Daily Archives: December 8, 2016

Mayors of Paris, Madrid, Athens & Mexico City Stumble; African Nations Get It Right on Policies for Cleaner Air with Cleaner Diesel Fuel & Technology

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Last week, the mayors of four cities – Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens – announced they had pledged to remove diesel vehicles from their cities by 2025.  Last week, five African countries – Ghana, Ivory Coast, Togo, Nigeria and Benin – announced they would reject shipments of high sulfur diesel fuel from Europe and demanded they begin receiving cleaner diesel fuel like that available in many other regions of the world.

Diesel Technology Forum Logo.

Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum (USA), issued the following statement today regarding these developments:

“The pledge by the four mayors to ban diesel or any other technology may make for a good headline but it is not good public policy.  It runs against the popular consumer choice, it may make air quality worse, and it will likely put achieving climate change objectives further out of reach.

“In contrast, the five African nations that recognize the opportunity for bringing in cleaner technology and the need for ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, will move forward.  In the United States, cleaner diesel fuel and new diesel engines now achieve near-zero emissions and are an important part of the strategy to achieve cleaner air and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  The new diesel technology also meets the high fuel economy needs of consumers without sacrificing vehicle performance or mobility.

Cleaner Diesel Fuel and Modern Engines Generate Clean Air Benefits
“The International Council on Clean Transportation and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, an initiative of the U.N. Environment Programme, has identified policies to promote access to clean diesel fuel and the introduction modern diesel engines as an important element to generate clean air benefits while substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“All sources of emissions, including vehicles, stationary and industrial sources, contribute to the emissions challenge of all metropolitan areas and nations.  Rather than singling out one fuel and technology, city leaders should be pursuing a holistic approach that accelerates the retirement of older, high emission vehicles regardless of fuel type.

“In France, Spain and Greece, diesel cars make up more than 50 percent of all car registrations, reflecting the preferences of French, Spanish and Greek drivers.  To deny them the opportunity to choose the vehicle of their choice including the cleanest diesel technologies available is a short-sighted and ill-conceived policy.

Diesel Vehicles Needed to Achieve European CO2 Goals
“Working with manufacturers, the European Union is developing important steps to adopt more stringent vehicle emissions standards and enhance vehicle emissions testing.  To achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that will enable meeting the goals of the Paris climate accord, continued progress toward low CO2 emissions must be sustained.  Manufacturers have already stated that the low-CO2 performance of the newer diesel cars will be a key strategy in meeting the Paris accord.  This makes the pledge by these four Mayors even more confusing.

“Technologies like electric or hydrogen vehicles may provide new options for consumers at some point in the future, but are not likely to be available in the timeframes and scale that these cities need to achieve continued reductions in CO2.

Traffic Congestion Causes Emissions Problems in Older, Densely Populated Cities
“Without a doubt, most major cities face the mounting pressures of more vehicles on the road, growing congestion, and emissions problems.  Paris is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, Athens is one of the world’s oldest cities, Madrid is the third largest city in in Europe, and Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the entire world.  Failure to invest in transportation and infrastructure has reduced mobility, increased congestion and the resulting emissions concerns from an aging vehicle fleet that lead to political pressure to take some kind of action.  In this case four mayors wrongly moved against diesel cars.

Lag in Cleaner Diesel Fuel Policies Inhibits Progress
“In the case of Mexico City, joining this pledge is particularly ironic.  For years, the Mexican government has pledged to bring cleaner diesel fuel into all of Mexico, but has yet to accomplish it. Unlike the U.S. which has had ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel available since 2006, it still is not the baseline fuel for all of Mexico.  This serious policy failure severely limits the region’s ability to introduce on a wide-scale regional basis the very clean diesel engines and vehicles that would ensure progress toward clean air objectives.

African Countries get it Right, Demanding Cleaner Diesel Fuel
“And while four city leaders reject new technology, other countries embrace it. The African countries of Ghana, Ivory Coast, Togo, Nigeria and Benin have joined together to reject the poor-quality diesel fuel shipped to them from Europe and now demand that their countries receive the cleanest diesel fuel available.  They are moving forward and this will enable them to dramatically improve air quality and the health of their citizens through embracing clean diesel fuel and technology, not banning it.”

