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 has been published on a weekly basis since 1999. Regular items like “Feature of the week” have appeared here over the years.
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JUNE 17 – JUNE 23 2011 edition
FEATURE OF THE WEEK: “Ministers’ sterling empathy for disabled children” Front page. By Bongani Tshabalala
MINISTERS’ STERLING EMPATHY FOR DISABLED CHILDREN
BY BONGANI TSHABALALA
The Free State MEC for Social Development, Me Sisi Ntombela was in her element as she launched Child Protection Week at Meqheleng, Ficksburg in the Free State. This was sequel to the launch in Johannesburg by the National Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini together with Lulu Xingwana, for Women, Children and People with Disabilities.
At that prior occasion, Minister Dlamini had encouraged people to go to the local Social Development Offices to find out how they could adopt children. Pertinent national statistics of murdered children and adoptive parents were also released. In this wise, attempted murders by children have increased by 331 from 2008; whilst parents have increased adoption rates by16 kids.
Ntombela launched Child Protection Week under the national theme of “Working together protecting our children”. She spent a day with the children of Itekeng Disabled Children, a Centre headed by Me Thandazile Ralentoane. Here there are 78 disabled children, comprising 40 orphans plus vulnerable children, and another 18 who were brought by social workers.
Me Matu Jafta gave a message of support from the National Office of Women, Children and people with disabilities. She stressed that parents must not blame witchcraft because children are gifts from God. “It’s not a mistake, and they must not be ashamed of their disabled children; more especially fathers should not lock such children in their homes, because when you have children like this, you need patience and courage,”
She also said that that the community at large must play a major philanthropic role during situations like this. “We must note that these kids are children too, and should be made very much welcome in our Institutions like Churches – indeed they need spiritual growth and nourishment,” She added that the integration and inclusion of the disabled is part of our challenges, with families encouraged to take children to community centres.
When Ntombela took the podium, she exhorted communities to support disabled centres and NGO’s in the Free State. She said: “Children are our future, as much as they are now victims of circumstances. We must work hard to protect them because they are the future. Children are important and are blessings from the Almighty, whether disabled or not. Please, don’t get weary to do good for these kids,”
After her speech, the Premier’s office donated seven blankets, fifteen mattresses, seven heaters, one fire extinguisher, and two cans of 20 litre paint, to re-paint the centre. Meanwhile, the MEC, in partnership with Child Welfare, donated jackets for kids, Blankets, Television set and Toys for kids.
In the end, disabled children who basked at the occasion handed over a Memorandum of understanding to the National Minister of Women, Children and people with disabilities, Lulu Xingwana; Deputy Minister of Social Development, Me Busi Ntuli and Free State MEC responsible for Social Development, Sisi Ntombela at Lebohang Building in Bloemfontein.
The plethora of demands of the disabled include access to assistance of social workers and Physiotherapists, Training of sign language to government operatives and the public, Protection from abuse, from their parents/guardians, communities as well as officials, who are supposed to protect them. Also, they demanded access to government in order to accommodate disabled people, and sharing their challenges with relevant departments, and addressing them.
Minister Xingwana responded by saying the National Government has acknowledged their memorandum, and assured them that their needs would be met. She added that they would have a meeting with the Premier, Mr Ace Magashule, strengthen the children’s rights in his office, as well as employ a Chief Director who will deal with children and their sundry grievances. “We will also hand over this memorandum to the Premier, as well as look at it and work over it,” she promised.
(NOTE: A Sesotho language of the above article was also published; translated by Kgang A Motheane)
SEHUNELO BASKS IN GLEAMING SPORTS FACILITIES
BY BONGANI TSHABALALA
It was a joyful occasion in Sehunelo Secondary School, as the school formally opened new sports facilities worth more than R500 000 including a Netball court, a Basketball court and a Tennis ball court.
Sehunelo was the first high school in Mangaung, situated just outside Bloemfontein; it has churned out legendary and distinguished graduates over the years. These luminaries include former Premier of the Free State Province, Me Winkie Direko, and current School Principal of Sehunelo, Mr. Sampson Tsotetsi.
The School has been in existence since 1908. On the occasion of the launch of the new Sports facilities, distinguished personalities from various radio stations came to witness this prestigious event – like Tsholo Leokaoke, Itumeleng Maruping , Thabiso Tshepe, Kabelo Ngakantsi as well as Mr. Koos Radebe, former SABC Sports commentator presenter (now Tracker CSI and Communications Director). Lesedi Fm Station Manager Pula Pula Mothibi and Motheo Fm DJ, Lerato aka “DJ Lovers” Mpopo were very much around too.
