In The Spotlight
The national demonstration cam-paign called by different civic orga-nisations and political parties on April 07 in the country, as a clarion call for President Jacob Zuma to step down, re-ceived fewer blessings in the town of Kuru-man in the Northern Cape. Organised by Ms Linda MacLoughlin and legally sanctioned by the local authority, the event was lack-lustre. Only thirty or so people gathered at Kurukuru Park opposite Cashbuild, carrying their descriptive plac-ards. Asked why the response was so passive in the area, the convener said that mes-sages had been sent to a number of interest-ed people in town that dissuaded them from doing so and, as a result, they had no choice but to simply comply. However, many peo-ple passed by and noticed the teaspoonful gathering at the venue and waved their hands in solidarity. The very few people who gathered at the venue were bold enough to state that the state president has to step down for the good of the nation. In their lay language, they said that the de-clared junk status of the economy by the rating agencies was directly as a result of an individual who does not care about the re-percussions borne to the majority of poor South Africans. Asked whether or not their assembly was driven by political motive, they boldly said that the campaign was a-political and therefore they wanted to express their views with fellow South Africans, so that when na-tional decisions are taken, the leadership must think about the people first - not their individual relationships at the top echelons of power where the consequential vendetta has cost the economy and directly the poor person on the street, dearly.
The road between Kathu and Hotazel, the R380, is in a very poor state. Commuters who drive on the R380 are risking their lives and ve-hicles on a daily basis. Though minor mainte-nance is being done, heavy rain falls exacer-bated the potholes to the degree where the average motorist has to drive with serious caution along the road at a speed of approx-imately 40km per hour in places. A lot of mo-ney is being wasted on minor repairs instead of longer lasting major repairs. Motorists are spending an incredible amount of money on tyre maintenance which they have to foot themselves. An additional hazard is the big trucks servicing the mines, constantly run-ning along this road, posing a danger to lighter vehicles and commuters alike and causing more damage to the road. We can only hope that the authorities will attend to this perilous road before something serious happens . . . Photograph : Urban Swart
The Kathu Gazette approached Anglo American Kumba Iron Ore for comment on the events that occurred in Siyathemba on Sunday 12 March 2017. Here follows the media release.
On Sunday 12 March some residents of Siyathemba who have previously been relocated by Kumba Iron Ore, a business unit of Anglo American from Dingleton, along with their supporters, staged a protest in front of the resettlement project office. The protestors burned tyres and blockaded the road.
The group had not notified the municipality or Kumba of their intention to protest. While they did not convey any written demands, the group's demands appear to cover a range of issues including the delivery of RDP houses, demands for a local school, and demands to speed up the pro-cess of transferring new houses and associated allowances to the residents. It is not clear how many protestors were residents and how many were supporters of the wider demands.
A new “demand” is that Kumba should also build free houses for the adult children of the relocated residents who are still living with their parents.
The Dingleton Resettlement Project is being executed in accordance with the International Finance Corporation's (IFC) Performance Standards and has been underway for about eight years.
This has included the formation of a Resettlement Working Group (RWG), which includes six democratically elected community representatives, as well as two local ward councilors.
There has also been an extensive consultation process with individual homeowners and the community about their needs and the relation process. Consultations and engagement through the RWG are ongoing.
Kumba is fulfilling its promise to build houses for the Dingleton homeowners who were relocated. The demand for additional new housed for adult children is new and was not part of the agreement with the community.
Of the initial 517 Dingleton households earmarked for relocation, only 25 households have not signed the agreement to move, demanding additional financial compensation.
The replacement houses are of high quality, modern, energy efficient and are located in a vibrant area, close to all amenities eg parks, schools, the police station etc in Kathu. Dingleton was situated 30kms from Kathu whereas Siyathema is located approximately 3 km's from the town of Kathu.
Dingleton town had a primary and high school and during the negotiations with the residents the agreement reached was not to build new schools in Siyathemba, but to extend the existing schools located in Kathu (less than 2km away) for the integration of the children into these schools. It would appear that some residents have changed their demands and insist on having schools built in Siyathemba.
