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Mayoral cup tournament

Executive Mayor giving awards to the winning teams of the annual mayors cup

The Executive mayor of Bushbuckridge Local Municipality Cllr Sylvia Nxumalo, held a prize giving ceremony to all champions of the mayor’s cup tournament, from soccer, ladies soccer, volley ball and netball. Different players were present at the ceremony as well as their coaches.

“Today is no day for speeches but a day to celebrate with the teams that won and even those that didn’t win. We are also motivating each other to work hard so that next time those who did not win today will be winners also,” said the Mayor.

She said that, the reason for the launch of the Mayors cup was to bring unity to the people of Bushbuckridge from different ethnic groups. As we all know any sport can bring people together, sport is one thing that makes our country to be on top of the map.

The head of Sport Confederation Council Mr Mugabi thanked the teams for their respect and consistency when playing because sometimes they are faced with challenges. But because there is unity amongst everyone they managed to sit down and resolve those challenges and move forward. When people work as a group they achieve a lot than working as individuals. He thanked everyone that were part of the tournament from players, coaches, referee, supporters and also his colleagues from provincial level to municipal level for their true support throughout the tournament.

Informal Traders Protesters

“Our conditions are not pleasant, there’s no dignity in our workspaces and we tend to lose customers due to the unconducive environment in which we work under. We cannot even go to work when it’s raining,” France Bila, an informal trader told Bushbuckridge News.

This follows the Informal Traders Union’s joint memorandum submission with other businesses in Bushbuckridge at the municipal offices recently. The informal traders say they want better infrastructure which they have been promised by the municipality for too long, especially at the local taxi ranks.

Bila says the shacks from which they sell are not customer friendly; “We’ve been asking for intervention from the municipality, but then nothing is happening. They promised to come and look at our trading spots since last year, and now we’re happy that we were able to unite as one to submit a joint memorandum, hopefully our grievances will now be attended to,” he said.

According to Josiah Matsane, the chairperson of the Bushbuckridge Taxi Association, the municipality has been promising to fix the issue since 2001; “We told them that we don’t have a proper taxi rank at Pauliana, however, the municipality keeps on saying that they own that rank, its operating license, passengers and that the taxi owners just own their taxis. They’ve promised to fix the rank since 2001, yet even today nothing has been done.”

Matsane says the rank is dilapidated, without regular maintenance and sanitation. According to the municipality’s communication officer, Aubrey Mnisi, the municipality is in the process of rectifying these matters; “We have received a memorandum about the issues of the taxi rank and the hawkers, and we have already instructed our planning department to look at the rank and come up with a plan of how to improve that situation,” he said.

17 ambulances unveiled

In an effort to improve healthcare services in the province, the MEC of health in Mpumalanga, Sasekani Manzini unveiled 17 new ambulances for the whole province on Tuesday, the 9th of April 2019.

According to the MEC, these new ambulances will be distributed per municipality. She said they are going to distribute the new ambulances throughout the municipalities all over the province. Manzini added that they know that 17 ambulances are not enough, but at least they will be able to close the gap in terms of the challenges that they are facing in the province regarding the shortage of ambulances.

“I further spoke to the private sector last year whereby they committed themselves to donate 10 more ambulances for our province for the last financial year, and also agreed to donate more ambulances in the current financial year, because I told them that it will be a marketing advantage for them while assisting our people and giving back to the communities where it matters the most,” Manzini added.

The MEC also said that as a department, they are very happy for being able to have helped lessen the crisis. She further advised people to make urgent use of the local clinics when not feeling well, in order to avoid the emergency crises. She also appealed to community members to work together with the department to improve healthcare services.

 “We are appealing to the paramedics to use the ambulances for their sole purpose, also, we are appealing to communities to report any suspicious foul play on ambulances and we will ensure that the necessary steps are taken,” the MEC said.

Within the three districts in the province, Ehlanzeni received 7 ambulances, compared to five each for Nkangala and Gert Sibande districts. It was also mentioned that more ambulances will be donated accordingly before June this year.

Bold actions to end HIV/AIDS

Different stakeholders, including the Ehlanzeni Municipality, and Departments such as Education, Social Development, Health, the Hospice Palative Care Association (HPCA) and others, gathered at the Protea Hotel outside Hazyview in an attempt to find collective solutions to the increasing statistics of HIV and Tuberculosis (TB) in three day-long HIV Prevention Summit from Wednesday, the 3rd of April until Friday.

The Ehlanzeni district municipality Manager responsible for HIV prevention programmes, Themba Ndaba said; “We have gathered here today as different stakeholders to find a common solution to contribute to the reduction of HIV and TB. We want to look at the progress we have made so far from the last summit and find ways to improve collectively”.

“Our of our main functions as a district municipality is to support local municipalities in their fight against HIV & TB prevention, so we are here today because we know that both HIV and TB are still a huge challenge in  the whole country. We have seen in the past with HIV being one of the lead diseases, but we have also realised that TB has become more deadly than HIV, and we all know that the two mentioned diseases are closely related,” he added.

Shonisani Masutha from HPCA told Bushbuckridge News; “Our main objective today is to make it a point that we have strategies that speak on prevention of new transmission of HIV, possible transmissions that might occur within your key populations and those living with HIV infected people, and therefore we’re looking forward to all stakeholders to equally participate to have strategies and mechanisms on what they can do differently from what has been done by the Department of Health, for example; index testing”.

The acting chairperson of the Bushbuckridge Men’s Sector, Kgahlišo Mashego emphasised the need for sex education in schools. He also said that teachers should also be trained on this topics; “Our children should be taught about sexual intercourse from an early age, and also, as parents we shouldn’t hide the truth about their health statuses and the consequences of engaging in sexual activities, that way we will be able to reduce the number of HIV and teenage pregnancy victims because some children become sexually active from as young as eight years of age. The Department of Education, as well as our mayor should join hands with the civil society and Men’s Sector, that way we will reduce the statistics”.

Thulani Nzima giving a key note at the launch of Mpumalanga Jazz Festival

Mpumalanga Tourism & Parks Agency (MTPA), along with the Mpumalanga Department of Economic Development and Tourism officially launched, the third annual Mbombela Jazz Festival last night at Casambo Exclusive Guest Lodge outside Mbombela.

The third installation of the jazz festival promises to be even more exciting than ever before, and this is due to the announcement of international artists from as far as the United States of America, with the likes of Syleena Johnson coming through to our shores.

Speaking to the media, MTPA chairperson of the board, Thulani Nzima said; “We’re here today to officially launch the third edition of the Mbombela Jazz Festival, with the aim of creating tourism activities that would allow tourists coming to Mpumalanga to spend money but also giving them a reason to visit the province. This is also to create flagships; a lifestyle event which will become the most sought after event where people should want to be, regardless of whether they are attending the event or just to be in the vicinity of Mbombela on the day of the event”.

Nzima also highlighted the decline in the number of domestic tourism trips, and also said that the MTPA has come up with different ways to sustain and promote tourism in the province, such as heritage sites.

The festival will be hosted at the Mbombela Stadium on the 7th of September, but before that, there will be a Charity Golf Day on the 4th in White river, followed by the 2nd annual Ray Phiri memorial on the 5th at the University of Mpumalanga.

On the 8th of September, a Jam session will be hosted at the Driekopies Dam in Nkomazi where the likes of Ringo Madlingozi, Mafikizolo, Zahara and others will entertain the crowds.

giving motivations to pupils

R&T Agency is a youth organisation based in Mkhuhlu, Bushbuckridge. It aims to assist in building the future for the youth in the area by creating opportunities for them and supporting them and helping them nurture their talents, especially in education, sports and arts & culture.

