river. Then, she will walk two hours to reach the clinic. There she will stand, queuing for several more hours. If all goes well, she will be back at the river by sunset, to return home.
Her alternative is a taxi, but it’s too expensive for her. In case of an emergency, a return trip by private car will cost R800. This is the norm for many people in the rural Eastern Cape.
But in Nqileni village, Bulungula Incubator, a nonprofit organisation, has helped to bring primary healthcare closer to the community. Staffed by two nurses, a solar-powered health point established in 2012 is open six days a week. It sees more than 450 patients a month.
Urgent need for services
A survey conducted in 2011 by Bulungula Incubator found that half the mothers in the community had lost a child because of diarrhoea.
Government policy requires children to receive 16 immunisations, ten doses of Vitamin A, and nine courses of deworming pills before the age of 12. But before the health point was established, parents had to make the long journey to the clinic several times to complete immunisation. Nurses can now administer all immunisations at the solar health point.
Before 2012, treatment and diagnostics for HIV, TB and high blood pressure — the most serious health issues among adults in the community — were only available at government clinics. Patients struggled to adhere to their treatment schedule or they went undiagnosed, leading to preventable deaths.
Having partnered with the Eastern Cape Department of Health, the solar health point is now a fixed outreach point for the Nkanya clinic, and patients are able to pick up their chronic medication for the health point.
Some diagnostic tests can be conducted at the health point, and for more specialised tests, the health point collects samples and delivers them to the Nkanya clinic. The Bulungula Incubator health programme supports over 200 people who are HIV-positive or children of HIV-positive parents.
With solar-powered fridges, the health point is also able to maintain a cold chain for vaccines. During the Covid pandemic, Bulungula ...

Three years on, Free State villagers still wait for toilets and plumbing

The contract was terminated due to unsatisfactory progress a year ago.
In April 2019 the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality in Free State appointed Makomota Stone to build 390 toilets in Moroka extension 27 and install water connections in Ratau, Thaba ’Nchu.
The contract was worth nearly R23-million and work started in May 2019.
But progress was slow, according to municipal spokesperson Qondile Khedama. He said the contractor struggled with cash flow.
By May 2021, the municipality had initiated a termination of contract, finalised on 15 October 2021. It had paid Makomota Stone R5.7-million. Khedama said that when the contractor left, sewer mains were 90% completed, water mains 94% and toilet structures only 64%. [It’s unclear how these percentages are calculated — editor].
A year since the termination and over two years since construction began, the villagers sit without water or new toilets.
Trenches had been excavated and water pipes laid, but there are no taps and there is no water supply. Residents depend on water tanks. Last week, they said the tanks hadn’t been filled for 12 days. Water is also fetched from streams.
Only the walls of about 275 toilets have been built. Some people use zinc sheet-enclosed pit toilets they’ve dug themselves.
Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations
Lerato Poonyane, ward 39 community leader, said people use buckets and plastic bags in which to relieve themselves at night. She said children can be seen relieving themselves on the streets during the day. It has become normal as going into the bush is not considered safe.
Resident Tailor Mtemeki said they received their plots from the municipality in 2017. There were no services for the nearly 300 sites, but in 2018 they were promised water and sanitation.
“We got so excited when the contractors packed toilet material at each household, while the digging of water pipes in the streets was proceeding . Little did we know,” said Mtemeki.
Bricklayer Kgosiame Sebotsa worked for Makomota Stone. He said the workers sometimes waited two months for payment. He said they were never informed why the contractor left. They turned up one day to find the site deserted.
GroundUp tried several numbers listed for Makomoto Stone but they were all defunct.
Khedama said the previous ward councillor, Betty Cezula, called several meetings to explain that the contract was terminated.
He said they have since appointed a consultant, compiled a tender document for the outstanding work, and a tender will be advertised. DM
First published ...

