Category Archives: Business

Worlds Away from Windsor, People Celebrate Harry and Meghan’s ...

From the windswept Falkland Islands, battered by the South Atlantic and home to colonies of penguins, to the heat of Kenya, India and Australia, people around the world celebrated Britain’s glittering royal wedding Saturday.

The scenes of pageantry and romance in Windsor, where Prince Harry married his American bride Meghan Markle, were beamed to locations across continents where people dressed up, raised their glasses and enjoyed the fun of a uniquely British event.

“We are very fond of our royal family and it’s lovely to celebrate an event like this,” said Falkland Islander Leona Roberts, a member of the local assembly and one of the organizers of a wedding party in the tiny capital, Port Stanley.

Children dressed up as princes and princesses for the party, where they received special gifts.

Argentina disputes Britain’s sovereignty over the Falklands, which lie 300 miles (500 km) from the Argentine coast, and the two countries fought a war in 1982 over the islands. Many islanders are fiercely patriotic about Britain.

“As a Falkland Islander, I definitely feel a bond with the royal family as a symbol of Britishness. I am a staunch royalist,” said Arlette Betts, at her home on the waterfront in Port Stanley, home to most of the archipelago’s 4,000 inhabitants.

On the other side of the world, in India, a group of Mumbai’s famed dabbawalas, or lunch delivery men, chose a traditional sari dress and kurta jacket as wedding gifts for Harry and his bride, while at the Gurukul School of Art children painted posters of the royal couple and Queen Elizabeth.

In Australia, where the British monarch remains the head of state, some pubs held wedding parties, while a cinema chain screened the wedding live across its network. Viewers dressed in finery, with prizes for the most creative outfits.

At the Royal Hotel in Sydney, guests celebrated with a fancy banquet and burst into a spontaneous chorus of “Stand by Me” when a gospel choir sang the Ben E. King hit during the ceremony in Windsor.

“I just think the monarchy as such brings everyone together,” said retiree Bernie Dennis, one of those attending the banquet. “It’s like a family wedding.”

In Melbourne, fashion designer Nadia Foti attended an “English high tea” where guests wore plastic crowns and enjoyed traditional British treats such as scones and the popular summer drink Pimm’s.

“It’s exciting for the fashion and the spectacular,” said Foti. “It’s a joyous occasion and I’ve made a plum cake to celebrate in classic English style.”

There were lavish celebrations at the Windsor Golf and Country Club on the outskirts of Nairobi, where guests had shelled out 1 million shillings ($10,000) to view the wedding on a giant screen, enjoy a seven-course banquet and fly to Mount Kenya by helicopter for breakfast the following morning.

Trainee lawyer Odette Ndaruzi, who is preparing for her own wedding later in the year, said she wanted to pick up some tips.

“I’m excited to see how the maidens in England are dressed, the jewelry and colors they are wearing,” she said.

The event drew criticism from some Kenyan media, however, due to the hefty price tag in a country where millions live in slums.

But perhaps the greatest interest in the royal wedding, outside of Britain, was in the bride’s home country, the United States.

In New York, revelers headed to Harry’s Bar to watch the ceremony on TV, surrounded by U.S. and British flags. Many posed for photos alongside cardboard cutouts of the bride and groom.

In Los Angeles, a lively crowd at the English-style Cat and Fiddle pub in Hollywood enjoyed pints of beer, royal-themed cocktails and British staples like sausage rolls and scones.

Popular tipples included the “Bloody Harry,” billed as a modern take on the Bloody Mary, but with added ginger as a cheeky nod to the prince’s red hair.

Source: Voice of America

International success for E Cape farm

You have to be a really hard nut to crack yourself, if you want to make it as a macadamia nut farmer, says Cowan Skelem, one of the leading people behind Ncera Macadamia Farming (NMF), near East London. For, the strongest determination, is what it takes to make it in this industry.

Although macadamia nuts are said to be hard to beat when it comes to the most lucrative crop per land area used in South Africa, it takes several years for farmers of this crop to finally see a return on their investment.

It takes perseverance and determination because one waits more than seven years before a tree can even produce nuts, says Skelem.

He began his role at the farm as a general worker pushing a wheelbarrow. But today, Skelem is a skilled worker who is exposed to the overall running of the business, from administration to logistics and overall supervision of the business.

