Recent Blogs:

Police cause break-in nightmare

During the level 5 lockdown, the country was told that the addition of the army would help the police in enforcing law and order. In addition, we were also told that crime had reduced drastically in the country due to the lockdown. In reality, however, businesses throughout the country were vandalised and hundreds of thousands of Rands worth of goods taken. Outreach Foundation was, unfortunately, part of those statistics, though up to now, an unregistered one.

While some police officers in South Africa are overzealous in carrying out their duties, others certainly are not.

We had two break-ins on our premises during stage 5 of the lockdown. A few thousand Rands worth of equipment was taken not to mention the damage done to the areas involved.

Our dealings with the local police station on these break-ins have, sadly, not been good. When we had the first burglary, our call to 10111 was taken quickly, but we waited in vein for the police to come to the premises. After two days, we called 10111 again. The call centre operator asked us if this was the first time we were calling, clearly showing disbelief and that nothing was documented the call centre’s side.

One of our programme managers decided not to wait any longer and drove directly to the Hillbrow police station only to ‘hit his head against a wall’ again as the Hillbrow SAPS refused to open a case. He was told to go back to the crime scene and call 10111. He was further told that the call centre would then send a police vehicle to the premises. Third time lucky as this time, a police vehicle was finally sent. By now, however, days had already passed.

The police officers checked out the scene and although displaying empathy and sadness for our loss as they looked at the broken windows, drops of blood and other damage, said they couldn’t open a case.

A week later, we had another break-in. We called 10111 again, and this time, the police arrived twenty minutes later. However, in this instance we were now told to go to our local police station (Hillbrow SAPS) to open a case as they were too busy to attend to this break-in or open a case. We were perplexed at this and very frustrated.

Off our programme manager went again. This time, although at the same police station where we were told we could not open a case before, we now managed to open a case. After doing so, we were referred to a detective. We explained our experiences over the past two weeks with the police regarding the break-ins and what we were told, and he openly admitted that what we had experienced was a classic case of police incompetency.

He said that the police should’ve been there that same morning of the break-in while the evidence was fresh and at the last resort, the police that arrived at the scene of the first break-in should have opened a case right then and there. They also should have called forensics to dust for fingerprints and gather other evidence. This would be essential in not only finding the perpetrators but also when prosecuting the person once captured. The chances of the police capturing the offenders now are very slight because of this incompetency.

Although we have opened two cases, we have little confidence that anything will actually happen given the glaring incompetencies experienced.

We also wonder whether police are emphasising too much on minor infractions of lockdown rules, and ignoring the major issues occurring which has devastating impacts on businesses and people on the long run.

Our hope with this account of our experiences is that others who are told the same things we were are now armed with information that will help them fast-track opening cases in the event of a robbery.

  • If the police haven’t arrived within hours of calling the emergency call centre, follow-up with another call, or more;
  • Once the police have arrived, remember that they should call forensics in. If they haven’t, query that; and
  • The police at the scene should open a case right then and there. If they haven’t or won’t, query that.

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Bill Oxford

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Dealing with anticipated grief in a post lockdown society

Corona Virus (COVID-19) does not discriminate, it can affect anyone.

By Johan Robyn

Johannesburg, Saturday, 4 April 2020 – The impact of the COVID-19 Virus on humanity will be immensely felt in all spheres of society. The most significant impact, in my opinion, will be from a mental health level of how we, as a global society, effectively deal with our grief. Globally the focus now is on the physical lockdown, flattening the infection curve and saving economies, but in post lockdown societies, I estimate that with current high levels in death, the biggest challenge globally is going to be how we as a world and society deal with our anticipated grief mentally.

The way how we deal with our anticipated grief lies in how mentally strong we are as a global and local society.

As a symbol of mourning their death, the Chinese government paid public tribute to the over 3,000 deaths it has experienced. This act also acknowledged the grief experienced by its citizens and the country. Somehow, publicly, this was a step in the right direction in dealing with grief, but what about the individual going home to that empty space once inhabited by a loved one who died?

The death rate at present stands at over 70,000 people globally from this Virus. The percentage, one may think, is not that high compared to the numbers who have contracted the virus, but when one takes into account the mental impact of not mourning and dealing with one’s grief for the more than 70,000 families, one realises what impact this will directly have on an already crippled workforce in struggling economies globally.

In 2014 while visiting Germany, I visited the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen, close to Hermannsburg. The tour guide, through his predictable and prescribed script, mentioned thousands of people being buried in unmarked graves. Still, in his voice, I could hear the uncomfortable sympathy of mourn and grief that was not adequately dealt with. A grief that the Jewish nation regularly visits and still, today, struggles to deal with.

Similarly, behind the museums and the cold stone statues of remembrances in Rwanda, after the 1994 Rwandan genocide where millions of people were brutally killed, lies emotions of grief that has not been dealt with by those left behind. The same can be said of the Tsunami a few years back that killed millions of people, or even the Ebola outbreak. The list can, unfortunately, go on.

