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Friday 27 March 2009

VOLUME 33 NO. 12

R1.00 incl.

ATM bomb suspects escape empty handed

Unknown suspects escaped empty-handed after blowing up an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) at Kgapane township last week. Police Spokesperson, Captain Freddy Maenetja, said the ATM at Modjadji Technical College was completely destroyed. Maenetja explained that a number of unknown suspects traveling in three Golf 5 vehicles blew up the ATM with explosives but disappeared without taking anything, in the early hours of Thursday. He said that this ATM was the third to be blown up in the Bolobedu area in five months. At the time of going to press, no one had been arrested in connection with the three incidents. Maenetja said police investigations are continuing and anyone with information may contact him on 015 328 7512 or 082 776 1343

Doctor dies in shooting

Members of the Police Organised Crime Unit and Namakgale Detectives are appealing to anyone with information to come forward, regarding the fatal shooting of a doctor in Namakgale on Saturday night. Dr Bonabenja Bernard Risongulo Nyathi (49) was shot and died instantly during a robbery at his house in Namakgale. Provincial Police Spokesperson, Superintendent Mohale Ramatseba, said the victim was at his home with a male visitor when they were attacked by two armed men. "The Doctor was shot in the chest and died instantly. The visitor's hands and feet were tied up with a rope," said Ramatseba. He said the suspects ransacked the house and fled with two laptops, a safe, two cellular phones, a licensed fire arm, a Mercedez Benz and an undisclosed amount of money. Ramatseba said the deceased `s car was found abandoned at Tshwenyane village in Leboeng. Police are investigating cases of murder, house robbery and theft of a motor vehicle. No arrest had been made at the time of going to press and anyone with information is kindly requested to contact Superintendent Thembe Mafumo, Namakgale Detective Commander, on 082 469 1240. Alternatively contact Raseasala of the Namakgale Detectives on 083 346 9238. All information will be treated as confidential.

Captain Freddy Maenetja at the ATM damaged with explosives.

The late Dr Bonabenja Bernard Risongulo Nyathi.


MOPANI NEWS - Friday 27 March 2009


Samuel Nkanyani and Pastor Zacharia Mpiana inspect the remains of what used to be their church.

Police drag with arson case

Members of the Yahweh Shammah Assembly Church at Madumeleng village in Bolobedu are accusing the police of dragging their feet in their investigations into the burning of their church. They are still waiting for the police to arrest the suspects a month after their church was burnt down. Church elder Samuel Nkanyani said the office, caravan and a tent were burnt to ashes on February 14, by the fire believed to have been started after the suspects doused the place of worshipping with petrol. The incident followed after two young men were arrested for allegedly breaking into the church and stealing musical instruments in September last year. The suspects were arrested and the instruments were returned. The suspects are currently out on bail pending the finalization of their housebreaking and theft cases. A founding pastor of the church, Zacharia Mpiana, described the damage caused by the fire as extensive. "We appeal to the police to arrest the perpetrators so that they pay for their actions," he said. Bolobedu Police Spokesperson, Captain Freddy Maenetja, said the case is still being investigated, and called on members of the community to assist police in their investigations.

Police reports

A man was killed when he was knocked down by a car and ran over by another on Friday. The unidentified man was riding on a bicycle at around 2:00 am. Police suspect he was traveling to work. According to Ritavi police inspector, Seth magadzi, the man was traveling from Sasekani to Knowankowa along the Tzaneen-Lydenburg road when the accident occurred. He was hit by a bakkie and fell in the middle of the road when another car came and ran him over, killing him instantly. Magadzi said the man was severely injured on his hands and stomach. He said police are still trying to uncover his identity while investigations of a culpable homicide continue. * A community tip-off led to the arrest of two men on Thursday, suspected of car theft. Police found the stolen bakkie parked in the bushes a few days before the arrest was made. The Toyota Hilux was allegedly stolen from the house of France Masilo Makomela in Moime village near Lenyenye. According to Captain Matome Makgoba of Maake police, the men, aged 24 and 42, were arrested when a community member saw them removing body parts from the Hilux and loading it into another car in the bushes. Makgoba said the two will appear in court on charges of theft.

Man honest about theft

A 31 year old man pleaded guilty to theft at the regional court last Friday. Christiaana Rudolf Viljoen was employed as a company representative by Lestetele Progress Milling, when he stole money amounting to R96 281, 61 between August 2008 and October 2008. As a company representative, he was responsible for collecting money from customers and depositing it to the company's cahiers. However, instead of depositing the collected money, Viljoen used it for his personal needs. Now employed by Spur in Tzaneen, Viljoen confirmed in court that he knew his conduct was wrong and punichable by law at the time he used the company's money for his personal gain. He told the court that he does not have any pending cases and is prepared to pay back the money. Viljoen said he has already paid the complainant R40 000. He also told the court that he feels remorseful and has decided to return his vehicle to the bank in order for him to compensate the complainant. Viljoen was sentenced to five years imprisonment, suspended for five years. He was also given to a fine of R25 000, which he will have to pay in installments of R5000 a month until the fine is paid off. On top of that, he has to pay R1 500, also in monthly installments, to Progress Milling until the balance is paid off.

