Deprecated: Methods with the same name as their class will not be constructors in a future version of PHP; wp_soundpress_plugin has a deprecated constructor in /home/dh_4f9tdm/elitshanews.org.za/wp-content/plugins/soundpress/soundpress.php on line 107

Warning: session_start(): Cannot start session when headers already sent in /home/dh_4f9tdm/elitshanews.org.za/wp-content/plugins/random-banner/random-banner.php on line 54

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/dh_4f9tdm/elitshanews.org.za/wp-content/plugins/soundpress/soundpress.php:107) in /home/dh_4f9tdm/elitshanews.org.za/wp-content/themes/mh-magazine-lite-child/functions.php on line 29

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/dh_4f9tdm/elitshanews.org.za/wp-content/plugins/soundpress/soundpress.php:107) in /home/dh_4f9tdm/elitshanews.org.za/wp-content/themes/mh-magazine-lite-child/functions.php on line 156
{ "version": "https://jsonfeed.org/version/1.1", "user_comment": "This feed allows you to read the posts from this site in any feed reader that supports the JSON Feed format. To add this feed to your reader, copy the following URL -- https://elitshanews.org.za/en/feed/json -- and add it your reader.", "home_page_url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/en", "feed_url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/en/feed/json", "language": "en-ZA", "title": "Elitsha", "description": "Ubomi bethu, amabali ethu", "icon": "https://i1.wp.com/elitshanews.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/favicon.png?fit=256%2C256&ssl=1", "items": [ { "id": "https://elitshanews.org.za/?p=14849", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/2020/11/26/community-healthcare-workers-march-for-a-minimun-wage-of-r12500/", "title": "Community healthcare workers march for a minimun wage of R12,500", "content_html": "\"\"\n

Community healthcare workers (CHWs) marched to the Western Cape Health Department demanding an end to their exploitation as they are excluded from the protection benefits of permanent staff, continue to work with improper personal protective equipment (PPE) and do not receive a danger allowance.

\n\n\n\n

The National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (NUPSAW), affiliated to the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU), led the CHWs protest march to the WC provincial legislature to hand over their list of demands to Health MEC, Dr. Nomafrench Mbombo.

\n\n\n\n

Starting from the 23rd of November to the 26th, a week-long series of events have been organised to pressure the WC government to comply with the Public Health and Social Development Sectoral Bargaining Council resolution 1 of 2018 (PHSDSBC). This agreement, signed by the Department of Health and representatives of trade unions, entailed the standardisation of a stipend for CHWs.

\n\n\n\n

NUPSAW believes that the continued employment of CHWs by NGOs/NPOs leaves many workers insecure in their daily lives because of the short-term nature of the contracts they are employed under.

\n\n\n\n

Cynthia Tikwayo, a community healthcare worker, said that when she tried to go and apply for a loan last month, she was declined because they said her organisation no longer exists. \u201cI\u2019m still getting payed by this so-called organisation which the Department says I\u2019m employed under, but it no longer exists. My payslips have the \u201cCity of Cape Town\u201d written on them but it\u2019s this very city that doesn\u2019t want to absorb me as a part of the permanent staff.\u201d

\n\n\n\n

Tikwayo believes that NGOs are used as a guise to milk the government for someone\u2019s personal gain: \u201cWhy aren\u2019t we getting any answers? What\u2019s different about the WC? Why can\u2019t we be like Gauteng? [where CHWs have been employed permanently]\u201d she demanded to know.

\n\n\n\n

The workers, many of whom are sole breadwinners, say they cannot negotiate their livelihood with the health department any longer and that they don\u2019t want to continue saving lives at the expense of their own.

\n\n\n\n

Shiela Ngqula from Nyanga (42) has been a care worker for three years after being unemployed for a more than five years. \u201cIt\u2019s painful because the R3,500 is just not enough for the amount of work that we do. We are robbed, harassed and bitten by stray dogs on the way with no compensation. We travel using our own money and still have families to feed; we don\u2019t get any paid leave and are at risk of contracting the illnesses that we help other people to treat,\u201d she said.

\n\n\n\n

Ngqula says she was lucky not to contract the virus on duty but she\u2019s afraid that if she does, her children will be left with nothing: \u201cWhat makes the work we do different from nurses? If I die, my family gets condolences and a nurse\u2019s family gets compensated, but we perform the same duties,\u201d she said.

\n\n\n\n
\"\"
As essential and frontline workers under covid-19, the CHWs say they are not provided with adequate personal protective equipment.
\n\n\n\n

Supported by the South African Care Workers Forum (SACWF), the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), and the Forum for Service Delivery (F4SD), over 100 careworkers gathered outside the provincial legislature to hand over the memorandum.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cWhen our communities in Khayelitsha were filled with people infected with the coronavirus and other illnesses, it was the careworkers who still delivered pills and checked on their patients. It was them who risked their lives traveling to patients in the township. They are the nurses doing the groundwork\u201d said\u00a0Masibulele Zitha, convener of F4SD. Zitha promised long-term support for CHWs in their struggle. \u201cIf the government still doesn\u2019t make a move, we will shut down all the clinics in Khayelitsha, we will walk with you until Nomafrench does something,\u201d she said.

\n\n\n\n

The workers booed health department spokesperson, Douglas Newman-Valentine, when he tried to receive the memorandum explaining that the MEC was not available. \u201cThe MEC acknowledges your presence today and apologises for not being here. She is currently performing her parliamentary duties and is currently not here to be able to receive it. She has asked me to come on her behalf,\u201d said Valentine. The crowd angrily chanted \u201cMbombo must come!\u201d in response, refusing to accept what they perceived as being undermined by her absence.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cThe minister\u2019s absence is a reflection of how much she doesn\u2019t take the issues of healthcare workers seriously because as we all know, it is this government\u2019s stance that you are not their employees irrespective of you carrying out the functions that are the responsibility of the government,” said NUPSAW\u2019s legal officer, Zamuxolo Sonjica to the crowd.

\n\n\n\n

After threatening to sleep outside the health department’s office and chanting for Mbombo to face them, the workers reluctantly handed over the memorandum to Valentine and promised to proceed with further action, should they not receive a response by the 7th of December 2020.

\n", "content_text": "Community healthcare workers (CHWs) marched to the Western Cape Health Department demanding an end to their exploitation as they are excluded from the protection benefits of permanent staff, continue to work with improper personal protective equipment (PPE) and do not receive a danger allowance.\n\n\n\nThe National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (NUPSAW), affiliated to the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU), led the CHWs protest march to the WC provincial legislature to hand over their list of demands to Health MEC, Dr. Nomafrench Mbombo. \n\n\n\nStarting from the 23rd of November to the 26th, a week-long series of events have been organised to pressure the WC government to comply with the Public Health and Social Development Sectoral Bargaining Council resolution 1 of 2018 (PHSDSBC). This agreement, signed by the Department of Health and representatives of trade unions, entailed the standardisation of a stipend for CHWs.\n\n\n\nNUPSAW believes that the continued employment of CHWs by NGOs/NPOs leaves many workers insecure in their daily lives because of the short-term nature of the contracts they are employed under.\n\n\n\nCynthia Tikwayo, a community healthcare worker, said that when she tried to go and apply for a loan last month, she was declined because they said her organisation no longer exists. \u201cI\u2019m still getting payed by this so-called organisation which the Department says I\u2019m employed under, but it no longer exists. My payslips have the \u201cCity of Cape Town\u201d written on them but it\u2019s this very city that doesn\u2019t want to absorb me as a part of the permanent staff.\u201d\n\n\n\nTikwayo believes that NGOs are used as a guise to milk the government for someone\u2019s personal gain: \u201cWhy aren\u2019t we getting any answers? What\u2019s different about the WC? Why can\u2019t we be like Gauteng? [where CHWs have been employed permanently]\u201d she demanded to know.\n\n\n\nThe workers, many of whom are sole breadwinners, say they cannot negotiate their livelihood with the health department any longer and that they don\u2019t want to continue saving lives at the expense of their own.\n\n\n\nShiela Ngqula from Nyanga (42) has been a care worker for three years after being unemployed for a more than five years. \u201cIt\u2019s painful because the R3,500 is just not enough for the amount of work that we do. We are robbed, harassed and bitten by stray dogs on the way with no compensation. We travel using our own money and still have families to feed; we don\u2019t get any paid leave and are at risk of contracting the illnesses that we help other people to treat,\u201d she said.\n\n\n\nNgqula says she was lucky not to contract the virus on duty but she\u2019s afraid that if she does, her children will be left with nothing: \u201cWhat makes the work we do different from nurses? If I die, my family gets condolences and a nurse\u2019s family gets compensated, but we perform the same duties,\u201d she said.\n\n\n\nAs essential and frontline workers under covid-19, the CHWs say they are not provided with adequate personal protective equipment.\n\n\n\nSupported by the South African Care Workers Forum (SACWF), the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), and the Forum for Service Delivery (F4SD), over 100 careworkers gathered outside the provincial legislature to hand over the memorandum. \n\n\n\n\u201cWhen our communities in Khayelitsha were filled with people infected with the coronavirus and other illnesses, it was the careworkers who still delivered pills and checked on their patients. It was them who risked their lives traveling to patients in the township. They are the nurses doing the groundwork\u201d said\u00a0Masibulele Zitha, convener of F4SD. Zitha promised long-term support for CHWs in their struggle. \u201cIf the government still doesn\u2019t make a move, we will shut down all the clinics in Khayelitsha, we will walk with you until Nomafrench does something,\u201d she said.\n\n\n\nThe workers booed health department spokesperson, Douglas Newman-Valentine, when he tried to receive the memorandum explaining that the MEC was not available. \u201cThe MEC acknowledges your presence today and apologises for not being here. She is currently performing her parliamentary duties and is currently not here to be able to receive it. She has asked me to come on her behalf,\u201d said Valentine. The crowd angrily chanted \u201cMbombo must come!\u201d in response, refusing to accept what they perceived as being undermined by her absence.\n\n\n\n\u201cThe minister\u2019s absence is a reflection of how much she doesn\u2019t take the issues of healthcare workers seriously because as we all know, it is this government\u2019s stance that you are not their employees irrespective of you carrying out the functions that are the responsibility of the government,” said NUPSAW\u2019s legal officer, Zamuxolo Sonjica to the crowd.\n\n\n\nAfter threatening to sleep outside the health department’s office and chanting for Mbombo to face them, the workers reluctantly handed over the memorandum to Valentine and promised to proceed with further action, should they not receive a response by the 7th of December 2020.", "date_published": "2020-11-26T13:51:16+02:00", "date_modified": "2020-11-26T13:51:21+02:00", "authors": [ { "name": "Lilita Gcwabe", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/en/author/lilita-gcwabe/", "avatar": "https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/2facb864819707381e5c609b4c9917cd?s=512&d=mm&r=g" } ], "author": { "name": "Lilita Gcwabe", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/en/author/lilita-gcwabe/", "avatar": "https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/2facb864819707381e5c609b4c9917cd?s=512&d=mm&r=g" }, "image": "https://i0.wp.com/elitshanews.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/A-2-1.jpg?fit=2048%2C1365&ssl=1", "tags": [ "Community Careworkers and Coronavirus", "community healthcare workers", "MEC Nomafrench Mbombo", "NUPSAW", "Poor working conditions for careworkers", "SAFTU", "Western Cape Health Department", "Working conditions for healthcare workers", "Cape Town", "Featured", "Labour", "Marginalised workers" ], "summary": "As the outcry by thousands of care workers whose bodies continue to be on the frontline against covid-19 gets louder around the country, their conditions of work remain unchanged. " }, { "id": "https://elitshanews.org.za/?p=14843", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/2020/11/25/despite-landmark-legal-protections-women-continue-to-face-gender-based-violence-in-pandemic-era-tunisia/", "title": "Despite landmark legal protections, women continue to face gender-based violence in pandemic-era Tunisia", "content_html": "\"\"\n

In Tunisia, during the two and a half months of lockdown introduced on 21 March to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the \u20181899 Green Line\u2019 managed by the Ministry of Women, Children and the Elderly rang non-stop. Women were calling the 24-hour, toll-free helpline to report instances of domestic violence at a rate of five times \u2013 sometimes up to nine times \u2013 higher than comparable periods the prior year. \u201cDuring the confinement there was no way to contact other people, there was limited travel, the aggressor and the victim were in the same space and there was no possibility to leave this space,\u201d says Hanen Benzarti, who runs the line. The 1899 line received a total of 6693 calls during the initial phase of total confinement from 22 March until 3 May, mostly reporting verbal, psychological and physical violence. Most calls sought legal advice or just someone to listen to, although many callers required psychological support and help seeking protection.

\n\n\n\n

However, at another domestic violence helpline set up by the national economic and social rights NGO Forum Tunisien pour les Droits Economiques et Sociaux (FTDES), the phone kept ringing \u2013 even after the national curfew (which was gradually lifted after 4 May) came to an end on 8 June. \u201cOur centre received a lot of calls, especially during lockdown, about physical violence and sexual violence. After lockdown, the number of women calling us about economic violence peaked,\u201d says Nawres Mabrouk, who runs the FTDES helpline.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cLots of women have lost their jobs or have not been paid,\u201d she says.

\n\n\n\n

Women have also been burdened with an increase in unpaid care work since the start of the pandemic and a significant increase in household duties, sometimes resulting in the loss of work. \u201cOne woman we spoke to took leave because her mother was sick. When she went back to work she found out she no longer had a job.\u201d

\n\n\n\n

Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the Tunisian economy. According to a government spokesperson consulted by Equal Times, 165,000 jobs were lost during the lockdown period of March to June. This resulted in the permanent loss of 69,300 jobs, although this does not take into consideration the second wave, nor do official employment figures include the 44 per cent of the working population that work informally \u2013 many of whom are women. In addition, GDP fell by 21.6 per cent in the second quarter of 2020, according to the National Institute of Statistics, which describes it as \u201cunprecedented contraction of economic activity\u201d.

\n\n\n\n

As yet there is no data on how women specifically have been affected by job losses, but in some of the sectors where women account for a relatively high percentage of the workforce \u2013 in the hotel and textile industries, for example \u2013 Covid has resulted in widespread company closures and redundancies. Around 100 textile factories have closed since March, and those that remain open are working at reduced capacity, due to the cancellation of orders from Europe. As a result, thousands of women have lost their jobs.

