Power of music and the mind explored and celebrated

Many traditions and cultures have subconsciously aided the wellbeing of one’s mind through music and sound.

A neurologist and music psychotherapist tackled the maze of the mind together on Saturday, May 18, 2024, at the Wits Origins Centre through a mental wellness and brain health seminar on International Museum Day.

Human brains have a potential that is unfathomable, and whilst people think we only use 10% of our brains at a time, they are mistaken.

Most of our brain is being used most of the time, even while sleeping, and over 85 billion neurons in our brains are always firing some sort of signal.

However, with all this brain power comes the largest emotional intelligence amongst all mammals. This EQ of humans is the area studied by neurologist and brain health specialist, Dr Kirti Ranchod, and music psychotherapist, Nsamu Moonga.

Music is all around us — at birthdays, funerals, weddings, political rallies — and each scene sounds very different from the next, which is a subconscious understanding, Dr Ranchod explained.

Dr Ranchod said music is linked to both memory and emotion. When a person hears a specific song, they relive a specific experience, which leads to them feeling a specific emotion.

This is the basis from which Moonga bases his therapy techniques. He explained how humans forget things as a survival technique yet create rituals to ensure they do not forget what is important — the earth rotating completely around the sun, a human life ending, a life of two people beginning for instance.

Yet, Dr Ranchod said how music is exceptionally personal where one type of tune will relax someone whilst it will trigger another. .

To pay homage to International Museum Day, Dr Ranchod spoke about the San Trance Dance which is one of the earliest rituals known to date that used music to bind a group together.

The Trance Dance is a permanent feature at the Origins Centre — which traces human life back nearly two million years — because it sees the beginning of humans living in communities and activating their energies to connect with the spirit world.

With sound, rhythm, movement, and dance used to alter reality, shift consciousness, and change perception, this was the start of music therapy in practice.

Museums document the history we all share and allows for the interception of the past, present, and future. They allow us to understand who we are, where we come from and are the physical pallbearers of memory.

FEATURED IMAGE: Modern-day rock art as appearing in the Origins Centre to showcase how the past is still very much in the present. Photo: Victoria Hill

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National Tourism Day: A student’s guide to Joburg

Students live in Joburg, yet they hardly experience the city; here’s budget-friendly guide to places to help let loose and fall in love with the city of gold.

The University of the Witwatersrand is situated in the heart of Joburg’s CBD, with students from all over the world who enter its door. However, students, especially the ones that are novices to the area, do not know what is beyond the perimeter of their place of study — missing out on exciting spots to visit in the city.

Other students miss out as they get caught up in the hustle and bustle of city life and forget what is around them.

As today is National Tourism Day, which serves to commemorate all the aspects that contribute to a country’s travel and tourism allure; Wits Vuvuzela compiled a list of tourist attractions that students can try in celebration of the day.

See a Google map guide of the locations here.

The tourism sector took a beating during the Covid-19 pandemic, but it is currently picking up. According to Stats SA, the volume of tourist arrivals increased by 152,6% from 2,2 million in 2021 to 5,6 million in 2022.  The statistics agency explained that the national gradual improvement was observed in the number of tourists arrivals from January to December 2022; however, it is still 44,3% below the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

Looking closer at the numbers, of the 5,5 million tourists in South Africa in 2022, 0,7% are students in the country, 4,7% are from other African countries, and 0,1% are international.

Beyond this, the sector is amongst the biggest contributors to GDP in the country.

Thus, one can see how tourism is a necessary sector in South Africa with predominant hotspots in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban. Luckily for Wits students, they have the best tourist places within their fingertips.

An eagle’s eye view of Johannesburg showing bustling traffic and the hidden gems the city has to offer. Photo: Victoria Hill

Tourist hubs are made up of historical, cultural, environmental, and social aspects, which students can choose from. They also vary on a scale of affordability, which is vital to consider as students are always looking for fun outings that do not break the bank.

Under R100:

1.     Wits Art Museum

2.     Wits Origins Centre

3.     Johannesburg Botanical Gardens

4.     Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens

5.     The Wilds Nature Reserve

6.     Constitution Hill

7.     South African National Museum of Military History

8.     Johannesburg Zoo

9.     Lindfield Victorian House Museum

10.  James Hall Museum of Transport

11.  Adventure Golf [one game = R36,67]

12.  Sci-Bono Discovery Centre

Between R100-R200:

13.  Apartheid Museum

14.  Montecasino Bird Gardens

15.  Multiflora Flower Market

16.  Ice-skating

Between R200-R300:

17.  44 Stanley

18.  Gold Reef City Theme Park

19.  Maboneng Precinct

20.  Melville

21.  Parktown 4th Avenue

22.  Illovo Muse

23.  Rosebank Rooftop Market

24.  Fourway’s Farmers Market

25.  Neighbour Goods Market

26.  Victoria Yards

27.  Hashtag Escape

Independent ticket pricing:

28.  Joburg Theatre

29.  Wits Theatre Complex

30.  Wits Chris Seabrooke Music Hall

No matter if you want to go from zero to one hundred, Johannesburg will always have something in store for you. These are just a few tourist attractions near or surrounding Wits University, but if you want an adventure beyond these borders, a road trip is always worth it.

Watch a Google Earth deep dive into each location:

FEATURED IMAGE: The skyline of Johannesburg as seen from the Wits Art Museum building’s 20th floor. Photo: Victoria Hill

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SAFW ushers in the green catwalk 

South African Fashion Week highlighted the beauty of South African designs while placing a strong focus on making the fashion industry sustainable.  

It was lights, camera, and action for models and designers this past weekend at the annual Spring/Summer 2024 South African Fashion Week (SAFW) at Mall of Africa. The event was overflowing with guests ready to celebrate the country’s current fashion landscape.  

The three-day event from 18 to 20 April was a celebration of South African stories through new designs and offered the runway to many fledgling designers from across the country. The star-studded event did this by focusing on sustainable fashion.  

The idea of ‘green fashion’ has become a hot-button issue; and SAFW has committed to a clean fashion ethos since 2019, in a bid to create a non-toxic fashion industry. Many of the designers who presented their collections over the weekend emphasised the importance of sustainability in their designs and brands. 

The opening night presented the Mr Price New Talent Search, which showcased collections by new and upcoming designers, challenging them to produce their garments sustainably. Jessica-Ann Shepherd, the creator of ‘Oddity’ was this year’s winner, with her collection of vibrant, utility-inspired clothing.  

