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Public transport travel, a nightmare



Travelling by public transport has turned into a nightmare for most passengers. If it is not the dirty, torn car seats and safety belts, it is the loud music or the overloading. For daily public transport commuters, nothing is more painful than being dressed in classy and fancy wear only to be squeezed in seats simply because the drivers want to make an extra buck by overloading. Overloading is a common phenomenon during rush hours (morning and evenings) because passengers will be having limited options to refuse the unfair treatment.

As if that is not enough, there will be loud music banging in these vehicles, with dysfunctional windows and doors that are a struggle to open. It does not help the passengers that the government recently increased bus fares by 20% effective 1st April 2018. While the development is a good one for the transport business, customers affected by the circumstances feel the pinch. The last time the fares were reviewed was in 2012 and according to Department of Roads, Transport and Safety (DRTS), the adjustment was meant to cater for the high cost and maintenance of the transport industry. Asked about the unpleasing state of public transport locally despite the latest review of bus fares, Acting Director of DRTS Godwin Tlhogo said that they always do inspections every six months to check if all public transport vehicles are roadworthy. He added that there is an inspectorate division that physically checks all passenger transport. He said there are laws and regulations that govern public transport.

Tlhogo said there have been instances when some kombis or even taxis were removed from the road during enforcement operations while others were fined depending on the nature of offences committed. Another DRTS official who preferred anonymity said sometimes drivers try to cheat the system and always borrow/use new car parts during the DRTS inspection and return them to the owners once the process is complete. This explains the many un-roadworthy cars in the market. The official advised that even though drivers are often the targets of blame, the customer also has a part to play. He advised that all should find ways of building a healthy relationship. Meanwhile public transport owners argue that their vehicles are not in a healthy state because passengers themselves vandalise the vehicles. They argued that most customers want to tag their heavy luggage along and they are forced to assist them or run at a loss. Some of these luggages cause the tears found on the car seats and it is expensive to replace on a daily basis.

They argue that most passengers drink and eat inside public transport vehicles, spill and leave the cars dirty. “We try to keep our cars clean everyday, if you go around you will find men busy at work washing their cars because we know that our Professional Driving Permits (PRDP ‘P’) can be revoked if we are careless,” said Jeremiah Lesung who operates on the Mmopane route. Lesung argued that students often make funny markings on the back of the seats and sometimes mess the seats with ink. Responding to the issue of loud music being played in their cars, Setlhare Kobo of Gabane-Game City said customers should be free to openly tell the driver to reduce his radio volume if it is too loud. He said normally it is the younger drivers that get carried away by loud music.

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Botswana urged to sign Maputo

Keletso Thobega



Botswana is one of the five countries that have been advised to sign the Maputo Protocol. Botswana, Egypt and Morocco are the only three African countries that have not signed this Protocol. Adopted in 2003 and implemented in 2005, the Maputo Protocol is a ground-breaking protocol on women and girls’ human rights, both within Africa and beyond.

It compensates for the shortcomings in the 1981 African Charter with respect to women and girls rights. It includes 32 articles on women and girls’ rights, and also provides an explicit definition of discrimination against women, which was missing in the African Charter.

The Maputo Protocol defines discrimination as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction or any differential treatment based on sex and whose objectives or effects compromise or destroy the recognition, enjoyment or the exercise by women, regardless of their marital status, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all spheres of life.”

The State of African Women Report 2018 stipulates that more still needs to be done to implement laws and commitments to the rights of women and girls in African societies. While there has been significant improvements in addressing issues affecting women and girls over the years, the report notes that commitment to girls and women’s right is still lagging behind.

The report highlights that:
“Three in five countries in Africa do not criminalise rape, young women aged 15-24 in sub-Saharan Africa are 2.5 times more likely to be infected by HIV in comparison to men in the same age group, more than half of maternal deaths worldwide occur in sub-Saharan Africa and that gender based violence and sexual assault still affects women more”.

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Mama Rampa, the Good

Yvonne Mooka



NOBLE CALLING: Martha Rampa on a mission to rescue the underprivileged

Martha Rampa, project manager at AAP Home Based Care and Family Life Programme quit her nursing job over ten years ago to attend to the needs of orphans, poor and sick.

AAP has 3119 orphans and underprivileged children from South East, Kweneng, Kanye and Kgalagadi districts. The Non-Governmental Organisation aims at supporting, providing food, clothing, shelter, education, nursing care, counselling and supporting destitute, terminally ill patients and orphaned children.

According to Rampa, the thrust of the practice is the link between the patient and the clinical management services. “It is a person-centred approach, which ensures that patients receive the appropriate service in a supportive and effective manner. Destitute and orphaned children have over time become integral part AAP programmes,” she said.

Last Saturday, she organised an appreciation dinner for donors. It was a colourful event where beneficiaries had also come to testify about the way their lives have changed since they were enrolled.

One of the young girls said that she had given up on life as she was from a poor family. The under 15 girl said that through AAP, she managed to continue and is exceling at school. A young man under 20 said that he was moved from a settlement where he could not focus on his studies because of his family background.

AAP put him through a different school that has boarding. “At AAP, we call her mama Rampa. She is our mother and we are so blessed to have her,” he said at the event in Gaborone.

The primary aim of AAP is to rehabilitate and develop children in difficult circumstances such as orphaned children, street children, economically poor and socially oppressed children and work for the eradication of child labour and child exploitation.

Rampa said the vision is to help and give many more children a real and loving home which helps them to live and grow up to be free, healthy and independent individuals; to influence behavioural change of individuals, especially those in the realm of sex and family life and to introduce a change that will bring a transformation, which alleviates the impact of HIV/Aids infection and stops the spread of the virus within the community.

She said there were local companies that had committed themselves to giving the children food after every two weeks. Through her gift of counselling, she also assists with providing emotional and spiritual support including counselling to orphans, destitute, terminally ill and the poor. She also prays for them.

She said that since the project started in 2000, the focus was on the care of HIV/AIDS patients. Volunteers were trained to take care of terminally ill patients in their homes. “Due to lack of funds in supporting the volunteers, for three years only 45 were full time serving in the project with great results.

“A networking relationship was established with Ministry of Health/AIDS department and Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs as well as other NGOs like BOCAIP, Clinics around Gaborone and Church leaders. We effectively communicated our mission to our leaders like Counsellors, Members of Parliament and diKgosi in the areas where we are operating,” she said.

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