A spokesperson for Kumba said: We have offered fair, generous and reasonable compensation, including building the relocated residents new houses, in line with international best practice, independent valuations and in consultation with the community.
Kumba has an established track record of responsible mining, and we believe that we have demonstrated this in all our operations, including the eight year Dingleton relocation project.
Kumba will continue to engage with affected households and residents through the RWG and speak to local stakeholders to seek a peaceful resolution to any legitimate concerns and to fulfill the commitments we have made.
The official opposition party of South Af-rica, the Democratic Alliance (DA), has reiterated its call to the MEC of Co-operative Governance, Human Settle-ments and Traditional Affairs (CoGHSTA), Bentley Vass, to place the Gamagara local municipality under administration.
This comes after Ratings Afrika last week published its latest Municipal Financial Sus-tainability Index, revealing Gamagara muni-cipality as the worst performing municipality in the Northern Cape.
According to Melinda Hattingh, MPL and DA Constituency Head of Lohatla, it does not come as a surprise to the DA that Gama-gara municipality is performing so badly.
“The placement of ANC cadres in senior management positions has, to a large ex-tent, destroyed the operations of this munici-pality. The placement of Moses 'Maserati' Grond, as the Municipal Manager, is a prime example. His lavish lifestyle took prece-dence over dealing with service delivery is-sues and also came at the cost of service delivery. Whilst he has since been removed
tinues his legacy of corruption and mal-administration,” the DA's media release ex-plains.
“Earlier this year, the DA called on Mr Vass to place the municipality under administra-tion after it came to light that the municipality had failed to fulfill its payment obligation to Eskom for outstanding debt exceeding R65-million. The municipality also owes money to other institutions.
“At the last known date, Gamagara owed R62-million to Anglo American after it lost the court case against the disastrous pro-perty evaluations and R7.6-million to John Taolo Gaetsewe district municipality after at least two payment agreements had not been honoured by Mr Grond.
“The municipality is also believed to be in arrears on its repayments to the Develop-ment Bank of South Africa. They further owe at least R14-million to Sedibeng Water. This amount could be more, however, because despite numerous requests by councillors for Mr Grond to produce proof of his agree-ment with Sedibeng, he consistently with-held important financial information from council.
“It is clear that the most basic responsibility of municipal management and the ANC-run
council, ie to manage the municipal finances of Gamagara, have been eroded to a point of no return. As a result, it is the people of the Kathu and its surrounds, who suffer the most. Residents constantly face the threat of load shedding and water shedding. They frequently also have to live alongside sew-age, due to the municipality's failure to up-grade and maintain infrastructure.
“Despite our previous efforts, pleas to CoGHSTA having fallen on deaf ears. The DA will keep on trying to hold incompetent employees, who are mostly ANC cadres, ac-countable and to have the municipality pla-ced under provincial administration.
The only viable chance, however, to really turn Gamagara municipality around is with a significant change in both provincial and lo-cal government at the ballot boxes in 2019 and 2021 - a change that only the DA can bring,” the media release concluded.
The question the Kathu Gazette raises is : Where did all the money go ? Bank sta-tements and audited financials must surely reveal the beneficiaries of huge amounts missing from the municipality's coffers. The-se beneficiaries must be identified and brought to book together with the person(s) who unlawfully authorised these payments.
as Municipal Mana-ger, he still remains as the Chief Finan-cial Officer, and con-tinues his legacy of corruption and mal-administration,” the DA's media release ex-plains.
The Human Rights Commission attended the stakeholders’ meeting held at Ga-Segonyana municipality on January 20, 2017 in an effort to find a common solution to shelter the Bankara-Bodulong displaced foreign nationals.
Different government departments that include SAPS, COGHSTA, Health, Education, Home Affairs, Social Development and the local municipality attended the emergent meeting, aimed at normalising the dire situation confronted by the hapless foreign nationals.
While the gist of the matter was to find better accommodation in the interim, the long lasting solution was considered a necessity and topical in the meeting. For the past two weeks the foreigners were packed at the police canteen where hunger and bedding shortage took effect. It was agreed that the police structure was not conducive enough as a camp, where Moffat Mission was opted as another temporary alternative for just one week while the caravan park is to be equipped with the requisite resources to be habitable for a sustainable period.