This week — Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture, Garden Day SA and talk on mobilising people’s electoral power

The 12th Annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture is taking place in Cape Town; the University of the Free State is hosting the 2022 UFS Thought-Leader Panel Discussion, focusing on the future of South Africa; and The Forge in Johannesburg is holding an ‘Abahlali Basemjondolo Solidarity Campaign Meeting’.
October is Mental Health Awareness Month.
The objective of this month is to educate the public about mental health, while reducing the stigma and discrimination to which people with mental illness are often subjected.
“Mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse and job stress, are common, affecting individuals, their families and co-workers and the broader community,” according to the South African government’s information page on the observance.
“In addition, they have a direct impact on workplaces through increased absenteeism, reduced productivity and increased costs. Very few South Africans seek treatment for their mental disorders. Mental illness can be treated at your nearest clinic, hospital or healthcare provider.”
Monday 3 October is World Habitat Day.
The theme for this year’s observance is “Mind the Gap. Leave No-one and Place Behind.” This is intended to draw attention to the problem of growing inequality and other challenges in cities and human settlements.
“The [Covid-19] pandemic and recent conflicts have reversed years of progress made in the fight against poverty, resulting in the emergence of newly poor people — those who would have exited poverty in the absence of the pandemic but remain poor, and those who have fallen into poverty on account of the pandemic,” according to the United Nations (UN) information page on the event.
“According to the UN-Habitat’s World Cities Report, the number of people affected was between 119 and 124 million in 2020, and between 143 and 163 million in 2021. Tackling urban poverty and inequality have become an urgent global priority.”
Tuesday 4 October is the first day of World Space Week.
World Space week will run until 10 October. It is the largest annual space event in the world.
“The World Space Week 2022 theme is ‘Space and Sustainability’, focusing on achieving sustainability in space and achieving sustainability from space. The theme is inspired by how sustainability in space relates to how humanity uses space, most pressingly, the orbital area surrounding Earth,” according to the UN information page on the event.
“Space exploration and remote Earth observation can help drive change for our home planet. This includes measuring climate change, identifying pollution on land and at sea, supporting agriculture in ...

Evidence shows the social and economic benefits of a tangible universal basic income

A universal basic income would help cushion working class communities against the disruptions associated with transitioning away from a fossil fuel-based economy in years ahead. A tangible, dependable source of income arguably would have greater value – and appeal – than promises of ‘retraining’ and ‘reskilling’ for jobs that may never materialise.
Think of Alaska and we picture scenic icy wastes and hardy loners. But one of its best-kept secrets is the basic income scheme it has been running since 1982. Each year, all residents get an equal share of returns from an investment fund that is financed from the state’s oil revenue.
This year, the payment amounts to about US$3,200.
The take-up rate is over 90% and it’s estimated that without the payment at least a third more Alaskans would be living in poverty. It has had no inhibiting effect on the labour market, possibly because the increased spending stimulates job creation.
Findings from numerous basic income studies and analogous cash transfer schemes reiterate that experience and support the expectation that a universal basic income (UBI) would trigger elemental, but vital improvements in people’s lives.
They show the payments reduce poverty and household debt, support income-generating activities and community-focused work, and broaden people’s life choices. They also improve nutrition and health (especially for mothers and children), boost educational attainment, and support people’s mental health (probably because having dependable income reduces the stress associated with relying on elusive, erratic and low-pay work).
None of the studies supports concerns about recipients opting out of the labour market, or spending the income on “temptation goods” (such as alcohol, cigarettes and narcotics).
Closer to home, a small basic income of 100 Namibian dollars per month was paid from 2008 to 2009 to residents in the Namibian town of Otjivero-Omitara, near Windhoek. The percentage of residents living in poverty dropped from 76% to 37%, and among those who did not take in migrating family members, it fell to 17%.
School drop-out rates fell sharply, with 90% of school fees paid in full, and cases of child malnutrition declined from 42% to 17%.
Recipients also became more active in income-generating activities. Similarly, basic income pilot projects in India found that the nutrition levels of recipient families improved, school attendance rose markedly, especially for girls, and debts were reduced. Encouraged in part by these findings, the India Economic Survey in 2017 recommended that a UBI be made available to all women in India.
Visit Daily Maverick’s ...