Land claim finalised at last

The Makgoba Community will officially receive land that cost the state more than R100 Million this Saturday at Magoebaskloof Hotel sports ground. The event will start at 10:00 am. The handing over will be done by The Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs, Lulama Xingwana, together with the acting Limpopo Regional Land Claims Commissioner, Blessing Mphela. 1087 beneficiaries from the Makgoba Community will benefit from this historic event.


MOPANI NEWS - Friday 27 March 2009


Provincial debating competition winner, Patience Mashiane.

Rural girl makes name in debate

Hard work and dedication has ultimately paid dividends for a rural high school learner. Patience Mashiane, a Makgwahleng High School grade 12 learner outclassed 31 other learners from schools all over the province last week, to win the provincial debating competition that was held at the Proviancial legislature in Lebowakgomo. This 17 year old learner from a Sekororo based-school obtained position one in a debate under the theme: "Commonwealth at 60 - serving a new generation". She received two merits certificate and a big trophy for her efforts. Mashiane attributed her win to dedication, hard work and the support she received from her teachers. The school's history teacher, Rufus Maake, said debating develops communication skills, teaches learners to prepare written arguments and develops their skills on how to negotiate to reach a working compromise. "It also helps in creating future leaders," he added.

Patience Mashiane, flanked by classmates and her history teacher, Rufus Maake.

Patience Mashiane congratulated by teachers and learners.


MOPANI NEWS - Friday 27 March 2009


Admin staff for the Tzaneen Fire Department, left: Florence Hlongwane, Helena van der Zee and Maria Mathebula. Van Der Zee has been working for the Tzaneen Fire Department for 23 years. Hlongwane and Mathebula have each worked for the Fire Department for 13 years.

Ombie Mathebula, Director of Community Services for the Mopani District Municipality. Community Services is the directorate under which fire services fall within the Mopani District Municipality. Tzaneen Fire Department firefighters, front: junior firefighter Motsatsi Lilian Seale, firefighter Collid Kwenya Ngoepe and junior firefighter Ditebogo Linneth Motseo. Middle: lead fireman Deon van Vuuren and junior firefighter Selaelo Rose Phooko. Back: senior firefighter Solani Sostinah Baloyi and acting lead firefighter Mpho Selby Machethe. Absent: Jerry Selepe, Lesiba Makgahlale, Agnes Matheere and Andrew Kiley. Vincent van der Westhuizen, left, is the acting Fire Chief for the Mopani District and Ludwig Stemmett is the Fire Prevention Officer for the Tzaneen Fire Department. Absent: Peter Mbhalati, Divisional Officer of the Tzaneen Fire Department.

Cllr Violet Mathonsi, Chairperson of the Social Services Portfolio Committee.

Disaster Management staff at the Mopani District Municipality, back: Tebogo Ramoshaba, response and relief, Pheagane Makgopa, planning, and Lazarus Mmabokela, cleaner. Middle: Edward Kubayi, call centre operator, Gezani Derrick Shimange, co-ordination and awareness, and Donald Makhubele, administration. Front: Ntsako Lambane, centre administration, Bestina Mokgalabone, cleaner, and Bernardine Altenroxel, communication.

Know these faces

THE Executive Mayor of the Mopani District Municipality, Cllr Humphrey Mokgobi. HANNES Steyn, Assistant Director of Disaster Management at the Mopani District Municipality.

All pictures by Bernardine Altenroxel


MOPANI NEWS - Friday 27 March 2009


What is disaster management all about The Mopani

Bernardine Altenroxel. Many people ask the question `but just how many disasters do we have that necessitates the need for disaster management?' The assumption that disaster management only comes into play in the event of major disasters is not entirely correct, as the focus is more on preventing disasters than waiting around for a major event to occur before any action is taken. The Disaster Management Act is clear on this, providing for `an integrated and co-ordinated disaster management policy that focuses on preventing or reducing the risk of disasters, mitigating the severity of disasters, emergency preparedness, rapid and effective response to disasters and post-disaster recovery.' Disaster management is far more than merely providing tents and food parcels in the wake of a disaster. Plans must be drawn up and adopted which outline what must be done, and by whom, in the event of a particular incident or disaster. This requires close co-operation between various different departments, bringing together the necessary expertise to effectively deal with a specific problem. But before plans can be drawn up, attention needs to be paid to the particular hazards associated with the area. When drawing up disaster plans, who is at risk, when they may be at risk and what stands to be lost, all needs to be taken into account to produce a workable and effective document. Every department needs to clearly understand and agree with the role/s they need to play in the effective execution of that plan in the event of an incident/disaster. There needs to be constant monitoring of what is happening within the particular jurisdiction of a particular municipality, be it local or district. In this way, anything which is deemed to be a threat can be dealt with before a major disaster occurs. For example, a regular watch is kept on the development of the El Nino Southern Oscillation phenomenon, which can either bring higher than normal rainfall or lower than normal rainfall (better known as La Nina and El Nino respectively) to particular areas around the globe. Although not clearly understood, this phenomenon is known to have an influence on, amongst other areas, the eastern parts of southern Africa, which includes the entire Mopani district. By monitoring the development or weakening of these systems through advisories issued by leading international and national weather authorities, early warnings can be issued regarding what needs to be prepared for. In this way, communities have enough time to prepare themselves and risk is minimised. Disaster management is everybody's business. Every member of the community needs to understand that they can play an important role in preventing much of their own misery, and indeed in preventing disasters, through a better understanding of the risks around them and how to protect themselves. The Tzaneen area is well known as having a high fire risk during the dry period, which usually extends from August to October every year. By taking the necessary steps to create good fire breaks before the onset of the fire season, a landowner can prevent fire spreading from a neighbouring property to his and thus prevent wide-scale disaster. Few heed this legal requirement however, and have paid the price through the loss of valuable crops and land to fire. Educational drives in communities, particularly at schools, are conducted on a regular basis, the focus being on whatever risk may be prevalent at that time. When disaster does strike, it is the responsibility of disaster management to become involved to bring together and co-ordinate the activities of all those departments involved in rescue and recovery operations. Here, plans which have already been developed to deal with the particular situation will be used to direct departments towards their individual responsibilities. In a nutshell, disaster management is about being vigilant to the hazards of a specific area, knowing when to act to prevent disaster and providing support and relief when the unforeseen or unavoidable happens.


