Daily Archives: October 3, 2016

MEC Pauline Williams: Launch of Northern Cape 2016 Transport Month

MEC Pauline Williams launch of Northern Cape’s Provincial October Transport Month, Kimberley

MEC of Sports, Arts and Culture-Mrs Bongiwe Mbiqnqo Gigaba;

MEC of finance and Economic Development-Mr Mac Jack

Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee Mrs Gladys Oliphant;

Acting Head of Department, Mr Lesego Wolfe;

Officials and Senior Managers of the Department

President of Santaco, Mr Phillip Taaibosch;

Provincial Chairperson of Santaco, Mr Zwane Nkonki;

Leadership collective of SANTACOs Women desk;

Provincial Leadership of SANWIT;

Representatives of Road Accident Fund;

Chairperson of SATAWU;

Entities and stakeholders present;

Members of the community;

Members of the Press;

Ladies and gentlemen.

It is a great honour to address you today on the official Launch of the Northern Cape Province’s October Transport Month; it is indeed the focus of the transport industry across the country under the theme: Together we move South Africa Forward.

So, this is not only a great honour and privilege but also an essential platform to share ideas and exchange thoughts on road safety and to highlight our plights and initiatives. Today and this month present us as the department of transport and stakeholders with an opportunity to highlight our endeavours.

Programme Director, please allow me to indicate that today is not the start of road safety initiatives, law enforcement and awareness on the important work we do as a Department but rather a month we give focus to the mandate of the Department and the important role transport plays in all our everyday lives. The messages does not exclude anyone but is for all road users including pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and users of all forms of transport be it air, land, water or rail.

Road safety is everyone’s responsibility and we will not seize as a Department in our efforts to educate our public and all road users of this important fact. This means that each and every one of us has an important role to play and something to contribute towards safer roads and curbing the loss of lives on our roads � and it starts with me and you.

Ladies and gentlemen, we all have a responsibility to abide by the rules of the road. I am starting with this important reality as it is crucial to any safe, sustainable and cost effective transport system. Let us be cognisant of the fact that the cars do not drive themselves, people do. People walk on the streets, people own livestock that are at times the cause of accidents, people speed and drive under the influence of alcohol.

Therefore, it is important to realise that it is in changing our behaviour, educating ourselves and maintaining good road usage as road users that we can curb the loss of life on our roads and injuries while creating an environment where all are and feel safe.

This is an important factor to remember as human error contributes to a high number of our road crashes and fatalities. So, it is all with good intention that we continue to preach messages such as: buckle up, don’t drink and drive, don’t speed, rest every 2hours or 200km and abide by the rules of the road. It is to help us reach our goal of creating safer roads for all.

My plea is for you to not allow yourself to be driven by a drunk driver or be in an overloaded vehicle; your life should be important enough for you to make that decision for yourself and loved ones.

It is also befitting to state without hesitation that we will enforce the law with no fear or favour. We will continue to rid our roads of transgressors on our roads and infringers will face the full might of the law. I reaffirm that our traffic officials will be out in full force and will intensify our actions to ensure that you continue to uphold the law, and be sure that we will lock you up if need be.

Most of the people losing their lives on the roads are breadwinners meaning, we don’t only lose loved ones on our roads but we lose breadwinners and it impacts on many lives.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are committed to the National Road Safety Strategy, which will articulate road safety plans while we know the uniqueness of our Province. We will continue with interventions to ensure we improve the status of our transport systems and level of road safety in the Province.

We will continue to join stakeholders and give an ear to interventions and innovations that can improve the level of safety on our roads for all road users and also continue to share our expertise.

We will also continue share our skills with the taxi industry which transports the majority of our road users, community based structures, faith-based organisations and transport stakeholders in a bid to improve road safety and raise awareness on root causes of carnages on our roads.

With that being said, we are also focused on investing in our transport system as it is the engine of any growing economy. Government continues to invest in the transport sector which is part of the country’s Nine-Point Plan to stimulate development and create jobs.

Ladies and gentlemen, the investment we continue to make in our public transport systems forms part of building and operating an integrated public transport network in the Province which directly and indirectly contributes to towards growth in our economy and addresses the challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

Our investment and direct promotion of potential investment opportunities in our province is a platform to draw more efficient, safe, cost-effective and reliable investment opportunities in our vast Province whilst the focus is also on job creation.

Our efforts will continue to position the Province as an attractive investment destination.

