The woman who kidnapped a six-day-old infant almost a decade ago will know whether she will spend time in jail on Wednesday.
Khanyisile Mkhwanazi-Ngubane pleaded guilty to abducting the child after she was arrested in Daveyton, in Ekurhuleni, last year.
Nhlakanipho’s mother, Fikelephi Mpontshane from Phaweni in Jozini, KwaZulu-Natal, has told the Maputaland Community Radio News team that she is not happy with how things are penning out.
Mpontshane says an investigator told her to go to court on Wednesday, where the kidnapper will be given a suspended sentence.
“I am not happy with that. I want her to be jailed for nine years just as she had done to me or more than that,” she says.
Mkhwanazi-Ngubane pretended to be a social worker when she committed the crime.
She confessed her crime to a social worker, who then contacted the Jozini police.
The Johannesburg City Council has approved the budget for the 2020/21 financial year, which seeks to prioritise the city’s economic revival and maintain uninterrupted service delivery.
The Adjustment Budget includes the allocation of R12.8 million for the operation of the Alexandra Automotive Hub, which includes a component shop, tyre fitment & alignment, panel beating, auto electrical work as well as services and maintenance workshops.
MMC for Finance, Jolidee Matongo, says the prioritised items are in a bid to stimulate the local economy and boost socio-economic development amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Matongo says the adjusted budget comes at a time when there has been a prolonged deterioration of metropolitan economies, which have contracted by at least 8% in 2020.
“We have also increased expenditure for social development by R18.1 million, which includes R15 million for the purchase and provision of vegetable packs for indigent communities.
Furthermore, under Pikitup, an additional R10 million has been allocated for personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure that staff members are provided with sufficient PPEs,” he said.
The local government has further allocated R9 million under City Power for Enterprise Supplier Development to stimulate the SETA entities and to boost enterprise development.
Matongo added that the City has also extensively invested resources in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw health employee-related costs increased by R92 million.
The budget also allocated R53.5 million to the revival of the City’s roads by the Joburg Roads Agency.
A further R9 million has been allocated to City Power to cater for the Technical Strategy for Network Health Assessment to keep the lights on in the City.
Matongo says the allocation for the New Basic Water and Sewer Services increased by R11.8 million to complete the project, and the Orange Farm Turnkey Project has also been allocated R128 million.
“Also included under the housing allocations is the formalisation of informal settlements across the City, and the renewal of bulk infrastructure City wide increased by R14.3 million.
Furthermore, under housing, up to R24.7 million has been allocated for the preventative maintenance of facilities and the planned maintenance of retirement homes and flats,” he adds.
The Limpopo government plans to build 17 new schools across the province during the next two financial year.
Limpopo Premier, Chupu Mathabatha, revealed this during his State of the Province Adsress (Sopa) on Thursday.
Shedding light on the progress made in improving education, Mathabatha said the province has improved matric result performance from 26.8% Bachelor Passes to 29.1% in 2020.
He added that the province has registered performance increase in seven of the 10 gateway subjects. The premier also promised that 45 new classrooms will be built for Grade R.
“During the next two financial years, we will provide additional 40 schools with adequate water infrastructure. We will provide 100 additional schools with proper sanitation facilities. We will build 17 brand new schools across the province” Mathabatha says.
He has also announced that preparations are underway to roll-out e-learning in the province, which he said MEC for Education, Polly Boshielo, will give details on.
The Democratic Allience (DA) In the province was not impressed with the Premier’s announcement.
The party says the Premier has reneged on his previously promise of building 40 schools with adequate water infrastructure over two years.
“He failed to shed any light on plans to address the infrastructure backlog in the Education Department that amounts to over R20 billion in infrastructure and maintenance backlog,” says DA Limpopo Provincial leader, Jacques Smalle.
Smalle says the Education MEC’s pledge to Boshielo eradicate pit toilets in 2020 has also failed dismally.
Sebenzani “Mbube” Sithole’s family in kwaHlabisa Township in Qubukani, northern KwaZulu-Natal, is left with questions after the 24-year-old man fatally shot himself.
The deceased’s brother, Mvuzeni Khanyile, says he was shocked when the mother of Sithole’s child called him in the middle of the night to inform him about the tragedy.
“When we got to Ximbakazi’s place – he had already passed on. We then called the police. We are shocked as we don’t know him as a person who had problems,” says Khanyile.