Bernardine Altenroxel. THE Mopani District Municipality comprises five local municipalities, namely Greater Tzaneen Municipality, Greater Giyani Municipality, Greater Letaba Municipality, Ba-Phalaborwa Municipality and Maruleng Municipality. In total, the Mopani District covers an area of 25 which includes 14 urban areas, 352 villages and a total of 118 wards. Included in this area is also the upper section of the Kruger National Park (from the Olifants River upward) which also forms part of the management area of the Mopani District Municipality. An estimated 1 Mopani District of which 81% live within rural areas, 14% in urban areas and 5% live on farms. The majority of these residents are still young. Females make up the larger percentage in the ratio between men and women. The Greater Tzaneen Municipal area has the highest population whilst the Maruleng Municipal area has the lowest.

Mopani Disaster Management Centre - a world leader

Bernardine Altenroxel. Established in terms of the Disaster Management Act, the Mopani Disaster Management Centre was established to provide an unrivalled service to all residents of the Mopani district. While other Disaster Management Centres have been established around the country, to our knowledge, this is the first purpose built Disaster Management Centre in Africa and thus a considerable achievement for the Mopani district. Born of a dream by Hannes Steyn, the Assistant Director of Disaster Management in the Mopani District, plans towards the establishment of the Centre grew in leaps and bounds. Under the leadership of the Municipal Manager of Mopani District Municipality, Tim Maake, the Mopani Council provided approval for the financing and building of the new Disaster Management Centre. The design which was accepted was submitted by architect Hennie Wiggett. The Greater Tzaneen Municipality made available a piece of land situated on the Agatha road ­ this land once formed part of the old Adams farm on the outskirts of town, and would also serve as the site of the new Tzaneen Fire Station. With the land secured and a contractor appointed, the bulk earthworks of the site got underway in January 2006. A year later, High Point Trading commenced with the task of building the Centre. Local companies benefitted greatly from the construction of both the Disaster Management Centre and the new Tzaneen Fire Station. Slowly, over the space of a little over a year, the building took shape and is now a hive of activity. Many may think that the building offers only ample office space, but nothing could be further from the truth. Situated within the well-planned building are an auditorium, an operational area, tactical area, communication section and living quarters. Situated roughly to the east of the building is a helipad which can be used by craft as large as an Oryx.The auditorium can seat 82 people and was specifically designed with training in mind. The venue is however also perfect for meetings, workshops and offering presentations. The shape of the auditorium, along with the carpeting and seating arrangement, dampen sound considerably, creating a warm atmosphere which suffers no noise disturbance from outside either. The operational area is primarily used for meetings and for planning. In the event of a major disaster, all the main role-players participating in the response and recovery operations will be seated here to jointly take decisions. The circular design encourages better communication, with the majority of people facing each other. The operational area and tactical area essentially work as one. Where decisions are taken in the operational area, they are fed through to the tactical area for execution. Within the tactical area, clusters of tables have been placed to accommodate different departments who will deal with issues specific to their area of expertise. The living quarters are not meant as a permanent base for those working at the Centre, as many may think. Instead, these living quarters will be used by visitors to the Centre who need to stay overnight, or by main decision makers who may be needed at the Centre over an extended period in the event of a very large disaster. There are ten bedrooms within this section, each with its own ablution facilities. Of the ten bedrooms, five have bunk beds and five have single beds, meaning up to 15 people can be accommodated here at any one time. There is also a kitchen where food can be prepared and rest area where people can relax after a long, hard day of work. A generator and emergency water supply ensure that the entire building can be self-sufficient for up to five days in the event of a complete shut-down of services. Upon an electricity black-out, UPS devices prevent computer shut-down until the generator automatically kicks-in after a few seconds, restoring power to the entire building. This ensures an uninterrupted power supply to keep the building functioning as normal. Ample office space is available to accommodate staff of the Centre. In the future, it is hoped that, once the value of the Centre is fully understood, decision makers from key departments will also be housed in these offices. Security is of utmost importance and access to and from the building is strictly regulated. A biometrics system restricts access to various areas around the building. While many have access to the main office building, only a few are able to enter the communication section and server room. Security cameras are also located at key areas around the building to locate any intruders before they can do damage or attempt to gain access to the building. With the focus on service delivery, the Mopani Disaster Management Centre is a boon for the entire district, striving to make a safer district for all who live here.