\n\n\n\n

For the women who have managed to keep their jobs, fewer are raising grievances as work becomes ever more scarce. \u201cFear reigns amongst women because of the economic crisis, and often they provide their household\u2019s only income. The pandemic has accelerated exploitation,\u201d says Mounir Hassine, head of FTDES\u2019s branch in the central, coastal city of Monastir. Salma Houerbi, a researcher with the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, agrees: \u201cThere is so much uncertainty about what will happen next, about economic security. If we are talking about a vulnerable worker, would they really risk their job to go and report [violence or harassment]?\u201d

\n\n\n\n

Legal protection undermined by poor implementation

\n\n\n\n

Since gaining its independence from France in 1956, Tunisia has been at the vanguard of women\u2019s rights in the MENA region, becoming the first Muslim country to legalise abortion in 1973, two years before France. Women were central to the 2011 uprising that overthrew the authoritarian rule of President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and Tunisia\u2019s 2014 constitution enshrines women\u2019s equality, commits to working towards gender parity within all elected bodies, and pledges to eliminate violence against women.

\n\n\n\n

According to an April 2020 policy briefing from UN Women, the \u201cprevalence of violence against women was already alarming [before Covid-19] in Tunisia. Some 47.6 per cent of women report having suffered at least one form of violence in their lifetime and one in three women is a victim of domestic violence. In 2017, the Tunisian parliament passed Law 58, the first national law to combat violence against women and girls, which covers physical, emotional, sexual as well as economic violence. However, during the pandemic, women\u2019s access to justice was severely curtailed by the decision to postpone all court proceedings for the duration of the lockdown. This had a major impact on family law and domestic violence cases.

\n\n\n\n

In fact, the increase in domestic violence during the lockdown can be partly explained by the lack of available services, says Ahlem Belhadj, a psychiatrist and secretary general of the doctor\u2019s union, Syndicat des m\u00e9decins, m\u00e9decins dentistes et pharmaciens hospitalo-universitaires, who works on the issue for the women\u2019s rights organisation Association tunisienne des femmes d\u00e9mocratiques (ATFD).

\n\n\n\n

\u201cTunisians are proud to say that we have 126 specialised [police] units on violence against women and children but during the Covid period they were re-deployed and so the number of police working in this area was reduced,\u201d she says, adding that the lockdown also prevented women from travelling to seek help. \u201c[The police] didn\u2019t work on the violence, they were working to police the lockdown.\u201d

\n\n\n\n

Even when women were able to access a service \u2013 such as the police station or the hospital \u2013 they would often be turned away as staff were scared of Covid-19, and violence against women \u201cwasn\u2019t considered as urgent\u201d as the pandemic, says Belhadj. After pressure from civil society, Tunisia\u2019s civil courts once again started accepting cases from May.

\n\n\n\n

The chaos caused by the crisis has also slowed down Tunisia\u2019s progress on ratifying the International Labour Organization\u2019s landmark Convention 190 on eliminating violence and harassment in the world of work. In 2019, Tunisia\u2019s Minister of Social Affairs said that Tunisia would be the \u201cfirst country to ratify C190,\u201d says Naima Hammami, deputy secretary general of Tunisia\u2019s national trade union centre, UGTT, and the first female member of its executive bureau. But Tunisia was beaten to it in June by Uruguay and Fiji, which are so far the only countries to have ratified the historic global treaty which sets international legal standards for preventing and responding to violence and harassment at work. In terms of the Tunisian government\u2019s promise, the project \u201chas been shelved\u201d as the government struggles to stabilise politically and to manage the pandemic. \u201cIt is a crisis situation,\u201d Hammami laments.

\n\n\n\n

However, trade unions are continuing to pile on the pressure for the ratification of C190 with awareness-raising campaigns, by monitoring all cases of violence and harassment in the world of work, pushing for the inclusion of the Convention in collective bargaining agreements, and by preparing and completing periodic reports for the Tunisian government and the ILO, among other measures.

\n\n\n\n

Women health workers on the frontline

\n\n\n\n

During this pandemic, health workers have been on the frontline. Not only do they face a greater risk of catching the virus \u2013 and are stigmatised for this \u2013 but in Tunisia, they are also vulnerable to physical violence and harassment, which disproportionately affects women who are perceived as \u2018easy targets\u2019 and also occupy the bulk of patient-facing jobs. According to research from 2018, in Tunisia, women constitute 50 per cent of doctors, 72 per cent of pharmacy graduates and 64 per cent of nurses.

\n\n\n\n

Violence against medical staff predates the pandemic. According to a 2019 survey of 202 nurses across three Tunis hospitals, 75 per cent of them had experienced aggressive behaviour. But during the first wave of the pandemic, there was a dip in violence against medical staff as all non-emergency hospital care was cancelled and the number of coronavirus cases stayed low due to strict measures put in place by the government, says Donia Remili, a psychologist and researcher at the University of Tunis, who carried out the survey. \u201cMoreover, everyone recognised that carers are \u2018heroes\u2019, so patients became more understanding.\u201d However, during the second wave, certain hospitals, in particular those that lacked resources, saw a rise in violence, says Remili, who considers this to be due to a \u201clack of materials, lack of staff, tension and stress due to the alarmingly rapid propagation of the virus.\u201d

\n\n\n\n

Violence against medical staff is especially common during triage, when patients are waiting to be seen. \u201cWith a pandemic we need to do even more triage between patients, to separate those with the virus, those at risk,\u201d says Jed Henchiri, president of l\u2019Organisation tunisienne des jeunes m\u00e9decins (the Association of Young Doctors).

\n\n\n\n

\u201cPublic services have deteriorated so much that the citizen, when he comes to the hospital and he doesn\u2019t find the service that he needs, he doesn\u2019t attack the state, but he chooses to attack the [innocent] people who are there,\u201d says Belhadj of ATFD, adding that this violence increases in a crisis situation.

\n\n\n\n

In one recent example, a group armed with knives stormed Rabta Hospital in Tunis, assaulted a nurse and a doctor, and destroyed medical equipment, after medical staff failed to resuscitate a 94-year-old patient. Equal Times also spoke to a 33-year-old Tunis-based doctor (who asked not to be named) who says that she was recently part of a rapid-response team that was violently threatened by a group of 10 men when they were called out to the home of a seriously ill patient. \u201cI am often insulted and threatened, but I have never feared for my life like I did this time,\u201d she says.

\n\n\n\n

Gender-based violence is not unique to Tunisia, but as one of the countries that has made such strong legal commitments to combat the issue, activists are calling on the government to make good on its promises \u2013 especially with regards to the ratification of C190. \u201cThe value of the Convention lies in its foundations and its scope to protect workers and persons in the world of work in all sectors,\u201d writes Emna Aouadi, deputy secretary general of the primary school teachers\u2019 union and UGTT\u2019s national office of women workers in a recent article for Education International. \u201cIt also entails prevention. This consists of increasing the awareness of employers, workers and their representatives of workplace harassment and violence and to provide them with an action-oriented framework to identify, prevent and manage problems of harassment and violence at work.\u201d

\n", "content_text": "In Tunisia, during the two and a half months of lockdown introduced on 21 March to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the \u20181899 Green Line\u2019 managed by the Ministry of Women, Children and the Elderly rang non-stop. Women were calling the 24-hour, toll-free helpline to report instances of domestic violence at a rate of five times \u2013 sometimes up to nine times \u2013 higher than comparable periods the prior year. \u201cDuring the confinement there was no way to contact other people, there was limited travel, the aggressor and the victim were in the same space and there was no possibility to leave this space,\u201d says Hanen Benzarti, who runs the line. The 1899 line received a total of 6693 calls during the initial phase of total confinement from 22 March until 3 May, mostly reporting verbal, psychological and physical violence. Most calls sought legal advice or just someone to listen to, although many callers required psychological support and help seeking protection.\n\n\n\nHowever, at another domestic violence helpline set up by the national economic and social rights NGO Forum Tunisien pour les Droits Economiques et Sociaux (FTDES), the phone kept ringing \u2013 even after the national curfew (which was gradually lifted after 4 May) came to an end on 8 June. \u201cOur centre received a lot of calls, especially during lockdown, about physical violence and sexual violence. After lockdown, the number of women calling us about economic violence peaked,\u201d says Nawres Mabrouk, who runs the FTDES helpline.\n\n\n\n\u201cLots of women have lost their jobs or have not been paid,\u201d she says.\n\n\n\nWomen have also been burdened with an increase in unpaid care work since the start of the pandemic and a significant increase in household duties, sometimes resulting in the loss of work. \u201cOne woman we spoke to took leave because her mother was sick. When she went back to work she found out she no longer had a job.\u201d\n\n\n\nCovid-19 has had a devastating impact on the Tunisian economy. According to a government spokesperson consulted by Equal Times, 165,000 jobs were lost during the lockdown period of March to June. This resulted in the permanent loss of 69,300 jobs, although this does not take into consideration the second wave, nor do official employment figures include the 44 per cent of the working population that work informally \u2013 many of whom are women. In addition, GDP fell by 21.6 per cent in the second quarter of 2020, according to the National Institute of Statistics, which describes it as \u201cunprecedented contraction of economic activity\u201d.\n\n\n\nAs yet there is no data on how women specifically have been affected by job losses, but in some of the sectors where women account for a relatively high percentage of the workforce \u2013 in the hotel and textile industries, for example \u2013 Covid has resulted in widespread company closures and redundancies. Around 100 textile factories have closed since March, and those that remain open are working at reduced capacity, due to the cancellation of orders from Europe. As a result, thousands of women have lost their jobs.\n\n\n\nFor the women who have managed to keep their jobs, fewer are raising grievances as work becomes ever more scarce. \u201cFear reigns amongst women because of the economic crisis, and often they provide their household\u2019s only income. The pandemic has accelerated exploitation,\u201d says Mounir Hassine, head of FTDES\u2019s branch in the central, coastal city of Monastir. Salma Houerbi, a researcher with the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, agrees: \u201cThere is so much uncertainty about what will happen next, about economic security. If we are talking about a vulnerable worker, would they really risk their job to go and report [violence or harassment]?\u201d\n\n\n\nLegal protection undermined by poor implementation\n\n\n\nSince gaining its independence from France in 1956, Tunisia has been at the vanguard of women\u2019s rights in the MENA region, becoming the first Muslim country to legalise abortion in 1973, two years before France. Women were central to the 2011 uprising that overthrew the authoritarian rule of President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and Tunisia\u2019s 2014 constitution enshrines women\u2019s equality, commits to working towards gender parity within all elected bodies, and pledges to eliminate violence against women.\n\n\n\nAccording to an April 2020 policy briefing from UN Women, the \u201cprevalence of violence against women was already alarming [before Covid-19] in Tunisia. Some 47.6 per cent of women report having suffered at least one form of violence in their lifetime and one in three women is a victim of domestic violence. In 2017, the Tunisian parliament passed Law 58, the first national law to combat violence against women and girls, which covers physical, emotional, sexual as well as economic violence. However, during the pandemic, women\u2019s access to justice was severely curtailed by the decision to postpone all court proceedings for the duration of the lockdown. This had a major impact on family law and domestic violence cases.\n\n\n\nIn fact, the increase in domestic violence during the lockdown can be partly explained by the lack of available services, says Ahlem Belhadj, a psychiatrist and secretary general of the doctor\u2019s union, Syndicat des m\u00e9decins, m\u00e9decins dentistes et pharmaciens hospitalo-universitaires, who works on the issue for the women\u2019s rights organisation Association tunisienne des femmes d\u00e9mocratiques (ATFD).\n\n\n\n\u201cTunisians are proud to say that we have 126 specialised [police] units on violence against women and children but during the Covid period they were re-deployed and so the number of police working in this area was reduced,\u201d she says, adding that the lockdown also prevented women from travelling to seek help. \u201c[The police] didn\u2019t work on the violence, they were working to police the lockdown.\u201d\n\n\n\nEven when women were able to access a service \u2013 such as the police station or the hospital \u2013 they would often be turned away as staff were scared of Covid-19, and violence against women \u201cwasn\u2019t considered as urgent\u201d as the pandemic, says Belhadj. After pressure from civil society, Tunisia\u2019s civil courts once again started accepting cases from May.\n\n\n\nThe chaos caused by the crisis has also slowed down Tunisia\u2019s progress on ratifying the International Labour Organization\u2019s landmark Convention 190 on eliminating violence and harassment in the world of work. In 2019, Tunisia\u2019s Minister of Social Affairs said that Tunisia would be the \u201cfirst country to ratify C190,\u201d says Naima Hammami, deputy secretary general of Tunisia\u2019s national trade union centre, UGTT, and the first female member of its executive bureau. But Tunisia was beaten to it in June by Uruguay and Fiji, which are so far the only countries to have ratified the historic global treaty which sets international legal standards for preventing and responding to violence and harassment at work. In terms of the Tunisian government\u2019s promise, the project \u201chas been shelved\u201d as the government struggles to stabilise politically and to manage the pandemic. \u201cIt is a crisis situation,\u201d Hammami laments.\n\n\n\nHowever, trade unions are continuing to pile on the pressure for the ratification of C190 with awareness-raising campaigns, by monitoring all cases of violence and harassment in the world of work, pushing for the inclusion of the Convention in collective bargaining agreements, and by preparing and completing periodic reports for the Tunisian government and the ILO, among other measures.\n\n\n\nWomen health workers on the frontline\n\n\n\nDuring this pandemic, health workers have been on the frontline. Not only do they face a greater risk of catching the virus \u2013 and are stigmatised for this \u2013 but in Tunisia, they are also vulnerable to physical violence and harassment, which disproportionately affects women who are perceived as \u2018easy targets\u2019 and also occupy the bulk of patient-facing jobs. According to research from 2018, in Tunisia, women constitute 50 per cent of doctors, 72 per cent of pharmacy graduates and 64 per cent of nurses.\n\n\n\nViolence against medical staff predates the pandemic. According to a 2019 survey of 202 nurses across three Tunis hospitals, 75 per cent of them had experienced aggressive behaviour. But during the first wave of the pandemic, there was a dip in violence against medical staff as all non-emergency hospital care was cancelled and the number of coronavirus cases stayed low due to strict measures put in place by the government, says Donia Remili, a psychologist and researcher at the University of Tunis, who carried out the survey. \u201cMoreover, everyone recognised that carers are \u2018heroes\u2019, so patients became more understanding.\u201d However, during the second wave, certain hospitals, in particular those that lacked resources, saw a rise in violence, says Remili, who considers this to be due to a \u201clack of materials, lack of staff, tension and stress due to the alarmingly rapid propagation of the virus.\u201d\n\n\n\nViolence against medical staff is especially common during triage, when patients are waiting to be seen. \u201cWith a pandemic we need to do even more triage between patients, to separate those with the virus, those at risk,\u201d says Jed Henchiri, president of l\u2019Organisation tunisienne des jeunes m\u00e9decins (the Association of Young Doctors).\n\n\n\n\u201cPublic services have deteriorated so much that the citizen, when he comes to the hospital and he doesn\u2019t find the service that he needs, he doesn\u2019t attack the state, but he chooses to attack the [innocent] people who are there,\u201d says Belhadj of ATFD, adding that this violence increases in a crisis situation.\n\n\n\nIn one recent example, a group armed with knives stormed Rabta Hospital in Tunis, assaulted a nurse and a doctor, and destroyed medical equipment, after medical staff failed to resuscitate a 94-year-old patient. Equal Times also spoke to a 33-year-old Tunis-based doctor (who asked not to be named) who says that she was recently part of a rapid-response team that was violently threatened by a group of 10 men when they were called out to the home of a seriously ill patient. \u201cI am often insulted and threatened, but I have never feared for my life like I did this time,\u201d she says.\n\n\n\nGender-based violence is not unique to Tunisia, but as one of the countries that has made such strong legal commitments to combat the issue, activists are calling on the government to make good on its promises \u2013 especially with regards to the ratification of C190. \u201cThe value of the Convention lies in its foundations and its scope to protect workers and persons in the world of work in all sectors,\u201d writes Emna Aouadi, deputy secretary general of the primary school teachers\u2019 union and UGTT\u2019s national office of women workers in a recent article for Education International. \u201cIt also entails prevention. This consists of increasing the awareness of employers, workers and their representatives of workplace harassment and violence and to provide them with an action-oriented framework to identify, prevent and manage problems of harassment and violence at work.\u201d", "date_published": "2020-11-25T20:42:37+02:00", "date_modified": "2020-11-25T20:42:42+02:00", "authors": [ { "name": "Mzi Velapi", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/en/author/mzi/", "avatar": "https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/08ab54eee21abdd69f223eb42319c3e9?s=512&d=mm&r=g" } ], "author": { "name": "Mzi Velapi", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/en/author/mzi/", "avatar": "https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/08ab54eee21abdd69f223eb42319c3e9?s=512&d=mm&r=g" }, "image": "https://i2.wp.com/elitshanews.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/ET-25-Nov.jpg?fit=1440%2C612&ssl=1", "tags": [ "Coronavirus in the workplace", "Future of work", "Gender and women oppression", "Patriachy", "Tunisia", "Violence against women", "Featured", "Gender", "International" ] }, { "id": "https://elitshanews.org.za/?p=14824", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/2020/11/24/dismissed-workers-not-happy-with-ccma-outcome/", "title": "Dismissed workers not happy with CCMA outcome", "content_html": "\"\"\n