The organisation was started by Rodney Mokoena, and Trinity Khosa. The purpose of it was was to keep the youth away from bad stuff likes substance abuse, crime and gangsterism. Mokoena told Bushbuckridge News that they teach these youth about the importance of education and that they also groom young entrepreneurs.

“We are working on launching our first entrepreneurship digital school in Africa which will be called, the Business Academy of Africa, Place of Hope.  We appeal to the members of the public to help us by donating school uniforms, sanitary towels, food parcels and to donate study material to grade learners. This will help improve the pass rate in the area and in the province,” said Mokoena.

Mokoena added by saying that their organisation also helps Grade 12 learners with tertiary applications and bursary applications in their different fields of study. He also said that they do motivational talks in schools. And that they are aiming at eradicating the ever-rising unemployment rate and to ensure that young people get to see the importance of education.

According to Mokoena, their organisation wants to see growth in education and want to also play a role in making a positive impact on the entrepreneurial space. He also said that the organisation wants to help young people succeed in their careers and to contribute in building schools, clinics and community halls for the youth.

The organisation now faces challenges like lack of resources and not having money to cover travelling costs and they have to play a role with the little things they have. He also added that they are also experiencing problems when it comes to rescuing young addicts and enrolling them back into high schools as there are a lot of things needed and they don’t have anything. He also said that they don’t have printing machines to print study materials for grade 12 learners.

“We overcome these challenges by selling Red Cruz Clothing t-shirts which help us to generate funds, especially those which cover our travelling costs. We also ask for donations and sometimes we sacrifice by walking long distances in order to cut these travelling costs and we also ask those who have printing machines to help us by printing study material for Grade 12 learners” he said.

Mokoena said so far R&T Agency has helped more than 10 learners to get bursaries and 95% of the learners who they helped previously with their tertiary applications are now studying at various institutions.

Mokoena called on people to assist and work with them so that they can overcome their challenges. Members of the public can help by donating sanitary towels, school uniforms, study materials and cash as well.

For more information on how to donate or get in touch with R&T you can like their Facebook page R&T Agency or call Rodney on 072 895 7234, Trinity at 071 135 5497 or Rhulani Sibuyi at 079 595 4262 or get in touch with them via Whatsapp at 060 879 8509. 

kids playing soccer

The excitement around the Bushbuckridge News Sports Tournament is growing by the day as we count down to the 20th of April 2019 whereby the tournament will officially kick-off.

Residents from near and far can brace themselves for the most exciting, demanding and jaw-dropping sporting tournament to have ever taken place in Bushbuckridge.

According to the coaches, the tournament is not mainly about the overall grand prize of R10 000, but about the excitement and building relations, while also encouraging the spirit of teamwork and keeping the young players actively involved in sports.

Each of the participating teams will receive a new ball as acknowledgement for competing. The first round of matches will play on the 20th, while the final will take place on the 28th in the following weekend for both sports.

As part of celebrating 10 years in the news-making industry; Bushbuckridge News will host a series of events, promotions and competitions throughout the year, starting off with the mentioned tournament, Bushbuckridge News sports tournament.

We have invited eight teams each for under-15 football and netball teams to come and participate in the BBR News Sports Festival tournament that would be hosted at the College View sports ground.

The participating football teams are as follows; Codesa FC, Sundowns FC, Mkhuhlu City, Baroka FC, Zoeknog Young Tigers, Cosmos FC, College View Stars and Hot Zebras. The netball teams will also be confirmed very soon due to last-minute changes.

If you believe your team has got what it takes to become the champions and walk away with the main prize; come through to cheer them and enjoy loads of entertainment with the Bushbuckridge News staff and the community of Maviljan in College View, Bushbuckridge.

In their attempts to have Sepulana approved as one of the official languages in Mpumalanga province; the Mapulaneng Writer’s Association recently introduced and launched six newly published novels written in Sepulana on Friday, the 5th of April 2019 at the Malele Tribal Office hall.

Sepulana is a non-official community language spoken by most people in Bushbuckridge. The launch, which was attended by representatives from the local municipality, education department, local libraries, teachers’ unions and others, was a memorable gathering, regarded as a historic day by those in attendance.

Speaking on behalf of the writer’s association; Goodenough Mashego told Bushbuckridge News; “I am very happy with the launch today, it shows that the Mapulana speaking people are working hard to see to it that the Sepulana language gains the recognition it deserves. We have written many books, but only published six so far, while others are still in the process of being edited”.

“There is a saying that goes, ‘no nation has ever developed in a foreign language’, therefore, as Mapulana, if we lose touch with our language, there’s no way we will develop because the language was formed by our forefathers, and developing it should be our way of paying them back.” He added by saying that the association is in the process of translating the New Testament version of the bible and other novels.

In 2014, the Languages Act in the province designated English, Afrikaans, Isindebele and SiSwati as the four official languages of the province, however, in Bushbuckridge; the majority of people speak Xitsonga and Sepulana.

He said, has had a direct negative impact on the people of this region, “this simply means we have been learning everything in foreign languages while we have our own mother tongue which is continuously suppressed.”

Mashego further said that Sepulana has developed from a dialect into a community language, which makes it one step behind ahead of other dialects and closer to being an official language, “When I asked why Sepulana has not been officialised, I was told that it’s because there’s no system in place that has ever promoted one community language into an official language since 1994.

However, he also mentioned that, with the writer’s association chairperson, Billy Malele, now being part of The Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB), the dream is achievable.

Former BBR News journalist scopps second award

Bohlabela Newshorn most well-known journalist, Tumelo Dibakwane has admitted to stealing stories from Bushbuckridge News. For some time now, the Bushbuckridge News stuff kept on seeing stories which had initially been published in Bushbuckridge News later appearing in the Bohlabela Newshorn, and sometimes these stories would be written word to word.

When one of the Bushbuckridge News journalists posted an update on Facebook, Dibakwane what sapped him saying that he should post the full details so he could steal the story. This was after the journalist in question had previously sent snapshots of both Bushbuckridge News and Bohlabela Newshorn and asked why they were stealing our stories.

When our journalist displayed his shock at what Dibakwane had just said Dibakwane tried to justify this by telling him that he didn’t mean literally stealing but he meant that if he does happen to see a story that he can use in our newspaper, he will rewrite the story and change the angle of the story. He also went on to confess that he did another story after seeing the one we had published. On top of all this, Dibakwane admitted to another one of our journalist that he took his story and used it after just changing the picture.

Dibakwane then tried to warm up to our journalist, by telling him that he apologises for stealing his work and using it without his permission.

Residents of Zoeknog in protest for road

It’s been four days without school for 11 schools within Zoeknog, Dospan and Wales villages as the community attempts to get a response from the mayor regarding the state of the road from Casteel to Zoeknog.

The angry community say they want a response from the mayor after submitting three memorandums from 2016 without any response.

The community also say they will intensify the strike if the mayor fails to respond…

17 New Ambulances unveiled

17 new ambulances were officially unveiled today by the MEC for health, Sasekani Manzini at the Mbombela stadium.

The new ambulances are reported to have cost over R17 million. The MEC says this is meant to improve the response time for emergency services in the whole province. “We know that this is a drop of water in the ocean, but it is a step in the right direction,” she said.

The MEC further said that 13 more ambulances would be unveiled by June this year.

Students from Mapulaneng FET College protest at the Acornhoek Cmpus

The students at Mapulaneng FET College in Acornhoek are now relieved after receiving their meals and living allowances from the National Students Financial Aid Scheme.

This comes after a number of students were apparently chased out by their landlords due to failure to pay their monthly rent. This is according to students and has had a negative impact on their studies.

“At the moment we’re very happy because the majority of students have already started receiving their allowances in their accounts,” Eugene Rhulani, the SASCO chairperson told Bushbuckridge News.

