Soweto taxi routes reopen

eNCA reports that Gauteng Transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo is expected to announce the reopening of Soweto taxi routes. Taxi ranks and routes were closed after violence flared up in Soweto earlier this year. Mamabolo has been in talks with squabbling taxi associations, Nancefield Dube West Taxi Association (Nanduwe) as well as the Witwatersrand Taxi Association (Wata).

It is expected that Mamabolo will on Tuesday communicate the way forward for the operation of the taxi ranks and routes. It’s alleged that at least five people have been murdered in the township, since the violence broke out in January.

Stats SA survey reveals education gap between race groups

SABC News writes that Stats SA Chief Director Isabelle Schmidt says there’s a gap between different population groups in terms of access to higher education. This is according to the Statistics South Africa General Household Survey of 2018; conducted between 20 000 and 30 000 households in both rural and urban areas. In its findings, 12% of White people and 11.5% of Indians have access to tertiary education; while the numbers are significantly lower for Coloured and Black people.

In other findings, more South Africans now have access to basic education since the inception of the survey in 2002; dropping the country’s illiteracy levels among young people.Women between the ages of 18 to 29 years are severely hampered from pursuing their dream to further their studies due to family commitments. The survey also found that in the higher income quintile, parents read and tell stories to children between the ages of zero to four years. In the lower income quintile, Schmidt says that some socio-economic factors such as long commutes to work from home or long working hours can prevent children from being exposed to reading and storytelling.

Nehawu vows to continue with the strike at VUT

SABC News writes that the National Education Health and Allied Worker’s Union (Nehawu) has vowed to continue with the strike at the Vall University of Technology (VUT) until management meets their demands. The two parties met on Monday morning to discuss the way forward, and are expected to make an announcement later in the day. Workers are demanding a 10% salary increase while the university is offering 6.2%.

VUT remains closed and exams have been postponed. Nehawu Spokesperson, Khaya Xaba says, “The strike this morning has entered its 4th day and will continue indefinitely until all our demands are me. And our demands are 10% salary increase and the in-sourcing of cleaning and security services. The management is currently at 6.2% while we are still at 10%. So, we are hoping that they will come to their senses and increase their offer and meet our demands of 10%.”

by Lehana Tsotetsi

Sadtu bank open for business from teachers’ union members and staff

TimesLive reports that a year-and-a-half after applying for its banking licence, the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) has successfully launched a co-operative financial institution with 217 members and R141,000 in deposits at the time of its registration. The Sadtu Savings and Credit Co-operative Ltd was registered with the Reserve Bank’s Prudential Authority on May 27 this year. The authority is responsible for regulating banks, insurers, co-operative financial institutions, financial conglomerates and certain market infrastructures. Announcing this after its national executive committee meeting earlier this month, the union said the granting of the licence came after months of hard work, having submitted the application for registration on November 17 2017.

The co-operative bank will have as its members only Sadtu members, who number 250,000, and the union’s employees.  Unlike other financial institutions such as private banks and micro-lenders, the bank will not issue shares to outside shareholders. Instead, it says earnings will be returned to members in the form of “lower” interest loans and “high” interest on the members’ deposits. The union said the granting of this licence meant members of Sadtu had achieved what was envisaged by the champion of the Black Consciousness Movement, Steven Bantu Biko, when he said: “Black people shall be free when they own their financial institutions.” The union’s spokesperson, Nomusa Cembu, told Sowetan that Sadtu members would be able to join  the co-operative by buying a membership share of R200 and paying a once-off fee of R100.

by Ernest Mabuza

Medical students to return to Pelonomi Hospital after security beefed up

The Citizen reports that the University of the Free State (UFS) yesterday said medicaln students would return to Pelonomi Hospital following their engagements with the health department over safety measures. The university’s rector and vice-chancellor, Professor Francis Petersen, said they had agreed on immediate and medium-term safety and security measures which would at least ensure its students and other personnel, as well as patients, were safe. This after the training of medical students from the university was suspended following an alleged attempted rape of an intern doctor and an apparent armed robbery of another doctor last week.

