Migrant workers fingered in the spread of HIV

The audio is in isiZulu. See the English summary below.

MABUTHO: Ukutholakala kwezimayini zeGolide eGoli eminyakeni eminingi edlulile kuholele ekuthenini iningi labantu besilisa lishiye imindeni yabo liyosebenza ezimayini. Iningi lalabantu livela emaphandleni kanye nasemazweni angomakhelwane kuleli kubalwa iMozambique, Lesotho kanye ne Malawi. Nakuba sekunesikhathi izimayini zikhona kuleli futhi zingasaqashi kakhulu njengakuqala kodwa abantu abaningi basaqhubeka nokushiya  imindeni yabo bayosebenza eGoli, eThekwini, Cape Town kanye nakwamanye amadolobha amakhulu akuleli. Ekusebenzeni kwabo kude namakhaya kuyavela ukuthi abanye bagcina sebethole abantu besifazane abazobachithisa isizingu ngenxa yokuthi abahlali namakhosikazi abo. Njengoba liqhubeka nokudla lubi ezindaweni eziningi zasemakhaya amakhosikazi abo kanye nemindeni yabo ukuba babasole ngokubathelela ngegciwane. Indawo yaseHumulani ePhalaborwa esifundazweni saseLimpopo ingenye yezindawo ezikhahlanyezwe igciwane le HIV nokusolwa kakhulu bona laba besilisa abasebenza kude namakhaya. Ngokuka Gift Nkwinika osebenza njenge community caregiver kulendawo ngaphansi kwebandla lama Roma,  abantu abaningi ababona beguliswa igciwane le HIV kulendawo ngabantu besifazane. Uthi ubona ukuthi ngenxa yokuthi iningi labakhwenyana babo lisebenza eGoli futhi banamanye amakhosikazi khona kungenzeka ukuthi balithola kubona igciwane.

GIFT NKWINIKA:   Their husbands ‘€¦are working in Johannesburg. So they are alone there and they get some other women there. When they come here, because ‘€¦ the wife from Johannesburg is having it (HIV)’€¦they are going to give (it to) this one.  

MABUTHO: Akuyona nje indawo yaseHumulani, ePhalaborwa enalenkinga yokubhebhetheka kwegciwane le HIV. Indawo yaseNgwavuma enyakatho nesifundazwe saKwaZulu-Natal nakuba ingenazo izibalo ezibhalwe phansi kodwa ingenye yezindawo ezikhahlanyezwe kakhulu igciwane le HIV. Lokhu kubonakala ngokwanda kwezingane eziyizintandane kanye nokwanda kwesibalo sabantu abagulayo nabashonayo. Ngokuka Vidla Dlamini osebenza njengomqondisi ngaphansi kweNgwavuma Orphan Care into ebe nomthelela ekubhebhethekeni kwegciwane le HIV kulendawo ukuthi abaMnumzane bendawo bebesebenza kude namakhaya abo.

VIDLA DLAMINI: Abantu abaningi bakulendawo abantu ebebesebenza ezimayini eminyakeni eyadlula. Ngingasho ukuthi igciwane laqhamuka kanjalo. Abaningi abantu bebesebenza kude bengahlali emakhaya. Abanye abaMnumzane bethu, uyazi ezindaweni zasemakhaya uMnumzane uba nesithembu, amakhosikazi amabili, amathathu. Lokho kusho ukuthi uma uMnumzane engekho eshiya amakhosikazi ehamba ebuya emsebenzini – uma ebuya lapho uma kungukuthi usenalo igciwane uzothelela wonke amakhosikazi.

MABUTHO: UMfundisi uBhekumuzi Mpotshana wakhona endaweni yaseNgwavuma naye uyavuma ukuthi lenkinga yokusebenza kwabantu kude namakhaya inomthelela ekubhebhethekeni kwegciwane.

MFU.BHEKUMUZI MPONTSHANA: Lezozinkinga ziyadala ukuthi uma ubaba wekhaya ebuya le ko Johannesburg abuye ahlangane nomndeni wakhe bese kuba nomthelela kakhulu ke walesisifo ngoba lowomndeni lowo usuyobhubha wonke uphele kugcine kulowomndeni sekusele abantwana kuphela.

MABUTHO: Khonamanjalo uDr Clive Evian wenhlangano iAIDS Management and Support ecwaninga ngemiphumela yegciwane le HIV ezindaweni zokusebenzela ikakhulukazi ezimayini uthi nakuba abantu abasebenza kude namakhaya benawo umthelela ekubhebhethekeni kwegciwane kodwa akumele kube ngukuthi sekugxekwa bona kuphela.

DR CLIVE EVIAN: I don’€™t think that migrant workers are contributing to this spread of HIV. I think most people are contributing to it, all different kinds of people are. But migrant workers are at a very serious social disadvantage. And it’€™s not because of them, but it is because of the circumstances in which they are.

MABUTHO: Iningi labasebenzi abasebenza kude namakhaya ikakhulukazi labo abasebenza ezimayini kanye nalabo abenza imisebenzi engaholeli kangako bahlala emahostela ahlala abantu bobulili obudwa. Ngenxa yokuthi amakhosikazi abo akude kubona bagcina sebenza izinto ezibenza ukuthi bathole igciwane. Simbuza ukuthi ukuba ubengaba ungqongqoshe wezindaba zabasebenzi ubengasilungisa kanjani lesisimo oka Evian uthi ubezolufakela izibuko udaba lwabantu abasebenza kude namakhaya aphinde aphoqelele izinkampani ukuthi zibeke phambili izinhlelo zokuvikela nokuthiba igciwane le HIV.