The Diesel Technology Forum (USA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology. For more information visit www.dieselforum.org .

Steve Hansen
301-668-7230 (o)
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Allen Schaeffer
ProfNet – http://www.profnetconnect.com/Schaeffer

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International Relations opposes “Land Grab” Bill tabled before Israeli Parliament

South Africa opposes Land Grab Bill tabled before the Israeli Parliament

The South African Government received with shock the news that on Wednesday, 7 December 2016, members of the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) for the Jewish Home Party tabled the Regulations Bill whose purpose is to legitimise the continuing annexation of Palestinian land for settlement construction.

The Bill has already been condemned by Israel’s Attorney-General, stating that it breaches local and international law. Opposition parties correctly described it as a land grab move.

The Bill intends to retroactively legalise 55 illegal outposts by turning them into state-sanctioned settlements. The Bill would also open the door for the legalisation of over 3000 housing units inside existing settlements by expropriating the 5000 dunams of private Palestinian land. It seeks to legalise housing units built by settlers on private Palestinian land if the construction was carried out in good faith, including situations where settlers might not have known that the land was Palestinian and received some support from the state, be it explicit or implicit support.

South Africa reiterates that the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory is a direct obstacle to the peace negotiations and is contrary to international law. South Africa calls on all peace-loving people throughout the world to stand up in defence of the two-state solution and strongly opposes the land grab Bill.

Source: Government of South Africa

Social Development hosts dialogues with social grant beneficiaries

The Department of Social Development, will on Friday 09 December 2016; host dialogues with social grant beneficiaries in Mangaung, Free State Province and Madibogo village, North West Province. These dialogues will be led by both Minister Bathabile Dlamini and Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, as part of South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) 10 Year Anniversary celebrations which are being held across all provinces.

SASSA is a Social Development entity established in terms of the Social Assistance Act 13 of 2004 to relieve poor South Africans from Poverty, Unemployment and Inequality as directed by the National Development Plan (NDP). The NDP requires Government and its social partners to lead the creation of an inclusive social protection system that addresses all areas of vulnerability and is responsive to the needs, realities and conditions of those who are most at risk. To date, SASSA pays social grants to more than Seventeen Million South Africans and more than Nine Hundred Thousand of these beneficiaries are living in Free State Province. In North West, SASSA pays social grants to One Million Two Hundred Thousand beneficiaries.

Both the Minister and Deputy Minister will utilise this opportunity to interact directly with social grant beneficiaries and caution them to be more careful when using their social grant income. They will also be educated about some of the social grant related issues as the festive season begins. Citizens will be urged to spend wisely during the festive season and plan for the new-year.

The department recently interacted with communities of Mangaung and Thaba Nchu who raised their concerns about illegal deductions of airtime, insurance, loan sharks and long queues at SASSA pay points.

Source: Government of South Africa

International Relations on State Visit of by His Excellency President Edgar Lungu

Joint Communique on the occasion of the State Visit of His Excellency President Edgar Lungu

At the invitation of His Excellency Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Edgar Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia, paid a State Visit to South Africa from 8 to 9 December 2016.

Both Heads of State were accompanied by delegations of Ministers and Senior Government Officials. The Meeting was preceded by the inauguration of the Joint Commission for Cooperation which took place in Pretoria on 7 December 2016.

During the official talks, both Heads of State reviewed a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues.

They expressed satisfaction at the strong bilateral relations existing between the two countries, founded on long standing historical, political, economic and cultural ties.

The two leaders noted with appreciation the vast nature of the bilateral cooperation which includes amongst others, trade and investment, energy, agriculture, mining, defence, health, education, correctional services and transport.

The two leaders further noted that twenty one Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) have over the past years been signed between the two countries. They further emphasised the need to have them fully implemented and to consider the renewal of those that had lapsed as well as to expedite the finalisation of pending agreements for signature.

