Learners take to the streets

By Ramotswedi Rammutla July 8, 2020

Mahikeng: Learners at Kgobokoe High School in Tsetse Village Mahikeng on Wednesday, July 8 started protesting due to what they say is lackey following of COVID 19 school protocol as well as oppression from school management and the SGB on standing issues and grievance.

Learners have said that COVID 19 regulations as set by the department of education are not sufficiently implemented at the school. This resulted in them writing a petition to request that the school follows all protocols. This includes sanitization when learners enter the school premises and regular intervals of disinfection of premises and classrooms. Learners fear infections as schools in Mahikeng continue to report cases. The learners were seen on the street picketing holding signs that said “Our lives Matter” after they were removed from school premises by police.

According to student leadership they had tried to reach out to management, who did not want to listen on Monday. They submitted a petition to raise their issues which subsequently led to a protest on Wednesday. The learners intend to send their grievances to the Department of Education as well as SAPS giving the school until Monday, July 13 to deal with the issues, or they will go on a full-on strike.

 “They do not want to wear the masks, social distance, write exams, they are not prepared to learn. They stay outside and when we try to reprimand them and explain what the regulation expects from them, they say we are oppressing them” said Mariam Magano, a teacher at Kgobokoe High School in Tsetse Village.

“We need to reach out to these learners because I think the pressure is mounting and they don’t know how to deal with the situation. The reality being that we are faced with curriculum challenges the more they waste time, the more we lose valuable academic progress,” added Magano.

“We want classes to be sanitized every hour and want hands free sanitizer dispensers or people who handle the sanitizing of hands. These things are not hygienic one leaner touches the bottle before they sanitize, then another does the same” said a learner who spoke anonymously due to fear of victimization.

“All learners should be tested and screened at the school we don’t know who has the virus here and might be spreading it” added another learner.

“As a school we had intended to get the hands- free dispensers, but could not afford one for each class, as they are expensive at around seven hundred each. We were renovating the school just before lockdown and depleted most of our resources and have no capacity thus we opted for bottles. The classes are disinfected in the morning before use and after school.” added Principal Makgamathe.

“The reality is, this is a difficult time for all of us, because for some reason they think we are also not scared of the virus; we are really doing our best to try help these learners but they don’t listen. We resolved their issues yesterday and they have new ones today. We as teachers tried our best to solve the situation but this problem is bigger than us. Some parents come here and don’t want to put on masks, the issues are in the community” added Johannes Madileng a teacher at the school.

Lesedi Mokgosi, murder suspect remanded in prison

By Ramotswedi Rammutla July 6, 2020

Mahikeng: The Mogwase magistrate court on July 06 remanded in custody, forty year old Akanyang Rakodi the primary suspect in the murder of Khumoentle Lesedi Mokgosi to allow him to get legal representation until July 14. He will also face additional charges of theft and possession of suspected stolen goods. 

He was apprehended on Friday, July 3rd at Goo-Mokgatle Section in Dinokana village outside Zeerust during a crime intelligence driven operation by a multi-disciplinary team comprising of Bojanala District and Zeerust Task Teams as well as Provincial Traffic. During the arrest, the suspect was found in possession of deceased’s bank card as well as recently bought goods such as clothes, car battery and liquor. A preliminary investigation revealed that Mokgosi’s bank card was used to withdraw cash from Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in Northam and Zeerust. Furthermore, the team managed to recover Mokgosi’s two cell phones.

The life science educator at Makoba Secondary school started teaching in 2019 after graduating from the North West University. Mokgosi’s lifeless body was found on Monday, June 29 at Magong village near Mogwase, where she was renting by neighbours and members of the School Governing Body (SGB). They had been worried after she failed to report for duty. Her deceased, lifeless body was found with hands and feet tied, with strangulation as the suspected cause of death.

Khumoentle Lesedi Mokgosi was laid to rest in Madibogo Village near Mahikeng on Saturday July 4th.

Ditsobotla warns against land grabs

By Ramotswedi Rammutla July 06, 2020

Ditsobotla: The Ditsobotla Local Municipality recently warned residents about the continued land grabs occurring in the municipality. This follows the development of a new settlement in a portion of land called Lovedale which lies between Boikhutso and Shukran locations outside the CBD.