The fifteen workers who were dismissed in January by Desai\u2019s Bakery in Port Elizabeth have written a letter of complaint to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) accusing one of its commissioners of bias against them.

\n\n\n\n

The workers are not amused after the commissioner allegedly refused to consider their evidence against Desai’s Bakery owner, Zaid Desai. The case was heard at the end of September after the workers approached the CCMA for arbitration against the dismissals.

\n\n\n\n

Desai’s bakery, located in Saltville, dismissed 17 workers on 13 January after they asked for a pay rise and improved working conditions. The workers were armed with their old payslips that showed they earned between R13-R14 per hour while Zaid disputed this at the CCMA, saying he was paying them R20 per hour.

\n\n\n\n

Two workers later returned to work after they dropped their cases against the employer. The rest of the workers are from Zimbabwe and Malawi while Shangule Ngcanga is the only South African citizen.

\n\n\n\n

Some of the workers had worked for the bakery for nearly twenty years. They said they are angry that the CCMA agreed with Zaid to pay them each a R1,500 settlement.

\n\n\n\n

They raised a litany of accusations against the commissioner who presided over the case. They said she did not accord them the opportunity to present their case in a free environment and that she favoured Zaid. What weakened their case was the absence of a union or a lawyer to represent the workers.

\n\n\n\n

Ncganga, who is frail and weak from tuberculosis, said the decision had worsened his health. \u00a0\u201cI had high expectations that we would win the case against Zaid given that we had ample and convincing evidence. The decision has taken a knock on my health. I contracted tuberculosis as a result of the poor working conditions at the bakery.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cWe have not been working since we were dismissed in January. What type of evidence did the commissioner want? Our children are starving and we are really desperate for food and money to pay our rents. Zaid has been telling his workers that he is untouchable and that he has money to pay corrupt officials to decide in his favour,\u201d said Ngcanga.

\n\n\n\n

Ngcanga worked for Desai’s Bakery for seventeen years. He said the R1,500 settlement is nothing but a mockery given the number of years he had worked for the company.

\n\n\n\n

Fungai Chawasarira said he is angered by the commissioner after she refused to accept a cellphone voice note of Zaid which they recorded when he was ejecting them out of the bakery\u2019s premises. \u201cI was shocked when the commissioner accepted everything Zaid said. We presented our old payslips that we had kept for many years but she refused to take that as evidence. She even told us that we should accept the R1,500 offer Zaid was presenting.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cThe commissioner allowed only three of us, yet he allowed more than that number for Zaid. Zaid and his security guard were armed with guns. The commissioner said we were earning R20 per hour despite that we told her and even showed her our payslips that we were earning R13 to R14 per hour,\u201d Chawasarira said.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cWe are dismayed by the commissioner\u2019s behaviour. We have all the evidence with us but because we are poor and vulnerable we unfairly lost the case. All of us could not enter the building to corroborate our case because the security guard chased us out.\u201d

\n\n\n\n

Chawasarira said they will write a letter of complaint to the CCMA headquarters complaining about the commissioner. The workers intend taking their case further to the Labour Court.

\n\n\n\n

Malik Austen worked for the bakery for seven years earning R13 per hour. He said he contributed immensely to the growth of the bakery: \u201cWe made Zaid to be what he is now. It is because of our sweat that he now owns a fleet of trucks and has a state of the art bakery. For all those years he was treating us badly and calling us monkeys. I am angry that the commissioner refused to take the payslips and the voice recorder as evidence.\u201d

\n\n\n\n

CCMA Director, Cameron Morajane, urged the former workers to lodge a formal complaint with the organisation. He told Elitsha, \u201cPlease be advised that in terms of section 145 of the Labour Relations Act, a party may apply to the Labour Court on the basis of an alleged defect with a commissioner\u2019s ruling or award within six weeks of the award being served.

\n\n\n\n

” A party is also within their rights to lodge a formal complaint against a commissioner or staff members by sending an email to the following email address complaints@ccma.org.za.”

\n\n\n\n

Zaid Desai said, \u201c Everything was settled at the CCMA. Go and get the correct facts from the CCMA.\u201d

\n", "content_text": "The fifteen workers who were dismissed in January by Desai\u2019s Bakery in Port Elizabeth have written a letter of complaint to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) accusing one of its commissioners of bias against them.\n\n\n\nThe workers are not amused after the commissioner allegedly refused to consider their evidence against Desai’s Bakery owner, Zaid Desai. The case was heard at the end of September after the workers approached the CCMA for arbitration against the dismissals.\n\n\n\nDesai’s bakery, located in Saltville, dismissed 17 workers on 13 January after they asked for a pay rise and improved working conditions. The workers were armed with their old payslips that showed they earned between R13-R14 per hour while Zaid disputed this at the CCMA, saying he was paying them R20 per hour.\n\n\n\nTwo workers later returned to work after they dropped their cases against the employer. The rest of the workers are from Zimbabwe and Malawi while Shangule Ngcanga is the only South African citizen.\n\n\n\nSome of the workers had worked for the bakery for nearly twenty years. They said they are angry that the CCMA agreed with Zaid to pay them each a R1,500 settlement.\n\n\n\nThey raised a litany of accusations against the commissioner who presided over the case. They said she did not accord them the opportunity to present their case in a free environment and that she favoured Zaid. What weakened their case was the absence of a union or a lawyer to represent the workers.\n\n\n\nNcganga, who is frail and weak from tuberculosis, said the decision had worsened his health. \u00a0\u201cI had high expectations that we would win the case against Zaid given that we had ample and convincing evidence. The decision has taken a knock on my health. I contracted tuberculosis as a result of the poor working conditions at the bakery.\n\n\n\n\u201cWe have not been working since we were dismissed in January. What type of evidence did the commissioner want? Our children are starving and we are really desperate for food and money to pay our rents. Zaid has been telling his workers that he is untouchable and that he has money to pay corrupt officials to decide in his favour,\u201d said Ngcanga.\n\n\n\nNgcanga worked for Desai’s Bakery for seventeen years. He said the R1,500 settlement is nothing but a mockery given the number of years he had worked for the company.\n\n\n\nFungai Chawasarira said he is angered by the commissioner after she refused to accept a cellphone voice note of Zaid which they recorded when he was ejecting them out of the bakery\u2019s premises. \u201cI was shocked when the commissioner accepted everything Zaid said. We presented our old payslips that we had kept for many years but she refused to take that as evidence. She even told us that we should accept the R1,500 offer Zaid was presenting.\n\n\n\n\u201cThe commissioner allowed only three of us, yet he allowed more than that number for Zaid. Zaid and his security guard were armed with guns. The commissioner said we were earning R20 per hour despite that we told her and even showed her our payslips that we were earning R13 to R14 per hour,\u201d Chawasarira said.\n\n\n\n\u201cWe are dismayed by the commissioner\u2019s behaviour. We have all the evidence with us but because we are poor and vulnerable we unfairly lost the case. All of us could not enter the building to corroborate our case because the security guard chased us out.\u201d\n\n\n\nChawasarira said they will write a letter of complaint to the CCMA headquarters complaining about the commissioner. The workers intend taking their case further to the Labour Court.\n\n\n\nMalik Austen worked for the bakery for seven years earning R13 per hour. He said he contributed immensely to the growth of the bakery: \u201cWe made Zaid to be what he is now. It is because of our sweat that he now owns a fleet of trucks and has a state of the art bakery. For all those years he was treating us badly and calling us monkeys. I am angry that the commissioner refused to take the payslips and the voice recorder as evidence.\u201d \n\n\n\nCCMA Director, Cameron Morajane, urged the former workers to lodge a formal complaint with the organisation. He told Elitsha, \u201cPlease be advised that in terms of section 145 of the Labour Relations Act, a party may apply to the Labour Court on the basis of an alleged defect with a commissioner\u2019s ruling or award within six weeks of the award being served.\n\n\n\n” A party is also within their rights to lodge a formal complaint against a commissioner or staff members by sending an email to the following email address complaints@ccma.org.za.”\n\n\n\nZaid Desai said, \u201c Everything was settled at the CCMA. Go and get the correct facts from the CCMA.\u201d", "date_published": "2020-11-24T17:20:57+02:00", "date_modified": "2020-11-24T22:30:00+02:00", "authors": [ { "name": "Joseph Chirume", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/en/author/joseph/", "avatar": "https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/faeb72e16b3f95e05d01466665b66a1e?s=512&d=mm&r=g" } ], "author": { "name": "Joseph Chirume", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/en/author/joseph/", "avatar": "https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/faeb72e16b3f95e05d01466665b66a1e?s=512&d=mm&r=g" }, "image": "https://i2.wp.com/elitshanews.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/DSCN0307-scaled.jpg?fit=2560%2C1920&ssl=1", "tags": [ "CCMA", "Desais Bakery", "Racism in the workplace", "Unfair dismissal", "Xenophobia", "Featured", "Labour", "Marginalised workers", "Port Elizabeth" ], "summary": "The workers claim that the CCMA commissioner refused to accept their evidence." }, { "id": "https://elitshanews.org.za/?p=14787", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/2020/11/23/police-fire-teargas-and-rubber-bullets-at-anti-racism-protest-photos/", "title": "Police fire teargas and rubber bullets at anti-racism protest \u2013 photos", "content_html": "\"\"\n

On Friday, over 2,000 people, mainly members of the Economic Freedom Fighters and the Pan African Congress, gathered to protest against racism at Brackenfell High School. This followed allegations of a \u201cWhites only\u201d matric farewell function that was organised by school parents and attended by some teachers. It was this function that triggered the initial protest by the EFF at the school during the first week of November, which ended in fists flying as parents assaulted the seven EFF picketers.

