13 March Human Rights Day to be held in BCMM March 13, 2017 By Tabisa Mntengwana Latest News 0 In commemoration of the Human Rights Day, Buffalo City Metro born human rights activist Steve Bantu Biko will be remembered for his contribution in the struggle as 2017 marks 40 years since his passing. The Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture together with the Department of Justice and Correctional Services as well as the Metro will host the 2017 Human Rights Day celebrations on Tuesday 21 March at the Victoria Grounds Stadium in King William’s Town. Celebrations will commence at 9am, the theme for this year’s commemoration is The year of OR Tambo: Unity in action in advancing Human Rights. Prior to the main event, a social dialogue will be held at the Steve Biko Centre in Ginsberg on Monday 20 March. President Jacob Zuma is set to deliver the keynote speech at the main event on Tuesday. All members of the public are encouraged to attend the event where dignitaries including the country’s President, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, MECs and fellow government officials will be present. The Human Rights Month message is about nation building and social cohesion. Guided by the core message, human rights is about moving South Africa forward towards a nation united against social divides, non-racial, non-sexist, equal and cohesive nation. Related Human Rights Day commemorated The unveiling takes place during the Human Rights Month, as part of the commemorations of the day. The Human Rights Day is commemorated annual in the South African Calendar on 21 March. This day is a reminder of the tragic Sharpeville massacre and a celebration of South Africa’s uniqueness and equal rights for all. According to a press statement issued by the provincial department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture the activities held during this week are set to celebrate the month and commemorate significant events that shaped South Africa’s destiny and future. In 1960 the police opened fire without order on a crowd that had gathered at the Sharpeville station to protest pass laws. The pass laws stipulated that all Africans are to carry books and produce them for law enforcement officials on request. At least 69 people were killed and over 150 injured. Today the day is commemorated in various ways and acknowledging those who fought for human rights including Rubusana. Speaking at the event MEC for DSRAC Pemmy Majodina said, “Rubusana was a man of integrity who stood for equality and advocated for human rights.” She added that South Africa needs to honour such heroes, “We need to commit ourselves in honouring him like all the other leaders in the struggle of our freedom. The memorial will later have a statue on top of it and both Biko and Rubusana will be on both sides of the City Hall.” Giving a reply on the remarks, great gran son of Rubusana – Vusumzi Rubusana said, “As a family we are grateful for this honour. We now know our grandfather played a role in the history of this country.” A message by the Executive Mayor Alfred Mtsi was also part of the speeches saying, “Our country has seen a lot of hereos being remembered and commemorated, today we include Rubusana to those who fought for our freedom and justice.” Also part of the Human Rights activities was the fifth two-day Career Expo held at Mdantsane NU14 Library. The two-day expo focuses mainly on the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learners and was held on 11 and 12 of March, Speaking about the expo organiser of the event Ncedisa Ncapai said, “Our goal is to promote STEM subjects while encouraging learners to stay at school so that they can study further at tertiary level.” For the past four years the expo has been a collaboration between the provincial Department of Education, Buchule Technical High School, Siseko Group; Department of Science and Technology, MERSETA, CATHSSETA, East London Industrial Development Zone (ELIDZ), South African Police Services – Forensic Science Division and the provincial Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture. “This expo is also set to encourage learners to stay at school so that they can study further at tertiary level and promote STEM scarce and critical skills including artisans, technicians or technologists, and professionals and introduce STEM careers that are generally not taken up by the poor communities.” Giving an overview of the expo Ncapai said, “The programme is generously supported by individuals, private, government, non-governmental organisations through various means such as sponsorship, donations and exhibitions.” Culminating the first day of the expo Sibongile Velaphi from Buchule Technical School said, “WE are grateful to have this opportunity, we will now have an idea of which path to take when we go to varsity.” BCMM youth taking charge of their health At least 200 young people from various areas of Buffalo City Metro were part of the Preventainment initiative which focuses on youth development and health consciousness looking at the scourge of HIV/Aids and teenage pregnancy. The event is an initiative held due to the high rate of teenage pregnancy and the HIV/Aids pandemic at some of the schools in the Buffalo City Metro and also to make awareness to the young people on new infections in young people between the ages of 16 and 25. Preventainment is a term coined by the organisors, linking the message of prevention with entertainment to appeal to youth. The event was intended to encourage youth to make use of available health facilities and engage in open dialogues to express the challenges they face as teenagers. “Our mission as the Metro and the Department of Health is to get the youngsters to engage with us making use of the suggestion