Ladies and gentlemen, Road Safety, Law Enforcement and our constitutional mandate is a 365 Days commitment. These month-long initiatives about to be unveiled today only give a glimpse to some of the activities that unfold throughout the year.

We want to promote our law enforcement technologies that help our warm-bodies tighten law enforcement, promote the use of public transport, raise road safety awareness and advance the country’s road safety initiatives in a bid to curb road fatalities in half as per the UN Decade of Action declaration.

Furthermore, we are today unveiling a new fleet of vehicles for SANTACO and officially open their Provincial offices.

Distinguished guests, I now present the OTM programme for the Province and officially launch October Transport Month in the Province.

Source: Government of South Africa

Water and Sanitation celebrates annual Global Hand Washing Day, 15 Oct

Department of Water and Sanitation to raise awareness on Sanitation, Health and Hygiene during Annual Global Hand Washing Day

In recognition of the Global Handwashing Day that is observed yearly on 15 October, the Department of Water Sanitation (DWS) will embark on various activities around the country to raise awareness on Sanitation, Health and Hygiene during the month of October 2016.

Global Handwashing Day is a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of hand washing as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases. The campaign is dedicated to raise awareness of hand washing with soap as a key approach to disease prevention. It is also meant to raise awareness among and mobilise communities, households, hospitals, schools and workplaces towards washing hands with soap to curb life threatening diseases.

This year’s International Global Handwashing Day will be observed under the theme Make handwashing a habit”.

The DWS KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Office has scheduled various awareness activities to commence on 11 October 2016 with a school educational drive at Wetland Primary school in Kokstad, Harry Gwala District Municipality.

Other awareness activities are also scheduled for different district municipalities during the month of October.

Source: Government of South Africa

Tougher measures proposed to regulate alcohol, gambling

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies says government wants to raise the legal drinking age from 18 to 21 years in order to curb abuse amongst young people.

The Minister said to clamp down on illegal alcohol sales through unlicensed outlets, the National Liquor Amendment Bill introduces a new clause of civil liability to manufacturers who supply liquor to these unlicensed suppliers.

The Minister said this when he briefed the media on the publishing of the National Liquor Amendment Bill and the National Gambling Amendment Bill for public comment.

Minister Davies said members of the public will have 45 days to comment on the two bills, which are aimed at helping to strengthen the enforcement and regulation of the two industries in order to minimise the social ills associated with them.

The Minister said he hoped the publishing of the bills will attract a reaction from the broader society.

The first proposal that we are putting forward is that the legal drinking age be raised from 18 to 21.

We are hoping that this debate will involve not just people who have material interest in the industry, but also our communities and people that are involved in dealing with the consequences of alcohol abuse, he said.

The Minister said the bill also proposes the inclusion of civil liability against those involved in illegal alcohol trade to improve enforcement.

Manufacturers and suppliers, who supply to illegal or unlicensed outlets, will be required to show that they took reasonable steps to ensure that their products are not supplied to unlicensed outlets.

In another scenario, if there is supply of alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated and that person goes out and commits some sort of offence, then the supplier will be obliged to show why they should not be bearing civil liability, the Minister said.

Advertising

On advertising, the Minister said limitation will be placed on advertising of alcohol products that targets young people when it comes to times, content and parameters.

He said there would also be limitations on advertising alcohol products in areas where there are transport facilities.

Norms and standards will be introduced for provincial authorities to comply with, including rejecting new liquor registrations of outlets that are located within 500 meters from schools, places of worship and recreational facilities.

Alcohol abuse a national problem

The Minister said there is evidence that the brain of a young person is not fully developed until the mid-20s, and that when it is not fully developed, the impact of alcohol abuse on the brain is much more severe than it is on a developed brain.

He also cited research that showed that in instances where the legal drinking age was raised, incidents like car crashes and other societal ills that affect young people that are related to alcohol had gone down.

While the liquor industry contributes significantly to the country’s gross domestic product and on employment, the Minister said it was a regulated industry as it produces products that are potentially harmful to members of the public.

He cited a policy paper that states that alcohol abuse in South Africa is on the increase. The country consumes five billion litres of alcoholic beverages per year. Sixty percent of South Africans drink alcohol � higher than the world average of 52%.

The rate of foetal alcohol syndrome in South Africa is also up. It is estimated that one million people in the country are affected by foetal alcohol syndrome.

About 41% of all injury related cases are from people involved in alcohol consumption, and 46% of cases of mortality due to non-natural causes were related to alcohol.

Alcohol abuse costs government R37.9 billion annually and this includes the cost of hospitalisation and the cost of accidents, amongst others.

