The 7th SA AIDS Conference was officially launched at the ICC Durban. Conference chair, Dr Nono Simelela welcomed the speakers and delegates, and set the tone for the Conference with a powerful speech. She said that the conference is a meeting for people to reflect on the progress that South Africa has made in reducing the impact and spreading of AIDS. 

The conference is gathering of a community that is committed to meeting the needs of South Africans living with AIDS and ensuring that South Africa eradicates HIV related infections. She also acknowledged the challenges that our society is facing in achieving Zero New Infections and triumph against AIDS.

Ambassador Patrick H. Gaspard represented PEPFAR and its commitment to South Africa in the fight against HIV. He shared the victories that the PEPFAR programme has helped South Africa to achieve and the incredible work done through the South African National Health Department. The Ambassador recognised that although PEPFER and South Africa has made significant progress, there is a lot of work to be done to get control of the epidemic by 2020 and ending the epidemic by 2030.

Nkhensani Mavasa from TAC had a different view about South African’s progress in attending to the needs of people living with HIV. Although she agreed that there is significant progress, she also argued that the healthcare system is dysfunctional at ground level. Local communities have understaffed clinics, stock-outs of medicines and burdened with long queues. She added that South Africa has the biggest Antiretroviral programme in the world but people are still dying of curable diseases such as TB. She acknowledged that South Africa has good policies and programmes to deal with AIDS but they are not being implemented correctly in local communities. Nkhensani called for the government to take charge in ensuring that the needs of local people are met.

Siphokazi Mthathi was the voice of the voiceless. She emphasised the fact that HIV epidemic is getting worse and the efforts to reducing it are being undermined because there is still criminalisation of young people, and chances of people getting treatment are still determined by their age and where they live. She concluded that the government and the healthcare providers must own up and lead by example.

Acknowledging the issues raised by Mavasa and Mthathi, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said, “we must renew our commitment and determination on the social compact which has been forged over many years of shared struggle and refocus our commitment of to the achieving an HIV free generation by 2030.” He also said that; “we will not overcome this epidemic if we do not work side by side and accept that we have a responsibility as government, employees, society, scientific forums, youth groups and researchers. We have a responsibility as parents, spouses, partners, mentors and role models to ourselves and to others.”

Efficiently - doing a function with the least amount of effort and time

Monitoring and Evaluation of services in the social service field is required to ensure that the services we render to our client system have an impact on their lives and the problem area we are addressing.  We need to ensure that our services are relevant, continuously improve our services and to determine whether existing interventions should be strengthened or discarded. If we continuously monitor and evaluate our services we promote substantive accountability and we have a clear understanding whether we should reposition our services and intervention or re-plan our interventions. We learn what works, what doesn’t work and why it is working or not working.

Aforementioned represent various theoretical purposes of Monitoring and Evaluation. It could be summarised by saying we have no right interfering/intervening in clients lives, creating expectations of improvement or possible solutions to problem areas, if we do not have a reasonable certainty that we are effecting positive Change.

Having said this, many Social Service Organisations still do not implement basic monitoring and evaluation processes. The reasons given are varied, but most often boils down to lack of funding, time or human capacity. These reasons are valid but begs the question – why deliver/repeat/replicate and expand a service that you have no idea or evidence or corroboration that it is actually working and having an impact. ( As most of us claim to be professionals, the arguments,” I can see it” or “I know” does not do it for me)

So why the heading. An example: If you are going to render a service  - for example a 8 week life skills group, but have no idea on whether you service has any impact – you are basically wasting your time and the time of your client(no evidence of effectiveness, impact etc.).  So why not waste time efficiently and only have a two week life skills group.  You will still not have any evidence of the impact, relevance or effectiveness of your intervention – but at least you spent limited time in confirming the unknown.

