Miss SA 2020 to launch online mental health initiative

Miss SA 2020 to launch online mental health initiative

Wits graduate and Miss South Africa 2020 Shudufhadzo Musida will on Monday evening launch her online mental health initiative #MindfulMondays. It will be hosted in conjunction with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG).

The launch will be on Musida’s Instagram page.

Musida – who announced that she would be focusing on raising awareness around mental health when she took the Miss South Africa crown in October last year – will speak to various experts on a diverse range of topics related to mental health awareness Monday evenings at 7pm.

Her first guest will be clinical psychologist and SADAG board member, Zamo Mbele.

Their discussion will include the difference between mental health and mental illness; mental health statistics in South Africa; how it affects people; what are some of the different types of mental health issues; who treats them; what resources are available and how COVID 19 has affected people’s mental health.

Young South Africans have taken to social media, commending Musida for making good on her promise.

End of an era as Greyhound hits a cul-de-sac

End of an era as Greyhound hits a cul-de-sac

Johannesburg long distance commuters and students hoping to make their way to Park Station to catch the Greyhound bus ahead of the new semester and those travelling back home in coming months for the Easter break will have to make other arrangements.

On Wednesday, the Luxury passenger coach, Greyhound, announced that it will be closing its doors this month.

Its subsidiary, Citiliner, is also expected to stop all operations on Valentine’s Day.

It is unclear what drove the company to shut its doors after 37 years of service.

Union federation, Cosatu, has described the move as regrettable. 

The trade union federation’s spokesperson, Sizwe Pamla, says many families will be left without an income.

Pamla says this is proof that South Africa needs a reliable, sustainable and integrated transport system.

The Democratic Alliance has called on Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula, to hold talks with the company in a bid to avert the shutdown.

Newly-formed political formation, Abantu Batho Congress, has expressed concern about the lack of explanation on Greyhound’s demise.

The organisation says the company’s fall signifies the urgency to rescue South Africa from business and government created societal corruption.

“Unitrans Holdings (PTY) Ltd that operated and owned the Greyhound bus service, amongst others, a wholly owned subsidiary of KAP International Holdings a company that is also a shareholder at Steinhof, where in turn, KAP also holds 25.9% shares. A rather bizarre arrangement, especially when one considers the very complex and mixed up business interests held by Steinhoff across several industries. The concentration of assets by Steinhoff in retail, manufacturing, logistics and other sectors, is placing many jobs at risk across South Africa, this would certainly be worsened by the COVID 19 pandemic,” it says.

The organisation adds that: “Now, terrible as this loss of the Greyhound bus service may be, the real tragedy lies in the loss of complete governance and controls at Steinhoff and the subsequent lack of action and recourse against Steinhoff by South African authorities, namely the Hawks.”

According to the company’s website, Greyhound services close to a million passengers a year, while Citiliner carries half a million a year. 

Some of its customers have taken to social media to pay homage to the company that’s made their travel bearable over the years.

Wits in bid to create evolution crises prediction system

Wits in bid to create evolution crises prediction system

The University of the Witwatersrand has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with York University in Canada.

The memorandum seeks to lead to the creation of the Africa-Canada Artificial Intelligence Data Modelling Consortium.

The consortium will create algorithms based on Artificial Intelligence to predict the evolution of crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, with which to help policymakers and the public manage complex situations.

Wits Vice chancellor, Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, and Professor Rhonda Lenton from York University virtually signed the memorandum on Wednesday night.

Professors Jian-hong Wu from York University and Bruce Mellado from Wits University will co-chair the modelling consortium.

Professor Mellado elaborates on the initiative in the clip below.

Mabuza urges unity in fight against GBV

Mabuza urges unity in fight against GBV

Deputy President, David Mabuza, wants South Africans to join hands in the fight against gender-based violence and femicide.

Mabuza officially launched the five days of mourning for femicide victims and the remembrance of South Africans who have lost their lives due to COVID-19 at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Gauteng, today.

