FREE STATE NEWS (August 2009 editions)
This web page(s) regularly focuses on the leading Free State (South Africa) newspaper – Free State News – the first regular newspaper to be orchestrated fully by black people in the Free State province (the paper celebrates its 10th year anniversary this year). The paper has been published on a weekly basis since 1999. Regular items like “Feature of the week” have appeared here over the months.
Free State News crew
Tanya van der Walt
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AUGUST 28 – SEPTEMBER 4 2009 edition
FEATURE OF THE WEEK:
“Fizz as Mangaung celebrates grand old man’s birthday”. (By Gloria Marobele). Front page
Fizz as Mangaung celebrates grand old man’s birthday
By Gloria Marobele
On Monday this week the Executive Mayor of Mangaung, Playfair Morule invited a medley of veterans to come and celebrate Bishop Cecil Shuping Dibe’s 80th birthday at the City Hall. Dibe is one of the people who fought stolidly during the apartheid government when he was arrested several times.
Makhonza Mbange, Councillor in Mangaung was the Programme Director and he described Dibe as a source of information to them. “He is a soldier, a role model to many and we hope to see many other Dibes”
Dibe stood up to the accompaniment of a moving hymn and was cheered by the crowd. He shouted “Amandla, Viva ANC Viva, Viva COSATU Viva.” The grand old man said: “I joined the ANC in 1950 and in 1952 I was arrested, we were also arrested in Hoffman Square.”
Indeed Dibe was over the moon on his special day. He basked in the occasion and was refulgent. He beamed as he was lustily cheered and congratulated all over. One of the highlights was the cutting of the cake in which he was accompanied by his wife.
Bishop Jingoes, one of the celebrant’s colleagues told Free State News: “Old people have not been honoured for a long time, so this is remarkable. By this we are seeing the Mayor is working!”
Mangaung’s Executive Mayor Playfair Morule was a wonderful host and conducted himself with class and élan. He concluded by saying “Dibe laid a foundation and we are gathering here to thank him. During those days of yore ANC was the only voice to our people and we are grateful that veterans like him are still alive to witness the new dispensation”
AUGUST 21– AUGUST 27 2009 edition
FEATURE OF THE WEEK:
“Operation Hlasela launched with fanfare in Batho location”. (By Gloria Marobele). Page 5
Operation Hlasela launched with fanfare in Batho Location
By Gloria Marobele
It was an awe-inspiring occasion. Premier Ace Magashule and all the members of the Executive Council visited Batho Location last Friday to launch various Projects through Operation Hlasela campaign which is aimed to uplift communities, eradicate poverty and promote livelihood.
Batho Location is one of the oldest townships in South Africa and prides itself as the home of many legacies such as being the founding place of the ANC in 1912 and the place where the official residence of Thomas Maphikela, the former ANC President was located.
“We are attacking poverty, we are attacking crime and corruption, we are attacking child and women abuse, we are attacking racial and gender discrimination” This is the slogan of operation Hlasela which was initiated by the Free State government.
The distinguished cavalcade first went to Mangaung School where they were welcomed by the school principal who pointed out that the school is old and it should be demolished. Meanwhile a student in this school stood on the platform and poured her heart out to the Premier saying one of the students was currently in hospital because of sinuses which were caused by the dust which rises when the classes are being swept. Magashule responded and said everything that they have asked will be done. A tree was planted by Magashule when they were leaving the school.
Tears flowed down the Goitsemodimo Lechoano(37) who is a carwash owner when Magashule told him that they will build a Shopping Complex and next to it there will be this newly renovated car wash. Lechoano said: “The business people wanted to remove us from this area because this was a place for ANC veterans and that tore me apart because we make a living by washing cars”.
Moremi Botlhoko who is employed in this car wash told Free State News: “We are very excited about the renovations of this place because this place helps us to put food on our families’ table”. Jan Hamer is a Project Manager for Operation Hlasela and he confirmed that R15 000 will be used to renovate this place.
The second port of call was Batho Clinic where there were volunteers of Operation Hlasela and Magashule spoke to them with compassion, saying: “How long are you going to work here?” They responded “Ten days and we are getting R50 per day”. Magashule then gave them exhilarating news: “You are going to work here for two years and get R1 200 per month”. The volunteers were overwhelmed with joy.
Also visited were people whose houses were being demolished because they were old. Sylvia Magwentshu (69) expressed her gratitude to Magashule when she was told that her house which was destroyed by fire will be built and be fully furnished.
Finally, Magashule handed food parcels and blankets to the poor people of this area.
AUGUST 14 – AUGUST 20 2009 edition
FEATURE OF THE WEEK:
“A Woman’s place is not just in the kitchen!” (By Gloria Marobele). Page 3
A woman’s place is not just in the kitchen!!
