Daily Archives: November 27, 2015

Africa’s booming retail sector set to attain China’s lofty standards

JOHANNESBURG: THE continent’s retail industry is earmarked for a boom, such as one experienced by current economic powerhouse China in the late 1980s, on the back of a rapidly increasing population and significant investments in the sector. The comparison with the Asian country has earned Africa the tag of the ‘next big story” in the foreseeable future, similar to China’s meteoric rise to current trends of yesteryear retailers are expanding four to five times faster than retailers in the United States and Europe.

Statistics and investments suggest Sub-Saharan Africa is on course to attain those lofty standards. Kearney’s 2015 Global Retail Development Index has listed Sub-Saharan Africa as the ‘big story’ for 2040. It lists three Sub-Saharan countries-Botswana, Gabon and Angola- in the top 30 developing countries for retail investment globally.

Another think-tank, the Economist Intelligence, noted over the last decade, that annual inward direct investment in Sub-Saharan Africa has more than tripled from around US$ 3billion to over $18 billion as investors continue exploring alternative opportunities to the western markets hit by the economic crisis. At an annual rate of 2,5 percent Sub-Saharan Africa has a faster growing population than any other region in the world; more than double most other regions and well above a global average of 1 percent.

The populations of key regional markets such as Nigeria, Kenya and Angola are projected to more than double by 2050 while long-term United Nations population forecasts project Africa to be home to almost one-third of the world’s population by the end of the century. Some 12 cities, including those in Angola, Nigeria and South Africa are expected to surpass the 10-million population mark, making them megacities (10 million people or more).

Presently the region has three such cities, Cairo, Kinshasa and Lagos. Overall, the South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC) reports that 900 000m2 of shopping space was in various planning stages across Africa, excluding South Africa. Analysts believe such trends highlight opportunities for growth of the retail sector in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Steve Burd, Acting Vice President of Sales for DHL Sub-Saharan Africa, the logistics company, said the rising middle class, coupled with market and infrastructure development would continue to drive demand in the retail space in the years to come. He pointed out to the Kearney’s 2015 Global Retail Development Index suggesting Ghana, Namibia and Zambia, were likely to be included on the list of top 30 developing countries in the coming years.

Referring to the index, Burd said it was refreshing to see that smaller markets were emerging and to rival Nigeria and South Africa, historically considered the continent’s powerhouses. Gabon, Botswana and Angola, in that order, are listed above the pair with Tanzania also on the list. “Developing countries, as well as early stage markets with little to no formal shopping culture, are increasingly becoming viable markets for retailers. However, while there are increasingly more opportunities, businesses and investors need to look at each market individually before expanding, as there is no one size fits all strategy for the African market,” said Burd.

He said according to market intelligence agency, WARC, West Africans had an outlook closely aligned to the United States, whereas East Africans tended to find Asian brands more appealing. “Understanding the differing cultures and brand preferences is therefore important when considering a retail expansion strategy,” adds Burd. In line with projections by analysts on the prospects of the retail sector, some South African companies recently acquired the plush Ikeja City Mall, Lagos’ largest shopping centre.

David Morley, Head of Real Estate at Actis, which sold the facility for an undisclosed amount, said the transaction highlighting growth prospects for investors seeking to grow their portfolio of dominant quality retail malls in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, Burd said while the opportunities were on the rise, challenges remained.

These range from customs regulations to supply chain management. “Supply chains in Africa are more challenging than many other markets in the world, and the key to success is understanding these in order to offset the risks versus the opportunity which the continent offers,” Burd said.

SOURCE: CAJ NEWS AGENCY

Department of Women on attack by taxi driver on woman during 16 Days of Activism

Just two days ago President Jacob Zuma and Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women, Honourable Susan Shabangu urged every member of the society not to look away when violence against women and children transpires.

Today, two days since the launch of 16 Days for no violence against women and children, we rouse to the video footage of an alleged taxi driver assaulting a woman. Those in the taxi which include three women and two men kept silent as the women was being embarrassed and assaulted.

This is exactly what we mean when we say government cannot fight the scourge alone. It takes all of us to intervene and correct the violent treatment by men towards women. The eradication of this plague is only possible if all of us do something.

