Daily Archives: August 7, 2017

Minister Fikile Mbalula on allegations of assault against Deputy ...

Minister Mbalula on assault by Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Mr Mduduzi Manana

The Minister of Police, Mr Fikile Mbalula has noted the disturbing allegations of assault levelled against the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training Mr Mduduzi Manana. A case of assault has been opened with the South African Police Service. The alleged assault took place at 4h00, the 6th of August 2017, in Cubana Fourways, Johannesburg, Gauteng.

Minister Mbalula take these allegations very serious. Protection of women and vulnerable groups are a number one priority of the Police Ministry. Minister Mbalula maintains that victims of abuse and gender based violence who go to the SAPS stations with cases of assault must be treated as genuine victims. Minister Fikile Mbalula expects the victim to be treated with respect and dignity. Minister Mbalula further expects that the Police will proactively give a feedback to the victim.

"Women deserve love and protection from all of us. The Police must be given space to investigate this case without fear or favour, no one is above the law irrespective of their position in Society" Minister Mbalula added.

Source: Government of South Africa

14 Killed in DRC Clashes

Police in the Democratic Republic of Congo say at least 12 people were killed during clashes between police and members of separatist sect Bundu dia Mayala in the capital Kinshasa.

Police spokesman Col. Pierrot Mwanamputu said four of the sect members and eight others were killed by stray bullets.

Witnesses say the clashes followed an attack by Bundu dia Mayala members on Kinshasa's main prison. The group stormed the same prison in May, freeing their leader and scores of others.

Witnesses say this time the attackers did not make it past the prison's main doors.

Gunfire was reportedly heard in a number of Kinshasa neighborhoods early Monday.

Two more people were killed in related violence in Matadi in southwestern Congo.

Hundreds killed in recent months

Last week, U.N. human rights investigators issued a report documenting the killings of more than 250 people, including 62 children, in violence in central Congo over three recent months. U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said the violence could devolve into "wider ethnic cleansing."

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said Monday that the U.N. investigators learned that "Congolese security forces supported, and sometimes even led, the attacks" in Congo's central Kasai province.

"The latest U.N. report sadly documents something we already know: Innocent men, women and children are being brutally killed in the Kasais, and Congolese authorities are doing nothing to stop it," she said.

Growing unrest in the country has raised fears of a return to civil war, which ravaged the DRC for nearly a decade beginning in the late 1990s, leading to the deaths of millions of people.

The country is also facing a political crisis with President Joseph Kabila's second and final constitutional mandate expiring last December.

An agreement reached last year by the president and the opposition said Kabila could remain in office until elections were organized, and it set a deadline of the end of 2017. However, the election commission announced this month that it would not be possible to organize elections by the end of December. Kabila's government has faced a wave of protests in recent months over the election issue.

Source: Voice of America

Somali Children Flee Al-Shabab Recruitment

More than 100 children fleeing areas controlled by al-Shabab militants in central Somalia have arrived in the coastal town of Adale, seeking the government's protection, officials said.

Adale is a key trading town in the Middle Shabelle region, 220 kilometers northeast of Mogadishu.

In an interview with VOA Somali, the town's district commissioner, Muse Mohamed Ahmed, said the fleeing children are resisting new al-Shabab recruitment campaigns.

"Al-Shabab has a large number of old fighters, so they want to recruit children to bolster its ranks. They have started abducting children from local schools, and those who do not want to join them have decided to flee to the government-controlled areas," Ahmed said.

He estimated that more than 500 children have fled villages and towns in central Somalia, mainly in the Galgudud, Hirran and Middle Shabelle areas.

"We do not have the exact number, but our estimation is that more than 500 children, mainly between the ages of 10 to 15, have arrived in the town in the last couple of months," Ahmed said.

"Most of them pass to other government-controlled areas to join relatives, but 100 of them who did not know where to go stay with us here."

He said each of the families in the town has offered to have two or three children stay with them until Somali government and regional authorities decide their fate.

Other sources in the town have confirmed the presence of the youngsters.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who made an emergency visit to Somalia in March, said more than half of the fighters in the militant group may be children.

Somali government officials said children as young as nine are being used in combat.

"We have seen children as young as nine being caught or killed in several fronts fighting along the militants," said Col. Omar Ahmed with the Somali National Army, or SNA.

Al-Shabab continues waging an insurgency against the U.S.-backed federal government in Somalia and the African Union troops deployed there 10 years ago. Al-Shabab, which is allied with al-Qaida, has been fighting since 2006 to overthrow the Somali government and turn the country into a strict Islamic state.

