Category Archives: General

Motshekga shocked at teacher stabbing

Following the alleged fatal stabbing of a teacher by a 17-year-old pupil, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has expressed shock and called for schools to be safe spaces for learners and teachers.

The death of the 24-year-old [teacher] can only be described as an abhorrent travesty.

It is heart-breaking to loose such a young teacher, who still had so much to offer and so much potential for greatness in such a pointless and tragic manner, said Motshekga.

Police have apprehended the learner, who was allegedly reprimanded the day before by the teacher, for a minor incident involving skipping the queue for the National School Nutrition Programme.

According to the department, the stabbing incident happened in full view of a class that was in the process of writing an examination in the North West.

The said pupil has been suspended.

Psycho-social services have since been deployed to the school to provide counselling.

This comes on the heels of another incident in Gauteng, where a learner was arrested for pointing a gun at a teacher.

We cannot and will not tolerate delinquency and lawlessness in our schools. We all need to ensure that our schools are safe spaces for learning and teaching. Parents, communities and law enforcement agencies all need to play their role to ensure that together we raise caring, responsible citizens, and that our schools are protected from evil elements that threaten to destabilise them.

At no time can it be acceptable to bring weapons or any other prohibited substances such as drugs and alcohol into our schools, said the Minister.

Motshekga urged parents to be vigilant and ensure their children do not leave home and come to school with weapons.

The department will continue to work closely with police to curb youth delinquency, violence and other social ills from taking hold of our schools. We all need to work together to ensure that schools are safe spaces for learners and teachers, said the Minister.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Motshekga shocked at teacher stabbing

Following the alleged fatal stabbing of a teacher by a 17-year-old pupil, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has expressed shock and called for schools to be safe spaces for learners and teachers.

The death of the 24-year-old [teacher] can only be described as an abhorrent travesty.

It is heart-breaking to loose such a young teacher, who still had so much to offer and so much potential for greatness in such a pointless and tragic manner, said Motshekga.

Police have apprehended the learner, who was allegedly reprimanded the day before by the teacher, for a minor incident involving skipping the queue for the National School Nutrition Programme.

According to the department, the stabbing incident happened in full view of a class that was in the process of writing an examination in the North West.

The said pupil has been suspended.

Psycho-social services have since been deployed to the school to provide counselling.

This comes on the heels of another incident in Gauteng, where a learner was arrested for pointing a gun at a teacher.

We cannot and will not tolerate delinquency and lawlessness in our schools. We all need to ensure that our schools are safe spaces for learning and teaching. Parents, communities and law enforcement agencies all need to play their role to ensure that together we raise caring, responsible citizens, and that our schools are protected from evil elements that threaten to destabilise them.

At no time can it be acceptable to bring weapons or any other prohibited substances such as drugs and alcohol into our schools, said the Minister.

Motshekga urged parents to be vigilant and ensure their children do not leave home and come to school with weapons.

The department will continue to work closely with police to curb youth delinquency, violence and other social ills from taking hold of our schools. We all need to work together to ensure that schools are safe spaces for learners and teachers, said the Minister.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Deputy President David Mabuza: 23rd Annual National Economic ...

Address by Deputy President David Dabede Mabuza, on the occasion of the 23rd Annual NEDLAC Summit at Saint Georges Conference Centre, Pretoria

Programme Director;

Ministers and Deputy Ministers;

President of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA);

Leaders of Organised Labour, COSATU, FEDUSA AND NACTU;

Leaders of the Community Constituency;

Distinguished guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am honoured to address this 23rd Annual NEDLAC Summit.

As this is my first engagement with you since our appointment to this position, I join all of you in this critical work of a partnership with a common objective to create a developed and prosperous nation.

As we work together going forward, you will have my unwavering commitment to bringing together Government, Labour, Business and Community organizations for this common-cause.

Working together in unison, we will seek full cooperation. We will work through problems. We will solve our challenges.

We need to creatively respond to how we balance domestic imperatives of transformation and configuration of the state on one hand, and creatively implementing our agenda of socio- economic transformation on the other.

Just as those who have come before us, our remit remains the sage wisdom of leadership and governance by consensus.

Together we will create a better life for all our people.

We will ensure that all who serve our people, all who lead, are empowered to make the best possible contribution for solving the economic, labour and development challenges confronting our country.

In you we see friends and reliable pillars that will hold and support us without end. We see fellow comrades and fellow travellers in the journey for a united, non-racial, non-sexist, just and prosperous South Africa.