\n\n\n\n
\"\"

The Brackenfell High School entrance was barricaded with barbed wire to keep protesters out and far from the school grounds. Although the High school principal was said to be waiting for the memorandum, matriculants were allegedly moved from the school to write exams at a different venue.
\n\n\n\n
\"\"

Bus 17 was one of the vehicles that transported more than 100 \u201cfighters\u201d from different areas in the Western Cape to Brackenfell High School. Police ordered busses to park more than 500m away from the school
\n\n\n\n
\"\"

Protesters joined hands on their way to meet others before moving together towards the high school to submit their memorandum.
\n\n\n\n
\"\"
The number of protesters marching to the school grew quickly. Some arrived with sticks and stones as symbols of their readiness to battle the predicted violent retaliation by an alleged racist police force. The EFF leadership appointed marshals to assist in leading the group towards the school.
\n\n\n\n
\"\"
Soon after the larger crowd started marching towards the school, the police sprayed copious volumes of a blue coloured liquid from inyala police vehicles that caused a burning, peppery sensation on the skin and started throwing cans of teargas at the marching crowd.
\n\n\n\n
\"\"
Protesters who were huddling together near the gates of a nearby shopping centre, in big groups to protect each other from the burning liquid, were attacked with teargas and chased away from the centre.
\n\n\n\n
\"\"
A \u201cfighter\u201d demanded to know why the police attacked them while they were marching peacefully towards the school. She demanded to know why the police were armed with guns and ordering more force against them since they arrived in peace.
\n\n\n\n
\"\"
The police stood, unshaken over the blood-like residue from the liquid the police were using to spray protesters as they observed their growing number.
\n\n\n\n
\"\"
The police and EFF spokesperson, Vuyani Pambo, argued over the size of the delegation to deliver the memorandum to the school. The EFF wanted the whole group to enter so as not to divide their numbers but the police official maintained that their permit allowed for just 100.
\n\n\n\n
\"\"
An address by EFF leadership was disrupted by a White man who claimed to have a question. The protesters saw this as a disrespectful display of White privilege, and started to physically assault him and chased him out of the crowd. The police dispersed the crowd with rubber bullets and inyala vehicles.
\n\n\n\n
\"\"

Although the protest ended without the submission of the memorandum, protestors believed they had sent a clear message to racists by arriving in their numbers. EFF supporters vowed to return and lead another protest against racism at the school.
\n", "content_text": "On Friday, over 2,000 people, mainly members of the Economic Freedom Fighters and the Pan African Congress, gathered to protest against racism at Brackenfell High School. This followed allegations of a \u201cWhites only\u201d matric farewell function that was organised by school parents and attended by some teachers. It was this function that triggered the initial protest by the EFF at the school during the first week of November, which ended in fists flying as parents assaulted the seven EFF picketers.\n\n\n\nThe Brackenfell High School entrance was barricaded with barbed wire to keep protesters out and far from the school grounds. Although the High school principal was said to be waiting for the memorandum, matriculants were allegedly moved from the school to write exams at a different venue.\n\n\n\nBus 17 was one of the vehicles that transported more than 100 \u201cfighters\u201d from different areas in the Western Cape to Brackenfell High School. Police ordered busses to park more than 500m away from the school\n\n\n\nProtesters joined hands on their way to meet others before moving together towards the high school to submit their memorandum.\n\n\n\nThe number of protesters marching to the school grew quickly. Some arrived with sticks and stones as symbols of their readiness to battle the predicted violent retaliation by an alleged racist police force. The EFF leadership appointed marshals to assist in leading the group towards the school.\n\n\n\nSoon after the larger crowd started marching towards the school, the police sprayed copious volumes of a blue coloured liquid from inyala police vehicles that caused a burning, peppery sensation on the skin and started throwing cans of teargas at the marching crowd.\n\n\n\nProtesters who were huddling together near the gates of a nearby shopping centre, in big groups to protect each other from the burning liquid, were attacked with teargas and chased away from the centre.\n\n\n\nA \u201cfighter\u201d demanded to know why the police attacked them while they were marching peacefully towards the school. She demanded to know why the police were armed with guns and ordering more force against them since they arrived in peace.\n\n\n\nThe police stood, unshaken over the blood-like residue from the liquid the police were using to spray protesters as they observed their growing number.\n\n\n\nThe police and EFF spokesperson, Vuyani Pambo, argued over the size of the delegation to deliver the memorandum to the school. The EFF wanted the whole group to enter so as not to divide their numbers but the police official maintained that their permit allowed for just 100.\n\n\n\nAn address by EFF leadership was disrupted by a White man who claimed to have a question. The protesters saw this as a disrespectful display of White privilege, and started to physically assault him and chased him out of the crowd. The police dispersed the crowd with rubber bullets and inyala vehicles.\n\n\n\nAlthough the protest ended without the submission of the memorandum, protestors believed they had sent a clear message to racists by arriving in their numbers. EFF supporters vowed to return and lead another protest against racism at the school.", "date_published": "2020-11-23T10:06:30+02:00", "date_modified": "2020-11-23T10:06:36+02:00", "authors": [ { "name": "Lilita Gcwabe", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/en/author/lilita-gcwabe/", "avatar": "https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/2facb864819707381e5c609b4c9917cd?s=512&d=mm&r=g" } ], "author": { "name": "Lilita Gcwabe", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/en/author/lilita-gcwabe/", "avatar": "https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/2facb864819707381e5c609b4c9917cd?s=512&d=mm&r=g" }, "image": "https://i1.wp.com/elitshanews.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/A-13.jpg?fit=2048%2C1820&ssl=1", "tags": [ "Brackenfell High", "Brackenfell High School", "Economic Freedom Fighters", "EFF", "PAC", "Pan African Congress", "Racism", "Racism in Cape Town", "Cape Town", "Featured", "Political violence", "Race" ], "summary": "The illusion of South Africa\u2019s rainbow nation has become even more unreal at many ex-model C schools." }, { "id": "https://elitshanews.org.za/?p=14780", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/2020/11/20/zimbabwean-teachers-struggle-against-poverty-continues/", "title": "Zimbabwean teachers\u2019 struggle against poverty continues", "content_html": "\"\"\n

Growing up in Zimbabwe in the early days of independence, it was not unusual when more than half the class of primary school students would shout \u2018Teacher!\u2019 on being asked what they wanted to be. This was because teaching was a respected profession which came with a cool pay-cheque that afforded them a\u00a0dignified and envied lifestyle.

\n\n\n\n

They could afford decent homes and modest vehicles and lived lives worthy of professionals and earned the trust of parents who never doubted them as mentors for their children.

\n\n\n\n

But all that has changed now.

\n\n\n\n

“Teachers have lost their dignity and no one can boast of being a teacher now as the fraternity has just lost its flavour,” says Munyaradzi Masiyiwa, who has been in the profession for the past 11 years.

\n\n\n\n

Second class professionals

\n\n\n\n

Masiyiwa believes the government has relegated teachers to second class professionals despite their very important role of educating the nation.

\n\n\n\n

“The profession has drastically changed; there used to be fair treatment of all government employees but now we experience a situation where others get preferential treatment. Teachers are now treated as second class citizens,” he says.

\n\n\n\n

Educators, he says, are now living like any other ordinary citizens who are struggling to make ends meet, failing to provide even the bare basic requirements for their families.

\n\n\n\n

“I am\u00a0failing to access medical service, cannot afford to take care of my 76-year-old mother, cannot afford to send my kids to school and worse still, cannot adequately feed my family,” he says.

\n\n\n\n

Masiyiwa says while government expects them to be presentable and dress formally at work, the meagre earnings are just not enough to afford decent clothes. “I cannot even afford to meet my daily transport costs for me to go to work,” he adds.

\n\n\n\n

‘Government is humiliating us

\n\n\n\n

A female teacher, whose identity cannot be disclosed, says government is humiliating them with the teachers\u2019 indecent salaries now being published everywhere as the war between the educators and their employer escalates.

\n\n\n\n

“The way the government is publicising our salaries in newspapers and on social media has made us a laughing stock in the community. Our learners no longer wish to be teachers anymore as the profession has become a disgrace,” she says.

\n\n\n\n

Teachers in the country have been in a protracted salary dispute with the government which has seen them withholding their service since the beginning of the year citing incapacitation.

\n\n\n\n

\u00a0Just last week, all teachers\u2019 unions except one rejected a ZWL19,995 package offered by government, insisting on their initial demand of USD520.

\n\n\n\n
\"\"
Teacher unions claim schools in Zimbabwe were closed not only to curb the spread of covid-19 in August but also because of the teachers\u2019 strike for better working conditions. Photo from Facebook
\n\n\n\n

Not enough

\n\n\n\n

Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe [ARTUZ] president, Obert Masaraure, notes the offer by government is far from meeting the day-to-day needs of teachers.

\n\n\n\n

“The total package they announced for this month is inclusive of the bonus, which is more than 50 percent, and the covid-19 allowance, which ends in December, so it means after December the total package will be just\u00a0 ZWL13,850,” says Masaraure

\n\n\n\n

“The average housing cost is USD50 per month, which translates to ZWL4,050, against the housing allowance of ZWL1,247; where will the difference come from?” he asks.

\n\n\n\n

Masaraure further notes that the transport, education and other allowances which form part of the package are pegged at far lower rates than what is prevailing on the ground. “We demand a clear position from the employer on the \u2018future salary\u2019 after the covid-19 allowance is gone and a justification or explanation of how the housing and transport allowances were arrived at,” he says.

\n\n\n\n

Targeted for victimisation

\n\n\n\n

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president, Takavafira Zhou, says while teachers of the period 1985-1990 were dignified, well remunerated and respected professionals, current teachers have fallen from grace to grass.

\n\n\n\n

He says yesteryear teachers were more focused on their work as they had very few worries and had their families well catered for, while today\u2019s teacher is vilified for demanding similar conditions. “Society generally looks down upon teachers and government systematically targets teachers for vilification,” Zhou says.

\n\n\n\n

Continuous hard negotiations needed

\n\n\n\n

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions [ZCTU] secretary general, Japhet Moyo, reckons\u00a0there is need for continuous hard negotiations if the teachers are to bring back previous glory and dignity to the profession.

\n\n\n\n

“One round of negotiations will not bring joy, especially in an inflationary environment. What is missing at the moment is the seriousness by the employer about improving the conditions of employment of its employees,” he says.

\n\n\n\n

Moyo notes that the offer on the table cannot keep pace with increasing costs as wages have been falling back over the years. The ZCTU boss says government needs to stop the use of unorthodox means to cow the restless workers but instead genuinely engage them and meet their demands which will allow them to have decent meals and\u00a0dignified lives.

\n", "content_text": "Growing up in Zimbabwe in the early days of independence, it was not unusual when more than half the class of primary school students would shout \u2018Teacher!\u2019 on being asked what they wanted to be. This was because teaching was a respected profession which came with a cool pay-cheque that afforded them a\u00a0dignified and envied lifestyle.\n\n\n\nThey could afford decent homes and modest vehicles and lived lives worthy of professionals and earned the trust of parents who never doubted them as mentors for their children.\n\n\n\nBut all that has changed now.\n\n\n\n“Teachers have lost their dignity and no one can boast of being a teacher now as the fraternity has just lost its flavour,” says Munyaradzi Masiyiwa, who has been in the profession for the past 11 years.\n\n\n\nSecond class professionals\n\n\n\nMasiyiwa believes the government has relegated teachers to second class professionals despite their very important role of educating the nation.\n\n\n\n“The profession has drastically changed; there used to be fair treatment of all government employees but now we experience a situation where others get preferential treatment. Teachers are now treated as second class citizens,” he says.\n\n\n\nEducators, he says, are now living like any other ordinary citizens who are struggling to make ends meet, failing to provide even the bare basic requirements for their families.\n\n\n\n“I am\u00a0failing to access medical service, cannot afford to take care of my 76-year-old mother, cannot afford to send my kids to school and worse still, cannot adequately feed my family,” he says.\n\n\n\nMasiyiwa says while government expects them to be presentable and dress formally at work, the meagre earnings are just not enough to afford decent clothes. “I cannot even afford to meet my daily transport costs for me to go to work,” he adds.\n\n\n\n‘Government is humiliating us‘\n\n\n\nA female teacher, whose identity cannot be disclosed, says government is humiliating them with the teachers\u2019 indecent salaries now being published everywhere as the war between the educators and their employer escalates.\n\n\n\n“The way the government is publicising our salaries in newspapers and on social media has made us a laughing stock in the community. Our learners no longer wish to be teachers anymore as the profession has become a disgrace,” she says.\n\n\n\nTeachers in the country have been in a protracted salary dispute with the government which has seen them withholding their service since the beginning of the year citing incapacitation.\n\n\n\n\u00a0Just last week, all teachers\u2019 unions except one rejected a ZWL19,995 package offered by government, insisting on their initial demand of USD520.\n\n\n\nTeacher unions claim schools in Zimbabwe were closed not only to curb the spread of covid-19 in August but also because of the teachers\u2019 strike for better working conditions. Photo from Facebook\n\n\n\nNot enough\n\n\n\nAmalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe [ARTUZ] president, Obert Masaraure, notes the offer by government is far from meeting the day-to-day needs of teachers.\n\n\n\n“The total package they announced for this month is inclusive of the bonus, which is more than 50 percent, and the covid-19 allowance, which ends in December, so it means after December the total package will be just\u00a0 ZWL13,850,” says Masaraure\n\n\n\n“The average housing cost is USD50 per month, which translates to ZWL4,050, against the housing allowance of ZWL1,247; where will the difference come from?” he asks.\n\n\n\nMasaraure further notes that the transport, education and other allowances which form part of the package are pegged at far lower rates than what is prevailing on the ground. “We demand a clear position from the employer on the \u2018future salary\u2019 after the covid-19 allowance is gone and a justification or explanation of how the housing and transport allowances were arrived at,” he says.\n\n\n\nTargeted for victimisation\n\n\n\nProgressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president, Takavafira Zhou, says while teachers of the period 1985-1990 were dignified, well remunerated and respected professionals, current teachers have fallen from grace to grass.\n\n\n\nHe says yesteryear teachers were more focused on their work as they had very few worries and had their families well catered for, while today\u2019s teacher is vilified for demanding similar conditions. “Society generally looks down upon teachers and government systematically targets teachers for vilification,” Zhou says.\n\n\n\nContinuous hard negotiations needed\n\n\n\nZimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions [ZCTU] secretary general, Japhet Moyo, reckons\u00a0there is need for continuous hard negotiations if the teachers are to bring back previous glory and dignity to the profession.\n\n\n\n“One round of negotiations will not bring joy, especially in an inflationary environment. What is missing at the moment is the seriousness by the employer about improving the conditions of employment of its employees,” he says.\n\n\n\nMoyo notes that the offer on the table cannot keep pace with increasing costs as wages have been falling back over the years. The ZCTU boss says government needs to stop the use of unorthodox means to cow the restless workers but instead genuinely engage them and meet their demands which will allow them to have decent meals and\u00a0dignified lives.", "date_published": "2020-11-20T17:36:44+02:00", "date_modified": "2020-11-20T17:36:49+02:00", "authors": [ { "name": "Christopher Mahove", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/en/author/christopher-mahove/", "avatar": "https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/938045279b182644a68fcbc67031995d?s=512&d=mm&r=g" } ], "author": { "name": "Christopher Mahove", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/en/author/christopher-mahove/", "avatar": "https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/938045279b182644a68fcbc67031995d?s=512&d=mm&r=g" }, "image": "https://i2.wp.com/elitshanews.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/IMG-20200928-WA0002.jpg?fit=1000%2C750&ssl=1", "tags": [ "Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe", "ARTUZ", "Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe", "Teacher strike", "Working conditions for teachers in Zimbabwe", "Education", "Featured", "International", "Labour" ], "summary": "Teachers' unions in Zimbabwe have rejected the government's latest offer to settle the dispute." }, { "id": "https://elitshanews.org.za/?p=14769", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/2020/11/19/principal-fears-for-his-life-after-accused-of-misusing-funds/", "title": "Principal fears for his life after accused of misusing funds", "content_html": "\"\"\n

Nonkululeko Senior Secondary School in Rwantsana village in Cacadu (formerly Lady Frere) is currently without a school principal after he was accused by parents and community members of misusing school funds.

