Daily Archives: October 8, 2017

Water Research Commission projects lauded

The Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation says it is impressed by the research projects that have been undertaken by the Water Research Commission (WRC).

The research projects are aimed at providing innovative interventions to the challenges within the water sector in the country.

The committee says the 33 manuals and guidelines produced by the WRC must play a critical role in ensuring sustainable invention of solutions to challenges faced by the sector.

The committee is impressed by the work the WRC continues to do and more so by the diligence management has shown in relations to the spending of resources. An unqualified audit opinion is always a welcomed occurrence, and the speed with which the entity has implemented corrective measures to deal and recover fruitless and wasteful expenditure must serve as an example for other state entities, said Chairperson of the Committee, Mlungisi Johnson.

Despite this, the committee is concerned that the innovations do not translate into large scale interventions that impacts the lives of the people.

The committee said programmes such as the handbook for management of school sanitation, the new protocol to monitor ecological reserve, protocol on enhanced food production and many others are essential innovations that must be replicated and rolled out on a larger scale to address many water sector challenges.

These research projects have a potential of alleviating social-economic challenges that the country is facing, said Johnson.

The Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency was lauded by the committee for its unqualified audit opinion despite the capacity constraints within the Supply Chain Management section.

However, the committee has urged the agency to strengthen this unit as it plays a central role in ensuring adherence to governance procedures within the entity.

The committee also lauded the agency for the support given to Resource Poor Farmers in relations to technical assistance on water use, as well as application for government subsidies.

It also welcomed the activation of first financial provisions made under the National Water Act that will ensure the establishment of a fund to address water related impacts associated with mines when they are liquidated or are bankrupt, as well as the collaboration with the South African Police Service to address environmental crimes within the water management area especially illegal sand mining.

Despite the good work done by both the Catchment Management Agencies the Committee is concerned by the late transfer of grants to the agencies by the Department of Water and Sanitation.

Meanwhile, the Committee welcomes the great work that the board and senior management of the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority continue to do in financing and implementing bulk raw water infrastructure in the country.

While the committee is cognisant of the pressures presented by South Africa's credit downgrade it is impressed that the entity continues to finance and implement projects within an acceptable risk framework and the most cost effective way.

Source: South African Government News Agency

South Africa Revives Ground Breaking Apartheid-Era Musical

JOHANNESBURG The rise and fall of flamboyant, ferocious Ezekiel Dlamini, a black South African boxer known as "King Kong" who was jailed for murder, inspired a 1959 musical whose black cast performed for multi-racial audiences, testing the apartheid system of that era. Now the musical that helped to propel the careers of singer Miriam Makeba and trumpeter Hugh Masekela is back on the stage in South Africa.

"King Kong: Legend of a Boxer" highlights the jazz infused with indigenous influences that flourished in some black urban areas, particularly Johannesburg's Sophiatown, in racially segregated South Africa in the 1950s, as well as the underworld of gangsters and bars known as shebeens accompanying the creative ferment. The backdrop, while not explicitly addressed in the play, is the white minority rule that systematically marginalized the country's black majority.

The show, which ends a run at the Joburg Theatre on Sunday and returns to The Fugard Theatre in Cape Town on Dec. 12, is a cautionary tale. In 1957, Dlamini fatally stabbed girlfriend Maria Miya, an act that resonates in a country whose high rate of violent crime counts many women among its victims.

One theme in the musical is "the importance of understanding and owning your power but also taking responsibility for it," said Nondumiso Tembe, a Los Angeles-based South African actor playing the role of Joyce, a host at a bar called Back o' the Moon who becomes romantically entangled with the boxer. Tembe noted that the killing of women "has sort of become an epidemic in our society today."

In a reminder of that scourge, President Jacob Zuma last week condemned the fatal shooting of eight women and girls, reportedly members of the same family, in a village in KwaZulu-Natal province and said curbing violence against women is a priority for his government. Police are investigating whether the killings were the result of a family feud or were linked to political rivalries that periodically turn violent in the region.

