Daily Archives: April 23, 2018

Malangeni man sentenced to life for raping niece

A 25-year-old Malangeni man appeared in the Scottburgh Regional Court where he was convicted of rape and sentenced to life imprisonment. On 26 February 2017, a 30-year-old Malangeni mother went out, leaving her two daughters behind, in the care of their paternal uncle who lived with them. When she returned home later that day, she observed her six-year-old daughter behaving strangely and visiting the bathroom frequently. She examined the child and found that she had been sexually violated and was hurt. When questioned, the child replied that she had been raped by her uncle and warned not to tell anyone. The matter was reported to the Umzinto SAPS and a case of rape was registered and assigned to Umzinto Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences unit (FCS) for investigation. The uncle, who fled the scene, was subsequently arrested by police and made to stand trial.

Another rapist, Simphiwe Madlala (31) from Gezubuso location near Pietermaritzburg was sentenced by Pietermaritzburg Regional Court to 20 years imprisonment. In May 2016, the victim (18) was walking near the railway line in Gezubuso location at 18:30, she was approached by the accused who threatened her with a bush knife and he raped her. A case was opened at Plessislaer police station and transferred to their Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit detectives for investigation. The accused was immediately arrested and prosecuted.

KwaZulu-Natal Acting Provincial Commissioner, Major General Bheki Langa commended the FCS Units for their excellent investigation on the cases and securing convictions. It is really disheartening when elders who are supposed to care and protect children, instead betray their trust and abuse them. These sentences will send out a strong message to others who may have thoughts of committing similar offences, he said.

Source: South African Police Service

US Charity Brings Schooling to Conflict Zones

The California-based charity Justice Rising is working to educate youngsters in conflict zones, especially the strife-torn eastern section of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is one of many organizations struggling to meet a need that is largely unmet in trouble spots worldwide, according to the the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF.

Justice Rising built its first school in eastern Congo in 2015 and has since built six others, employing 60 teachers and administrators and serving more than 1,600 students.

Eastern Congo was ravaged by fighting from 1996 through 2003, and flare-ups and killings continue.

In planting one of these schools in a community that has been torn apart by war, said founder Cassandra Lee, you can see a decrease of child soldiers; you can see young girls less likely to be taken as a child bride and in turn become child mothers. You can see community health increase.

UNICEF says 27 million children are out of school in conflict zones such as Syria, South Sudan, Iraq and Yemen, or areas divided by religion and resources, such as Nigeria and Niger.

The gap in children’s education leaves a void in their social development, said Linda Jones, senior education specialist with UNICEF, noting it has an impact on the society as well.

It’s also about humanitarian development, the development in the long-term of a country,” she said. She added that getting children into schools contributes to a nation’s stability.

Schools can be a catalyst for change, said Cassandra Lee.

If we cluster the schools, she said, have multiple schools in a community, we can see them come out of war and into a culture of peace.

Lee became interested in the issue as a 10-year-old when she learned how conflict uprooted the lives of children. Years later, she moved to South Sudan and Uganda and traveled to eastern Congo, where she was moved by personal stories that she heard.

Cassandra met her husband, Edison, in Africa, where he worked as a business consultant. Together, they are trying to extend the reach of the charity, with a goal of opening 40 schools by 2020. They are also forging partnerships with groups in the Middle East to expand their geographic focus. In Syria and Iraq, said Edison Lee, we’re really trying to empower local organizations that are already doing great work, supporting them financially or sponsoring their programs.

Less than 4 percent of global humanitarian appeals is directed at funding education, said Linda Jones of UNICEF. The U.N. agency launched an appeal this year for $900 million to aid education in countries affected by conflict and natural disasters. UNICEF says it will spend $1 billion a year over the next four years on education.

Jones says the programs need to be flexible.

We have that with examples in Afghanistan, she said, with community schools where the schools reach out to the village where the children are, in effect taking classrooms to the children.

