• Pledge Solidarity with Eastern Cape Community Health Workers
    We can no longer tolerate a situation where our state, far from being an example of good labour practice, is responsible for the casualisation of work and the exploitation of the mainly women workers who are leading grassroots healthcare provision in our communities. CHW’s demands, in the Eastern Cape and in the rest of the country, for secure employment and a living wage must be met, with immediate effect. We note the recent permanent employment of CHW in Gauteng as a step in the right direction and hereby demand an end to regional disparities in the pay, recognition and integration of CHW into the workforce of the National Department of Health.
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  • Stand with struggling farm workers. Reopen Labour Centres + class them as essential services
    With the harvest season on most grape and wine farms having ended in March, thousands of seasonal farm workers, the majority of whom are women, urgently need to apply for their unemployment benefits. However, because Labour Centres have been closed due to the Covid-19 lockdown, workers are unable to process their UIF applications. Online applications are not feasible for most farm workers who do not have access to computers, smartphones and data.
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  • Tell Government we urgently need a Child Support Grant increase of R500 for the next 6 months
    The lockdown is important to contain the virus, but it will increase poverty and food insecurity: International experience suggests that a lockdown is the best response to the virus from a public health perspective, but the economic impacts are devastating for South African households. South Africa already has very high rates of poverty, unemployment and inequality, and the effects of lockdown on work and earnings threaten to exacerbate all these dynamics. A team of experts commissioned to work on an economic response to Covid-19 has been modelling the possible effects of the lockdown on the informal sector specifically, and the spin-off effects for poverty levels. They estimate that, for households that rely on income from the informal labour market, food poverty rates could more than double over the three weeks of the lock-down period. As the depth of poverty increases, more people will go hungry, including millions of children. Other forms of support have been withdrawn. Before the lockdown, over 10 million children were receiving nutritious meals through the school nutrition programme and early childhood development programmes. The closure of schools and early childhood development facilities means families with children will need to provide more nutritious meals. Pre-regulation food price increases have swallowed families’ budgets and forced shoppers to buy less nutritious food: A project that monitors food prices found that the cost of a low-income household food basket increased substantially over the first three weeks of March, as the pandemic unfolded in the country. Over the whole month, the cost of the food basket increased by 7% or R220. This increase alone is equivalent to half the value of the monthly child support grant. The same report notes shifts in purchasing patterns to less nutritious food. Social grants are an extremely effective mechanism for protecting children and families against the effects of poverty: By the end of March 2020, 84 countries had introduced or adapted social protection and jobs programmes in response to Covid-19. The most widely used intervention was social assistance (non-contributory cash transfers). SASSA cannot enrol new beneficiaries into the social grant system during lockdown because the required verification and biometric requirements cannot be completed. Even after lock-down, the need for social distancing will remain, making the full functioning of SASSA offices for new applications unlikely. Therefore the quickest and simplest way to channel much-needed cash into poor households is via existing beneficiaries. The child support grant (CSG) is well established. It is by far the biggest grant in terms of numbers, reaching 12.8 million children – nearly two-thirds of all children in South Africa. It is received every month by over 7 million adult beneficiaries and contributes to the income of nearly 5.7 million households. Although child support grants are meant to be spent directly on the children to whom they are allocated, they effectively become part of household budgets and help to support entire households. Therefore, increasing this grant is likely to benefit other members of the household. Now that lock-down regulations have been amended to allow informal traders of food to continue