Queuing for compensation

Queuing for compensation

On Thursday, 1 August, long queues formed outside local banks and businesses as workers came to collect their compensation for last month’s labour whilst others were queuing to receive their government grants.

Grants from the government play a big role in the lives of many South Africans and without it, many will not be able to make ends meet.

The following are government grants that you can apply for:

  1. Child support grant: The value of this grant is a mere R420-00, you are eligible for this grant if you are the prime caregiver of a child who also resides in South Africa and is under the age of 18 years. If you are single you must not earn more than R48 000-00 per annum (R4 000-00 per month) and, if you are married your combined income must not be more than R96 000-00 (R8 000-00 per month).
  2. Care dependency grant: This grant is given to caregivers of children with disabilities and has a value of R1 780-00. The child has to be under the age of 18 and must be declared permanently disabled by a medical officer. If you are single, you must not earn more than R202 800-00 per year (R16 900-00 per month) and if you are married your household cannot earn more than R405 600-00 per year (R33 800-00 monthly).
  3. Foster child grant: The foster child must be under the age of 18 and the grant is valued at R1 000-00 per month. You have to have a court order stating that you are a foster parent to the child in order to qualify.
  4. Disability grant: In order to be eligible for this grant, you have to be between 18 and 59 years old and be found medically (physical or mentally) unfit to work by a medical officer. The value of the grant is R1 789-00 per month.
  5. Grant in aid: This grant was put in place as an aid for those who are already receiving government grants but cannot take care of themselves and have to pay a full-time caregiver. The grant is R410-00 per month.
  6. Older person’s grant: You can apply for this grant if you are 60 years of age, or older. The grant amounts to R1 780-00 per month.

You can also apply for a Social relief or distress grant for a maximum of three months if a disaster has taken place (for example your house burned down), the breadwinner of the family has died or been sent to prison or if you need help while your grant application is being processed.

According to statistics, approximately one in five South Africans depend on government grants, that is roughly 17 million people.

How is our government able to support that many people?

New Mpumalanga High Court

Construction on the new High Court for Mpumalanga

Construction on the new Mpumalanga High Court, commenced in October 2013, in Mbombela with a budget of R600 Million.

Construction on the Mpumalanga High Court building ended earlier in 2019 and the total costs were approximately R1,1 Billion. After much delay and a few missed deadlines, the High Court had its first sitting on Monday, 13 May 2019. The sitting was presided by Judge Francis Legodi, the President of the Mpumalanga Division of the High Court.

Mpumalanga used to have its High Court division in the Mbombela Magistrate’s Court. This beautiful new Mpumalanga High Court building consists of two areas, one for court procedures and one for administration. The court areas host 12 courtrooms, 6 for civil cases and 6 for criminal cases.

All the courtrooms were finished with kiaat and the artwork and furniture throughout the building were locally designed and manufactured. Access to specific courtrooms are granted to judges by fingerprint scanners for extra protection. The judges’ chambers are equipped with a separate room for their secretaries as well as their own bathrooms.

The building hosts five governmental departments: Family Court, Insolvency Court, Master of the High Court, the National Prosecuting Authority and Legal Aid. All nine South African Provinces now have their own High Courts.

With features like a playpen for children of members of the public who visit the court and a 180-degree view of the city from the roof, the High Court building of Mpumalanga can definitely be established as a landmark. Sources: eNCA, 013NEWS, Lowvelder and SABC News

King Goodwill Zwelithini in partnership with AfriForum

King Goodwill Zwelithini greeting the public (photo credit eNCA)
Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini greets his supporters at The Moses Mabhida Football Stadium in Durban on October 7, 2018, during Umkhosi Welembe, an annual commemoration of Zulu King Shaka ka Senzangakhona, a revered military strategist who united the tribes to form the Zulu Nation. / AFP PHOTO / RAJESH JANTILAL

According to an article published by eNCA, the Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini, recently announced that he is in the process of strengthening his relationship with AfriForum, in the name of agriculture and food security for all South Africans.

The article reads that during the Umkhosi Welembe, an annual commemoration of Zulu King Shaka kaSenzangakhona, on Sunday, 7 October, in Durban’s Moses Mabhida Football Stadium, the King Goodwill Zwelithini greeted his supporters warm-heartedly and announced his partnership with the civil rights organisation, AfriForum.

It was stated that both parties strongly oppose the expropriation of land without compensation and this cooperation aims to promote agriculture. “The Zulu nation will not exist if we don’t have food. That is why I say farmers must come so we can discuss what we can do when we talk about agriculture and the availability of enough food in the land.

I am asking AfriForum to come and help us, as they have introduced themselves to me that they are willing to work with me and my father’s people to uplift agriculture in our land. Because government started to talk about land expropriation without compensation, farmers downed tools and there will be no food in South Africa.”

