Daily Archives: May 15, 2018

OWC Will Support Sustainable Waters Photography Project in Africa

Photographer Florian Wagner will cross the continent documenting critical water systems.

WOODSTOCK, Illinois, May 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — OWC®, a leading zero emissions Mac and PC technology company, has announced their support for photojournalist Florian Wagner’s African Waters 360° project. The photo-film mission will see Wagner flying 18,000km via helicopter across ten African countries, capturing 360° panoramic images of diverse African cities located near bodies of water and river systems that are meaningful for ecological balance.

The project will kick off on Friday, May 18th at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town, South Africa. At the event, Florian Wagner and other environmental collaborators will showcase works that explore how water impacts the human condition in resource-stressed and changing environments.

The goal of Wagner’s African Waters 360° project is to document Africa’s beauty while creating awareness of the need for responsible water policy. The program will also serve as a fundraising project for clean water charities, with a fundraising goal of $250,000.

OWC Founder and CEO Larry O’Connor said, “We are thrilled to support Florian Wagner in this important project. Not only is his work significant from an artistic point of view, but he shares OWC’s commitment to examining the world around us, and finding ways to improve the environment on a local and global scale. We all share in that obligation, and OWC is dedicated to raising funds for organizations that provide local communities with access to clean water and improve the residents’ standard of living. We are happy to continue those efforts through this venture.”

OWC is supporting Wagner and his team with a line of workflow solutions that will ensure the images captured during their excursion remain safe and secure. Professionals and prosumers alike need assurance that the content they create can be backed up without worry, and the OWC Envoy Pro EX (VE) with Thunderbolt 3, OWC Mercury Elite Pro Mini and OWC ThunderBay 4 with Thunderbolt 3 allow Florian’s team to keep their work securely stored. Wagner is a Leica Camera ambassador, and the African Waters 360° project is also supported by Garmin, Yeti, and Leatherman.

The event kick-off on May 18th is open to the public and will feature presentations on water and the environment as well as photographic exhibits, all hosted in the beautiful Two Oceans Aquarium. The event takes place from 6:30 to 9:00pm local time. Tickets can be purchased here.

About Florian Wagner
Florian Wagner is a photographer and helicopter pilot based in Munich, Germany. His work has been featured in such publications as National Geographic, GQ and Focus, and often explores wildlife and the environment. His trek across Africa can be followed at: African Waters 360°.

About OWC
Having served the Apple community worldwide since 1988, OWC has become the reliable manufacturer and upgrade provider of choice for Apple and PC enthusiasts with its extensive catalog of accessories, storage, and memory upgrades for nearly every Mac made in the last decade. Recognized for award-winning customer service, OWC provides extensive U.S.-based technical support for Mac and PC users around the world and comprehensive step-by-step installation and support videos.

Get social: follow OWC and follow Florian’s trek on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

© 2018 Other World Computing, Inc. All rights reserved. Apple and Mac are the trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Intel and Thunderbolt are trademarks of Intel Corporation registered in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other marks may be the trademark or registered trademark property of their respective owners.

Fans must come in numbers to see us over the line – Amajita ...

Lyle Foster, a forward in the Burger King-sponsored South African U20 Men’s National Team (Amajita), has urged fans to come in numbers to see them over the line when they take on Mozambique in the second leg second round CAF U20 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on Sunday, 20 May 2018 at Moruleng Stadium at 15h00.

The crowd in Beira City was overwhelming and encouraged their players a lot � we are just asking the South African faithful to come out in numbers to help us and motivate us as we are aware that the crowd can play a huge role. So we are asking the people of North West to come support and help us over the line in this important mission, he said.

Foster and his compatriots arrived in Rustenburg on Monday evening (14 May) to continue with preparations for the crucial clash.

South Africans can expect a good result from Amajita, we will give our best for the country seeing that we have an away goal � which is a positive. But we shouldn’t dwell much on the previous result. This is an entirely new game and Mozambique will want to come out stronger and eager to also get an away goal too, added Foster.

The two nations played to a 1-1 draw this past weekend (Saturday 12 May) in Beira City, Mozambique.

It took us a while to adapt in Mozambique because it was our first time playing together as a team. But our nerves settled later in the game and the confidence grew among the boys and we started gelling as a team, added Foster.

We implemented the game plan very well � even though we didn’t win but we got the all-important away goal. Now that we are here in Rustenburg we need to work hard and hopefully we can seal the result to secure progression to the next round.

Foster would like to see himself playing in the Africa Cup of Nations as well as the World Cup stage.

