Category Archives: Science & Technology

Transport Minister talks tough on reckless driving

Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi says the surge in festive season fatalities in the last three years from 1 587 in 2014/15 to 2 006 in 2016/17 shows a need for the zero tolerance approach to law enforcement on the road.

The statistics again glaringly show that we have a monumental task to improve the behaviour of road users and safety on the roads, said the Minister on Tuesday at the launch of the Department of Transport's festive season campaign in Bela-Bela township, Limpopo.

Five provinces, namely Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga, accounted for 73% of all fatalities last year. This festive season, government will strive to combat this by removing unfit drivers and vehicles from the road.

Those that do not adhere to the standards will not leave the provinces of their origin. Residential areas such as suburban, township and village roads will be policed to ensure that holidaymakers do not cause unnecessary crashes, Minister Maswanganyi said.

The department said a trends analysis of festive season road crashes shows that over the past three years, road accidents spike over the weekends. A deeper analysis shows that several crashes take place between 15H00 and mid-night, and again in the mornings between 04H00 and 07H00.

I would like to make a clarion call for us get back to basics and direct our efforts at high risk violations occurring at certain times and places that lead to an increased number of accidents, said the Minister.

The situation is compounded on long weekends where alcohol consumption spikes, leading to reckless and negligent driving, bold disregard of road rules and an increase in road crashes, injuries and fatalities.

The Minister strongly condemned acts of criminality, such as motorists bribing officers of the law.

He used the launch to remember fallen officials, who died on duty due to the negligence of some drivers.

I urge all motorists to treat our traffic officers with respect and dignity. Let us all bear in mind that traffic officers have chosen this career to serve and protect the nation against lawlessness.

He issued a stern warning reminding motorists and the public that an attack against law enforcement officers is an attack against the State and it shall not be tolerated.

Those who attack them must be pursued, arrested and face the full might of the law, Minister Maswanganyi said.

He urged municipalities and provincial authorities to ensure adequate protection of traffic officers.

Source: South African Government News Agency

What Libya’s “slave auctions” tell us about the ...

In the wake of the CNN report on human auctions in Libya, there has rightly been a surge in concern for the thousands of Africans languishing in inhumane conditions in detention camps.

Political leaders in Europe and Africa, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki, have condemned the situation.

Notable also has been the spontaneous attention of African and African-American celebrities in the face of the silence by official Hollywood goodwill ambassadors for various international organisations.

After years of flailing diplomacy and lonely advocacy, it seems the world is finally ready to talk about the humanitarian disaster in Libya.

But while this new wave of attention is welcome and necessary, it does raise key questions.

Why did it take so long to have this near-unified voice of condemnation on a well-researched and well-covered issue that has been in the public domain for the better part of the last decade? Why now and not before? And more importantly, what does this delayed reaction say about race and racism in international humanitarian work?

The CNN film has had such a major impact in part because of the starkness of the imagery � the visuals reminiscent of the trans-Saharan and trans-Atlantic slave trades.

Although the men in the videos are not shackled, they are certainly imprisoned and, in a later part of the film, they detail the dire conditions in which they are held. Rape, beatings, starvation and murder all recur with alarming frequency in this contemporary slave trade.

The impact of injustice

Yet this information is not new. International organisations, politicians, and journalists have all reported the dire conditions facing African migrants in Libya from at least 2010.

Rather, this new urgency can be attributed in part to the rise of new forms of organising for racial justice.

Specifically, the Black Lives Matter movement has broadened the concerns of global racial solidarity, not just in the United States where it was born, but also across other racially divided societies like South Africa and Brazil.

African diasporas in France and in the United Kingdom have also organised chapters to fight local racial battles. The call for a new global compact for racial justice demanded in the streets of Baltimore, New York, Paris, Johannesburg, and Tel Aviv is finally being heard in offices in Geneva and New York.

Is global humanitarianism ready to talk about race?

It should be, considering that anti-black racism is the elephant in the room when it comes to the protection of refugees and migrants.

The vast majority of the world's refugees and migrants today are Asian and African, unlike in the 1940s when the original instruments of protection were negotiated.

Most of these people remain in their region of origin. South-South migration is common in Africa where, for example, 20,000 Ethiopians and Eritreans try to reach southern Africa every year.

It's important to situate contemporary human mobility in its proper place. With the notable exception of the cruel and inhumane global slave trade, the search for better opportunities, particularly in young men negotiating patriarchal masculinities, is � and has long been � common.

But the rules have changed.