Sithole’s former girlfriend says it has been a while since they severed their relationship and she was not aware that he was in the area.
“I wasn’t shocked when he just appeared in the window of my bedroom because he was used to doing that,” she says.
“He first said I must shoot myself and I told him to be the one to do it. He then bumped both our heads and I went down. The next thing I saw the room changing colour to greenish. Then he just fell down,” Thando Sokhela adds. She says she had broken up with Sithole because she was tired of his abusive ways. – Report by Maputaland FM journalist, Nokubongwa Xaba.
Wits University management has shut down the Solomon Mahlangu building following an altercation between the EFF Student Command and the university’s security guards on Wednesday.
This marked an end to the three-day sit-in of the EFF Student Command inside the building.
The students are demanding that their colleagues who face financial exclusion due to historic debt be allowed to register.
It also wants the institution to extend its registration period, which is due to end next week Friday.
Wits SRC has put the number of students who are facing this uncertain future at 8 142 students are said to be in this predicament.
The EFF SC says it is not backing down until there is a solution to accommodate the students, which it says are academically deserving.
The Student Command wants the university to provide a systematic way to ensure that all students are registered.
It claims that the university has saved a lot money during the COVID-19 pandemic, and therefore can afford to register students.
The Wits University Management is yet to comment on the clash between the EFF SC and security guards.
The standoff continues amid a fundraising campaign, launched by the Wits SRC, to avoid financial exclusion of students.
In a statement, the SRC says the risk of exclusion is the result of severe economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought the country’s economy to its knees.
The #21Millionin2021 campaign is gaining traction, with the Public Protector, advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane being one of the high profile South Africans to pledge support.
The Student Council is urging corporate entities, civil society and students to assist in the student’s plight. – Report by Voice of Wits newsreader and producer, Lerato Mohoto.
Metalworkers’ union, Numsa, in Johannesburg has joined a Saftu nationwide stay-away aimed at highlighting the plight of workers as companies continue to cut jobs in a sluggish economy that’s been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yesterday, Statistics South Africa revealed that at least 11 million South Africans are out of work, with the unemployment rate sitting at 32.5%.
Workers are demanding various things, including salary hikes and improved worker safety.
The pickets, under the Saftu umbrella, in the city have taken place at the Johannesburg Central Police Station and the Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto.
The strike coincides with the Finance Minister’s budget speech that’s being table on Wednesday afternoon.
Saftu says it doesn’t have high hopes for the budget.
“We know that he is going to present an austerity budget, a budget that is pro-rich and this is informed by his fear for the raiding agencies, his love for business people, banks, his hatred for state own entities. So there is going to be nothing really for the working class and the poor people in this country,” says Saftu President, Mac Chavalala.
He adds: “We think that he is also going to be following in the presidents footsteps in his state of the nation address, where the president basically presented nothing expect to tell us that he is going to address the triple prices through BEE and he wanted us to clap hands for that and for the fact that the country is now producing 1 million chickens per week as if workers and the poor people want chickens,” Chavalala.
Chavalala says workers don’t want chickens, but want jobs. “We are not told how many jobs were created as a result of that, we suspect that some of these companies were created just for tendering purposes and nothing else. So we can’t celebrate the building of smart cities as if those things are actually creating jobs for our economy. Hence we are saying that we don’t expect anything coming from Tito Mboweni,”adds Chavalala.
Education researcher, teacher and policy analyst, Sara Black, is also not optimistic that education will be prioritised in Mboweni’s speech.
“I don’t hold a lot optimism of education being prioritised to the degree that it needs to be, we know that Mr Mboweni has been a long term advocate for an austerity style of budgeting, very reluctant to consider redirecting funds from parastatals towards basic institutions such as education or even health.
We know for a long time that education budget is inadequate to the task even though we have been told that it is a large percentage of the budget pie. That narrative fails to account for that fact the pie is very small for the numerable mouths that it’s supposed to feed,” concludes Black.
Rights group, Equal Education, is meanwhile protesting outside Parliament in Cape Town, demanding that the Minister prioritises education in his budget speech.
The organisation wants Minister Mboweni to reverse cuts in the Basic Education budget.
Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, says Gauteng residents should be ready for their turn as the province intends to rollout massive vaccination.
He made the remark while delivering his State of the Province Address on Tuesday.