Shepherd mentioned in her pre-show introduction that “responsible fashion is important because it is a solution to the industry’s environmental and social issues. We incorporate responsible fashion by upcycling, slow design, and reusing waste.” 

Vanya Mangaliso, designer and creator of ‘Sun Goddess’ — a luxury heritage brand from Johannesburg told Wits Vuvuzela about their strategy to ensure a greener footprint. “Once we have cut the clothes, there [are] a lot of cuts of fabric that fill up landfills, which is wrong. We take those clothes and cut byproducts, like pillows and quilting to make sure every piece of fabric is used,” says Mangaliso.  

This is a view shared by many of the featured designers in ensuring their work is green, and not adding to the growing environmental issues worldwide. 

The final day featured a collection by Mpumelelo Dhlamini from ‘Ezokhetho, a fashion brand with a focus on African women and their stories. Dhlamini explained that green fashion is unique to each designer. “For us it is finding ways of using leftover fabric because we are a print-heavy brand, so we always have prints that we can reuse and reintroduce,” explains Dhlamini. 

Dhlamini stated that Ezokhetho’s print-heavy style helps to tell their stories, and this season’s collection titled, Umthwalo meaning ‘carry me’ looks at the relationship between an adult and their parents. “It’s basically tapping into your inner child as an adult.” This collection featured bright, and vibrant prints to highlight the depths of that narrative. 

Much like Ezokhetho’s collection, the diverse designs featured throughout the weekend told different stories, many of which were inspired by South Africa and the designer’s experiences. 

Leon von Solms, a designer from Cape Town says his collection was inspired by flowers to express the world’s need for positivity. “My inspiration is flowers…I specifically painted local flowers, because I just feel we need flowers; we need love and happiness.”  

This eccentric 1970s themed collection made use of metallics and bright colours, and hand painted flora to put forward a message of “happiness and peace.” Von Solms’ collection also featured accessories his colleague created from recycled materials to match each of the flowers painted on the dresses.  

The event was a lively showcase with beautiful prints, colours and silhouettes that highlighted the intricacies of local design. South African Fashion Week will return in October 2024 for the Autumn/ Winter collections.  

Citizens unite in ‘We The People Walk’

Locals unite, in the north of the city centre, in JHB, to raise their voices to spotlight urgent human rights concerns.

A 5km march starting at the Old Fort building in Kotze Street, with the aim of fostering a collective action towards a more equitable and inclusive future, capped off this year’s Constitutional Hill Human Rights Festival.  

Event organizers celebrate the success of the We; the People Walk, uniting communities for human rights and democracy Photo: Thato Gololo

The peaceful protest, organized by the Constitutional Hill, comes during the month of Human Rights and saw people march through Braamfontein on Sunday, March 24, 2024. The festival honours the memories of those who died in the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre.  

Marchers held flags and posters with slogans like, “It’s your right to know it all.” Attendee, Princess Mkhwanazi told Wits Vuvuzela that she had fulfilled her responsibility as a civil citizen by partaking in the walk. “It’s for highlighting it to everybody, that as much as they (are) in their houses or at work, they also have human rights that should be respected, followed and adhered to,” Mkhwanazi said.

Marketing manager at the Constitutional Hill and Wits alumni, Joshua Sibeko, said, “What we stand for is that only the people of South Africa can change South Africa, if it was not for the people, South Africa would not exist.”

Other activities during the family-friendly festival included education on constitutional rights, film screenings, discussions, and taking people through the motions of voting on mock ballot papers.

Radio’s resilience: 100 years of broadcasting in South Africa 

“Seventy percent of South Africans get their main source of news from radio, and it’s still considered the most trusted source in the country,” said Head of Regulatory Affairs, Julia Sham-Guild. 

The Wits Centre for Journalism (WCJ) joined the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) at their Radio Park auditorium to celebrate World Radio Day on February 13, 2024.  

Director of the WCJ, Dr. Dinesh Balliah and SABC radio general manager, Siphelele Sixaso extended a warm welcome to all media practitioners who gathered to commemorate the centenary milestone.

“Of course, we will go down memory lane to honour the legends that have graced our airways and dedicated their lives to the mission of informing, educating and entertaining the radio-loving listener,” said Sixaso.   

The WCJ strategically chose this day, to launch their state of the newsroom report titled, ‘100 years of radio broadcasting’. Published annually by the centre, the report looks at emerging issues in South Africa’s media landscape and fosters public discourse. The 2022 edition investigated the evolution of radio broadcasting in South Africa, featuring nine articles by experienced media professionals. 

SAfm radio broadcaster, Cathy Mohlahlana led the first session of the day, a discussion on public interest radio and it’s role in the democratic process. She was joined by the director of Radiocracy, Robin Sewlal and SABC’s head of advertising media strategy, Florence Kikine.  

Sewlal agreed with Kikine’s perspective that “radio is the original social media,” and a two-way stream where the broadcasters and audiences engage interactively, something which has sustained the medium through the years.

The first radio station in the country started broadcasting on December 18, 1923, while the early 1950’s marked the introduction of broadcasting in indigenous languages. Presently, South Africa has 40 commercial and public broadcast stations, along with 284 community stations. “The latter number is staggering, considering that community radio only launched as a sector less than 30 years ago,” wrote Balliah in the preface of the report.  

Despite the “staggering” growth, media consultant, Jayshree Pather added that community stations face challenges of being under-resourced and lacking sufficient funding which contributes to their underdevelopment. 

The idea of ‘content is king’ garnered different perspectives among panelists and audience members. Kikine said listeners increasingly influence what broadcasters talk about on air and warned against discussing topics that resonate with a select few instead of the broader community.  

Shaking his head, Sewlal said a topic should be discussed despite its narrow focus because it can be significant for some individuals or educate others. “Take care of the quality, and the quantity will take care of itself,” he said.  

A debate about podcasts versus traditional radio soon followed. Talk radio host, Morio Sanyane said people opt for podcasts because they have absolute freedom to discuss a variety of topics while broadcast practitioners are governed by codes and ethics of journalism which can curtail their scope.     

Radio broadcast student, Mzwakhe Radebe made his preference for podcasts clear, saying that they are more relatable and personal. “No offence but nobody listens to SABC in my class,” said Radebe. 