Request for the provision of tents from the South African National Defence Force has been submitted to the authorities.
During all these arrangements, a committee involving the same representatives, including social workers, will consult the community of Bankara Bodulong in an endeavour to reach a common consensus towards reintegration of the two camps - an idea that was also consolidated by the premier. This comes after the tragic death of a local teenager who was stabbed on the eve of New Year by the foreign national following a scuffle. Consequent to his funeral, the local community went amok and looted twenty six shops owned by these foreign nationals as a vindictive act after ordering owners to close down the shops.
With the looming danger in sight, the foreigners left their businesses in a wink of an eye. Most of these foreigners had built structures as accommodation or used part of their shops as shelter.
The Human Rights Commission officials said that they will be involved in the rehabilitation process to ensure that sanity prevails in the restoration of human dignity.
Around thirty foreign nationals are trapped in this dilemma.
A belated community meeting held in Bankara community hall aimed at bringing some semblance of tolerance between residents and foreign nationals hit a snag on January 17, 2017. This comes after the tragic death of a teenager in the village involving a foreign national.
The Northern Cape premier honourable Sylvia Lucas accompanied by her executives, provincial police commissioner Peter Shivuri and his deputy Phiwayinkosi Mnguni, departmental heads and local authorities led by Ga-Segonyana mayor Neo Masegela arrived around 13 hours to the beleaguered village destined to bring an olive branch between the warring parties.
It took a couple of minutes for the decisive meeting to take shape as the community seemed to have mixed issues outside the core business of the day. However the timely intervention of the police led by the provincial commissioner brought sanity in the nick of time.
Chaired by the MEC of Health, Lebogang Motlhaping, humbly acknowledged the tragedy that had befallen the community and the residual tension between the local and foreign communities. He said that as the leadership they had responded spontaneously to come and calm the tense situation through community participation.
Soon after that, the floor was given to Premier Sylvia Lucas who equally expressed her compassionate words to the community and exuded words of tolerance to the community.
A question and answer plenary session opened a Pandora’s Box about why the community was somehow adamant that the Asian foreigners must pack and go. They bemoaned the high level of under-age pregnancy by Asians, learners playing truancy from school due to solicitous affairs, hookah pipes sold by foreigners encourage drug use in the village, as well as exorbitant prices in some of their tuck-shops.
Also councillors had a share of the accusation coming from the community who are alleged to be giving more ears to the liquid foreigners than the community.
There was a voluminous chorus that the police was to blame - not only in this incident alone. It took, the community claimed, two hours for the police to attend the tragic scene hiding on one and the only obtuse excuse that there was inadequate transport or manpower.
The Premier threw the gauntlet to the present Police Commissioner Shivuri because that was his territory.
Winding up the meeting, the Premier called for tolerance between locals and foreigners. A group of community members are in custody - hand-picked in the looting - and the rest of the community wants unconditional release of their colleagues as a precursor to harmonising the relations once again.
In an interview with the Kathu Gazette, the Premier was bold enough to say that the locals were unhappy about the happenings around, but amicable ways have to be found in order to bring relations to a state of equilibrium. A committee, she continued, will be formed that involves different stakeholders to harmonise the standoff. She said South Africa is known for embracing all races with respect and dignity, including foreign nationals, therefore an olive branch ought to be reached through extensive consultations.
The Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development’s Veterinary Services have tested about 2600 cattle for Bovine Brucellosis in the Severn area in the Joe Morolong local municipality recently.
Bovine Brucellosis is a chronic disease that causes abortions and reduces fertility in cattle. It is caused by Brucella abortus bacteria. It is mainly spread between herds through the introduction of infected cattle and within herds when infected cattle abort or give birth. During the birthing process, millions of bacteria are released into the environment. Cattle are curious by nature and will sniff and lick an aborted foetus or afterbirth. Brucella organisms then enter the animal through the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and eyes. The incubation period is highly variable, ranging from a few weeks up to many months before an infected animal tests positive. This makes testing and removing positive animals a challenge.