Before working at the farm, he was unemployed after he lost his job in the local town and was battling to provide for his four-member family but working at the farm has allowed Skelem to buy food and school uniforms for his children and send them to proper schools.

I am happy and blessed to be working here at the farm. I am enjoying my work and it helps me to put food on the table and provide for my kids, he says.

The Ncera Macadamia Farming, which is 51% community-owned, is one of many success stories that show land reform can result in greater inclusion, economic growth and job creation.

Government has identified access to land, through land restitution and other schemes, as one of the ways to grow the economy, ensure food security and increase agricultural production. To date, over 4 850 100 hectares have been acquired through the land redistribution programme.

Since 2009, over 1 743 farms have benefited from the Recapitalisation and Development Programme.

However, land reform has not been without challenges, as some communities still lack the necessary and appropriate support, as well as access to finance that can help them grow to commercial farming status.

The Eastern Cape is one of the provinces with very large under-utilised tracts of land still under communal tenure that rests unused. But the community of Ncera is determined to change this, and through partnerships and support from the government, the 40 000-strong community is on its way to become top producers of Macadamia nuts in the country.

The R100 million project thrives on partnerships between the East Cape Macadamia (Pty) Ltd (ECM), the community under the Vulindlela Investment Trust as well as government.

The model is based on an 80 year-term land lease agreement, which was signed between the community and the ECM. The latter would oversee production, marketing, processing and management and facilitate access to markets while create employment, transferring skills and generating income for the community whose land they use.

The most defining feature of this partnership is that the community has a final say on all procurement opportunities, skills transfer and jobs created. This guarantees the community the bulk of all opportunities brought about by the project.

According to the Southern African Macadamia Growers’ Association, new macadamia tree plantings have increased the number of trees in South Africa from about one million in 1996 to more than eight million in 2016, covering a total area of approximately 28 000 hectares.

It is estimated that at least 7 150 permanent job opportunities have been created on macadamia farms and another 600 permanent jobs in cracking facilities. In peak season, the industry presently provides employment for an additional 8 150 workers. A total of 12 500 full-time equivalent workers are estimated to be employed by the macadamia industry in South Africa.

Community members in Ncera have not only found jobs through the macadamia nuts they are farming, but are also beneficiaries of the economic spinoffs produced by this lucrative plant.

Their story is a further indication of the impact that access to land can have on economic growth and job creation. The farm currently employs 157 permanent community members as well as seasonal workers during the harvesting period.

Our story is very important to the community especially when it comes to the skills that this project has exposed us to. I started off as a general worker pushing a wheelbarrow but now I am a skilled worker who is exposed in the overall running of the business from the administration, logistics and now I’m the supervisor.

He explains that 90% of the nuts produced in the Eastern Cape farm are exported to big markets such as the United States, Russia and China.

I am very proud because it means generations to come, even my own grand-children will benefit from the life-long dollar-based income-generated by the trusts with the sale of the nuts.

Founding chairman of the NMF board Joe Njongolo says that the project’s business strategy is prolonged and focuses on education and skills development which are aimed at turning Ncera into a self-reliant and sustainable rural community.

For the first time, macadamia nuts are being grown by rural communities who own the full value chain, including the nursery and factories.

This sends a statement to the whole industry that rural communities are capable, and with land they are not just coming in to own one component of the industry as labours – but they are able to thrive in the industry as a whole.

Njogolo sees the farm as an alternative to the mining sector as the Eastern Cape has been known to be the biggest supplier of labour to the mines.

The project has also boosted local contractors in the areas of transport and logistics, among others as most of the work in these areas is given to local companies.

Consequently, about R200 000 per annum is set aside for services provided by contractors operating within the Ncera community.

The project has made more than R11, 6 million since its launch in 2006 and has grown to also include a top-class nursery.

The nursery, which received a five-star rating from the SA Macadamia Growers’ Association, has led to expansion of the Ncera Macadamia Farming and gave birth to the Amajingqi Macadamia Farming located in Amajingqi near Willowvale on the Wild Coast.

Launched in 2015, the project has already seen the production of 200 hectares of trees and plans to expand.

Njogolo says the long-term intention of the community is to branch out of the Eastern Cape and develop the whole macadamia value chain and create more sustainable economic opportunities in provinces such as Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal.