MOPANI NEWS - Friday 27 March 2009


Mopani's own 911

Bernardine Altenroxel GOOD communication is the key to the effectiveness of any institution or business. With this in mind, it was decided to establish an emergency call-taking centre within the Mopani District Disaster Management Centre and a whole section specifically dedicated to this was incorporated into the building. Access to the communication centre is strictly regulated as this is the heart of the entire Disaster Management Centre where disturbance needs to be kept to a minimum. It is envisaged that a state-of-the-art communication system will be used here with the focus on reducing response times and thus providing better service delivery to the community. It will centralise reporting of incidents, activation of resources and monitoring of large incidents. A 70 metre radio mast stands proudly alongside the communication centre from which, in the near future, emergency calls will be received from around the entire district ­ the radio mast then facilitating radio communication. Upon the appointment of call-centre operators, training will have to be undertaken in the proper use of the communication system. The entire phone and radio system is integrated to be run through a computer, so instead of having a number of radios and telephones mounted onto a cumbersome console, everything can be run off a simple desktop computer. The Gem(C³) Emergency Readiness System is provided by Africon, a company appointed by the Provincial Department of Local Government and Housing to provide an emergency call taking and information management system to district municipalities across Limpopo. The same system has been used to great success in the Western Cape Disaster Management Centre. Over and over again this system has proven itself and has greatly improved service delivery in the Western Cape. Upon receipt of a call, the software requires that the call-centre operator ask specific questions about the incident being reported before dispatch of services can take place. This ensures that as much information as possible about the incident is gathered, giving emergency services all the information they need in order to respond with the correct and sufficient resources. This also helps to identify possible hoax calls. The incident is plotted on a map and the nearest response vehicle to that incident can be dispatched to the scene. Since most emergency vehicles are equipped with tracking devices, it is easy to harness this technology to display on a map where each vehicle is located. Each level of call is also colour coded and displayed on the dispatchers console as well as on an LCD screen mounted in the control room. The different colours denote whether a call has been attended to, if a response is currently under way, if it is a critical call, or if the call has been attended to and finalised. Every step of the way, from start to finish, the call is monitored and updated. The entire call is also recorded for legal purposes and for quality management purposes. These recorded calls will be reviewed at random to ensure call centre staff adhere to standard operating procedures which have been laid down. The emergency call-taking centre is not yet operational as staff must first be appointed and trained. In the near future, the phone number for this emergency call centre will be made public, opening the way for a brand new service that will make a vast difference in the lives of all within the Mopani district.

Tzaneen Fire Services the early years

Bernardine Altenroxel. The first formal Fire Service in Tzaneen was established in 1974, close to where the clinic currently stands today at the Greater Tzaneen Municipality. Prior to this, the service was a volunteer service with Bokkie Badenhorst as acting Fire Chief. Neels Engelbrecht, who today heads up Disaster Management at the Greater Tzaneen Municipality, was appointed as Station Officer on a salary scale of R4 848 per annum in 1974. He was the first formally trained, professional fireman to be employed and quickly rose through the ranks to Fire Prevention Officer and finally to become the first Fire Chief of the Tzaneen Fire Services. He was assisted by a group of volunteers which included traffic officers, engineers, business owners and members of the public. At that stage, the Service consisted of a Bedford fire truck, a Gladiator Jeep fire engine and one ambulance which was sponsored by the Red Cross. With these meagre tools, a basic emergency service was offered to the Tzaneen district. When help was needed, members of the public would report incidents to the power station, which ran a 24-hour control room. Upon receipt of a call, they would sound a siren which could be heard for a radius of 11km. This would summon all the `firemen' to the Fire Station and they would then contact the power station to find out what the problem was and where. Today, one of these sirens can still be seen on the roof of the Greater Tzaneen Municipality where it keeps a silent watch over the now empty Tzaneen Fire Station. Different patterns of sound would indicate different types of situations i.e. three blasts of the siren would mean a fire and a continuous blast would indicate a disaster. The first time the siren was put to use to summon assistance for a disaster was for the Groenkloof train disaster when a passenger and goods train de-railed near Mooketsi. Engelbrecht remembers that they could not reach the site by road and had to walk about a kilometre to reach the site. A field hospital was set up at the then Duiwelskloof and those injured were taken here as well as to Van Velden Hospital. They were assisted in their task of assisting the injured by doctors and nurses. Around 1982, plans were made to build a new fire station. Blackie Swart, who designed the Municipal buildings, was the architect who designed the proposed new fire station. Since council did not have the funds to build a new station, they applied to the government for the funds. Englebrecht took the plans to the then Administrator of Transvaal, Sybrand van Niekerk, who approved the proposal and the R430 was provided. At the same time, the Fire Chief from Potgietersrus also approached the Administrator for funds as they also wished to build a new station. Their plans were however turned down, and it wasn't until a year or two later that they received the R1,1-million they required for a new station. With the funds received, building commenced and the Tzaneen Fire Station was completed around 1985. It was then that additional vehicles were purchased in the form of an FMC fire truck (which is still faithfully in use today) and a VW combi which was purchased by council as an ambulance. It was then that Engelbrecht became the Deputy Chief of Protection Services and Kobus Visser was appointed as Fire Chief. With this, the first new wave of professional firemen were appointed to form the first real fire service for Tzaneen. From then on, the Tzaneen Fire Service continued to grow from strength to strength and today stands proud as a professional and efficient service.