It would be a massive feat in my career because I have never played in either tournament in this age group. I was injured during the 2017 U17 AYC qualifiers and I was gutted that our team couldn’t qualify, added Foster.

But now that I am fit I feel I can contribute slightly to what the U20 team wants to achieve and hopefully I can do that in a positive manner and achieve my dream of playing in both the AFCON and the World Cup tournaments.

The overall winner between South Africa and Mozambique will meet the winner between Malawi and Angola in the next round scheduled for July.

Source: South African Football Association

Missing person sought by Eshowe SAPS

Eshowe SAPS is appealing to the members of the community for assistance with regards to locating a missing person, Babalwa Zimbili Myeni (14) from Shandu Street at King Dinizulu T/s, Eshowe. She was last seen leaving her homestead on 14 May 2018 at 15:00 and was wearing an orange and white dress, black and white jacket and her school shoes.

We appeal to anyone with information of her whereabouts to contact Lt Col Nsele on 082 3763129 or 035 473 4211/4200. Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

Source: South African Police Service

Decent Work Is Cornerstone of Fight Against Poverty, Says Committee ...

Decent work is the foundation of the fight against poverty and inequality, and its promotion should be the cornerstone of all efforts to create jobs, said the acting Chairperson of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Labour, Ms Sharome van Schalkwyk.

Speaking during a mini-plenary of the National Assembly to debate the Department of Labour’s budget vote, she said decent work embraces both the need for more jobs and better-quality jobs.

No one disputes that a lasting victory over poverty and hunger requires the creation of decent work opportunities and sustainable livelihoods for all our people. The creation of decent work and sustainable livelihoods remains at the core of the ANC government’s agenda. The task of addressing joblessness, poverty and inequality is a responsibility for all of us and not just one social partner, she said.

Ms Van Schalkwyk added that in order to deal with unemployment, South Africa will require an all-hands-on-deck approach, based on strong partnerships. The National Development Plan calls for a social compact to reduce poverty and inequality, and to raise employment and investment levels.

The Minister of Labour, Ms Mildred Oliphant, told the mini-plenary that in the current financial year the department and it entities received R3.2 billion. On enhancing employment opportunities, the minister said the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) will continue to work with the Department of Higher Education and Training and with Public Works on the Extended Public Works programme exit plans and technical vocational education and training colleges on up-scaling UIF benefits.

She also used the opportunity to explain the benefits of the proposed national minimum wage, saying it will make a huge difference for the majority of vulnerable workers. Whilst the introduction of the national minimum wage may not mean a lot to those who are well looked after in the world of work, for the majority of the vulnerable, it will make a huge difference.

She said setting the inaugural level at R20 per hour was informed by research and robust analysis of various scenarios and their possible ramifications. The national minimum wage is by no means an end in itself, but a means to an end, the minister said.

Democratic Alliance Member of Parliament Mr Michael Bagraim was not convinced that the national minimum wage was the right approach to creating decent work. We have almost 9.2 million unemployed South Africans and we are on the cusp of losing a further million jobs on the forthcoming introduction of a national minimum wage, he said.

He also blamed unemployment, increased crime and poverty on the failure of our government to create jobs and the labour regulatory authority applying the handbrake to employment.

The Economic Freedom Fighters’ Ms Nontando Noluntshungu said her party welcomed the national minimum wage in principle, but not the R20 per hour rate proposed, calling it nothing but an extension of the EPWP that will trap workers in low wages for the rest of their working life, while companies and bosses live lavishly out of profits.

Mr Xolani Ngwezi of the Inkatha Freedom Party said the government’s proposal of a minimum wage of R20 an hour is not a living wage. It is far below the daily expenses of many workers, especially if you include transport to and from work and daily subsistence needs.

He also said the lingering joblessness and the high rate of youth unemployment has not been met with the responsiveness that is required from government. It is high time that something effective is implemented, he urged.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

Deputy Minister Godfrey Oliphant: Mineral Resources Dept Budget Vote ...

Address by the Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources, Honourable Godfrey Oliphant, MP, on the occasion of the Debate on Budget Vote 29: Mineral Resources; E249, Parliament of the RSA, 15 May 2018

Honourable House Chairperson,

Honourable Minister of Mineral Resources, Mr Gwede Mantashe

Ministers and Fellow Deputy Ministers,

Honourable Chairperson, Comrade Luzipho and Members of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources,

Nkosi Mandela and all other Traditional & Religious Leaders,

Honourable Members of Parliament,

Leaders of Business and Trade Unions,

Representatives of Civil Society and Communities,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Morning,

This Budget Vote before us today represents numerical expression of our Policy implementation proposals. It is clearly inadequate for a critical economic department as the DMR but we will do our best to execute our mandate under the circumstances. We therefore request Honourable Members of Parliament to support this Budget Vote.