We have to keep pushing relentlessly to end the scourge of gender based violence. The unbecoming actions of a taxi driver are another level of disrespect, for while we, government and society at large are calling for the protection of women he does exactly what we speak against.

Our action towards activism will be impractical campaigns and will give rise to violence if we do not work together. Let us all do our part in stopping this violence.

Enough is enough: We call on everyone to play their part and prevent violence against women, children. No woman should be beaten or attacked in any manner anywhere in our country. Those who abuse have no place in our communities.

During these 16 Days we appeal to all sectors of society to end the cycle of violence against women, children and people with disabilities.

Let us use this campaign to heighten awareness and empower communities to act to prevent abuse and to ensure a safer society for all, especially women, children and other vulnerable groups.

Media enquiries:

Charlotte Lobe

Cell: 076 213 9941

E-mail: charlotte.lobe@women.gov.za

Sixolise Gcilishe

Cell: 082 429 1923

E-mail: sixolise.gcilishe@women.gov.za;

SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICAL NEWS

Freedom Park commemorates first slave walk, 29 Nov

Freedom Park will on Sunday 29 November 2015, commemorate the First Slave walk in Rural South Africa with the local communities, indigenous organizations, religious institutions and local government structures.

The historical Slave Walk is celebrated annually throughout the world did not happen in the cities around the world only. Many slavewalks for freedom and celebrations took place in rural regions around the globe. In South Africa this significant event also happened in the Southern Cape region of South Africa.

The local communities and organizations have for many years tried to involve the broader South African community in sharing this historic event with them. Freedom Park will be the first national institution to have the honour of honouring those brave slaves who walked the long walk for their freedom in this rural region.

Members of the media are invited as follows:

Date: Sunday, 29 November 2015

Time: 13h00

Venue: Blanco Civic Centre, George

Enquiries:

Lydia Howard

Cell: 082 445 9162

Naomi Madima

Cell: 060 961 3651

Tel: 012 336 4006

SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICAL NEWS

Treasury will not stop transfer of funds to defaulting municipalities

On 13 March 2015 National Treasury warned 59 municipalities across the country that the March 2015 tranche of the Local Government Equitable Share (LGES) would be withheld because of their failure to pay creditors, including Eskom and Water Boards, as required by section 65(2) of the Municipal Finance Management Act, 2003 (MFMA, Act No. 56 of 2003).

Municipalities were advised to comply with National Treasury’s prerequisite conditions to ensure the release of the March 2015 tranche of the LGES. In terms hereof municipalities were required to enter into reasonable, affordable and realistic repayment arrangements to settle their arrears to Eskom and Water Boards, while maintaining payment of the current accounts to these service providers. These municipalities were required to table these repayment plans in Council to demonstrate their commitment to settling this debt.

National Treasury met with the 59 affected municipalities to discuss their plight and to jointly agree on the remedial actions required to assist them. These individual municipal engagements were attended by representatives from SALGA, Department of Cooperative Governance (DCoG), the relevant provincial treasury, Eskom and the relevant Water Boards. Subsequently, National Treasury released the LGES to all affected municipalities that met the prerequisite conditions.

Furthermore, National Treasury advised that, should these municipalities fail to honour the agreed repayment arrangements, the consequence would be dire as Section 216(2) of the Constitution would be invoked in response to their persistent breach.

Among the positive outcomes of this process is that municipalities concluded signed repayment agreements with Eskom and Water Boards as follows:

Of the 59 municipalities, 51 municipalities required signed Eskom agreements and to date 49 have signed.

Of the 59 municipalities, 14 municipalities required signed Water Boards agreements and to date 12 have signed.

Unfortunately, the September 2015 Section 41 reports in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act, 2003 (MFMA, Act No. 56 of 2003) submitted to National Treasury by Eskom and the Water Boards showed that 27 municipalities had breached their repayment agreements with either one or both of these entities.

On the 20 October 2015 National Treasury communicated, in writing, to these municipalities (27) affording them an opportunity to provide a written response as to why National Treasury should not invoke Section 216(2) of the Constitution for their persistent breach.

SALGA had been informed of this process at a prior engagement with National Treasury at which it committed to meet with the 27 defaulting municipalities on the 27 October 2015. The purpose of this engagement was for SALGA to alert these municipalities of National Treasury’s impending decision to invoke Section 216(2) of the Constitution for persistent breach and to communicate the seriousness of this process and the associated accountability.

