Daily Archives: October 18, 2016

SOUTH AFRICAN “STATE CAPTURE” REPORT HANDED TO NEW OMBUDSMAN

The Secretary of the National Assembly, Masibulele Xaso, says the “State capture” report on undue influence over the presidency compiled by the former Public Protector (Ombudsman), Thuli Madonsela, has been handed over to the new office holder, Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

Madonsela’s report on alleged State capture relating to the exercise of undue influence on government decisions by the Gupta family, a South African family with wide business interests in the country and abroad, is reported to have been delivered to the Public Protector’s Office in Pretoria on Monday.

Parliament is in contact with Mkhwebane, who started the first day of her seven-year term on Monday. Madonsela sent the report to Parliament for safekeeping on Friday, the last day of her term of office.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) party said on Saturday that Parliament Speaker Baleka Mbete would keep the report under lock and key.

On Sunday, Mbete confirmed that the report was being kept safe in Parliament and would be handed over to the new Public Protector.

President Jacob Zuma applied to the courts for an interdict against the release of the report last Thursday.

Source: Nam News Network

South Africa: MEC Dan Plato Launches Strand Walking Bus Initiative, 17 Oct

Western Cape Minister of Community Safety, Dan Plato, will launch a new Walking Bus initiative in Strand.

The Walking Bus initiative aims to create a safe and supervised route for learners to and from school every day with the commitment and involvement of the community playing a central part to help create safer environments.

Since May 2016 Minister Plato has launched Walking Bus initiatives in partnership with communities across the Cape Town Metropole and recently expanded to communities in the Southern Cape.

The Walking Bus launch in Strand today builds on the success of the Walking Bus initiatives already launched and are based on the demand from community members across the province who wishes to prioritise safety in their communities.

The Walking Bus initiative will see parents forming the ‘drivers’ of the ‘bus’ and supported by the Neighbourhood Watch (NHW), Community Policing Forum (CPF), the relevant school, Ward Councillor and Department of Community Safety to help safeguard learners to and from school.

The Strand Walking Bus will see parents volunteering their time to help improve the safety of learners on their way to school with the support tomorrow of the City of Cape Town Metro Police, Traffic, Law Enforcement, as well as the South African Police Service (SAPS).

Through the Walking Bus initiative, the parents, learners and educators of the DR. G.J Joubert Primary, Rusthof Primary, Rusthof Secondary, Strand Secondary, El Marine Primary, Lochnerhof Primary, Hendrik Louw Primary, Loreto Primary, Umnqophiso Primary and Strand Moslem Primary schools are making safety a priority in their community.

Date: Monday, 17 October 2016.

Time: 07:00 – 10:00 – Minister Plato to join walking bus participants between 07:00 and 08:15; Volunteer appreciation ceremony starts at 09:00.

Venue:Broadlands Park Community Hall, Corner Fern Avenue & Bosduif Road, Broadlands Park, Strand

Source: South African Government.

Contact centre improves access to Home Affairs

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has officially launched the department’s contact centre at the department’s head office in Pretoria.

The contact centre replaces the department’s call centre, while offering a multi-platform channel to provide clients with various options to interact with the department. These platforms include email and unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) services to better respond to queries in universally acceptable standards.

Members of the public can reach the contact centre on 0800 60 11 90.

Minister Gigaba said the erstwhile call centre could not deal with or address queries from members of the public, hence they launched the contact centre.

With the contact centre, an operator is able to track the enquiry and be able to tell the client what is happening or at what stage the enquiry is, he said.

The centre is manned by operators, who have received in-house training to handle enquiries. On average, each operator receives about 120 calls per day. Operators are able to deal with any enquiries relating to applications for IDs, birth certificates and other services offered by the department.

The contact centre got off the ground on 1 April this year. Its weekday operating hours are 7:30am to 17:00pm. On Saturdays, it operates from 8:00am to 12:00pm.

So far, the department has recruited 112 operators to man the centre. The number is set to reach 120.

As the department, we will continue to look at what can be improved to provide effective services to the public. We are quite happy with how the centre is operating and as a department, we will continue to improve the centre, Minister Gigaba said.

The launch of the contact centre is part of improving service delivery by the department. Earlier this year, the department launched eHomeAffairs, which allows members of the public to apply for their documents from the comfort of their homes to reduce long queues in front offices.