Pietermaritzburg NGO links traditional and Western medicine to reach key populations

Embracing traditional healers has helped spread awareness about HIV treatment and prevention at a Pietermaritzburg health facility.
A partnership between traditional healers and an NGO advocating for the rights of the LGBTQI+ community has increased the availability of health services for a community in Pietermaritzburg.
Three years ago, Thabani Duma, an intervention facilitator at the Pietermaritzburg Pop Inn clinic run by the Aurum Institute, linked up with traditional healers in the area after a run-in with a difficult patient who did not want to take antiretroviral therapy (ART).
“The patient had visited our mobile clinic during an outreach. He asked to test for HIV and tested positive. When we asked to initiate him on ARVs he refused. He told us that he was a traditional person and would use traditional medicine to heal his ailment,” explained Duma.
This is when he reached out to traditional healers in the area, by going out into communities and interacting with traditional healers about the importance of having a referral system that includes them.
He said they believed roping in traditional healers would help win over people who were against Western medicine and preferred to use only traditional medicine, even for ailments that could not be cured by such methods.
Their first move was to invite traditional healers, sit down with them and show them how they believed they could be of assistance in the fight against the spread of HIV in the area, especially among key populations.
“The response was overwhelming because traditional healers also told us that they were having problems with clients who came displaying various symptoms, including those of STIs and HIV/Aids, but insisted they did not want to go to the clinic or hospital because of their traditional beliefs,” said Duma.
This gave birth to workshops that were held with traditional healers, where they were informed about HIV/Aids, symptoms to look out for and the importance of counselling. Traditional healers were then asked to refer patients with STIs and HIV/Aids symptoms.
“Referrals are currently happening. We have created a great relationship with traditional healers and this has helped us to reach people we wouldn’t have been able to reach,” said Duma.
The clinic hosts workshops for traditional healers where they are able to express their concerns and receive guidance.
Sibusiso Makhathini, the project coordinator at the Pietermaritzburg Pop Inn clinic, said they hoped to introduce other aspects such as condom distribution and HIV testing to the programme.
A huge difference
“Going forward, ...

EFF branch chair Motsei Mathe encourages shack dwellers to occupy land in Tshwane

The party has ‘allocated’ 439 plots on municipal land in Ga-Rankuwa Industrial area to people.
There have been persistent land occupations of municipal land in Ga-Rankuwa Industrial area, Tshwane, for the past two weeks, despite the City’s efforts to stop people.
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) ward 30 branch chairperson Motsei Mathe has claimed responsibility for advancing the land grab.
“The government has dismally failed to deliver housing to the people. That is why we decided to take over this land and give it to the people. This bush has been a crime den for over 20 years,” said Mathe.
Mathe said they have distributed 439 out of 500 stands for occupation by residents of Ga-Rankuwa, Hebron, Kgabalatsane and Rockville.
On Wednesday, Tshwane metro police removed 17 shacks and 35 structures they say were not yet occupied.
But Keabetswe Moopeola said he was already living in his shack with his son and girlfriend. “They kicked down our door and the shack itself,” he said. He said his four-year-old son was injured in the eviction and he intends to bring a case against the City.
Moopeola said he will rebuild.
When GroundUp visited on Thursday, people were busy digging holes for poles and preparing to build shacks. Some were clearing scrub with axes.
Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations
“We are not going to back down from this. We have been silent for too long,” said Mathe.
Rabugwe Kgari, who joined the occupation, said people are unemployed and large families are crammed into small RDP houses, because people cannot afford to rent their own place. Yet here was a huge area of land sitting unused.
Chief of staff for the mayor, Jordan Griffiths, told GroundUp the land is not earmarked for any developments.
In a statement on Thursday, the City of Tshwane said it has taken a zero-tolerance approach on land occupations and will continue to demolish and seek eviction orders.
“Land invasions have an adverse effect on our programme of building sustainable human settlements and further erode the property rights of all residents in our City,” said the statement.
The City said it offered residents various housing solutions. DM
First published by GroundUp.