A long, proud history

Bernardine Altenroxel. THE Tzaneen Fire Department has a long and proud history of serving Tzaneen and the surrounding areas. For many years, this station served a massive area, stretching from the Buffelsberg in the west to as far as the Strydom tunnels in the east. Other outlying areas such as Letsitele, Haenertsburg, Gravelotte, Eiland and Giyani were all serviced by this one small station at one stage. The fire station in Phalaborwa mostly served the communities around Phalaborwa, Mica and Hoedspruit. With the incorporation of the fire services into the Mopani District Municipality, change started to take place and a new fire station was established in Giyani and, more recently, at Modjadjiskloof too. Currently, a new station is being built in Hoedspruit, to provide a much needed service to the residents of Maruleng. The new Tzaneen Fire Station is situated directly alongside the Mopani Disaster Management Centre. For many years, disaster management has been synonymous with fire services, the two services working closely together to aid those in need and prevent possible disasters from occurring. Thus it is only fitting that these two centres should be located alongside each other. The placement of the new Fire Station allows for a more direct response to most calls since there is no longer a need to negotiate traffic in town before reaching the open road. The range of responsibilities of fire services stretches way beyond what the general public may realise. Not only do they deal with fire issues, but a host of other technical rescue and emergency response activities. It is frequently their expert knowledge that is required to free people trapped at the site of a building or trench collapse, take the first steps towards containment of a hazardous material spill, perform high-angle rescues or even swift water rescues. There is seemingly no end to the technical expertise and sheer courage required of a fire-fighter.With the fire services in Tzaneen having expanded over the years, it became necessary that a new station be built. The original fire station building was occupied by the fire services in 1985. Since this building cannot be expanded, and no longer fulfils its function fully, it was decided to build a new station at an entirely new site. The design by local architect Pieter Joubert was masterfully brought to life by High Point Trading . Building commenced towards the beginning of 2008 and was finished by the end of the same year, allowing the Fire Services to occupy the building by early 2009. The new station has a larger bay area which will accommodate more vehicles and also boasts a small training area, board room, several offices for the officers, a control room and impressive kit room. The double storey sleeping quarters, where on-duty personnel stay over weekends and at night, comprises 24 spacious rooms and common ablution facilities. Also located within the quarters are a kitchen, gym and relaxation area. The new fire station includes a prominent training tower which has had many people guessing as to its intended purpose! The tower will be used for fitness drills as well as training in rope work, allowing fire-fighters to hone their rescue skills.Many have come and gone over the years and the services has undergone many changes, but it still remains dedicated to the same goals ­ that of protecting and saving lives. Over the years, the service has touched countless lives, offering comfort and assistance to the injured, rescue to the stranded and relief to the desperate in the face of adversity. This they will continue to do as the Tzaneen Fire Service stands on the threshold of being moulded into a new chapter of history.


MOPANI NEWS - Friday 27 March 2009


Young farmer reaps rewards

A Young farmer has finally reaped the benefit of all his years of hard work. Phineas Rakgoale (36) is the founder of a thriving agriculture project that sells its products in the Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market. Rakgoale, from Shoromong village in Greater Tzaneen, was voted the winner in the Youth category of the community Builder of the Year Competition last month. "My biggest regret is that my parents were not there to see me receive the award. They died while I was still very young. I have no idea what they look like because they did not leave any pictures of themselves," said the founder of Mamogwane Farmer's project. Raised by his uncle, Phineas was forced to drop out of school in Grade 12 because of poverty at home. But he refused to be defeated. "I started a spaza shop at home selling basic groceries like sugar, bread and canned foods," he said. "Although the spaza shop was making some profit, I was concerned about the large number of people in the village who were unemployed. I decided to start a project that will generate money and also create much-needed jobs," he said. In 2000, Phineas recruited seven villagers to start an agriculture project. They cleared a bush outside the villagers and planted chillies, green beans and bananas. Later, they added okra, a plant that bears long green vegetables also known as "ladies fingers." "It was not easy. We were running the project from our own pockets and we had no water. We had to use buckets to carry water from a nearby fountain to the project," said Phineas. Today, Mamogwane Farmer's sells its product at the Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market, at social grant pay points and also supply local hospitals and feeding schemes with vegetables, fruits, eggs and broilers. The project has 31 employees. "The sky is the limit for this project," said Phineas with confidence. "We are now planning to start a poultry abattoir and create 200 more jobs. "The secret of our success is dedication, determination and hard work. We never give up," he said.

Phineas Rakgoale, standing inside a field of okra plants.