Pauline Roux is the Managing Partner at The Organisational Puzzle,

President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency J.G. Zuma,
Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe,
Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mtethwa,
Deputy Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Buti Manamela,
Deputy Minister of Communications, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams,
Deputy Executive Chairperson of the NYDA, Kenny Morolong and the Board of the NYDA,
President of the Pan African Youth Union, Francine Lumunya,
Premier of the Gauteng Province, David Makhura,
Executive Mayor of Tshwane Metro Municipality, Councillor Kgosientso Ramokgopa,
Distinguished Guests,
Fellow South Africans,
The major factor of hope is the youth. In 1976, the youth of our country gave hope to a crying nation, struggling to break free from racial oppression. Today, the hope of country lies once again in the youth to ensure peace and prosperity for all.
As young South Africans we must accept the responsibilities of today that go with the opportunities of today. The responsibility to end racism and all forms of discrimination. The responsibility to end poverty and class inequality. The responsibility to care for the elderly. The responsibility to ensure that our people have basic services. The responsibility to be educated, productive and contributing citizens. These are our responsibilities as the youth of today. We are pleased that more young leaders are in Cabinet and Parliament than ever before and we must salute them for leading us with great humility and idealism.
As the youth, we must talk about racism and we must end it. We must talk about class inequalities and we must end it. Let us not be swayed by the dictates of past generations and the divisive elements in our society. Let us make up our own minds and declare unequivocally that race and class shall be a thing of the past. The power of our diversity can only lead to greater socio-economic advances and more opportunities for all to prosper. Thus we must unite in action. In the lake of our democracy lurks the two-headed serpent of racism and tribalism. It is only when this poisonous serpent is destroyed and buried in the graveyard of Apartheid sins that we will truly experience the joy and pleasures of peace, freedom and democracy.
Government and the private sector have an equal responsibility to develop our youth. Every government department must implement a youth development programme. Every government department must have a youth directorate. Every local municipality must implement a YouthBuild Infrastructure Development Programme to train young artisans. The private sector must boldly invest in youth and fulfill youth development programmes for the empowerment of our youth.
Since inception in 2009, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) has assisted more than six million young South Africans with some kind of product or service to better their lives. The NYDA Business Grant Programme for youth-owned micro enterprises has been a great success and the Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship continues to promote a culture of excellence by rewarding poor and rural youth who excel in their studies.
As the NYDA, will continue to prioritise education and entrepreneurship programmes. We remain focused on our mandate to mainstream youth development into society and to facilitate youth development with all sectors of society. In this way youth development is becoming the business of all social partners. We will move with speed to develop the Integrated Youth Development Strategy for the implementation of the National Youth Policy 2020. This policy will provide the guiding framework for all social partners on matters of youth development. We will work tirelessly to ensure that a minimum of one million young South Africans enroll onto National Youth Service Programmes by 2020. By so doing, we will make community service fashionable among the youth of our country.
In celebrating 60 years of the freedom charter we must celebrate the progress made in opening the doors of learning and culture for all. As we do so, we must acknowledge that many deserving young people still struggle to access education and higher education in particular. We must celebrate the great strides we have made in promoting a culture of entrepreneurship among the youth of today while we acknowledge that many young aspiring and established entrepreneurs still lack the means to be job creators and future captains of industry. We must celebrate the defeat of the Apartheid regime and in doing so we must acknowledge that much more needs to be done for the gains of democracy to be felt by the toiling masses of our country.
Former President Nelson Mandela once said, "I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made mistakes along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended."
Let us be like Madiba and continue the long walk to peace and plenty for all.
I thank you.

  • Yershen Pillay is the executive chairperson of the National Youth Development Agency.  

“I have never used an ATM.”

Two boys, orphan refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, grew up in a Child and Youth Care Centre (CYCC) in Pretoria. Here they were safe. Here they had regular, healthy meals and could attend school – theirs was a childhood with significantly more care, provision and hope than many other children in South Africa face.