“Some of the students who have not received their allowances will also be accommodated very soon. The challenge could be that the institution has not forwarded the necessary documents to NSFAS or because some students may have submitted incomplete documents, but then we’re happy that finally we have a reason to attend classes with a peace of mind.” The SASCO chairperson added.

However the chairperson mentioned that there are still many other issues that the students are faced with at the college such as sanitation.

Prior to the intervention by political parties; a number of students had to spend two nights sleeping on the floor at the Acornhoek police station as well as the community library for their own safety.

“If we don’t write, we cannot prosper, but where should we bath, eat and sleep? 
We hear you want to write but then what about us? We are sleeping in the floor with empty stomach. As far as education is concerned, we also have a doubtful future. We are still lucky that our campus is not shut, however the situation is very demanding,” Mbazima, one of the students said.

The South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) spokesperson for Bohlabela region said they are grateful for having assisted the students in need; “We as SANCO realised that the students need us, therefore we intervened. The issue was with management failing to submit the students’ documents to the financial body where they had to sleep at the police station, but then now the financial aid has promised to settle their allowances within the next two weeks.”

Gogo Esther Malele of Thabakgolo collects water from a well.

The residents of Thabakgolo have yet again raised concerns over “being taken for granted” in their pursuit of running water with the local municipality. The community members say the municipality doesn’t take their concerns very seriously.

In a previous article with Bushbuckridge News published in September 2018, Gogo Esther Malele told Bushbuckridge News; “This is the only water we’re able to access. We share the water with pigs, dogs and everything else you can think of. We’ve been drinking the same water for all our lives.”. “We don’t have anywhere else to fetch water but here,” she was speaking in reference to the small fountain they fetch water from.

In that very same previous article, the community also reported that the steel tank meant to supply the community with water, which was installed in 2005, had not sourced out a drop of water. “Back in 2005 the municipality provided us with a steel tank, 13 years later the tank hasn’t supplied even a single drop of water,” Phumollo Theko, the community’s chairperson said last year.

Recently, the angry community went to the municipality’s head office to demand to communicate directly with the executive mayor. The community now says a project had been handed over to install a water tank, yet they still don’t know the project manager; “We are taken for granted! Last year they promised to introduce the project manager to us. The project has begun already but now it has stopped without a reason, and what’s surprising is that we don’t even know who the contractor is,” one of the community members told Bushbuckridge News.

Members of Democratic Alliance protesting in Ga-Motibidi near Dwarsloop

The Democratic Alliance were protesting at Ga Motibidi near Dwarsloop, following the allegations relating to corruption by the government, also present was the DA’s Mpumalanga premier candidate Jane Sithole who was also part of the protest  on Thursday, the 14th of March 2019.

“20 years of corruption has robbed the people of Mpumalanga of a thriving economy, safe communities and a government that works to effectively deliver services,” Sithole said.

According to the DA the allegations on corruption, comes after they did their oversight inspection of the road from Ga Motibidi to Rainbow; “During our inspection of the route from Ga Motibidi to Rainbow, we found that after spending R14, 2 million and conducting two preliminary assessments, there was still no sign of construction and residents were forced to use bumpy route,” Sithole added.

According to the DA, community members complained on how difficult it was to use the damaged dusty road, especially after it rains because the potholes gets filled with water and causes accidents and delays, “After rain, there are trenches in the road and it takes a violent protest to force the municipality to grade the road”.

“Enough is enough!” the premier candidate emphasised. “The people of Bushbuckridge deserve better, a government that cares, this is a DA government,” she continued.

The public works department recently announced Klus Civils J.V as the main contractor for the road construction of the mentioned communities, though the DA is not happy with the slow progress of the construction.

They further said they will write to the Public Works, Roads and Transport MEC, Gillion Mashego, asking him how the R14, 2 million for the road was spent, as well ask when the residents of the area will finally have a functional road that will allow them to move freely.

Contacted for comment, the contractor, Harry Du Plessis confirmed to Bushbuckridge News that the construction of the road will go ahead as previously announced by the department, and that the storage containers have already been delivered at the site office. According to Du Plessis, the construction should begin within the next 14 days.

Alex Ndlovu giving motivational talk to learners of Masingitana High Schoo

A group of students from various universities are making education fashionable for others. ACORNHOEK EDUCATION FORUM ensures that all Grade 12 learners around Acornhoek and other surrounding areas have applied for university intake in time and also provide them with necessary information.

One of the members of the group told Bushbuckridge News that, “We started small but we knew where we are going, we started last year February with the aim of changing lives of our brothers and sisters in the community. We visited few schools to introduce ourselves and we were well received. Our aim as Acornhoek Education Forum is to see young people go to universities further their studies so that they can their situation.

We help pupils with their Applications, we apply for them for free no charge, we use our own gadgets and data bundles, we just need their particulars from them. We started this because we have seen lot of people passing matric well but just because they didn’t apply at the university, they end up roaming around the streets; end up losing their lives to substance abuse and teenage pregnancy.

From the class of 2018 we applied for more than 200 pupils and on top of that 70% passed well, as we speak they are enrolled in different institutions across the country which makes us happy, 30% went back to school because they were not satisfied with their results and to add on that we teach, motivate,  do applications”.” Said Alex Ndlovu

Ndlovu also told Bushbuckridge News that they don’t have sponsors, they use their own pocket money to visit schools to provide their assistance, “We don’t have sponsors, we are a None Profit Organisation (NPO), we transport ourselves to the schools and not that I’m complaining but clarifying because people tend to think when you do something you expect something in return but us we are just helping our fellow brothers and sisters and we doing all this with the love of the education. We are open to anyone who needs help; donations can be made to us because the success of our children depends on us,”

For enquiries you can contact 073 6934 702 Alex Ndlovu and Brian Nhlungwane 078 3664 635.

MTPA board chairperson Thulani Nzima

The Mpumalanga Tourism & Parks Agency (MTPA), along with the Mpumalanga Department of Economic Development and Tourism officially launched the third annual Mbombela Jazz Festival last night at Casambo Exclusive Guest Lodge outside Mbombela.
The third installation of the jazz festival promises to be even more exciting than ever before, and this is due to the announcement of international artists from as far as the United States of America, with the likes of Syleena Johnson coming through to our shores.
Speaking to the media, the board chairperson of MTPA, Mr Thulani Nzima said; “We’re here today to officially launch the third edition of the Mbombela Jazz Festival, with the aim of creating tourism activities that would allow tourists coming to Mpumalanga to spend money but also giving them a reason to visit the province. This is also to create flagships; a lifestyle event which will become the most sought after event where people should want to be, regardless of whether they’re attending the event or just to be in the vicinity of Mbombela on the day of the event.”
The chairperson also highlighted the decline in the number of domestic tourism trips, and also said that the MTPA has come up with different ways to sustain and promote tourism in the province, such as heritage sites.
The festival will be hosted at the Mbombela Stadium on the 7th of September, but before that, there will be a Charity Golf Day on the 4th in Whiteriver, followed by the 2nd annual Ray Phiri memorial on the 5th at the University of Mpumalanga.
On the 8th of September, a Jam session will be hosted at the Driekopies Dam in Nkomazi where the likes of Ringo Madlingozi, Mafikizolo, Zahara and others will entertain the crowds.

28 March 2019 ; 11:57

From left: Tutula mashego, the council chamber's ambassador, BLM's speaker Ruth Raganya

Different stakeholders convened along with learners from different schools in Bushbuckridge for the Children’s Dialogue at the Bushbuckridge Local Municipality’s Council Chamber recently.

The dialogue is hosted on an annual basis. This is usually a platform for the young ones to raise and discuss the social issues faced by them in their communities, schools and surrounding areas.

“When Nelson Mandela took over the country as president; in his first term of office he declared his commitment to the plight of children,” Director for community services, Dr. Zondi Mkhabela said.