So how do we deal with anticipated grief?

Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, in her profound work, Death and dying, gave us a guided journey of grief, with her theory of the five stages of grief, namely denial, anger, depression, bargaining/decision and acceptance. Although her stages of dying are not a strict process leading to acceptance, it can also be seen as an up and down process.

Globally and locally, the world and our communities will be stuck with depression and bargaining during the following period post the COVID-19 Virus.

This will occur firstly as a result of the two-meter social distancing we have had to ensure we create, which has meant that we have lost the emotional touch and presence which is so crucial in dealing with death and secondly, as a result of losing our traditional rituals of mourning. It is these rituals that take us through Kubler-Ross`s stages of death, and ultimately to public acceptance.

In this morning`s news (Saturday, 4 April 2020), it was mentioned that Ecuador has a current death rate of 30 people a day. The local mortuary does not have space for the deceased, and the government has, therefore, had to build death camps, to accommodate 2,500 to 3,000 bodies. This is extremely sad and the families will, I’m sure, battle to come to terms with their loved one’s deaths as a result.

With our inability to effectively deal with anticipated grief, our already torn moral fibre will continue to split into an irreversible stage in our mental weakness.

It is complicated and difficult to predict the number of people who will die as a result of this Virus, but with current infection rates experienced so far, I think it is safe to say the worst is yet to come.  And globally, post lockdown, our biggest challenges will not only be the economic turmoil caused, but how we mentally deal with grief. More than a million people have been infected by the COVID-19 Virus so far, and hundreds of thousands, I’m sure, affected by the deaths caused by it.

Outreach Foundation’s thoughts are with all of our beneficiaries, partners and sponsors. We wish you good health going forward.

Remember: Stay safe, keep your distance and wash your hands regularly.

We can’t wait to see you soon.

For more information on the Corona Virus in South Africa and what the government is doing, go to: https://sacoronavirus.co.za/

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Recent Media Coverage:

Alex News Coverage - Art is alive and kicking in the City of Joburg

JOHANNESBURG – This year’s Arts Alive festival promises to be even much better and empowers residents of Johannesburg City region.1 day ago

MMC Nonhlanhla Sifumba talks to members of the Media. Photo: Phathu Luvhengo

The mayor of the City of Johannesburg, councillor Herman Mashaba believes the Arts Alive International Festival will give residents in the city region hope.

Mashaba spoke at the launch of this year’s festival on Thursday 29 August at the Joburg Theatre and said that when he became the mayor of the City, he focused his first State of the City Address on the ‘forgotten people’. “We cannot have a situation where we forget about our residents,” he said.

“We have to bring them into the mainstream of our economy and I think we are committed to doing that.”

He said the arts is going to save the City of Johannesburg and help build society as everything revolves around arts.

Mashaba added that he had extensively travelled the world and, in any country, he has ever been, he has made sure that he goes to see the arts in that country.

He thanked the MMC for Community Development, councillor Nonhlanhla Sifumba and her team for making the arts part of the mayoral priority which will assist them in driving the economy and build the people.

The City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba says the arts will give residents of Johannesburg hope. Photo: Phathu Luvhengo

Sifumba said the City was showcasing artists and their talent during the Arts Alive Festival. Various activities are planned citywide for the entire September to mark Heritage Month. “This is the 27th Arts Alive and, as the City of Johannesburg, we are proud to be part of it – it’s a month-long programme. If you are not living in the City, please relocate because the spring is here,” she said.

Sifumba said their programme will run for the whole month of September. “Arts Alive is about exploring our culture in the City of Johannesburg. It’s a melting pot of different cultures, so Arts Alive is about celebrating that.”

This year Arts Alive Festival launched with Jazz on the Lake on Sunday, 1 September, kicking off a long and stimulating programme for all residents. The festival is a programme which celebrates Joburg’s diversity through music, dance, theatre, community festivals, educational workshops, and art exhibitions.

The 15th InnerCity High School Drama Festival started on Friday, 30 August and will run until Saturday, 7 September where the best production award will be presented to the top high school by the Outreach Foundation. Forty schools have registered to participate in this film production.

The Gauteng Government will host the Intellectual Property and Music Rights Workshop to assist in avoiding the ills experienced by artists in South Africa at Eyethu Lifestyle Centre in Mofolo, Soweto on 16 September.

Among other activities include the inter-continental dance championships to be attended by 15 countries at the Walter Sisulu Hall in Randburg from 26 to 29 September. The dance championship is hosted by the Dance Supreme. The Beat Makers will host a workshop on 21 September to inspire children using music in Region C.

From 13 to 15 September, FNB Art Joburg will host an exhibition with a strong lifestyle component of the fair, encouraging visitors to interact with South African and African creative networks at Sandton Convention Centre.

Details: City of Johannesburg www.arts-alive.co.za; 011 407 6024.

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