\n\n\n\n

The principal has not been seen at the school since last month. Grade 12 learners had to be sent to a nearby school for exams. Eastern Cape Department of Education spokesperson, Malibongwe Mtima, said\u00a0 principal, Nkosiyabo Klaas, is alleging that his life is under threat and he is afraid to go to the school.

\n\n\n\n

According to parents of learners at this school, they been paying a R100 a month for two School Governing Body (SGB) teachers. The school has 92 learners from Grades 8 to 12 and seven teachers, and two SGB teachers who assist in Xhosa and English language classes.

\n\n\n\n

Each SGB teacher is paid R2,500 a month while the school collects R9,200 from the learners. However, since the lockdown parents have been struggling to make the payments.

\n\n\n\n

Klaas said problems between him, parents and community members\u00a0 started on 16 October.\u00a0On this day he had called parents for a meeting to discuss the SGB teacher payments. He said while he was preparing to start the meeting a group of young people who called themselves concerned residents\u00a0from the community entered the school unannounced.

\n\n\n\n

He said they demanded the school’s financial books. “They told me to use the money for the infrastructure budget to pay the SGB teachers which I refused,\u201d said Klaas. \u201cIt was when they started swearing at me calling me names accusing me of misusing school funds.\u201d

\n\n\n\n

\u201cI was so scared. I told them I will call a meeting for a financial report but they did not listen,\u201d he said.

\n\n\n\n

Klaas said the community has a record of killing people and he is too scared to return to the school. \u201cNot so long ago three people were killed in that village; I cannot risk my life,\u201d he said. He was referring to a case where three suspected rapists, accused of killing an old woman in the area, were stoned to death and their bodies set alight.

\n\n\n\n

However, parents and community members say that Klaas is running away because he has misused school funds. SGB chairperson, Makhosandile Zono, said a group of young people from the village asked to intervene after there were rumours that the school is to be closed due to the dropping number of learners.

\n\n\n\n

He said the group went to the school to see where they can assist.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cIt\u2019s was then they heard that the school has no money, something which came as a surprise to us because parents have been paying R100 since 2019 and there must be a change,\u201d said Zono. \u201cThey then demanded to see the school’s financial records from 2019.\u201d

\n\n\n\n

Zono said Klaas was given three days to prepare the school financial records but has since not returned to the school. He said the matter was reported to the district but nothing has been done.

\n\n\n\n

Speaking for concerned residents, Phathiswa Hoza said they are disappointed with how the department is handling the matter. She said as young people in the area, they are concerned about the school, starting with its shortage of teachers, the dropping number of learners, the matric pass rate, and infrastructure among other things.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cParents are paying R100 a month and the SGB teachers are paid half of the amount collected from learners\u00a0every month. Lockdown happened, children are at home and parents are struggling to send the money to the school. Remember this money is collected by learners when they are at school. Now the principal is telling us that he has used the school money to pay the SGB teachers and parents must pay it back,\u201d said Hoza.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cNow when we calculate the months starting from the lockdown to now, the amount is going to be too much for parents to pay at once. And they cannot afford it. We then asked the principal what happened to the money left over from 2019 which was paid by parents and why he did not use it to pay these teachers. Secondly, there’s money for maintenance. Since he started as an acting principal in 2019 till now no maintenance has been done in this school.,” said Hoza\u00a0

\n\n\n\n

“Then he told us the school\u00a0 has no money but how? He failed to answer that. Hence we asked him to show us the school financial records from 2019,\u201d she said.

\n\n\n\n

Mtima said as the education department they are not aware of the allegations of misuse of funds. He said the SGB was told to inform parents to write a letter to the department with their complaints.

\n\n\n\n

“The response we received from the SGB was that the community of Rwantsana resolved not to write any letter to the department and they want the principal Mr Klaas, not the department. Under these circumstances, the department is unable to thoroughly investigate and assist without the report from the SGB,\u201d said Mtima.

\n\n\n\n

Adding that the five teachers are enough for the school, he said the school has a duplicate teacher in commercial subjects and they should have utilised the other post for languages.

\n", "content_text": "Nonkululeko Senior Secondary School in Rwantsana village in Cacadu (formerly Lady Frere) is currently without a school principal after he was accused by parents and community members of misusing school funds.\n\n\n\nThe principal has not been seen at the school since last month. Grade 12 learners had to be sent to a nearby school for exams. Eastern Cape Department of Education spokesperson, Malibongwe Mtima, said\u00a0 principal, Nkosiyabo Klaas, is alleging that his life is under threat and he is afraid to go to the school.\n\n\n\nAccording to parents of learners at this school, they been paying a R100 a month for two School Governing Body (SGB) teachers. The school has 92 learners from Grades 8 to 12 and seven teachers, and two SGB teachers who assist in Xhosa and English language classes.\n\n\n\nEach SGB teacher is paid R2,500 a month while the school collects R9,200 from the learners. However, since the lockdown parents have been struggling to make the payments.\n\n\n\nKlaas said problems between him, parents and community members\u00a0 started on 16 October.\u00a0On this day he had called parents for a meeting to discuss the SGB teacher payments. He said while he was preparing to start the meeting a group of young people who called themselves concerned residents\u00a0from the community entered the school unannounced.\n\n\n\nHe said they demanded the school’s financial books. “They told me to use the money for the infrastructure budget to pay the SGB teachers which I refused,\u201d said Klaas. \u201cIt was when they started swearing at me calling me names accusing me of misusing school funds.\u201d\n\n\n\n\u201cI was so scared. I told them I will call a meeting for a financial report but they did not listen,\u201d he said.\n\n\n\nKlaas said the community has a record of killing people and he is too scared to return to the school. \u201cNot so long ago three people were killed in that village; I cannot risk my life,\u201d he said. He was referring to a case where three suspected rapists, accused of killing an old woman in the area, were stoned to death and their bodies set alight.\n\n\n\nHowever, parents and community members say that Klaas is running away because he has misused school funds. SGB chairperson, Makhosandile Zono, said a group of young people from the village asked to intervene after there were rumours that the school is to be closed due to the dropping number of learners.\n\n\n\nHe said the group went to the school to see where they can assist.\n\n\n\n\u201cIt\u2019s was then they heard that the school has no money, something which came as a surprise to us because parents have been paying R100 since 2019 and there must be a change,\u201d said Zono. \u201cThey then demanded to see the school’s financial records from 2019.\u201d\n\n\n\nZono said Klaas was given three days to prepare the school financial records but has since not returned to the school. He said the matter was reported to the district but nothing has been done.\n\n\n\nSpeaking for concerned residents, Phathiswa Hoza said they are disappointed with how the department is handling the matter. She said as young people in the area, they are concerned about the school, starting with its shortage of teachers, the dropping number of learners, the matric pass rate, and infrastructure among other things.\n\n\n\n\u201cParents are paying R100 a month and the SGB teachers are paid half of the amount collected from learners\u00a0every month. Lockdown happened, children are at home and parents are struggling to send the money to the school. Remember this money is collected by learners when they are at school. Now the principal is telling us that he has used the school money to pay the SGB teachers and parents must pay it back,\u201d said Hoza.\n\n\n\n\u201cNow when we calculate the months starting from the lockdown to now, the amount is going to be too much for parents to pay at once. And they cannot afford it. We then asked the principal what happened to the money left over from 2019 which was paid by parents and why he did not use it to pay these teachers. Secondly, there’s money for maintenance. Since he started as an acting principal in 2019 till now no maintenance has been done in this school.,” said Hoza\u00a0\n\n\n\n“Then he told us the school\u00a0 has no money but how? He failed to answer that. Hence we asked him to show us the school financial records from 2019,\u201d she said.\n\n\n\nMtima said as the education department they are not aware of the allegations of misuse of funds. He said the SGB was told to inform parents to write a letter to the department with their complaints.\n\n\n\n“The response we received from the SGB was that the community of Rwantsana resolved not to write any letter to the department and they want the principal Mr Klaas, not the department. Under these circumstances, the department is unable to thoroughly investigate and assist without the report from the SGB,\u201d said Mtima. \n\n\n\nAdding that the five teachers are enough for the school, he said the school has a duplicate teacher in commercial subjects and they should have utilised the other post for languages.", "date_published": "2020-11-19T22:32:39+02:00", "date_modified": "2020-11-19T22:32:44+02:00", "authors": [ { "name": "Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/en/author/nombulelo-damba-hendrick/", "avatar": "https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/48f0591d2117b580ba432ce38d83e663?s=512&d=mm&r=g" } ], "author": { "name": "Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/en/author/nombulelo-damba-hendrick/", "avatar": "https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/48f0591d2117b580ba432ce38d83e663?s=512&d=mm&r=g" }, "image": "https://i1.wp.com/elitshanews.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/rwantsana.jpg?fit=999%2C562&ssl=1", "tags": [ "Cacadu", "Lady Frere", "Misuse of school funds", "Nkosiyabo Klaas", "Nonkululeko Senior Secondary School", "School Governing Bodies", "Crime", "East London", "Eastern Cape", "Education", "Featured" ], "summary": "The school principal abandoned his post after he was accused by parents and community members of misusing school funds." }, { "id": "https://elitshanews.org.za/?p=14751", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/2020/11/18/war-against-women-rages-on-housing-activist-raped-and-murdered/", "title": "War against women rages on: Housing activist raped and murdered", "content_html": "\"\"\n

Dozens of church leaders, activists, community leaders and residents flocked to\u00a0White House Community Hall in Green Point, Khayelitsha, yesterday to commemorate slain activist, Wongeka\u00a0Vimbayo.

\n\n\n\n

Reverend Nkululeko Khubule of United Church in Zion presided over the sombre memorial service. \u201cThe killer is hiding among us and has not yet been found, but the God whom I worship will strike against the murderer,\u201d he said. \u201cHis evil action will backfire on him within 48 hours, and he will die like a dog.\u201d\u00a0

\n\n\n\n

Ward councillor, Thando Pimpi, said it was not the first time that a woman was found dead in Qandu-Qandu informal settlement. \u201cWe dug up a body of a woman during stage three of the lockdown there. We must pull together and fight violence against women,\u201d he said.

\n\n\n\n

Pimpi said residents who have information about the gruesome murder should report it to the police. \u201cIf you are scared of thugs, why don\u2019t you give the information to the police and let them deal with the matter themselves?\u201d he asked.

\n\n\n\n

Social Justice Coalition (SJC) head, Thandokazi Njamela, slammed the cops for failing to track down and arrest Vimbayo\u2019s killer. \u201cThe police have showed that they don\u2019t care about the murder as they have failed to update the family on their investigation on a daily basis,\u201d she said.

\n\n\n\n

Njamela said the police produced post mortem results that were vague. \u201cThe police autopsy could not pinpoint the cause of her death and the time at which she died,\u201d she said.

\n\n\n\n

Vimbayo’s murder is sadly one case among others attended to by the SJC. Mjamela recounted a gruesome scene where a husband murdered his wife and buried her in his yard before taking his own life a few months ago. \u201cWe are moving closer to sixteen days of activism against gender-based violence, but the police are not showing any interest in cases involving violence against women,\u201d she said in a frustrated tone. \u201cRumours are floating around the township about how the murder happened, but the police are not investigating them.\u201d

\n\n\n\n

\u201cSJC members will not rest until we find out who killed Wongiwe,\u201d she said.

\n\n\n\n

Community activist Ntombekhaya Mayongo vowed that she and other residents would take the law into their hands if the police don\u2019t arrest the murderer. \u201cWe are still waiting for the post mortem results. If the results show that she was killed, we will take action against the killer,\u201d she said.

\n\n\n\n

Mayongo said she was worried about the well-being of Vimbayo\u2019s\u00a0 five-year-old daughter. \u201cI feel for her daughter because it will be difficult for her to grow up without her mother,\u201d she said.

\n\n\n\n
\"\"
Ward councillor Thando Pimpi urged those with information regarding the rape and murder to come forward.
\n\n\n\n

Community leader, Monde Mlandu, blamed the escalating violence against women on police failure to patrol in Qandu-Qandu and support a local neighbourhood watch.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cIf the police patrolled in Qandu-Qandu and assisted our neighbourhood watch, the murder would not have happened,\u201d he said.

\n\n\n\n

Mlandu described Vimbayo as a dedicated, outspoken activist who worked hard to ensure that authorities provide basic services in Qandu-Qandu and other areas. \u201cWhen the ward councillor brings chemical toilets and water taps to the community, she would divide them among the residents and ensure that they all have access to them,\u201d he said.

\n\n\n\n

Mandlenkosi Vimbayo said the family received autopsy results, but they find them unconvincing.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cThe police say that she was bitten by rats. We don\u2019t believe that the rats bit her eyes while her body had not yet even started to decompose,\u201d he said.

\n\n\n\n

Mandlenkosi said: \u201cFor the rats to bite her body, she must smell first. Her body was not smelling when we found it in her shack.\u201d

\n\n\n\n

Neliswa Vimbayo said her murdered sister grew up in Ngqushwa in the Eastern Cape and adored her sisters\u2019 kids. \u201cOur kids always knew that their aunt was around to pamper them, but now she is gone,\u201d she said.

\n\n\n\n

Neliswa said her brother peeped through a window and saw Vimbayo naked in her locked shack in Qandu-Qandu. \u201cHe hit her burglar door with a stick to wake her up and attract her attention, but she didn\u2019t respond,\u201d she said.

\n\n\n\n

Neliswa said her brother saw a paraffin stove burning inside her shack and sand on her naked body and noticed that her eyes were gouged out. \u201cShe was not killed inside her shack because the clothes she wore before she was found were not available next to her,\u201d she said.

\n\n\n\n

Neliswa said her family believe that someone who used to visit Vimbayo \u00a0killed her. \u201cHer door was closed but not locked. The killer knew where she normally hid her door keys. The killer put the keys where she usually placed them,\u201d she said.

\n\n\n\n

Vimbayo is survived by her five-year-old daughter.

\n\n\n\n

Western Cape police spokesperson, Captain FC van Wyk said: \u201cA case of murder has been opened for investigation after a body of a 34-year-old woman was found inside a shark in Green point, Khayelitsha, on 2020-11-12.\u201d Detectives are investigating and no arrests have been made.