Our conclusion is that while the industry creates jobs, at the same time, there is a significant problem in this country of alcohol abuse and the figures are telling us that this is not getting better.

I think this is leading us to conclude that we have to take much more drastic measures to combat alcohol abuse and that this is a serious national problem, said Minister Davies.

Government aims to tighten gambling enforcement

The dti has also published the National Gambling Amendment Bill for public comment.

Minister Davies said while the gambling industry contributes significantly to the country’s GDP and jobs, it also has its negative impact on gambling addicts.

Citing a media report, the Minister said South Africans lost R17.2 billion at casinos in 2014.

The amendment bill proposes that the National Gambling Board should become the national gambling regulator. The statutory body would be headed by a CEO to be located within the dti.

The bill also provides for additional restrictions on gambling advertising to ensure there is prohibition to unsolicited messages that are directed towards vulnerable groups like minors.

Unlawful winnings emanating from online gambling, which is illegal in South Africa, will be confiscated.

The Minister said an inspectorate will deal with the scourge and work with the Financial Intelligence Centre to target any unlawful winnings.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Minister Naledi Pandor: International Conference on Research Infrastructure (ICRI)

Minister Pandor’s welcome speech at the International Conference on Research Infrastructures (ICRI), Cape Town International Convention Centre

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome all delegates to the 2016 International Conference on Research Infrastructures (ICRI) and to Cape Town, South Africa. Welcome. This year’s event is special. It will be the first time the ICRI, which over the years has unarguably become the leading global forum for policy and strategy discussions on research infrastructures, will be hosted outside Europe. We are proud that this landmark event will be hosted in Africa. It’s appropriate recognition of our continent’s growing commitment to science and technology, and participation in global research and innovation partnerships.

The South African Department of Science and Technology and our National Research Foundation greatly value the opportunity to present the 2016 Conference in partnership with the European Commission, specifically its Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, with which we enjoy an historic, strategic partnership. This year 2016 marks the twentieth anniversary of the signature of the South Africa-European Union Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement. It’s fitting that our joint hosting of the ICRI will form part of this celebration. It’s a perfect example of how South Africa and the European Union have joined forced over the years to advance global cooperation in science and technology, beyond our extensive bilateral cooperation.

To Director-General Robert-Jan Smits, an old friend of South Africa, and through him to Commissioner Carlos Moedas, I would like extend our most sincere appreciation. I’m confident that through our joint efforts ICRI 2016 will achieve its objective of providing an opportunity for the sharing of experience and expertise.

Ladies and gentlemen, research infrastructures not only represent the facilities, resources and related services used by our scientific communities to conduct research in their respective fields. They are also the very lifeblood of any successful system of innovation.

I would like to share with you four key points from a policy-maker’s perspective.

First, large-scale facilities are not only hugely expensive to build and maintain, but require a sharing of global experience and expertise.

For projects such as the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope, a successful international partnership is imperative. I look forward to ICRI’s recommendation on best practice models for these sometimes complicated partnerships, especially with an eye towards ensuring the long-term sustainability of these infrastructures.

Second, open science and open innovation are the science policy buzzwords of our day.

We should, however, look beyond the rhetoric of making scientific research, data and dissemination accessible to all levels of societies. In the case of open innovation, we should try to better understand the dynamics of distributed knowledge, and the using of external and internal ideas leading to diverse paths to market. Specifically, I would expect ICRI to interrogate and advise on how research infrastructures should respond to this openness. I am for example thinking of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems or GEOSS, in which South Africa and the European Commission play a leading part and its efforts to champion data democracy.

Third, we live in a so-called data-driven society. Big data offer enormous opportunities and challenges.

What are the implications for research infrastructures? This question I have no doubt will be at the heart of the IRCI 2016 discussions. It is of pressing concern to us here in Africa. In order to guard against a further digital divide, we have made important investments in infrastructures such as our Centre for High-Performance Computing and our high-speed South African National Research Network, which we are confident will permit our scientific community to ride the wave of big data, to quote the title of the European Commission’s seminal report on the subject. It is part of your discussions I will pay special attention to in order to inform our efforts to develop Africa’s first data-intensive research cloud.

Fourth, and last, there is the broader societal dimension of our research infrastructures.

They are not and should never be ivory towers operating in isolation from the societies they are designed to serve. I look forward to discussions on how research infrastructure investments can make an impact on South Africa’s priority triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment. ICRI recommendations on how we should better exercise our collective responsibility in this regard will be of great value. It can be done. The European Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), which African headquarters are located here in Cape Town, have seen important research infrastructure investments, which have been decisive contributions in the fight against infectious disease. We should be inspired by its success.