to trade, extra cash in the hands of CSG beneficiaries will not only increase the ability of poor households to buy nutritious fresh produce but will also help to reduce the congestion in taxis and at big retailers; and stimulate the local economies of townships and rural areas. The economic insecurity and poverty-related stresses and anxiety caused by the pandemic directly contribute to increases in violence against women and children. In addition to reducing hunger, economic strengthening will be protective of women and children. In addition to increasing the CSG amount, the following measures should also be taken: 1. Vulnerable households not already receiving grants, including unemployed adults in households without social grants also need access to income support. Innovative mechanisms to reach these individuals and households need urgent attention. 2. More cash without addressing congestion at big retailers, in taxis and social grant payment queues is not effective. We, therefore, recommend that SASSA re-structure its payment system to ensure that grants are transferred into the accounts of beneficiaries in a staggered manner. 3. Selected highly nutritious foods should be subsidised. This measure is urgent and we the undersigned call on you to address this critical issue at the next meeting of the Cabinet or National Command Council. This campaign/letter is endorsed by: Children’s Institute (UCT), United Nations Fund for Children South Africa, South African Medical Research Council, DST-NRF Centre for Excellence in Food Security, Centre for Child Law (UP), Black Sash, Children in Distress (CINDI), Equal Education, Equal Education Law Centre, Rural Health Advocacy Project, Institute for Security Studies, National Association for Child Care Work, Section27, Public Service Accountability Monitor, Institute for Economic Justice, Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health, Bulungula Incubator, South African Civil Society for Women’s, Adolescents and Children’s Health, Umduduzi Hospice Care for Children, Amandla .mobi, Give a Child a Family, Teddy Bear Foundation, Jelly Beanz Inc, Child Health Priorities Association, Preschools 4 Africa, Association for the Education & Care of Young Children, OXFAM South Africa, Ilifa Labantwana, National Early Childhood Development Alliance, Child Welfare South Africa, Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS UWC), Nal’ibali Trust, Protective Behaviours Southern African, Cotlands, Africa Reggio Emilia Alliance.
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  • Demand Corona Relief Fund be set up for precarious workers during the Lockdown
    Precarious workers make use of mass transport systems (taxis and buses) to get to and from work, areas the WHO and National Department of Health have deemed as high risk for infection. Furthermore, domestic workers and health care workers work in intimate spaces with people who are at high risk of COVID-19 infection, such as the elderly and people who have travelled to and from high-risk countries. However, due to the legacy of inequality, we continue to live in, these are the very same workers who will not be paid – and cannot afford – to self-quarantine. Without income, they also cannot afford healthy food or medication, making them even more vulnerable. We commend the Government for communicating around COVID-19, however, gaps remain in addressing the anxiety, fear and stigma related to infection. On top of the fear of dying, vulnerable workers reside in communities where the potential is high for stigmatisation and discrimination in the event of self-quarantine or being identified as having the virus. We believe that a successful response to COVID-19 requires unity among all who live in South Africa, and we aim to be part of a unified solution. That unified response, however, requires Government to take bold and deliberate steps to ensure that the most vulnerable members of society are cared for and have their dignity and livelihoods secured. COVID-19 will exacerbate inequality among the working class of this country as they do not have the choice to ‘work from home’ and they are subject to ‘no work no pay’ labour conditions. This is compounded by the fact that domestic workers and informal workers particularly still do not have access to the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) that other COVID-19 affected formal workers have. This means that domestic workers and informal workers cannot claim compensation in the event that they contract COVID-19 while at work. Given that we are officially under a national state of disaster, Mr President, we call for expedited access to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) for domestic workers and informal workers.