DR CLIVE: I would expect companies to prioritise HIV as high as they do safety and with the same controls and the same expectations around safety programs.

MABUTHO: Khonamanjalo oyisikhulu esiphezulu emnyangweni wezempilo kwizinhlelo zegciwane le HIV uDr Nomonde Xundu uthi nakuba ukusebenza kude nekhaya kunawo umthelela ekubhebhethekeni kwegciwane ukuyingozi kakhulu ukuthi la eAfrica, ikakhulukazi eNingizimu Africa, abanye besilisa abantu banamakhosikazi amaningi. Uthi yilokhu okwenza ukuthi igciwane libhebhetheke kakhulu kunakwamanye amazwe afana nase Europe kanye naseMelika.

DR NOMONDE XUNDU: The people will often ask: ‘€˜Why is it that it is in Africa where heterosexual transmission is such a problem, because there is no evidence to show that African men are more promiscuous than European men or American men?’€™ African men would have long-term relationship. But they go out, get HIV from outside, and bring it into the network. That is how HIV is spreading here.

MABUTHO: Ngokombiko wophiko lwenhlangano ebhekele ezabasebenzi ngaphansi kwe United Nations, iInternational Labour Organisation (ILO) lenkinga yegciwane le HIV kanye nabasebenzi abasebenza kude namakhaya, inkinga ikhungethe amazwe amaningi emhlabeni. Lombiko walenhlangano uthi abasebenzi abasebenza kude namakhaya lapho kunamakhosikazi abo bazithola benomzwangedwa nokugcina sekuholele ekuthenini bathathe izinqumo ezibenza babe sengozini yokuthola igciwane le HIV.

See the English summary below.

Migrant workers fingered in the spread of HIV

The spread of HIV/AIDS in rural areas has seen some people blaming migrant workers as being largely responsible for the spread of the pandemic.

It all started with the discovery of gold in the late half of the 19th century in Johannesburg ‘€“ which saw multitudes of men leaving their wives in rural areas to work in the mines, with some coming from as far as Mozambique, Lesotho and Malawi.

Today mines are no longer the biggest employers as they used to be in the past, but there are still men who leave their wives in rural areas to work in the big cities such as Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town and others. Because they live far away from their wives, they end up having sexual partners in the cities where they work. As HIV/AIDS continues ravaging many rural communities in South Africa, some are putting the blame on migrant workers.

Humulani, in Phalaborwa, in Limpopo, is one of the rural areas in South Africa that have been hard hit by the pandemic. According to Gift Nkwinika, who is working as a community caregiver in the area under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church, it is likely that most women in the area get the virus from their husbands ‘€“ the majority of whom work in Johannesburg.

‘€œTheir husbands ‘€¦are working in Johannesburg. So they are alone there and they get some other women there. When they come here, because ‘€¦ the wife from Johannesburg is having it (HIV)’€¦they are going to give (it to) this one, ‘€œsaid Nkwinika.  

In Ngwavuma, northern KwaZulu-Natal, near the border with Swaziland, migrant workers are also blamed for fueling the spread of the pandemic in the area. Vidla Dlamini, who is working as the Coodinator of Ngwavuma Orphan Care, believes that polygamy and the migrant labour system contributed to the spread of the virus in the area.

‘€œMost people in this area were working in the mines many years ago. I am not saying they are the only ones who solely contributed to the spread of the virus in the area, but they contributed to the spread of the virus because most men in this area were practicing polygamy. That means if a man goes to work leaving his wives behind, when he comes back with the virus he would infect all of them,’€ Dlamini.

Bhekumuzi Mpotshana, a local lay preacher, agrees that the migrant labour system has contributed to the spread of the virus in the area.

‘€œThat kind of a situation, whereby a man works in Johannesburg has a serious impact on the spread of the virus to his family because he will infect all the wives and leave children suffering,’€ Mpontshana said.

Meanwhile, Dr Clive Evian of the AIDS Management and Support, an HIV/AIDS consulting firm, says although migrant workers do contribute to the spread of the virus, it is unfair to put the blame solely on them.

‘€œI don’€™t think that migrant workers are contributing to this spread of HIV. I think most people are contributing to it. All different kinds of people are. But migrant workers are at a very serious social disadvantage. And it’€™s not because of them, but it is because of the circumstances in which they are,’€ Dr Evian said.

Most migrant workers, particularly, those who are doing low paid jobs tend to stay in men’€™s hostels. Moreover, because their wives are far away from them they end up doing things that put them at risk of contracting the virus.

Meanwhile, the Chief Director of HIV/AIDS in the Department of Health, Dr Nomonde Xundu, says although the migrant labour system does contribute to the spread of the virus, she says polygamy, a common practice in most African countries, worsens the situation.

‘€œThe people will often ask: ‘€˜Why is it that it is in Africa where heterosexual transmission is such a problem, because there is no evidence to show that African men are more promiscuous than European men or American men?’€™ African men would have long-term relationships. But they go out, get HIV from outside, and bring it into the network. That is how HIV is spreading here,’€ she said.

According to the United Nations’€™ agency, International Labour Organisation (ILO), the migrant labour system is a cause for concern in many countries because migrant workers, in the absence of their wives, find themselves taking decisions that put them at risk of contracting the virus.

 

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