On June 16, the youth of 2022 braved the cold weather and hostility from authorities to sound the alarms
Disappointment was etched on the faces of several young marchers, as the memorandum with their demands was handed over away from public view, at the ‘Youth Day Parade’ hosted by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation (AKF) on June 16, 2022.
Instead of collecting the memorandum in front of the crowd of about 200 people gathered on the Union Building’s lawns, those leading the parade met with representatives from the presidency on the side lines.
“I am feeling disappointed because we went through a lot to come and deliver this memorandum; from organising and mobilising. We were expecting someone from the presidency to come and receive this memorandum,” said Zamajozi Sithole, projects officer of the youth leadership program at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.
“[It] just tells me that young people are still not taken seriously, and it does make me question: will our memorandum be taken seriously?”, said Sithole.
Simon Witbooi, member of the Khoi community that has been camping outside the president’s office for over three years in protest, said he had “seen protests like these” come and go, with nothing done once memorandums are handed over.
But officials promised this time would be different and the issues would be deliberated and resolved. A tall order, considering some of the demands.
The memorandum made calls for better service delivery, climate justice, sustainable employment for youth, a universal basic income of R1 500, and the eradication of corruption, xenophobia, and crime.
Cameron Rodrigues, a University of Pretoria student, said she wanted the government to start listening to the youth’s voices calling for “climate justice” as it equates to education justice.
Calling for gender equality, Soul City Institute social mobiliser, Nathi Ngwenya said, “we are against patriarchy” and could work with government to bridge current inequalities.
The parade commemorated the 46th anniversary of the 1976 Soweto Youth Uprising, where students protested the Apartheid government’s efforts to make Afrikaans the medium of instruction in township schools.
Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela, Zaki Mamdoo from AKF said: “the youth are the answer. We have solutions to our crises, we are able to lead, organise and […] to present ourselves as the hope for the future of this country”.
The foundation plans to meet with involved stakeholders on July 16, 2022, to follow up on the progress made in meeting their demands.
FEATURED IMAGE: Children as young as eight joined in on the march, putting their best feet forward to secure their future. Photo: Keamogetswe Matlala
Social work students participated in a mini-march through Wits for World Social Work Day. Photo: Tendai Dube
Witsies celebrated social workers earlier this week with a mini-march on campus and an inspirational talk from a former student.
Around 35 students and staff members joined the march on campus from the Great Hall to the Emthonjeni Auditorium for a presentation by guest speaker Shamona Kandia.
Tuesday March 17 was designated World Social Work Day to acknowledge the contribution of social workers in communities.
A die-hard social service professional, Kandia returned to her Wits roots to “inspire others and to move them towards realising their potential and achieving greatness”.
“It just takes one person to bring about change”
She took to the podium to share her experience and expertise. “It just takes one person to bring about change,” said Kandia, a senior manager handling the health portfolio at Transnet.
Kandia says, “The passion energy and drive I had, emanated from the people who taught me in university. I still keep in touch with my lecturers … I just feel there’s so much value a social worker can add to the community.”
Kandia holds a Master’s degree in Social Work and various other qualifications in community development and management. She started as social worker for an NGO and worked in government for 16 years before moving to Transnet in 2012.
She is best known for her passion for community development and has spent her career as an advocate for child justice and the transformation of the child justice system in South Africa.
“Across the globe there is no social worker as unique as the African social worker. African, South Africa, truly has a heartbeat of its own and cannot be compared the world over,” she said.
Social Work is an important profession
Social work is a field that is devoted to helping people function at their best in their environment. The field includes services such as community development, child protection and health, among others.
Social workers are at the heart of the social protection system, Kandia said. She acknowledged the challenges and highlights of the profession and made it very clear that “social workers do more than just ‘feel good work’, we do more than just promote charities —we truly are advocates for change”.
The celebration was part of professional social work month, an initiative by the International Federation of Social Workers, the International Association of Schools of Social Work and the International Council on Social Welfare.
Witsies dressed in white and blue to represent the second pillar of the Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development and the theme of “Promoting the Dignity and Worth of Peoples”.
LEADING THE NATION: NUMSA supporters leading the charge against unemployment with sticks and loudspeakers on 19 March 2014 at Zoo Lake. Photo: Luke Matthews
Increasing youth unemployment was the key reason for a march that started at Johannesburg’s picturesque Zoo Lake earlier today.