Source: Voice of America

SOUTH AFRICAN MINERS DEMAND STOP TO RETRENCHMENTS BY ANGLOGOLD

JOHANNESBURG, Members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) marched to the headquarters of Anglogold Ashanti in Johannesburg Sunday to demand that the company cancel its plan to retrench 8,500 workers.

Anglogold Ashanti chief executive officer Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan was on hand to receive the memorandum of demands.

The NUM members were small in number, but big on morale as they marched for their jobs to be saved. They were met by the company's top brass, who accepted their memorandum of demands.

The NUM and umbrella labour federation the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) want the government to convene a Jobs Summit to come up with ways to preserve jobs in all sectors of the economy.

The company announced in June that it had started a process of consultations with employees to retrench 8,500 workers at its South African operations, which employ a total of about 28,000 people, including contractors.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Unemployment rate unchanged at 27.7%

South Africa's unemployment rate has remained unchanged between quarter one and two of 2017 at 27.7%, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said on Monday.

Unemployment has stayed steady at 27.7% in the second quarter of the year, Statistician General Pali Lehohla told a media briefing in Tshwane on Monday.

On a year-on-year basis, the unemployment rate increased by 1.1%

We don't know what the next quarter will be [bring] It's very difficult to say that there will be more jobs, said Lehohla.

Stats SA released the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), which showed that in the second quarter, South Africa had 37.2 million people of working age -- up by 157 000 people quarter-on-quarter.

According to the survey, employment declined by 113 000 to approximately 16.1 million, while the number of those seeking work also declined by 37 000 to approximately 6.2 million.

The labour absorption rate was at 43.3% in the second quarter. It has not recovered to the level of 45.8% of 2008.

Lehohla said the absorption rate (employment to population ratio) is an important indicator of the ability of the economy to absorb people who are of working age.

This [absorption rate] has been in the morgue for a very long time, he said.

When coming to the labour market rates by sex, the survey -- which collects information from households -- showed that the unemployment rate for women is higher than that of men, with 29.8% of women being unemployed. The unemployment rate was 26% for men in the second quarter.

The survey also found that young people aged 15 to 24 remain vulnerable in the labour market with an unemployment rate of almost 56% and an absorption rate of 12%.

The net quarterly employment decline of 113 000 in the second quarter was driven by declines in six of the ten industries, with the largest decreased recorded in the construction (110 000) and agriculture at 40 000.

The QLFS also showed employment gains in the trade (58 000), finance (17 000), manufacturing (10 000) and utilities (2000).

The survey found that the number of employed people decreased in five of the country's nine provinces between the first and second quarter. Gauteng saw the largest employment losses at 143 000, followed by the Eastern Cape at 26 000 while Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal recorded employment gains of 32 000 and 29 000 respectively.

While the report showed that young people aged 15 to 24 remain vulnerable in the labour market, 32.2% of those aged 15 to 24 were in the 'Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET)'. This was approximately 3.3 million young people.

The survey found that the proportion of those in long-term unemployment increased from 65.8% in the first quarter of 2017, to 67.2% in the second quarter.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Parliament on probe into alleged corruption at MiCT SETA

Higher Education Committee calls for a probe into alleged corruption at MiCT SETA

The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training has noted with concern reports alleging massive corruption running into millions at one of the entities it conducts oversight on and calls for a thorough probe.

The Chairperson Ms Connie September said if the alleged corruption occurred it would be unfortunate as funding at Sector Education and Training Authorities is mainly intended for poor learners who are struggling to gain work experience.

This is worrying situation especially that the person who is involved is the person who should be leading the institution with integrity and making it realise the broader objectives it was founded for. Our country is faced with massive challenges of young people who are struggling to gain work experience, Ms September said.

These accusations are ridiculing to the work of the department and generally government. Entities should not be losing millions while governance, legislation, policies and internal controls are in place. The SETA board must follow the matter and preferably report on at its next appearance before the Committee, she said.

The media reported on the weekend that Chief Executive Officer of the Media Information and Communication Technologies SETA was involved in corrupt and fraudulent activities that saw the entity lose millions to companies he personally had personal interest in who benefited from tenders.

SETAs need to contribute positively to our broad developmental agenda and we want to see results, and they must play the role they were founded for. Therefore the board must act expeditiously and leave no stone unturned, Ms September said.

She said it was preferable that the correct procedures are followed and that a correct sanction is determined and meted out even if it means soliciting support of law enforcements agencies if the transgression is proved and thus warrants such.

The Committee will raise the matter with the Minister to ensure that a speedy resolution is met and to ensure that SETA funds are spent to build much needed skills, she said.

Source: Government of South Africa