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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 right to adequate housing is one of the most important basic human rights. It speaks to the restoration of dignity to the millions of South Africans who have been marginalised for centuries and who still suffer from the legacy of the previous government’s selective development.

 A housing subsidy is a grant by government to qualifying beneficiaries for housing purposes. One of the Department of Human Settlement areas of responsibility in the delivery of human settlements relates to the bottom-most end of the market, where it provides housing subsidies to the poor. This is where the bulk of the housing backlog exists, affecting mainly those who earn below R3 500 a month.

On 17 February 2017 the premier of Northern Cape Miss Sylvia Lucas was accompanied by top provincial government officials to hand over a house to Mrs. Trooi Koopman (103) in Olifantshoek. The premier said that taking care of the elderly is one of their missions as government to ensure that they are well taken care of. After engaging with councillors in Olifantshoek and Gamagara municipality executives, the premier concluded that there is a need for Mrs. Koopman to be awarded a shelter urgently as her living conditions were not relevant to someone of her age. “It was not an easy task to pull off. I had to personally attract different stake holders to come on board and make them understand the need of erecting this beautiful house for Gogo Koopman. I am grateful it paid off, but this is not the end, we are still going to make sure that we build more houses for our people”, said Miss Lucas. The house is fully furnished and the premier promised to personally engage with the minister of Communication Miss Faith Mthembu to make sure that Gogo is the first person to enjoy the benefits of a set-top box TV system.

Mrs. Koopman has been a resident of Olifantshoek for more than half a century and she had lived with her seven children in uncomfortable living circumstances for so many years. Five of her children have already passed on. Gogo Koopman is currently facing unbearable health conditions, she can not walk, see and her speech can not be clearly heard. Despite her health conditions, Gogo could not hold back her excitement after the news was shared that she will own a new house. “I am very happy about the house. I do not have words to describe my happiness, I can not believe I will now own a new house after so many years of destitute and suffering. I would like to thank government for giving me this wonderful gift I will forever cherish’, said Gogo Koopman.

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.

 

Learners across all the schools in Kathu made a special occasion of Valentine’s day. Grade 8 learners from Curro Kathu had a magnificent  Valentine’s ball. (Photograph : Bella Photography) Top heart : Two young learners from Sishen Intermediate Mine School. (Photograph : Fifi Moshaoa) See lots more Valentine’s photographs below.

 

About 300 residents of Siya-themba - the newly developed residential area for the relocated former residents of Dingle-ton, staged a protest in front of Kum-ba Iron Ore's resettlement project office situated in Siyathemba on Sunday 12 March 2017. The resi-dents demanded answers from the management of the project. 

On 08 February, the community and the management of the project met at the Siyathemba hall to iron out some of the challenges amongst the two parties. The meeting was postponed to 12 February at 14:00 due to unforeseen circumstances. It was anticipated that Mr. Tebogo Sejake and Mr. George Maluleka from the resettlement project will attend the meeting in order to iron out the differences.

On Sunday 12 March 2017 the residents took to the streets and barricaded the road with burning tyres and stones and various other objects after the officials from Kumba failed to appear at the meeting. The protesters were singing struggle songs and mobilized themselves to monitor all movements on the roads. 

The angry mob said that they are tired of the empty promises from Kumba. They warned that if they (Kumba) do not avail themselves, then Siyathemba will become a ghost town. One source told Kathu Gazette that they will hold Mr. Sejake hostage till their demands are given attention.

Some protestors said that they are worried about the allocation of funds and the RDP houses, saying that they want clarity on when they are going to be compensated the money Kumba promised. The protest was monitored by heavily armed policemen.

A case of assault was opened after one of the protesters assaulted the reporter of the Kathu Gazette. 

Legit store in the Kathu Village Mall, was pronounced the best performing outlet in the Edcon group for 2016.

Representatives from head office from the Edcon group held the Edcon Laduma draw on 24 January 2017 at the mall. The lucky winner, who is one of the Legit employees, walked away with a brand new Volkswagen Up. Both Margaret Christiaans, the store manager and Henrietta Van Wyk the administration manager were selected by the Edcon head office to participate in the draw.