“Young people have to influence the policy direction of this country, therefore the challenge is to prepare them through awareness of their civil rights, the rights of others as well as the challenges facing our country,” Zondi added.

The dialogue was then separated into six commissions. The first commission had to discuss the impact of substance abuse on the lives and future of children.

Domestic violence, child safety, security and protection in schools and outside and the blesser/blessee trend was then discussed by the second group of learners.

As per the discussions’ guidelines, the third group raised the importance of education, challenges faced by learners and easy access to opportunities available for them to further their studies, while the fourth group was tasked to break down the issue of children with disabilities.

The fifth and sixth group discussed HIV & AIDS, STIs And teenage pregnancy with their impact on academic performance of teenage mothers and human trafficking and the disadvantages of social media respectively.

The discussions will therefore also be raised in the children’s Parliament.

Following the presentations, the new leadership for the Children’s Dialogue was elected.

President of CONTRALESA Kgoshi Mokoena

The chairperson for Congress of Traditional Leaders South Africa (Contralesa) Kgoshi Mathibela Mokoena has raised the need for new post offices and working opportunities in Bushbuckridge, especially at the tribal authorities. He was speaking during the minister of social development, Susan Shabangu’s visit at the Mathibela sports ground in Oakley on Friday, the 22nd of March 2019.

Following the minister’s announcement of newer post offices in the region to nullify the social grants payments for its beneficiaries, Kgoshi Mokoena went on to emphasise the need to speed up the process; “If we can at least have one post office per tribal authority, that would be a cherry on top,” Mokoena said. That would mean all SASSA beneficiaries will no longer have to stand longer queues to get their grants.”

Mokoena also mentioned the importance of working opportunities for the youth of Bushbuckridge, “We have to also admit that there are not enough job opportunities, which is really discouraging our youth, especially those that have graduated. Bushbuckridge is way ahead of Nkomazi and other parts of Mpumalanga in the statistics for unemployed graduates, so the government should also build us centres for skills development.”

Minister Susan Shabangu arrives at Mathibela Sports Ground

Minister for Social Development Susan Shabangu has arrived in Oakley, Bushbuckridge, for the Integrated Community Registration Outreach Programmes (ICROP). The minister will meet with the senior citizens, particularly SASSA beneficiaries at the Mathibela sports ground today, “as a means to ensure that services are extended to beneficiaries; to reduce overcrowding and to improve customer relations at local offices and pay points.”

EFF PR Dallas Mokone passes on

Bushbuckridge News has been informed of the sad passing of the local municipality’s PR Councillor, Dallas Mokone.

Mokone, who was also the EFF’s chairperson for Bohlabela Region, sadly passed away earlier today due to illness.

The local municipality’s communications officer has confirmed the news.
#RIPDallas 😕

Caught destroying other political structure's posters

When the members of the Democratic Alliance caught a man from a rival political party destroying their posters, they caught the man, took his pictures and then opened a case with the Acornhoek Police Station. However, they were surprised by the police who told them that they can’t arrest the guy since they don’t have his exact name and surname.

According to Dr Nelson Tibane, a Caucus Leader for the Democratic Alliance in Bushbuckridge, they gave the police the guy’s picture. He said the police told them that the guy had run away and they couldn’t get hold of him. Tibane also appealed to the authorities to help with the matter.

Bushbuckridge News spoke to Mr Sbusiso Nkosi, a communications officer for the Independent Electoral Commission in Mpumalanga who said that destroying a rival party’s poster or billboard is considered to be a prohibited conduct. Nkosi said that the IEC’s Code of Conduct clearly states that from the date on which an election is called until the announcement of results is declared no person may deface or unlawfully remove any billboard, placard or poster published by a registered party or candidate

He added that the penalties for prohibited conduct and contravening the Code of Conduct are as follows….

•Any person found guilty can:

•Receive a formal warning

•Be fined up to R200 000

•Be prevented from:

•Using public media

•Holding a meeting

•Entering a voting district to canvass and campaign

•Erecting or publishing billboards, placards or posters

BBR FM staff roleplaying in preparation for the competition

Six high schools and six primary schools will participate in the storytelling programme hosted by Handbook Media, Radio Bushbuckridge and other stakeholders such as the National Lotteries Commission. “The idea is just simple, we have a lot of extraordinary stories to celebrate, but then we do not have a platform to tell these stories. So, we have started a project with Radio Bushbuckridge where we are currently at a stage where are training our facilitators and staff, to go to schools and teach learners about storytelling.” “We have identified 12 schools within Bushbuckridge which will all become beneficiaries of the project. The project was funded by the National Lotteries Commission. We have an element of storytelling as black people. Therefore, we aim to celebrate our heritage and revive the culture of storytelling. “We have heritage sites, for example the Three Rondavels, there are many untold stories, and we should embrace them,” Kwinda added. The six high schools will focus more on serious stories, which require a lot of research such as heroism, while the primary schools will be taking part in the folklores and fairy-tale stories. “All participating schools will be given money at the end of the programme as a token of appreciation as a way of encouraging them, but then at the end of the day there will be a showcase where all the schools will come together and choose the best narrator”. The programme will run up until heritage month, which is September. Kwinda said the good thing about the programme is that it will leave a legacy behind in terms of a rehearsal studio which may be used by the station and community at large in the long run.

SC Mapogo(yellow) playing against Chico Eleven(white)

The defending champions of the Mayor’s Cup, SC Mapogo ladies from Werverdiend aim to defend their title they won last year with a convincing 5-1 win in the quarter finals of the trophy played on Monday, the 18th of March 2019 at the Thulamahashe stadium.

“We are very happy to have won convincingly today in this match,” Refiloe Thibela, the coach of Mapogo told Bushbuckridge News. “Our goal is not only to defend our trophy, but to also go as far as the district competition and also provincially. Our wish is that our players get recognition from top teams and hopefully end up representing the country playing for Banyana Banyana,” she said.

Dennis Mathebula, the assistant coach also applauded his players for putting on a brave performance on the pitch; “They really did well in this match, and we’re very happy but we could have done better. It also shows that there is a reward for keeping the kids away from the streets to focus and focus on building themselves. We are looking forward to the next round of the competition,” explained Mathebula.

In other fixtures, there was a walkover for City Rangers due to late coming by their counterparts Tekamahala. Lephong United lost by 3-1 to Black Eagles, Mhlave United also booked their spot in the semi-finals by a 4-3 penalty shootout win over Mogistar after the match ended by 1-1 score. The semi-finals are set for the 24th March 2019 at the same venue.

The aftermath of the protest in Mkhuhlu

As we draw closer to the general elections which will be held in May, many communities have continuously raised their hands in demand of better service delivery from the ruling party, and it was again evident in Mkhuhlu where residents of ward 03 barricaded the road with burning tyres, traffic boards, stones in protest for four days against their ward councilor, Lot Nkuna following allegations of nepotism.

The community submitted a memorandum at the municipality’s head office in which they say they want to elect a new ward councillor. According to the community members, the ward councillor used his influence to ensure that his family members are hired to work at the Mkhuhlu industrial site. They say Nkuna’s wife and three other family members were hired because of the councillor’s position.

This resulted in a community protest that escalated to the destruction of property. The community members also emphasised to the mayor that it is not about service delivery, but the ward councillor himself.

When speaking to Bushbuckridge News, Bushbuckridge local municipality said they will investigate the matter further; “As the municipality we have received the memorandum and we will investigate the matter further, we cannot condone nepotism because we should all get an equal opportunity to employment,” said BLM communications officer Aubrey Mnisi.

The municipality further said that the necessary steps will be taken as soon as the municipality has concluded the investigation regarding the allegations.