My speaking time in this debate has also been reduced by over 30% but as a former boy scout let me do the job and complain thereafter.

It is on occasions such as these we remember and salute the very many brave men and women who fought for and sacrificed their lives in our struggle for democracy. Stalwarts and veterans such as Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Former Ambassador George Nene and Former Minister Zola Gentle Giant Skweyiya who passed on last month to name but a few.

How fortuitous that in the year Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela passed on we also celebrate � not only as a country but the world as well – the 100th anniversary of the birth of Tata Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu. It would be remiss of us as a nation, if we did not use this as an opportunity to reflect, appreciate and live the humble service as espoused by these giants of our struggle.

That we celebrate the centenary of Madiba’s life this year is a clarion call to each and all across the globe that a life is worth celebrating when it is founded on ethical values, and dedicated to the fight the liberation of mankind. Madiba reminded us that (and I quote),

For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. (Close quote)

Last month on 27 April we celebrated 24 years of democracy which also marked the end of over three hundred years of colonialism, oppression, segregation and white minority rule. The inauguration of a democratic dispensation in our country enjoined us to work together tirelessly, as a nation, to eradicate poverty, unemployment and persistent inequality in our society.

The month of May is also Workers’ Month, and it is only appropriate for me to use this opportunity to pay respect to our nation’s working population, to honour their daily contributions to the nation’s wealth and welfare, and to also honour their hard work and dedication towards building the prosperous future we aspire for our society.

We also wish to congratulate the bus drivers’, their unions, employers and all other role-players on reaching an amicable wage settlement.

As an ex-mine worker myself, this is not merely an expedient statement from a political platform, but rather, an expression of my deep-felt sympathy and appreciation for what our workers do on a daily basis. Whereas our democratic South Africa has done much to recognise workers’ rights and to enhance their living standards, there is no doubt that we still have more to do.

From a minimum wage to a living wage. From unsafe working and living conditions to decent accommodation and zero harm environment.

We need to make sure that we eliminate work place prejudices, and in particular we need to ensure gender equality in terms of access to opportunities and workplace rights across all industries. Most significantly, our focus should be on the elimination of working class poverty.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am happy to report success in the matter relating to ex-mineworkers.

To date we have a reliable database of over a million current and former mineworkers to work from; qualifying claimants are paid-out on a weekly basis and in the last 12 months over 10 000 have been paid with a value of over R250 million. We also wish to commend the Silicosis Class Action participants for their successful settlement of over R5 billion for specified gold mineworkers.

There is now over R20 billion available to ex-mineworkers in the form of medical compensation, pensions and provident funds and recently Harmony reported about 13 potential millionaires amongst their former mineworkers. A figure we will verify and celebrate.

Four special clinics for mineworkers have been completed in four provinces to attend to their free medical benefit examination plus another 7 in the SADC labour sending areas such as one in Botswana, and 2 each in Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland. We want to thank the Global Fund for these One Stop Service Centre

The Logistics Coordinating Centre is also up and running and we want to thank the Chamber of Mines for providing office space and the Gold Working Group for funding the operations and the staff for their sterling work.

We obviously need to accelerate the programme and thank the collaboration between the Department of Labour, Department of Health and the Department of Mineral Resources on the one hand and on the other, the Chamber of Mines, Gold Working Group, Trade Unions such as NUM, NUMSA, AMCU, UASA and Solidarity for their excellent cooperation and in particular we also wish to recognise all international donor funding that supported this programme.

Lastly, at the end of this month we will be celebrating yet another milestone in Kimberley where the former zama-zamas now called the Kimberley Artisanal Miners have two mining permits that we issued on 30 April 2018, successfully negotiated a tailings mining resource TMR (dump) from Ekapa Mining; and also have access to 500 hectares of diamondiferous ground called floors to mine for themselves. Some of them are already properly licenced to trade and deal in rough diamonds.

We, Minister Gwede Mantashe and I are challenged to focus on the revival and prosperity of the Mining sector. The masterpiece of our corrective action plan should be to realise what His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa said in his inaugural SONA address, (and I quote), Mining is another area that has massive unrealized potential for growth and job creation. (Close quote).

Honourable Members,

Let me pause here to recognise and welcome the leadership of Honourable Minister Samson Gwede Mantashe to Team DMR and applaud him for his swift and decisive leadership displayed in this short time since he joined us.