Furthermore, the King said that he is awaiting a followup meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa to finalise their discussions on the land under the control of Ingonyama Trust.

Swaziland now Kingdom of eSwatini

Swaziland now Kingdom of eSwatini
Swaziland is no longer our neighbour

Esté van Wyngaard As of Thursday, 19 April, South Africa is now a neighbouring country to the Kingdom of eSwatini, after the king of Swaziland, King Mswati III, announced that the country’s name has changed.

The change was announced during the country’s combined celebrations of 50 years’ independence as well as the King’s 50th birthday. The Daily Maverick reports that, according to King Mswati, the change was made because many citizens disliked “Swaziland”, as it is a combination of Swati and English words. He also said that, internationally, many people confused Swaziland with Switzerland.

According to various international newspapers, the change has been received with mixed emotions. Some feel that the new name, which means “the land of the Swatis” is something they can relate to better than the old name. However, many feel that the monarchy’s attention should be focussed on more urgent matters, such as the high number of people affected by HIV/AIDS and poverty.

As with many other countries which have gained independence, the Kingdom of eSwatini will once again be known by its original name, albeit 50 years after they gained independence on 6 September 1968. After the Anglo-Boer War Swaziland was a British protectorate from 1903 until 1967.

The country, ridden with poverty, will now be changing its name in all of ficial areas, as listed by BBC News. This includes the country’s constitution, the airline, the bank and the university. The government’s website, army and police forces still have to change to the new name. The country will also need a new internet domain, vehicle number plates and outfits for their international athletes.

The new name will also have to be registered with the United Nations and the Commonwealth. On a more positive note, the country’s national anthem will not have to change, as it doesn’t include the word “Swaziland” once. Passports for the country might also only be changed later, as the current passports do include “eSwatini”, the Swazi version of the country’s name, but it is in a smaller font than the other names printed.

As we get used to calling Swaziland the Kingdom of eSwatini, we are assured that this is still the same country that we knew and loved before.

Local Home Affairs in the news

Local Home Affairs in the news
A meeting with regard to the state of the Department of Home Affairs in Mkhondo, was conducted on Friday, 12 January

Residents of Mkhondo witnessed the local Home Affairs office on SABC 2’s news headlines, on Wednesday, 10 January. The insert focused on complaints lodged against the Department with regard to the dilapidated infrastructure, staff shortages and lack of ablution facilities.

A local pastor, Mr Sifiso Ntumba, contacted the media to raise his concerns about the current state of the office, and on Friday, 12 January, a meeting was held in the Mayor’s Chambers to discuss a way forward. The meeting was organised by Cllr. I. Brussow, from Ward 7 and it was attended by Mr R. Khubeka, Communications Manager for Mkhondo Municipality, Ms D. Chiloane, Acting Principal for the Provincial Department of Home Affairs, Mr N. Msibi and Ms S. Shibangu, from Mkhondo FM, Ms L. Manamela, Secretary of the Mayor’s Office and the Excelsior News.

Local Home Affairs in the news
Long queues of people line up outside Home Affairs daily and it raises a concern as the clients do not have proper facilities

Unfortunately, Mr Ntumba could not attend the meeting, but was asked questions via phone. Mr Ntumba voiced his concerns regarding the long queues, the lack of sufficient staff members to assist customers and the shortage of ablution facilities. Furthermore, he mentioned that customers have to stand in the sun without any shade and people with disabilities are not prioritised.

According to him, he asked employees at the local Home Affairs office why the service is so poor and they informed him that they have a shortage of staff and that they do not even have a cleaner. Ms Chiloane addressed Mr Ntumba and expressed her disappointment with him as to why he did not raise his concerns with the Provincial Department before he informed the media.

According to her, there are specific protocols that have to be followed when there are grievances. He apologised and said that he was unable to get the correct contact numbers for the relevant people at the time. She assured him that the Department will listen to their customers and assist with any grievances that may surface. It was also mentioned that it is not the Department of Home Affairs’ responsibility to maintain the building and ensure sufficient facilities.

These issues were addressed with the Department of Public Works a while back, and they have already started to work on the various problems. The lack of a palisaded fence was one of the problems that arose during previous meetings, and the fence has now been erected. Ms Chiloane informed the attendants of the meeting that the reason for the long queues are as a result of the hoax message regarding the expiration of the green ID books. Community members are under the impression that as from 31 March 2018, the green ID books will no longer be valid and they have to apply for their Smart ID cards before then.

Home Affairs offices throughout South Africa are facing the same problem and it is being addressed. (See the article in the Excelsior News for more information). She admitted that the local Home Affairs office is understaffed. The Department has already completed a number of interviews and more, qualified employees will be appointed in the near future. The reason for being short staffed over December is due to employees who took their annual leave.