The occasion was opened with a prayer. Meanwhile children teemed with excitement, waiting for the sports courts to be opened. This event was channelled under the theme, “Let the games begin”. The headmaster took the podium and touched on the issue of the school celebrating a momentous occasion. “We have not had sports facilities since I was a student here …in the past, we had to pay R1 to play elsewhere in order for us to play any sporting activity; but today we would like to thank the company of Tracker for considering us and giving us this huge gift today,” Mr Tsotetsi gushed with glee.
The outgoing Councillor of Ward 9, Thabo Olivier in Batho Location, who was instrumental in bringing the sports facilities to the school, went down memory lane, saying he had been happy to approach company of Tracker to assist the school by donating the Sports facilities. “The kids here need to boost and nourish their talents. It is our duty as parents to see to it that they continue with their skills, more especially in sports. Thankfully, the company didn’t hesitate to help us!” he said.
Lesedi Fm Station Manager Mr Pula Pula exhorted Grade 12 kids through the sports facilities to study hard. “Please give us 90 % pass rate this year as you now have sports facilities to sharpen your brains when you feel tired in the classroom; and we believe even the educators will take time out to stretch their muscles in order to get concentration!”. When the CEO of Tracker, Mr. Alan Hutcheson took the podium he pointed out that they had already built sports facilities in Gauteng provinces in towns like Daveyton, Germiston and Eldorado Park. “I will like to motivate the young ones to try to be a champion in everything they do. They must also respect the legacy of the school as it is the oldest school around here with its sterling record. I believe this great school will take care of this facility because they really need it.”
In conclusion, Mr Koos Radebe encouraged the kids to relish sports. “Take sports seriously, as it will take you further. We are not going to stop here in Bloemfontein; we are still going to help other schools across the country. But our thanks to the principal and Educators for their co-operation throughout the three months of building this sports facility,” Mr Radebe was honoured him with a medal of citizenship of ward 9 by Mr Olivier “as a token of appreciation from the Premier’s office,” Thereafter, the ribbon was cut by the CEO of Tracker, Mr. Alan Hutcheson, Thabo Olivier, and headmaster Mr. Tsotetsi in front of everybody. The young ones were head over heels with their excitement!
JUNE 10 – JUNE 16 2011 edition
FEATURE OF THE WEEK: “Minister nestles in Highlands Park” Front page. By Bongani Tshabalala
MINISTER NESTLES IN HIGHLANDS PARK
…Molewa outlines other revelatory projects
By BONGANI TSHABALALA
Golden Gate Highlands Park, which now boasts the first highlands park with complementary hotel, has been officially opened by the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Me Edna Molewa. The occasion coincided with the Celebration of World Environment Day at Clarens under the theme of “Save Tomorrow Today”.
Golden Gate Highlands Park lies in the heart of the Northern-Eastern Free State Province; ensconced in the Municipality of Dihlabeng, some 20 kilometres from the Basotho Cultural Village. With the new luxurious state of the art facilities, Golden Gate Hotel now has a classy and modern décor.
The Executive Mayor of Dihlabeng Local Municipality, Tjhetane Mofokeng welcomed the people, stressing that the rate of unemployment is very high in the country. “Even in the municipality, we appreciate this problem; and we are going to propose to the Minister about how to get the funds, and how to get access to the government coffers so that we can fight poverty and unemployment in our towns.”
MEC Dukwana also rose to the occasion, with his elevating message of support. “We must protect our yards by cleaning them, and copy from the suburbs in our towns. Our forefathers were very responsible when coming to cleaning the environment. Stop littering and take opportunities,” he said. He concluded by saying that he knew that real change was on the cards.
When the Minister, Edna Molewa, took the stage she initially explained that people must live in a harmonious and healthy environment. She said: “This is the first Highlands Park of its kind with a hotel. As our President Jacob Zuma has stressed, this is the year of job creation. The infrastructural upgrade of this Highlands park amounts to R30 million when phase one of this project started in January 2005; while the second phase began in November 2009 boosting local job creation to the tune of 398. We’ve had some 10 000 people visiting our parks; with 54 luxurious rooms and 34 adjacent self-catering chalets. To save electricity here, heaters in the rooms were changed from fan base system 2000 to a panel system that uses 400 kilowatts, and that uses five times less energy; in consonance with the energy efficiency campaign that is being driven by government.”
She explained further: “Solar geysers are installed in all rooms; kitchen and laundry facilities in the hotel dovetail with a greening perspective and climate change. Doing your part is as simple as saving water, saving electricity, not littering; you will do well to plant a tree because we have a threat of climate change that will affect us heavily in our country. We really must protect our environment for future generations,”
Her advice and message were absorbed by the people around, and the Minister milked the applause, even as she added: “We’re in the middle of a programme where we take water to the people, as we know many of you lack it - so save it, and take responsibility. On an International level, South Africa is preparing to host the 17 parties where 186 countries will participate in Durban to engage various communities building towards COP.”
