No-one harmed in WC initiations, however, more funding needed

By Ricardo Mackenzie MPP, Western Cape Spokesperson on Cultural Affairs and Sport:

The Western Cape saw the initiation season pass without harm to initiates, according to the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport 2014/15 Annual Report, as discussed in the Standing Committee today.

I call on Minister Anroux Marais to find ways to broaden access to funding. Despite the success, there is a need for greater reach on the part of the councils that facilitate the preservation on cultural practice in the Western Cape.

The Department spent around R 500 000 on the consultations with over 200 traditional leaders in the last financial year. The consultations took place to ensure that initiation practice was done in a way that is safe while preserving this practice.

The Western Cape Initiation framework protects, promotes and preserves arts, culture and heritage in the Western Cape. It provides guidance on the cultural practice of initiation to local cultural organisations, municipalities and other authorities.

30 Initiation forums were supported, which resulted in the expansion of the rite of passage programme implemented in the department. Through this programme we have created standards for the practice and created uniformity in the execution of this traditional practice. This programme is premised on a three-tier model whereby the Province, community and municipalities are key stakeholders.

The DA in the Western Cape welcomes this result in the wake of regular consultations with Western Cape Government. It is of utmost importance that the safety of initiates remain a priority.

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DA extends condolences to the relatives of Cecil Lolo

By Ricardo Mackenzie MPP, DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Cultural Affairs and Sports:

The DA in the Western Cape extends its deepest condolences to the family of Ajax Cape Town’s Cecil Lolo. The untimely death of the brave player Lolo has come as a shock to me and the DA.

We hope that those affected by his passing will soon find peace during this challenging time.

We also extend our condolences to Ajax Cape Town Football Club, Lolo’s friends and loved ones, all of whom now suffer from the loss following this horrific accident.

As the DA, we would like to thank Lolo for being such a great role model for the people of Cape Town, and hope that those affected by his passing will soon find peace.

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Youth holiday programmes: Youth opportunities continue outside of Youth month

Joint Media Release by the Western Cape Government

Minister of Social Development, Albert Fritz

Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais

Minister of Community Safety, Dan Plato

Minister of Education, Debbie Schäfer:

The start of the school holidays tomorrow brings a much needed break for learners and educators across the province but it is also a period where a lot of our younger residents in the province are at risk of becoming involved in negative social behaviour, often because they are unsupervised.

The Western Cape Government is today announcing the various programmes on offer by the Departments of Community Safety, Cultural Affairs and Sport, Education and Social Development to provide opportunities that our young people can access at various institutions and with the help of various partners.

This holiday period, parents have the opportunity to ensure that their children are exposed to recreational and educational opportunities instead of being exposed to unhealthy and risky lifestyle choices. Parents need to know that the programmes on offer are aimed at keeping our children positively engaged, entertained and safe, especially in areas where they are at a greater risk of exposure to substance abuse, drugs, violence and gangsterism.

Young people have a responsibility towards their own future by making positive choices which will improve their long-term physical well-being and prevent them from engaging in anti-social and risky behaviour.

The programmes on offer across the province by the respective Departments include:

Education

The Western Cape Education Department will once again offer holiday programmes during the winter school holidays.

The aim of the holiday programmes includes providing constructive activities for children while also protecting schools by ensuring that they are used during this period.

Some of the highlights include:

SAFE SCHOOLS HOLIDAY PROGRAMME

Each district organises programmes according to the perceived need in the district concerned.

Educational programmes on offer include topics such as peer-pressure, moral values, substance abuse, HIV/Aids and sexual abuse. Other important topics covered are truancy, gangsterism and bullying.

In addition, a special programme has been designed for young women called Girls in Motion Life Skills Programme, which addresses gender violence, teenage pregnancy, gender discrimination, conflict resolution as well as life skills and self-esteem building.

We have also paired up with an NGO to run sporting clinics which cover Sporting Skills Development.

Fun activities include hiking, kayaking, board games, arts and crafts as well as drama and dance classes.

A number of stakeholders have come on board to assist us with the various educational and fun activities. The programme includes various government departments and NGOs, the City of Cape Town, Metro Police and the South African Police Service.