The Executive Mayor of Bushbuckridge Cllr Sylvia Nxumalo alongside Bohlabela Driving School Association Chairperson from Hluvukani branch Mr Mokoena officially opened the DLTC at Hluvukani on the 8th of March 2019 after not working for a period of time now. When speaking to Bushbuckridge News, Mokoena said that the building is fully equipped, he also mentioned that the services that they are going to render will be for registering cars, licences, change of ownership and issuing of permits. “The residents of Hluvukani and other close areas will no longer travel to far places to do their licences because now they have it here. This premise will have 24 hours security surveillance because other people don’t like to see developments in their communities. “The DLTC (Driving Licensing & Testing Centre) should make you people of Hluvukani think outside the box, think of something that will help you to put food on the table for your families. Start a small business, come cook food by the gate and sell it to people who will be here get their licences, by so doing you will be making money to take care of your family,” said the Mayor. She further said “The DLTC have future plans which will be testing grounds and vehicles testing stations, fortunately I am thanking our traditional authorities for giving us enough land to implement more plans that will give you more services, render service equally we don’t want to hear hearsays of corruption here,” concluded the Mayor.

Sod-turning of road for BBR residents

The 15 Kilometre road construction project from Welverdiend to Hluvukani was announced by the Executive Mayor of Bushbuckridge Cllr Sylvia Nxumalo, accompanied by Mpumalanga Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport on Friday afternoon 8th of March. It was an overwhelming atmosphere for the residents Welverdiend and Hluvukani to receive such good news after so many years of driving and walking on a dusty road. The Executive Mayor of Bushbuckridge Cllr Sylvia Nxumalo emphasized that all people will benefit from this project but mostly ward 33 &34 because the project is taking place under these two wards. ”There will be job creation, we are aware that our people are unemployed here, they will get employed now, even those that have trucks will benefit from this project, she said” She further said that “those that will be employed should do the quality job, counsellors or resident leaders should do the oversight on daily basis to ensure that everything that is said it is done. If you don’t check community members will come back ask what we did. The project will last for period of 20 months” explained the Mayor. “When you bring a project to people instead of the project uniting them it divides them and that makes the development to run slowly and it can lead to it not being finished in time. If there are challenges let us sit down and find solutions and move forward, we have been looking for a solution for years now, today we have found it. We will need progress report from the department, to know how far are they and what challenges have they encountered along the way, if there will be any we will try and find solutions for them, so that at the end of the day our project can be a success,” concluded the Mayor.

The jubilant learners from Kurhula High school pose for a picture with various stakeholders' representatives after winning the competition.

Kurhula High School from Huntington in Bushbuckridge were the biggest winners, coming out in first position in the water purification competition hosted by the Mpumalanga Department of Water & Sanitation, Inkomati-Usuthu Catchment Management Agency and various other stakeholders.

Out of 16 competing schools from all over Mpumalanga, Kurhula achieved 82% to be crowned as first time winners of the competition, in celebration of the national water month, under the theme; “Leaving no one behind; water for all.”

The competition was hosted at Riverside Mall in Mbombela today. Each of the winning learners walked away with a brand new tablet, R5000. 00 cash as well as the winners’ trophy.

“We are very much honoured for being chosen as the best school in this competition, it shows that hard work pays and it motivates us to keep on working hard to achieve greater things in life,” Surprise Ubisi, one of the winning learners said.

Also from Bushbuckridge, Hoyohoyo High school finished as the third best school in the competition. Each learner walked away with a tablet as well as R1500. 00 prizes.

The second-best schoool , Reverend SA represented the Gert Sibande district.

Promise Shikwambane with her son and grandfather showing her wounds

Promise Sikwambane is calling for the Department of Health’s intervention. This comes after the 27 year-old Promise gave birth through Cesarean section (by operation) in 2016 at the Matikwana hospital in Mkhuhlu.

It is reported that the operation went horribly wrong for the young mother, and to this day, she’s still enduring the consequences of the birth of her son.

“After the operation, I realised I had a bad stitch and started experiencing pains due to the internal damage whenever I visit the ladies’ room,” she said.

“I then went back to the same hospital for help. They operated on me again, inserted a tube inside my stomach and later transferred me to Themba hospital in Ngodini.”

Promise says she was told at that the tube would assist her to urinate and that the wound would be healed in no later than six months after which the tube would have to be removed.

“Six months later, on the 25th of January this year, I was then referred to a gynaecologist to be stitched again. They then delayed again and told me to come back on the 18th of February for the removal of the tube, and again I was turned back and told to come back on the 14th of March,” Sikwambane added.

“My concern is that they keep postponing the dates as if I’m the one who made the mistake and not them. I am in pain and can’t even go to work, I don’t have money to travel back and forth anymore,” she concluded.

“My granddaughter is suffering, I fear that if the operation doesn’t work out she won’t be able to live like a normal person ever again, I can see she is in pain. She needs help urgently,” Aaron Sikwambane, the grandfather said.

The Mpumalanga Department of Health spokesperson, Dumisani Malamule responded, saying; “As a department, we would appreciate if we can be given time to investigate the matter further so that proper facts of what happened and what solution can be brought forward that will also contribute into assisting the patient can be dealt with.”

The Thabakgolo Tradiional Council leader, along with other traditional leaders at the Mapulaneng Hospital.

The Chief of Thabakgolo, Kgoshi L.E Mashego, along with many other indunas throughout Bushbuckridge visited the Mapulaneng Hospital for an observation of the services rendered by the staff. This follows a number of public outcries by communities about poor services as well as the state of the hospital on Friday, the 8th of March 2019.

“I am here to visit the hospital because I’ve heard many people complain about the services, also to observe what the state of the hospital is, only to find out that it’s in a horrible condition for our people, so this is my way of trying to bring change for the better for our people because I am king because of the very same people, if they all die then who will I rule?”

The chief says he is concerned about the state of the hospital, particularly the mortuary, which according to the chief doesn’t show any dignity towards his people.

“Every now and then, people complain about the bad service from the staff, and today I am here to observe that. I’ve also noticed the state of the mortuary is horrible, water leaks everywhere and our people deserve better dignity even when they’re deceased.”

He went on to emphasise the need for the government to speed up the construction of the new hospital before the walls collapse on his people.

“Three years ago I gave the government land for free on which they should be building the new hospital, and now I am calling on those responsible to ensure that they get the work done before matters get worse here, this hospital is very old. I would appreciate if my words would bring progress.” The Mpumalanga Department of Health responded, saying that the hospital is unaware of the visit by the Chief. “On the issue of staff attitude, the hospital management will enforce the Batho Pele principles and patients’ rights.”

ANC Masses flooded the municipality's head offices yesterday against the planned protest by the business chamber.

Hundreds of ANC members from all 38 wards in Bushbuckridge gathered at the Local Municipality’s head office in defence against the alleged protest by the Bushbuckridge Business chamber that was supposed to take place in the morning on Monday, the 11th of March 2019.

“These branches have been calling me over the weekend after they heard that there are people who want to shut down the municipality,” Leonard Malomane, the sub-region chairperson told Bushbuckridge News.

According to Malomane, the business chamber aims to close the municipality because they say they want sub-contracts under every tender by the municipality in all the wards. This is in relation to the recently announce roadworks project in three different wards within the region.

“As the ruling party, we don’t have a problem with them getting the sub-contracts that they want, but we’re against them shutting down the municipality, because the head office should be in operation at all times so that the residents continue getting their daily services such as water. All we’re saying is that they should follow the right procedures for a peaceful protest if they have anything against the municipality,” Malomane added.

In response to the matter, the chamber’s president, Mr Tom Chilloane said; “The ANC recruited all the hooligans around the streets to defend the chamber from entering the municipality. As a chamber, we’re a very serious stakeholder in the municipality, and we’re also a legal entity. We had numerous engagements with the municipality, and our plan is to protect the interests of the local business people, but these politicians are against that because they’re the ones who benefit from all these projects. We’re against that because you cannot be a municipality official and also benefit from every tender project, it’s unlawful.”