boxes and complaint forms at various clinics, hence we came up with the word Preventainment so we understand your struggles as the youth,” said Portfolio Head Xolani Witbooi. During the programme various health issues were discussed including the importance of washing hands, the causes of HIV/Aids, prevention of STIs and it was followed by a demonstration of washing hands. “It is important to wash your hands everytime you need to, including after using the bathroom and before eating,” said Xolisa Melude Health Practitioner from the Community Leader Trust. The day culminated with the youngsters grouped into groups of 10 to discuss topics including the lack of confidentiality from nurses, no services on weekends, substance abuse, the separation of treatment collection points and poverty, peer pressure and lack of knowledge and transparency from parents. One of the youngsters at the event Sange Hibana from Inkwenkwezi High School said, “Events of this nature are important because they teach us about abstinence, the use of condoms and the significance of contraceptives.” 80th IMESA Conference held The three-day conference was held from the 26 to 28 October. The purpose of the conference is for the engineering professionals to deliver key messages on various topics pertaining to engineering challenges and opportunities whilst promoting excellence in municipal engineering amongst its members for the benefit of the community. The theme for this year’s conference IMESA Conference is Siyaphambili – Engineering the future. Speaking at the conference BCM Executive Mayor Xola Pakati said, “The IMESA conference will assist the metro to share best practices that have been successful in other municipalities but mostly to derive new solutions through active engagements with all stakeholders in the engineering sector.” “The conference should have outcomes that will assist us as the Metro to change lives of our communities,” said Pakati. “Our engagement here today should provide an enabling socio-economic environment in which our ultimate goal of a competitive city is based on our five pillars of the Growth and Development.” The conference also hosted panellists which represented a wide range of engineering interests while on the other side of the conference there were also stalls with various engineering products on show. Giving an overview of her research in training and development of municipal engineers and updated findings following her book which was published in 2005 titled Numbers and Needs Allyson Lawless said, “There is an urgent need to implement a system to develop young municipal engineering practitioners which includes training courses and workshops associated with activities in the municipal calendar.” She further added that research carried out both locally and internationally showed that civil engineering capacity in South African municipalities was too low to deliver, operate and maintain local government infrastructure in a sustainable manner. Following that, Stephan Jooste, a specialist in the advisory field from Aurecon spoke in length about the proposed increase involvement from the private sector through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) to respond to the significant challenges in service delivery in municipalities. Another speaker giving his views on the sustainable growth through rural connectivity was Darren Keep from Mabey Bridge who said, “Bridges connect communities, provide children with safe access to education and facilitate direct access to social health-care and amenities.” The conference culminated with a platform for debate and dialogue from the delegates on the presented topics. BCMM emerging farmers get a boost The purpose of the show was to encourage the Buffalo City residents to invest in farming as well as show the importance of agriculture and to give farmers a platform to showcase and sell their products. Speaking at the event, Portfolio Head Economic Development and Agencies Mawethu Marata said, “As Buffalo City leaders we are very proud of all the people who participated in the competition because agriculture is very important in our lives.” “We also encourage young people to get involved in farming as it fights poverty,” said Marata. The participants displayed their products at the event and there were prizes to be won to encourage people to see farming as a business opportunity and those that are in farming to continue farming. The first prize went to a 72-year-old Malayi Blakfesi from Nxarhuni who won R30 000 in her category. Blakfesi in her stall showcased organic vegetables and vegetable products as well as chickens. Ward 44 came in the second place and received R20 000 and in the third place with R10 000 was Ward 32. “I am very happy that I won this prize, this means a lot to me. I cannot wait to get home and tell my grandchildren about this because they are the ones that help me with my vegetable garden. I’m all grown up now so I’m transferring my skills to them,” said Blakfesi. Zolelwa Zenzile from Macleantown who also participated in the competition said, “I started my backyard garden in 2000. I make bags, shoes and belts out of leather. I feel encouraged. I really enjoy what I’m doing. I am going to pull up my socks so that I can also win the competition next year.” Leader of Farmers Association in Buffalo City Mvulane Ngqameni said, “We encourage farmers to remain in work rather than retire. Let us work together, boost each other and not undermine one another.” “Farming is healthy for our bodies and farming reduces poverty. Moreover we encourage residents to create their own backyard vegetable gardens in their homes,” said Ngqameni. Other products that were exhibited at the show were livestock, art work, designer clothes, cooked food, cakes and