South Africa is facing its worst drought since 1982, with more than 2.7-million households facing water shortages across the country.
Lennox Mabaso, spokesperson for the Department of local government in KwaZulu-Natal, told Al Jazeera that the drought, concentrated in provinces of Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, was beginning to impact on livelihoods and draining the economy.
“The dams are at an all-time low. This is an epic drought and government is doing the best it can do. As you can imagine, it requires a lot of resources and its impacting everyone, rich and poor,” Mabaso said.
While the chaos that accompanies the student protests over fees hikes at a number of our major universities has caught the media’s attention, the underlying causes seem woefully under-examined. In a nutshell, the problem comes down to money: most students can barely afford existing fees let alone fee increases, while universities cannot afford not to increase fees.
Academic fees for tertiary education are very high in South Africa for most students, particularly those who come from underprivileged backgrounds. The average estimated cost per year of study is way beyond the means of the poor, the working class and even sections of the middle class. Even though the NSFAS bursary scheme is in place, many complain that it is haphazardly administered, excludes students whose family incomes are slightly over the fund’s means test and is frequently insufficient. Many potential students simply cannot afford tertiary education. Continue reading South Africa: Looking behind the barricades→
The case of South African current and ex-mine workers who contracted tuberculosis (TB) and silicosis–a degenerative lung disease linked to exposure to silica dust in gold mines–working in the country’s gold mines, resumed at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Monday. The case was first filled in 2012. 56 of the estimated 100,000 miners are persuading the court to allow them to institute a class action lawsuit against 32 gold mining companies. On Monday, legal representatives of the miners addressed the court, while those representing the gold mines will state their after the 14th of October.
Mining came at a huge cost for mine workers. Over the years, 100,000 of them contracted silicosis, TB and other respiratory diseases. Miners in South Africa are said to have the highest rates of TB infection in the world, ranging between 3,000 and 7,000 per 100,000 people. This is four and seven times higher than the general population of South Africa, the country with the second highest TB rates in the world. Continue reading South Africa’s sick miners take gold mines to court→