For more information on the Safe Schools Holiday Programme, parents can contact their child’s school or their nearest district office.

GRADE 12 HOLIDAY PROGRAMME

Providing curriculum support to our Grade 12 learners is always a priority, particularly in schools where learners are struggling in specific subjects. During the upcoming holidays, the WCED has organised holiday study programmes at 172 of our high schools. The “winter schools” aim to assist learners in high enrolment subjects. These subjects include Mathematics, Physical Science, Geography, Life Sciences, Accounting and Economics.

Many of the programmes on offer will be taught by tutors selected by the WCED. In some schools, curriculum advisors will be supporting and assisting individual school programmes. Additional resource materials have been developed to complement the lessons being presented.

The dates of each school’s programme differ. Some schools have offered programmes on specific days, while others, throughout the holiday period.

For more information on the Grade 12 Holiday Programme, parents can contact their child’s school or their nearest district office.

SCHOOL SAFETY

In order to protect our schools, as far as possible, from burglary and vandalism over the holiday period, the WCED’s Safe Schools directorate has arranged increased security at some of our high risk identified schools.

413 schools will benefit from holiday security. 56 schools will have 24 hour security whilst 357 will have 12 hour security and benefit from cluster patrols.

We also ask every community member to help their schools by reporting any suspicious behaviour in and around our schools to the police immediately.

Cultural Affairs and Sport

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport is ideally positioned to offer learners activities that are beneficial to their healthy development. We offer the opportunities for learners to spend their holiday time in a constructive manner, to learn new skills and make new friends.

The Department prides itself on its Mass Participation Opportunity and Development (MOD) Centres which we implemented five years ago in partnership with schools and communities.

The idea behind our MOD centres is to ensure that learners have a place where they can play sport, participate in cultural activities and study after school.

In rural areas holiday programmes will be offered for a two week period, from Monday 29 June till Friday, 10 July. The programmes will be hosted at select schools, of which the majority are primary schools.  Activities include a variety of sports, such as football, netball, cricket, tag rugby, volleyball, tennis, table tennis and basketball. Chess and cultural or indigenous games are also on offer at certain schools.

I want to encourage parents to send their children to attend the holiday programmes, rather than stay at home and become mischievous. Parents and learners can find out more about the MOD programme and the centres in their area by visiting: http://www.westerncape.gov.za/general-publication/mod-programme

Social Development

The Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) hosts numerous school holiday programmes through the Youth Programme in the department and via our six regional offices. Some of our programmes are held in partnership with provincial and local government structures across the province.

In the Metro South Region, the department will host sports and cultural activities in Mitchells Plain, Gugulethu, Athlone, Grassy Park, Hout Bay and Fish Hoek during the period 29 June to 11 July 2015. Some of the activities will be held in partnership with the City of Cape Town. The activities will include life skills sessions with social workers, teaching youth how to cope with peer pressure, and education about HIV/AIDS, substance abuse and other social challenges.

The Eden Karoo region will begin their programme on 26 June 2015 and conclude on 3 July 2015. Their programme will cover the areas of Laingsburg, Riversdale, Albertina, Pacaltsdorp, Blanco, Borcherds and other communities. The programme will offer job readiness exercises, debate tournaments, and numerous workshops on tackling substance abuse, crime prevention and healthy living.

The Metro East region will begin their programme from the 1st to the 16th July 2015. Covering the communities of Somerset West, Eeerste Rivier, Khayelitsha, and Kraaifontein, the various activities will include excursions to the Simonstown Naval Base, a youth crime prevention camp, and a family day event with 60 families.

The Cape Winelands/Overberg region will be hosting events in Robertson, Witzenburg, Ceres, Bainskloof, Worcester, Bredasdorp, Jamestown and other areas. The various programmes are aimed at small children, youth and parents, and will provide entertainment and educational activities such as treasure hunts, talent shows, parenting & life skills classes and sports events.

The department also provides funding for meals at MOD centres, and will continue to do so throughout the school holiday. The department has also endorsed the after-school programmes of 153 registered ECD centres across the province, which will provide care and services throughout the holiday period.

