Category Archives: Science & Technology

MEC’s Sihle Zikalala and Weziwe Thusi launch road safety ...

Mangosuthu Highway in Umlazi Township, one of the deadliest roads in KwaZulu-Natal, will be the focus of the massive road safety campaign to be launched tomorrow.

This is a culmination of a partnership between various provincial government departments including Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) and the South African Breweries (SAB) who have embarked on the campaign focussing on the promotion of good driver behavior and responsible alcohol consumption. EDTEA MEC, Mr Sihle Zikalala and Social Development MEC, Mrs Weziwe Thusi will lead the launch.

Source: Government of South Africa

Leopard caught and killed by community members of Ndwayana Admin Area ...

Since the month of August 2017 community members from the rural town of Ndwayana Admin Area near Peddie made several reports to the local SAPS members that they had seen a leopard in the area. Several other reports from the community members were also received that the leopard had eaten their goats.

On Sunday 2017-10-08, a report was received that a local member of the community who was out looking for his goats was attacked by the leopard. He stated that he discovered that some of his goats had been attacked. According to the victim, he believes that the leopard had attacked the goats.

The victim had sent his children to fetch a wheelbarrow to load the dead goats. Whilst he was waiting for the children to return, he was attacked by the leopard and his dogs managed to protect him and fought off the leopard. He sustained injuries.

On Friday reports were received that the leopard was found in a cage by the Ndwayana Community and they had killed the leopard.

Source: South African Police Service

Police operations underway to ensure a safer festive season

Pretoria: The South African Police Service officially launched its nationwide campaign for a safer festive season yesterday in Seshego in the Limpopo province.

It is common knowledge that the festive season is a time when most people take time off work to relax and spend time with their families. Unfortunately, it is also during this time that opportunistic criminals may prey on unsuspecting victims and accidents on our roads increase alarmingly.

A comprehensive operational plan has been implemented to mitigate the threats of criminality in general and on our roads as well as to prevent other types of accidents such as drownings.

This plan which entails the deployment of highly visible, multi-disciplinary law enforcement teams, will focus on the following critical areas:-

o Combating Aggravated/Armed Robberies (house robberies, business robberies and vehicle hi-jacking);

o Enforcement of Firearm, Liquor and Second Hand Goods and Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act (SASREA);

o Crimes against Women, Children and Vulnerable Persons;

o Enforcement of By-laws, eg Hijacked buildings, unlawful sale of fire crackers;

o Enforcing Road Safety, eg Drunken driving, speeding, driving of unroadworthy vehicles;

o Enhancing Border Security, searching of stolen properties crossing the borders, drugs, human trafficking, tracing of wanted suspects.

To achieve these objectives there are multiple intelligence-driven and high visibility operations at all identified areas, which have already begun. These operations will include regular vehicle and foot patrols, roadblocks, cordon and search operations and the tracing of wanted suspects.

All law abiding citizens can rest assured that before, during and even after the festive season, the members of the SAPS will be out in their numbers upholding their commitment to serve and protect their communities and in doing so, we will continue to adopt a zero-tolerance approach to criminality.

We already have the commitment of various critical stakeholders including the national and provincial road traffic departments and other government departments from the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster. The support of all persons in South Africa cannot be overemphasized, by upholding the law and behaving responsibly, by providing information on crime and reporting all crimes as they happen.

It was through this cohesive approach during the last festive season that significant successes were yielded. More than 700 000 operations were conducted in which 83 479 persons were arrested. These operations also helped to rid our communities of over illegal firearms and ammunition. What was even more encouraging was that we were able to reduce crimes significantly.

We will also ensure that there will be heightened police visibility in areas where large numbers of our communities gather during the holidays such as shopping centres and malls, the beaches and other tourist destinations.

Source: South African Police Service

Conditions Improving at Once-isolated Kenyan Refugee Camp, Residents ...

WASHINGTON � Residents of a Kenyan refugee complex, who said their camps lacked adequate water, shelter, health care and other necessities, say they have seen significant improvements since they aired the grievances three months ago.

VOA first reported on the situation at the three Kalobeyei camps in Kenya's Turkana County in late July. Inhabitants of the camps, many of whom are Ethiopian refugees, said that in addition to poor facilities, the camps were set up in isolated areas far from local markets and were not receiving sufficient attention from the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR.

The UNHCR office in Nairobi denied the allegations.