The Minister also mentioned another pertinent project, involving five rivers in the Free State that aims at job creation in the vicinity of Golden Gate in Clarens area. “It will cost R13, 9 million and it will end in November this year. We have allocated greening environment projects in Maluti a Phofung Municipality. This initiative is aimed at planting trees in RDP houses in villages like Blueguembosch, Intabazwe, Tshiame and Tholong which will cost R9 million. This exemplary initiative will be taken to other Provinces as well,” Molewa said.
JUNE 3 – JUNE 9 2011 edition
FEATURE OF THE WEEK: “Manyoni a refreshing fragrance...” Front page. By B Tshabalala
MANYONI A REFRESHING FRAGRANCE FOR NEW METRO
BY BONGANI TSHABALALA
Thabo Manyoni, now ensconced as Mangaung Metro Mayor after being sworn in by High Court Judge Musi, has been relishing the hand of friendship being extended to him across the board; even opposition parties have greeted his appointment with approbation.
Mr. Manyoni, after being formally sworn in amidst exhilaration, took the podium and declared: “We must make our City to be a real City of Roses and smell like Roses! To also smell as such I must bask in my chequered past; otherwise I would not be a politician. Show me a politician who smells like a rose…”
Manyoni beat Democratic Alliance candidate, Werner Horn by 65 to 29 votes to secure 65 seats in council. Before the formal swearing-in ceremony took place to usher Mr. Manyoni into the Municipal chambers, the ANC with aplomb assigned new executive Municipal Mayors. This was announced in Bloemfontein by the ANC Provincial Secretary, Sibongile Besani. The ANC also appointed new executive Mayors for Moqhaka and Setsoto municipalities. Besani announced mayors for the other 23, including District and Local Municipalities in the province.
Mantebu Mokgosi, whose future is still unknown, is replaced by Jihad Mohapi. The Viljoenskroon toilet saga was a shocking revelation before the last local government elections; hence she was not retained as Mayor for the Moqhaka Local Municipality. Mbothoma Solomon Maduna, who is deployed in the District Municipality, fell by the wayside; the former Mayor of Setsoto Local Municipality was replaced by Tshediso Jakobo, after the area became a focal point of the elections following the violent service delivery protest in Ficksburg (that left activist Andries Tatane dead). The new Mayors will start their duties on the 1st of July 2011. Also mentioned was the niche of the Sports and Recreation parliamentary committee, Butana Khompela.
Meanwhile Mr. Manyoni, the new Mayor, has said that he wants the people of Thaba Nchu and Botshabelo to feel that they are part of the Metro in every aspect. “My first task is to win people’s confidence so that they may know that Metro will work for them. I will also ensure that the N8 corridor development spine linking Mangaung, Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu, including Ladybrand in Mantsopa Local Municipality and neighbouring countries like Lesotho - which serve as an important link – is a project that needs to be revived”
He pleaded with opposition parties to let go of their differences and work for the development of society. “It is time to work; as well as unite and deliver services to our people. I am a proud citizen of this Metro and we will walk this path that has been founded by the likes of Me Eva Moiloa, former Mayor of Motheo; and former Mayor of Mangaung, Playfair Morule. We must uplift the lives of our people and build on the awesome legacy of our successful hosting of the World Cup (2010).” He added that the good foundation had to be maintained, despite a plethora of problems across the Metro.
Whilst acknowledging the shortage of acute facilities and work opportunities, the new Mayor stressed: “We will ensure better infrastructure and sewage in Heidedal. We also need clean water in Botshabelo as well as the removal of the Bucket system in Thaba Nchu. The combination of Mangaung local Municipality would take four to six months to be completed as we strengthen the capacity of the municipality. I exhort the in-coming officials of Metro to look into by-laws that could be enforced in that regard. Meanwhile I am looking forward to meeting organised businesses on how to foster economic growth and overall development in the Metro area,”
Meanwhile, Manyoni’s appointment has been welcomed by opposition parties (COPE, DA, FF+ and APC) as Free State News gathered that the general feeling is that he is a humble servant of the people. He has variously been described as a unifier, a cadre and a man who would bring changes anchored on the traditions of liberation struggle. Other proceedings for the day included the election of the new speaker who is a former Municipal Manager of Mantsopa Local Municipality, Me Connie Rampai,; and the Deputy Mayor is Mxolisi Siyonzana who retained his position in Mangaung Metro from Motheo District Municipality; and lastly Zolile Mangcotywa who was elected as council whip.