The department signed a memorandum of understanding with the country’s major banks — ABSA, First National Bank, Nedbank and Standard Bank — to roll out eHomeAffairs at banks. To date, the department has rolled out the online system to 11 bank branches.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Environmental Affairs hosts National Marine Week exhibition, 19 Oct

The Department of Environmental Affairs will be hosting a National Marine Week exhibition, showcasing the importance of the ocean, the challenges, and the opportunities available, in Kimberley, on 19 October 2016.

The exhibition forms part of the National Marine Week campaign launched by the Northern Cape MEC of Environmental Affairs and Nature Conservation, Ms Tiny Chotelo on 12 October 2016.

The objective of the campaign is to create awareness of the oceans and coastal environment in order to promote sustainable use and conservation for the benefit of present and future generations. This campaign also aims at educating the general public, particularly the youth, enticing their young minds to the field of marine related professions.

The Department of Environmental Affairs and Northern Cape Environmental Affairs, Nature Conservation officials and various agencies will showcase the wonders of the ocean and its opportunities.

National Marine Week is celebrated annually during the second week of October, and this year’s theme is Our Ocean, Our Future.

Source: Government of South Africa

Premier Willies Mchunu meets Minister Pravin Gordhan to reflect on KwaZulu-Natal finances

As we mark eight days before the presentation of the Medium Term Expenditure Budget Policy Statement by Minister Pravin Gordhan, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu and his executive council met the minister to reflect on KZN finances.

Mchunu pointed out: In view of possible budget cuts on the KZN fiscus, we have informed the minister that it is our considered view that when budgeting, KZN should be treated differently because of its topography that features valleys and rivers making it difficult to speed up the delivery of bulk infrastructure such as water, sanitation and electricity including road construction.

KZN, home to more than R10 million people, is mainly rural with a higher level of poverty compared to other provinces. The provincial government has the responsibility to ensure that programmes of aimed at driving socio-economic development reaches all the people in all corners.

We have however, come to terms with the challenges that the global economic downturn has brought with it, including its manifestation in our economy. In addition, we acknowledge the fact that a sluggish economic growth trajectory slows down pace on agreed projects including where investors would have set aside funding.

The manner in which we manage matters of government will take into account this reality. We are not the only nation in the world that has to adjust to the harshness of the latest impact of our global economic challenges.

We will continue as government to strengthen service delivery and to cushion vulnerable members of society against any global negative conditions. We presented to the minister the 2016/17 budget performance and reflected on the budget pressures of R1.804 billion mainly against health and education.

We also drew to the attention of the minister budget pressures presented by the payment to Izinduna amounting to millions of rands excluding the salary backpay estimated to be over R1 billion. In addition, the provincial fiscus has to find R252, 328m in 2017/18, R266, 206m in 2018/19 and R280.847m in 2019/20 to remunerate Izinduna. We are heartened by the fact that the minister is aware of this important matter of Izinduna

Critically, the prolonged drought continues to put pressure on the fiscus with northern parts of KZN being the hardest hit. Water storages facilities on ILembe, UMzinyathi, King Cetshwayo, UMkhanyakude and Zululand municipalities continue to drop and water resources remaining below the level of demand. More than R245 million is required to ensure support the public and public institutions such as clinics and schools especially in rural areas.

As the province we are determined to dismantle cross-border crime which threatens the welfare of citizens. There are lucrative criminal enterprises operating car theft syndicates in the KZN/Mozambique border. Although fighting cross border crime is a national competency, we have resolved to put in place mitigation strategies such as constructing a barrier stretching more than 25km. We need a total of R128 million for this project.

Weighing heavily on our shoulders as the provincial executive council is the need to provide shelter to millions of needy families across the province. The housing programme for 2017/18 will collectively produce 23 514 units in 5 515 sites with a budget of about R102.934 million. Due to limited budget some housing projects will only commence during 2018/19 financial year.

We have also informed the minister of the following:

R362 million funding is required by Richards Bay Industrial Development Zones during 2017/18 to enable the entity to purchase 1 216 hectors of land required to attract foreign direct investment. This will result in the creation of thousands of jobs for the people of King Cetshwayo municipality and surrounding areas.

KZN needs R400 million per annum to provide transport to learners. Currently, the province provides transport for 47 747 learners while R42 630 learners still need transport.

The provision of water, sanitation and electricity remains a top priority and in this regard, KZN needs R35, billion, R14 billion and R11 billion respectively to achieve this.

The provincial maintenance programme requires R16.281 to clear tarred/blacktop maintenance backlog, while the gravel road maintenance backlog would require R1.460 billion to clear.

The interaction with the minister and his team has enabled us to present our solid case on behalf of the people of KwaZulu-Natal.

Source: Government of South Africa