“We intend to vaccinate 67% (10.4 million people) of Gauteng’s population. We call on the people of our province to get ready to vaccinate in large numbers. Vaccines save lives. As more vaccine doses arrive, we will vaccinate 215 101 healthcare workers in Phase I of the Vaccine Rollout Plan of our province.
This will be followed 7 372 924 vaccinations in Phase II focusing on essential workers and vulnerable sections of the population such as the elderly and people with co-morbidities. We will conclude with Phase III of the vaccination programmed which will focus on 2 789 427 vaccinations for the rest of the population over 18 years. More than 150 vaccination sites have been identified at primary healthcare centres and vaccinators have been trained across the province,” he explained.
The province started its vaccination programme last week, targeting healthcare workers.
Gauteng has received 16 800 doses for the vaccination of healthcare workers over the next two weeks. The Steve Biko Academic Hospital received 5 720 doses, while Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital received 11 080 doses.
To date, 5 214 healthcare workers in Gauteng have been vaccinated. “We must make it clear that coronavirus is still around and the third wave is a real possibility as we approach winter. However, we must also say that without equivocation that vaccines constitute the decisive weapon against pandemics. The vaccination plan has to be rolled out urgently and massively to save lives and enabled the economy to recover fully,” adds Makhura.
He has warned against complacency, saying that even though the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine has begun, the possibility of a third wave cannot be ruled out.
Makhura adds that the province has expanded the capacity of its public healthcare system, with 4 265 new functional beds and 4 992 posts created and filled between April 2020 and January 2021.
He says another 1 425 beds are in the final stages of being made functional and operational with additional staffing from the start of the new financial year.
“This is a significant long-term investment that will outlive the COVID-19 pandemic. What is important is to improve patient care, clinical outcomes, meet the ideal clinic standards and prepare the health care system for the NHI,” he adds.
Outlining the province’s four priorities, he said winning the battle against the virus and reigniting the economy top the list.
“Firstly, winning the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic and building resilient institutional and societal capacity to deal effectively with any future pandemics and disasters in the Gauteng City Region.
Secondly, ( it is) re-igniting the Gauteng economy to take a lead in South Africa’s economic reconstruction and recovery plan as well as Africa’s industrialisation agenda. Thirdly, recalibrating social policy to improve educational and health outcomes, fight crime and protect the most vulnerable sections of the population against urban poverty and hunger,” says Makhura.
Matimba Calvin Ngobeni from the deep rural Potulula area, in the Vhembe District of Limpopo, has beaten the odds exacerbated by novel COVID-19 pandemic and managed to obtain a Bachelor’s Pass.
The 20-year-old Mulima Secondary School learner, which is situated Sio Likhade Village, says doing matric amid COVID-19 was difficult and studying at home because of lockdown exacerbated the situation.
“I am overwhelmed, I don’t even know what to say. The secret to success is hard work,” Ngobeni said.
Ngobeni plans to study law this year.
He calls on the current matriculants to maintain the trend, endure hardship, work hard and study at all times. “I wish them the best,” he adds.
Limpopo province has clinched the 7th spot in this year’s matric results, with an overall pass rate of 68.2%. This was a decline of 5%.
Top 3 performing districts in the province are Waterberg with 77.5% pass followed by Vhembe East with 77.1% and Vhembe West with 72.7%
The MEC for Education in the province, Polly Boshielo, has congratulated the performance by the matric class of 2020, given the difficult conditions that were imposed by the coronavirus.
Boshielo says the department will also focus on improving support for Grade R to 10 to ensure that the learners are able to obtain foundational competencies such as reading, writing and enumerating.
Encouraging the Matric Class of 2020, Limpopo Premier Stan Chupu Mathabatha says the province has always been focused on producing quality passes and that has been obtained by the 2020 class.
“While the overall performance has declined, I am very happy to say that the percentage of our bachelor passes has increased. We have moved from 26.8% bachelor pass in 2019 to 29.1% in 2020” Mathabatha says.
Announcing the overall 2020 matric pass rate on Monday, the Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said, for the past 10 years the National Senior Certificate (NSC) pass rate have consistently been improving from 60% in 2009 to above 70% in recent years.
She says the class of 2020 must be commended for maintaining the trend, with an overall pass rate of 76. 2 %.
Though this is a decline of 5% from the pass record of 81.3% achieved by the class of 2019, Motshekga says quality passes were achieved by the 2020 class.