Abattoir for small-scale farmers

Small-scale cattle farmers in Mopani district will no longer have to wait for a wedding feast, funeral or party to get an opportunity to make a sale. Delivering his State of the District Address recently, Mayor Humphrey Mokgobi said the plans to establish an abattoir has reached an advanced stage. He said a feasibility study for the abattoir has been completed and the cost is estimated at around R32, 5 million. "Our vision is that livestock farmers in the district will be the anchor shareholders in the project," he said. The abattoir will be built in Mokwakwaila village outside Modjadjiskloof in the Greater Letaba municipality. Mokgobi said the local community has agreed to contribute a 60 hectare piece of land where the abattoir would be established. Construction is to start as soon as the land have been valued and the community's shareholding stake in the project have been determined. The Mopani district has a population of about 1 million people and 18 percent of the households own a herd of cattle.-

Making a living out of grass

Ronny Rikhotso holding the sickle which he uses to cut grass with. A villager who sells grass breeding nests for domestic animals, say people who start veldfires are killing his business. Ronny Rikhitso (27) of Dan village sells artificial breeding nests for chickens, pigeon, cats and dogs along the R36 between Nkowankowa and Lenyenye. "People who start veldfires make life difficult for me and my family. I am forced to travel long distances to get grass." Rikhotso dropped out of school in gr 11 because of poverty at home. In 1996 he suffered a serious injury to his leg that left him unable to do hard work. "I saw many young people in the village succumbing to a life of crime, but I chose to work with my own hands," he said. The father of two has been making a living from selling grass nests since 2000. Using a special kind of grass, it takes him about 30 minutes to make one nest, which he sells for up to R50 in winter. "In winter the prices go up because the grass becomes scarce. In summer when there is grass everywhere, we sell chickens nests for R30 each." He said his best customers are farmers who buy many nests at a time. On a good day, he said he makes up to R250. "With the money I get I am able to buy clothes and food for my family," he said. He also said that failing to get a Gr 12 certificate is not the end of life. He urged other unemployed people to start their own businesses at home. "There is no limit to the kind of businesses that people can start. You just have to find something unique that you can sell in the community."


MOPANI NEWS - Friday 27 March 2009


R36 million school in N'wamitwa

A construction worker at the new school that will soon become Sevengwana Primary School. Construction is already in progress of a R36 million school in N'wamitwa village near Tzaneen. Sevengwana Junior Secondary School was once declared the poorest school in the province by the Department of Education, but it will soon become the talk of the town thanks to a fund injection from the Independent Development Trust (IDT). Initially the school was allocated R10 million, but more had to be added because of the enormous facilities that are being built. The School Governing Body (SGB) Chairperson, Mavele Nukeri, said they requested another R16 million from the IDT. The tender for this huge project has been awarded to Matakanyi Construction in the Vhembe district. Classes are still being conducted at the old block school. "But the new school will be completed by September this year," said Nukeri. The conditions at Sevengwana were so bad that some of the students can't wait to get out. A Grade 9 learner, Story Mojela, said he is tired of sharing a classroom with rats and bitting insects. "When it rains, the roof leaks and we cannot concentrate," he said. Nukeri said twice the roof of one of the blocks was blown away by strong winds. Nukeri said it came as a surprise that some teachers did not resign or ask for transfers given the situation. Evidence to this fact came to light when teachers were busy compiling year-end reports in a classroom one December afternoon. "Heavy rains came and the roof went off in one of the classrooms that they were in," said Nukeri. He said they are thankful that all the teachers came out unharmed. Nukeri said the curriculum at the new school, which will include Grade 7, 8 and 9, will be a first of its kind in a rural school. He said they are going to include a stream for consumer studies, hospitality studies, computer study and home economics. "We want to give the students the best available," said Nukeri. Among other things the two hectare school will boast a nutrition centre, kitchen and a dining hall. "We still want to extend the site to include other facilities like a sports ground," he said. Nukeri said the SGB was still to consult with the Indunas and the N'wamitwa chieftaincy to see if the old school should be turned into a primary school for the local children. But contrary to popular belief, Nukeri said the school is not being built by Oprah Winfrey. "We were just in line to be one of the beneficiaries for a school that will be built by her in the province, but were unfortunately not successful," he said. "Maybe the school will be built for some two rural schools in Sekhukhune and Vhembe districts," he said. Nukeri said the school was awarded the money after years of hardship and trying to source out money from government without any luck. Nukeri said they have also asked for running water from the municipality. Registrations will start as early as next year and "school-going pupils can come and register," said Nukeri. A Grade 8 learner, Humphrey Ntimbani, inside his rusted classroom at Sevengwana Junior Secondary School in N'wamitwa.

A classroom at Sevengwana Primary School.