The very foundation of NEDLAC, are founded on the vision of a pulsating participatory democracy� the heart-beat of which is a government that is not only based on the will of the people, but one that serves with dedication and commitment.

Ours is a nation founded on the values of Ubuntu that defines our very being. I am because you are, and you are because I am.

Inherent in our being, is the call to join labour, business and civic organisations to collectively make a difference, to make South Africa work.

It is those values and rich traditions of our people, which inspired our founding fathers to draft and craft this NEDLAC model that is the lode-star for our cooperation.

NEDLAC in its architecture envisions a country of opportunity. It envisions the cultivation of economic opportunities by working together as a people.

It is a system that cares little for race, creed, colour, wealth or class status. So long as we all put shoulders to the wheel, with all palms holding fast to a single ideal, we can achieve more.

At its core is a mechanism that will help us overcome the accumulated burdens of our divided past.

Here we will stand together, in-solidarity and march in-line to the cusps of a promised new dawn.

We may not all be elected representatives; we may not have large constituencies, but all of us can and will make a difference. We all make a contribution. This is the engine room from which we are sent to ensure that South Africa works – and it works for all her people.

It is from here that we must sow and plant the seeds from which we will reap the socio-economic advances necessary for inclusive growth and the creation of decent jobs and sustainable livelihoods.

It is from this engine room that we must craft the co-operation to make measures such as the National Minimum Wage to be an unrivalled success.

It is from this chamber, difficult and intractable as our challenges may seem, that we will cultivate the solutions to occasion hope and prosperity.

Here we will breed a system that gives workers a living wage. A system that creates jobs. A system that gives our people dignity. A system that helps them provide for themselves and live by the work of their hands.

This is a place where we can bring an end to exploitation and other forms of modern-day slavery.

It is from this cooperation that we must ensure the building of a country that is just and fair. A country that encourages prosperity in respecting labour laws and gives our people a fair chance at inclusive growth.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

When you met last, you met under the uncomfortable economic condition in the wake of the 2017 Sovereign Ratings Downgrades.

Today we meet at a time of great economic challenges facing our country. These challenges include sluggish economic growth leading to slow employment opportunities for our people and in certain sectors, job losses that further compound the challenge of poverty and inequality in our country.

As you are aware, we meet at a time when our revenues are declining. The Minister of Finance has budgeted for a VAT increase, with SARS indicating negative revenue collection outcomes.

We have also encountered an economic decline in the last two quarters showing successive decline. Our inflation outlook is increasingly perilous, the effects of a VAT increase, Rand-dollar exchanges and high fuel prices are beginning to impose their weighty implications. Both consumer and business confidence is showing strain.

In this environment, South Africans are standing cap-in-hand, facing us as NEDLAC social partners to coordinate all-round efforts to answer to their needs.

Working together with government, we all need to assist our National Treasury in the development of appropriate stimulus measures to cushion the poor and re-start the economy.

For our part as government, we have made significant progress in the past eleven months to identify and take key actions to mitigate the risk factors.

Understanding the depth of our challenges, we cannot wallow griped in a winter of despair.

We must all have the courage and conviction in lifting our country out of this economic challenges. We must stand together to engineer the path of unity of purpose.

This will at times require surgical and difficult austerity measures.

It will require that we work smarter, faster and with the requisite conviction to make do with the little we have.

As you are no doubt aware, our country is known for introducing world-class policies, but equally a notoriety for lack of implementing.

This must change.

Our inequality levels are far too high. The wage differentials, the historical disadvantages and low levels of education and skills, demand of us all to care more about the poor.

We are also acutely aware that this socio-economic pain, is borne most by young people in general and women in particular.

These conditions make urgent the need to cushion the poor from the effects of the economic decline.

We urgently need to complete our work on a comprehensive social security and retirement reform system, which is affordable, sustainable and appropriate for South Africa.

Most importantly, we have to graduate our people out of poverty by creating opportunities for young people and women. The other category in this regard that require attention and innovative responses, is the youth not in employment, not in education and not in training.

We will have to be innovative, efficient and effective. We are enjoined to use our scant resources wisely, with circumspection and with proper motive.

No longer can we afford malfeasances, greed and corruption. Nor can we afford to squander, pillage and decay our nation into any form of crisis.

All of us should take responsibility and become more accountable to what is best for society.