CEO Mr Andy Jury said that they are delighted with the outstanding performance of the store during the festive season as it is a very important period for the retailers. He added that it is their obligation as management to ensure their employees are satisfied and motivated in order to produce excellent performance.

Supported and cheered up by her family and colleagues, the winner of the car, Margaret Christiaans, could not hold her tears for joy after having been declared a winner. “I am very excited to have been awarded this precious present, it is an indescribable feeling. I would sincerely like to thank my work mates for the hard work they put in to make sure we are ranked one of the top performing Legit stores in the country. I would like to express my gratitude to the top management of the Edcon group for making sure we are well taken care of as employees”, said a teary Margaret.  

 

CEO Andy jury, Margaret Christiaans and Nathan Fowler Chain manager. Edcon head office represantatives.

Baie inwoners van Kathu het verlede week omtrent rondgeskarrel toe dit aan die lig kom dat die Gamagara plaaslike munisipaliteit sekere voorafbetaalde kragmeters moet onvang. Dit was spesifiek die meters waarvan die nommer begin met PT1. Daar is glo n nuwe kontrak met n nuwe verskaffer gesluit en die laaste dag wat die ou veskaffer voorasbetaalde krag sou verskaf was 28 Februarie 2017. Dan moes inwoners reeds 'n nuwe kragmeter onvang het... Maar so eenvoudig was dit nie. Alhoewel betroubare bronne aandui dat daar reeds in September 2017 besluit is om van die nuwe verskaffer gebruik te maak , het Jan en San Publiek dit eers verlede week te hore' gekom. Paniek en pandemonium het uitgebreek onder die inwoners toe die nuus aan die lig kom. Die Gamagara munisipaliteit is omtrent oorstroom van die ergerlike inwoners wat hul name op 'n lys gaan sit het om so gou moontlik n nuwe meter te bekom. Die werklike chaos het egter op 01 Maart 2017 posgevat toe inwoners nie meer voorafbetaalde krag vir di ou meter kon koop nie en nuwe meters nog nie by jul huise geinstalleer is nie. Party mense het dae afgevat by hul werke om tuis te wees wanneer die nuwe meter geinstalleer moet word. Ander het weer gekla dat hul eenhede op was en hul nie nog kon koop nie. Toe begin die rillerstories van bloed wat by die vrieskaste uitloop, sake ondernemings wat in die donker sit, elektriese mediese toerusting wat nie gebruik kon word en dagvaardigins, dagvaardigins en nog dagvaardigins. Hoekom kom die publiek toe eers daarvore te hore? Dit is die vraag op almal se lippe. Sekerlik moes daar n gladde oorgangsfase gewees het? As gevollg van die werkslading is onafhanklike kontrakteurs ingebring om te help met die vervsnging van die meters. Die munisipaliteit se eie elektrisiens kon egter om die een of ander rede hand bysit nie. Onskuldige munisisipale werkers is oorval met klagtes asook beledigings. Intussen het die Demokratiese Alliansie se Melinda Hattingh, MPL en die DA se Kiesafdelinghoof vir die Kalahari in 'n media vrystelling gedateer 03 Maart 2017 bekend gemaak dat die DA opdrag gegee het aan regsadviseurs om regstappe te neem teen die Gamagara munisipaliteit direk verantwoordelik vir die ongerief en verliese wat inwoners nou moet verduur wie se meters nog nnie omgeskakel is nie.

 

The first day of big school is always an exciting day for new grade one learners. These little faces belong to new grade one learners at Sishen Primary School in Kathu.  Photographs : Fifi Moshaoa

Die kalahari Country Club het weer op 04 Maart 2017 n baie suksesvolle fees aangebied. Daar is heerlik gekuier onder die bome met hope stalletjies, eetgoed, kompetisies en vermaak.

The Democratic Alliance is concerned about the local  Gamagara municipality’s poor waste management practices and its inability to keep the town clean and tidy. In the residential area of Mapoteng, mountains of refuse are a common sight, posing a serious environmental threat (photograph). The Kathu Gazette approached the muncipality for comment which is due to appear next week. Photograph : Fifi Moshaoa

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