Daily Archives: June 4, 2017

Government welcomes S&P credit rating

Pretoria � The South African government has welcomed Standard and Poor's decision of maintaining South Africa's long-term local currency debt ratings of 'BBB-', an investment grade rating.

The affirmation of the long-term foreign currency rating of 'BB+' and the negative outlook on the ratings are also noted.

While government agrees with S&P that the pace of economic growth is slow and as such, poses risks to fiscal consolidation and rising contingent liabilities, the fiscal policy stance continues to be guided by chapter 13 of the Constitution.

It states that while there is promotion of efforts aimed at economic development, good governance, social progress and rising standard of living for all South Africans, there must also be transparency, accountability and sound financial controls in the management of public finances, National Treasury said on Friday.

It said the key focus now is to safeguard confidence and reclaim the investment grade ratings.

Intensive engagements with broader stakeholders will continue. Sustainable fiscal policy and efforts to tackle sources of low growth are critical. Improvement in policy design, finalisation of key policies and coordination remain critical for boosting confidence and economic growth.

Government is currently re-engaging the private sector to make sure that the joint work of government, business, labour and civil society continues and that the pledges made thus far are fulfilled.

According to Treasury, work to improve governance and financial challenges in State-owned companies (SOCs) is also on track.

In November 2016, Cabinet endorsed a private sector participation framework to guide collaboration between SOCs and the private sector on infrastructure projects. It also adopted a guideline for the remuneration and incentive standards for directors of SOCs.

Cabinet approved the broad thrust of a guide for the appointment of boards and executive officers, while recommending further consultation on the first draft of a new government shareholder policy, which will culminate in overarching legislation for SOCs. At the same time, Cabinet noted the proposal to determine and cost the developmental mandates of SOCs.

Government is committed to work with its social partners in improving business and consumer confidence. The National Development Plan continues to be the anchor policy of government, providing greater policy certainty.

The Constitution remains explicit in realising the fundamental rights of all who live in South Africa and that public funds are spent for a common good, Treasury said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

2 Lions, Freed from Circuses, Are Poached in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG � In 2016, 33 lions freed from circuses in Peru and Colombia were transported to South Africa to live out their days in a wildlife refuge. Last week, poachers broke into the sanctuary, killing two of the big cats.

The killing of the male lions named Jose and Liso occurred at the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary, which had portrayed the lion airlift as a compassionate gesture that alleviated the suffering of animals held in cages and subjected to beatings and other mistreatment. The incursion highlighted how brazen poachers can infiltrate places like Emoya, which said it has 24-hour security and armed patrols and has taken additional measures to protect its property in Vaalwater, in northern South Africa.

Forensic experts have visited the sanctuary, which is currently closed to visitors and volunteers.

South African police and anti-poaching units are investigating, said Animal Defenders International, a group that worked on the lion transfer from South America. The group said it is considering the offer of a reward for information leading to conviction, and that the other lions might even be evacuated pending security upgrades.

No details about the possible motive for the lion killings were provided.

In January, poachers cut through fences at another animal park in South Africa and decapitated and chopped the paws off three male lions, possibly for use in traditional healing rituals.

While lion parts have long been used in some African cultures, conservationists have raised concerns that poachers are increasingly targeting lions because of demand in some Asian countries. African lion bones are a relatively recent substitute in tonics for the bones of Asian tigers, whose numbers were depleted by poachers. Lion teeth and claws are known to have value as trinkets.

The transfer of the lions to Emoya had no conservationist value because the animals, which were in poor condition, had been held in captivity and could not live in the wild. The former circus lions are provided with game meat and water in large enclosures.

Rapunzel, one of the 33 lions, died of a botulism toxin at Emoya in June 2016, a little over a month after the airlift from South America, according to the sanctuary's website.

"Animals are normally resistant to this kind of bacterial toxin but rescue lions that have suffered a lifetime of malnutrition and abuse can sadly remain vulnerable to diseases despite rehabilitation efforts," the sanctuary said.

Animal Defenders International said one of the two elderly lions killed last week had suffered brain damage from head blows in the circus.

Source: Voice of America

MEC Albert Fritz addresses Young Women’s breakfast as part of ...

Youth Month � Young Women's Breakfast to be addressed by Minister Fritz

Tomorrow, to mark the beginning of Youth Month commemorations, the Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Albert Fritz will address the Ward 43 & 78 Young Women's Breakfast in Mitchells Plain.

The Minister will be joined by Minister for Community Safety, Dan Plato, and City of Cape Town MAYCO members, Councillors JP Smith and Eddie Andrews, and Ward 43 Councillor, Elton Jansen.

The breakfast will celebrate women who have achieved milestones or overcome great odds in their respective areas of interest or industries.

Source: Government of South Africa