There are also programs with learning through radios, she added, and using games on tablet computers to hone skills in arithmetic.

Jones has worked in Somalia, where some solutions were low-tech.

Children had libraries brought to them on the backs of camels, she said, and, The librarian walked with the camel from place to place…children had opportunities to learn to read different books.

Both large and small organizations face the challenge of scaling up their operations to meet the need, which UNICEF says is growing.

How can we see this impact touch not just a few hundred lives every year? asks Cassandra Lee of her group’s schools in Congo, but how can this touch thousands?

Without education, say UNICEF officials, poverty and instability can become entrenched, harming successive generations.

Source: Voice of America


MAHIKENG, SOUTH AFRICA — A total of 23 people who participated in violent protests in Mahikeng, capital of South Africa’s North West Province, last week are set to appear in the Magistrates’ Court on Monday, says the provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane.

Nine suspects were arrested on Friday for public violence. They are expected to appear in the Mmabatho Magistrates’ Court on Monday. They will appear together with 14 other suspects that were arrested between Thursday and Friday. Police are maintaining their presence in the area to ensure that the situation is stabilised, she said Sunday.

The nine, who were arrested on Friday, attempted to burn properties late in the evening on Friday following three days of violent protests in Mahikeng and surrounding villages.

In the first incident, a petrol bomb that caused minor damages, was thrown at a house belonging to a traffic official in Magogwe Tar village. No one was injured during the incident. In the second separate incident, a petrol bomb that was apparently meant to cause fire and damages to the Mmabana Foundation building failed. This is the same building that was burnt on Thursday, said the Provincial Commissioner.

She added that although Mahikeng had returned to a state of normalcy, members of the public should remain calm but vigilant and report any criminal activities to the police that are committed under the pretext of community protest. At this stage, despite visible objects that were used as barricades, traffic is flowing on most of the roads and allowing members of the community to travel to their destinations, she said.

A relatively calm situation prevailed after President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the town on Friday. The President cut short his working visit to London to attend the Commonwealth Summit last week because of protest action which brought the city to a standstill. He was locked in a meeting with government and political party leaders all of Friday afternoon.

Following the meeting, the President said issues regarding North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo, governance and corruption were raised as some of the concerns and reasons for the protest. He asked for more time to find sustainable solutions and requested the community to remain calm.

The President promised the residents of Mahikeng that their concerns would be dealt with speedily following consultation with community members across the province.


Basic Education notes judgement in Michael Komape case

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has noted the judgement handed down today in the Michael Komape court case in the Limpopo High Court in Polokwane.

Judge Muller dismissed the R3 million financial compensation claims of the family, however has ordered the Limpopo Education Department (LED) and the Department to replace all pit toilets in rural Limpopo schools under the supervision of the court as well as pay R6000 each to the minors Maria and Onica Komape for future medical treatment.

The Judge indicated that requiring the department to replace all pit latrines in the province is more beneficial to all learners than the awarding of compensation on constitutional grounds to one family.

He has ordered that the LED and the department to supply the court with an audited list of all the schools in question and that the LED and Department present costing and timelines so that the court can provide oversight in respect of ensuring these learners rights to decent sanitation is realised.

This judgement comes at a time when, as the Department of Basic Education, we are seized with the matter of school infrastructure and pit latrines in particular as per President Cyril Ramaphosa’s directive that addressing sanitation infrastructure backlogs must be accelerated.

As a result, an audit of all school toilets is currently underway in all provinces and a comprehensive costed plan will be given to the President for consideration within the set timelines.

The Judgement of the High Court in Polokwane today falls directly in-line with the directive from the President which goes even further than the Judgement to include all schools across the entire country, not just in the Limpopo Province. Work in this regard is already underway.

As the Department of Basic Education we continue to sympathize with the family of Michael Komape for the terrible loss they have suffered and commit to comply with the order of the High Court and ensure the delivery of suitable sanitation infrastructure in all of our schools across the country.

Source: Government of South Africa