The boys spent their childhoods in the CYCC until age 18 when they had to leave the facility and make a life for themselves in the real world. Fortunately a generous supporter of the CYCC offered the boys the opportunity to work in his restaurant as waiters in order to assist them with the transition into independent living.

The boys did well, but later confessed that it was challenging for them being out on their own, having to face all the complexities of being an independent adult. Growing up in an institution satisfied their basic needs allowing them to survive and acquire basic life-skills. Unfortunately, due to the nature of institutionalised care these young men missed out on many learning opportunities that we so easily take for granted.

Working long hours at the restaurant the young men saved their money and decided to open a bank account for the first time in their lives. When they were then faced with the task of withdrawing some of their hard-earned cash, the men had to confess that they have never used an ATM before…

Children are taught many of life’s soft-skills through everyday experiences that they have with their parents, friends, teachers and other significant adults in their lives. These are the skills that help us to get through our daily tasks and activities, and allow us to engage with.

During the month of April, the Thuthuzela Care Centre  (TCC) survivors in Mamelodi saw the conviction of a serial rapist who had raped 21 women from 2008 until he was arrested in March 2013, when he was caught using a victims cellphone.

His youngest victim was 11 and three other victims were 16-years-old when he raped them. All his victims were threatened with a firearm or other dangerous weapons, and most were tied up before they were raped and robbed of cellphones, cash, clothes and jewellery. Almost all of his victims were unable to identify him because he covered their faces while raping them, but his 11-year-old victim recognised him at a police identity parade.

The visibly angry mother of perpetrator’s 11-year-old victim said she was not happy about his sentence, and believed that 500 years would have been better, as he was a threat to every woman and child in the community. DNA tests provided by 6 HealthCare Professionals who worked with the women including cellphone records were proof enough to get him 7 life sentences.

The women are still receiving psychosocial support provided by a group of psychologists from Itsoseng Psychology Clinic in Mamelodi. The psychologists are also assisted by nurses and counsellors at the TCC to provide psychosocial support and to encourage the women to form support groups when they are ready to share their stories.  

There is also a story of a woman who was raped 4 times by prominent people with money, status and power. Mandisa is a mother of 3 children and the incidents happened while she was well-known model. “According to Mandisa, they went to Sunning Hill, Johannesburg with her friend, Candice on a Saturday evening to watch soccer and to hangout. During the soccer match Mandisa lost interest because she was not a soccer fan. She asked if there was another TV she could watch and John, the owner of the house, took her to a bedroom upstairs where she stayed and watched TV alone.

John offered her a glass of wine and as she drank it she could realise that it tasted different but she didn’t want to say anything, she was offered a second glass and as was about to finish it, she noticed that the noise of her friends’ chanting at the soccer match was fading, she didn’t suspect anything until she realised that the house was completely quite. She ran down stairs to check on her friends only to find out that they had left without her. John rushed up to her and told her that she could sleep over for the night and he will take her home the following day. Mandisa was shocked and couldn’t comprehend how Candice would just leave her in a strangers’ house. She then asked John to lend her a phone so that she can call Candice but she didn’t pick up so Mandisa decided to sleepover because it was late.

Mandisa took a bath and asked John to give her a t-shirt that she could sleep with. While she was asleep, John came into the room, and started seducing and undressing her, she tried to push him away but he was too powerful and forced himself onto her. He raped her anally and she was badly hurt. In the morning John took her to the taxis and gave her money to go home.

“Mandisa came straight to the centre and she was traumatised. She told me that this was the 4th time she was raped by people who are prominent and moneyed. She never reported the first 3 incidents but she decided to come out this time because she wanted to put an end to the continuous trauma. The unfortunate part is that when we eventually convinced her to test she was HIV positive.”

 “The moral of the story is that when victims come forward they are able to be helped to regain their confidence with the help of our Thuthuzela Care Centres and the positive experience and outcomes from the South African Justice System, said Dr Grace Makgoka.”

Please note that all the names used in this story are not the real. 


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