Daily Archives: July 13, 2016

Remarks by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa during his visit to Nkosi’s Haven Village, Alan Manor, Johannesburg

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dumelang. Sanibonani. Good Morning.

I wish to thank Ms Gail Johnson and her family for letting the seed of peace, hope and understanding blossom at this life-inspiring village which honours the wishes and memory of Xolani Nkosi Johnson.

His birth name “Xolani” captured the yearning for peace, forgiveness and love.

The realisation of his dream at this village affords us the opportunity to come to terms with the pain of how AIDS deprived our nation of this courageous, brave young soul at the tender age of 12.

Nkosi’s Haven has become a place of hope, acceptance and renewal.

It is a sanctuary for mothers who need another chance to be in the lives of their children away from the scorn of the ignorant and the brutality of abusive men.

It is a safe place that supports and builds the abandoned, the ill and the weak.

It is a community of dreamers and achievers.

It is at Nkosi’s Haven where the truth is reinforced that people with HIV are human beings with capabilities, needs and wishes like everyone else.

This is a home whose task is to enlighten, inspire and empower as it challenges all of us to act collectively and urgently against prejudice, stigma and discrimination.

Nkosi Johnson, as President Nelson Mandela described him, became an international icon of the struggle for life and a great ambassador for millions of South Africans living with HIV.

Since his fight to be admitted to school in 1997 and his memorable address at the AIDS Conference in Durban in 2000, we have made many strides as a country to fight discrimination against people living with HIV, to roll out free ARV treatment, and to reduce mother to child transmission.

The task of promoting safe sexual behaviour and promoting greater awareness about HIV is a task none of us must be exempt from undertaking.

Nkosi’s Haven continues to be a source of light for our nation, our continent and the world.

In five days’ time, the world will once again meet in Durban for the 21st International AIDS Conference.

As South Africa, we will share with the world the progress we have made in combating the AIDS pandemic since 2000.

We will share with them how Nkosi Johnson remains alive in the lives of the many children and mothers whose lives are rekindled and transformed daily at this village.

We will remind them that he remains a source of inspiration to his mother Gail and his extended family here and elsewhere.

We will insist that the dream of an HIV-free generation remains possible in our lifetime if we all pull our resources together, act in unity and act now.

We thank you all at Nkosi’s Haven for allowing us to come here to draw strength and inspiration as we count down to AIDS 2016.

I thank you.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa

President Zuma concludes his State Visit to France

President Jacob Zuma has returned to Pretoria following a successful State Visit to France, which has further deepened relations between the two countries.

President Zuma held talks with his French counterpart, President Francois Hollande, and the two leaders reaffirmed the need to enhance the strategic partnership encompassing political, economic, social and defence matters.

Agreements were signed during the visit to deepen cooperation between their two countries in the fields of energy, agriculture, higher education and training, as well as arts and culture.

Underscoring the importance of boosting trade relations and economic cooperation, President Zuma met French CEOs and addressed the South Africa-France Business Forum, where he impressed upon the private sector to explore investment opportunities in South Africa.

The President also officiated at the centenary commemoration of the Battle of Delville Wood in Somme, France, a ceremony that ended 100 years of the marginalisation of black soldiers who died in the First World War. Government has built a memorial that recognises all soldiers regardless of race.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa

National Planning Commission holds fourth plenary meeting

The National Planning Commission (NPC) held its fourth ordinary plenary session for the year in Pretoria, on 8 July 2016.

The NPC is up and running and the various Work Streams of the Commission have started their work. Each work stream has a substantial body of work to undertake, with a view to enable the Commission to formulate its views and positions on a range of matters, and accordingly to advise government and other actors and stakeholders with regard to the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP).

The agenda of this meeting included inputs by Statistics South Africa on the recently published reports on the Community Survey and the Social Profile of Youth; by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) on the transformation of the JSE and its relevance to the NDP, by the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) and National Treasury on the alignment of government programmes and the national budget to the priorities of the NDP.

The agenda also included the reports by the various Work Streams and Task Teams into which the NPC has organised its work, covering topics such as reducing the cost of living for households side by side with reducing the cost of doing business; enhancing the quality of life of citizens; transforming and growing the economy in an inclusive manner, with specific focus on township and rural economies; addressing youth unemployment; promoting active citizenry; improving governance in public institutions and building the capacity of the state.

The Commission noted that its meeting occurs as the economy’s performance continues to deteriorate, with GDP growth declining and unemployment rising. Recent figures show that GDP shrank at an annualised rate of 1.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2016, following a dismal growth of 0.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2015.

The unemployment rate increased to 26.7 per cent in the three months to March 2016, from 24.5 per cent in the previous quarter and above market expectations of 25.3 percent.

It is noted with concern, based on the input by JSE, that there was an unsustainable preference by households for consumption and shelter compared to spending on education. Also, long-term planning and wealth creation have become a lesser priority.

