- Child welfare experts say a Tshwane day- mother who has been accused of assault after an eight-month-old baby was allegedly abused at her house acted ‘irresponsibly’ and was ‘neglectful’.
Lidia Venter, from the Pretoria Day-Mothers Association which the accused day-mother belongs to, says it is the duty of a day-mother to ensure the person they leave children with is responsible.
“You cannot leave the children with a stranger. It has to be someone responsible, someone you know very well,” says Lidia.
To read the article titled, “Day mother blamed over alleged child abuse,” click here.Source:The Citizen
- Stealing antiretrovirals (ARVs) is murder, according to the National Association of People Living with HIV and AIDS (NAPWA).
In a press statement, NAPWA secretary-general, Nkululeko Nxesi, points out that, “The lives of many people who are HIV positive depend on ARVs. Therefore those people who are selling ARVs... for recreational use are killing innocent people.”
Nxesi also called for better security in the public health system.
In the same vein, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), spokesperson, Caroline Nenguke, states that people who steal antiretrovirals are ‘very cruel’. “Stealing them is robbing people of their right to health care and life,” explains Nenguke.
To read the article titled, “Stealing ARVS is murder: NAPWA’” click here.
- The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) group CEO, Solly Mokoetle, has resigned with immediate effect.
In a short press statement, the SABC board, points out that Mokoetle will pursue his career elsewhere, adding that, the parties have settled all other disputes between them and wish each other well for the future.
Mokoetle says although the decision was not easy, it is in the best interests of the SABC, its staff, the nation, the board, his family and himself.
To read article titled, “SABC, Mokoetle part ways,” click here.Source:Mail & Guardian
- The Black Sash wants to remind struggling parents that public schools are not allowed to refuse their children admission if they are unable, or have failed in the past, to pay school fees. Under the South African Schools Act (1996), parents who cannot afford the fees at State schools, or cannot pay the full amount, are entitled to apply for a full, partial or conditional exemption.
Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager, Phelisa Nkomo, says if a child is refused entry, then it can only be because the school is full. “We are still coming across schools who deliberately fail to inform parents of their right to fee exemptions or hand them over to debt collectors without accessing whether they qualify for exemptions. Some schools even refuse to hand over report cards or suspend learners from classes or deny them access to cultural, sporting or social activities if their parents are unable or fail to pay school fees. All of these practices are unlawful and should be reported to the Department of Education,” insists Nkomo.
Under the Schools Act, parents cannot be charged a registration fee, administration fee or be asked to pay fees up front. “Another irregular practice to watch out for is when schools try to force parents to sign an ‘Acknowledgement of Debt’ when their child first enters the school. It allows the school to take more punitive legal action against parents who default on fees, undermining and in some cases negating their rights in terms of the provisions of the Schools Act,” explains Nkomo.
The only parents NOT entitled to some form of exemption at State schools are those whose combined annual gross income is more than 30 times the annual school fees per child. For the rest, there are four types of fee exemptions: automatic, full, partial and conditional. Automatic exemptions are given to orphans, foster children, children in care centres or in the care of a family member, and children whose parents get a Child Support Grant. Full exemptions are awarded if the school fees are more than 10 percent of the combined annual income of both parents and partial exemptions are granted if the fees are between 3.5 and 10 percent. Conditional exemptions are given to parents who qualify for a partial exemption but because of circumstances beyond their control, can’t even manage to pay the reduced amount.
Nkomo says parents need to reapply at the beginning of each year for school fee exemptions. “A school can only take legal action against parents once they have proved that they don’t qualify for an exemption. Also, the school may not begin legal proceedings while the parent is working with any of the institutions set up under the National Credit Act.“
The Black Sash would also like to remind parents who are battling financially that the Child Support Grant has been extended to all needy children born after 31 December 1993. The new regulations, extending the cut off age for the grant to 17, came into effect on 1 January 2011. The monthly grant of R250 is awarded to single parents who earn less than R2 500 a month or couples who earn less than R5 000 a month.
Nkomo says the Child Support Grant provides a lifeline to many impoverished children, especially older children who may otherwise be forced to drop out of school in search of work. “Every child in South Africa has the right to an education that gives them a fair chance in life. The phased extension of the Child Support Grant to 18 means that children born at the dawn of our democracy in 1994 will continue to receive some form of financial support and social protection, as promised by our Constitution.”
The Black Sash appeals to anyone who is having difficulty in applying for school fee exemptions or the Child Support Grant, to please contact our NATIONAL HELPLINE on 072-66-33-739 or email email@example.com for FREE paralegal advice and support.
Read and print out the Black Sash 'You and Your Rights' information flyer on School Fees
Read and print out the Black Sash ‘You and Your Rights’ information flyer on the Child Support Grant
For interview requests, please contact:
Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager
Cell: 072-613 3577
Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager
Cell: 082-429 4719
For more information, please contact:
Black Sash Media Officer
Cell: 073-150 9525
For more about Black Sash, refer to: www.blacksash.org.za.