\n", "content_text": "Dozens of church leaders, activists, community leaders and residents flocked to\u00a0White House Community Hall in Green Point, Khayelitsha, yesterday to commemorate slain activist, Wongeka\u00a0Vimbayo.\n\n\n\nReverend Nkululeko Khubule of United Church in Zion presided over the sombre memorial service. \u201cThe killer is hiding among us and has not yet been found, but the God whom I worship will strike against the murderer,\u201d he said. \u201cHis evil action will backfire on him within 48 hours, and he will die like a dog.\u201d\u00a0\n\n\n\nWard councillor, Thando Pimpi, said it was not the first time that a woman was found dead in Qandu-Qandu informal settlement. \u201cWe dug up a body of a woman during stage three of the lockdown there. We must pull together and fight violence against women,\u201d he said.\n\n\n\nPimpi said residents who have information about the gruesome murder should report it to the police. \u201cIf you are scared of thugs, why don\u2019t you give the information to the police and let them deal with the matter themselves?\u201d he asked.\n\n\n\nSocial Justice Coalition (SJC) head, Thandokazi Njamela, slammed the cops for failing to track down and arrest Vimbayo\u2019s killer. \u201cThe police have showed that they don\u2019t care about the murder as they have failed to update the family on their investigation on a daily basis,\u201d she said.\n\n\n\nNjamela said the police produced post mortem results that were vague. \u201cThe police autopsy could not pinpoint the cause of her death and the time at which she died,\u201d she said.\n\n\n\nVimbayo’s murder is sadly one case among others attended to by the SJC. Mjamela recounted a gruesome scene where a husband murdered his wife and buried her in his yard before taking his own life a few months ago. \u201cWe are moving closer to sixteen days of activism against gender-based violence, but the police are not showing any interest in cases involving violence against women,\u201d she said in a frustrated tone. \u201cRumours are floating around the township about how the murder happened, but the police are not investigating them.\u201d\n\n\n\n\u201cSJC members will not rest until we find out who killed Wongiwe,\u201d she said.\n\n\n\nCommunity activist Ntombekhaya Mayongo vowed that she and other residents would take the law into their hands if the police don\u2019t arrest the murderer. \u201cWe are still waiting for the post mortem results. If the results show that she was killed, we will take action against the killer,\u201d she said.\n\n\n\nMayongo said she was worried about the well-being of Vimbayo\u2019s\u00a0 five-year-old daughter. \u201cI feel for her daughter because it will be difficult for her to grow up without her mother,\u201d she said.\n\n\n\nWard councillor Thando Pimpi urged those with information regarding the rape and murder to come forward.\n\n\n\nCommunity leader, Monde Mlandu, blamed the escalating violence against women on police failure to patrol in Qandu-Qandu and support a local neighbourhood watch.\n\n\n\n\u201cIf the police patrolled in Qandu-Qandu and assisted our neighbourhood watch, the murder would not have happened,\u201d he said.\n\n\n\nMlandu described Vimbayo as a dedicated, outspoken activist who worked hard to ensure that authorities provide basic services in Qandu-Qandu and other areas. \u201cWhen the ward councillor brings chemical toilets and water taps to the community, she would divide them among the residents and ensure that they all have access to them,\u201d he said.\n\n\n\nMandlenkosi Vimbayo said the family received autopsy results, but they find them unconvincing.\n\n\n\n\u201cThe police say that she was bitten by rats. We don\u2019t believe that the rats bit her eyes while her body had not yet even started to decompose,\u201d he said.\n\n\n\nMandlenkosi said: \u201cFor the rats to bite her body, she must smell first. Her body was not smelling when we found it in her shack.\u201d\n\n\n\nNeliswa Vimbayo said her murdered sister grew up in Ngqushwa in the Eastern Cape and adored her sisters\u2019 kids. \u201cOur kids always knew that their aunt was around to pamper them, but now she is gone,\u201d she said.\n\n\n\nNeliswa said her brother peeped through a window and saw Vimbayo naked in her locked shack in Qandu-Qandu. \u201cHe hit her burglar door with a stick to wake her up and attract her attention, but she didn\u2019t respond,\u201d she said.\n\n\n\nNeliswa said her brother saw a paraffin stove burning inside her shack and sand on her naked body and noticed that her eyes were gouged out. \u201cShe was not killed inside her shack because the clothes she wore before she was found were not available next to her,\u201d she said. \n\n\n\nNeliswa said her family believe that someone who used to visit Vimbayo \u00a0killed her. \u201cHer door was closed but not locked. The killer knew where she normally hid her door keys. The killer put the keys where she usually placed them,\u201d she said.\n\n\n\nVimbayo is survived by her five-year-old daughter.\n\n\n\nWestern Cape police spokesperson, Captain FC van Wyk said: \u201cA case of murder has been opened for investigation after a body of a 34-year-old woman was found inside a shark in Green point, Khayelitsha, on 2020-11-12.\u201d Detectives are investigating and no arrests have been made.", "date_published": "2020-11-18T19:49:36+02:00", "date_modified": "2020-11-18T19:49:42+02:00", "authors": [ { "name": "Vincent Lali", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/en/author/vincent-lali/", "avatar": "https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/82fb18cc25405165d03f12699a1cf78b?s=512&d=mm&r=g" } ], "author": { "name": "Vincent Lali", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/en/author/vincent-lali/", "avatar": "https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/82fb18cc25405165d03f12699a1cf78b?s=512&d=mm&r=g" }, "image": "https://i2.wp.com/elitshanews.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/wongeka-memorial-service.jpg?fit=1280%2C959&ssl=1", "tags": [ "Gender and women oppression", "Gender Based Violence", "Land Occupation in Khayelitsha", "Qandu-Qandu", "Rape and murder in Khayelitsha", "Rape and murder in South Africa", "slain land activist", "Social Justice Coalition", "Wongeka Vimbayo", "Cape Town", "Crime", "Gender", "Violence against women" ], "summary": "The memorial service for Wongeka Vimbayo was held in Khayelitsha on Tuesday." }, { "id": "https://elitshanews.org.za/?p=14731", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/2020/11/17/bloody-end-as-members-cut-ties-with-union/", "title": "Bloody end as members cut ties with union", "content_html": "\"\"\n

Former members of the Academic and Professional Staff Association (APSA) at Unisa gave a grim account of how they nearly paid the ultimate price when they cut ties with this union. While they were at the union\u2019s offices in Sunnyside, Pretoria, last month to hand in the resignation letters of about 350 members who felt the union no longer represents their interests, they were told to wait for the general secretary as he alone is authorised to sign resignation forms. They waited unaware of the bloody tussle and scuffle that would soon ensue between them and the office bearers.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cWe thought they were calling the general secretary to come and sign but to our surprise we saw some people who were not part of the union arriving and immediately an argument broke out with the accusation that we are \u2018destroying our union.\u2019 We tried to reason with them that we came in peace and wanted to exercise our rights. They would not listen as they started beating us up. We tried to run away but they overpowered the three of us as they were too many. One of them hit me on my face with a sharp object which looked like a panga. It left a gaping wound and I bled profusely and felt weak,\u201d recounts Mmamoloko Molele, one of the victims who accompanied his colleagues on that fateful day, which led to his wife’s collapse upon hearing the news. He alleges that among the people who took part in the assault was the union\u2019s president, Prof Tshepo Lephakga, and the general secretary, Prof Benjamin Senokoane. \u201cThese are esteemed academics. I never thought they\u2019ll behave like thugs,\u201d he laments.

\n\n\n\n
\"\"
Molele alleges that he was assaulted by the union president among others.
\n\n\n\n

Although a case of assault with intention to cause grievous bodily harm was opened, which is due to sit for a court hearing on the 2nd and 3rd of December, Molele adds he suffered untold injuries to his body and emotions. He still suffers flashbacks since the ordeal. He now has to live with scars on his face. He moreover has escalating medical bills to pay as his medical aid dried up while receiving care at a private hospital.

\n\n\n\n

Dr Rendani Sipho Netanda, the union\u2019s former branch secretary, was also part of the delegation sent to deliver resignations and was also badly assaulted. He says the union officials were infuriated because they were now closing sources of the union’s revenue. \u201cWe could no longer carry on with the union which doesn\u2019t comply and cannot account for its finances,\u201d he says. He adds that APSA’s existence is at the mercy and grace of Unisa. \u201cFor years they failed to hold successful conferences, could not provide audited financial statements and don\u2019t meet the threshold required to sit on the university\u2019s bargaining council.\u201d He says their new union, the Admin Staff and Educators Union (ASEU) is gaining traction and signalling hunger for change.

\n\n\n\n

When contacted to comment on the matter Senokoane confirmed the incident and said the complainants are not their members and that further details will only be divulged in court. \u201cYou\u2019ll understand I can\u2019t speak on this matter as it is before the courts,\u201d he says. Lephakga\u2019s phone rang unanswered.

\n", "content_text": "Former members of the Academic and Professional Staff Association (APSA) at Unisa gave a grim account of how they nearly paid the ultimate price when they cut ties with this union. While they were at the union\u2019s offices in Sunnyside, Pretoria, last month to hand in the resignation letters of about 350 members who felt the union no longer represents their interests, they were told to wait for the general secretary as he alone is authorised to sign resignation forms. They waited unaware of the bloody tussle and scuffle that would soon ensue between them and the office bearers.\n\n\n\n\u201cWe thought they were calling the general secretary to come and sign but to our surprise we saw some people who were not part of the union arriving and immediately an argument broke out with the accusation that we are \u2018destroying our union.\u2019 We tried to reason with them that we came in peace and wanted to exercise our rights. They would not listen as they started beating us up. We tried to run away but they overpowered the three of us as they were too many. One of them hit me on my face with a sharp object which looked like a panga. It left a gaping wound and I bled profusely and felt weak,\u201d recounts Mmamoloko Molele, one of the victims who accompanied his colleagues on that fateful day, which led to his wife’s collapse upon hearing the news. He alleges that among the people who took part in the assault was the union\u2019s president, Prof Tshepo Lephakga, and the general secretary, Prof Benjamin Senokoane. \u201cThese are esteemed academics. I never thought they\u2019ll behave like thugs,\u201d he laments.\n\n\n\nMolele alleges that he was assaulted by the union president among others.\n\n\n\nAlthough a case of assault with intention to cause grievous bodily harm was opened, which is due to sit for a court hearing on the 2nd and 3rd of December, Molele adds he suffered untold injuries to his body and emotions. He still suffers flashbacks since the ordeal. He now has to live with scars on his face. He moreover has escalating medical bills to pay as his medical aid dried up while receiving care at a private hospital.\n\n\n\nDr Rendani Sipho Netanda, the union\u2019s former branch secretary, was also part of the delegation sent to deliver resignations and was also badly assaulted. He says the union officials were infuriated because they were now closing sources of the union’s revenue. \u201cWe could no longer carry on with the union which doesn\u2019t comply and cannot account for its finances,\u201d he says. He adds that APSA’s existence is at the mercy and grace of Unisa. \u201cFor years they failed to hold successful conferences, could not provide audited financial statements and don\u2019t meet the threshold required to sit on the university\u2019s bargaining council.\u201d He says their new union, the Admin Staff and Educators Union (ASEU) is gaining traction and signalling hunger for change.\n\n\n\nWhen contacted to comment on the matter Senokoane confirmed the incident and said the complainants are not their members and that further details will only be divulged in court. \u201cYou\u2019ll understand I can\u2019t speak on this matter as it is before the courts,\u201d he says. Lephakga\u2019s phone rang unanswered.", "date_published": "2020-11-17T15:46:35+02:00", "date_modified": "2020-11-17T16:10:16+02:00", "authors": [ { "name": "Ramatamo Sehoai", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/en/author/ramatamo-s/", "avatar": "https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/6aa923d6a142ebc0b08034b26c79c881?s=512&d=mm&r=g" } ], "author": { "name": "Ramatamo Sehoai", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/en/author/ramatamo-s/", "avatar": "https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/6aa923d6a142ebc0b08034b26c79c881?s=512&d=mm&r=g" }, "image": "https://i2.wp.com/elitshanews.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Bernard-Matsekoleng-e1605622180977.jpg?fit=620%2C620&ssl=1", "tags": [ "Academic and Professional Staff Association", "Admin Staff and Educators Union", "Union rivalry", "Unions in the security sector", "UNISA", "Crime", "Featured", "Johannesburg", "Labour", "Political violence" ], "summary": "The union called in thugs to assault members who had come to its offices to terminate their membership. " }, { "id": "https://elitshanews.org.za/?p=14719", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/2020/11/17/community-care-workers-on-strike-for-permanent-jobs/", "title": "Community care workers on strike for permanent jobs", "content_html": "\"\"\n

Striking\u00a0Eastern Cape community care workers have threatened to continue with their strike next week until the government responds positively to their demands.

\n\n\n\n

A large group of placard waving strikers protested outside the Eastern Cape government\u2019s Amathole District Health Department offices in East London from Wednesday until last Friday.

\n\n\n\n

They have appealed to state President, Cyril Ramaphosa, and Health Minister. Zweli Mkhize. to employ\u00a0them permanently and stop the ongoing discrimination in government\u2019s\u00a0employment processes.

\n\n\n\n

The action\u00a0is\u00a0part of a national protest by\u00a0the National, Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu)\u00a0against what they alleged\u00a0was the\u00a0selective employment of only Gauteng-based community healthcare workers by government. Buyelwa Lavisa, Nehawu\u2019s co-ordinator in the Buffalo City Metropolitan (BCM) area said they embarked on the strike this week to air their discontent over government’s preferential employment of Gauteng-based community healthcare workers and sidelining of those from other provinces.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cWe find it a very distressing matter to discover that our government only considered employing our counterparts from the area up north and discriminated against us, whilst we render a similar service.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cWith this indefinite strike we aim to demand that the authorities also employ us full-time in the same level 3 system as they did with those other Gauteng workers.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cIt feels very unfair to be left out in the cold and discriminated against by those in power when the opportunities we deserved were being rolled out in the same fraternity we belong to,” said Lavisa.