For our part as government we have made the commitment to root out corruption and governance failures in our system.

In the similar vein, we expect all NEDLAC partners to follow in good-turn. We must join hands in improving the lives of our people. Together we must build resilient institutions that would make our country to grow to higher levels.

Without your support and commitment, we cannot be able to defeat the corruption both in public and private sectors as well as price collusion.

We need business to close the taps of corporate greed, just as we need to ensure that public representatives do not use public resources for private interest.

What we need most is that our State-owned enterprises lead the way in the development of critical socio-economic infrastructure.

As you are aware, President Ramaphosa has called for investment of R100 trillion in our economy over the next five years. This should be investment from domestic and international sources.

To achieve this target, charity must begin at home. All our companies with cash reserves and growth potential must lead the way and invest in long-term growth. It is to them that outsiders are looking for the cultivation of confidence in the economy.

To encourage you, we too will do our part. We will ensure that we put in place the appropriate governance structures, structures that are fit for purpose, credible, efficient and effective.

But we must also ensure that we treat workers fairly.

In this connection, I am advised that The Department of Labour has tabled the much anticipated National Minimum Wage (NMW) Bill and the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill to NEDLAC on 05 May 2017.

I believe that the relevant task teams have been established to engage on both pieces of legislation and that negotiation on the National Minimum Wage are on-going.

As a matter of principle, we understand that workers have struggled for these gains for decades over.

We will seek at all times to bring their realisation for workable policies that facilitate an appropriate balance between inequality and prosperity.

Committed to these ideals, the Department of Labour has drafted and tabled an enforcement Strategy.

We call on all our social partners, on business and labour to ensure that we do the right thing, ever and always, without long arm of the law hovering over us. We simply have to find our moral compass.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

The theme under which we meet demands that we rise to the occasion of structural change.

We must prepare our economy to be attuned to the necessities of the 4th Industrial revolution.

Yesterday we used water and steam power to mechanize production. We turned to electric power to engineer mass production. Today, we rely on electronics and information technology to automate production.

For a better tomorrow, we will need to ride the wave of a Fourth Industrial Revolution.

We must anchor our growth on a digital revolution, a revolution that will change the way we work, live and tame artificial intelligence.

For this future we will need to prepare workers, business and young people to see this change as pregnant with opportunity and infinite possibilities.

We will have to stand ourselves ever-ready to amass the benefits of technologies that will transcend the physical, digital, and biological spheres that hold us back.

As production methods change, we must not be complacent nor frightened by the lightning speed of change. Rather, we must keep up.

Innovation and science is always the function of necessity.

We must embrace the infinite promise of autonomous cars, drone pizza deliveries and new lifesaving medical technologies.

But we must build tomorrow, today. We must ensure that we improve our skills and training regime to note advantages of these developments.

As a country in the global South and on the periphery, we must pace ourselves appropriately to preserve jobs and our consumer markets for the benefit of our continent.

We must respond positively by arming ourselves for a future that is grounded in science, technology and innovation.

It is our young people that will hold this promise to the future.

For us who have come before, we will need to pay it forward by investing in education, skilling and training.

We, need to ensure that we unearth our national talents.

We, have to ensure that nobody is behind. We, must ramp-up our efforts for creating new opportunities for young people.

It is us who must feed their hunger for learning, creativity and unlocking their latent talents.

In conclusion, as announced by The President in the State of the Nation we will be convening a Jobs Summit and an Investment Summit during the course of this year.

The preparatory work on these two initiatives are at an advanced stage.

These interventions will once against test our commitment to working together to find the solutions to the challenges we are faced with.

In planning for the job summit, social partners have identified five focal areas. We will be identifying special economic sectors for specific intervention.

Instead of focusing only on industrialisation and large-corporate, we will be leveraging the potential of Small and Micro Enterprises and ensuring their integration into global value chains.

We will use them to provide a solid base for future industrialisation.

In this regard, I have convened the Ministers COGTA, Small Business Development and Public Works to create work-streams and an anti-poverty inter-ministerial committee. Our focus is to graduate people out of Public Works programmes into enterprises and sustainable businesses.

We will turn our focus towards the institutionalisation of initiatives such as Sukuma Sakhe and Nthirisano at a national level to ensure that we build on the successes at provincial levels.

This will ensure that we target inclusive growth, redistribution and transformation at a granular level. We are totally committed to this process as part of ensuring that we meet the demands for radical socio-economic transformation.