It is a fact that South Africa remains a resource-rich country. So, the mining sector has been and continues to be a significant player in our nation’s socio-economic fortune. It is equally true that the mining sector has had serious setbacks in the recent past, and it is our collective responsibility to revive its reputation, re-organise its modus operandi, and to ensure its rightful contribution to the growth of our economy which must be inclusive and sustainable.

In this process, we face a twin track and parallel challenge. On the one hand it is a national imperative that we focus on the ways and means of unlocking the massive potential of the sector whilst on the other hand we deal with the outstanding structural issues facing the industry.

Alongside this task, we need to operationalise effective mineral beneficiation policies.

Whilst the broad beneficiation policy and its integration into the country’s industrialisation strategies are in place, we need to focus on specific and near-term beneficiation opportunities.

In this regard, I would like to suggest that we also focus on low hanging fruit beneficiation prospects such as Zinc, Platinum, Chrome Mangenese, Diamonds amongst others.

In highlighting the beneficiation potentials for the above commodities I cannot over-emphasise the importance of energy security. It is also vital to recognise the role that energy availability and reliability play in unlocking mineral beneficiation. As such, Eskom, and more broadly our national energy policies, need to be aligned with mineral beneficiation strategies. In brief, Honourable Members, we need to identify opportunities for beneficiation and at the same time, remove all obstacles that impede effective beneficiation. Clearly, we need to focus far more on ‘doing’ and ‘implementing’ beneficiations rather than debating it.

Another major opportunity for job creation in the mining sector is the rehabilitation and environmental restoration of previous mining operations. It is common knowledge that South Africa has over 6000 derelict and abandoned mining sites.

It is reasonable to suggest that the rehabilitation of these sites could well offer opportunities for creating jobs and livelihood. It is also easy to imagine that a national programme of environmental rehabilitation of the old mines could well generate 1000s of job opportunities. In many of these mining sites, the rehabilitated land could be further used for agriculture and other economic activities.

At the same time, a shift towards concurrent rehabilitation alongside mining operations will significantly expand employment creation and future skills development in the sector. The Minister has given the greenlight to get going in this regard and we are preparing to roll out pilots in certain areas with a view into a festival of Rehabilitation activities around the country.

Honourable Chairperson, let me conclude with another of my favourite quotes from Nikolai Ostrovsky in his book, How the Steel was Tempered,

Man’s dearest possession is life. It is given to him but once, and he must live so as to feel no torturing regrets for wasted years, never know the burning shame a mean and petty past; so live that, dying he might say: All my life all my strength were given to the finest cause in all the world � The fight for the liberation of mankind.

Source: Government of South Africa

COGTA to rein in dysfunctional municipalities

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has vowed to rein in municipalities placed under administration and those owing power utility Eskom.

Minister Mkhize delivered his maiden Budget Vote speech on Tuesday morning, where he tabled his budget of R83 billion in the 2018/19 financial year.

The tabled budget is divided as follows:

Department of Cooperative Governance

– Transfers and subsidies: R80.1 billion (95.8%).

– Operational costs (including compensation of employees, goods and services and payment of capital assets): R556 million (0.7%).

– Community Work Programme: R3.8 billion (4.6%).

– Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA): R342 million (0.4%).

Department of Traditional Affairs

– Transfers to the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural Religious and Linguistic Communities R153 million (0.2%) and approximately R42 million, respectively.

– Municipal Systems Improvement Indirect Grant: R115 million (0.1%)

Municipalities under administration

According to Minister Mkhize, 11 municipalities are currently being administered by provincial governments under Section 139, which allows provincial governments to intervene where municipalities fail.

These municipalities will be monitored with a view of ensuring that they improve and get out of Section 139 within 12 months, said the Minister.

KwaZulu-Natal leads the pack with six of its municipalities under provincial administration, followed by Free State with three and Eastern and Western Cape each with one.

The 11 municipalities where section 139 has been imposed by provincial governments are:

KwaZulu-Natal: Emadlangeni Local Municipality, Emzinyathi District Municipality; Mpofana Local Municipality; Inkosi Langalibalele Local Municipality; Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma Local Municipality and Edumbe Local Municipality (with section 136/137 MFMA).

Free State: Masilonyana Local Municipality; Maluti-a-Phofong Local Municipality and Mafube Local Municipality.

Eastern Cape – Walter Sisulu Local Municipality and Western Cape – Kannaland Local Municipality.

COGTA will explore the acquisition of ICT capability and an early warning system dashboard to counter the problems faced by these municipalities.

We need early detection of community discontent and timeous responses to reduce instances where community frustration bursts out into public protests and burning barricades. This ICT capability will improve COGTA effectiveness in supporting early interventions, said Minister Mkhize.