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  • Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni include 100% fruit juices in Sugary Drinks Tax
    100% fruit juice is not 100% good for us. But this is not what fruit juice companies want us to know. They want us to continue buying their unhealthy products, thinking they’re healthy when they’re really not. Just one 250ml glass of 100% fruit juice is equal to 6.5 teaspoons of sugar [1]. This is more sugar than what the World Health Organisation (WHO) says we should have everyday [2]. It’s important these unhealthy beverages are treated the same as cold-drinks by including 100% fruit juices in the Sugary Drinks Tax. Add your name and join the call on Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni to help save lives. Minister Mboweni must announce during his 2020 Budget Speech that 100% fruit juices will be included in the Sugary Drinks Tax. If enough of us come together now and join this campaign, Minister Mboweni may have no choice but to listen and protect public health. Together with our friends at Heala we have been campaigning for the Sugary Drinks Tax since 2016 and thanks to our people power and the public pressure we have put on the Minister of Finance, we have secured a Sugary Drinks Tax of 11%. The Sugar Cane Growers Association is fighting back by saying a higher Sugary Drinks Tax is irresponsible [3], but really the truth is Treasury is not doing enough to fight the crisis of NCDs that is damaging so many South African families. This is irresponsible. Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize when talking about this crisis said, “Every South African has been affected by diabetes- whether directly or indirectly. For those who have experienced or witnessed the complications of this deadly disease, it can be devastating and disruptive for families and communities.” [4] It’s time for 100% fruit juices to be seen as the unhealthy, potentially dangerous beverage they are by giving them the same treatment as cold-drinks. Add your name to join the campaign. Let’s come together and force Minister Mboweni to put the health of the public before the greed and profits of sugary drinks companies. [1] Is Fruit Juice as Unhealthy as Sugary Soda?, Alina Petre, MS, RD for Healthline December 2019 [2] World Health Organization lowers sugar intake recommendations, Ryan Jaslow for CBSNEWS March 2014 [3] LETTER: Sugar tax is killing jobs, Rex Talmage for Business Day February 2020 [4] World Diabetes Day: There’s no winning without family, Dr Zweli Mkhize for Health E November 2019
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  • Help recruit Minister Mkhize as an ally in our fight for 20% sugary drinks tax
    Last year, when Dr Zweli Mkhize was appointed as our new Minister of Health, we ran a welcome campaign to help ensure the fight against non-communicable diseases (NCDs) was high on his agenda. Late last year Minister Mkhize attended a Diabetes awareness event where he was asked if he supports the World Health Organisation’s recommended 20% sugary drinks tax. His spokesperson Dr Lwazi Manzi responded stating that Minister Mkhize supports the principle of the sugary drinks tax. Dr Manzi said that: “The minister cannot proclaim on the actual number as that is the business of Treasury [but] he supports the principle of the sugar tax,” [1]. So what does this mean for our campaign? The good news is that the minister has not only acknowledged that diabetes needs to be priority, but he has also stated that reducing sugar in drinks and consumable foods is important. This sends a message that the minister of health could be an ally. We need all the allies we can find because we are up against greedy companies like Coca Cola who want to protect their profits and are fighting against the sugary drinks tax. Minister Mkhize may do more to support a stronger sugary drinks tax if we show him that there is enough public support. If enough of us come together and send messages of support, it could help convince him to use his position as a member of Cabinet to call on Treasury to increase the sugary drinks tax to 20%. With Finance Minister Tito Mboweni preparing to deliver his Budget Speech on the 26th of February, we have a window of opportunity to recruit Health Minister Mkhize to convince Treasury to put our nation's health first. In the words of the Health Minister, “Every South African has been affected by diabetes- whether directly or indirectly. For those who have experienced or witnessed the complications of this deadly disease, it can be devastating and disruptive for families and communities.” [2] Let’s make sure Minister Mkhize knows that if he’s serious about fighting NCDs, he will have to implement a stronger sugary drinks tax. [1] https://health-e.org.za/2019/11/19/health-minister-supports-the-reduction-of-sugar-in-sweetened-beverages/ [2] https://health-e.org.za/2019/11/14/world-diabetes-day-2019/
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  • Call Gauteng MEC of Education to place social workers in rural schools in Hammanskraal