“The municipality wishes to advise residents of Boikhutso and the surrounding areas, that the land which is alleged to be a new settlement, is in essence an illegal settlement. The Municipality has neither authorized nor approved on-going activities on the Lovedale land” said the statement.

The municipality further warned that procedures and protocols are followed when awarding any piece of land for any purpose; “What is happening currently at Lovedale, does not conform to the standard procedure and protocol to award land for purposes of residential and or business occupation or any other purpose deemed fit”. 

The ailing municipality said that occupation on Lovedale land is illegal and that nobody was authorized nor delegated by the Municipality to facilitate the awarding of stands, neither a Councillor nor municipal employee.  

“Therefore, the Municipality hereby distances itself from the illegal activities of occupation on the land outside its established protocols. The Municipality further calls on the residents of Boikhutso and surrounding areas to reject the misleading information instigating occupation of land illegally.

Open and public processes are followed by the Municipality as and when disposing land for any use.   The Municipality calls on any persons with information regarding the people involved in this regrettable and unfortunate activity, to report such to the Municipality” concluded the statement.

Pressure mounts as schools re-open

By Ramotswedi Rammutla July 5, 2020

Mahikeng: The COVID 19 pandemic continues to rage on as numbers of infections increase in South Africa. Though the country has been lauded as one of the best in Africa in terms of the mitigation of the virus within its borders; tensions continue to mount in many sectors of society.

The return of learners to school has been met with different views from unions, civil society groups, parents, teachers, learners and communities at large. This resulted in the amendments to the phased approach initially announced by the Department of Basic Education.

In light of this, the department announced that only grade R, 6 and 11 will be allowed to return to facilities. This was adding to the grade 7 and 12 that returned at the beginning of June.

“We will adjust the re-opening phases based on the risk-adjusted strategy which is a considered attempt to balance our approach to school re-opening taking into account all factors that affect the work we do. We are guided in this by an observation of the rising numbers of community transmissions throughout the country.  We recognize that schools are based in communities and learners live in the same affected communities and therefore a careful balancing act must be maintained,” said Minister Angie Motshekga.

The new calendar will see the school year extended until December 15 with only seven days of school holidays, this to try rescue the already compromised academic year. Learners and teachers who have been at home since March are starting to feel the pressure. The reality being that the uncertainty surrounding the corona virus has caused confusion on what and how this should work.

This as the department has recorded over 100 cases in its schools this includes teachers, learners and school management.The rest of the grades are expected to be phased during the month of July in a differentiated approach within the stipulated time frames as per the gazette of June 29 as published by the Minister.

EFF want Mojaki charged

By Ramotswedi Rammutla July 4, 2020

Mahikeng: The EFF in Ngaka Modiri Molema Region has called for implementation of the Public Protector’s remedial actions. This follows investigated allegations of maladministration, corruption, nepotism, fruitless and wasteful expenditure and purging of staff by former Municipal Manager of the Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality Mokgele Mojaki.

“As per the recommendations of the Public Protector amongst others the Speaker of the Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality was instructed to institute civil proceedings against Mr. Mojaki for the recovery of all moneys lost by the Municipality as a result of his ineptitude and abuse of authority in respect of his conduct on non-disclosure of his relationship and subsequent awards of a property valuation contract to Bokone Bophirima Properties and the E-markets contract for branding 35 municipal vehicles, Take urgent steps to investigate and review employment contracts of staff members appointed by Mojaki and take urgent steps to recover 185% rapid escalation in salaries increase within a period of 12 months authorised by Mojaki” said the statement.

The EFF further wants clarity on the implementation of the suggested remedial actions “The remedial actions have not been set aside by any court of law and the Municipality has also not complied with them, furthermore the council resolved that the Speaker must submit to the Public Protector an implementation plan in respect of the remedial actions within 30 days and also submit a progress report within 90 days which the Speaker equally chose to ignore and throw in the dustbin” added the statement.