“When young people say that they are disillusioned and don’t feel accessed it means that the stories that we’re telling don’t speak to them, it’s not that the story is not important, “said Balliah. She further expressed the need to build a future for radio to ensure that it survives for another 100 years. However, this is a challenging task considering the loss of over a million listeners in 2022, according to the report.

 

Homelessness a hot potato for the city and NGOs

Various city departments and non-profit organizations in Johannesburg have become entangled in a cycle of shifting responsibility and pointing fingers at each other when issues of homelessness are brought up.

“All that glitters is not gold” is a well known aphorism that conveys the idea that appearances can be deceiving, thus some things are too good to be true. The city of Johannesburg, often dubbed the City of Gold, serves as a vivid illustration of this saying as it grapples with significant disparities stemming from political instability, macro-economic challenges, and persistent social problems.

A typical morning in the bustling streets of Johannesburg is characterised by the noise of car horns, as frustrated taxi drivers weave through traffic, disrupting the flow of traffic. For those who call the pavements on either side of the road home, this commotion is their unwelcome alarm, while the early risers are already up, sifting through garbage bins in search of food or items to exchange for a few coins at recycling centres. This is the daily reality of a homeless person in the city, however, it becomes even more daunting during winter or rainy days.

For some shelters provided refuge, only three government shelters are operational in Joburg. Three Kotze Street Shelter in Braamfontein is the largest, accommodating 350 males and females, followed by the 1 Dan Street shelter which has a bed capacity of 60 for males only and lastly, 21 Windsor West which has a bed capacity for 40 males only.

Despite this, homelessness receives little to no attention in annual budgets and planning, census data cannot even accurately capture the number of people on the streets in the municipality. Consequently, careless estimations have been made, such as when Homeless Solutions, a non-profit organisation based in Pretoria said that there were a combined 600 000 homeless people in Joburg and Tshwane. Africa Check denounced this claim after finding out that it was based on opinion rather than evidence.

Moreover, the municipality releases an Integrated Annual Report where overall city governance such as management, service delivery, financial performance and more are covered. This report also did not have any programmes or funding outlined for displaced persons. Instead, homelessness was identified as a hinderance to the public sector housing plan.

In April 2020, Gauteng premier, Panyaza Lesufi said that Johannesburg had 15 000 homeless people while Tshwane had 10 000. Yet, in a recent interview with News24 the CEO of Johannesburg Homeless Network, Mary Gillet-de Klerk said the number is currently more than 20 000 in Johannesburg.

Evidence shows that the municipality has made no financial investments in statistical research which could help to determine the accurate number of displaced persons. The director of research of the Gauteng Department of Social Development, Sello Mokoena confirmed that there are currently no plans to invest in such research. Therefore, speculations will persist.

On the contrary, the City of Cape Town (CPT) conducted an extensive study which not only found an approximate number but also the racial make-up and health status of its homeless population. This type of research required collaboration between various departments and NGOs and ultimately assisted the local government to plan for this vulnerable group’s basic needs.

The departments of Social Development, Financial Development, Human Settlements, Public Safety and Transportation are some of the city’s key drivers of social change. But when questions about shelters, budgets and healthcare for the homeless are raised, the finger pointing begins.

The Johannesburg Department of Social Development (DSD) defines homelessness as “displaced persons who live on the streets, under bridges or open spaces and are unable to provide themselves with shelter at any given time or place.”

The above definition proves that housing is a huge problem, however, Shiraaz Lorgat who oversees social housing funds under Human Settlements said they do not “play in the homelessness space” as they only fund affordable rental projects.

When enquiring about the inadequate health facilities and services provided for homeless people, the deputy director of the District Health Services Dorothy Diale, told Wits Vuvuzela that homeless people are attended by “social development,” but did not comment on the health department’s mandate on displaced persons.

Ultimately, the department of social development acknowledged that they are accountable for the homeless population, but clearly indicated that against popular belief, their mandate is not to remove people from the streets but rather to create awareness and to work closely with those who are willing to be assisted. “Human Settlements is not doing what they should be doing, its mandate is to provide housing, our [social development] mandate is not to build,” said Kebonye Senna, the head of the Migration, Displaced, and Children’s Services Unit in the department.

The lack of accountability propelled the provincial government (Gauteng Department of Social Development) to rely on Non-Profit and Non-Governmental Organisations to care for homeless beneficiaries, and allocated R87 million to the NPOs in 2022 and in 2023. Budgetary constraints saw the same allocation two years running.

Nonetheless, during the state of the province address on February 20, 2023, Lesufi announced that R2 billion was allocated to NGOs without specifying whether this was in addition to the R87 million. In response to this, Senna expressed her dissatisfaction and lack of trust for NPOs, noting that the government is wasting money by funding them. She further referenced an article published on November 6, 2023, about corrupt NPOs using resources provided for the poor for their personal benefits. “The money given to NGOs is meant to assist shelters. R 289 000 should be given to 3 Kotze Shelter per month and R 55 000 to 21 Windsor West, but theres only R 20 000 provided for both shelters.”

The 2022 social development policy document on homelessness has an alphabetical list (A-Z) of objectives. Three specific goals stand out. The first states that the department should “institute regular research (every two years) to establish the nature and extent of homelessness in the city”. The second states that the department should “facilitate access to housing through advocacy programmes for the homeless,” and the third that there should be a “special allocation of a percentage of houses to rehabilitated homeless people”. These objectives have not been realised and there are currently no plans in place to pursue them.

The slogan for the Johannesburg Health Department is, “one city, one health system” thus the assumption is that displaced people are included in healthcare services, especially because they are more prone to contagious, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

The city has 40 public clinics and hospitals, however, according to a report by the National Institute of Health, homeless patients face discrimination, marginalization and stigma when accessing public hospitals. Moreover, there are no programmes in the department of health tailored to the needs of displaced persons, particularly if they are immigrants or do not have identification documents. For example, the latest HIV counselling and testing policy, dates to December 2003 but does not make mention of homeless people.

Twenty three yearold Sandile Letsoele told Wits Vuvuzela that he does not go to public hospitals because the nurses look down on him and other homeless people. “They’ll just look at you and tell you to stand very far, so we normally wait the whole day before we get help,” said Letsoele.

In partnership with the Holy Trinity Church in Braamfontein, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) students established the only clinic for homeless people in South Africa in 2004.