    The schools located in low-income areas face the challenge of, Vulnerable family structure( skipped generation households and child headed households). This has a negative impact on how the students perform at school and survival is usually prioritized above school work [3]. Therefore there is a need for a social worker to identify students from these households and offer them support so that they can get the best out of their education [2]. Since social workers are social advocates they can connect students/parents with the right stakeholders. They can workshop around issues that make it difficult for students to participate fully in the classroom [1]. They can make the school environment more conducive to learning. They can hold meetings with parents and community members for the overall benefit of the student. Call to action: Sign this campaign now to ensure that the MEC of Education, places social workers at rural schools in hammanskraal. Our main objective is for students to thrive and succeed, but they are weighed down and overburdened by the family structures they find themselves in;causing them to not perform at their best. By signing this petition you will help us get the MEC to place a standing social worker in rural schools in Hammanskraal. The social worker will act as a facilitator between the community and the school, a social advocate to ensure that students get the best out of their education and a support system for teachers,providing them with tools needed to support at risk students. Together we can guarantee that our students maximize their opportunities but we need to remove barriers to their education. Sign now and make a difference. References [1] https://socialworklicensure.org/articles/become-a-school-social-worker/ [2] https://msw.usc.edu/mswusc-blog/what-is-a-school-social-worker/ [3] https://borgenproject.org/what-is-the-relationship-between-poverty-and-learning/ Helpful Statistics and Readings https://mobile.twitter.com/StatsSA/status/1133299234579648513?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fd-96 https://journals.co.za/content/journal/10520/EJC-1399f14fb9
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  • Tell Thembeni Mhlongo to build a public creche in Windsor West
    It is unrealistic to expect that community members in poor and low income areas will be able to provide suitable crèche’s in line with the requirements of the Department. The particular requirements in infrastructure, safety regulations, health standards, teacher qualifications, and high standards of education and as well as capacitated organisations are an unrealistic expectation for these communities. This was echoed by the words of crèche principal, Georginah Hloka in a meeting held on the 29th of October 2019 with the Department of Social Development, Department of Health and the Department of Education in Tembisa Township [1]. How can crèche owners then provide adequate toilets, proper infrastructure, provisions for disabled children, nutritious food, qualified teachers, physical safety features and adequate space for children if community members cannot even afford to pay a R1000?This then means that the whole idea of private crèche’s can never really work in poor and low income communities [2]. Research shows that the improvement of pre-school learning in the country came when grade R learners were incorporated into the public school system and became housed in primary schools [3]. Grade R is however only for five year olds and six year olds. This means that, for poorer communities, provision of pre-school education by the public government is better than that of private providers. The same is not true for affluent neighbourhoods however. This is why we are calling for the Gauteng’s Head of the department of social development to rather build public crèche’s as private crèche’s are not sustainable in poorer areas. What is moreover disturbing about the poor quality of pre-school education for black children is that the children who of the race group that needs the most support in order to reduce rates of inequality in the future as they are shaped by race and gender, are the children whose development is being stunted all the more. Research shows that poor nutrition, poor learning environment and low standards of teaching are the main cause of why children from poor backgrounds generally perform worse than children from upper and middle classes[4]. The DSD MEC needs to stop this plight and push for decision making to rather build public crèche’s as opposed to trying to shift the responsibility of educating the poor to community members who are structurally unable to play this role. [1] Township crèches must now register, says government: https://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/south-africa/2019-10-29-township-crches-must-now-register-says-government/ [2] Raising South Africa: informal crèches are desperate for aid: https://www.groundup.org.za/article/raising-south-africa-informal-creches-are-desperate-aid/ [3] impact of the introduction of grade R on learning outcomes: http://resep.sun.ac.za/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Grade-R-Evaluation-1-3-25-Final-Unpublished-Report-13-06-17.pdf [4] Challenges of the Early Development Sector in South Africa by Michaela Ashley Cooper, Eric Atmore and Lauren Van Niekerk 2012. The Journal of Early Childhood Development Journal. The University of Johannesburg.