Section 216(2) of the Constitution permits the National Treasury to stop the transfer of all funds (equitable share and conditional grants) to any organ of state that commits persistent and material breach of their financial obligations. Although the decision to invoke Section 216(2) of the Constitution does initially make it difficult for municipalities to meet their immediate financial obligations, it ultimately requires municipalities to be consistent in implementing measures to improve their financial management practices.

All the 27 municipalities responded positively to the correspondence dated 20 October 2015, and committed themselves to implementing sustainable measures to address the root causes of their operational management failures and to honour their financial obligations. Furthermore, the MECs for Finance and CoGTAs, together with SALGA have committed to collectively assist municipalities. The Minister of Finance has therefore decided not to invoke Section 216(2) of the Constitution against these municipalities for now.

This provides all stakeholders, including the municipalities affected by this process, sufficient time to resolve the matters tabled at the engagements with the 59 municipalities, with the understanding that section 216 will be invoked in case of default on payments. A summary of concrete measure and commitments that have been made by municipalities with the support of SALGA and provinces to restore financial sustainability and honour commitments include the following:

SALGA’s commitment to facilitate a process where the institutional arrangements between District municipalities, local municipalities, Eskom and Water Boards will be properly documented and updated with the support of the relevant sector departments;

Where municipal budgets were not funded in line with Section 18 of the MFMA, provincial treasuries are committed to assist municipalities to correct in their Adjustments Budget process supported by provincial treasuries;

Municipalities have committed to put measures in place to monitor the total consumption of both electricity and water within their area of jurisdiction, whether they are the service provider or not; and

Some Municipalities have committed to initiate a process to install water and electricity meters to verify the invoices from Eskom and Water Boards, this will assist in establishing which part of the community is consuming more than the Council policy with regard to the provision of free basic services; and

Municipalities will decisively deal with water and electricity losses that are spiralling out of control and work towards National Treasury’s norms and standards as articulated in MFMA Circular No. 71.

Provinces will now be responsible for monitoring and overseeing these commitments and a comprehensive progress report per municipality per province will be submitted jointly by the MECs for Finance and provincial CoGTAs by the end of January 2016 and quarterly thereafter. National Treasury will report this information quarterly to the various Parliamentary Committees as committed by the Minister of Finance. The information reported will inform National Treasury’s release of the March 2016 LGES to these municipalities.

SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICAL NEWS

Minister Senzeni Zokwana: Sheep handover event during Imbizo

Honourable Chairperson;

MEC Shushu,

Mayors present;

Municipal and Provincial representatives;

Dikgosi and their traditional councils

Farmers and representatives of farmers organisations;

Civil society;

Business;

Members of the media;

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen.

Goeie more; dumelang;molweni; good morning, dumelang.

It is a great honour and privilege for me to be here today to discuss matters that relate to food security. Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food.

There is no arguing that food security continues to be a worldwide concern and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future as the world population continues to expand and natural resources are put under more pressure.

Food Security

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that about 805 million people of the 7,3 billion people in the world, or one in nine, were suffering from chronic undernourishment between 2012 and 2014. Almost all the hungry people, 791 million, live in developing countries.

In South Africa, the right to food, among other basic rights, is enshrined in the Constitution. The same Constitution also affords Government the mandate to make provisions, either legislatively or otherwise, to ensure that this right is realised.

At the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.

Sustainable Development Goal number two aims to “end hunger; achieve food security and improved nutrition; and promote sustainable agriculture”. One of the activities identified in achieving this goal is to “maintain genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants, farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species, including through soundly managed and diversified seed and plant banks at national, regional and international levels, and ensure access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge as internationally agreed by 2020”.

It is widely reported that animal genetic resources for food and agriculture are an essential part of the biological basis for world food security, and contribute to the livelihoods of people.

APAP

In response to these global initiatives, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has established programmes aimed towards the conservation and sustainable use of farm animal genetic resources and agriculture. The department has also developed the Agricultural Policy Action Plan (APAP), which will make a positive contribution in addressing some of the relevant key outcomes set by our government, in particular Outcome 7, which speaks to “vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities contributing towards food security for all” and Outcome 10, which aims to “protect and enhance our environmental assets and natural resources”.