Radio Bushbuckridge staff

Six high schools and six primary schools will participate in the storytelling programme hosted by Handbook Media, Radio Bushbuckridge and other stakeholders such as the National Lotteries Commission.

“The idea is just simple, we have a lot of extraordinary stories to celebrate, but then we do not have a platform to tell these stories. So, we have started a project with Radio Bushbuckridge where we are currently in an initial stage of training our facilitators, the staff, to go to schools and teach learners about storytelling.”

“We have identified 12 schools within Bushbuckridge which will all become beneficiaries of the project. It has been funded for by the National Lotteries Commission. We have an element of storytelling as black people. Therefore, we aim to celebrate our heritage and revive the culture of storytelling.

“We have heritage sites, for example the Three Rondavels, there are many untold stories, and we should embrace them,” Kwinda added. The six high schools will be more focused on serious stories, which require a lot of research such as heroism, while the primary schools will be taking part in the folklores and fairy-tale stories.

Masses flocked the party's manifesto launch at the Thulamahashe stadium throughout the night.

With two months to go to the national general elections, the mood continues to intensify, with a new political party recently launched in Mpumalanga. The South African National Congress of Traditional Authority (SANCOTA) was recently launched in Hazyview.

The party recently launched its party manifesto at the Thulamahashe stadium on the evening of Friday, the 1st of March until Saturday morning. “The party has been formed by traditional leaders of the province on the 22nd of February,” Happy Msoma, the party’s national chairperson told Bushbuckridge News.

“The purpose of the party is to take the land back to the rightful owners, the traditional leaders. We cannot allow the state to take the land back to the government because when we refer back to the history of our country, when the white people took the land, they didn’t take the land from the ANC government, they took it from the traditional leaders, but today the politicians are standing firm to speak about the land as if it’s theirs, even when we can refer to the freedom charter, it states correctly that the land shall be returned back to its rightful owners,” Msoma added.

Left: Mayor Sylvia Nxumalo introduces Harry DU Plessis (middle) of Klus Civils as the main contractor for the roadworks projects in Bushbuckridge

Klus Civils JV construction company was announced as the contractor for both the Acornhoek to Hluvukani road face-lift, as well as the much anticipated road construction project of Ga Motibidi by the Executive mayor of Bushbuckridge Sylvia Nxumalo at the Merriam Mogakane community hall in Acornhoek on Tuesday, the 5th of March and Wednesday respectively. 

The Mpumalanga Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport recently announced two road construction projects in both Acornhoek and Ga Motibidi, and the man was officially introduced as Harry Du Plessis, the project manager for both projects by local municipality. 

It was a brief meeting at the Merriam Mogakane community hall where the mayor officially introduced Du Plessis, “I know that the state of the road to Hluvukani has been a huge inconvenience to a lot of people. We’ve been asked everywhere about the matter, without luck, until we found a permanent solution to this whole matter,” The mayor said. 

“We’re very happy because it’s what we’ve always wanted, we hope there won’t be any negative consequences from this, the problem is that others can use it as a political strategy politics. We still have a challenge as a community to unite, and I’m personally happy about the outcome.” Sonnyboy Maile, one of the community leaders said. 

The Road Accident Fund held a media session to provide updates about the transformation journey

Road users, both drivers and passengers, including pedestrians, may have to familiarise themselves with newer changes within the Road Accident Fund scheme.

The RAF recently hosted media engagement session with various media houses at their Mbombela offices to give updates about their transformation journey.

According to information provided, the RAF is in running at a loss, with a R9 billion outstanding debts on average per month with finalised claims that could not be paid. As a result of this, the RAF has recently announced the introduction of the Road Accident Benefit Scheme (RABS).

With its legislative framework being unchanged since 1981, the Fund saw it necessary to respond to the finance minister’s comment about the RAF where he said that the RAF is stuck in the past during his budget speech.

“RABS is intended to replace the current fault-based system administered by the RAF which often results in extensive and costly litigation, prolonged claims finalisation and high administrative costs,” said the Mpumalanga regional manager, Busisiwe Slaffa.

The fault-based system, according to RAF, incurred unnecessary costs which will be eradicated by the new scheme. As opposed to the current system, RABS will not consider fault on part of the claimant or any other person involved in a road accident, meaning that both the offender and the victim will be able to claim the fund. The benefit will also do away with lump-sum payments, and introduce the monthly payment, with a reduction in benefits.

“The system is aimed at helping the victim to be rehabilitated and healthy, therefore when someone has gone through that whole process and is able to go back to work then the other money will be reserved for other victims to close the gap between demand and supply,” she added.

Motorists struggle to drive during rainy seasons

A sigh of victory came as a relief to the community of Ga Motibidi as they marched in peace to meet with the MEC for Public Works, Roads & Transport, Mr Gillion Mashego on Monday, the 25th of February 2019 on the R40 main road in Dwarsloop next to Ga Relane village.

The meeting follows numerous attempts by the community to get clarity on the tar road construction project, for which there was confusion about when it would commence, which eventually led to a violent protest in the past few weeks.

According to the previous response by the department, the tar road construction was supposed to resume in the third quarter of the 2019/20 budget, subject to approval by the Operational Plan by Provincial Treasury and Executive Council. However, there has been a different response altogether by the MEC during the meeting.

In his response, MEC Mashego said that he will see to it that the contractor is appointed by Thursday, the 28th, and that the construction should resume within the next few weeks.

“We marched to the tar road peacefully earlier today and waited for the MEC’s arrival, and when he arrived, he delivered the good news,” Terrence Monareng, one of the community members said.

Nyapela stands outside his dilapidated house

Councillor responds to Nyapela’s story
The local mayor of ward 14, Mr Lodrick Ndlovu has responded to the allegations of Harrison Nyapela, a senior citizen who claims to have been twice denied an RDP house by the local municipal representatives.

“As a senior citizen and pensioner, the old man deserves a proper house, however, the challenge right now is that the Human Settlements department say they don’t have sufficient money, which makes it difficult for us to assist him right away. That’s also the reason why the current RDP project in the community has been on hold lately.”

“Those living in dilapidated houses always take first priority in our list of RDP beneficiaries, and the old man should have been assisted a long time ago. I am in the process of finding alternative means to help him get a better house.”

The councillor also said that the old man’s dire situation should be attended to very soon

Disabled People South Africa (DPSA) Chairperson for Mpumalanga addresses the mass at the Plough Back Music awards.

The Chairperson of the Disabled People South Africa in Mpumalanga, Mr Sipho Mashego has called on both government departments and the private sector to recognise the disabled people. He was speaking at the Plough Back to the Communities music school award ceremony, which was held at the Dwarsloop sports ground on Saturday.

“We are also human beings,” he said. “Please also pass the message onto the mayor, we deserve to be treated fairly like everyone else in Bushbuckridge, and today, for having been recognised by the music school, we feel very much honoured, and we should be included in many other programmes of this nature.”

“Pastors, please also fix accessibility at the churches, we should also feel welcomed like everyone else. We equally deserve the same opportunities. We don’t strike and vandalise property. Remember, nothing about us without us. We didn’t choose to be disabled, it’s just a condition that could affect anyone. Private companies, please employ us also, we’re capable.”

The young and old gathered at the Dwarsloop mall's play area for aerobics sessions with the BWC facilitators

The Bushbuckridge Wellness Club, a non-profit organisation established by the vibrant youth from Acornhoek hosted an aerobics session at Dwarsloop Mall on Wednesday, the 23rd of January as part of the organisation’s vision to promote healthy living within Bushbuckridge.