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  • Allocate budget for Limpopo LGBTIQ+ Pride as official annual provincial events
    Unlike other Provinces, Limpopo is still behind in terms of LGBTIQ+ awareness both in the communities and government departments, to an extend that there has been cases of discrimination against LGBTIQ+ members that were documented. One of the matters that caught the attention of the media was the case of Nare Mphela who was discriminated at school, and the case was a success. [1] It is very painful that during the time of compiling this campaign this Hero of the province was found murdered in a room on Sunday 5 January 2020. This report and a series of murders for LGBTIQ+ members has been devastating to our society and we want productive intervention to be put in place [5] In order to spread awareness and educate the community of Limpopo on LGBTIQ+ matters, it requires more involvement from the government than just a collective of LGBTIQ+ members alone raising their voices, and therefore including the LGBTIQ+ pride as part of an official provincial event will mandate more government employees to be involved regardless of the timing being a weekend, working days or line of duty. It is important to work towards uniting LGBTIQ+ community and Society during events, rather than promote separate events for LGBTIQ+ in the name of safe spaces. Dialogues and workshops have been conducted but it has not been enough, physical public activities creates more impact and interest to understand. Pride is an international tradition, in most major cities around the world, which usually consists of a parade or March and associated entertainment, social and educational events that aim to raise the visibility of LGBTIQ+ people. In South Africa, the event has been taking place in several cities and townships, and it serves as an awareness campaign and celebration of the LGBTIQ+ community and in many countries, has become a significant local and international tourist attraction and destination event. The value and attendance to the Limpopo Pride has decreased over the years due to the procedures implemented in creating this awareness campaign, and that has made available resources to host and promote the event less effective. By including this event in the provincial annual calendar and budget, it will engage more government employees to attend the event as part of departmental peer educators’ awareness campaigns, and therefore more members will attend regardless of not being working days if the event is regarded as an official duty. When more officials are educated on LGBTIQ+ matters, there will be less discrimination by police, health workers and educators among others, as there would be a better understanding of LGBTIQ+ community. There are organizations that are working tirelessly without funding, trying to keep the LGBTIQ+ flag of the province raised, and they need a proper managed system from the department of social development, in collaboration with more departments like Health and Justice, to assist in implementing more programs. Limpopo’s infrastructure is more complex because of rural areas, and therefore to reach those villages that are distant to towns it needs involvement of district municipalities to also host pride events, and that requires a lot of support and mandate from the department. However, allocation of this fund should be in a way that it gives LGBTIQ+ community authority to advocate this events independently, while providing performance and financial reports to the department for accountability. This budget will be distributed among the 5 Districts of the Province to all hold mini prides and 1 main Provincial Pride event, in order to reach out more communities in rural areas. [2] In your own statement honorable MEC you mentioned that “The mandate of the Department of Social Development is to provide social protection services and to lead government efforts to forge partnerships through which vulnerable individuals, groups and communities become capable and self-reliant participants in their own development.“ and we urge you to take a stand before more innocent lives in the province are affected further by lack of understanding and visibility of LGBTIQ+ people. [3] References: [1] Transgender Woman Nare Prince Mphela, wins a court case against Department of Education https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://m.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DFr0t5BpS-GQ&ved=2ahUKEwiH7qKtr-nmAhWMiFwKHaLgABoQjjgwAnoECAYQAQ&usg=AOvVaw1_x8BsyGmS9XbrqD-j1bl1 [2] Vhembe LGBTIQ+ Pride Event 2019 https://www.google.com/amp/s/reviewonline.co.za/315383/lgbtiq-community-in-polokwane-celebrate-women-and-heritage-combined-on-the-7-september/amp [3] 2019 Limpopo Social Development Budget Speech, MEC NC Rakgoale https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.limpopoleg.gov.za/files/news/BUDGET_SPEECH_2019_ELECTRONIC.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwidzY7inOnmAhWoRBUIHQAhA00QFjAOegQIBBAB&usg=AOvVaw3HH473KoLuvp2jFtVf6vQC [4] 2019 Limpopo Province State of the Province Address (SOPA), Honourable Premier Stanley Chupu Mathabatha https://www.gov.za/speeches/premier-chupu-mathabatha-limpopo-state-province-address-2019-22-feb-2019-0000 [5] Transgender Woman Nare Mphela murdered https://www.mambaonline.com/2020/01/08/shock-as-limpopo-school-trans-rights-champion-murdered/
