Monthly Archives: August 2018

Mineral Resources Mpumalanga office closed

The Department of Mineral Resources’ Mpumalanga Regional Office will be closed from Monday, until further notice.

The online application system, South African Mineral Resources Administration Database (SAMRAD) will also be closed for Mpumalanga applications, the department said on Friday.

Applications for renewals and graduation of prospecting rights to mining rights should be submitted manually to the department’s Head Office in Sunnyside, Pretoria.

The closure follows feedback received from clients on the challenges they face at that office, relating mainly to backlogs in the issuing of licenses and allegations of corruption, the department said.

The closure of the office will allow the investigation team set up by Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe in July an opportunity to do its work and provide feedback to the Minister in due course.

As such, all administrative processes related to that office will be handled from the head office until further notice, the department said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Taking Parliament to the People Report-Back Week Comes to a Close

Through the Taking Parliament to the People programme, the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) continues to be an active advocate for improved service delivery. The programme includes physical presence in the communities to assess the performance of the various government departments, as per commitments made in the State of the Nation Address and budget policies.

Through the programme, the NCOP is able to meet with national, provincial and local government for reports on service delivery, as well as the public to find out the level of satisfaction.

But It does not end with meetings and reports, delegates of the NCOP gather physical evidence on the quality of services delivered and ensure that government spending is done in accordance with legislation that includes the Public Finance Management Act and the Municipal Finance Management Act.

After vising the Free State province in August 2017 for the Taking Parliament to the People programme, with special focus on the delivery of healthcare services, provincial and local government made commitments to address challenges identified by the NCOP. This August, it was time for progress reports and reporting back to the public.

This week permanent delegates to the NCOP were joined by members of provincial legislatures (MPLs) as well as the South African Local Government Association (Salga) to constitute a high-level delegation to check progress in a number of facilities that were identified as requiring intervention by the different spheres of government last year.

The multidisciplinary delegation split into eight groups and visited clinics and hospitals in the Mangaung and Xhariep district municipalities. Members were left disappointed in most of the clinics visited, when it was found that little progress has been recorded, one year after the NCOP made recommendations to the government.

Mr Eddie Makue, Chairperson of the Select Committee on Trade and International Relations, led one of the sub groups and could not hide his disappointment at the slow of service delivery. We are not happy with the pace of service delivery in this province. It is just too slow and we reiterate our call to the Free State Department of Health. The pace in which you are moving is unacceptable, Mr Makue said.

He added that the right to quality healthcare was a right for all the citizens of the country enshrined by the constitution, and that it was the responsibility of government to deliver such services.

Do not wait for the NCOP to come to your province before things get done. You have a responsibility to deliver the service; you are not doing anyone a favour, said Mr Makue.

Unimpressed by the delays in the construction of new facilities for Dinaane clinic in Thaba Nchu, the NCOP delegation committed to make sure construction of the new structure happened before the end of this parliamentary term (May next year).

We want to see Dinaane get a new clinic as promised. We want to make sure that building starts before the end of our parliamentary term. We will send our Select Committee on Social Services to follow up on progress, said NCOP delegate Mr Mntomuhle Khawula.

The delegation emphasised that it was not the responsibility of Parliament to deliver infrastructure. Ours is to do oversight, so we urge the provincial government to move faster in this regard, added Mr Makue.

During a community meeting at Botshabelo, to mark the end of an eventful week of oversight, Mr Makue encouraged the public to hold the government accountable and raise their concerns when they were not satisfied with the quality of services delivered, but to do so in a responsible manner.

Among the progress achieved since last year’s visit by the NCOP is the reduction of patient waiting time at a number of clinics and hospitals, commitment by the provincial Department of Health to employ pharmacists in all facilities, to ensure the dispensing of correct medication and ease the pressure from overburdened nurses. The department will also fill nine vacant clinic operations manager posts from 1 November 2018 and employ security guards in all clinics from March next year.

One of the biggest concerns for the NCOP delegates is the poor infrastructure and small size of most of the clinics, which hinders the delivery of quality healthcare. Many clinics are very small or buildings are not in good state. We need bigger and safer facilities and government must address this matter, said Mr Makue.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies losing grip on Gauteng title

Reigning Gauteng Sasol League champions, Mamelodi Sundowns are slowly losing their grip on the Gauteng Sasol League title which they have held for the past few seasons. The Tshwane giants have dropped to third spot after their usual impressive start to the season.

The reigning champions have played two games less than their cross-town rivals, TUT Football Ladies who lead them by 13 points and look unstoppable.

Both the Tshwane rivals lost their key players to Australia’s Canberra United earlier this week. Banyana Banyana captain, Refiloe Jane who played a crucial role in TUT’s 20-match unbeaten run will leave a huge gap in the TUT midfield while Mamelodi Sundowns will sorely miss skilful forward, Rhoda Mulaudzi who joins Jane in Australia.

Meanwhile, JVW are giving the two Tshwane sides a good run for their money in the title race. The Alberton based side which has produced two players that are flying the South African flag high in the US are second on the table with a nine-point gap against the log leaders plus a game in hand.

JVW will be in action this evening against VUT FC at 19h00 where they will be hoping to collect maximum points and keep their title hopes alive.

Source: South African Football Association

Murder accused sentenced effectively

Thorough investigations by dedicated detectives from Patensie ensured that the 21-year-old Merilyn Hendricks was found guilty and sentenced effectively today, 30 August 2018, on a charge of murder.