Shelters, water tanks, schools added

But changes began in early September, Kalobeyei camp residents say. Improvements include better shelters, the installation of three water tanks and the construction of two primary schools.

Galgalo Arero is one of the refugees who witnessed the changes. "Kalobeyei might not be isolated anymore. Changes are real here, for now," he told VOA's Horn of Africa Service.

He ties the changes, in part, to the UNHCR opening an office in Kalobeyei I, one of the three camps. Previously, the closest UNHCR office was in the city of Kisumu.

"This helps the refugees from making more than 20 kilometer trips to follow their [immigration] cases; this is good," he said.

Many NGOs are also coming to the camps, including the World Food Program, according to Jamaal Dima, another Ethiopian refugee.

More changes in the works

Yvonne Ndege, a UNHCR senior communications officer in Nairobi, told VOA that the agency is working to improve education and vocational training at the Kalobeyei camps and is constructing maternity clinics, police stations and residencies.

"Construction of 304 permanent shelters is going on and 100 more shelters may be added before end of the year," she said.

UNHCR's permanent office in Kalobeyei is also nearing completion and will replace a temporary office that operates from the camp, she said.

Kenya hosts more than 500,000 refugees, most them from Somalia, South Sudan, and Ethiopia. The country has two main refugee camps, Dadaab and Kakuma. Kalobeyei was built to relive those two camps.

UNHCR promised residents who moved to the new complex that Kalobeyei would be an "integrated settlement," tied into the town of Kalobeyei. The residents say that with the recent changes, they have hope the complex will serve both residents and the town for years to come.

Source: Voice of America

Russian Prime Minister Strikes Energy Deals in Morocco

MARRAKECH, MOROCCO Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed a string of energy, military and other deals with Morocco during a North Africa tour.

Medvedev met Wednesday with Moroccan Prime Minister Saadeddine El Othmani and presided at a signing ceremony for 11 bilateral agreements.

The agreements cover cooperation in areas such as customs, agriculture, the military and culture, as well as energy efficiency and the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

The disputed Western Sahara region that Morocco annexed in the mid-1970s also was a topic of the talks.

Medvedev is traveling with a large Russian government delegation and Russian business executives. Morocco's King Mohammed VI hosted a lunch in the prime minister's honor.

He arrived in Morocco after a visit to Algeria, where he discussed oil prices and energy cooperation.

Source: Voice of America

Draft gas amendment bill to be tabled in Cabinet

A draft Gas Amendment Bill will be tabled in Cabinet as South Africa powers on to enter the global gas market, Energy Minister Mamoloko Kubayi said on Tuesday.

Delivering her opening address at the International Gas Cooperation Summit in Durban on Tuesday, Minister Kubayi said gas is the fastest growing fossil fuel, adding that it is estimated that liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply will increase by 50% over the next five years.

She told those attending the three-day summit that South Africa has recoginised the global shift and has set itself the vision of entering the global gas market, as well as to promote the development of a gas market not only locally in South Africa but in the Southern Africa region also.

The process of amending the Gas Act of 2004 has commenced, to the stage that this year a draft Gas Amendment Bill will be tabled in Cabinet. The amendments largely relate to a licensing framework for gas infrastructure and mandating the Minister of Energy to make determinations regarding the required infrastructure, said Minister Kubayi.

She added that the country recognises the need to build infrastructure that's sustainable for the long term.

Minister Kubayi said Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) plants are cheaper to build and operate than conventional coal-fired plants and that there's a shorter construction lead time for CCGT due to its modular nature of construction and relative simplicity.

Benefits of gas

The benefits of gas are that it contributes to the lowering of CO2 emissions and supports renewable energy growth by compensating for its inherent intermittency.

Most importantly, the establishment of a gas market helps mitigate the decrease in coal production and use (e.g. power plant decommissioning) and fosters the creation of new job profiles and skills to develop, construct and manage new import, transport and consumption infrastructures and tertiary sectors, such as services.

In addition, South Africa's power, industrial and transportation sectors show great potential to contribute to a gas market development. The country has done a substantial gas demand analysis that indicates that the industrial and transport sectors represent four times the gas demand for power.

South Africa's introduction of gas into the energy mix, could also play a major role in regional development. The sourcing of gas from neighbouring countries such as Mozambique can result in a win-win situation, where piped gas will stimulate economic activity along the routing areas in both Mozambique and South Africa.

She said the country's National Development Plan (NDP) recognises the important role of gas in the energy mix, representing government wide commitment to a gas economy.