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  • Tell Finance Minister to fully fund the IPID
    Many women in South Africa have been victims of rape, murder and robbery by the hands that are meant to protect them, and not enough is being actively done to protect them. [3] To restore trust between the police and women, The IPID must be fully independent of SAPS. It’s the IPID’s duty to be ‘watchdogs’ over unlawful acts by the police. But they’ve failed to do this possibly because of the level of dependence on SAPS. To this day, not one police officer has been arrested for shooting at the Marikana miners. The Farlam Commision of Inquiry revealed nothing but poor leadership from the Saps, resulting in lives lost and no justice served.[4] The Finance Minister is currently working on his budget speech for February, there is no better time to act. We have a chance to ensure IPID is fully independent. If we don’t act now, we may have to wait another year for the next budget. References: [1] http://www.ipid.gov.za/sites/default/files/documents/121764%20IPID%20Annual%20Report%20FULL.pdf [2] https://joburgeastexpress.co.za/38927/ipid-how-to-report-a-case-against-officers/ [3] https://citizen.co.za/news/1572102/woman-raped-by-two-men-in-jmpd-uniform/ [4] https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2019-08-16-sa-still-waiting-for-action-on-farlam-commission-findings/
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  • Get Minister of Basic Education to prioritize placement of more social workers in Mpumalanga.
    South Africa is classified as one of the most violent nations in the world [1], so it should not come as a surprise that the violence has wormed its way into schools, affecting the most vulnerable group in our society. This past year, there’s been a lot of reported school violence, from the killing of a learner at Forest High School, to the gunning down of a teacher at Masuku Primary school [2] In June last year, Patti Silbert and Thembeka Mzozoyana published an article in the Daily Maverick discussing and highlighting the importance of making counseling accessible to all South African Youth, more especially learners in schools [3]. Furthermore, Angie Motshekga revealed to the Basic Education and portfolio committee that schools placed in high crime rate communities experience high rates of violence [4]. Upon revealing this, the Minister promised to implement programmes aimed at tackling the issue of violence in schools and to this date, we have not seen any significant, visible implementations. The recent annual performance plan from The Department of Social Development mentions challenges existing in each province. One of the challenges mentioned was ‘the plight of qualified but unemployed social worker graduates’ [5], which tells us that there are available unemployed Social workers. It does not come as a surprise that in that annual performance plan meeting, the MEC of Mpumalanga, a province with the most reported incidents of school violence [4], mentioned the need for more social workers and support for early childhood development in the province in the province [5]. The Department of Basic Education regards social workers to be members of a multi-disciplinary team. A multi-disciplinary team placed at district offices, away from schools. Currently, the team only gets involved if and when there’s an issue affecting the academic performance of the child [6]. What we need is school social workers, people within immediate reach of children, people who are bound to have a quick response to the issues involving children. In 2015, there were only 4 social workers placed at District level around Mpumalanga (this excludes the social workers hired by SGBs and Churches) [6]. It certainly comes as a shock that a province with 17 municipalities only had four social workers hired by the Department of Basic Education while there’s said to be a lot of unemployed social workers [5]. The DBE policy emphasizes care and support for learning, the policy also states that in order for this to be achieved, a multi-sectoral approach is required [7]. This means that the department is mandated to seek help from other sectors/departments in order to ensure the holistic well being of all children. In last year's annual report meeting, the Minister of Basic Education mentioned that they have entered into a partnership with the department of social development to ensure the placement of school psychologists and