By Gloria Marobele
It all started on the 9th of August 1956 when twenty thousand South African women from all tribes marched in resistance against the current pass laws. They were marching to the Union Building and all chanting: “wathinta abafazi wathinta imbokodo” - you strike a woman you strike a rock. This day showed how significant women are in our communities. They are sisters, mothers, aunts and daughters. It also showed that women have the ability to work together in harness regardless of colour or race.
Free State News spoke to Pulane Thys (32) who sells vegetables and chickens in Batho Location. She has two children and she is a single parent. Thys said “Life in South Africa is very difficult mostly because of the recession, but I am proud to be a South African woman. I think it is very important for us as South Africans to celebrate Women’s day because it shows that we are valued as women.”
Emelia Staat 67) sells cookies and fruits in Rocklands and she started in 1999. She told Free State News that in 1956 she was still at school but she heard that women were marching to the Union Building. “We are so blessed to have this new South Africa where we can walk free because during those days we were oppressed. In the past, I was not even allowed to sell fruits as I am doing now and that made it difficult for us to support our families.”
Betty Mohala (29) is the Administrator of Sisonke Investment and she also emphasized the importance of Women’s Day. She said: “I think it is very important for us to celebrate Women’s Day because we as women play a very pivotal role in our families. A home is not a home without a woman. What I love most about us women is that we don’t wait for handouts but we help ourselves.”
She added: “Women should be treated with respect in our communities because currently many of them are abused and disrespected”
AUGUST 07 – AUGUST 13 2009 edition
FEATURE OF THE WEEK:
“CUT hosts 2nd Regional Innovation Summit”. (By Tanya van der Walt). Front page
CUT Hosts 2nd Regional Innovation Summit
By Tanya van der Walt
The 2nd Regional Innovation Summit was held in the Jappie van Lill Auditorium at the Central University of Technology, Free State. This illuminating summit was held on the 30th of July.
Government role players included delegates from the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Free State Provincial Government and the Industrial Development Corporation. Also represented were the Development Bank of South Africa, the Link Centre and the University of the Free State. The focus of the summit was on addressing the need to establish a platform for innovation in the Free State in the form of a Regional Innovation Hub.
The first innovation summit held at CUT in May focussed on developing a strategic framework within which the CUT could improve upon the commercialisation of the innovation support systems that it makes available to SMMEs and to industry. Professor Thandwa Mthembu, Vice Chancellor of CUT sketched the background events leading up to the 2nd RIS. From the early 1990’s with the announcement that then technicons could now offer high level degrees, and on into the new millennium, the focus became the establishment of niche areas of research and innovation. This led to the creation of the Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing (CRPM) and the Product Development Technology Station (PDTS) with the emphasis being on manufacturing. During the last quarter of 2008 discussions were held with stakeholders in business, industry and government in order to shape emerging concepts around innovation.
In plotting the way forward, Prof Mthembu outlined the need for a revised Regional Innovation Strategy for the Free State that aligns itself with the National System of Innovation (NSI) and the 10-year Innovation Plan 2018. The location of the Free State Regional Innovation Hub has yet to be finalised. Funding for the project requires partnerships with investors from sectors other than the provincial government and national departments such as the DTI. Mthembu also added that there was a possibility of innovation sub-hubs being located in various regions of the FS.
The aim of establishing a Regional Innovation Hub is to enable all the various stakeholders from the various centres in the science and technology field to come together and pool their physical and mental resources in order to rev up the pace and quality of innovation in the Free State.
Advocate Ditara-Lekoeneha, acting head of the ETEA reiterated the five areas of priority identified by government: namely job creation, rural development, affordable education, a functioning health system and safe, secure communities. Innovation and experimentation are the major driver in economic development and for the Free State to attract investment it has to exploit areas of innovation that can set it apart from others such as production of bio-fuels, agro-processing, chemical down-streaming from Sasol and tourism. She called on business, industry and higher education institutions to collaborate with government to build the Free State economy, echoing the ANC slogan “Together we can do more.”
A project that is in the pipeline is a possible Aviation Maintenance and Innovation Centre. At present South African Airways fleet of Airbuses must fly to France for maintenance and repairs. It is hoped that the necessary skills and equipment can be brought to South Africa so that the Airbuses can be maintained in the country, thus creating employment. Another area under the spotlight is agro-processing. For example, the Free State produces the bulk of South Africa’s potato crop, but does not possess a single facility to turn those potatoes into chips or any other product.
Projects under discussion by the Department of Trade and Industry include the setting up of a Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) which will build on existing instruments such as the Innovation Fund and the creation of Science Parks which would provide purpose built infrastructure in order to facilitate the creation and growth of innovation-based companies.
Obstacles that hamper development and innovation in the Free State include the fact that the province is largely rural with a small, insular population which is heavily reliant on the agricultural and mining sectors for its revenue generation. With the mining sector in decline, other avenues of generating employment are desperately in need. In today’s knowledge-based economy the low densities of fixed line and mobile communications and lack of widespread broadband access in the Free State are key issues that need to urgently be addressed if the province is to move toward economic prosperity.