The road ahead of us is long. It is fraught with pitfalls and troughs. Yet beyond the horizon, there is opportunity and fountains of hope.

We are taking the war to poverty. We are determined to make poverty history, to free our people from want and to give them dignity through economic emancipation.

Let us inspire hope, let us withstand the labour pains of yesterday and today so that a thriving new dawn may rise tomorrow.

Sukumani sakhe isizwe! Saam werk! Let us build today what we broke yesterday.

With those few words, I wish you a successful summit.

I thank you!

Source: Government of South Africa

Hawks nab traffic official for alleged corruption

Northern Cape – A joint operation comprising of the Hawks Serious Corruption Investigating Unit, Local Criminal Record Centre and Tactical Response Team has led to the arrest of a traffic official and a driving school owner aged 46 and 61 respectively today at Prieska.

It is alleged that between the period 2014 and 2017 the pair worked in cahoots, wherein the driving school owner would recruit clients on weekends, outside of operating hours and bring them to the local Traffic Department and illegally issue them with learners and driver licences in exchange of bribes.

Several evidential material including paper work were confiscated during the operation.

Both suspect are expected to make their first appearance at Prieska Magistrate Court tomorrow, 14 September 2018.

Source: South African Police Service

Team appointed to probe death of two pupils

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has appointed an independent team to establish the cause of death of two learners at a school in Katlehong.

The team is also expected to verify all available statements from the school and the parents of the learners.

The pair were pupils at Kumalo Primary School in Katlehong. The deceased pupils, a 10-year-old in Grade 4 and seven-year-old in Grade 1, were siblings.

It is alleged that on Tuesday, while in class, the Grade 4 pupil complained of experiencing stomach cramps and being nauseous. The pupil was taken to the local clinic.

Subsequently, the Grade 1 pupil also complained of similar symptoms as the older sibling, and was also rushed to the local clinic. Both pupils were unfortunately certified dead upon arrival at the clinic.

It is important to note that an educator sent by the school to inform the family about the condition of the two siblings, witnessed a five-year-old at the family home complaining of similar symptoms.

As a result, the five-year-old sibling was also rushed to the clinic, subsequently transferred to Thelle Mogoerane Hospital for urgent medical attention. He is in a critical but stable condition. The police are investigating this tragic incident, said Lesufi.

Lesufi sent his condolences to the family of the deceased pupils. The department’s psychosocial unit has been dispatched to the school to provide counselling and pastoral care to the family of the deceased, as well as the school community.

On behalf of the entire education fraternity in Gauteng, we would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family of the deceased learners and wish them peace and comfort during this difficult time.

We hope that the family will find comfort in the knowledge that we too share their loss. No words are enough to express our sorrow at the loss of a child, said Lesufi.

Source: South African Government News Agency

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the 19th Annual Steve Biko ...

President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Friday, 14 September 2018, deliver the 19th Annual Steve Biko Memorial Lecture at the University of South Africa (UNISA) in Pretoria.

Today, 12 September 2018, marks the 41st anniversary of the death in detention of Stephen Bantu Biko at the hands of the apartheid regime.

As an exemplary leader, Steve Bantu Biko championed positive self-esteem and pride among black South Africans in the face of discrimination, state-sponsored violence and repression.

The Steve Biko Memorial Lecture was first presented in 2000, with Former Presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki among previous presenters.

The Memorial Lecture is the principal avenue through which the Steve Biko Foundation pursues its vision to be the premier, independent promoter of the values Steve Biko lived and died for: restoring people to their true humanity.

Source: Government of South Africa

Western Cape Economic Development and Tourism on significant growth ...

Labour-intensive blueberry production has huge potential for the Cape

Blueberries, hailed for their health benefits and anti-oxidant properties, have soared in popularity around the world in recent years. In the Western Cape, production and exports of this berry have increased drastically from a low base, and the tiny berry holds the potential to add significant value to the economy and create additional jobs.

The blueberry world market has experienced significant growth in recent years, expanding from R8.8 billion in 2011, to R33.7 billion in 2016- translating into annual average growth of over 30%. All indications are that the global market is still growing to meet the demand that is still much higher than supply.

Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde said: This is a growing market, and coupled with the fact that blueberries are a labour intensive crop – with the ability to create 2.96 jobs per hectare – means that there is real potential here for the Western Cape to grow our blueberry exports, expand our economy and create new jobs in the agricultural sector.