Once an animal is infected, there is no treatment to effectively cure the disease - the animal should be slaughtered to remove it as a source of infection to healthy animals.
The samples from the animals were sent to the department’s laboratory in Kimberley for testing, where results are normally released within three to four weeks.
Severn is about 70 km from the Botswana and South African borders in the John Taolo Gaetsewe district municipality.
The campaign is part of government’s effort to deliver and speed up services to communities, especially to the far-flung areas of the province.
The campaign was also used as a platform to give farmers practical advice and guidance regarding their farming. Farmers were also educated about the understated zoonotic implications of Bovine Brucellosis. When the disease is transmitted to humans, it causes severe debilitating signs.
The department would like to thank the farmer’s unions for their cooperation in making this campaign a success. Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
After four years in the district doing various projects revolving around healthcare delivery Path is winding up its projects by December.
At a workshop held at the El Dorado Motel on August 26, 2016 all stakeholders converged to deliberate on how the gap being created by Path could be filled for continuity.
The district project manager Ms Maserame Oss said that positive strides have been achieved during the period. As a result, the organisation held a stakeholder workshop aimed at making a summary of events and the way forward.
Ms Oss said that it was imperative that stakeholders reflect on the pros and cons of the four-year programme conducted by PATH. Equally important to the organisation was to understand whether or not fellow stakeholders, that include government departments (health, social development, education and municipalities) and community based organisations, would adopt and continue running programmes using Path tools or methodologies. This includes community based tools and clinical tools.
The community based model is that of collecting data from households used as a basis for training.
The clinical method is geared towards quality improvement as a standard operational procedure and a child friendly audit tool that can be adoptable by the stakeholders. BHP Billiton was an integral actor in the programme.
As underground water gets depleted, many borehole taps are increasingly emitting a fizzy but liquidless sound - much to the despair of the communities of the John Taolo Gaetsewe district.
Residents in many villages around Kuruman have raised alarm as they are faced with a critical shortage of water due to incessant drying boreholes. The impending problem has resulted in the steady rise of residents fetching water from distant areas where taps are still squirting out the precious liquid. One of the concerned residents, Mr Boitumelo Nkwe from Mapoteng village in Kuruman is appealing to government and the corporate community to come to the rescue of villagers. Both Ga-Segonyana and Joe Morolong residents face the deepening dilemma. Asked how the communities could be assisted, Mr Nkwe said that the diminishing number of taps with water means that villagers have to walk long distances to access water. He stressed that proximity to water is becoming a disillusion to many people and most residents have to travel in search for water. He said that the supply of water by municipalities has to be emphatically intensified and also suggested that willing organisations provide hippo rollers to communities to simplify ferrying of the liquid from source to homes. The rollers make life easier as is witnessed by Seodin residents who received them early this year for the same purpose.
A family of more than ten is sunken in abject poverty in Maruping village and desperately needs helping hands. Mr Joseph Mpoelang is a widower suffering from tuberculosis, but has a wagonful of children and grandchildren looking after him day and night, battling to put something on the table.
A visit by the Kathu Gazette, April 13, 2016 established that the situation in the family is dire and deserves Good Samaritans to intervene.
Recently the family was leased a dilapidated two-roomed structure by a neighbour who witnessed that the frail Mpoelang could not make ends meet in his incomplete structure that packed the whole family in a single room. The offered structure is about 500 metres away from Mr Mpoelang’s where his two daughters Mosetsanagape and Sana now stay with the rest of the children.
These two daughters have three and two daughters respectively including their three siblings. There is no form of income in the family accepts the social grant for the only disabled and the last child for the ailing father. The disabled child (15) has multiple disabilities associated with Down’s syndrome. She is mute, deaf and cannot walk. During the day the ailing father spends the day with his daughters so as to share the little they can get from the community. Asked why they had to repeat the mistake of having many children, the two daughters concurred that they had been promised heaven and earth by their fiancés each time they had a relationship but when pregnancy had been confirmed, their lovers disappeared like summer clouds, a traditional norm in the area.
Four of these children are attending school.
The dilapidated house which the two daughters and the rest of the children call home outside with their ailing father Mr Joseph Mpoelang.