However, the leader of the church, Father Bruce Botha told Wits Vuvuzela that the clinic has not been operating since covid-19 due to “institutional problems” which he did not wish to elaborate on. The Health Sciences Faculty at Wits did not respond to queries around this either. “When it does run, it provides basic health screening, medical consultation, providing free prescription medication, wound dressing and HIV screening,” said Botha.

The issue of stigmatization goes beyond health care facilities, it is also seen in local communities.  Senna said that social development looks for hotspots before establishing a shelter, “We tried in Lenasia but there were issues of security, people don’t understand homelessness- they associate it with criminal activities.” She added that they are currently building another shelter in Freedom Park which will accommodate both males and females.

Displaced persons sometimes complain about the accessibility and treatment in NGOs and shelters.  Thirty year old Nicholas Mncube, from Zimbabwe said he went to 3 Kotze shelter in Braamfontein, but they refused to take him in without a social worker. “I really don’t know why they wanted me to bring a social worker, but now I’m staying at MES [an NGO for the homeless] which is also here in Braam.” Mncube said staying at MES costs R30 per night which he cannot afford regularly, he can only go on days he has raised enough money from begging.

Apart from this, the homeless also try to forge their own homes, be it on the streets or by occupying abandoned buildings. Mncube who left Zimbabwe at the age of 23 said he lived and slept next to Joburg Theatre but was chased away by the police before going to MES.

Letsoele, who ended up on the streets due to drugs said he stayed at 3 Kotze but they kicked him out before his due time, “I was attending my sessions and recovering but they kicked me out during the weekend when my social worker was not there so I couldn’t even speak to him.” Contrary to this Senna said, the beneficiaries go through a three to six months programme which includes assessments and rehabilitation, and only released once their social worker believes they are ready for the outside world.

Councillor of Braamfontein, Sihle Nguse told Wits Vuvuzela that the homeless affect all sectors “everybody must play a role to assist the homeless, they are such smart guys they deserve a second chance at life”. He added that Braamfontein has approximately 500 displaced people.

Although the health and social development departments are jointly responsible for the city’s homeless pupulation, it is crucial to note the African phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child.” This implies that the upbringing and development of a child are not solely the responsibility of their parents or immediate family. Instead, it suggests that a community, including extended family, neighbours, and friends, play a crucial role in nurturing, guiding, and supporting a child as they grow and learn-this same analogy could be used in the case of homeless persons.

Joburg: The city on edge

Johannesburg is famous for its fortunes and notorious for its crime. With millions in the city chasing a dream – are they adequately being kept safe?

FORTRESS JOBURG – High-raised walls with spikes and electric fencing, with surveillance from CCTV or unarmed private security guards like Cameron Fayindlala of 24/7 security – Johannesburg residents spend large amounts of money to guard themselves and their property. Photo: Seth Thorne

When the sun sets over the economic hub of South Africa, Johannesburg – do you feel safe? “No, I don’t – crime in Joburg [is] way too high,” said Rogers Risenga, a resident of Alexandra – one of the city’s hotspots for serious crimes. 

He is not alone – nearly eight in ten of the 6,2 million residents are estimated to be living with constant feelings of unsafety in the city, and who can blame them? Joburg consistently tops the list where the most serious crimes are reported in Gauteng province. Hearing of or falling victim to armed robberies, home break-ins, assaults, murders, and carjackings in the city is almost a daily occurrence. 

Crimes are not distributed evenly, with handfuls of areas across Joburg recording crime rates well above the city (and national) average. 

Regardless, instances of crime are prevalent citywide. The City of Johannesburg (COJ) plays a crucial role in developing and implementing localised solutions to crime. They outline that crime and a lack of safety are some of the biggest challenges faced by residents. In response, a City Safety Strategy was created, but last revised in 2016/17. It outlines that the responsibility of creating a safe city does not sit solely on the shoulders of local government – but involves the whole of society.  

A “multi-agency collaboration” approach has been adopted, but are they currently effective if a large majority of the residents feel so unsafe? By identifying and contextualising (some of) these different sectors, the question is asked – is everyone pulling their weight? Why? What (are just some) of the solutions if not? 

Examples of crime statistics where Johannesburg consistently tops national average. Photo: Seth Thorne

The national structure tasked with protecting civilians and combating crime is the South African Police Service (SAPS) – with 44 stations located in the city.  SAPS has a feigning perception for a number of reasons, including but not limited to perceptions of corruption and underperformance from detective units. 

This is not to discredit pockets of commendable policing work. Statistically, SAPS are short-staffed (over 80 thousand under their ideal target), poorly resourced (26% of police vehicles are not operational) and underperforming investigative capacities. “It usually takes [SAPS] three or four hours (at least) to arrive on the scene of a crime after we have contacted them,” said community policing volunteer Deidre De Carvalho.

“When cases are actually opened, they are [often] not investigated properly” – or at all, explained Lizette Lancaster, project manager at the Institute for Security Studies. A sentiment echoed by interviewees across the security sector. 

SAPS were consistently contacted for comment; however, communication went cold.

At a local level, the COJ has a plan to “reduce crime by 50% in the 40 worst crime hotspots”. This will largely fall under the mandate of the department of public safety.

Interactive map highlighting Johannesburg policing precincts that record some of the highest national serious crime statistics. Map: Seth Thorne

Joburg is one of six municipalities to have their own police service – the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD), established due to “high levels of crime and grime” and a “lack of confidence in policing” according to their homepage.  

They “largely respond to high levels of serious crimes, like robbery and assault,” said JMPD superintendent Xolani Fihla. “We work in support of the national police – we do not have things like stations to hold suspects or crime intelligencem” he added.

Thousands of trained and armed JMPD officers are deployed by local government across the most populated municipality in South Africa to combat crime, enforce the city’s by-laws, and police traffic in the city. Photo: Seth Thorne.

Brewing in the department of public safety’s pot is the establishment of two new crime prevention and combatting units designed for serious crimes in the city. These are the JMPD armed tactical reaction unit, as well as a regional crime combatting and prevention unit. On November 10, 2023, these were officially launched by the MMC for public safety, Dr Mgcini Tshwaku, as part of the city’s #FightingCrimeManjeNamhlanje project. 

“We are going to use all means necessary to find these criminals” said Tshwaku in an interview with Newsroom Afrika. “We want to send a message with these units, that [we] will not be negotiating with criminals,” he added.