To view other NGO press releases, visit: www.ngopulse.org/group/home-page/pressreleases.Date published:19/01/2011Organisation:Black Sash
- As Abahlali baseMjondolo of the Western Cape we have decided to support the call for a Conference for a Democratic Left (CDL). We note that the CDL has issued statements in support of our movement when we have been under attack from reactionary forces and that the CDL has declared that it aims to build a democratic alliance of progressive forces that is committed to a bottom up transformation of society.
It is obvious that the various forces that wish to build a society centred on human dignity rather than private profit should work together as closely as is possible. However if any attempt to build this unity is to succeed it must be aware of certain pitfalls.
Previous attempts to unite the social movements failed because they were not democratic and because they were dominated by authoritarian NGOs rather than the social movements themselves. This needs to be avoided in the future and left NGOs need to understand that their role is to support and not to dominate grassroots organisations. Left NGOs need to understand that we are poor and not stupid.
There is also a serious problem of sectarianism in the South African left. Some individuals are willing to go so far as to actively support the state against popular movements that refuse their authority. This is disgraceful and can only do damage to our struggles. No one should think that they control an organisation or a place for life.
Most of our members have decided to become activists because they are sick and tired of being ladders for politicians. They trust our movement because we ask people to believe in themselves and not someone with personal ambitions. Most of our members will not trust the CDL if it decides to become a political party.
We will attend the Conference for a Democratic Left with an open mind and a willingness to work with anyone who is committed to the emancipation of the oppressed. We will continue to support this project for as long as:
1. It remains genuinely democratic;
2. It respects the autonomy of the movements that participate in its discussions;
3. It does not try to impose NGO control over grassroots movements;
4. It clearly and firmly rejects sectarianism;
5. It does not become a political party;
6. It remains committed to a bottom up transformation of society;
7. It orientates itself to the mass struggles that are already being waged by ordinary people in communities and work places.
We note that ABM in KwaZulu-Natal has decided not to attend the conference and that they are waiting to see how the CDL relates to grassroots formations in practice before taking any decisions. We respect their decision and they respect our decision.
We note also that the Poor People's Alliance's has not taken any general position on the CDL. Our primary commitment remains to the Poor People's Alliance.
For more about Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign, refer to: www.antieviction.org.za.
To follow the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign on Twitter, refer to: www.twitter.com/antieviction.
To view other NGO press releases, visit: www.ngopulse.org/group/home-page/pressreleases.Date published:19/01/2011Organisation:Abahlali baseMjondolo of the Western Cape
- The Steve Biko Foundation (SBF) is a NGO whose mission is to create space for critical analysis and engagement with vital socio-economic and political issues in order to strengthen democracy.
The SBF, with the support from the Open Society Foundation for South Africa, is hosting the third session in the FrankTalk series on 26 January 2011 in Johannesburg.
FrankTalk is a nonpartisan platform for engagement with relevant socio-economic and political issues in order to strengthen democracy, advance human rights and facilitate development.
Given that learners, educators and parents throughout South Africa are reviewing and analysing the recent matric results, the upcoming dialogue will explore the role that communities can play in supporting the nation's educational agenda.
Time: 18h30 for 19h00
For more about SBF, refer to: www.sbf.org.za.Event start date:26/01/2011Event end date:26/01/2011Event venue:The Auditorium, Museum Africa, Newtown, Johannesburg
- 'Environmental Rights and Municipal Accountability: Water Supply and Sanitation in South Africa' looks at strategic interventions for upholding the constitutional rights to water and sanitation and a better use of the law in improving the delivery of water services.
Produced by the Lawyers for Human Rights, the review therefore also looks at interventions that use public participation and social mobilisation to ensure that communities are actively involved in asserting their rights inside and outside the legal environment. The use of the law however when properly used, enables poor and marginalised communities to achieve impact and success where other efforts have failed. This requires a closer look at available legal interventions and a strategic analysis of how these interventions can have the greatest possible impact on the delivery of water services.
For more information, refer to: www.lhr.org.za/sites/lhr.org.za/files/DBSA_Water_Report.pdf.
- A Bulawayo-based NGO, Radio Dialogue, is threatening to take the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) to court if the body fails to issue the organisation with a broadcasting licence.
Radio Dialogue project coordinator, Kudzai Kwangwari, points out that the organisation will soon file court papers against BAZ since it feels there is no seriousness on the board to issue Radio Dialogue with a licence.
“We have contacted our lawyers over the matter. If we do not get a positive response from BAZ regarding our application, we will soon be taking legal action,” explains Kwangwari.
To read the article titled, “NGO threatens legal action over broadcasting licence,” click here.Source:News Day
- A study by the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) has revealed that the number of children attending private or independent schools increased by 50 percent between 2000 and 2009.
Though there has only been a 1.6 percent increase in pupils attending state schools over the same period, SAIRR researcher, Marius Roodt, was quick to point out that there were about 12 million state school pupils in 2009 and only about 400 000 at independent schools.