Health department probes Motherwell clinic after teen rape victim dies at police station

It is alleged that clinic staff sent 15-year-old Zenizole Vena to the police station rather than treating her.
The community of Motherwell in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape are preparing to bury 15-year-old Zenizole Vena on Saturday.
This comes as the clinic in NU11 is expected to open its doors on Monday after being shut down by angry community members. The clinic has been at the centre of an investigation by the provincial Department of Health following Zenizole’s death on 21 September after being gang raped.
It is understood that Zenizole was abducted on 17 September on her way to school in Malabar. She spent four days being drugged and raped by her captors.
Police spokesperson, Priscilla Naidu, said Zenizole was found in the streets on 21 September by a woman who assisted her. She said reports state that Zenizole appeared to be sick and was crying. “It is further alleged that she was raped by two males known to her. The woman took her to the clinic who then referred them to the [Motherwell] police station.”
“The teenager was crying and appeared to be having an epileptic seizure and was vomiting. An ambulance was immediately called to attend to her at the station. She suffered further epileptic seizures. When the ambulance arrived, she had already passed away,” said Naidu.
The news of the teenager’s ordeal sparked outrage in the community as her family questioned why the clinic had allegedly referred her to the police rather than keeping her there for observations.
Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations
However, health department spokesperson, Yonela Dekeda, said a preliminary report on the incident states that Zenizole was found to be “clinically stable” by clinic staff who then suggested she go open a case at the station.
“We do agree that there is room for improvement in the way the patient was referred to SAPS. The department will deal with any shortcomings identified during our investigation and appropriate action will be taken. This includes taking appropriate disciplinary action where recommended,” said Dekeda.
Spokesperson for Zenizole’s family, Mziyanda Vena, told GroundUp that they are considering taking legal action against the health department for negligence. “We are disappointed with what happened at the clinic. We are considering taking the case further. The suspects were arrested but released the same day after it was discovered that they were minors. It pains us that the suspects go past our gate freely and in a ...

More clinical associates are needed to transform healthcare in SA — we should support them

South Africa is among the most unequal countries in the world with a huge quadruple burden of disease and to address this we need hands. Professor Parimalaranie Yogeswaran argues that we should maximise the untapped potential of clinical associates to beef up the clinical health workforce.
They are called by many names — clinical associates in South Africa, physician assistants in the US, assistant medical officers in some Asian countries, and assistant medical practitioners in other countries and yet — across the world — the value they add to health systems is indisputable.
Many health workers themselves are not clear on what these clinical associates are and our understanding of their role impacts their contribution to the health system. For example, when one talks about a doctor, everyone the world over, immediately knows what that is. If one mentions a clinical associate in Malaysia, however, they would not make the connection since it is called something else there. So, if you look at the title for the cadre who has this same job description — they all have different names and that’s our first problem. Hence, we must educate health workers on the contribution clinical associates can make.
There is a perception that clinical associates are a type of mid-level medical worker and are only for poorer countries or low- to middle-income countries. This is not true. There are huge numbers in the US, Africa, Europe, and Australia where these mid-level medical workers have been embraced.
By 2020, one study found that there were over 132,000 of these health practitioners (Physician Assistants) in 18 countries across the world. In South Africa, by 2021, we had 11 cohorts of clinical associates that have graduated and who are now contributing to the health system. Currently, we are training about 150 clinical associates per year at three universities, adding to the 1 500 graduates that are in the country.
What are clinical associates?
Clinical associates are mid-level medical workers who are trained for three years whereafter they receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Medical Practice. Training in South Africa started in 2008 and the first cohort graduated in 2010 from Walter Sisulu University.
The actual scope of practice for this programme was only published by the minister of health in 2016. Until then, however, there was much confusion and many were wondering if they are legitimate, and if they are legal. The confusion mainly stemmed from the fact that they ...