The Commission also noted with concern the International Monetary Fund’s latest forecast released last week in which the Fund has revised the South African economy’s expected growth in 2016 down to just 0.1 percent, from 0.6 percent in April.

These figures illustrate the depth of the economic and unemployment challenges the country faces, and underscores the urgency to identify and act on required interventions to restore the economy to a sustainable job-creation and growth path.

The inputs by StatsSA, JSE and PBO resonate with some of the themes of the NDP, and with the issues the NPC is focusing on, specifically economic growth, transformation and inclusion, with particular emphasis on employment and youth.

Together with the presentation by National Treasury, these inputs represent the interactions and partnerships that will characterise the work of the Commission going forward, which will involve drawing from the work of different players in society on the themes and issues that the NPC is addressing, with a view to identify synergies and avoid duplication. This will also enable the Commission to ground its work and advice on evidence and up-to-date information.

The Commission resolved that it will engage further in detail with these presentations as inputs into its work, and intends to undertake similar engagements with other relevant role-players on aspects of its work.

As regards the reports of the various Work Streams and Task Teams, the meeting noted the progress that is being made in each area. The Commission was encouraged by the information-sharing and networks that were developing between its processes and government departments as its work unfolds.

It sees this as helping to clarify how the NPC’s work interfaces in a mutually reinforcing manner with the work being done in government, while ensuring that the independence of the Commission is maintained.

A good example is the recently completed work by the Department of Social Development on the review of social welfare policy, which drew from expertise in the NPC, and which the Cabinet has since approved.

The Commission resolved to expedite its work going forward, so that it has well-considered and clear positions on the topics it is addressing, and intends to ensure these are appropriately considered in the planning and budget priority-setting processes that will soon ensue in government.

In this context, the Commission further resolved to step up its communication efforts and enhance public engagements. It plans to roll-out a number of public engagements in September 2016, having regard to this being the anniversary month of the adoption of the NDP by Parliament.

Source: Government of South Africa.

Department of Labour hosts stakeholder engagement with Manufacturing Sector on the imperatives of employment equity (EE) implementation

Following the recent successful interaction with the Retail & Motor sector the Department of Labour and the Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) is to host yet another in a series of engagements on matters of employment equity (EE) this week with the Manufacturing Sector.

The engagements are held with business leaders from the various sectors. This follows the continued slow pace of transforming the South African labour market, where designated groups are still confined to the lower levels in the workplace.

During the launch of the 16th CEE Annual Report, Labour Minister, Mildred Oliphant promised that the Commission for Employment Equity will embark on engagements with business leaders of the various sectors to establish what causes the snail pace of transforming the workplaces.

The engagement with the Manufacturing Sector will be held tomorrow (14 July 2016) from 09:00am-13:00 at St Georges Hotel in Irene. A presentation will be made providing an analysis of workforce profile for the sector at various layers, including the demographic representation; the workforce movement (recruitment, promotions and terminations) in the sector; and matters on skills development.

The aim of the sectoral engagements is to consult business leaders or their representatives (managers, human resource officers, EE officers among others) on employment equity issues. The CEE is interested in establishing challenges that employers face in employment equity implementation and strategies so as to overcome them.

The Commission for Employment Equity is a statutory body established in terms of section 28 of the Employment Equity Act. Its role is to advise Labour Minister on any matter concerning the Act, including policy and matters pertaining to the implementation of the EE Act.

The 16th CEE Annual Report found that after 18 years since the enactment of the Employment Equity Act, the top and senior management positions in the workplace are largely still occupied by white people.

The first in a series of engagements was held on 23 June 2016 with the Retail & Motor sector at Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre, Boksburg, in Gauteng Province.

More engagements are planned to be held later this month until September 2016 with sectors such as Finance, Catering & Accommodation, Mining & Quarrying, Wholesale, Construction, Transport, Educational Institutions and Local Government.

All engagements will include Sector Education & Training Authority (SETA) and trade unions operating in that particular sector. All the planned engagements will be held in Gauteng with the exception of one that will be held on 04 August 2016 in Cape Town. Venues of the other engagements will be confirmed in due course.

Source: The South African Department of Labour

Police arrest doctor for fraud, forgery and theft

The HAWKS Commercial Crime Unit have arrested a 44 year old medical doctor for fraud, forgery and theft.

The suspect was arrested on Monday morning at his workplace – Rethabile Clinic in Polokwane – on Monday morning following a tip off that the suspect was fraudulently purchasing a prescription drug for more than two years. The doctor allegedly acquired Morphine since 2015 using another doctors stamp, a forged signature and the letterhead from the provincial Department of Health.

Before being led to the police cells, the members searched the suspects house in Polokwane and seized 35 bottles containing ARV tablets, doctors stamps and other items believed to have been stolen from the Department of Health. The suspect is expected to appear in the Mankweng Magistrate Court on Wednesday on charges of fraud, forgery, theft and unlawful possession of ARV tablets. Hawks investigations continue.

Source: Government of South Africa.