MOPANI NEWS - Friday 27 March 2009


Local DJ on the rise

Every time he touches the mixer, the crowds go wild. He's the type of DJ that a party is not complete without and he was born and bred right here in the tropical paradise of Tzaneen in Muhlava village near Nkowankowa. DJ `Noxzy' - real name Norman Mhlatsi Komane - has played in some of the best clubs, festivals and parties in the country and performed alongside big names in the music industry such as DJ Fresh, Ganyani, Christos and Mahoota, just to mention a few. Noxzy is however still as humble as quiet rain and describes himself as an honest, fun-loving guy. Playing DJ Noxzy is not all there is to this young man. He is also an emerging businessman who runs an electronics company, Music Lounge, in Tzaneen, and also aims to officially launch his car wash which has been operating in Tzaneen for a few months. Noxzy admits that he did not get to where he is on a silver platter. It took some hard work, the pain of losing a father whom he loved dearly, and also making a few sacrifices along the way. Mopani News caught up with this outstanding young man on the day he was booked to perform at the trendy `Cofi' in Pretoria alongside DJ Christos. Read this to learn more about this hip and happening DJ: Mopani News: Hi Noxzy, it's so great to finally meet you in person, how are you doing? Noxzy: I'm doing fine, just busy that's all. MN: Busy? What are you up to?" Noxzy: Well, I'm preparing to go to Pretoria. I'm playing there at a club tonight. MN: Wow, that's great. So do you do more Johannesburg gigs than local ones? Noxzy: Well actually, I do both. It just depends on who books me first. MN: So when did you fall in love with music? Noxzy: A long time ago. As a little boy I was very naughty. My friends and I would go to the scrap yards and steal speakers from the old cars and make our own little concoction of a music system. It was crazy but we enjoyed it. And furthermore, I studied a course in music at a college in Randburg. MN: Do you need a qualification to be a DJ? Noxzy: Education is very important. There are things about this profession that you won't know if you haven't gone to school for it. Other DJ's can always tell you're an amateur when you just play from your head without the understanding of music. MN: When were you finally noticed as a DJ Noxzy? Noxzy: I got the name Noxzy a long time ago when I was still at school. I'd dub songs on an empty cassette and play it for my friends or whenever there was an event at school. I also did odd jobs and was able to buy my own equipment. MN: You come from a family of three boys. Do your brothers also support your passion? Noxzy: Yes they do. My brothers and I are very close, not to mention talented, even if I have to say so myself. My one brother, Freddy, is a clothing designer and the other one works in Johannesburg. MN: Your father committed suicide almost five years ago? How did that affect you? Noxzy: My father's death was a tragedy to us all. Freddy and I were at church that Sunday and a neighbour phoned to tell us that our house was on fire. We rushed home, but when we got there it was already too late. The house had burnt to ashes and in the next room, my father had committed suicide. It was very traumatic because we knew him as a happy man. He never told anybody what was bothering him. Counseling has helped me to get over the experience and now I have accepted it and I'm moving on with my life. MN: How is your mother now? Noxzy: She's fine. Immediately after the fire, we moved to Nkowankowa township. My mother makes and sells clothes for a living. MN: You say you've helped your brother out as a designer. Does designing also feature in your future plans? Noxzy: Well, having worked with him for some time as a designer, I have learnt the craft of making some really good designs and maybe in the future we might launch a clothing label together, but that's not my focus at the moment. MN: You have a company, Music Lounge, tell us about that? Noxzy: Well, I basically stock a number of electronics from factory houses in Johannesburg and sell them at very good prices to my clients. I sell a range of plasma tv's, light bulbs, radios, etc. MN: As a famous DJ's, you must have a lot of female fans. Noxzy: (Chuckles) People think that just because you're a DJ you must love girls, but I'm not all about that. I'm level-headed, single and would like to meet the queen of my heart someday soon. MN: Well good luck with that and I hope that you rock `Cofi' tonight. Noxzy: Always.

Hard at work, DJ Noxz.


MOPANI NEWS - Friday 27 March 2009



Matlhari Secondary School Principal, Cassious Machimana (middle), with Circuit Manager, Fony Mushwana and two teachers. Khujwana circuit held an award-giving ceremony to honor the schools that produced the best results and matriculants last year. Mathlari Secondary School in Mhlaba Cros scooped the awards for best school with an average pass rate of 85 percent. Circuit Manager, Fony Mushwana, said the circuit was hoping to be one of the most improved circuits by year-end.

Hard core rapper, Ashton Nukeri, said he would have used his IT qualification to work as an IT specialist, if ever he was denied the opportunity of becoming an arstist.

Tzaneen artist launches 2nd CD

Meet the freshest hip-hop artist in Tzaneen. Ashton Nokeri is a young dynamo with a zealous disposition. Not only is he hip, hot and happening, but this 23 year old has managed to turn his fantasy of becoming a hip-hop artist into a reality. His passion for the hip-hop genre began at the tender age of eleven, when he was introduced to it by his then neighbour in Giyani, before he relocated to Tzaneen with his family eight years ago. "I was mesmerised by hip-hop. I used to listen to a lot of RnB tunes and even remember writing my first song about love," said Nokeri. Since then he has written a number of hip-hop songs and has realised his first album, which he says is about the trials and tribulations that has transpired in his life. "I rap about basic things that people can relate to," said the rapper. This man's career is not going to stop at holding a microphone and entertaining people. He plans on owning a clothing label at some point in his life. He also sees himself holding a platinum disc in the next five years. He said he wants to achieve all his dreams. In that way he can prove to his fans that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. He will be launching his second album on Saturday. It will be launched in Nkowankowa community hall. "People who are going to attend can expect to have fun and experience hip-hop music in a different way than they are used to. "I feature about eight other artists in the album and they'll all be at the launch to entertain. "The new album is fresh, something people have never heard before," said the stylish Nokeri. The launch will be in Nkowankowa community hall this coming Saturday. Entrance fee is R30. For more information on purchasing a CD or to chat with the man himself, phone 073 504 0074.