To combat the challenges faced by municipalities nationwide, COGTA has decided to initiate an intensive Recovery Programme.

The programme will ensure support in three focus areas, namely governance, service delivery and financial management.

Eskom debt

Minister Mkhize said it is unacceptable that municipalities owe so much money to Eskom and water boards.

As at 31 December 2017, the total bulk services owed by municipalities was R23.6 billion, R16.2 billion for electricity and R7.4 billion for water.

Among the top five provinces owing Eskom are Free State, Mpumalanga, North West, Gauteng and Limpopo. Together they owe 70% of the total debt to Eskom.

We have appealed to Eskom to suspend the interruption of services to municipalities due to the huge sums of monies that they owe, said Minister Mkhize.

An inter-ministerial task team (IMTT) led by COGTA is currently looking at the constitutional, systemic and structural challenges in electricity distribution and reticulation, as well as to find solutions to the electricity and water bulk services debt owed to State-owned companies by municipalities.

The IMTT is overseeing a technical team which is tasked with finding solutions on the issue of municipal debt for bulk services.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Exiled Burundian Activists Call for Action Against Bujumbura

Exiled Burundian activists and the Paris-based FIDH, or International Federation for Human Rights, are sending a strong message to world powers: It’s time to impose more effective sanctions and other measures on President Pierre Nkurunziza and his government.

Burundian journalist Elyse Ngabire, who said she fled to France in 2015 after receiving death threats, said the international community must take measures that will force the ruling power into negotiations to end the crisis.

That call came as Burundians prepare to vote Thursday on a proposal to extend the president’s term in office from five to seven years. That could allow Nkurunziza� already on his third mandate after a controversial 2015 election � to stay in office for another 14 years.

Rights groups say violence that erupted with that 2015 vote has killed more than 1,700 people and uprooted another 400,000. Burundi’s bishops, the United States and the European Union and others have denounced violence, intimidation and other excesses targeting opponents of the proposed constitutional changes.

Burundian authorities deny they target their own citizens, claiming exiled activists are spreading propaganda.

FIDH deputy Africa bureau head Tcherina Jerolon issued a warning to international powers that helped secure the 2000 Arusha peace deal that helped to end years of civil war.

“There is a risk to reduce the whole credibility of the involvement of the international community in the peace process … in this context and in this region,” Jerolon said. “DRC is at risk, we have the situation in South Sudan, the situation in Central African Republic … there really is a need to have consistency and coherence.”

Burundian activist Pierre Claver Mbonimpa fears the fallout of the referendum and warned that Burundi could again tip into civil conflict.

Source: Voice of America

Unemployment rate unchanged in first quarter

South Africa’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 26.7% in the first quarter of 2018, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said on Tuesday.

Releasing the findings of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) at a media briefing in Tshwane, Stats SA said following a decline in the number of unemployed persons in the fourth quarter, the first quarter usually shows an increase in unemployment.

This, it said, is depicted by an increase in the number of unemployed persons in the first quarter of each year since 2013.

In the first quarter of 2018, there was increase of 100 000 unemployed people.

The official unemployment rate remained unchanged at 26.7% in quarter one: 2018 compared to quarter four: 2017. The official unemployment rate increased in seven of the nine provinces, said Stats SA.

The largest increase in the unemployment rate was recorded in Mpumalanga (up by 3.5%), Northern Cape (up by 2.4%), and North West (up by 1.9%).

Stats SA said on a year-on-year basis, the official unemployment rate declined by 1% with most of the country’s provinces recording declines.

However, increases were observed in the Eastern Cape (up by 3.4%) and Mpumalanga (up by 0.9%).

Compared to quarter four: 2017, the expanded unemployment rate increased by 0.4% in quarter 1: 2018 to 36.7%. The largest increases were recorded in Mpumalanga (up by 2.8%), Eastern Cape (up by 1.2%) and North West (up by 1.1%). Compared to a year ago, the expanded unemployment rate increased by 0.2%, said Stats SA.

The QLFS, which is a household based sample survey that collects data on the labour market activities of individuals aged 15 to 64 years old, said the South African working-age population increased by 153 000 or 0.4% in the first quarter of 2018, compared to the fourth quarter of 2017.

The data found that employment increased by 206 000 jobs in the first quarter of 2018.

The contributors to the increase were the community and social services (contributing 95 000 jobs), followed by manufacturing (58 000), construction (40 000), trade (36 000) and finance and other business services (30 000) industries.

Meanwhile, employment declines were recorded in transport (resulting in a loss of 41 000 jobs), and mining (14 000), utilities (6 000) and agriculture (3 000).

Source: South African Government News Agency