The LNG-to-Power Programme will be the main vehicle through which to stimulate this envisioned gas market in South Africa. It requires an all-inclusive effort by the general government and other stakeholders in South Africa.

Enabling framework

Minister Kubayi said over the past two years South Africa has been putting in place the enabling framework for private sector participation in the energy sector to enable gas industry development and growth.

The Department of Energy is working together with key stakeholders.

These stakeholders include national and provincial departments, state owned entities (SOEs), among others, on relevant legal, regulatory, infrastructure, environmental, societal, industrial, water and energy related aspects of a comprehensive gas industrialisation policy for South Africa.

With regard to infrastructure, we are planning for investment in LNG import terminals, storage and regasification facilities, primary high-pressure gas transmission pipelines and secondary distribution pipeline networks.

We have undertaken an extensive review of all legislation and regulation impacting on and required for the effective development of a gas industry in the country. Legislative and Regulatory amendments will ensure coordinated planning in respect of gas, ports and transport planning, coordinated regulation between regulators and exclude exclusivity in the infrastructure to be established.

Gas to revive economic growth

Minister Kubayi said the country views the gas industry as a major contributor towards reviving growth, protecting living standards and facilitating economic transformation.

She added that fiscal space is limited for investment and programme development.

We have to turn to the private sector and innovative private financing options to support our strategies and plans. We acknowledge that the private sector will respond positively only in the case of policy and regulatory certainty, she said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Gauteng Arts and Culture hosts Dance and Theatre Auditions, 14 Oct

Efforts to get the best of Westrand's Community dance and theatre groups continue this coming weekend, with Randwest getting its opportunity to host its regional Dance and Theatre Auditions on Saturday, 14 October, 2017 at Simunye in Westoneria.

Through its creative arts programme, the Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation seeks to find dance and theatre groups from across the province to take to the Grahamstown National Arts Festival in 2018.

Chosen groups from Rand-West, Mogale City and Merafong will compete among themselves at the Westrand Main Festival scheduled for early next year where five groups in each art-form will be selected for the provincial festival. At the provincials they will compete with groups from other regions including Tshwane, Johannesburg etc. for a R10 000 prize money and a chance to participate at the National Arts festival (in Grahamstown).

Interested groups can register upon arrival at the venue at Simunye Hall before 9am on the day of the event. Dance genres covered include contemporary, traditional, pantsula, hip-hop and many more.

The theatre art-form includes poetry.

Source: Government of South Africa

Destigmatising mental health

Gauteng Premier David Makhura says it's time for mental health to be regarded as an integral part of overall individual health and wellbeing.

The Premier said this on Tuesday as the world observes World Mental Health Day. The day is observed annually on 10 October.

The right to mental health requires care and support facilities, services that are available, accessible, acceptable and of good quality. Rights-based care and support for mental health is an integral part of health care for all, said Premier Makhura.

In the wake of the tragic loss of life that befell mental health patients in the province when they were moved from Life Esidimeni to NGO facilities, the Gauteng government has set up an arbitration process, as per the Health Ombuds recommendation, led by the retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke.

The arbitration process commenced on Monday and will run until 30 October at Emoyeni Conference Centre in Johannesburg.

The primary role of the arbitrator will be to give a proper hearing to the State and the claimant families. He will listen to evidence, including expert evidence on any relevant matters. He will make a binding award of compensation that in all circumstances would be just and equitable.

The arbitration process forms part of the provincial government's commitment to restore the dignity and human rights of mental health patients and all vulnerable groups in Gauteng.

At the beginning of this month, Premier Makhura and Health MEC Dr Gwen Ramokgopa signed a Mental Health Pledge reinforcing their commitment to mental healthcare.

Mental Health Pledge

We, the people of Gauteng, recognise the tragedy which befell the mental health patients of our province.

We pledge to stand up against the stigmatisation of mental health, educate the public on mental health and its various forms of discrimination.

We pledge to be leaders, in both our personal and professional life, and to work together to promote Mental Health Rights, Break the Stigma and Break the Silence.

We pledge to take proactive steps to ensure that not in our name and not under our watch will mental health be over looked or taken for granted.

We do all of this with the steadfast belief that for as long as we are alive.

Mental health will remain the cornerstone of its people's health.

We pledge to break the silence and put mental health firmly on the agenda of the health system.

Source: South African Government News Agency