“The high quality passes we have achieved this year, especially the number of Bachelor and Diploma passes, the overall pass mark, and the passes with distinctions, even in critical subjects, are the hallmark of the performance of the class of 2020” Motshekga says.
The Minister added that had it not been for the COVID-19 the class of 2020 could have been the best performers since the inception of the National Senior Certificate.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura says corruption allegations and irregularities related to COVID-19 procurement in the province have delayed some of the health infrastructure and also revealed substantial governance weaknesses.
He delivered the State of the Provincial Address (SOPA) on Tuesday.
Makhura reiterated his call that those involved in the PPE corruption must be brought to book and all monies must be recovered by the state.
“The irregular and corrupt practices exposed by the Auditor General and the Special Investigating Unit constitute a serious dent in the progress that has been made in the past five years on clean governance and integrity. We must and we will set an example with all those involved in malfeasance, both in the public and private sector,” says Makhura.
He added that the coordination and collaboration with various sectors, departments and agencies have helped a great deal when the pressure was high during the peak of the first and second waves.
“Close interactions and collective interventions with trade unions, business, the faith-based sector, civil society and the ward-based war rooms also helped to raise awareness in hotspots and ensure compliance; and address teething problems of PPE supply,” the Premier says.
“As policy makers, we understood the specific trajectory of the pandemic in our province and further enhanced our Covid-19 response in dealing with hotspots and in communicating key messages to the public. We are very proud of the Gauteng-based universities and academic hospitals which have world-class researchers and clinicians who have been giving cutting edge leadership and breaking new ground about the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” adds Makhura.
He says the country’s response to COVID-19 has demonstrated that it has enormous scientific and industrial capabilities. – Report by Voice of Wits reporter, Mmangaliso Khumalo.
Gauteng’s Tshwane South District managed to remain the top district nationally with an average of 89.6%
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced the 2020 matric results on Monday and said 76.2% of the learners who sat down for the exam passed.
The Free State is the leading province with 85.1% learners having passed. It was followed by Gauteng which posted 83.8% pass rate. Both provinces posted a decline of 3.2% and 3.5% from 2019, respectively.
Motshekga says the class of 2020 managed to produce quality passes under difficult circumstances due to COVID-19.
“The high-quality passes we have achieved this year, especially the number of Bachelor and Diploma passes, the overall pass mark, and the passes with distinctions, even in critical subjects, are the hallmarks of the performance of the Class of 2020, We are of the strong view that, had it not been for the novel COVID-19 pandemic, the Class of 2020 could have been the best performers, since the inception of the National Senior Certificate,” said Motshekga.
Education expert Professor Mary Metcalfe, who also believes that the class of 2020 did well, says learners who failed should be encouraged to try again.
“I think the results are excellent given the difficulties of the class of 2020, a drop of 5% is disappointing but the fact that we don’t seem to have major drop out of learners should be encouraging. The fact that some learners failed is a pity, those learners need to be encouraged to write again, to understand that it was a difficult year and not to judge themselves too harshly. We need to support them as family and community to try again,” says Metcalfe
Educators union of South Africa spokesperson, Kabelo Mahlobogwane, says it is encouraging to see that learners and teachers have managed to work very hard under the difficult conditions of COVID-19.
“They worked very hard to make sure that regardless of the situation they still come out as victors, this for us shows the resilience and the capacity and the capabilities that our learners working together with teachers have, and really this is very encouraging and motivating to see that we do have such committed individuals within the basic education sector willing to serve it regardless of the situation,” he says.
Mahlobogwane believes that the results could have been better had the basic education department provided enough support.
“We strongly believe that we could have gotten better results had we received the support from the department of basic education and this is so sad in a sense that there are a number of learners who didn’t manage to make it, not because of their own individual capacities but because of the situation they find themselves in. The IEB we also congratulate them and we say to basic education, government and other stakeholders that they need to take notes, no situation can hinder the progress of a capable government and department we want to encourage the DBE to focus on preparing public education system,” he says.
The African National Congress (ANC) caucus in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature also congratulated all learners who made it through the difficult year.
“We are proud of the efforts put by all stakeholders to ensure that education becomes a societal priority. We welcome the 83.3 % pass rate making Gauteng the second-best province. Not only has the department under great leadership at all levels done well in terms of numbers but they have improved the quality of the results,” says the caucus in a statement.