According to testimony, Bonisile Phetani (31-years-old) and Hendricks had an argument between 22:00 and 23:00, on the evening of 29 December 2017 on a farm in the Patensie district. They allegedly fought about liquor and in the process Phetani slapped Hendricks and she (Hendricks) broke a beer bottle and stabbed Phetani with it. Phetani passed away soon afterwards. Hendricks was arrested the same evening on a charge of murder and appeared in court on Tuesday, 2 January 2018. Merilyn Hendricks (21) was found guilty and sentenced to twelve (12) years imprisonment by the Hankey Regional Court today, Thursday, 30 August 2018.

The Humansdorp Cluster Commander, Brigadier John Lebok has welcomed the sentence and commended the detectives from Patensie for their comprehensive work which led to the conviction and effective sentencing by the Hankey Regional Court.

Source: South African Police Service

Listen: Ellis on 2018 COSAFA women’s championship draw results

Head coach of the South African women’s senior national team, Desiree Ellis will be hoping to defend the COSAFA Cup title when the tournament kicks off in Port Elizabeth next month.

The Banyana Banyana mentor caught up with on Wednesday, 30 August after the draw of the tournament was conducted at the COSAFA head office in Johannesburg.

Source: South African Football Association

Dagga trafficker remanded in custody

KWAZULU-NATAL: Yongama Zulu (30) was remanded in custody following his brief court appearance at Margate Magistrate’s Court yesterday. Zulu was arrested by Port Shepstone Hawks members and K9 unit on Tuesday, 28 August 2018.

Members received information about a vehicle which was transporting dagga from Eastern Cape to Durban. Observation duties were conducted on the N2 freeway and the said motor vehicle was spotted. Police tried to stop the vehicle but the driver sped-off and a high speed chase ensued.

The accused was cornered near Margate and his vehicle was searched. Sixty one bags of dagga were found at the back of the bakkie and Zulu was subsequently arrested. He was charged for dealing in dagga. The street value of the seized dagga is approximately R374 000.00.

The case was postponed to 5 September 2018 for a formal bail application.

Source: South African Police Service

MEC Donald Grant on Naledi Bus Services bus crash

Tragedy strikes as bus crash claims ten lives

In the early hours of this morning a Naledi Bus Services bus crashed on Aberdeen Road, about 50 kms outside of Beaufort West, killing a total of 10 people (8 people on the scene and another two later) and injuring 30. The bus is said to have been coming from Cape Town on its way to various destinations in the Eastern Cape.

The injured were initially admitted to the Beaufort West hospital, and others to the George hospital.

Initial reports have suggested that the driver lost control of the bus after striking an animal that appeared on the road.

My sincere thoughts go out to the families and loved ones of those who have so senselessly lost their lives. I also wish those that sustained injuries in this horrific crash a speedy recovery.

This crash occurred on a stretch of road that has had a long history of public transport crashes, claiming lives and injuring many. These incidents have, however, decreased substantially in recent times since the introduction of various road safety interventions in that strip of road which include an Average Speed Over Distance (ASOD) camera enforcement system, and our successful fatigue management law enforcement operations.

I have asked my officials to assist law enforcement authorities in their investigations into the tragic crash, and plan to engage with the bus company involved on matters around general safety and practices to avoid crashes that take the lives of innocent passengers.

Source: Government of South Africa

Students to receive outstanding NSFAS funds soon

Higher Education and Training Minister Naledi Pandor says the National Student Financial Aid Scheme will, over the next few days, start disbursing outstanding funds that are due to students.

The Minister said this when she fielded questions from members of Parliament in the National Assembly on Wednesday.

Pandor said according to statistics that she received from newly appointed NSFAS administrator Randall Carolissen, around 63 000 students � a majority coming from the TVET college sector, were affected by this challenge.

What is pleasing is that in the first seven days of the work of the administrator, we have received massive cooperation from institutions and I am really appreciative of that, as well as student organisations playing a role in ensuring that students do sign their statement of particulars because that then helps us to finalise the applications process and ensure that we have disbursements so within the next four days, we are going to see a significant disbursement of funding, she said.

The Minister said this before her announcement on Thursday that the NSFAS funding applications for 2019 would be open on Monday, 3 September. She said this after a meeting with the administrator in Cape Town.

In her oral response to MPs on Wednesday, Pandor said the department and NSFAS were working around the clock to ensure that they reach as many of the students that are currently not funded as possible.

You would have recognised that part of the difficulty here is as we process the applicationswe are finding that there is going to be a number of students who are receiving quite a significant sum of money. So we are looking at how we will address that as well because they have not been funded for quite a significant period, she said.

The Administrator’s priority areas

Pandor said, meanwhile, that the administrator would focus on several priority areas as a push is being made to fix current challenges on the system.

The first is to pay very close attention to finalise the close out of the 2017 and 2018 funding cycles. A number of processes are involved with that particular area.

For example, ensuring that students receive confirmation that they will be funded, if that has not been done already, that their details on particularly registration, is done, that they sign their bursary agreement forms and that their allowances are paid out. So that is the first priority.

The second is steps must be taken, in line with preparations that are already underway, to launch the 2019 application cycle in early September.

The third is supporting and developing an effective plan in consultation with colleges and universities to manage the funding of students in 2019 in order for students who apply when we open applications this year and those who are already beneficiaries know their funding status and response from NSFAS before their registration begins in 2019. So those are the three priorities that I have asked [the administrator] to focus on.

Source: South African Government News Agency