South Africa's Bill of Rights states that, "Everyone has a right to life, equality and human dignity." On March 21 each year, South Africa celebrates that ideal by honouring the 69 lives lost in Sharpeville on 21 March, 1960 when police opened fire on a peaceful crowd protesting the Pass Laws. Called Human Rights Day, it's a day to remember the past and celebrate the future.
PetroSA understands and recognises the importance of human rights in the continued upliftment of South Africa's communities. As a company dedicated to the well-being of South Africa and all its people, we support vulnerable communities through projects and partnerships with like-minded organisations. In celebration of Human Rights Day, we re-commit to the transformation of our beautiful country.
PetroSA & CHoiCe Partnership
PetroSA funded the CHoiCe Trust to provide quality training, support and information on health services to ten vulnerable rural communities in the Greater Tzaneen area.
Over and above their unique challenges each community faces:
- Poor service delivery
- Inadequate housing
- High crime rates
- Poor hygiene
- High unemployment rates
- High rate of HIV infection
We did an HIV/AIDS survey to determine the community’s knowledge and understanding of HIV/AIDS and other health issues. The survey revealed the following:
- All community members interviewed understood the importance of being tested for HIV/AIDS every three months
- Those who revealed that they are infected with HIV/AIDS understood the dosage requirements of the anti-retroviral
- Condom usage is seen as important
- An increasing number of homes are headed by children
Substance Abuse & Teenage Pregnancy
In collaboration with CHoiCe we implemented participatory sessions known as The Dialogues to raise awareness and identify health issues negatively affecting the communities. Two children’s issues were identified as being part of the overall concerns of the village:
- Substance abuse at school
- Teenage pregnancy
During discussions with the school principals they indicated that they feel substance abuse is a driving factor for teenage pregnancy and they felt strongly that substance abuse should be addressed first. It was also agreed that bullying will be addressed as was identified by the principals.
The issues were discussed with the CHoiCe Trust social worker tasked with addressing these issues in the community. Together with CHoiCe we decided that each social worker, with the support of her team, that includes auxiliary social workers and OVC mentors, will address teenage pregnancy as a key concern. Her approach will incorporate the recommendations of the school staff members, and would therefore also highlight the issue of substance abuse as a driving factor of teenage pregnancy.
Community members should feel safe in their homes and walking outside. In Rita Village, the community has taken a stand against all crime in the area. After giving everyone a whistle, they made sure that everyone can call for help from their neighbours who will immediately come to their assistance if a crime is being committed. Ms Jane Rasebotsa is an Induna in the village and shared the following:
"The community has taken a step towards fighting crime. We are making a plea to everyone who sees anyone committing a crime to not take the law into their hands, but report it to the police. Let us work together with the police."
Through The Dialogues discussion sessions community members elected a task team that urged the local municipality to provide electrical services. At the time of The Dialogues, the Zangamo Village had 155 households with an electricity shortage. By July 2013 all the households had electricity.
- Clean Water
Hovheni Village's induna, Mr Fickson Shikwambana, is committed to realising the right to clean and safe water for his community. He had the following to say:
"It's a human right to have access to clean water. People shouldn't travel long distances to fetch water. I, the Induna together with CHoiCe facilitators, facilitated a meeting with the Department of Water Affairs to return our pumping engine to working order. It was fixed on the 13th January 2013. The community now has water. Regrettably, the pump does not distribute to the whole community in one day. We need two more pumps to make sure that water is accessible every day to everyone."
Village Support Groups
Certain villages started a support group for those living with HIV/AIDS. Support groups aim to deliver services like growing food gardens to the community to address challenges they are experiencing.