Apart from SAPS, JMPD partners with other security sectors like private security, crime prevention wardens, patrollers, and community policing. “Everyone needs to move together… more boots on the ground to help tackle crime,” said Fihla. In interviews with other stakeholders, they commended the responsiveness of JMPD when needed.

Additionally, in mayor Kabelo Gwamanda’s 2023 State of the Council Address, he said that the city plans on increasing the CCTV monitoring sector through partnerships with the private sector and through their own Integrated Intelligence Operations Centre (IIOC). Fihla explained that the JMPD undercover unit works closely with the IIOC, who inform them of crimes or by-law enforcement incidents that had been picked up in the control room.

Gwamanda also plans to recruit approximately 2 000 crime wardens to (as provincial police commissioner Elias Mawela describes them) “serve as the eyes and ears” of the police and JMPD.

Crime wardens have been a pervasive feature of recent provincial politics. There have been thousands of three-month trained wardens deployed as part of a R1.5 billion program announced by Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi earlier this year. 

The wardens make use of (sometimes armed) patrols, stop and searches and expensive equipment like drones, CCTV cameras, helicopters and fast cars. In his presentation of Gauteng’s most recent crime statistics, Mawela said that he believes it is too early to judge crime wardens’ performance.

Currently, it is facing questions about the legality of its formation, as well as accusations about these wardens having a heavy-handed approach to tackling crime – brutalizing suspects in the process. This stems from the possibility of poor crime prevention training and a lack of a vetting process in appointments.

Ultimately, all sectors are heavily reliant on the work of SAPS to see out the wheels of justice. It is only SAPS that can legally detain suspects, investigate, and open dockets of cases. 

“I appeal to the leadership of SAPS [to work together with the COJ], [because] people are really in trouble and crying out about crime. The only thing that JMPD can do is to arrest, but in terms of detention, investigation, and writing of dockets, that is still the function of the SAPS. So, we must forge a relationship,”  said Dr Tshwaku in his interview with Newsroom Afrika.

Noteworthy statistics of three major safety and security sectors – SAPS, JMPD and the private security – operating within Johannesburg. Infographics: Seth Thorne

A walk or drive around suburban Joburg shows the heavy investments by residents to protect themselves. From armed guards, and CCTV cameras, to high-raised walls with electric fencing. 

“Classical policing functions are today being accomplished through private security rather than the police service,“ said Doraval Govender and Professor Krisandren Pillay in their critical evaluation of policing.

However, the cost of safety in this industry is open to the highest bidder.  It is a service that prevents, picks up on, and responds to crimes committed against their clients. “Private security is expensive…People pay because they know we will be there when they call,” said Francois Marais, CEO of Randburg-based private security company Ghost Squad.

“With private security being a luxury only wealthy citizens can afford, there is a concern that this industry [could] widen the inequality gap – namely leaving those most directly affected by crime most vulnerable” said Professor Pillay, in his inaugural lecture on private security. 

They work very closely with communities, sometimes at the expense of innocent individuals on the other side of the fence that residents did not like the look of and shared such on their community WhatsApp group. 

Being well-resourced, private security are often first respondents to scenes.

There are also legal limitations in their duties, relying on the police force to respond efficiently if a crime is suspected to have or has been committed. But, after interviews with multiple security providers, this has (largely) not been the case.

“A couple of my employees (security guards) were held hostage by criminals. To this day police have not even taken statements,” said Eben Hulley, head of E&B Guarding, a private security company that operates in Johannesburg south.

Crime most affects communities themselves, and thus the public is critical in combatting it. They are better informed about what is happening around them and more willing to protect their areas. 

“We want to use the broken window theory – getting rid of visible crime will discourage more crime from being committed,” said Community Policing Forum (CPF) member, Deidre De Carvalho.

CPFs were set up to build a working relationship between the national police and communities. Volunteers, like De Carvalho joined “to take ownership and start protecting [their] community”.  

They work with other residents, private security, patrollers/guards who are registered with CPFs, and governmental security agencies. They perform patrols and consistent communication with the mentioned partners to locate, prevent and intervene in crime – working with the police station of their area. These are similar to the functions of neighbourhood watch groups.

When it comes the working relationships, “It depends on how good the SAPS station commander is, as some are extremely keen on working with other sectors like private security – but others refuse… luckily our station commander is good with that,” said De Carvalho.

Like all other sectors, these groups face legal limitations in how they can respond to crime and their effectiveness lies in the responsiveness of other security sectors. They rely on governmental security services to respond when a crime has been identified. “CPFs and security companies are guaranteed to get there before SAPS,” said De Carvalho. “We have to cordon areas off for hours until SAPS arrives.” 

Areas that largely cannot afford private security, with less prominent CPFs and underperformance of other security sectors sees a rise of, as Lancaster describes, “self-help groups” of people carrying weapons to feel safer and protect their areas. 

However, these sometimes morph into vigilante or criminal extortion groups of their own – charging/extorting protection money from the community. These arise because “police are seen as absent and cannot be trusted” by residents said Lancaster.

Research shows that if the public trusts the police and feels that they are fair, people are more likely to comply, report crimes and share crucial information that would be of use for police investigations and tip-offs. However, there is a trust deficit between the public and the national police force. 

Safety policies at the national level coincide greatly with local and provincial public policies. These have included increased budgetary spending, more boots on the ground and aggressive policing approaches. Aggressive policing strategies can strain the trust between government law enforcement and communities.

Governmental agencies have been documented brutalising communities because of these aggressive policing policies stemming from political focuses. “Doing a raid on informal traders is not going to stop crime because you are taking food out the mouths of their families” explained Lancaster. 

“If [these policies] are done correctly, people may feel safe… but they are often done badly leading people to mistrust law enforcement”. 

lizette lancaster

Every single possession belonging to these families covers this street in the Johannesburg CBD as police conduct a raid of an alleged hijacked building – a prevalent issue on the agenda of Johannesburg police. Photo: Seth Thorne

Numerous organisations play important roles in safety through research, data collection and analysis for the public. One such research organisation is the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), which assists the COJ in the formation of its safety strategy. 

An important part of tackling crime is understanding where and when crimes occur to create targeted policing. However, as Lancaster describes, the politicization of crime statistics has made it difficult to collect accurate data to pinpoint and combat crime.