It was also stated that it is a false accusation saying that disabled, elderly people and pregnant women are not prioritized. These individuals are always put in the front of the line and they receive assistance in a professional manner. Questions were asked as to what will happen from now on. Will the infrastructure receive the necessary attention, as the building is too small to accommodate the town’s capacity, and will ablution facilities be erected in the near future?

Ms Chiloane answered these questions by saying that the owner of the building and the Department of Public Works had numerous meetings regarding these matters and the issues will be attended to. She furthermore asked that anyone who has a query or grievance towards the local Home Affairs office, should follow the correct procedures for the issues to be resolved.

The protocol is to contact the local office manager on 017 826 0121, if you don’t get answers here, then you can contact the Provincial Departement of Home Affairs in Nelspruit on 013 753 3131.

What is Cyberbullying?

It is quite hard to believe, but yes, cyberbullying is a reality and it exists all around us!
It is quite hard to believe, but yes, cyberbullying is a reality and it exists all around us!

It is quite hard to believe, but yes, cyberbullying is a reality and it exists all around us!

What makes cyberbullying unique is that all of it happens through technology by making use of cellphones and the internet. Make no mistake, being cyberbullied can cause just as much damage as being physically bullied, if not more … How does one spot the warning signs of cyberbullying?

  • Be aware of your child’s behaviour, if your child/teenager is reacting strangely (being sad, angry or distressed) after using the internet or a cellphone, it may be a sign that the child is being cyberbullied.
  • Take note of your child’s reaction when receiving an sms, e-mail or when visiting a social media website.
  • Withdrawal from family and friends is another concerning sign to watch out for.
  • If your child is showing signs of depression, being cyberbullied may be the cause thereof. Is there a solution?
  • Teach your children from a young age to block all communications with anyone online who is intimidating them in any way.
  • Never post or share any personal information or passwords on a social media website.
  • Build a relationship with your children so that they will feel comfortable to talk to you about their online “life”.
  • Children need to know that it is dangerous to post/share inappropriate information online and not to send messages when they are angry or upset.

Regardless of how much your child/children resent it, you will only be able to protect him/her by monitoring what they do online. Keep the computer in a busy area of your house, which makes it easier for you to keep an eye on what they are doing. It is a good idea to set up filters on your child’s computer.

Tracking software can block inappropriate web content and help you check up on online activities. A parent needs to insist on knowing a child’s online passwords. Children can sometimes be very cruel to one another, without realising the damage they cause by saying hurtful things to their friends in a moment of anger or frustration.

Prevention is always better than cure. Rather educate your children about matters like these. Not only to prevent them from falling victim to being cyberbullied, but also to avoid them from becoming a cyberbully themselves!

Mkhondo Prayer Team Joins S.A Council

Mkhondo Prayer Team Joins S.A Council For a Day of Prayer in Soweto
Mkhondo Prayer Team Joins S.A Council For a Day of Prayer in Soweto

A phenominal event was organised by The South African Council of Churches in celebration of the meaning of Youth Day.

On the 11th June 2016, 52 intercessors of the Mkhondo Prayer Team attended a day of prayer and reconciliation at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto. This day was organised to seek greater understanding and reconciliation for the Church of South Africa 40 years after the Soweto riots in which many school children were killed after protesting on the 16th June, 1976.

The event started with a march, learners and church leaders together, from the Madibane High School to the Orlando Stadium. The above mentioned school was one of the schools where the protesting started in 1976, but they never arrived at the stadium. The programme for the event was exceptional and really reflected a piece of South African history. An estimate of about 3 000 people from all over South Africa attended this event.

Team members ready for the march
Team members ready for the march

The Mkhondo Prayer Team played a special role in the whole process of reconciliation for the SA Church, leading up to the events on the 11th of June 2016. The team had a testing time while driving back to Piet Retief. They witnessed a head-on collision on their way back home. They stopped to assist the injured individuals because two ladies from the group are nurses. While in the process of helping the people, another vehicle stopped and some of the men directed the traffic in an attempt to assist. The next moment a vehicle came at a very high speed and collided with one of the men.

He was killed on impact. A motorcycle also crashed into one of the vehicles involved in the accident. Strangely, all this happened right around the prayer team and no one was hurt. With the protection of the Lord, our team arrived home safely! Nationwide, the Christians of South Africa prayed through a 40 day of prayer booklet about reconciliation that preceded June the 16th, 2016. They reflected daily on repentance, prayer and reconciliation for our nation. In Christ there is hope for our nation.

SABC Does It Again

SABC Does It Again
SABC Does It Again

On 6 May 2016 the SABC yet again helped Harmony Park Combined School with learning material.