In the first incident, a 24-year-old doctor bit off a man’s tongue as he allegedly attempted to rape her while she was in one of the overnight staff quarters last Tuesday. The second incident was on Saturday morning, when a 44-year-old female doctor reported she was robbed at gunpoint by four armed men. Addressing the media yesterday, Petersen confirmed that medical students would return to Pelonomi and that immediate interventions, which include beefed-up security, more CCTV cameras, fixed security locks and limited access control to the premises, would be put in place. Petersen said they were still in talks with the department and the South African Police Service on other measures that needed to be taken to tighten up security at the hospital.

by Katleho Morapela

VUT salary negotiations deadlocked

SABC News writes that the management and staff of  the Vaal University of Technology in Vanderbijlpark have deadlocked on wage negotiations. The institution’s main and satellite campuses have shut down. Workers are demanding a 10% salary increase. Management is offering 3.5%. The strike has thrown the exam timetable into disarray.

The main campus has been a no go zone. Four other VUT facilities are also affected. Staffers have downed tools for a second day. “It is difficult for us; everything is increasing, petrol, food, clothes.  We are earning little money, we are asking 10% across the board,” says VUT staffer Ellen Ramafoko. Unions and management have deadlocked. University management is yet to comment.

by Gillian Pillay

VUT Vandebijlpark campus shut down

SABC News writes that the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) has been shut down. The institution has postponed exams to next week due to a workers’ strike at the main campus in Vanderbijlpark. Staff has been protesting since Wednesday morning demanding a 10% salary increase. They had blocked the university’s main entrance. VUT spokesperson Mike Khuboni says management will meet on Wednesday afternoon to discuss what they can afford to offer the striking employees.

“We are going to be analysing the three scenarios that we are going to propose to the unions. We expect that by tomorrow (Thursday) morning we will definitely have the first meeting with union leaders to give the position of the university managers and we will take it from there. The exams, which were going to be written yesterday and today as well as on Friday, we postponed those exams to actually make sure that there is no disturbance. We arrived at an amicable solution with the unions.”

Pelonomi Hospital workers down tools after medical intern’s attempted rape

SABC News writes that Pelonomi Hospital staff are outraged after an attempted rape of a medical intern.  The student apparently had to bite her attacker’s tongue in order to get away. This is not the first rape-related incident to be reported at the Bloemfontein hospital. Workers have downed tools, citing on going safety concerns. They say it is time for management to take action. “We are not going to be raped each and every day and keep quiet. It’s not acceptable,” says one of the workers. In 2010, a doctor was raped at the hospital. The provincial health department has been roped in.

“Further security upgrades will be put in place to ensure that the doctors, medical staff that is here, the support staff of the hospital, patients and everybody else who is in the hospital feels safe and secured,” says Free State Health spokesperson Mondli Mvambi.The intern doctor, from the University of the Free State, managed to flee.  She is now receiving medical attention and counselling. Meanwhile, the university and health department management, say they are working closely at ensuring safety for their interns.

by Aphumelele Mdlalane

Sadtu calls for urgent summits on violence, drug abuse at schools

News24 reports that the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) has called on parents and affected communities to urgently convene summits to deal with violence, the availability of drugs and substance abuse in schools. Sadtu general secretary Mugwena Maluleke made the call after a high school pupil was arrested on Monday evening in Dobsonville, Soweto, hours after he allegedly stabbed three fellow pupils, leaving one dead outside Forest High School in Turffontein, Johannesburg. Maluleke also conveyed the union’s condolences to the family, school and community.

The union also urged social workers to visit schools and work with school-based support teams to pro-actively tackle signs of aggression and other related behaviour. Parents are also being urged to watch out for these signs in their children to avoid a similar tragedy. “Teachers and support personnel are not safe in our schools. It’s glaring that the way we deal with the safety of the teachers and support personnel lacks a sense of urgency. Parents and communities must, as a matter of urgency, convene summits to deal with violence, the availability of drugs and substance abuse. “The department and all of us must become fans of schools where we preach non-violence in our society. We must be the defenders of education and our schools. All schools must have security and psycho-social services to support pupils and teachers. All schools must be declared bully-free zones.

by Ntwaagae Seleka