Category Archives: Politics

Government to establish association of industrial parks

Government is pulling out all the stops to establish an association of industrial parks that will deliver world class regional centres, says the Department of Trade and Industry (dti).

Speaking at the opening of the two-day symposium on state-owned industrial parks on Wednesday, the department's Director General Lionel October said government is working hard to deploy resources to ensure that world-class industrial parks that will become beehives of economic activity and centres of excellence are established.

By gathering all valuable thought-leaders for this symposium we aim to ensure that we secure a collective guideline and endorsement from all stakeholders on how we can best take the development of state-owned industrial parks forward.

We are also looking at moving to a stage where we can institutionalise these national assets to attain best results economically and for the development of communities in which they are located, said Director General October.

He told those attending the two-day symposium in Midrand that there is a need to consolidate resources for the management of state�owned industrial parks (SOIPs).

Once consolidation has been achieved, we would then need to make operational budgets available and market these parks both locally and internationally to potential investors so as to attract good investments in the parks. By finalising the institutionalisation process and putting the right governance in place, the SOIPs will enable us to implement the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP).

Steering Committee

The first day was concluded with a resolution to establish a steering committee that will guide the planning process for the establishment of the association.

It is envisaged that the role of the association will be to support the strategic planning of the SOIPs whilst also enhancing the business experience for firms in the SOIPs.

The association will also provide effective communication networks for the parks and its stakeholders and assist in the internationalisation of local products and services.

Development

The symposium is in its second year running and it is intended to serve as a platform where key stakeholders linked to the administration and management of state-owned industrial parks can deliberate meaningfully about the manner in which development should proceed.

Since the inaugural symposium in 2016, provincial consultations have been held and there is now a concept to establish an Association of Industrial Parks as well as a framework for standard operating procedures.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa leads Cabinet Ministers on tour of ...

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Friday,13 October 2017, lead a government tour to various Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) projects in Thaba Nchu, Free State to highlight the contribution of the Programme in the socio-economic development of communities in the Free State. The EPWP site visit is part of the work of the government's Public Employment Programme Inter-Ministerial Committee (PEP-IMC), which the Deputy President leads.

Deputy President Ramaphosa will be accompanied by various Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers, the Premier of the Free State and his Cabinet as well as various senior government leaders.

Media is invited to attend and cover the event as follows:

1. Visit to EPWP Thaba Nchu Bus Route Project

Venue: Thaba Nchu (Selosetsha)

Date: 13 October 2017

Time: 10h20

2. Visit to EPWP Thaba Nchu Ratlou Complex Renovation and Upgrade

Venue: Thaba Nchu (Ratlou Complex)

Date: 13 October 2017

Time: 11h20

3. Round-table discussion with EPWP Participants

Venue: Thaba Nchu, Methodist Church

Date: 13 October 2017

Time: 125

Brief background about PEP-IMC

PEP-IMC is a government structure aimed at achieving better synergy between the EPWP and the other poverty alleviation, employment, enterprise development and skills development initiatives. The Committee also ensures that the government scales up its Public Work Programmes to achieve the 6 million work opportunity target by 2019, as mandated by the President of the Republic of South Africa, honourable Jacob Zuma.

The Committee, which is chaired by Deputy President Ramaphosa, is composed by Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Director-Generals who are responsible for the implementation of the Public Employment Programme (PEP). In South Africa, PEPs are implemented under the auspices of EPWP which is aimed at creating short to medium term work opportunities for poor and unemployed South Africans.

Source: Government of South Africa

Medical doctor arrested for raping a 17-year-old patient

The Police in Ritavi outside Tzaneen have arrested a 52-year-old man who is a medical doctor for raping a 17-year-old girl who was his patient.

It is alleged that on the 2017-10-09 at about 16:00, the 17-year-old girl went to the suspect's surgery in Nkoankoa Township for consultation. On arrival, she was called in the consultation room and the suspect started examining her and during that process, the suspect then raped her.

The matter was later reported to the Police who reacted swiftly and started with their preliminary investigations until the suspect was later arrested. The suspect will appear before the Nkoankoa Magistrates' Court on Thursday the 2017-10-12 on a charge of rape.

Police Investigations still continues.

Source: South African Police Service

Five suspects arrested by Nemato Detectives

Nemato detectives conducted a day to day contact crime operation led by the Detective Commander. Five suspects were arrested.

A 34-year-old male was arrested for the breach of a protection order. Four suspects aged 18, 19, 24 and 28 were arrested in separate unrelated cases for serious assault. The incidents took place during October 2017. All suspects will appear in the Port Alfred Magistrates' Court later this week.

Source: South African Police Service

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

UJ commended for acting in alleged fraud case

Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande has welcomed the swift action taken by the University of Johannesburg (UJ) over alleged fraud by two senior council members.

Two weeks ago, the university informed the Minister of the outcome of an independent forensic investigation probing allegations of fraud by the institution's Chair of Council and an executive finance manager within the university's commercial domain.

The council considered a two-month investigation conducted by auditing firm, Sizwe Ntsaluba Godobo, which concluded that there was a prima facie case that the actions of the Chair of Council, Professor Roy Marcus, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Finance, Jaco van Schoor, contravened legal provisions and ethical obligations, including those contained in the university's statute.

The council is currently putting in place a civil case to recover all the money allegedly siphoned from the university and is also considering instituting criminal charges against the two.