leather craft products. Moving women forward “We are here to celebrate women ‘viva women viva’, said Ayanda Peter Portfolio Head for Executive Support Services. Women from the Deafsa, Metro Councillors, Youth City Council, Disability and Gender Forum were all present at the event. “This event means a lot to my department as we celebrate and acknowledge the struggles women face on a daily basis. This event is driven to highlight the issues we as women face and the various steps we can take to encourage each other through them,” said Peter. Speaking to Thabisa Myataza from the Masimanyane Women’s Support Centre about the 20 000 who paved the way for women today by marching to the Union Buildings in 1956. “These women all had a dream to sustain the progressive strides towards economic empowerment of women and gender equality,” said Myataza. The Executive Mayor Alfred Mtsi addressing the women at the event said that the battle for gender equality will never be achieved if we ourselves are not transformed from the inside. “Transformations has to begin at home and in our schools. Women’s advancement is central to the development of people and society,” said Mtsi. The event included discussions about the struggles of women living with disabilities, the proactive measures in civil society towards violence against women, the burden of HIV and AIDS and the institutions to advance gender equality. Speaking to Dr Lesley Foster Executive Director of the Masimanyane Women's Support Centre about the non-profit international women’s organisation she said that the organization focuses on violence against women, sexual and reproductive health and rights and the gendered nature of HIV and Aids. “We aim to build the capacity of women and human rights advocates to claim and realise women's human rights. This is done through the development of new knowledge and the utilisation of a rights-based approach,” said Foster. Foster said even thou there are women who are being placed in powerful positions such as Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka the United Nations Secretary General and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma the Chairperson of the African Union more needs to be done to liberate and inspire the young women of our country. “We need to create a space for women’s voices, we have the wisdom and the determination we need to be given the opportunities, Gender equality has to be central in all we do.” Prevention is better than a cure Dayile was speaking at the Sexually Transmitted Infections and Condom Week event held at the City Hall on Friday 12 February. “South Africa currently has the biggest antiretrovirals (ARVs) programme in the world. Almost 3 million lives have been saved through various programmes and forums such as these organised by the Metro Aids Council (MAC) which are dedicated towards the fight towards of HIV/Aids,” said Dayile. The event was held to increase awareness and to help fight the spread of HIV and Aids, myths and stigmas around the virus. The Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s) and Condom Week was commemorated from 7- 14 February 2016 with the theme Bring back the “I am responsible culture”. Amongst the various sectors there was BCMM Metro AIDS Council (MAC) which is a multi-stakeholder responsible for addressing vulnerability of persons being infected and affected by HIV and AIDS other sectors included the Disability Sector, The Elderly Forum, the BCMM Youth Council and the Gender Forum. Executive Mayor Alfred Mtsi said events of this nature allow people to share a common vision and discuss a common purpose in addressing a global issue that is affecting our societies. “We have a responsibility to be living examples in our communities we need to build our nation and the municipality has various programmes organised by the Metro Aids Council which is responsible for providing a platform for vulnerable groups to actively and meaningfully engage in creating developmental plans which will raise awareness around certain health issues such as STIs and HIV/Aids,” said Mtsi. There were various testing centres set up to encourage residents to get tested not only for STI’s or HIV but for diabetes and their blood pressure levels. A demonstration was undertaken by the BCMM Peer Educators on how to use and dispose of used male and female condoms. Speaking to the BCMM Website Team Ayanda Peter Special Programmes Unit Portfolio Head said it was important for us to create an event which would include all the sectors that we work with under the Special Programmes Unit. “It’s important that we uplift our communities and continue to remind them of the importance of using condoms and draw up strategies of how we can spread the word and create more awareness around STI and Condom Week,” said Peter. Nowase Solani a member of the BCMM Elderly Forum said it is important to hold these events and forums she said these sectors that are a part of the Special Programmes Unit need to reach out to the community and assist those that are infected and affected by HIV/Aids. “These forms provide a platform to share ideas and to exchange knowledge and provide a clearer understanding on various forms of STIs and the symptoms associated with them,” said Solani. A discussion was held where each member of the sectors under the Special Programmes Unit spoke about the theme for the year which is Bring back the “I am responsible culture” which motivates and promotes the young and the old to lead health and responsible lives. The members motivated the audience to use protection when they engage in sexual intercourse, they also discussed the importance of getting tested regularly for HIV/Aids, “Be responsible and know your status” was echoed throughout the discussions. Comments are closed.