Genetic Resources

According to the State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture prepared by Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Intergovernmental Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, the full potential of animal genetic resources is far from being realised and these genetic resources face serious erosion in both developed and developing countries. This erosion is caused by changes in production systems, disease outbreaks, inappropriate breeding policies and practices, inappropriate introduction of exotic breeds, to name but a few. Erosion of animal genetic resources threatens the ability of farmers and livestock keepers to respond to environmental and socio-economic changes, including changing diets and consumer preferences.

Namaqua Afrikaner sheep breed

Regarding our conservation programme, we recognise the need for conservation and sustainable use of our indigenous breeds. The Namaqua Afrikaner sheep breed is one of these breeds, because it not only adds value to South Africa’s rich agro-biodiversity, it also plays a major role in the social, cultural and economic history of our country.

In the past year, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) together with the Northern Cape province, initiated a project on the conservation and sustainable use of Namaqua Afrikaner sheep breed. As part of this project, 23 farmers from Dr John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality were trained in conservation strategies for farm animal genetic resources, sheep husbandry (including diseases control) protocols, as well as reproduction and breeding in sheep.

Ladies and gentleman, you would recall that in my budget vote speech earlier this year, I undertook to donate 100 Namaqua sheep to farmers in the Northern Cape.

Today, it is my pleasure to be here in the Northern Cape to fulfil that promise. We know that through this donation, the farmers of this area, as the key custodians of our farm genetic resources for food and agriculture, will continue to play a vital role in the conservation and sustainable use these resources, thereby contributing enormously in addressing challenges around food security. I would like to thank MEC Shushu and his team for working towards realising this donation to the farmers, Siyabulela MEC.

Our focus on this particular breed is specific around its ability to withstand harsh environmental conditions. This unique breed is extremely adaptable to semi-arid and low production input systems which is particular relevant in the current drought situation we find ourselves in.

Impact of drought

Programme Director let me turn my attention to drought. We are all witnessing drought conditions that have adversely impact on affect varous sectors, more especially agriculture. We are battling the worst drought since 1992. The country is experiencing below-normal rainfall and abnormally high temperatures. These persistent above-normal temperatures are the result of an increase in evapotranspiration.

The 2015/16 rainfall season in Southern Africa is supposed to take place from October 2015 to May 2016. The El NiƱo phenomenon, which brings drought conditions across the region, will have major effects on agriculture with the South African maize belt especially expected to be greatly affected by these drought conditions. Poor rainfall is likely to result in late planning, poor crop conditions and high/increasing cereal prices, all of which could heighten food insecurity and lead to acute malnutrition in some areas.

The worst affected provinces are currently the Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. The provincial departments of agriculture provided drought relief assistance to the aggregate amount of R14,7 million to small-scale and subsistence farmers. This allocation is being used to cater for many affected farmers’ emergency needs such as, but not limited to, providing animal feed, providing water sources and intensifying awareness campaigns.

Declared drought disaster stricken provinces will submit their disaster funding requests to the National Treasury through the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC). To date, DAFF approached the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Land Bank for possible assistance and the institutions indicated that they have plans in place that can be used to assist affected farmers. The plans include providing soft loans, among other things.

To ensure drought impact mitigation, my Department continues to monitor conditions in the provinces and will issue updated early warning information/advisories to the sector, which includes strategies farmers should consider in planning their activities when dry conditions are forecasted. Strategies advised are using grey water – especially in food gardens, harvesting water during rainy days, irrigating in the late afternoon/early evening to reduce evaporation, using drip irrigation instead of sprinklers as it saves water and reducing livestock to protect limited grazing land and providing additional feeds.

DAFF continues to coordinate and facilitate the process between the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) and the provincial departments regarding both declarations and funding requests. The NDMC within the Department of Cooperative Governance (DCoG) is coordinating these national response efforts, particularly funding requests to National Treasury. All sectors are affected by the dry conditions and as such concerted and integrated efforts are required to ensure that the effect of the drought is mitigated.

Conclusion

To conclude, I wish to reiterate that we are working hard to ensure that the effect of the drought is mitigated. We will also continue to work within the inter-governmental system to implement the National Policy on Food and Nutrition Security.

Baie Dankie,

Ke a leboga,

Roleboha,

Ngiyabonga,

Enkosi,

SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICAL NEWS