It was an entertaining afternoon on which both the young and old gathered at the mall’s play area to flex their muscles and stretch their bodies, guided by the BWC facilitators. According to the founders, such activities have been agreed upon with New Africa Developments (NAD) to take place between Dwarsloop and Acornhoek malls rotationally. 

“We started the Bushbuckridge Wellness Club in April last year mainly out of passion for fitness and health wellness,” Matimba Ngwenya, one of the founders said. We’ve been doing these activities around schools, police stations and in different communities and even at malls. Our main vision behind this is to get the residents of Bushbuckridge healthy and fit because we have realised that the lifestyle is a health hazard,” he added.

Patience Mashilangoako, one of the participants told Bushbuckridge News that it is a great opportunity for herself because she gets extra gym lessons. “I’m originally from Lydenburg, so I’m only here in Bushbuckridge due to work, so I thought I should take advantage of such a great opportunity. This is very important because most of the time we focus too much on shopping and looking good while neglect our bodies, so we should be fit, appeal and be confident in public. I am very grateful for the opportunity. The wellness club founders further invited community members to take advantage of free exercise lessons every Wednesday at Acornhoek Mall from 17:00-19:00 and on Thursdays at Dwarsloop Mall at the same time.

Harrison Nyapela stands outside his crack-ridden house as he expresses his grief.

The government, according to Harrison Nyapela, does not consider the living conditions of its older citizens.

Nyapela (72), from Dikwengweni in Casteel, says he fears that the cracked walls of his house might collapse one day and kill all his family, and also appeals to the government for an RDP house.

“I am crying, I plea for an RDP house before the cracked walls collapse on us. I have previously applied twice for the house, but on both occasions I was turned down,” he bemoaned.

Nyapela lives with his one daughter and two grandchildren. He alleges that he was twice denied the house by the local municipal officials in 2017 and last year, who in turn told him that those who live in brick-wall houses do not qualify for the free house.

“We live in fear,” the old man wept. “If the social grant money was enough, I would have long built myself one, because our government does not consider our living conditions, and it’s painful because during election time, the same officials come back to us for votes. I would rather not vote because I don’t see the importance of voting anymore,” He angrily said.

In an emotional plea for help, the old man said he is more concerned about the children’s lives than his.

“I am also disabled, so my daughter is the one who helps me with a lot of things in the house, but I’m concerned that they might die with me in this house, especially if a heavy rain comes one day.”

Nyapela added that his right hand and leg were paralysed when he was still working for a auto spares company in Gauteng, leading to his retirement in the 1980s.

He further mentioned that the Disabled People South Africa (DPSA) once visited him with the intention of helping them, but never came back afterwards.

The Mpumalanga Department of Human Settlements has responded, however, saying that Harrison’s details do not appear on their system, and that it should be in the hands of the local municipality.

Community leader addresses the protesting members outside the Mapulaneng multipurpose centre.

The Mpumalanga Department of Education has responded, following the week long strike by local residents at the Department’s Bohlabela District in Maviljan.

The protest erupted following allegations of nepotism and tribalism in the selection of 50 beneficiaries of the ETDP SETA learnerships, in which, they claim, only one resident of Mavijan was selected “as a front”.

The learnership program in question is coordinated by ETDP SETA and allocated 50 entrants as per each of the Education Districts.

In a statement, the education department said; “All the selected participants who benefited from the programme are from Bushbuckridge Local Municipality. And to suggest that 80 % of the participants should be from Maviljan circuit would not be serving any justice to the youth from other parts of the District.”

According to the protesters and the residents’ representative, the Bushbuckridge Residents Association (BRA) PR councillor for ward 09, Sidney Khoza, the learnership should benefit more unemployed youth from Maviljan and surrounding areas; “we cannot tolerate that opportunities from within us benefit unfamiliar faces while we have our own youth with matric certificates sitting at home doing nothing,” Khoza said.

The protesters further called for the removal of the Human Resource Department head, Doris Mnisi,  to be ousted from office, further alleging that she is full of corruption, tribalism and nepotism.

“Doris, we want you out, ” one of the protesters shouted, “we know about your tribalism and nepotism,” he added.

The BRA PR councillor added, saying, “the learnership post was not even advertised in the local media, it only circulated around them and closed soon after, this shows that there’s nepotism.

The Department, though, further denied the allegations, saying; “On September last year, 10 participants from Maviljan circuit benefitted from a similar program and their contract will expire by the end of August 2019. Our wish as a Department is that the youth in the Province should be given equal opportunities to participate in the program or similar programs.”

The protesting residents, however, have concluded by saying that the multipurpose centre will not be in operation until their plea is taken into consideration.

Founders of Dithakga community project

The project is aimed at eliminating poverty in the Casteel community, according to the founders…

Dithakga is a registered cooperative project, based in Casteel, mainly focused on producing unique clothing designs for the community, country and world at large.

“Dithakga was founded in April 2017. We initially started as a group of youth with the aim of eradicating poverty in our homes through our sewing skills. We sew clothing items, and we are more focused on bringing in newer designs and export them throughout the world,” one of the founders, Kholofelo Malapane, one of the founders said.

“Our designs are influenced by tradition; therefore we always ensure that we use beads to represent our uniqueness. We are asking for financial assistance from the relevant people, organisations and business people in order to buy our stock in bulk so that we can produce larger quantities in future and also be able to sustain our lives for the longest time,” another member, Abigail Mkhabela added.

“We still lack on many things,” Mavis Mashego added. “We also do not have enough equipment and a place of operation, so whoever has the ability to help us in any way is welcomed to do so because our project is still underdeveloped and most of us are unemployed,” Mavis added.

Chairperson of Disabled People South Africa (DPSA) is Mpumalanga, and also one of the founders, Mr Sipho Mashego went on to add that the reason they came up with such a project was because there’s a niche in the market for them to expand, but with the help of government and other funders; “we realised that there’s poverty, then we came up with a strategy to raise funds to eliminate the hunger. Our aim as a cooperative is to ensure that we stick to our unique approach.”

He added; “we also have Lesedi farming project on which we aim to plant coffee, but our main challenge is land, we need land to work on, but up to now we haven’t been successful because we don’t have money to buy land. Our traditional leaders should also work hand in hand with us because we’re not individuals but a group of community members with one common goal.”

The two projects appear to be the lifeline of the 22 members in total, and they say their whole lives are dependent on the success of either of the two.

Solly Mhaule, the beneficiary of an RDP house that was never built for him by the Department of Human Settlements.

“I used to live in a mud-house, and it was demolished by the hailstorm in 2016. I was left stranded and went to the councillor and they placed me in a temporary tent in which I lived for over three years, until the community raised funds and helped me build a 1 room house,” Solly Mohaule from Sgodi-phola near Bushbuckridge CBD said.

Solly says his house was destroyed by the human settlements department in 2015 after they promised to build him an RDP house on the site; “In the same year, they promised to build me a house on the same spot, they then hired someone to destroy the house and ever since then, they never came back.”

Surprisingly,according to Solly, the material to build his house was delivered and recollected after a short while without any valid reason.

According to the unemployed 36 year-old, life hasn’t been a smooth sailing living in the corrugated iron shack. He says he fears he might end up dying in there.

“I have been living with Solly for a very long time,” Norman Mohlala, Solly’s neighbour said. “He has a huge challenge because he doesn’t have parents and also unemployed. As a community we had decided to build him a 2-roomed house, and before we could finish up the second room, the human settlements representatives came through and we thought his life would change for the better from that moment.”

Solly further asked the Department of Human Settlements to come to his rescue before matters get out of hand.

Better Residents Association (BRA) PR councillor for ward 09 Sidney Khoza said; “It’s been a long while now since Solly asked me to come and try to assist him because the government destroyed his house without giving him an alternative place to live in. My biggest concern is that the budget had been allocated already, now I am wondering what happened. The least they (the government)could do is to find employment for him so that he may be able to provide for himself and build his own house.”