In addition, the department’s Youth Programme, in partnership with 15 NGOs operating across the province, will hold holiday programmes aimed at youth. Activities range from leadership & life skills programmes, academic mentoring, music and drama, and sports activities.

These are just some of the initiatives the DSD is providing over the school holidays. The public can obtain information on an activity and programme near them by visiting any regional or local office, or contacting the DSD hotline on 0800 220 250.

Community Safety

The Department of Community Safety continues with ongoing and targeted youth programmes and interventions across the province.

The Youth Safety and religion Partnership Programme (YSRP), currently in its fourth year, is a flagship initiative of the Department of Community Safety (DoCS) aimed specifically at increasing safety through implementing programmes targeted at anti-social behaviour and youth initiatives in partnership with the religious fraternity of the province.

With R5.8 million spent on benefiting 27 000 children and youth over the past three years already, we believe the value of this partnership between government and the religious fraternity has been demonstrated.

This year we are expanding the programme to R8 million for both the June and December holidays with programmes being targeted specifically in high priority communities.

In total, the June holiday YSRP will be active in partnership with at least 119 religious institutions, in more than 60 communities, reaching more than 11 000 youth, in high priority communities which include: Nyanga, Gugulethu, Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain, Atlantis, Elsies River,  Kraaifontein, Manenberg, Dysselsdorp, Saldanha Bay Municipality, Swartland Municipality, Theewaterskloof Municipality, Drakenstein  Municipality, Breede  Valley Municipality, Overberg, as well as Helderberg.

The programmes on offer focus on awareness and prevention of drug-abuse, gangsterism, gender-based violence, child trafficking, HIV/Aids, teenage pregnancy and provide our youth with life skills development and practical safety tips. These are done through activities which vary from sporting activities, hiking, song, dance, drama and cultural activities, to movie screenings and youth dialogues. Workshops, first aid classes, basic counselling training and exhibitions are also on offer.

More information on the YSRP programme can be found on the Department’s website, www.westerncape.gov.za/dept/community-safety, or by contacting Amelia Pieters by dialling 021 483 3971; or via email Amelia.Pieterse@westerncape.gov.za .

Other departmental initiatives, such as the Further Education and Training (FET) College bursary initiative, Chrysalis Youth Development Programme and Wolwekloof Youth Development Programme receive continuous support from the provincial department with extensive work being done throughout the year in communities to provide better alternatives to our youth, better together.

 

Conclusion

The Western Cape Government is committed to providing opportunities for the youth of our province throughout the year, not only during Youth month.

Today we announce the opportunities we, as Government, are making available to help ensure the safety of young people during the upcoming holiday period.

We believe it is important that our government departments do not work in silos but collaborate on programmes that have a holistic approach to improving safety, education outcomes and access to social welfare in our communities.

However, Government cannot compensate for the role that responsible, committed parents must play in the lives of their children.  That is the bedrock of a functional society and we call on parents to take responsibility for their children’s safety during the school holiday period and ensure they are kept off the streets and away from alcohol, drugs and gangs.

We call on the youth in the province, business and society’s leaders of tomorrow, to use the opportunities available to them, to interact with government so that we stay responsive to your needs, and to make the best decision for your own future through taking responsibility for how you invest your time this holiday period.

We wish all our young people a pleasant and safe holiday and we hope they return refreshed and ready to tackle the second half of the school year.

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Local heroes honoured in renaming N2 and M3 foot crossings

By Ricardo MacKenzie, MPP, DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Cultural Affairs and Sport:

Name changes provide an opportunity to reflect our shared history in a fair manner. As such, I commend the City of Cape Town (CoCT) on the extent to which it has consulted the public in the naming of 7 bridges that cross over Nelson Mandela Boulevard (N2) and Rhodes Drive (M3).

The Naming Committee at the CoCT will today meet to consider and recommend to the Mayor the proposed names for the bridges.