Minister Nzimande commended the university council for demonstrating exemplary leadership and the swift manner in which they dealt with this matter.

Without pre-judging this matter, it is good for UJ and the entire higher education system that the university has resolved to take all necessary steps to recover any financial losses that it may have suffered.

We are also glad to learn that UJ will be instructing its lawyers to investigate whether there is also a basis for laying criminal charges against any of those implicated in the case. This should send a strong message to other public institutions of our zero tolerance to any form of corruption, and that we will deal ferociously with the perpetrators, especially those entrusted with public money, Minister Nzimande said.

The Minister also wished UJ's newly-appointed council Chairperson, Mike Teke, well. Teke wrote to Minister Nzimande last week Thursday, as required by the Higher Education Act, advising the Minister of the outcome of the forensic investigation into the matter.

He also informed the Minister that Professor Marcus had resigned from the UJ Council and that the university was immediately instituting disciplinary action against the Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

In the interest of maintaining stability to the university, I have since ordered my department to immediately initiate the process of appointing a new ministerial appointee to UJ council to replace Professor Marcus, Minister Nzimande said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Deputy Minister Enver Surty addresses ICT in the Classroom ...

Deputy Minister Enver Surty to deliver opening address at the SchoolNet South Africa - ICT in the classroom conference

Deputy Minister of Basic Education Mr Enver Surty will deliver an opening address at the SchoolNet South Africa - ICT in the Classroom Conference taking place from today 5 - 7 October 2017 at Brescia House School in Bryanston, Gauteng.

At least 500 teachers from all provinces are expected to attend this conference which has been organised by SchoolNet on a bi-annual basis in a number of provinces and which always aims to provide insight into the effective use of technologies in learning.

The NDP also advocates for the use of technology to mitigate educational challenges such as access to educational textbooks and reading material.

The Department and its partners believe that when ICT is successfully integrated into subject-teaching and learning, it can ensure the meaningful interaction of learners with information. ICTs have an ability to advance high order thinking skills such as comprehension, reasoning, problem-solving and creative thinking.

Source: Government of South Africa

Government strengthening oversight on SOCs

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown says processes are underway to strengthen her oversight role as a shareholder of State-owned companies (SOCs) to improve governance.

The Minister was speaking ahead of the presentation of the department's annual report at the Old Assembly Chamber in Parliament on Wednesday.

She said the department's challenge is to inculcate the principles of good governance practised within the department across SOCs. The Minister said events that have unfolded over the past year have demonstrated the need for a departmental structure that is agile, swift to respond to challenges at SOCs and capable of ensuring compliance.

The department should, in this financial year, complete a realignment process to significantly strengthen the tools at its disposal to exercise its oversight responsibilities.

Lessons learned over the past year will also profoundly impact the terms contained in the shareholder compacts signed by the shareholder and SOCs in the future.

The 2016 Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) differs from the 2014 version and it gives me, as shareholder, additional powers to act decisively to ensure the assets of the 54 million South Africans are looked after. The major change here is that the Minister has now been assigned the power to act against a Chief Executive Officer of a State-owned company should the need arise.

The Minister said the principles of the new shareholder policy to improve the performance of SOCs and sharpen government's role as shareholder were approved by Cabinet in the last financial year.

Minister Brown said in instances that company employees conspire among themselves to commit wrongful acts, the Shareholder relies on the company's executive and board to spot the infraction and take the requisite action.

Minister sheds light on Eskom

The Minister believes that structures can be put in place to avoid a repetition of the ease with which Eskom appears to have been able to lie to its shareholder in respect of its dealings with McKinsey and Trillian.

I want to be very clear about this: I regard Eskom's lies when asked to provide information to a Parliamentary question as an assault on our democratic system of governance. The opposition was entitled to ask the question and to receive a truthful response. Had a truthful response been forthcoming, and the facts of the relationship been exposed last December, appropriate action would have been taken to investigate by now, she said.

The Minister said she has since asked Eskom why the response provided to her in December differed from its recent responses on the McKinsey-Trillian matter.

Last night, I received a report from the board. I will read through it and ask the department's Legal & Governance unit for its considered recommendations.

The Minister's remarks come after Eskom board interim chairperson Zethemba Khoza announced the suspension of four senior executive members due to their alleged involvement in the McKinsey-Trillian relationship.

After the interim board was appointed in June, the Minister � as a shareholder - immediately instructed it to initiate investigations into allegations of irregular conduct and to also take disciplinary action against members of the executive, if warranted.

This instruction accords with the shareholder's responsibilities in instances where boards fail to act appropriately on such allegations.

Should boards fail to heed these directions, the shareholder has the right to intervene, she said.

The Minister said, meanwhile, that Eskom had come a long way compared to a position it was in in 2014.

We had continuous load shedding, the company was spending open R1 billion per month on open cycle gas turbines and its financial position precarious. This happened while the economy was bleeding.

Today, I can say that Eskom is on the path of a stable balance sheet.

Department obtains clean audit

Ahead of the presentation of the department's annual report, the Minister announced that State-owned entities needed to emulate the performance of the department.

Salient features include a clean audit report from the Auditor-General, and the fact that the department spent almost 95% of its budget, achieving 18 of 22 set targets.

Taking a step back, it is important to note that in my first year as Minister, the department had a qualified audit, followed by an unqualified audit and now the clean audit. This needs to be emulated at all SOCs in my portfolio, she said.

Source: South African Government News Agency