Roodt argues that, "The independent school sector in South Africa is still quite small in comparison with the public school system.” He further states that the growth in independent school enrolment is a clear indication that parents are losing faith in the public school sector.
To read the article titled, “Parents disillusioned with most government schools,” click here.Source:Times Live
- IkamvaYouth, a township-based volunteer programme that gets learners out of poverty and into university has once again shown that transformation is possible, despite the odds.
A township-based volunteer programme that gets learners out of poverty and into university has once again shown that transformation is possible, despite the odds. The great news is that 78 percent of IkamvaYouth learners are eligible to move from township schools to tertiary institutions next year.
It has been a difficult year for matrics across the country, with much of the school year lost to the World Cup and public sector strikes, and learners in township schools have been hit especially hard. Yet IkamvaYouth's learners, all of whom attend township public schools, achieved an 87 per cent pass rate, with 52 percent Bachelor passes and 38 percent diploma passes. Thirty-six distinctions were awarded. This low-cost peer-to-peer programme is producing results comparable to the country's top (and highly resourced) schools in its mission to redress inequality in South Africa: since 2005 its matric pass rate has been between 87 and 100 percent.
IkamvaYouth operates in five townships in three provinces, and each branch has achieved excellent results: 85 percent pass in Western Cape, 85 percent in KwaZulu-Natal, and 94 percent in Gauteng. Of those learners that failed, 70 percent are eligible to write supplementary exams, and IkamvaYouth will ensure they get the support they need.
Co-founder Joy Olivier says, 'While we are very proud of our learners and these achievements, the real measure of IkamvaYouth's success is our ability to help learners access post-school opportunities. Achieving these results is a first big step, yet many obstacles need to be overcome in the next few weeks, including actually being accepted, finding money for registration fees and navigating the bureaucracy of institutions and financial aid. Some of our learners have already received confirmation of university placements and scholarships, but there is work to be done to meet our target of at least 60 percent enrolling at tertiary with the remainder securing learnerships or employment.'
The young social entrepreneurs that run IkamvaYouth's branches have successfully leveraged the power of volunteerism and strategic partnerships. All tutors and mentors at IkamvaYouth are volunteers, and local universities, public libraries, NGOs, companies and foundations have come together to replicate the IkamvaYouth model. Together they ensure that learners receive the information and support they need to succeed despite the challenges of township school education. These results are possible thanks to the learners' and volunteers' hard work and the rallied support of diverse stakeholders. IkamvaYouth garnered support from the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) last year, and hopes to partner with other education departments in 2011.
Many learners jumped two to three symbols since joining the organisation, and there have been excellent individual results.
Brighton Dube, a Gauteng ikamvanite, received five distinctions. Simphiwe Ndzube, a committed Ikamvanite at the Masiphumelele branch achieved 94 percent in visual art and has been accepted at UCT's Michaelis Art School. He says: 'What made me focus; I had a dream, a goal to get into university, which motivated me to work hard, study every day, and I was aided by the support from my family, friends, teachers and IkamvaYouth mentors. Wow, I did well! UCT here I come! I am proud of myself!'
Thabisile Cele, an ikamvanite in KwaZulu-Natal, had to overcome the challenge of her parents not understanding why she studied late into the night. Her parents were often unhappy with her 'wasting electricity' while studying at night (her father works at the post office and her mother is disabled and unemployed). Encouraged by her sister (a former ikamvanite) not to give up, Thabisile saved up some money and bought candles. Her family is celebrating her Bachelor's pass and acceptance at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) for Environmental Studies.
'We are thrilled that the class of 2010 has achieved the results to make this change happen for themselves and for others,' says IkamvaYouth KwaZulu-Natal director, Khona Dlamini. Winile Mabhoko, the Khayelitsha branch coordinator, expects that most of these matriculants will return as volunteer tutors and mentors, as has happened in previous years.
A small group of committed volunteers started IkamvaYouth in 2003. Due to the model's innovation and the talent and commitment of all who have joined and supported since then, the organisation has grown from strength to strength. The consistently excellent results since 2005 led to IkamvaYouth winning the Mail & Guardian/ Southern African Trust Drivers of Change Award last year. The judges said of the Ikamvanites: 'These learners are the true drivers of change as they are also setting a good example for younger learners to become agents of change for their own success.'
The organisation is calling for much-needed donations and volunteers - anyone and everyone who wants to be a part of this high-impact and fun way to transform South Africa can make a difference.
IkamvaYouth is welcoming new learners in grades 8-11 into its programmes. Interested learners, parents and volunteers should make their way to their nearest branch on 22 January for IkamvaYouth's Open Day, to find out how to become an ikamvanite.
For more about IkamvaYouth, refer to: www.ikamvayouth.org or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view other NGO press releases, visit: www.ngopulse.org/group/home-page/pressreleases.Date published:13/01/2011Organisation:IkamvaYouth