The trust deficit can be seen in fewer victims of crime reporting them to police. Johannesburg proudly boasts a 62% decrease in recorded sexual assault crimes since 2005/6. However, this rather represents a declining confidence in reporting such cases to the police or a lack of responsiveness – not in the crime itself.

“Politicians… and worse yet the police are scared that they will be judged and punished – which leads to terribly perverse incentives. Especially sexual violence, people are not reporting it because (apart from stigmatisation) police actively dissuade [victims] because they are scared that they are going to be criticised and disciplined for [recording high crime statistics in their precinct],” explained Lancaster. 

As shown, numerous agencies work hard to counter crime. As more boots are put on the ground in other sectors, legally, all rely on the national police force to respond timeously and effectively for justice to run its course in both accusations and actual crimes. However, constraints and underperformance at SAPS illustrated by the responses indicate that this is often not the case.

David Bruce, a South African criminology expert, calls for police to implement less nationally focused policing strategies. Delegating some policing powers to provincial and municipal police departments could greatly help curb crime because there are “major variations in how violence is distributed across the city”. 

Additionally, there needs to be an improvement in the overall responsiveness of SAPS to scenes, as well as the effectiveness of their investigations.

Curbing crime involves the whole of society and policies should reflect that. To involve society, the working relationship, as well as the trust deficit between police, communities, and other actors, need to be improved to allow for more accurate data to be recorded, and better police intelligence. 

Overall – there are many actors and partnerships that are crucial to curbing crime – all with their pros and cons.  An incohesive working relationship between them both impacts crime and hinders justice. This mostly affects the everyday residents, like Rogers Risenga, who live in worry about the high levels of crime in the city. Working together can change that.

FEATURE: South Africa’s grant system has a missing middle problem

Despite South Africa’s constitution enshrining that every citizen possesses the right to access social security – a large demographic has been excluded from the social grant system.

While it may appear inconceivable to subsist on a grant of a mere R350 per month, this harsh reality befalls millions of South Africans, who find themselves teetering precariously below the food poverty line, trapped in a crippling dependency on social grants.

Wits Vuvuzela delved into the lives of five South Africans, confronting the stark reality of surviving on that R350 per month. When questioned about how their families manage on such an allowance, a resounding “We don’t!’ echoed around the room. Donavan Du Pelsen (53) lamented, “R11 a day! It works out to R11 a day!” Another recipient chimed in, “A loaf of bread is R12!”

Social security is firmly embedded in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

Section 27(1)(c) of Act 108 of 1996 stipulates that every South African has the right to access social security, which includes appropriate social assistance for those unable to support themselves and their dependents.

Yet, in a country with a 32.6% unemployment rate, millions of citizens have been excluded from receiving this core socioeconomic right, resulting in 18.3 million South Africans between the ages of 18-59 living below the food poverty line.

The quarterly labour force statistics published by Statistics South Africa for Q2: 2023.
Infographic: Terri-Ann Brouwers

Prior to 2020, when the Social Relief of Distress Grant was implemented in response to the covid-19 pandemic, unemployed and able-bodied South Africans between the ages of 18-59 were completely excluded from the social grant system.

The grants which exist in South Africa include the older person’s grant, child support grant, grant in aid, care dependency grant, foster child grant, disability grant and war veterans grant.

According to a study conducted by UNICEF one of the common misconceptions held by policymakers, the media, and stakeholders in general, is that providing social assistance to citizens between the ages of 18-59 will lead to long-term dependency. Those who hold this view think such social assistance will disincentivise active job seekers and promote laziness.

This kind of thinking imagines that social grants should exclusively be allocated to the ‘deserving poor’ while unemployed people of working age are simply not trying hard enough to fight their circumstances.

Social Relief of Distress Grant (SRD)

Implemented to help the economically vulnerable South Africans during the pandemic, the SRD grant provided a monthly stipend of R350 afforded to recipients. In the 2023 budget speech finance minister, Enoch Godongwana stated that the grant would be extended until 31 March 2024. Although it was a much welcomed extension, the implementation has less than smooth.  

On 27 July 2023, the Pay The Grants campaign and the Institute for Economic Justice (IEJ) sued the government over the unfair exclusion of millions of people from the SRD grant. They also included concerns about “the real terms reduction of the value of the grant.” They stated that while all social grants have increased over time, the SRD grant has remained the same since its implementation in 2020. “Given headline inflation over 6%, the value of the grant has decreased to R294 in real terms. Inflation in the price of food is even higher than headline inflation, having reached over 11%,” read the court documents.

“We would rather have jobs than the R350!”

– Euradiece raiters

Commenting on the exclusion of social grants for people between the ages of 18-59, Pay The Grants chairperson, Elizabeth Raiters, who is also a recipient of the SRD Grant said: “We are not lazy to work. If you [are] over 35 it’s a big struggle to find a job because of your age. So, what happens to us after 35? There’s no grant to support us, we [are] not lazy to work, we are looking for jobs.” Raiters sister, Euradiece Raiters, who is also a recipient of the SRD grant echoed the sentiment, “We would rather have jobs than the R350!”

“There is totally no grant that covers those people, until you get old age (older person’s grant), so for all those years how must you survive?” said Raiters.

Charmaine Martin, another grant recipient and mother, was forced to quit her job when her husband developed a chronic disease which left him dependent on two oxygen tanks and unable to stay home alone. “I have a chronic patient, a daughter that’s 14, no income, we’re waiting for a grant that may never arrive, so in your mind how do you think we’re surviving now at this moment?”

She continued: “Tomorrow, he needs to go to hospital, I don’t have money for him to go to hospital for his appointment.” Martin is receiving a grant of R500 for her daughter, “She’s 14, how much is toiletries? R500 is for toiletries. So where does she eat? Where is she getting clothing from?”

Feeling despondent and out of options Martin said: “I’m at a point now where I want to send my husband to a place where they can help him with his illness, his lungs and everything, and me and my child can go to the shelter and live there… At least at the shelter, we will be able to eat breakfast, lunch and supper.”

Martin is constantly managing her hunger, “I don’t eat [for] like four to five days. I’ll rather buy a grandpa and that will fill me and boost me for the day ahead,” she said.

Valentia Mahlaela (22), an honours in physiology student at Wits University, was a recipient of the SRD grant in 2020 and said she was only able to use the R350 for toiletries. “I used it as my allowance, especially toiletries,” she continues, adding that “I was never granted NSFAS so it helped my folks [parents] a lot.”