We’ve seen exceptional growth in a number of our berry crops and this is one of the reasons the Department of Agriculture has been investing in the Alternative Crops Research Fund, which is aimed at boosting crops like berries, cherries and pomegranates which are water-wise and highly labour intensive, he said.

In South Africa, the strong global growth has initiated substantial investment into blueberry production, and market share has increased from just 0.19% in 2008, to 1.1% in 2016. According to data from Hortgro and the South African Berry Association, 68% of all South Africa’s berries are grown in the Western Cape.

About 70% of all South African blueberries are exported, 16% are sold as fresh in the local market and the remainder enter the agri-processing chain.

Blueberry exports from South Africa have shown annual average growth of about 44%, and the Western Cape Department of Agriculture’s fly-over data also indicates that the hectares under production for blueberries has shown good growth.

Consumption trends in the USA, which is both the world’s largest consumer and producer of blueberries, show interesting data. Between 2005 and 2012, consumption trebled- partially as a result of a significant rise in the number of products which added blueberries as an ingredient. In the year 2000, approximately 300 products on the American market contained blueberries, by 2012, this had risen to more than 1000. Products including blueberries range from baked goods, to breakfast cereals and yoghurts.

Minister Winde remarked: We’ve seen from the USA, that there has been a rise in the number of products using blueberries there, which shows the opportunities available in the agri-processing space too. One of the pillars of our Project Khulisa strategy is to develop agri-processing, and berries as a whole, and blueberries in particular have many uses ranging from jams and juices to baked goods, breakfast cereals, health bars and even freeze-dried and frozen options.

Currently, South Africa and the Western Cape’s biggest export market for its blueberries is the United Kingdom, with import values for 2016 reaching R228 million. The Netherlands is the second biggest market, however, market attractiveness data indicates that there are a number of markets that have strong potential for development and growth including Ireland, the Czech Republic, Spain, Germany and Belgium. Asian markets in Singapore, Malaysia and China also hold real potential.

While the USA is the world’s largest consumer of blueberries, this market would be a difficult one to tap into primarily because of its proximity to other major producers like Mexico and Canada in the North, and Chile and Peru in the Southern Hemisphere.

However, other northern hemisphere countries are willing to pay premium prices for blueberries in their production off-season. As a Southern hemisphere producer, South Africa is presented with opportunities in this regard, however, would be competing with Chile and Peru, who are some of the largest exporters of blueberries in the world.

Peru in particular has shown massive growth in blueberry exports since 2011- with an annual average growth rate of over 300%. While South Africa would be competing with these Southern Hemisphere producers, we believe that there is still a lot of untapped market potential, and we see the continued growth of these Southern Hemisphere producers as a positive indicator of growth. At this point it is essential that new markets be opened and explored through bilateral engagements for continued growth of the industry, Minister Winde said.

Source: Government of South Africa

Nine suspects held for murder and public violence in Klerksdorp

Potchefstroom: As part of stamping the authority of the state following violence that broke out in Pienaarsdorp in Klerksdorp, police reacted swiftly and arrested nine suspects aged between 22 and 52 on Sunday, 9 September 2018 for murder and public violence.

The suspects’ arrest follows two separate incidents in which two people were killed in Pienaarsdorp, Klerksdorp. It is alleged that police in Klerksdorp were patrolling the area yesterday morning when they found a body of a male on the street. It came out later that the body with two stab wounds, was of a local taxi driver.

It is alleged that an unconfirmed number of taxi drivers grouped themselves with intention to avenge their colleague’s death who they alleged was killed by foreign nationals. According to information available at this stage, reports suggests that later during the day, a 28 year-old Zimbabwean national was allegedly stabbed with a knife on his chest by taxi drivers while at his tuckshop. He was taken to hospital, but certified dead on arrival.

Prior to that a group of people suspected to be taxi drivers were seen setting alight hawkers stalls at the taxi rank. Public Order Police (POP) was mobilised and managed to normalise the situation. Consequently, two separate cases of murder were opened for investigation.

The nine suspects arrested for the alleged murder of a Zimbabwean national are expected to appear in the Klerksdorp Magistrate’s Court tomorrow, 11 September 2018. They will also be facing a charge of public violence.

The North West Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane has condemned these occurrences and urged members of the community to respect the rule of law and to refrain from taking the law into their own hands. She said further that the police will not hesitate to act against anyone who commits crime including damaging of properties.

Source: South African Police Service