Service delivery seeks divine intervention as Polokwane municipality closes for prayers

This week, the embattled Polokwane municipality closed all its offices on Tuesday morning for a three-hour prayer session. The municipality argues that ‘spiritual rejuvenation’ can lead to enhanced service delivery — but not everybody is convinced.
“All municipal customers are hereby notified of a three-hour closure of all municipal offices due to workplace interfaith prayer from 09h00 to 12h00 on Tuesday, 27th September 2022.”
This was the wording of a notification from the Polokwane municipality this week. It assured residents that essential services would not be affected by the shutdown.
A phone call from Daily Maverick to the municipal offices during the prayer period went unanswered. We gave up after 20 minutes of being on hold, with a recorded message periodically stating that the municipality was experiencing “high call volumes”.
When asked by Daily Maverick for the purpose of the prayer session, Polokwane municipal spokesperson Thipa Selala said that there had recently been an alarming “number of death cases that involve its employees”, and that “all in the municipality” needed to “come together to seek mercy in prayer to God”.
Selala added: “Whilst we accept death to be part of our lives, this experience cannot go on without seeking [a] divine intervention breakthrough”.
The spokesperson framed the interfaith prayer session — which involved Christian and Muslim religious leaders — as a “wellness” initiative which was permissible in terms of municipal human resources (HR) policies. He suggested further that the experience would have a positive impact on municipal service delivery.
“The municipality has a responsibility to its employees’ wellness, and therefore arranged the workplace session through the Employees’ Assistance section of the HR in order to offer healing and spiritual rejuvenation to excel in service delivery,” Selala stated.
This is not the first time that the embattled Polokwane municipality has turned to a higher power for assistance with earthly challenges.
In November 2021, it hosted a prayer session against gender-based violence, with the Polokwane Review reporting: “Jeanette Raseluma from the Polokwane Municipality’s special focus unit said the prayer service was important in the fight against GBVF [gender-based violence and femicide]”.
The wider Limpopo provincial government has also hosted numerous mass prayer sessions in the name of road safety.
The city of Polokwane is currently suffering acute water shortages, due partly to low dam levels but largely to infrastructure problems as a result of insufficient maintenance. Parts of the city have in recent months been without water for weeks at a time. This ...

Property developer forced to rebuild homes it demolished in Mogale City

Long-time Tilly’s farm residents refuse to make way for housing development.
“We will not go anywhere. We earned the right to live on this land when we worked for free as labour tenants after arriving on this farm in the 1980s,” says Margaret Makgomola, a resident of Tilly’s farm in Mogale City.
Hers is one of 15 families that have stuck it out on Portion 77 of the farm Nooitgedacht after their homes were bulldozed by a property developer in July.
MaxxLiving, a Dutch-South African property company, acquired the land two years ago. CEO Arthur Bezuidenhout said he offered all residents an alternative piece of land and structures on another plot in the area, prior to demolitions.
According to community representative Moss Sekobane, there were shacks as well as brick-and-mortar structures housing over 450 residents. Most of these families relocated.
But the legal eviction process was not completed. And 15 families claimed Extension of Security of Tenure Act (Esta) rights and refused to move. The company had demolished their homes as well, leaving the 15 families, including Makgomola, sleeping in the open on a piece of land 200 metres from their flattened residences.
In court papers, the families also said their toilets were removed and their water and electricity cut off in an act of “constructive eviction”.
They went to the Land Claims Court, which ordered on 22 July that new brick homes be built for them by the property developer within 90 days, and that they be provided with temporary housing units with water and toilets in the interim.
The court also ordered compensation of R100,000 to be shared amongst the families.
Mogale City Municipality was included as respondents in the matter. It was to assist with the provision of services to the families. But a month since the order was granted, the families say they are still battling with the developer and the municipality to get basic services as ordered by the court.
The developer also took its time providing temporary structures and an urgent contempt of court application was filed on 9 September. Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), who are representing the occupants, say 30 shacks have now been built to be shared by the 15 families, but only one pit toilet was provided and the water tanker is currently and often empty.
“The respondents remain in contempt and we intend to hold them accountable for failing to do what they agreed upon,” said David Dickinson, candidate attorney ...

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