MOPANI NEWS - Friday 27 March 2009



MOPANI NEWS - Friday 27 March 2009


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Tournament at Nkowankowa this weekend

With most clubs having closed off for the season, a game of football is very hard to come by. Local football fans have been left with nothing to do during weekends but hope for a broadcast of a Premier Soccer League game on tv. But all roads lead to Nkowankowa stadium this weekend, for a one-day soccer spectacular between four of the best teams in the local arena. Mariveni United will come face to face with Julesburg Arsenal in a Dan Social Club top 4 Tournament. Zero Fake will also battle it out with Burgersdorp United. The teams will be competing for the ultimate prize of R2000. The tournament's coordinator, Zimka Mhlongo, said this is being done to give a little entertainment to soccer lovers who've been left dry and bored since the season closed. Mhlongo said the team coming in second will be awarded R 1000 and the last two teams will get R350 each. Kickoff will be at 10:00 am and the final will be played at 15:00 pm.

Danone Nations Cup Provincial winners, Dorothy Langa Primary School.

Dorothy Langa wins Danone Nations Cup Development

Dorothy Langa Primary School will represent the province at the Danone Nations Cup national finals to be held in Gauteng on May 30. The school beat Tapola Nkona 2 ­ 0 in the provincial finals at the Pietersburg Cricket Fields in Polokwane last Saturday. All regions of the province were represented at the tournament and displayed much passion and love for the game, tirelessly battling it out and showing that this province has the talent and potential to do very well at the National Finals. In spite of the outstanding performance of all teams, Dorothy Langa stood out as the champions of the Limpopo Province and have secured themselves a chance at achieving the dream of being the team to represent South Africa at the International Finals of the Danone Nations Cup in Brazil, October this year. Danone Nations Cup ambassador, Neil Tovey, believes that Dorothy Langa were deserving winners as they showed outstanding skill. "They were clinical in front of goals and are disciplined and organised and I believe the team will National Finals. are the best team we have seen so far this season, but there are five Provinces still to compete." Dorothy Langa Primary beat Tapola Nkona on penalties in their first Pool game of the day, going on to convincingly beat other Pool competitors, Mampakgo 4 ­ 0, Spark Park 4 ­ 0, Matiyani 3 ­ 0 finishing top of the pool. They came up against Madika Primary in the Semifinals, winning 3-1 before meeting up again with Tapola Nkona in the finals, beating them 2 ­ 0. Dorothy Langa fourth school to qualify for the National Final after Kalksloot, Phakamisani and Bakersville of the Northern Cape, Western Cape and Eastern Cape respectively. The next Danone Nations Cup Provincial final will be held in KwaZulu Natal this Saturday. The overall winner in the National Championships will realize the dream of enjoying the Danone Nations Cup experience at an international final in October in Brazil, where they will not only compete for the world title, but will have the opportunity to share with other young soccer lovers from across the globe, meet an international soccer icon Zinedine Zidane, and most importantly, have fun! perform well in the They

Progressive League Results

Saturday: *Juventus beat Deep stick 1-0, while Supersport won by two goals to nil against Black Agnus. *Ajax thrashed Super Eagle 3-2 - Evans Ramaano scored two goals while Thapelo Maredi added another for Ajax. Goals for Super Eagles were scored by Moses Mahlaka and Benjamin Lebea. *Shooting Stars won 1-0 against Hungry Lion. Sunday: *Rapho Kickers beat Barcelona 2-0, while Juventus and Ajax drew 1-1. *Black Agnus registered a 2-1 win against Makaba and Bolobedu Young Stars whipped Hungry Lion 3-0. Weekend Fixtures: Saturday: *Mighty vs Hungry Lion at 12:00 pm; *Ajax vs Rapitsi at 14:00 pm, *Bodupe Young Stars vs Black Agnus at 16: 00 pm. Sunday: *Hungry Lion vs Makaba at 10:00 am; *Shooting Stars vs Black Agnus at 12:00 pm; *Barcelona vs Deep Stick at 14:00 pm; *Supersport vs Ajax at 16:00 pm.

League Results

Sekgopo Soccer Development League weekend results: Saturday: *Sekgopo Manchester 1, Makola Happy Boys 2; *Lehlareng Happy Boys 2, Dilokwa Mighty Greens 1; *Ramogakwa Movers 1, Moshate City Rocks 0; *Morakong Rovers 1, Motjeketla Young Chiefs 0. Sunday: *Lebjelola Swallows 1, Majukujuku Shining Stars 0; *Sethaseng Royal Cosmos 1, Marotholong Young Killers 1; *Mapulaana Arsenal 4, Dikolobe 0; *Mancha United 0, Sugar Canes 0; *Mameriri Zebras 2, the is Leeds United 2.



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