In the 19th century as more and more young men took to the sea from southern Portugal as part of exploration and colonisation missions, the women they left behind would sing mournful songs, lamenting their departure and willing them to return safely, songs collectively known as Fado.

Now, hundreds of thousands of young African men and women die on their journeys abroad � from the North African deserts to the Mediterranean Sea, primarily as a consequence of increasingly inhumane policies towards human mobility. They are unmourned except when families finally get word that they have gone missing.

Criminalising migrants

Unlike European men in the last century who were celebrated for leaving home in search of opportunity or even adventure, young African men today are criminalised and punished, especially when they try to enter predominantly white societies.

Take another example. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh and have been largely welcomed, if under-resourced, while Australia expends much force and energy to keep hundreds of refugees violently contained on Manus Island. The same can be said of South Americans attempting to cross into the United States, and of course the frame of existential crisis that populist parties in Europe reserve for Muslim refugees from the Middle East.

If there is a global crisis of migration it is that societies are resorting to increasingly draconian measures to keep The Other out.

Contrast this panic with the treatment of predominantly white migrants or expats. Most countries in the world have migration policies that favour immigration by expats while penalising similar migration from predominantly black and brown populations.

This includes African countries like Kenya, which has kept half a million Somali refugees encamped with no legal status or pathway to citizenship for over 25 years.

On the campaign trail earlier this year, French President Emmanuel Macron emphatically offered France as a second home to American climate scientists concerned about the anti-science proclivities of Donald Trump's administration.

But when African and European leaders met in Abidjan last week, Macron was equivocal in offering the same emphatic welcome to African migrants held in the detention centres in Libya � regardless of their qualifications.

Everyone wants good migrants � where good means primarily white and/or wealthy.

Ignoring the suffering

At the same time, consider that the barter of African bodies in Libya is not a question of a handful of criminals in the desert. It is a global system that rises to the highest level.

Deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi routinely used the threat of allowing mass migration of black Africans to Europe in negotiations for improved political relations.

European governments have repeatedly paid African countries to take and keep African migrants and refugees in Africa. Black and brown bodies are constantly on sale in the modern era, but it is couched in the polite language of diplomatic negotiation and helping them where they are.

And the very act of feigning shock at information that has been in the public domain � reported by survivors and journalists alike � for so long speaks to an unwillingness to see the suffering of Africans.

Race and racism are at the heart of the ongoing refugee and migrant crisis, but, to date, humanitarianism has been reluctant to talk about it in stark terms.

The preferred language of protection is dry and technical, linked to statutes and conventions that were drafted at the time of Jim Crow and independence movements around the world.

Consider that the refugee convention entered into force in 1951 when most of Africa and the Caribbean was still colonised and three years before Brown v. Board of Education desegregated US schools.

New voices

The convention was not designed with ethnic minorities in mind and has struggled to adapt as the dynamics of refugee protection have shifted. It responded to the white-on-white crimes of World War II and is predicated on the goodwill of states towards citizens that arguably has never been extended to black or brown people.

Which is probably why, less than a week later, the momentum triggered by the CNN film is already fading. The United States has pulled out of the new global compact on migration, and the document agreed upon by EU and AU leaders in Abidjan is widely viewed as weak.

The stark visuals of the CNN report have forced a conversation on humanitarian protection to be openly and explicitly framed as a question of racial justice.

This has allowed new voices and new advocacy into the conversation. It remains unclear if this new momentum and direction of thought will translate into more meaningful action for those on the move.

Source: IRIN

What Libya’s “slave auctions” tell us about the ...

In the wake of the CNN report on human auctions in Libya, there has rightly been a surge in concern for the thousands of Africans languishing in inhumane conditions in detention camps.

Political leaders in Europe and Africa, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki, have condemned the situation.

Notable also has been the spontaneous attention of African and African-American celebrities in the face of the silence by official Hollywood goodwill ambassadors for various international organisations.

After years of flailing diplomacy and lonely advocacy, it seems the world is finally ready to talk about the humanitarian disaster in Libya.

But while this new wave of attention is welcome and necessary, it does raise key questions.

Why did it take so long to have this near-unified voice of condemnation on a well-researched and well-covered issue that has been in the public domain for the better part of the last decade? Why now and not before? And more importantly, what does this delayed reaction say about race and racism in international humanitarian work?

The CNN film has had such a major impact in part because of the starkness of the imagery � the visuals reminiscent of the trans-Saharan and trans-Atlantic slave trades.

Although the men in the videos are not shackled, they are certainly imprisoned and, in a later part of the film, they detail the dire conditions in which they are held. Rape, beatings, starvation and murder all recur with alarming frequency in this contemporary slave trade.