Universal Basic Income Grant

Pay The Grants has been campaigning for the government to implement a Universal Basic Income Grant (UBIG) of a minimum of R1500. According to Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice& Dignity Group household affordability index, the average cost of a household food basket is R5124,31.

Commenting on the need for the UBIG to be implemented Pay The Grants said, “Debts are skyrocketing and so is child malnutrition. Rising unemployment is a structural feature of the system, currently 35% overall and 70% for youth without any signs of improvement.”

The organization says that UBIG is a way to restore the basic dignity and survival of most of the country.

  • Universal Basic Income Grant

An infographic outlining the premise of a universal basic income grant. Infographic: Terri-Ann Brouwers

Although deeply embedded in our constitution, it is clear that a significant portion of South Africans have been left behind when it comes to accessing social grants. One would think that the mother in the Eastern Cape who killed herself and her three daughters due to the extreme poverty they endured, would be a cautionary tale to the government to not only increase the grant amount but also make it more accessible to people of working age. However, this has not been the case. The question stands – how many more tragedies must occur before all South Africans’ constitutional rights are met?

FEATURED IMAGE: South Africa is confronted with a striking dependence on social grants, yet millions have been left out of the social security system. Photo: Terri-Ann Brouwers

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Grindr Kidnapping: Criminals know they can get away with it says Activate Wits 

Concerns for the safety of dating-app users soar after the kidnapping of an 18-year-old student. 

A Wits University student is recovering in hospital after being kidnapped by a group of men who had allegedly lured them through online dating app, Grindr.  

The victim was found by police, bound and unconscious, on September 20 at the Denver Men’s Hostel and taken to Milpark Hospital for treatment.  Seven suspects were arrested and charged with kidnapping and extortion, with police recovering three knives and the student’s belongings in their possession. 

Police are investigating if the suspects have links to numerous other cases of a similar nature in Gauteng. 

The student is currently staying at one of the university’s residences and on September 19, their roommate reported them missing after not returning from meeting with someone from the app. 

“A Wits warden informed [Campus Protection Services (CPS)] that a student was reported missing by his roommate,” said Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel. CPS then immediately alerted the South African Police Department (SAPS). “They worked to track down the student… CPS were a central part of this team and acted swiftly,” added Patel. The university says that this is the first case of this nature that they have been made aware of.  

The kidnappers contacted the student’s family and demanded tens of thousands of rands in ransom money. 

SAPS Gauteng spokesperson Brenda Muridili said that a large group working together to recover the student were led “to an ATM where one of the suspects was expected to withdraw the ransom money on the M2 Road. The police held an observation and then placed the suspect under arrest [as] soon as he arrived.” The suspect then led the police to the hostel. 

Grindr is a popular social networking and online dating app that sees around 3.6 million online daily users worldwide. The app is targeted towards the queer community (mostly men – 69% of users) looking for, as the AfroQueer podcast describes it, “hookups, relationships and love… and some other things in-between.” 

However, this app has been an ever increasing medium to facilitate organised crime.  

There have been numerous cases where users have been targeted by people who robbed, assaulted, raped, kidnapped and/or murdered them. The app itself issued a warning to its South African users over the rise in kidnapping’s linked to their own platform earlier this year.  

A screenshot of the Grindr homepage in January 2023, issuing a “Johannesburg Safety Warning” due to the rise of kidnappings around the city that targeted its users. Image: MambaOnline.com

Noma Sibanda, who is a representative from LQBTQIA+ rights-oriented society Activate Wits, said that the “app itself is not safe because anyone can open a fake account”. There is no verification process when opening a Grindr account and anonymity is synonymous with most profiles, largely due to stigma, which criminals take advantage of.  

“When speaking to someone romantically, people can be misled easily… so when meeting up for the first time with someone on the app, do so in a public place with other people,” said Sibanda.   

Activate Wits says that this event “not only causes physical or psychological harm but also perpetuates a culture of silence and fear… [Criminal syndicates] capitalise on this because it is easier in South Africa to be operational because they believe they can get away with it,” added Sibanda. 

Sibanda hopes to work closely with the university for victims to come forward and report crimes as “it may be easier for the queer community to speak (and open up) to others in the community”.  

FEATURED IMAGE: Student activists pose on the Library Lawns while facing the Wits Great Hall. Photo: File

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Horrors of domestic violence explored in new book

“Believe women when they ask for help and believe men when they threaten women,” said Dr Nechama Brodie. 

Dr. Nechama Brodie signing her new book Domestic Terror at its launch at Rosebank on September 6. Photo: Seth Thorne

Incidents of domestic violence are not isolated – they show patterns of systemic violence in South Africa. This is the chilling reality explored in Dr. Nechama Brodie’s new book Domestic Terror: Intimate partner violence in South Africa.

The book tracks South African women’s experiences with domestic violence over a 100 year period, many of them living in fear and terror in their own homes,  some murdered by the intimate partners they shared those spaces with. 

Brodie, a veteran journalist, writer and lecturer at the Wits Centre for Journalism was in discussion with broadcaster and journalist Azania Mosaka at the book’s launch at Exclusive Books, Rosebank on September 6.

“By definition, terror is the deliberate instillment of fear…when controlling partners feel as if they are losing control, they up the levels of violence to instil more fear and for them, control,” said Brodie. There are many instances of instilling fear, from smashing a phone to stalking – anything that may cause emotional, physical or any other form of distress. 

“Women are often killed with protection orders in their handbags. Police should intervene ‘on the small stuff’ (warning signs) before the ‘big stuff’ happens.”

Dr Nechama Brodie

There is a huge failure of the police and justice system when women seek protection from their domestic partners but are not taken seriously. A more intersectional approach which includes healthcare services and the judiciary is needed she emphasised.

A big takeaway from this book is that the warning signs are usually there. Friends and family see abusive relationships and may know about the abusive nature of partners (mainly men) but ignore it until it is too late. Some families and friends paint violent partners as “devoted” and ignore calls for help from women by sending them back to the abuser for “the sake of the family” explained Brodie.

Journalist and presenter Azania Mosaka facilitating the conversation at the book launch on September 6. Photo: Seth Thorne

“Bodies show a life of terror,” said Mosaka, referring to a 2019 case of a 54-year-old woman who was murdered by her partner and had her body dumped in a veld, left to decompose. Pathologists had to examine her bones, with her cause of death (ultimately finding that she was beaten with a brick) indistinguishable from previous injuries – some healed, some had not. Almost every bone imaginable was broken at some point.