The EFF intends to take the municipality to court over the non compliance; we “will approach a court of law to enforce the Municipality to fully comply with the Remedial Actions of the Public Protector and failure to do so to apply consequences management to the Municipality. The EFF will ensure that no individual nor institution disrespect any Chapter 9 institution under our watch by not implementing its Remedial Actions that are binding” concluded the statement.

SANCO condemns gender based violence

By Ramotswedi Rammutla July 3, 2020

Moretele: The South African Civic Organisation SANCO in the North West Province has expressed dissatisfaction about the rising cases of gender based violence. The organisation said in a statement that it was appalled and saddened by the brutal killing of “a woman in ward 03, Moretele Local Municipality. It is alleged that the woman’s partner, Paul Mahlangu hacked her to death on Saturday, 27 June 2020 using an axe (phanga) and left her lifeless body with their helpless 5 year-old child. Subsequent to the murder of his girlfriend, Mahlangu hung himself on the same day and his body was found on Monday, 29 June 2020” said the statement from Provincial Secretary SibongileMulauzi.

SANCO Provincial Chairperson, Nki Manamela has urged community members to be each other’s protectors and report any form of violence to law enforcement. ”Gender-based violence continues to rear its ugly head in our communities and is unacceptable. Women and children are our primary concern and we plead with everyone, including the relatives of victims to speak up on abuse. Police should also prioritize the safety of victims at all times when they report such incidents as an alarming number of women feel unsafe and unprotected when reporting their perpetrators”.

DA in Ramotshere Moiloa rejects salary increases for Councillors and officials

By Ofentse Letlape July 03, 2020

Ramotshere: The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Ramothsere Moiloa Municipality has opposed a proposed 4% salary increases for Councillors and municipal officials. Pointing towards “the current economic instability and subsequent uncertainty brought by years of poor governance, compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic, calls on municipalities to restrict budgets and redirect funding towards the needs of residents” said the statement.

The municipality has been under Section 139(1)9b) administration since May 2018;“but the provincial intervention has not yielded any significant improvements in financial management or service delivery. The municipality is unable to fulfil its monthly financial obligations, revenue collection dropped from between R1.7 million – R3.5 million per month to a mere R200 000 for the months of April and May 2020” added the statement.

“Negotiations to honour the municipality’s agreement to settle the R50 million Eskom debt is underway and if no agreement is reached soon, Eskom intends to suspend electricity supply. The proposed salary increases for councillors and officials backdate to June last year, can go a long way towards settling the Eskom debt.

Politicians and municipal officials cannot continue to reward themselves with salary increases and bonuses while failing to fulfil their obligation of restoring good governance and improving service delivery” the DA reiterated.

Double murder devastates Mahikeng family

By Ofentse Letlape July 2, 2020

Mahikeng: Nothing could have prepared the Ndabambi family for two deaths at the same time, especially not when the origin of those is a family member’s actions. But now this family is preparing for a double funeral. The Ndabambis lost 24-year-old Boitumelo Ndabambi and her cousin 27-year-old Molwantwa Ndabambi recently in Signal Hill village in Mahikeng in the North West.

Molwantwa stabbed his uncle with a knife while the family was having supper on Friday evening. His cousin Boitumelo tried to stop him, but Molwantwa stabbed her to death. Sibongile said while they were trying to see how badly Boitumelo was stabbed, Molwantwa went outside the yard and within no time community members reacting to the incident attacked him until he died of his injuries. The uncle survived with a minor injury. Their deaths left Boitumelo’s mother Sibongile Ndabambi with an unbearable pain. She said even though they were cousins, the bond they had for one another was stronger than anyone else’s.

“I still cannot believe what happened. They had just arrived from their grandmother in the Free State and they died the same day,” Sibongile said. Sibongile said Molwantwa was diagnosed with schizophrenia three years ago.”He was under treatment. We do not know what triggered him. He acted out of the blue,” she said.What bothered the family were messages circulating on social media with people making up stories about Boitumelo and Molwantwa’s deaths.