The impact of injustice

Yet this information is not new. International organisations, politicians, and journalists have all reported the dire conditions facing African migrants in Libya from at least 2010.

Rather, this new urgency can be attributed in part to the rise of new forms of organising for racial justice.

Specifically, the Black Lives Matter movement has broadened the concerns of global racial solidarity, not just in the United States where it was born, but also across other racially divided societies like South Africa and Brazil.

African diasporas in France and in the United Kingdom have also organised chapters to fight local racial battles. The call for a new global compact for racial justice demanded in the streets of Baltimore, New York, Paris, Johannesburg, and Tel Aviv is finally being heard in offices in Geneva and New York.

Is global humanitarianism ready to talk about race?

It should be, considering that anti-black racism is the elephant in the room when it comes to the protection of refugees and migrants.

The vast majority of the world's refugees and migrants today are Asian and African, unlike in the 1940s when the original instruments of protection were negotiated.

Most of these people remain in their region of origin. South-South migration is common in Africa where, for example, 20,000 Ethiopians and Eritreans try to reach southern Africa every year.

It's important to situate contemporary human mobility in its proper place. With the notable exception of the cruel and inhumane global slave trade, the search for better opportunities, particularly in young men negotiating patriarchal masculinities, is � and has long been � common.

But the rules have changed.

In the 19th century as more and more young men took to the sea from southern Portugal as part of exploration and colonisation missions, the women they left behind would sing mournful songs, lamenting their departure and willing them to return safely, songs collectively known as Fado.

Now, hundreds of thousands of young African men and women die on their journeys abroad � from the North African deserts to the Mediterranean Sea, primarily as a consequence of increasingly inhumane policies towards human mobility. They are unmourned except when families finally get word that they have gone missing.

Criminalising migrants

Unlike European men in the last century who were celebrated for leaving home in search of opportunity or even adventure, young African men today are criminalised and punished, especially when they try to enter predominantly white societies.

Take another example. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh and have been largely welcomed, if under-resourced, while Australia expends much force and energy to keep hundreds of refugees violently contained on Manus Island. The same can be said of South Americans attempting to cross into the United States, and of course the frame of existential crisis that populist parties in Europe reserve for Muslim refugees from the Middle East.

If there is a global crisis of migration it is that societies are resorting to increasingly draconian measures to keep The Other out.

Contrast this panic with the treatment of predominantly white migrants or expats. Most countries in the world have migration policies that favour immigration by expats while penalising similar migration from predominantly black and brown populations.

This includes African countries like Kenya, which has kept half a million Somali refugees encamped with no legal status or pathway to citizenship for over 25 years.

On the campaign trail earlier this year, French President Emmanuel Macron emphatically offered France as a second home to American climate scientists concerned about the anti-science proclivities of Donald Trump's administration.

But when African and European leaders met in Abidjan last week, Macron was equivocal in offering the same emphatic welcome to African migrants held in the detention centres in Libya � regardless of their qualifications.

Everyone wants good migrants � where good means primarily white and/or wealthy.

Ignoring the suffering

At the same time, consider that the barter of African bodies in Libya is not a question of a handful of criminals in the desert. It is a global system that rises to the highest level.

Deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi routinely used the threat of allowing mass migration of black Africans to Europe in negotiations for improved political relations.

European governments have repeatedly paid African countries to take and keep African migrants and refugees in Africa. Black and brown bodies are constantly on sale in the modern era, but it is couched in the polite language of diplomatic negotiation and helping them where they are.

And the very act of feigning shock at information that has been in the public domain � reported by survivors and journalists alike � for so long speaks to an unwillingness to see the suffering of Africans.

Race and racism are at the heart of the ongoing refugee and migrant crisis, but, to date, humanitarianism has been reluctant to talk about it in stark terms.

The preferred language of protection is dry and technical, linked to statutes and conventions that were drafted at the time of Jim Crow and independence movements around the world.

Consider that the refugee convention entered into force in 1951 when most of Africa and the Caribbean was still colonised and three years before Brown v. Board of Education desegregated US schools.

New voices

The convention was not designed with ethnic minorities in mind and has struggled to adapt as the dynamics of refugee protection have shifted. It responded to the white-on-white crimes of World War II and is predicated on the goodwill of states towards citizens that arguably has never been extended to black or brown people.

Which is probably why, less than a week later, the momentum triggered by the CNN film is already fading. The United States has pulled out of the new global compact on migration, and the document agreed upon by EU and AU leaders in Abidjan is widely viewed as weak.