Harmony Park Combined School’s infrastructure was built and headed by the premier of Mpumalanga. After the school’s infrastructure had been completed the principal of the school then took hands with the department of education. The school, however, received little funding from the Department of Education and was not able to meet the expected requirements. Needing help, Mr M.J. Nyandeni then contacted the SABC Foundation, who gladly accepted and where more than willing to help. On 16 March 2016, Excelsior News covered a story where the SABC Foundation handed over much needed equipment.

However, Mr Kathlebo Tsolo (Project manager for the SABC Foundation) noticed that the grade R class of Harmony Park Combined School was also under equipped. The SABC Foundation then decided to take on the task of equipping the grade R class with what was needed. Mr M.J. Nyandeni (principal) also mentioned that a grade R teacher had to be outsourced, and she is currently being paid by funds contributed by the parents of the grade R learners. The SABC Foundation then took time to go out and visit private schools’ grade R classes to be able to see what equipment was needed to give the learners the ultimate learning experience. On 6 May 2016, Mr Katlebo Tsolo revisited the school to hand over brand new equipment for the grade R class.

The SABC Foundation proudly sponsored learning material for language and maths, as well as recreational material for sports/music and arts/crafts. Also included were much needed stationery and equipment for the teacher to use, to enable her to do her job more easily. The learners where all so happy to receive the new equipment, that there where smiles all around. The Harmony Park School’s staff and learners thank the SABC Foundation yet again for their undying devotion towards helping the school. Now the school can again look towards building a brighter future for their learners.

The grade R students with Mr K. Tsolo
The grade R students with Mr K. Tsolo
The new material sponsored by the SABC
The new material sponsored by the SABC
Mr K. Tsolo, the teacher and her learners
Mr K. Tsolo, the teacher and her learners
Students happily smiling with their new learning material
Students happily smiling with their new learning material

National Library Week

Mkhondo Celebrates National Library Week
Mkhondo Celebrates National Library Week
National Library Week – The services offered to scholars by school libraries in the past are not readily available anymore, as the libraries are becoming “outdated”.

The SA Library Week was initiated in 2001 by LIASA (Library and Information Association of South Africa) when all types of libraries across the country have the opportunity to market their services. It was decided that “the week within which 20 March falls should be National Library Week. In the event of this day falling within a weekend, then the week preceding it, would be celebrated as National Library Week.” The Library Week should advance the “important role that libraries play in a democratic society, advancing literacy, making the basic human right of freedom of access to information a reality, and to promote tolerance and respect among all South Africans”.

The aforementioned is linked with the celebration of Human Rights Day, on 21 March, while our Bill of Rights recognises the freedom of access to information as a basic human right. This year’s National Library Week was launched on 11 March and was celebrated countrywide. The theme for this year is: Libraries for life-long learning. Everyone is urged to use all the services offered by a library which is no longer merely a place with stacks of dusty books only. It is time well spent to pay a library a visit and see all the services offered in order to obtain information. Our local library together with the Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation hosted a showcased event, with talent and art when they celebrated our country’s intellectual and literacy heritage on Wednesday, 23 March 2016.

The library used this annual event as an opportunity to market their services to the community, in correlation with the vision of LIASA. The Honourable Mayor, Mr B. H. Mtshali, was present at the event and gave an informative speech on using the facilities of the library and what it has to offer to the community. He was then a bright sport in entertaining the crowd with intellectual questions based on our town and its history. Everyone that participated in the interactive question session was awarded with a gift bag. His interaction with the crowd caused an embracing mind thinking session and also promoted the importance of reading and obtaining knowledge. Several youngsters entertained the crowd with cultural dances and poetry. The afternoon ended with interesting entertainment and lunch was provided. The event was a huge success as the theme “Libraries for lifelong learning” was left within the minds of many, who attended.

Tone Chimes Stars

The Tone Chimes group
The Tone Chimes group

Although the Tone Chimes Stars did not go through to the finals at SA’s Got Talent, they did extremely well.

On 11 July, the Tone Chimes Stars got three “yesses” from the judges at the auditions in Johannesburg, meaning they stood a chance of going throug to the semifinals. They, however, had to actually be chosen which they were not. (There was a hint, erroneously, as to them having gone through to the finals in the article about the marching band in last week’s paper).

All communication with the media was refused after the July auditions in order to keep the telivised competition lively. But now we can still proudly congratulate this group of musicians for getting so far in the competition. Keep up the good work and enjoy your performance at the school’s prize-giving. As most of the learners in the group are in grade 7, a new Tone Chimes group will be chosen next year.

We can’t wait to hear them perform!

News From Last Week

Weather in Piet Retief, Mkhondo

Piet Retief
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17.9 ° C
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28 °
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