We see NMF as a template for empowerment and economic development for rural communities which can be duplicated across the country and to other farming sectors. We challenge the government to seriously look unto ventures of this nature, he says.

While the pace of land reform and restitution has been the subject of criticism, government is adamant that it is addressing the challenges emerging farmers experience as a matter of urgency.

Government support is also provided through various state programmes such as Letsema, the Recapitalisation and Development Programme, and through funding agency Mafisa.

Support involves training, access to credit, on and off farm infrastructure, access to markets, subsidising agricultural insurance and the transfer of scientific research and knowledge.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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

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

Joint Constitutional Review Committee to Meet on Programme for Public ...

Parliament� The Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development has invited the department to urgently present a revised strategic plan tomorrow, before the committee can adopt a budget vote report.

The committee has ascribed the late presentation of a revised strategic plan to gross incompetence at senior management level in the department. The committee expected the revised strategic plan to be presented for the first time in November 2017.

It is frustrating that we are unable to proceed with our parliamentary work of adopting a budget vote report because the department took advantage of our kindness. We are not going to allow the department to render the committee ineffective, said Ms Ruth Bhengu, Chairperson of the committee.

The committee strongly believes that key imperatives of the revised strategic plan will have significant financial implications and should be interrogated. These include, among other things, a revised organogram, budget allocation between programmes, and transfer of responsibilities to the Small Enterprise Finance Agency and Small Enterprise Development Agency.

Ms Bhengu said despite all the challenges, the Department of Small Business Development remains a key instrument in the fight against poverty, unemployment and inequality.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa


CAPE TOWN, The South African is set for a busy week ahead with both chambers expected to deliberate on major important legislative issues and the National Assembly (lower house) scheduled to host President Cyril Ramaphosa who will be responding oral questions as part of the legislative oversight.

Eleven Budget Vote debates of various government departments and regular plenary house sessions are among the ways in which Parliament will be overseeing the work of the Executive. The President is scheduled to appear once per quarter to answer questions in the National Assembly to deal with policy issues and matters of public interest.

The Departments of Basic Education and Science and Technology are some of the departments expected to present their Budget Votes to Parliament this week.

The National Council of Provinces, the upper house of Parliament, in conjunction with the South African Local Government Association (Salga), will host the three-day Local Government Week activities which will be conducted this year under theme, Land Use Towards Integrated Spatial Planning.

On Friday, the Standing Committee on the Auditor-General is expected to meet to consider the final version of the Public Audit Amendment Bill before its adoption.


SANDF makes a difference in North West health

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has managed to restore normalcy to the healthcare system in the North West.

The force stepped up to help the province after Nehawu-affiliated workers down tools last month in an ongoing strike.

SANDF officials took over the provision of healthcare services at the Mahikeng Provincial Hospital on 21 April, caring for in-patients and out-patients following the strike by healthcare workers.

According to SANDF, their health professionals saw 131 patients within the first 24 hours of the operation and successfully helped deliver nine babies in this period.

Other notable achievements since the deployment include security stabilisation within the hospital, secure access to the hospital by patients, local health care professionals being able to perform their duties and medical waste being collected by the contracted service providers.

Medical products are being distributed by the depot to healthcare facilities such as Ngaka Modiri Molema, Ramotshere Moiloa, Gelukspan Hospital, Mahikeng Provincial Hospital, Bophelong Psychiatric Hospital and surrounding clinics while radio communication has also been established to facilitate the transfer of information to advance the provision.

The Chief of the SANDF, General Solly Shoke, on Friday commended work done by healthcare practitioners and encouraged them to continue providing the vital healthcare services to the people affected.

The SANDF has stepped up to intervene in the situation in the province to help preserve lives of the most vulnerable who rely heavily on government healthcare services, said Shoke.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Heroin worth R100 000 taken off the Mitchell’s Plain streets

Western Cape: Police attached to the Western Cape Flying Squad followed up on the information they received about drugs that were kept at a house in Tafelsig, Mitchell’s Plain. Upon their arrival at the address this morning (2018-05-03) at about 00:50, members found two bags of heroin with a total weight of 28,1 g worth an estimated street value of R100 000. The drugs were seized by police and three men aged 28, 34 and 46 years, were arrested and detained at Mitchell’s Plain SAPS. Once they are charged they are expected to appear in the Mitchell’s Plain Magistrates’ Court on a charge of possession of drugs.

Source: South African Police Service