“Some said it was gender-based violence, some say Molwantwa was an ex-convict. There was nothing like that. They were both my children,” said Sibongile. The family said despite his illness Molwantwa managed to complete his Civil Engineering degree at the Central University of Technology in Bloemfontein. The family said her sister Boitumelo was also a bright student who graduated with a BCom Law degree from University of the Free State and was studying towards an LLB at the same institution.

Football to resume fixture

By Ramotswedi Rammutla July 1, 2020

Mahikeng: As world sports resume training and matches in July the local Premier Soccer League, PSL which resumed training recently is expected back in full force with closed venue fixtures. This after Minister of Arts, Culture and Sport, Nathi Mthethwa, announced the resumption of the football matches. Matches may resume after three months with North West also earmarked to host teams and fixtures.

Mthethwa said PSL plans have been approved, considering the mitigation strategies and plans in relation to the Level 3 risk adjusted strategy in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The plans have further been subject to analysis by health authorities, the NICD (National Institute of Communicable Diseases), who have recommended that the measures put in place by the organisation meet and in some instances exceed the required protocol for a safe return to training and to play in a biologically safe environment,” he said.

The league was halted in March, with Kaizer Chiefs on top of the log with 48 points, followed by defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns behind by just four points. Black Leopards was at the bottom of the league table. The Nedbank Cup was also in the semi-final stage when play was stopped due to COVID-19. The news of the return of PSL matches come a day after two Kaizer Chiefs players tested positive for the virus. Bloemfontein Celtic also confirmed that one of its players tested positive.

The South African Football Association (SAFA) welcomed the return to soccer training and matches.

“The green light from the Minister means the work on the implementation of the document can start,” SAFA said in a statement. SAFA has appointed Chief Medical Officer, Dr Thulani Ngwenya, as the Compliance Officer to oversee the appropriate implementation of the whole process and that everything on the protocol document is adhered to.“Once the return to training meets all the requirements and the biological safe environment has been identified as stipulated in the protocol, the second part of the return to play kicks in…” added SAFA.

 

Enough with unannounced load shedding

By Ofentse Letlape July 1, 2020

Mahikeng: Residents of Mahikeng villages in the North West have criticized Eskom for the power outages that happen in their areas unannounced. Villagers in Ramatlabama, Lorwaneng and Lomanyaneng villages expressed their frustrations about the power cuts that have been happening every evening for weeks now.

They said their electrical appliances got damaged when electricity is restored. Leboy Leshomo from Lorwaneng village said he’s angry that Eskom has never given reasons for power outages in their villages.

“Exactly at 5pm every day there are power cuts that will end around 10pm at night. And when power returns it damages our electrical appliances. Not so long ago I had to fix my television because of the electricity that comes and goes.”

“This week is the 4th week that we are experiencing power cuts and we have never heard any explanation. So we are calling on Eskom and government to tell them that we have had enough of these power cuts,” Leshomo said.

“The problem is they happen without warning in the mornings, then in the evenings, sometimes even twice in one day. I am a student at the North West University studying from home and have to submit online, when the power goes down, so does the cell phone towers we use to access online resources. This has caused me not to submit on time at times; and gets frustrating if you had not known when it will occur. This includes important communication as we lose all connectivity” said Masego Sello in Ramatlabama.

Keamogetse Mokgatla of Lomanyaneng village said power cuts are costing them dearly. “I’m really concerned because the power cuts happen every day and around that time some of us are at work we can’t switch off our electrical appliances. They get damaged and even our food gets rotten in the freezer. Eskom must really make a plan and see how it solves this issue,” Mokgatla said.

But Eskom’s manager in the North West, Ezekiel Baruti, said the power outages are caused by pressure triggered by illegal connections. “The power outages are caused by overloading as a result of customers drawing electricity at the same time, while other customers have connected electricity illegally, others tempered with the meters and others are using ghost electricity. And overloading is also caused by customers who have undeclared backrooms that are not registered with Eskom and are drawing a lot of power,” said Baruti.

Meanwhile, Eskom has urged all community members to report any unsafe and illegal power conditions or connections that they come across by calling 08600 ESKOM (37566). These include exposed electrical wiring, low-hanging cables, and illegal connections, vandalised electrical equipment such as substations and exposed electrical cables due to theft or vandalism.

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