The stark visuals of the CNN report have forced a conversation on humanitarian protection to be openly and explicitly framed as a question of racial justice.

This has allowed new voices and new advocacy into the conversation. It remains unclear if this new momentum and direction of thought will translate into more meaningful action for those on the move.

Source: IRIN

Transport Minister talks tough on reckless driving

Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi says the surge in festive season fatalities in the last three years from 1 587 in 2014/15 to 2 006 in 2016/17 shows a need for the zero tolerance approach to law enforcement on the road.

The statistics again glaringly show that we have a monumental task to improve the behaviour of road users and safety on the roads, said the Minister on Tuesday at the launch of the Department of Transport's festive season campaign in Bela-Bela township, Limpopo.

Five provinces, namely Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga, accounted for 73% of all fatalities last year. This festive season, government will strive to combat this by removing unfit drivers and vehicles from the road.

Those that do not adhere to the standards will not leave the provinces of their origin. Residential areas such as suburban, township and village roads will be policed to ensure that holidaymakers do not cause unnecessary crashes, Minister Maswanganyi said.

The department said a trends analysis of festive season road crashes shows that over the past three years, road accidents spike over the weekends. A deeper analysis shows that several crashes take place between 15H00 and mid-night, and again in the mornings between 04H00 and 07H00.

I would like to make a clarion call for us get back to basics and direct our efforts at high risk violations occurring at certain times and places that lead to an increased number of accidents, said the Minister.

The situation is compounded on long weekends where alcohol consumption spikes, leading to reckless and negligent driving, bold disregard of road rules and an increase in road crashes, injuries and fatalities.

The Minister strongly condemned acts of criminality, such as motorists bribing officers of the law.

He used the launch to remember fallen officials, who died on duty due to the negligence of some drivers.

I urge all motorists to treat our traffic officers with respect and dignity. Let us all bear in mind that traffic officers have chosen this career to serve and protect the nation against lawlessness.

He issued a stern warning reminding motorists and the public that an attack against law enforcement officers is an attack against the State and it shall not be tolerated.

Those who attack them must be pursued, arrested and face the full might of the law, Minister Maswanganyi said.

He urged municipalities and provincial authorities to ensure adequate protection of traffic officers.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Private sector called to invest in water sector

Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane has called on the private sector to partner with government and invest in the water sector to help address challenges experienced in the water and sanitation space.

Minister Mokonyane made the call during the Water Infrastructure Investment Summit (WIIS) held on Tuesday at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

The department, in partnership with the Water Research Commission (WRC), convened the summit to facilitate a conversation and programme of action that aims to shift the water and sanitation sector investment landscape to a space that is open and enabling for investment and inclusive growth opportunities.

In her address, Minister Mokonyane said radical socio-economic transformation entails, among others, the introduction of new models and mechanism of working relationships that will enhance service delivery.

This means that we have to look at new ways for an integrated water resource management. Efforts to manage, protect and preserve water as a critical resource in a sustainable manner speaks to the collective responsibility of all the stakeholders in the water sector.

Water security and management are vital components of social and economic development in South Africa. Putting in place appropriate internal measures will enable a significant benefit in realising external opportunities to save water and use it more efficiently, Minister Mokonyane said.

She said it is imperative the country thinks innovatively about new ways of making water available outside the traditional engineering solutions of supply-side infrastructure development.

Minister Mokonyane emphasised the importance of applying proper economic impact analysis to appreciate how increasing investments in the nation's water infrastructure can have a positive impact on both economic growth and employment.

Moreover, we will have to review the projected capital needs of water, wastewater and storm-water utilities, and be able to estimate the associated economic benefits that would be realised if we were to make those investments.

These benefits include the economic opportunities created by water infrastructure projects, the long-term productivity savings to the customers of water utilities, as well as the avoided costs of frequent disruptions in water and wastewater services to business, the Minister said.

No change in policy

The Minister used the opportunity to assure stakeholders that there is no change in policy, but the department aims to empower the current water and sanitation policy environment, with a new partnership between the public sector, private sector and civil society to build a strong, powerful and effective Team Water SA.

She said government is seeking a new partnership with the business and investment sector to ensure water security in South Africa in a manner that ensures access to safe water and sanitation universally and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We have to refurbish the current networks, simultaneously modernising them with such interventions as real-time monitoring with distribution sensor networks converting the water and sanitation networks into intelligent systems. We need to deal with our infrastructure backlog innovatively, taking advantage of the new solutions and innovations coming out of research and development, the Minister said.