Ladies and gentlemen, when I met a while ago with officials of my Department to review the preparations for ICRI 2016, we set ourselves some objectives for South Africa’s co-hosting with the European Commission of the event.

We wanted to ensure important contribution on critical aspects of the global policy debate on research infrastructures. Above all we wanted to make sure that we do justice to ICRI’s standing as the premier forum for these discussions.

I’m confident this will be achieved.

We also wanted to ensure that ICRI 2016 would be enriched by the contributions of experts and stakeholders from Africa, especially from the developing world, many of whom would not have participated in the Conference before.

With representatives from more than 50 countries including several African states in attendance, I am hopeful that ICRI 2016, will not be business as useful.

We will be successful in achieving this objective if specific attention is paid in your discussions to expanding partnerships across disciplines, sectors and world regions, as we seek to develop truly inclusive research infrastructures, which actively engage in capacity building.

As I had already mentioned, our cooperation with the European Commission in organising ICRI 2016 should further cement our strategic partnership. I have no doubt that, as we look forward to the next twenty years of South Africa-European Union cooperation in science and technology, ICRI 2016 will be the foundation for intensified and deepened partnerships.

We also had a last objective – that through ICRI 2016 we should continue our efforts to promote South Africa as a trusted and valued partner for partners across the globe.

The ICRI 2016 Exhibition includes exhibits by several South African research infrastructures and I hope many of you will use the opportunity to visit those facilities located in the Western Cape later this week. I trust this will be a springboard for the development of fruitful, mutually beneficial and enduring cooperation.

Tomorrow, I will, within the margins of ICRI, be launching South Africa’s first national Research Infrastructure Roadmap. It will not only constitute our framework for priority national investments, but will also be an open invitation to collaborate to all of you.

Ladies and gentlemen, science knows no borders and, in these times when our world more than ever before needs global friendship and solidarity, let us not hesitate inexploiting the valuable role research infrastructures play in science diplomacy. South Africa is firmly committed to this objective and I would like to thank you for joining us in this cause.

Once again welcome to South Africa. My sincere appreciation goes to all who have contributed to ICRI 2016 and I would like wish you all a productive and enjoyable stay in Cape Town.

Source: Government of South Africa

Water and Sanitation on dam levels assessment

Average dam levels show a steady decline week on week

The national storage continues to be under increasing stress as the dam levels continue to show a steady decline week on week. This is based on the latest dam levels assessment conducted on 26 September 2016 by the Department of Water and Sanitation. The levels are down by 0.5% to 51.4%. Last year at the same time the dam levels were at 70.3%.

The Umgeni Dam system which consists of 5 dams serving mainly eThekwini and Msinduze is at 45.1% this week compared with 45.9% last week, a decrease of 0.8%.The Hazelmere is at 63% an increase of 2% week on week. The Hazelmere Dam will however be kept below 64% to ensure the safety of construction workers. Water will be released if and when necessary.

Other KZN dams which remain dangerously low are: Klipfontein at 12.4%, Hluhluwe at 17.9% and Goedertrouw at 17.3%. The current restrictions for Goedertrouw Dam will remain at 15% for industry, 40% for domestic and 80% for irrigation.

The Vaal River System which consists of 14 dams and serving mainly Gauteng, Sasol and Eskom has had a further decrease of 0.6% to 51.8%. Katse Dam is at 43.6% and the Vaal Dam decreased by 0.7% week on week to 30.9% The Sterkfontein Dam has increased to 90.2% mainly due to improved pumping capacity from the Upper Tugela. The Grootdraai Dam is at 72.1% which sees a decrease of 0.8%.

The City of Joburg has indicated that there is a significantly lower increase in demand compared with previous years and all metros have published their restrictions. The impact of the restrictions is however not yet visible. The department will manage the Vaal Dam down to 25% before releasing water from the Sterkfontein Dam.

The Orange River serving the Gariep Dam is at 57.7% which is a decrease of 0.2% and Van Der Kloof Dam is at 61%, a decrease of 1.7%. The Polokwane System serving 2 dams has decreased to 32.7%. Restrictions of 20% for domestic use are in place.

The department will continue to monitor 211 dams on a weekly basis. All water users are encouraged to use water wisely as the seasonal outlook for rain is not looking promising.

Source: Government of South Africa