The CoCT remains consistent in its engagement with the public. In this particular process, those living in the metro were afforded an opportunity to submit suggested names to the public participation office. Adverts were run in the media, notices were also placed on site at the crossings which are to be renamed, encouraging these submissions. The CoCT received an overwhelming number of submissions in turn. The responses were largely positive due to this being an authentic consultation process.

In January 2015, following a vetting process, the Naming Committee in the CoCT approved 7 names, which were then again made available for public input during the period of 1 – 30 April 2015. The 7 proposed names are as follows:

  • Father John Oliver – An Anglican priest from District Six who passed away in 2013.
  • Father Basil van Rensburg – A South African Catholic priest who gained international recognition for his fight against the apartheid regime’s forced removal of the people of District Six.
  • Taliep Pietersen – A renowned singer, composer and director of a number of popular musicals.
  • Tuan Guru – Imam Abdullah Ibn Qadhu Abdus Salaam, is regarded as the Father of Islam in South Africa, he was banished by the Dutch settlers to the Cape in 1780 and was incarcerated on Robben Island for 12 years until 1792.
  • Dawid Kruiper – A traditional healer and leader of the Khomani San in the Kalahari, he spoke of the rights of indigenous people to the United Nations in 1994, and led the way for successful land claims for the San People in South Africa.
  • |a!kunta (Klaas Stoffel) – The first contributor to the Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd Archive of /xam and !kun texts. He arrived in Mowbray on 29 August 1870 and stayed until October 1873.
  • Ingrid Jonker – The South African poet who drowned at the age of 31, in Sea Point. Her poem ‘Die Kind’ was recited by former President Nelson Mandela during the opening of South Africa’s first democratic parliament in 1994.

These crossings will be renamed after locals who made important contributions to our history. This initiative taken by the CoCT encourages the use of consultative processes, which serve to form an inclusive society. Name changes provide the opportunity to promote cultural diversity and strengthen community identity.

The DA in the Western Cape is committed to redressing the legacy of our past in a way that represents the will of the people, through the correct channels.

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DA calls on Sol to follow consultative process

By Andrew Louw, MPL, DA Provincial Leader:

The Democratic Alliance calls on the Sol Plaatje Local Municipality to follow a consultative process in the way forward with the city’s memorials and monuments. We want the municipality to follow the process of dialogue and public participation that is prescribed by the National Heritage Resources Act. And we want the residents of Kimberley to put their views on the table.

You don’t just wake up one morning and decide to remove a statue.

There are legislated processes that need to be followed.

There are currently 191 addresses in Kimberley on the South African Heritage Resource Agency’s list of declared sites. These include provincial heritage sites like the Star of the West and the Honoured Dead Memorial. There are also the national monuments like the McGregor Museum, the Kimberley Africana Library and Sol Plaatje House.

Section 27 of the National Heritage Resources Act clearly states that a person can only remove a statue from its original position with a permit from the relevant heritage resources authority. You may not make any alterations without permission. If it is a national heritage site, SAHRA first has to consent to the changes. If it is a provincial heritage site, the Northern Cape Heritage Resources Authority has to step in. This could be a baptism of fire for an agency that was only established on the first of April last year.

For example, the fence around the Frances Baard statue was not part of the original design. It was erected as a necessity to keep the memorial safe from vandalism. In 2010, brass fittings were stolen from the Long Cencil gun at the Honoured Dead Memorial. You cannot replace brass from a gun that is more than a century old. The statue of Cecil John Rhodes on his horse was also fenced off out of security concerns.

If the fence around the Frances Baard statue is taken down for the sake of accessibility, the safety of the statue also has to be taken into consideration. Would it be fair for the municipality to incur costs time after time to repair vandalism?

Ultimately, it is not for a company registered in the North West to decide what happens in Kimberley. It is for the residents of Kimberley to decide.

It is our heritage that we must cherish for our children.

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Sports , Arts and Culture department neglecting community libraries

By Katlego Suzan Phala (MPL), DA Spokesperson for Sports, Arts and Culture:

The DA has today written to the MEC for Sports, Arts and Culture, Nandi Ndalane, seeking her immediate intervention on several neglected community libraries that are poorly maintained despite being allocated more than R112 million in this financial year.