\n\n\n\n

She claimed that Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane, promised to scrutinise the issue when they approached him about it in July but failed to consult them again.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cWe have already submitted several memorandums to Premier Mabuyane and the senior provincial government officials about this issue but we did not hear anything from them again.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cThis week we heard President Ramaphosa announcing the increasing number of covid-19 cases in the province, something which means that we should be in the forefront to battle the infectious virus again and yet we are provided with no full-time jobs or pay increment on the meagre income we earn.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cWe have just been constantly exploited and enjoy no support or benefits from the authorities for the heartfelt dedication we express in our work.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cYou can instead observe that their conduct keeps one hopeless that things will ever come right, and the latest legal developments by the Hawks revealed that state officials have just been illegally pocketing the cash which should be used to compensate us for the sterling work we do as health care workers.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cWe make an appeal to President Ramaphosa and Health Minister Mkhize to have mercy and also provide us with permanent jobs. We deserve it also.

\n\n\n\n

“It has been more than 20 years since we have\u00a0dedicated ourselves and\u00a0contributed with our skills and experience\u00a0to assist the health department,”\u00a0said Lavisa.

\n\n\n\n

She is one of 5,000 community healthcare workers in the Eastern Cape.

\n\n\n\n

The strikers complained that they were\u00a0infuriated\u00a0by the government’s demand for minimum qualifications as they\u00a0rendered services that were\u00a0competent enough\u00a0to qualify for the annual government statistics\u00a0with no complaints received over two decades.

\n\n\n\n

The mostly women strikers said the new requirement was quarrelsome and appears to be just a ploy by the authorities to sideline them. Some moaned that community healthcare has left them devastated, earning peanuts, and unable to afford tertiary education fees for their children.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cWe are disheartened that some of us will soon die, leaving our children with nothing if the government handles us this way,\u201d said an emotional, middle-aged female striker from Duncan Village who claimed to have been in the service for over 20 years.

\n\n\n\n

Thandi Maseti, a 47-year-old mother of four\u00a0delivers her services as a community healthcare worker at Petros Jobane Clinic in Cambridge township, East London, and she says they were always optimistic\u00a0that one day the state will take them on permanently.

\n\n\n\n

\u00a0\u201cAll the time in the past 20 years I worked as a care worker, I expected that we would certainly get permanently\u00a0employed because several senior officials have been promising us that way.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cWe also devoted ourselves to this type of work and even took major life risks. I cannot understand why the state treats us in this manner.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cIt is my utmost wish that they can\u00a0stop the empty promises they have been making and\u00a0take us on in order to compensate us for the wholehearted dedication we have given to the service,\u201d said Maseti.

\n\n\n\n

She claimed that despite testing Covid-19 positive recently, she received no support from her employer.\u00a0

\n\n\n\n

It has been reported that the state recently hired seven more permanent nurses to each of its clinics in the province as one of its new strategies to deal with the covid-19 pandemic.

\n\n\n\n

The majority of healthcare workers assumed that the health department should have instead added the cash allocated for the new nurses\u2019 salaries as an increment to their own payment.

\n\n\n\n

 \u201cWe have exhausted all the relevant channels and declared a dispute with the employer after we reached a stage when we got fed up with their tactics.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cYou must conduct yourselves peacefully and strive in similar actions regardless of the ‘no work, no pay’ threats\u00a0your bosses\u00a0made, in order to achieve better working conditions in future.\u201d said Kenneth Fitoyi, Nehawu\u2019s Eastern Cape organiser. He preached unity amongst the large group of strikers who waved placards outside the Health Department offices in East London.

\n\n\n\n

Siyanda Manana, the Eastern Cape Health Department’s spokesperson said they could not respond on the matter because it is of national concern and therefore must be handled by the bargaining council.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cWe cannot respond on this at this point until we have received some directive from council,\u201d said Manana.\u00a0

\n", "content_text": "Striking\u00a0Eastern Cape community care workers have threatened to continue with their strike next week until the government responds positively to their demands.\n\n\n\nA large group of placard waving strikers protested outside the Eastern Cape government\u2019s Amathole District Health Department offices in East London from Wednesday until last Friday.\n\n\n\nThey have appealed to state President, Cyril Ramaphosa, and Health Minister. Zweli Mkhize. to employ\u00a0them permanently and stop the ongoing discrimination in government\u2019s\u00a0employment processes.\n\n\n\nThe action\u00a0is\u00a0part of a national protest by\u00a0the National, Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu)\u00a0against what they alleged\u00a0was the\u00a0selective employment of only Gauteng-based community healthcare workers by government. Buyelwa Lavisa, Nehawu\u2019s co-ordinator in the Buffalo City Metropolitan (BCM) area said they embarked on the strike this week to air their discontent over government’s preferential employment of Gauteng-based community healthcare workers and sidelining of those from other provinces.\n\n\n\n\u201cWe find it a very distressing matter to discover that our government only considered employing our counterparts from the area up north and discriminated against us, whilst we render a similar service.\n\n\n\n\u201cWith this indefinite strike we aim to demand that the authorities also employ us full-time in the same level 3 system as they did with those other Gauteng workers.\n\n\n\n\u201cIt feels very unfair to be left out in the cold and discriminated against by those in power when the opportunities we deserved were being rolled out in the same fraternity we belong to,” said Lavisa.\n\n\n\nShe claimed that Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane, promised to scrutinise the issue when they approached him about it in July but failed to consult them again.\n\n\n\n\u201cWe have already submitted several memorandums to Premier Mabuyane and the senior provincial government officials about this issue but we did not hear anything from them again.\n\n\n\n\u201cThis week we heard President Ramaphosa announcing the increasing number of covid-19 cases in the province, something which means that we should be in the forefront to battle the infectious virus again and yet we are provided with no full-time jobs or pay increment on the meagre income we earn.\n\n\n\n\u201cWe have just been constantly exploited and enjoy no support or benefits from the authorities for the heartfelt dedication we express in our work.\n\n\n\n\u201cYou can instead observe that their conduct keeps one hopeless that things will ever come right, and the latest legal developments by the Hawks revealed that state officials have just been illegally pocketing the cash which should be used to compensate us for the sterling work we do as health care workers.\n\n\n\n\u201cWe make an appeal to President Ramaphosa and Health Minister Mkhize to have mercy and also provide us with permanent jobs. We deserve it also.\n\n\n\n“It has been more than 20 years since we have\u00a0dedicated ourselves and\u00a0contributed with our skills and experience\u00a0to assist the health department,”\u00a0said Lavisa.\n\n\n\nShe is one of 5,000 community healthcare workers in the Eastern Cape.\n\n\n\nThe strikers complained that they were\u00a0infuriated\u00a0by the government’s demand for minimum qualifications as they\u00a0rendered services that were\u00a0competent enough\u00a0to qualify for the annual government statistics\u00a0with no complaints received over two decades.\n\n\n\nThe mostly women strikers said the new requirement was quarrelsome and appears to be just a ploy by the authorities to sideline them. Some moaned that community healthcare has left them devastated, earning peanuts, and unable to afford tertiary education fees for their children.\n\n\n\n\u201cWe are disheartened that some of us will soon die, leaving our children with nothing if the government handles us this way,\u201d said an emotional, middle-aged female striker from Duncan Village who claimed to have been in the service for over 20 years.\n\n\n\nThandi Maseti, a 47-year-old mother of four\u00a0delivers her services as a community healthcare worker at Petros Jobane Clinic in Cambridge township, East London, and she says they were always optimistic\u00a0that one day the state will take them on permanently.\n\n\n\n\u00a0\u201cAll the time in the past 20 years I worked as a care worker, I expected that we would certainly get permanently\u00a0employed because several senior officials have been promising us that way.\n\n\n\n\u201cWe also devoted ourselves to this type of work and even took major life risks. I cannot understand why the state treats us in this manner.\n\n\n\n\u201cIt is my utmost wish that they can\u00a0stop the empty promises they have been making and\u00a0take us on in order to compensate us for the wholehearted dedication we have given to the service,\u201d said Maseti.\n\n\n\nShe claimed that despite testing Covid-19 positive recently, she received no support from her employer.\u00a0\n\n\n\nIt has been reported that the state recently hired seven more permanent nurses to each of its clinics in the province as one of its new strategies to deal with the covid-19 pandemic.\n\n\n\nThe majority of healthcare workers assumed that the health department should have instead added the cash allocated for the new nurses\u2019 salaries as an increment to their own payment.\n\n\n\n \u201cWe have exhausted all the relevant channels and declared a dispute with the employer after we reached a stage when we got fed up with their tactics.\n\n\n\n\u201cYou must conduct yourselves peacefully and strive in similar actions regardless of the ‘no work, no pay’ threats\u00a0your bosses\u00a0made, in order to achieve better working conditions in future.\u201d said Kenneth Fitoyi, Nehawu\u2019s Eastern Cape organiser. He preached unity amongst the large group of strikers who waved placards outside the Health Department offices in East London.\n\n\n\nSiyanda Manana, the Eastern Cape Health Department’s spokesperson said they could not respond on the matter because it is of national concern and therefore must be handled by the bargaining council.\n\n\n\n\u201cWe cannot respond on this at this point until we have received some directive from council,\u201d said Manana.\u00a0", "date_published": "2020-11-17T00:12:14+02:00", "date_modified": "2020-11-17T00:12:19+02:00", "authors": [ { "name": "Mandla Mnyakama", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/en/author/mandla/", "avatar": "https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/06daec2f92e943fd224f9738317303db?s=512&d=mm&r=g" } ], "author": { "name": "Mandla Mnyakama", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/en/author/mandla/", "avatar": "https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/06daec2f92e943fd224f9738317303db?s=512&d=mm&r=g" }, "image": "https://i1.wp.com/elitshanews.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Health-Care-Workers-Action-BCM_2009.jpg?fit=1024%2C518&ssl=1", "tags": [ "Covid-19 and healthcare workers", "Covid-19 in the Eastern Cape", "Health system in the Eastern Cape", "NEHAWU", "East London", "Eastern Cape", "Featured", "Health", "Labour" ], "summary": "Community healthcare workers are on the frontline in the battle against the covid-19 pandemic, yet in the Eastern Cape are still 'volunteers'. " }, { "id": "https://elitshanews.org.za/?p=14703", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/2020/11/12/in-desperate-search-of-disposal-sites-for-its-nuclear-waste-japan-offers-poisonous-grants-to-two-small-villages/", "title": "In desperate search of disposal sites for its nuclear waste, Japan offers poisonous grants to two small villages", "content_html": "\"\"\n

One morning in September, 87-year-old retiree Masao Takimoto was reading the newspaper in his house in Kamoenai when a news story captured his attention, ruined his day and changed the course of this quiet fishing village on the island of Hokkaido, in northern Japan: the mayor of the village of 822 had agreed to a preliminary study to host a disposal site for highly radioactive nuclear waste, for which the Japanese government would award 2 billion yen (\u20ac16 million, US$19 million) in subsidies.

\n\n\n\n

Mr Takimoto didn\u2019t waste a single minute. He wrote a letter of protest and delivered it by hand to the mayor\u2019s house. Over the following days, he produced and distributed leaflets alerting others to the dangers of the nuclear disposal site and tried to gain access to the meetings that were being hastily held. His journey to activism resulted in tensions and anonymous threats. Ultimately he was unable to stop the mayor from signing on 9 October an application with the Nuclear Waste Management Organisation (NUMO), a quasi-governmental body charged with managing Japan\u2019s radioactive waste.

\n\n\n\n

Meanwhile, just 40 km away, another fishing village of 2,900 inhabitants quickly mobilised to prevent their mayor from volunteering for the same study. Suttsu, 40 per cent of whose inhabitants are over 65 years old, announced in August its interest in applying for the large subsidy to combat depopulation.

\n\n\n\n

Haruo Kataoka, 71, the town\u2019s mayor since 2001, has been accused of ignoring civil society groups, national anti-nuclear organisations, fishers\u2019 associations, leaders of neighbouring municipalities, the think tank CEMIPOS and even the governor of Hokkaido. The region, a major source of fishing and agricultural resources, has an ordinance opposing nuclear waste in its territory.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cWe want to vote on the proposal. We\u2019re worried about our fishing industry. If nuclear waste is stored here and there are problems in the future, we won\u2019t be able to protect the environment or our jobs,\u201d says Toshihiko Yoshino, a fishing entrepreneur in Suttsu. Yoshino processes and sells the local specialty, oysters, young sardines and anchovies. On 10 September, with a group of residents both young and old, he founded the organisation \u2018No to Nuclear Waste for the Children of Suttsu.\u2019 They collected signatures to request a referendum. On the eight day they launched a campaign to implement it, in collaboration with civil groups in the region. Their efforts were in vain: the mayor signed the application in Tokyo the following day. The previous morning, a Molotov cocktail exploded at the mayor\u2019s house, an incident that left no one injured.

\n\n\n\n

Someone broke the bicycle that Junko Kosaka, 71, was using to hand out leaflets against the nuclear disposal site. She has been a member of the opposition in the Suttsu council for nine years and laments the tension and discord between neighbours. \u201cThe village has no financial problems. There are fishing companies and profitable sales of fish. We receive a large budget from Japanese citizens who support rural areas through the Hometown Tax scheme.\u201d She was surprised by the age of NUMO\u2019s managers, all of whom are elderly, and believes that young people should decide their own future. \u201cI would like the managers to reflect, to rethink nuclear energy. We are a country of disasters.\u201d

\n\n\n\n

Emptying villages and poor employment prospects

\n\n\n\n

Japan is the world\u2019s fourth largest producer of nuclear power after the United States, France and China. Distributed across the archipelago, 54 reactors generated 30 per cent of electricity until 2011. Despite having shut down the majority of reactors following the fatal accident of Fukushima, Japan\u2019s commitment to nuclear energy remains firm, though not without controversy. Nine reactors are still in operation and 18 are waiting to be reactivated to generate 20 per cent of the country\u2019s electricity in 2030.

\n\n\n\n

Since 2002, the government has been looking for a location for a permanent geological repository, concrete structures at least 300 metres below ground that will store radioactive waste for millennia so as not to affect life and the environment. Desperate to solve a global and irreversible problem of the nuclear age, Japan is offering subsidies to encourage localities to host the repository. Small villages with declining populations and uncertain futures are attracted by the promise of money and jobs. The first phase will consist of two years of feasibility research. For the following phase, a four-year preliminary geological investigation, villages will receive an additional 7 billion. The final phase will consist of digging and the construction of the underground facility, a process that will last 14 years.

\n\n\n\n

But where is the waste? \u201cIt cools off in overflowing pools while time runs out,\u201d say many frustrated opponents of nuclear energy in Japan.