The National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) went on strike today to highlight the high level of unemployment amongst youth in South Africa.
Numsa reported that youth unemployment in South Africa is the third-highest in the world and also said that every one in four people are unemployed in the county. The union added that 71 percent of all unemployed people in South Africa are between the ages of 15 to 29.
There were a number of protesters in EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters), t-shirts at the march along with miners and migrant workers. There were also a few protesters in ANC (African National Congress), t-shirts despite Numsa’s decision not to campaign for the ANC this year. The union said the ANC is an anti-working class party and they don’t provide enough jobs and services for people.
VIDEO: The marchers assembled at Zoo Lake in Johannesburg.
The Numsa protesters went from Zoo Lake to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) offices in Rosebank. The march was a peaceful one with singing and dancing during talks given by speakers.
IN THE Wits Vuvuzela newsroom, for whatever reason, there is a collective sigh from the journalists when the sounds of hundreds of marchers begin their chanting near Mary Fitzgerald Square.
When there is strike in Johannesburg, I can almost guarantee you a journalist will know about it.
There is nothing quite like a strike. You never know when someone is going to start throwing rubble. You never know if a journalist is going to be attacked. You never know if Julius Malema is going to rock up.
As someone who may not have such tentative ears, you might think to yourself, “Oh what? Another strike today?” Before you simply move on and forget about it.
How is it that we as South Africans are so used to the idea that striking is normal? I think, most importantly, we as a nation are becoming very nonchalant about the seriousness of the reasons people protest. We dismiss it, thinking that the strike will never go beyond affecting our traffic route.
But more and more, strike season is becoming strike year. According to Wikipedia, South Africa has one of the highest rates of public protest in the world. If you look back over 2012, we have seen some of the most violent protests in our democratic history. Who could forget the Marikana strike? And, in the Western Cape alone, 179 violent strikes were reported last year. I dread to think of the amount of service delivery strikes that occurred in Gauteng over the same period.
Is it your problem if farm workers down in the Western Cape are paid R69 a day? And should you care if a small township in the middle of who-knows-where has any public toilets? What about youth wage subsidies? What about our own Wits lecturers and staff protesting about low wages?
But, suddenly, it is your problem when you have to pay e-tolls.
Stop and think for a minute. Why are people so angry that they have to take to the streets on a regular basis to have their demands heard? I want you to ask yourself, “how many stories have I heard about strikes and how many of them have been resolved?”
The way things are going, striking is only going to get worse. So maybe it’s time we stopped and listened to the anger in those chants and realised that these protests affect more than just the people willing to stand up. It affects all South Africans in one way or another.
IPF members march to the SABC stations in Auckland Park in protest of ‘bias and anit-IFP broadcasting’, September 14.
By Jay CabozAround 1500 supporters, mainly from the Inkhatha Freedom Party (IFP), blocked traffic as they made their way to the South African Broadcasting Station (SABC) in a mass protest for fairness from the public broadcaster.
Mungosuthu Buthelezi, head of the IFP, led the large gathering of supporters through Johannesburg CBD to the entrance of the SABC Studios in Auckland Park on Friday September 14.
The IFP leader noted that this was “a matter which goes to the heart of how the citizens of this country can freely make up their own minds as to whom they wish to govern them”.
“South Africans must demand of their public broadcaster that they be treated with respect and not force-fed and manipulated with political propaganda.”
Supporters sported bottles, knobkerries and shields as they made their way along Enoch Sontonga Avenue alongside the University of the Witwatersrand.
One supporter said they were marching to express their outrage that Julius Malema had been banned by the SABC. Another said the media only chose to report their (IFP) actions when they ‘made noise with the ANC’ so they were making some.
Buthelezi addressed the crowd and said that bias within the SABC was not surprising.
“Since 1994, the ANC in Parliament has hand-picked every SABC board member, and the ANC has had the final say in the appointment of all executive officers of the SABC. Thus political interference has been built into the system and ruthlessly exploited by the ANC-alliance.”