The DA believes that community libraries should  be centres of knowledge, that empower our young people to learn about their world and to make a difference. Without proper libraries our communities cannot develop intellectually and academically.

The DA has discovered that more than five community libraries are either on the verge of collapsing, neglected or not being well maintained by the local municipalities or the department. In an oversight visit and survey done on various libraries recently , the DA has discovered that :

ü  In Ga-Molepo, the library is operating without a librarian for almost two years with only two assistant librarians, with no cleaners while the grass is growing on the pavement.

ü  No electricity, water and telephone since February due to the failure of the department to pay Eskom bill.

ü  At All days (Blouberg Municipality) , Mogwadi Library, (Molemole Municipality), Moletjie Library (Polokwane Municipality) , the buildings are not well maintained , no internet connection and sadly outdated books.

During the 2015 budget speech, MEC Ndalane announced that the department had increased the Library and Archives programme budget of R93 714 000 in 2014/15 to R 127 311 000 in 2015/16 financial year. The department has also increased its library conditional grant, from R 81 010 000 in 2014/15 to R 112 156 000 in 2015/16  financial year.

It is greatly concerning that the allocated budget to maintain the existing community libraries and build new libraries, is clearly not being properly spent. Failure to utilise these funds is proof that the ANC government is not committed to uplifting our communities.

The DA urges MEC Ndalane to probe the understaffing of libraries in Limpopo, and to ensure that the generous R112 million budget is properly spent on library buildings and books.

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DA saddened by the passing of great Capetonian musical icon, Zayn Adams

Ricardo Mackenzie MPP

DA Western Cape Spokesperson for Cultural Affairs and Sport:

On Sunday, 22 February 2015, the Western Cape lost a musical legend, an icon, a talented son, a pioneer in his field, we lost Zayn Adams.

 

At the young age of 15 years old, Zayn kicked off his professional performing career at the Golden City Dixies Carnival Show and since then has become a Capetonian household name.

 

A celebrity of note, Zayn inspired many a youth in and around Cape Town to aspire to greater heights and to rise above the challenges with which they are faced. He will sadly be missed, not only for his musical forte, but for his community involvement as well. He recently participated in a Cease Fire Concert held in Hanover Park to redress gang violence in the area.

 

His rendition of “The Impossible Dream” will always be my all-time favourite. The lyrics especially rings true for our youth in the Western Cape, and broader South Africa, today. The DA expressed our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the great Zayd Adams at his janaazah earlier today.    

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DA honours Kenny Solomon as South Africa’s first International Chess Grandmaster

Ricardo Mackenzie MPP

DA Western Cape Spokesperson for Cultural Affairs and Sport:

With great pride, the DA congratulates Kenneth Terence Solomon from Mitchell’s Plain who will be awarded the title of International Grandmaster. Other than world champion, the International Grandmaster title is the highest official title bestowed for over the board play in the sport of Chess.

Kenny has played more than 100 times in international competitions as he has represented South Africa at every Chess Olympiad since 1998. He has also won the South African Championship on four occasions.

We are heartened that one of the world’s strongest chess players was born and bred in the Western Cape, in the City of Cape Town, in Lentegeur, Mitchell’s Plain. We honour Kenny Solomon as a true role model and an inspiration to our youth in the province. Undoubtedly, Kenny is a real life example of rising above the challenges with which one is faced.

The DA welcomes the honour bestowed upon Grandmaster Kenny as sport contributes to social cohesion in the province. It is important to encourage the youth and communities to engage in positive sporting activities. This engagement has proven to be a powerful mechanism in combatting social ills within our communities and affords youth opportunities to excel, despite the many challenges they face on a daily basis. This, in turn sparks a sense of achievement and optimizes social behaviour and in effect promotes social cohesion, which is indeed lacking in some parts of our country.

I was privileged to have invited Grandmaster Kenny Solomon to the official opening of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament on Friday, 20 February 2015. I have also been afforded the opportunity of accompanying him as he visits several places across Cape Town, including his hometown of Mitchell’s Plain. He is certainly a role model for the youth of our generation and I hope he will inspire them as much as he has me.

Chess Grandmaster

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