Some South African commentary on "King Kong" has recalled Oscar Pistorius, the South African double-amputee athlete who was imprisoned for murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day in 2013.

Dlamini was a gambler and brawler from a rural village who flouted conformity and gained a big following in Johannesburg, becoming South Africa's "non-European" heavyweight champion. (Black and white boxers were not allowed to fight each other in those days.) An old photograph shows him bare-chested, wearing chains that he donned to show his humiliation after losing a fight.

Eventually, he "became involved with local gangsters and succumbed to bouts of drunkenness and with that came an increasingly violent and paranoid lifestyle," the musical's program says. He killed Miya after a quarrel, according to reports. Dlamini asked to be put to death after he was convicted, but was sentenced to 12 years of hard labor. Soon after that, he drowned in a prison reservoir in what was believed to be a suicide.

A 1979 remake of "King Kong" got bad reviews and quickly collapsed.

In this year's version, Dlamini is played by Andile Gumbi, who had the role of Simba in "The Lion King" on Broadway and elsewhere. Briton Jonathan Munby directs.

In the original show in South Africa, Makeba played Joyce, Dlamini's lover, but was soon bound for bigger success in the United States. She died in 2008. Masekela, who was 19 when he performed in "King Kong," said Saturday that he was canceling commitments in the near future because of prostate cancer.

The original show, a huge success in South Africa that also toured Britain, featured composer Todd Matshikiza and a mostly white management and production team. Nelson Mandela, an amateur boxer, attended the opening night of the musical that embodied the potential for multi-racial collaboration at a time when South Africa's racist rule was staunchly enforced.

By skirting the injustices of apartheid, the original "King Kong" production dodged any move by authorities to shut it down. Similarly, the musical could have faced a crackdown if white actors had joined the all-black cast on stage, said Pat Williams, who wrote the original lyrics.

Williams, who lives in Britain, said a big difference between the 1959 and 2017 shows is that the current actors are professionals, while some in the old cast were inexperienced with theater but all too familiar with the grit and hardship of life in apartheid South Africa.

"It was their own lives they were putting on the stage," she told The Associated Press. "The result was electric."

Source: Voice of America

International Relations and Cooperation Minister to represent ...

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane will tomorrow, 09 October 2017, represent President Jacob Zuma at the official opening of the 5th Ordinary Session of the 4th Pan African Parliament at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, Gauteng Province.

The 5th Ordinary Session of the 4th Parliament is held from 06 - 20 October 2017 as delegates from all member States of the African Union deliberate on issues of continental interest.

The Pan African Parliament (PAP) facilitates the participation of all African Union members to fulfil an integrated development trajectory in all the economies of the continent. The PAP has ten (10) Permanent Committees which range from Rural Economy to Gender, Youth and People with Disability. The focus of the 5th Ordinary Session of Parliament will be on "Harnessing the demographic dividend through investments with the youth". There will also be a Women's Conference during the session of the Pan African Parliament.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa

Two suspects arrested for murder in two unrelated cases

On Monday, 09 October 2017, a 21-year-old suspect is expected to appear at the Atamelang Magistrates' Court in connection with murder. The suspect's court appearance came after he was arrested on Friday, 06 October 2017 for the murder of a 30-year-old man. According to information received the two men were seen arguing on their way home. It is alleged that the suspect and the victim were from a local tavern and a fight ensured. The suspect assaulted the victim with stones and he had bruises on his body and blood stains on his mouth and ears. He was taken to a local clinic where he later died.

In another unrelated incident, a 27�year-old is expected to appear in the Ga-Rankua Magistrates' Court for murder of her 27 -year-old husband on Monday, 09 October 2017. According to information the woman and her husband were at the residential place when a fight started. Further information revealed that the couple were fighting over money that the husband left at the house. The wife used the money and the victim got angry when he came back and could not get the money. It is alleged the wife took out a knife and stabbed his husband three times on the stomach. The victim was rushed to a local hospital where he later died.

Source: South African Police Service