Everybody needs to come on board

Rand Water CEO Percy Sechemane says that investing in water requires everybody to come on board.

You can't look at the food value chain without saying that whatever we are doing, water is going to play a big part in it. The bulk infrastructure is sitting in the middle, but that is where you have to make sure that you upstream, Sechemane said.

Sechemane said a lot of investment has been made in water, with returns.

Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority chairperson Zodwa Manase said there's an opportunity to make money through water. You cannot get involved in a mega project of water without making partnerships, Manase said.

South African Local Government Association President Parks Tau said there a lot of opportunities in investing in water.

There's an opportunity to enter into partnerships that would address issues of leakages in water infrastructure, expanding our dam storage facilities and also investing in pressure management solutions for municipalities, Tau said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

OMBUDSMAN FINDS EASTERN CAPE GOVT WRONGLY USED PUBLIC FUNDS FOR ...

PRETORIA, South Africa's Public Protector (Ombudsman), Busiswe Mkhwebane, has found that the Eastern Cape provincial government improperly redirected about 300 million rand (about 22.19 million US dollars) of public funds to pay for the funeral of former president Nelson Mandela.

She found that some of the funds were meant for the provision of running water, electricity, sanitation, ablution facilities, replacement of mud-schools and refurbishing hospitals.

Mandela died on Dec 5, 2013 and was buried on Dec 15 at his home town in Qunu in the province.

Mkhwebane found that lack of proper planning created an environment where prices were inflated, for example the payment of 350 rand for a t-shirt, and that some services were paid for without being delivered.

She suggested that the Special Investigations Unit investigate the allegations.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

SOUTH AFRICAN F.A. ANNOUNCES 23.1 MILLION RAND PROFIT

JOHANNESBURG, The South African Football Association (SAFA) has announced a profit of 12.1 million Rand (about 1.68 million US dollars) this year.

The result , announced at the association's annual congress at the Sandton Convention Centre here Sunday, represents a big turnaround in the association's coffers; last year SAFA recorded a huge loss of 45 million Rands.

The congress also took a number of decisions which include bringing the 2018 elective congress from September next year to March. The move to bring forward the elective congress was informed by the fact that the national football team, Bafana Bafana, have failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The idea to move the SAFA elections to September next year was taken last year in order to allow smooth preparations for the team and to give the new incoming executive a clean start to the World Cup cycle. Now that the team has failed to qualify for Russia, the Congress unanimously agreed to bring the elections forward to March.

The SAFA Congress on Sunday also agreed to make Zululand president Jeremiah Mdlalose an honorary member of the SAFA National Executive Committee NEC), joining Obakeng Molatedi, Henry Mosesi, Lesole Gadinabokao and former SAFA president Molefi Oliphant.

The congress was chaired by SAFA President Danny Jordaan, who lauded all members for a successful 2017. Jordaan said SAFA's investment of over 100 million Rand in the National Technical Centre represented a commitment to develop a global benchmark of the development of internationally competitive teams having Provincial Academies among others.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Two suspects nabbed for business robbery and attempted murder

TZANEEN CLUSTER: The deployment of the SAPS members across the province, in accordance with planned festive season operations, is consistently yielding positive results after two suspects aged 35 and 42 respectively, were stopped in their tracks soon after committing business robberies at a local shops at Mokwakwaila village outside Tzaneen and at two other villages outside Giyani. The incidents took place on Monday. 4 December 2017.

The duo arrived at the local shop and after entering, they allegedly shot the owner in the head, took an undisclosed amount of cash and fled from the scene. The victim was taken to hospital with head injuries. The police was informed, reacted swiftly and started tracing the suspects. Unaware that the police were following their tracks, the suspects, driving the same vehicle, committed other business robberies at the villages of Dzumeri and Abel in Giyani Cluster. This time the police caught up with them in a well-coordinated operation involving the two Clusters, Tzaneen and Giyani. A car chase ensued resulting in the suspects losing control of their vehicle. It swerved off the road and into the bushes. They then abandoned it and fled into the bush. One suspect was apparently injured in the process and as they were fleeing, some gun shots were heard. Police are also investigating information that the injured suspect was allegedly shot by his partner in crime in an apparent attempt to destroy the evidence. The injured suspect survived the shooting and is under police guard in hospital. The other suspect surrendered and was apprehended after handing himself over to the police in Giyani.

The suspects will soon appear in Giyani and Tzaneen magistrate courts respectively. They will face charges of business robbery and attempted murder.

Source: South African Police Service