South African youth take to the streets over climate change

GroundUp reports that hundreds of youth in Cape Town and Pretoria marched on Friday to demand that the government urgently act on climate change. About 300 people marched from Parliament to the City Hall in Cape Town to hand over a memorandum demanding government take “immediate action on the climate crises”. The march was organised by the African Climate Youth Alliance and was part of the global Fridays for Future youth climate protest. In Pretoria, about 150 people, mostly youth, from various environmental organisations picketed at the Union Buildings in an attempt to put pressure on government to act on climate change. Some of the organisations included 350, Extinction Rebellion, Walter Sisulu Environmental Centre and Co-operative and Alternative Policy Centre (COPAC). The Well Worn Theatre Company, an organisation that uses theatre to bring awareness to climate change, also performed at the march.

But high school learners, some still dressed in their uniforms, and young children were at the forefront of the picket.One of the organisers from 350, Alex Lenferna, said the upcoming Youth Day on Sunday was an important day to reflect on issues that affected young people in South Africa and one of those issues was climate change. Cherry said COPAC was currently drafting a People’s Climate Justice Charter that it hoped would eventually be adopted in Parliament. The memorandum was accepted and signed by Calvin Humbles from the office of the President. He said it would be acknowledged within seven days.

by Zoe Postman and Ashraf Hendricks

Domestic workers want to be covered for occupational injuries

GroundUp reports that about 50 domestic workers and members of the South African Domestic Service and Allied Workers Union (SADSAWU) protested outside Parliament on Monday to demand that the government include them in the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act. On 23 May, a judge ruled in the Pretoria High Court that the exclusion of domestic workers in the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act of 1993 is unconstitutional. But the law has yet to be changed. SADSAWU president Hester Stephens told GroundUp: “We have been fighting for years, till now, to get social security for domestic workers. We want to be included in the Act. Right now for example, some of the workers are exposed to dangerous chemicals at work that they use to clean, without the employer providing protective gear.

“Domestic workers sometimes fall ill from something at work, but they are not helped in any way. As domestic workers, we contribute to the economy but we are so unappreciated. We do not have support from government,” said Stephens.Stephens said some domestic workers were underpaid: “Getting as little as R1,200 a month. How can you survive with that money? What about the children? The school fees, school transport, school uniform? It’s too little.” In a memorandum addressed to Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi, SADSAWU demanded the approval of protection of domestic workers; a wage of no less that R3,500 per month; registration of all domestic workers for the Unemployment Insurance Fund; and contributions to a pension or provident fund. The memorandum was accepted and signed by the chief inspector at the provincial labour department David Esau on behalf of Nxesi.

by Mary-Anne Gontsana

Gugulethu fire station temporarily closed after attack on firefighters

News24 reports that the Gugulethu fire station has been temporarily closed following an attack on firefighters on Thursday evening, the City of Cape Town’s safety and security department announced on Friday. Firefighters were attacked after extinguishing a fire at nearby municipal offices.

“Firefighters extinguished the fire, but soon became targets themselves when the group started hurling stones at their building, causing damage to the bay doors,” said mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith. The City’s chief fire officer has suspended operations at the Gugulethu fire station as a result. Smith said firefighters at the Gugulethu station have had to be deployed to other fire stations in the meantime, amid safety concerns and until the situation in the area calms down.

by Kamva Somdyala

SASCO to lead a Youth Alliance march against unemployment today

SABC News writes that the Student’s Congress, SASCO, will be leading a Gauteng Progressive Youth Alliance march against youth unemployment in Johannesburg on Friday morning. The Alliance includes the ANC Youth League, Congress of SA Trade Unions (COSATU), young workers and learners. They are calling for the creation of an unemployment database and the scrapping of experience requirements for entry-level jobs.

SASCO Gauteng Secretary, Buthanani Goba says: “But also another point that we are putting across to the premier for his consideration as he goes to the cabinet Lekgotla, is that we are saying printing is very expensive. So we want a situation where the government of the country begins to think of changing the three month certification period to at least nine months; particularly for the unemployed youth because we can’t be printing our CV’s and certifying them after every three months.”

by Candice Nolan

Competition Commission prohibits merger between forestry companies

Engineering News reports that the Competition Commission has prohibited a proposed transaction whereby Africa Forestry Fund II (AFF) intended to acquire Vuka Forestry Holdings and Glen Village Trading.  The commission found that there were substantial short- and long-term anticompetitive effects that were likely to arise from the proposed transaction. This would result in a negative public interest outcome in the broader forestry industry in the Mpumalanga and Limpopo regions.

The commission on Wednesday said the proposed transaction would result in an overlap in the business activities of the parties in relation to the supply of treated building and fencing poles but that did not raise competition concerns, as the parties’ combined post-merger market shares would have remained relatively low. However, the commission found that the transaction raised several competition concerns from a supplier/customer (vertical) relationship perspective with respect to transmission pole logs. The commission invited the parties to submit possible remedies that could address the foreclosure and public interest concerns; however, no workable remedies were proffered by the parties that could alleviate the concerns.

by Marleny Arnoldi

Motherwell health centre nurses stage sit-in

TimesLive reports that nurses at Motherwell Community Health Centre in Port Elizabeth have staged a sit-in since Monday. They are demanding that security at the facility be improved. The sit-in by about 100 people follows a patient attacking a nurse on Saturday. The nurse was treating the patient’s stab wound. After attacking the nurse, he also attacked two security guards who came to help when they heard her screaming. The patient was then arrested. A nurse who asked not to be named said working night shift was a challenge. “We have a life-threatening situation at this facility because of patients who come here drunk, and most of them are aggressive. The department should allow security guards in when we are attending to people who are drunk,” she said.

But Department of Health provincial spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said the attack did not happen because of relaxed security. He said because of the confidential nature of health worker-patient interactions, the department could not place security guards inside consulting rooms and operating theatres. He said counselling services had been offered to the attacked security guards and nurse.

by Joseph Chirume

Meet SA’s first female black fighter pilot

eNCA reports that Mandisa Mfeka is making major waves in the aviation industry and across South Africa. She’s the first black female fighter pilot in the South African Air Force. The 29-year-old grabbed headlines as she swooped over the Union Buildings at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s inauguration as part of the Hawks formation.

It’s been a hard-fought climb to the top for the KwaZulu-Natal native. She’s been in the Air Force since 2008 and has flown countless hours. But the animated Mfeka can’t contain her continued excitement for her profession.

Basic Education Department slams call to arm teachers

eNCA writes that the Department of Basic Education is slamming calls for teachers to be armed. The calls were made by Educators’ Union of South Africa. The department says the union is not registered. Elijah Mhlanga from the Basic Education department says school is not a warzone, its suppose to be a peaceful environment.

“In almost every instance where someone has been stabbed, the aggressor knows the victim or there was an unresolved issue. Its people who know each other. Don’t be violent, talk. This thing of saying people must go to school with guns is completely reckless and dangerous.”