social workers, but no time frame was provided [8]. The department is evidently aware of need of social workers in schools. We just need them to attend to this matter urgently, and as promised. Sign this campaign to ensure that the well being of our children in schoolsi is prioritized and that every child gets quality education regardless of their backgrounds. If enough of us come together in the signing of this petition, it would force the minister to see the seriousness of the situation and attend to it urgently. That will mean that our children will get free cancelling in schools, and will be professionally equipped to deal with any issue affecting them socially, academically, psychologically, etc. REFERENCES [1] South Africa is one of the least safe countries in the world. Staff Writer at BusinessTech 24 November 2019 [2] School Violence : What Govt is doing to keep our children and Teachers safe. Kayllynn Palm for EWN 20 June 2019 [3] Legacy of youth protest sees learners scarred by mental health issues. Patti Silbert and Tembeka Mzozoyana for Daily Maverick 13 June 2019 [4] Motshekga reveals 1345 hotspots for school violence. Edwin Naidu for IOL 15 September 2019 [5] Department of Social Development 2019/20 Annual Performance Plan; with Minister https://pmg.org.za/committee-meeting/28602/ [6] South Africa. Department of Basic Education. 2010a. Care and support for teaching and learning. Pretoria. [7] Social Workers’ perceptions of their role within the framework of Inclusive Education. HW can Sittert November 2016 https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/eb3f/65aa35f5d68f5b02eacef7ea99a65cae27aa.pdf [8] Department of Basic Education 2019/20 Annual Performance Plan, with Minister https://pmg.org.za/committee-meeting/28524/
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  • Add your name to assist Wits students owing more than R20 000 to register
    Lungelo Malevu, holding a BSc in Biological Sciences is one of many from Wits University who currently have historical debt “I owe R135 893.28 and the university has withheld my degree and I only have access to my unofficial transcript. This is a challenge because I cannot apply for a number of jobs since there is no proof that I have completed my degree” Portia Mosime, hoping to register for her final year in Psychology “my mother is unemployed but we survive through the money she makes from her vegetable garden which supplies her community with fresh veggies, however she makes less than R500 a month this is not enough to cover the outstanding debt at Wits amounting to R76 117.81” Students often financially excluded from institutions of higher learning are black female students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds. They account for close to 58% in universities and 57% in TVET colleges [4]. The lack of access to funding opportunities for higher learning affects them the most. Following the efforts made by the SRC and other important organizations, these testimonies should motivate people to add their names to this campaign to put more pressure on the financial committee (FinCo) as they are the ones responsible for determining the fees to be paid by students. Ultimately this should end the unequal access to institutions of higher learning affecting poor black South African youth. The efforts by NSFAS and other funding schemes can only assist a certain number of students, this further reduces the rate at which graduates enter the job market. Despite unemployment rates being high, the critical work of doctors and nurses requires a surplus of recent graduates based on the demands of the job. If a medical degree student fails to clear their historic debt they cannot graduate and enter the job market, potentially changing people’s lives. These dreams end up not being a reality. Therefore, the more support this campaign gains, the fight against academic exclusion due to finances is kept alive, students around this time are in distress and often end up further getting themselves into more debt and stress way before the academic year starts. Adding your name to this campaign at this moment ensures that the relevant decision makers can act now and implement these demands before the month comes to an end. This means that students with historic debt can continue with their studies. References [1] Wits Vuvuzela, 2019 Accessed here: https://www.wits.ac.za/registration/returning-undergraduate-students/ [2] Takalani Sioga for the Wits Vuvuzela. 3 August 2018. Accessed here: https://www.witsvuvuzela.com/2018/08/03/nsfas-tells-2019-applicants-to-wait/ [3] Michael Pedro for EWN, 2019. Accessed here: https://www.google.com/amp/s//ewn.co.za/2019/03/24/dhet-allocates-r697m-to-nsfas-to-settle-historic-debt-owed-to-universities/amp [4] South African Market. 12 November 2019 Category: Education accessed here: https://www.southafricanmi.com/education-statistics.html
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