\n\n\n\n

For decades Japan has been shipping tons of spent fuel to France and England for reprocessing, but the resulting radioactive waste must be returned to the country of origin for disposal by the IAEA. Japan only has a temporary repository (between 30 and 50 years \u2013 and half of that time is already up) in the village of Rokkasho, but 40,000 highly polluting cylinders are waiting for a permanent storage (the construction of which could take at least 20 years). The central government must also find storage for low-intensity waste occupying the equivalent of eight Olympic-size swimming pools. Every time a power plant operator uses gloves, a suit or tools, the earth fills with rubbish that contaminates for generations. France, Belgium, Sweden and Spain already have disposal sites for several centuries and Finland has just opened a permanent site in one of the oldest rock formations in Europe.

\n\n\n\n

In 2007, the city of Toyo asked to enter the preliminary study but soon backed out after facing strong local opposition. In 2017, the central government released a map of potentially suitable sites. It ruled out sites near active volcanoes and fault lines, as well as areas with recent seismic activity. A wide area of Suttsu and a small portion of Kamoenai are seen to be favourable. Both locations are very close to the Tomari nuclear power plant, which is currently inactive.

\n\n\n\n

The residents of Suttsu turned to experts for help. On 2 October, Hideyuki Ban, co-director of the Citizens\u2019 Nuclear Information Centre came to the town with a renowned geologist to provide information to residents. According to the nuclear expert: \u201cThere is no space for the nuclear repository in Suttsu. We have to reclaim land from the sea and there hasn\u2019t been enough research. Our country is not a geologically stable territory.\u201d He says that 200 people attended the seminar, including the mayor \u201cwho must have already made the decision.\u201d Is it safe? \u201cIt is not safe, there could be leaks. Currently there is no appropriate technology in the world for handling radioactive waste. The only way to reduce it is to shut down the plants.\u201d So what should be done with the waste? \u201cMore research should be done and it should be buried using deep borehole disposal at more than 3,000 metres below the earth\u2019s surface.\u201d

\n\n\n\n

A debated that is not promoted

\n\n\n\n

Nobody in Kamoenai wants to talk to the press. By mid-morning, the boats have returned and the women are cleaning the salmon for sale. There are empty houses and closed businesses which have seen better days. In the main street, an imposing building is under construction: the new town hall, just opposite the old one. \u201cI\u2019m an employee of the town hall and I\u2019m not authorised to respond,\u201d says one young woman. \u201cI\u2019m not an expert, I can\u2019t give an opinion,\u201d says a young man. \u201cI don\u2019t want to talk, I could lose my job,\u201d says a worried woman. \u201cWe have the power plant nearby and nothing bad has ever happened,\u201d says another evasively.

\n\n\n\n

Takimoto is the only person willing to speak out without fear: \u201cIt\u2019s an obscure and cowardly process, nothing is transparent. The political administration is stifling the voices of the people. It\u2019s strange that the most important thing, safety, isn\u2019t being mentioned. We have to think about future dangers.\u201d

\n\n\n\n

\u201cThe government claims that it will be safe for years to come, that\u2019s their argument. But should we believe it? The experts say the opposite. Just this year, on the 75th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I was reading testimonies that made me cry. I have seen the effects of radiation on patients. I don\u2019t want the children of Fukushima or of my village to suffer from it. We have to imagine a village without a nuclear power station or nuclear waste and that\u2019s what I\u2019m going to dedicate myself to,\u201d he adds.

\n\n\n\n

\u201cI\u2019ve been booed at local meetings, but there are people who support me in secret. Many of them pretend to be in favour but deep down they\u2019re not. They don\u2019t speak out for fear of losing their jobs, like the relatives of plant employees.\u201d Takimoto refuses to give up. He has offered his experience in the health sector as a resource to help revitalise the town through projects such as medical tourism, but he has been unable to prevent the application from going through.

\n\n\n\n

The Japanese government has welcomed the two locations (Kamoenai and Suttsu) and NUMO\u2019s president expressed gratitude \u201cfor the courageous step\u201d. The Minister of Industry said that they \u201cwill do their best to win the support of the people.\u201d But the governor of Hokkaido has firmly stated that he will oppose the second phase. Those who oppose the disposal site fear that receiving the subsidies will make it difficult to back out due to government pressure. According to local journalists Chie Yamashita and Yui Takahashi of the Mainichi Shinbun: \u201cWithout going into whether or not applying is the right thing to do, there needs to be a debate about the management of radioactive waste and the process of selecting a location.\u201d Everyone consulted for this article is calling for a national debate, which the government has not yet set in motion.

\n\n\n\n

Some residents, like Takimoto, continue to protest: \u201cNo to nuclear waste. Life is more important than money.\u201d On the poster, a baby dreams of a world and an ocean without pollution.

\n", "content_text": "One morning in September, 87-year-old retiree Masao Takimoto was reading the newspaper in his house in Kamoenai when a news story captured his attention, ruined his day and changed the course of this quiet fishing village on the island of Hokkaido, in northern Japan: the mayor of the village of 822 had agreed to a preliminary study to host a disposal site for highly radioactive nuclear waste, for which the Japanese government would award 2 billion yen (\u20ac16 million, US$19 million) in subsidies.\n\n\n\nMr Takimoto didn\u2019t waste a single minute. He wrote a letter of protest and delivered it by hand to the mayor\u2019s house. Over the following days, he produced and distributed leaflets alerting others to the dangers of the nuclear disposal site and tried to gain access to the meetings that were being hastily held. His journey to activism resulted in tensions and anonymous threats. Ultimately he was unable to stop the mayor from signing on 9 October an application with the Nuclear Waste Management Organisation (NUMO), a quasi-governmental body charged with managing Japan\u2019s radioactive waste.\n\n\n\nMeanwhile, just 40 km away, another fishing village of 2,900 inhabitants quickly mobilised to prevent their mayor from volunteering for the same study. Suttsu, 40 per cent of whose inhabitants are over 65 years old, announced in August its interest in applying for the large subsidy to combat depopulation.\n\n\n\nHaruo Kataoka, 71, the town\u2019s mayor since 2001, has been accused of ignoring civil society groups, national anti-nuclear organisations, fishers\u2019 associations, leaders of neighbouring municipalities, the think tank CEMIPOS and even the governor of Hokkaido. The region, a major source of fishing and agricultural resources, has an ordinance opposing nuclear waste in its territory.\n\n\n\n\u201cWe want to vote on the proposal. We\u2019re worried about our fishing industry. If nuclear waste is stored here and there are problems in the future, we won\u2019t be able to protect the environment or our jobs,\u201d says Toshihiko Yoshino, a fishing entrepreneur in Suttsu. Yoshino processes and sells the local specialty, oysters, young sardines and anchovies. On 10 September, with a group of residents both young and old, he founded the organisation \u2018No to Nuclear Waste for the Children of Suttsu.\u2019 They collected signatures to request a referendum. On the eight day they launched a campaign to implement it, in collaboration with civil groups in the region. Their efforts were in vain: the mayor signed the application in Tokyo the following day. The previous morning, a Molotov cocktail exploded at the mayor\u2019s house, an incident that left no one injured.\n\n\n\nSomeone broke the bicycle that Junko Kosaka, 71, was using to hand out leaflets against the nuclear disposal site. She has been a member of the opposition in the Suttsu council for nine years and laments the tension and discord between neighbours. \u201cThe village has no financial problems. There are fishing companies and profitable sales of fish. We receive a large budget from Japanese citizens who support rural areas through the Hometown Tax scheme.\u201d She was surprised by the age of NUMO\u2019s managers, all of whom are elderly, and believes that young people should decide their own future. \u201cI would like the managers to reflect, to rethink nuclear energy. We are a country of disasters.\u201d\n\n\n\nEmptying villages and poor employment prospects\n\n\n\nJapan is the world\u2019s fourth largest producer of nuclear power after the United States, France and China. Distributed across the archipelago, 54 reactors generated 30 per cent of electricity until 2011. Despite having shut down the majority of reactors following the fatal accident of Fukushima, Japan\u2019s commitment to nuclear energy remains firm, though not without controversy. Nine reactors are still in operation and 18 are waiting to be reactivated to generate 20 per cent of the country\u2019s electricity in 2030.\n\n\n\nSince 2002, the government has been looking for a location for a permanent geological repository, concrete structures at least 300 metres below ground that will store radioactive waste for millennia so as not to affect life and the environment. Desperate to solve a global and irreversible problem of the nuclear age, Japan is offering subsidies to encourage localities to host the repository. Small villages with declining populations and uncertain futures are attracted by the promise of money and jobs. The first phase will consist of two years of feasibility research. For the following phase, a four-year preliminary geological investigation, villages will receive an additional 7 billion. The final phase will consist of digging and the construction of the underground facility, a process that will last 14 years.\n\n\n\nBut where is the waste? \u201cIt cools off in overflowing pools while time runs out,\u201d say many frustrated opponents of nuclear energy in Japan.\n\n\n\nFor decades Japan has been shipping tons of spent fuel to France and England for reprocessing, but the resulting radioactive waste must be returned to the country of origin for disposal by the IAEA. Japan only has a temporary repository (between 30 and 50 years \u2013 and half of that time is already up) in the village of Rokkasho, but 40,000 highly polluting cylinders are waiting for a permanent storage (the construction of which could take at least 20 years). The central government must also find storage for low-intensity waste occupying the equivalent of eight Olympic-size swimming pools. Every time a power plant operator uses gloves, a suit or tools, the earth fills with rubbish that contaminates for generations. France, Belgium, Sweden and Spain already have disposal sites for several centuries and Finland has just opened a permanent site in one of the oldest rock formations in Europe.\n\n\n\nIn 2007, the city of Toyo asked to enter the preliminary study but soon backed out after facing strong local opposition. In 2017, the central government released a map of potentially suitable sites. It ruled out sites near active volcanoes and fault lines, as well as areas with recent seismic activity. A wide area of Suttsu and a small portion of Kamoenai are seen to be favourable. Both locations are very close to the Tomari nuclear power plant, which is currently inactive.\n\n\n\nThe residents of Suttsu turned to experts for help. On 2 October, Hideyuki Ban, co-director of the Citizens\u2019 Nuclear Information Centre came to the town with a renowned geologist to provide information to residents. According to the nuclear expert: \u201cThere is no space for the nuclear repository in Suttsu. We have to reclaim land from the sea and there hasn\u2019t been enough research. Our country is not a geologically stable territory.\u201d He says that 200 people attended the seminar, including the mayor \u201cwho must have already made the decision.\u201d Is it safe? \u201cIt is not safe, there could be leaks. Currently there is no appropriate technology in the world for handling radioactive waste. The only way to reduce it is to shut down the plants.\u201d So what should be done with the waste? \u201cMore research should be done and it should be buried using deep borehole disposal at more than 3,000 metres below the earth\u2019s surface.\u201d\n\n\n\nA debated that is not promoted\n\n\n\nNobody in Kamoenai wants to talk to the press. By mid-morning, the boats have returned and the women are cleaning the salmon for sale. There are empty houses and closed businesses which have seen better days. In the main street, an imposing building is under construction: the new town hall, just opposite the old one. \u201cI\u2019m an employee of the town hall and I\u2019m not authorised to respond,\u201d says one young woman. \u201cI\u2019m not an expert, I can\u2019t give an opinion,\u201d says a young man. \u201cI don\u2019t want to talk, I could lose my job,\u201d says a worried woman. \u201cWe have the power plant nearby and nothing bad has ever happened,\u201d says another evasively.\n\n\n\nTakimoto is the only person willing to speak out without fear: \u201cIt\u2019s an obscure and cowardly process, nothing is transparent. The political administration is stifling the voices of the people. It\u2019s strange that the most important thing, safety, isn\u2019t being mentioned. We have to think about future dangers.\u201d\n\n\n\n\u201cThe government claims that it will be safe for years to come, that\u2019s their argument. But should we believe it? The experts say the opposite. Just this year, on the 75th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I was reading testimonies that made me cry. I have seen the effects of radiation on patients. I don\u2019t want the children of Fukushima or of my village to suffer from it. We have to imagine a village without a nuclear power station or nuclear waste and that\u2019s what I\u2019m going to dedicate myself to,\u201d he adds.\n\n\n\n\u201cI\u2019ve been booed at local meetings, but there are people who support me in secret. Many of them pretend to be in favour but deep down they\u2019re not. They don\u2019t speak out for fear of losing their jobs, like the relatives of plant employees.\u201d Takimoto refuses to give up. He has offered his experience in the health sector as a resource to help revitalise the town through projects such as medical tourism, but he has been unable to prevent the application from going through.\n\n\n\nThe Japanese government has welcomed the two locations (Kamoenai and Suttsu) and NUMO\u2019s president expressed gratitude \u201cfor the courageous step\u201d. The Minister of Industry said that they \u201cwill do their best to win the support of the people.\u201d But the governor of Hokkaido has firmly stated that he will oppose the second phase. Those who oppose the disposal site fear that receiving the subsidies will make it difficult to back out due to government pressure. According to local journalists Chie Yamashita and Yui Takahashi of the Mainichi Shinbun: \u201cWithout going into whether or not applying is the right thing to do, there needs to be a debate about the management of radioactive waste and the process of selecting a location.\u201d Everyone consulted for this article is calling for a national debate, which the government has not yet set in motion.\n\n\n\nSome residents, like Takimoto, continue to protest: \u201cNo to nuclear waste. Life is more important than money.\u201d On the poster, a baby dreams of a world and an ocean without pollution.", "date_published": "2020-11-12T16:00:50+02:00", "date_modified": "2020-11-11T16:48:30+02:00", "authors": [ { "name": "Mzi Velapi", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/en/author/mzi/", "avatar": "https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/08ab54eee21abdd69f223eb42319c3e9?s=512&d=mm&r=g" } ], "author": { "name": "Mzi Velapi", "url": "https://elitshanews.org.za/en/author/mzi/", "avatar": "https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/08ab54eee21abdd69f223eb42319c3e9?s=512&d=mm&r=g" }, "image": "https://i1.wp.com/elitshanews.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/ET-12-Nov-2020.jpg?fit=1440%2C612&ssl=1", "tags": [ "Ageing Population", "Disasters", "Enviroment and climate change", "Future of work", "Health and Safety", "Japan", "Pollution", "Crime", "Featured", "Health", "International", "Landless" ] } ] }