“For years, the IFP has continuously engaged the SABC over its anti-IFP coverage and the way in which opposition parties are not fairly represented on all of the public broadcaster’s radio and television channels. This year, for example, two of the IFP’s three major events – its Freedom Day and Women’s Day rally – did not receive TV coverage at all. This is coupled with anti-IFP programmes that have been aired, such as The Bang Bang Club.”
A memorandum was handed over to by the IFP outside the SABC station in Auckland Park without incident.
This week’s protest march by Wits academic and support staff was the result of months of frustration following failed wage negotiations according to union representatives.
Academics and support staff have called for an end to what they say has become a deadlock in annual negotiations. The university has rejected their demands on pay, governance and conditions of service.
Vuvuzela has reported on increased hostility in the negotiations between the Academic Staff Association (ASAWU) and vice chancellor Loyiso Nongxa.
The academics are demanding a 9% salary increase for support staff, the establishment of a childcare facility for Wits employees and an end to overselling parking permits in non-designated parking areas, among other things.
In a statement released on July 10, Nongxa said he recognised the unions’ right to protest, as long as it did not interfere with the rights of students and other members of the Wits community to access services on campus.
Last month roughly 150 academics and staff picketed outside the entrance of the basement parking in Senate House. Some staff members told Vuvuzela they earn as little as R20 000 a year, despite working at Wits for more than 20 years.
During the negotiations in June, the university said it would cost around R60-million to implement the increase demanded.
The unions are expected to march again on August 2.
The protest action is supported by the Members of the Administration, the Library and Technical Staff Association, the Academic Staff Association of Wits University and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union.
– a 9% salary increase for support staff, to be paid at a higher scale at the 75th percentile of the tertiary education sector benchmark
– decent salaries to be given before performance regulations were initiated;
– a resolution of the dispute on shift allowances
– an agreement on sliding scales to advance equity
– the establishment of a childcare facility for Wits employees
– an end to overselling of parking permits in non-designated parking areas;
– an increase in individual research incentives
The Wartenweiler library is a mess while the cleaners strike.
Campus resembles one big dustbin as residences, toilets, libraries and lecture halls have been left dirty after cleaners began their strike on Monday.
Wits Solidarity Committee member, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, gave a message of support to cleaners outside Senate House on Monday. “Campus must stink, so that people will know the importance of cleaners; as long as campus is clean, people won’t know how important this service is.”
He said that living comfortably in clean spaces while cleaners are exploited was an injustice, as they are not remunerated properly.
Vuvuzela found dirty toilets and overflowing dustbins all around campus.
3rd year BCom student Mfanelo Mabasa usually finds the 24-hour section at the Wartenweiler library the only conducive environment to study in, but said the library is currently “unbearable for studying”. He is, however, in favour of the strike as he believes cleaners deserve more pay.
A statement released by Vice-chancellor Professor Loyiso Nongxa said that “the cleaning companies contracted to Wits are to appoint temporary staff to clean both private and public areas at the institution”.
Workers from eight unions march down Jozi streets.
Wits lecturer in the politics department, Dr SP Lekgoathi, has a “please don’t clean this office. No to scab labour” poster outside his office door.
Lekgoathi said: “The place should be dirty so that the service providers can realise we can’t do without cleaners.” He also said that, as academics, it is fair to support the cleaners.
Simon Skosana, a 1st year BSc mining engineering student studying in Wartenweiler library said he was disturbed by the dirt. “I don’t have a choice because I want to study.”
Another 3rd year student, Gqamile Dladla, said: “Wits should respond and workers should come back, the bathrooms are disgusting”.
These Witsies said the strike had made them realise the cleaners’ worth.
Marching against minimum wage and eight-hour shifts.
The strike began on Monday when unions, including Wits contract cleaners, marched to the library lawns in Johannesburg. The unions want the salaries of workers earning less than R2 400 a month increased to R4200 a month. Other demands include a yearly 13th cheque and an eight-hour working shift.
General secretary of the National Services and Allied Workers Union, Sam Mbou, said no official offer has been made by the employers.
Wiseman Dinwa, Hotelicca deputy general secretary, said the strike will continue until an agreement with the employers is made.
Today we’re taking a look at the #WitsShutdown protests which are over historical debt and unaffordable accommodation, which have seen several students suspended, physical clashes between protestors and security and disruptions to the academic programme for many. In this bonus episode of We Should Be Writing, we let students unpack their views on what has […]