For those who survive and report their abuse, the risk of being retraumatized is high during the trial process. Character assassinations, slut shaming and sanitizing the abuser’s image are some of the things victims face in court. “The fact that she was drunk or spoke back does not excuse her for being murdered…this links to the historical nature of the societal entitlement of men over women’s bodies,” explained Brodie.

This is Brodie’s third book on true crime in South Africa. She admitted that she thought she could not finish the book halfway through because of the subject matter, but it was more important to finish writing it. “The terror was far too real. It is a heavy book to read because some of the stories become relatable,” she shared. 

Having read the book, member of parliament Glynnis Breytenbach said it is “hugely important, impeccably researched . . . It must be said, and it must be read”.

Attendee, Tannur Anders says she wants to read the book because “Dr. Brodie is an incredible researcher and journalist. [Her] extensive data-driven work provides valuable insights to better understand South Africa.”

FEATURED IMAGE: Dr. Nechama Brodie poses proudly with her third crime book at its launch on September 6. Photo: Seth Thorne.

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‘Re-Weaving Mother’: An exhibition on existence

The Wits Origin Center is hosting Bev Butkow’s Re-weaving Mother exhibit, which showcases a collection of artworks that explores the question of how humans exist in this world and what they leave behind. 

South African artist, Bev Butkow, who has showcased her work worldwide has brought her new project on display in her second solo exhibit at the Wits Origin Centre on August 20, 2023. 

The exhibition titled, Re-Weaving Mother shows a body of abstract, woven, stitched, painted, and mixed media sculptures, artworks on canvases and fabric that draped over concrete pillars. The exhibit managed to take a dark and gloomy centre and turned it into a beautiful spectacle of colour and life. 

As art lovers walked through the entrance, they were ushered in by draping elaborate fabrics – it was like entering a material jungle and artworks were waiting to be discovered. There were different lights filling each space in the room and each piece was made of different textures and colours.


An artwork linked to Surface Play by Bev Butkow, showcased in the ‘Re-Weaving Mother‘ exhibit opening on August 20, 2023. Photo: Georgia Cartwright

Butkow holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Wits University and made a bold move from a successful corporate career in finance to become an artist. She said her current work is inspired by learning a new and different way to exist in the world.  

She described her art as “nurturing” and “caring,” harboring different elements of the human body and art mixed into one. She added that her work represented, “the value of women’s labour [and] the traces we leave and the impact we make”.

Butkow told Wits Vuvuzela that she believes, “creativity is the new intellectual frontier,” and added that art creates “new possibilities around how we engage in the world and how we exist together in community.” 

Many people came to view the new exhibit, this included art lover Meaghan Pogue who said the artworks made her feel a sense of “comfort” because the material used on the hanging sculptures were made from a soft and “recognizable” fabric. You can almost feel a sense of home with some of the pieces as if they are woven from memory. 

Each person may experience the exhibition differently but from interaction with the artwork in form of sight and touch, Butkow seemingly showcased new ways of being and engaging with the world through her art. 

The Re-Weaving Mother exhibit will be showcased at the Origin Center until September 30, 2023. There will be creative gatherings on the: 

  • Body and Art: August 30 
  • A Material Uprising: September 06
  • The value of Women’s Labour: September 12 
  • Traces We Leave Upon the Earth: September 14  
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Writer and Arts Journalist David Mann admiring Echoes of Process
by Bev Butkow at the ‘Re-Weaving Mother‘ exhibit. Photo: Georgia Cartwright

FEATURED IMAGE: Ley Lines and other Networks of Care by Bev Butkow in her exhibit “Re-Weaving Mother” on August 20, 2023. Photo: Georgia Cartwright

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Young Lions oppose mother body 

By: Sfundo Parakozov & Nonhlanhla Mathebula 

The ANC Youth League demanded that the ANC pull out from all coalitions, calling them “anti-democratic”. 

The ANCYL finally held their first national congress after an eight-year hiatus on Saturday, August 5, using their platform to oppose Luthuli House on a range of issues.  

The first leg held between June 30 and July 1, 2023, at the Nasrec Expo Centre was an elective conference, leading to the elections of Collen Malatji as president of the ANCYL, Phumzile Mgcina as deputy president, Mntuwoxolo Ngudle as secretary general and Tsakani Shiviti as deputy secretary general. 

While the second leg at the Johannesburg City Hall focused on policy positions under the themes of social change and economic freedom.  

To hell with Coalitions  

The ANCYL was clear on its anti-coalition stance, urging the mother body to pull out from all coalitions that do not benefit the majority of South Africa.  

During the National Dialogue on Coalition Governments held in Cape Town on Friday, August 4, ANC Deputy President Paul Mashatile said that these partnerships have the potential of igniting the hopes of South Africans.  

While secretary general Fikile Mbalula added that the party was willing to enter “grand coalitions” with other parties with the condition that the party with the most votes must lead in the respective municipality. 

In response to this, Malatji urged Mbalula, (former ANCYL president between 2004 and 2008) to write a letter to all municipalities telling them to “pull out of those things [coalitions]”.  

The youth league president emphasized that people voted for ANC thus they should govern alone. “The ANC cannot reject its own manifesto and implement the manifesto of Al Jama-ah which was voted by five people,” said Malatji. 

The burning question of Unemployment  

The youth league called for the removal of two ministers from their respective positions, accusing them of hindering youth employment. Malatji called the Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi, “the minister of unemployment,” and accused the Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel of obstructing the process of re-industrialization. 

In response, the ANC released a statement on Monday, August 6 which called the utterances a “denigration of personalities,” which they would not tolerate.  

Malatji, emphasized the need for radical industrialization as a way of creating more jobs and developing the South African economy, noting that 75% of South African raw materials need to be kept within the country and economic corridors need to be occupied by at least 50% of the youth.  

They did, however, praise Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi for creating employment through the Nasi ISpani programme and further urged premiers from different provinces to learn from him.  

The new leadership told Wits Vuvuzela that their tenure would signal the return of the ‘voice of the voiceless’ and championing of youth issues.  

FEATURED IMAGE: ANCYL comrades posing for a photo at their 26th National Conference at the Johannesburg City Hall. Photo: Sfundo Parakozov

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