“The whole nation must rise, and mobilise every street, every community, every church, and every family to join the fight against the murder, and violation of women and children by men. Many lives of women and children have been lost as a result of Gender-Based Violence and Femicide in our own communities,” he says.

As the country continues to grapple with the scourge – the Deputy President says COVID-19 has also caused unprecedented disruptions and anxieties that are significantly impacting the lives and livehoods of all South Africans.

“While we have made significant strides in containing the COVID-19 pandemic, we are saddened that, as a nation, we have lost many lives as a result of COVID-19. Many families have lost their relatives who have succumbed to COVID-19. We have lost frontline workers who died in the line duty, paying the ultimate sacrifice, while trying to save the lives of others from COVID-19,” he says.

More than 21 000 South Africans have succumbed to the illness, while 772 252 others are infected.

“COVID-19 continues to be part of our lives. We should continue to be vigilant, and ensure that we continue adhere to COVID-19 protocols. The reported rising number of infections remains a major cause for concern for all of us. We should continue to behave responsibly to save lives, and avoid any possible resurgence of COVID-19 infections that may result in further loss of lives.”     

Mabuza has called on all South Africans to wear a black armband or any other sign that signifies mourning during the five days.

“During this period, the National Flag will be flown at half-mast throughout the country from 6am to 6pm,” he says. 

Yesterday, Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, launched the Inter-Ministerial Committee on gender-based violence campaign in Pretoria.

Nkoana-Mashabane called on South Africans not to turn a blind eye when it comes to gender-based violence.

Also yesterday, Minister of Police Bheki Cele revealed that 8 000 rape cases were reported to the police in the second quarter of 2020.

Cele said the majority of women were raped in their homes or at the homes of perpetrators.

Wits University student, Wendy Manjeya, has called on the Police Minister to dig deeper in solving the crisis.

VOW FM listener, Palesa Mohlamme, says 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children hasn’t solved the gender issues that are crippling the country.

Women’s financial dependence on men is one of the factors cited as reasons for them to sometimes stay in abusive relationships. In a bid to solve this, government has reiterated its commitment to setting aside 40% of public procurement for women-owned businesses, under the theme women’s economic justice for a nonviolent and nonsexist South Africa.

However, gender activist Lebo Ramafoko doubts this will reach the women who need empowerment. Speaking on VOW FM’s Area Code, Ramafoko said it would be best if the government could also give details on who the benefactors of such deals would be. She’s concerned that the deals could be directed to women who are already empowered – further marginalising the poor.

PYA biggest winner of Wits 2020/2021 SRC elections

PYA biggest winner of Wits 2020/2021 SRC elections

The members of Wits University’s Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) were the biggest winners in the institution’s Student Representative Council (SRC) elections.

PYA’s 10 candidates made it to the 13-member body.

Independent candidates didn’t make the cut, while three candidates from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) filled the three vacant positions.

VOW FM’s Kamogelo Tinyiko caught up with the outgoing Wits SRC leadership ahead of the elections and filed the report below.

Wits students’ eviction fears mount over unpaid rent

Wits students’ eviction fears mount over unpaid rent

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only claimed lives but also left some breadwinners jobless and businesses battered.

Some Wits University students now fear they could lose accommodation due to financial challenges either caused by the loss of income of parents or a recent defunding of at least 5 000 students by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). 

VOWFM’s Kamogelo Tinyiko spoke to one student, who accuses South Point of having evicted students  who were unable to pay for their rent.

Extended times for voters abroad

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has extended voting hours for South Africans living abroad to ensure all have their say in the upcoming election.

The decision to extend voting hours in four foreign missions is in response to a request by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies. At the same time, special arrangements have also been made for Muslim voters, who expect to start the holy month of Ramadan around election day. Kamogelo Theledi  from Voice of Wits reports. Listen to her package:

Special arrangements for Jewish and Muslim voters