The Mpumalanga Department of Human Settlements responded in a statement, saying that his application was captured in the Department’s system in 2016, however, not approved owing to the fact that his name (identity document) was used as a dependent by a beneficiary who applied and got approval.

“The system wouldn’t allow the construction of a house under his name as it shows that he is a dependent of a successful beneficiary.” The department added.

“He is advised to visit the local municipality to address this technicality and be assisted to re-enroll his application to qualify as a stand-alone application. The Department will, however, visit him to verify and ascertain whether his ID was used in the successful application,” the further statement read.

The youth who took part in a boot camp at Thulamahashe Stadium

Charged up Foundation in partnership with the Bushbuckridge Local Municipality sports department and health experts hosted a boot camp aimed at promoting healthy living which will be taking place throughout this period and beyond.

Models and ordinary community members took part in the day’s event and activities at the Thulamahashe Stadium on Friday the 7th of December 2018.

“The purpose of this event was to encourage a healthy lifestyle for the people of Bushbuckridge,especially now that we are in the festive season where people drink and eat lots of junk food, so I thought it would be a wise idea that everyone leads a healthy lifestyle throughout this period and also look after their bodies to stay mentally and physically fit at all times”, Charged Up foundation founder,Ntsako Mahlaule said.

“Although the idea was inspired by the models, the boot camp accommodated everyone from the community to take part in it. At the end of the day it’s not only models who should lead a healthy lifestyle”, she added.

Some of the activities that took place included fitness training by Brian Mkhatshwa, a professional fitness trainer, aerobics from the sports department, health and fashion tips for modelling and fashion industry, and a dietician offering healthy eating lessons. And beauty coach who shared skincare tips with the participants, while Portia Mnisi, Miss Ehlanzeni finalist, was teaching the ladies about the modelling industry.

Sibuyi Arnold, the sports coordinator for the sports department in Bushbuckridge told Bushbuckridge News that there are many benefits out of participating in sporting activities, “The event was successful because we were able to spot a few people who had hidden talents in certain activities of whom I have recruited for next year’s indigenous games calendar”, he said.

“Sports help a lot of people to stay healthy and fit and unify people from different backgrounds, so the boot camp was very necessary because the youth of today don’t take good care of their bodies anymore. It also reduces crime in our communities,” Sibuyi added.

Brilliance Sibuyi's recently published book, The Victorious Life

Another young person from the dusty streets of Hluvukani in Bushbuckridge has pursued his dreams to the last extent. Brilliance Sibuyi recently published his first ever novel titled: ‘Victorious Life’, which, according to him, is the best book he has ever read.

He says the idea to write the inspirational and self-empowering book came after a long period of posting motivational messages on social media; “I used to post a lot on social media, and my topics would revolve around factors such as love, focus, hope and freedom, which are the four major chapters of my book”, the author said.

“I then realised that I have the potential to touch other people’s lives positively with my limited knowledge, but then social media alone wasn’t enough, that’s when I decided to write a book and reach out to the world”, Brilliance added.

Brilliance says his novel doesn’t have a specific targeted age group, as it tackles issues involving the youth, couples, congregants, business people, underprivileged and the working class.

The author, who is also a civil engineering student at the University of Johannesburg, added that the is also available for motivations and business consultations. He also added that the feedback from those who have read the book so far has encouraged him to write even more.

“I feel blessed to have overcome my fears and the society’s doubtful expressions of contempt towards my success. For I now have become a dazzling lamp in the marvelling darkness, for I have reclaimed my mother’s pride and dignity which was stolen from her by my father’s death”, he concluded.

From left Linneth and Auriel Ngobeni with Khisozo Ngwenya in the food garden they have established with the help from the Shoprite Group.

A small but keen group of formerly jobless young people is gardening up a storm in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga. 46-year-old Linneth Ngobeni, the oldest member of the Khomanani Vhanu Community Project in, tells how hopeless the young job seekers were before they joined the gardening: “They were looking for work but nowadays there are no jobs. Whencthe young people work in the garden they are gainfully occupied.”

Food & Trees for Africa spotted the garden’s potential and Shoprite stepped in to give them a big boost.

A water tank, tools, educational material and seedlings were provided. Project members received extensive training in organic farming methods over a 12-month period.

Khomanani Vanhu means ‘come together as people’ in Tsonga and the other six members of the group are delighted at how they have benefited from the garden.

Instead of having no income, they are now able to put food on the table and feed their families. Tomatoes, spinach,beetroot, onions, green peppers and cabbage grow in the garden, enabling the group to participate in two of the Market Days hosted by the Shoprite Group.This initiative sees food gardens supported by the retail group given the opportunity to sell fresh produce at their nearest supermarket.

Today the Khomanani Vhanu Community Project is making a name for itself among locals. “Shoprite helped to promote us and many people now know about our garden. We are happy and proud to sell vegetables to our community,” says Ngobeni. It doesn’t stop there either – they want to go big and have long-term plans to expand the garden into a proper commercial farming venture. l�XAX�s

The community members who received food parcels at the Word of Life Bible Church

Christmas came early for the less privileged in Bushbuckridge, Word of Life Bible Church decided to give back to 100 beneficiaries from Alexander, Graskop and Jim Brown.

All beneficiaries, including orphans and other senior citizens, all received food parcels, a bag of maize meal each, and a small pizza from Roman’s Pizza Dwarsloop.

“Last year, as a church, we decided that we will offer Christmas gifts to the less privileged every year around this time, so that they may also enjoy their Christmas like everyone else, some of these children don’t even know what it’s like to betaken out for pizza”, Lindiwe Ndlovu, one of the church leaders, said.

Ndlovu added that it took them about six months to identify the beneficiaries, and that no member of the church benefited because the food parcels were only meant for the community members.

“We have also decided to visit the elderly on a weekly basis to ensure that they are eating and well taken care of,” Ndlovu concluded.

Gogo Masana Mdluli was also one of the beneficiaries for the day. The 83 year old Gogo said that the church is a blessing in her life. She further said; “I would like to thank the church for their role in our lives, it might seem small but then it is more than we could have asked for, and now I know that I have food that can last me and my family for the whole month.”

The manager of Roman’s Pizza Dwarsloop, Jack Rakgoale; “We have not been physically involved through catering, and giving hope to the people, especially the elderly, so that is the reason we are involved today,” he said.

Maviljan community members

Residents of Maviljan at large say they have had it with crime with the alarming rate of theft in their community. “We will end up taking the law into our own hands because the police are failing us big time when it comes to crime prevention,” the members of the community said in a meeting that was held on Saturday, the 8th of December at S.H Nyalungu Primary School.

The community meeting comes after a series of theft activities within a short period of time, with the criminals said to be targeting plasma televisions within the location. “I heard that the reason they target these plasma Televisions is because they use the powder inside to make drugs”, said Karabo Mashego, also a community member.

“They stole a television for the third time at home. They first stole in 2015, 2017 January and it happened again. The reason I did not even bother to open another case is because none of the previous cases were attended to,” Mashego added.

Bushbuckridge Residents Association (BRA) PR councillor for ward 09 Sydney Khoza; “We don’t know how these people enter the houses because, they don’t break in you just find them inside the house with your TV gone. As a community we will not rest, we will look for this criminals until we find them, and we won’t show any mercy when we find them.

Another community member, Poppie Mashego said that they stole her 55” flat screen TV on Monday, and that there was no sign of broken doors or windows. The community members further suspected practices of witchcraft by the perpetrators.

Speaking to Bushbuckridge News, SAPS Bushbuckridge spokesperson Captain Ndlovukazi Mashele said she cannot comment because she was not aware of the criminal activities. She concluded by saying that the communities must invite police in such community meetings so that they can find common solutions in the future.