They further reiterated the importance of ongoing economic cooperation between the two countries in terms of trade and investment, and expressed their satisfaction that the business sector of the two countries had met at the Business Forum to explore ways to further participate in the economies of the two countries. The Heads of State addressed the Business Forum and urged the private sector to increase economic cooperation between the two countries.

The two Heads of State exchanged views on the political and security situation in the region and the continent. Furthermore, they reaffirmed their commitment to working together in pursuit of sustainable peace and stability in the region. With regards to regional integration, they called for the implementation of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap.

The two leaders, expressed their commitment to African unity and the implementation of the AU Agenda 2063 and its Action Plan.

The two leaders took note of the negative impact the current drought is causing within the region and pledged to work closely with the region and development partners to explore possible mitigation strategies.

His Excellency, President Zuma congratulated His Excellency President Lungu for the successful, credible, free and fair general election held on 11 August 2016 and for him being re-elected as the President of the Republic of Zambia.

The two Heads of State reaffirmed their support for the SADC candidate for the post of the AU Commission Chairperson, Honourable Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, the current Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation of Botswana.

The two leaders also acknowledged the appointment of the new Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Antonio Guterres.

The two Heads of State, further reiterated their common view on the need for the reform of multilateral institutions particularly the Bretton Woods Institutions and the Security Council to include the interests of the developing countries.

His Excellency, President Lungu also congratulated South Africa for peaceful and successful local elections held on 3 August 2016.

His Excellency, President Lungu further congratulated His Excellency President Zuma for his election as the incoming Chair of SADC and reassured his country’s support during South Africa’s tenure to lead the regional organisation.

His Excellency, President Lungu expressed his gratitude for the warm reception and hospitality accorded to him and his delegation and further extended an invitation to his Excellency President Zuma to visit Zambia during 2017 at the date to be mutually determined through diplomatic channels

Source: Government of South Africa

Minister Malusi Gigaba: 2016 Festive season plans and office hours’ extension

Statement by Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba on 2016 Festive season plans and office hours’ extension: ORTIA

Members of the media, ladies and gentlemen, we are grateful for your participation in this briefing on the department’s interventions here at OR Tambo International Airport, and plans for other ports of entry for the 2016 festive period.

For this briefing, we chose OR Tambo International Airport seeing that it is one of South Africa’s principal ports of entry, and had recently experienced challenges regarding smooth facilitation of movement of persons. This has afforded us a chance further to inspect, on-site, what has been done to improve service for travellers in and out of the Republic of South Africa.

It is fitting at this time also to articulate operational and contingency plans we have in place for smooth facilitation, in collaboration and joint execution with other departments and agencies.

We anticipate, in this busy period, an upsurge in traveller movements, in and out of the country, necessarily placing additional strain on limited resources, especially at primary ports of entry.

It is the mandate of our department to ensure effective and secure management of immigration and to facilitate movement of persons through OR Tambo as one of SA’s priority ports of entry.

OR Tambo International Airport

OR Tambo is the busiest airport on the African continent. It serves as the primary hub for domestic and international travel to and from South Africa (SA).

For OR Tambo International airport, the department has completed a specific operating model for festive period operations, understanding that implementation of a sound and responsive operating model to manage ports of entry operations is a critical requirement for service delivery at port level.

Accordingly, additional resources for the 2016/17 festive season were provided, in spite of current financial constraints. A total of 92 additional staff members will be deployed at this airport from 9 December 2016 to 14 January 2017.

A structured shift arrangement was developed for the period of deployment, for effective and efficient utilisation of such additional resources.

The additional staff of 92 will do two shifts a day, to cover also for the overlap between normal shifts, which may be disruptive if not properly managed.

The first 5-hour shift of additional staff will start at 06h00 in the morning, and end at 11h00.

This shift will return for the second 4-hour shift at 16h00, and work until 20h00.

The current staff at OR Tambo will continue with their normal 12-hour shift, from 07h00 to 19h00.

In setting up the two shifts, of additional staff, the department took into account the busiest periods of the day, where more personnel is required, for full capacity, and maximised impact.

Importantly, the two shifts of additional staff will allow for 100% capacity at the workstations, with all cubicles utilised for traveller processing during the specified peak hours. I must emphasise that this is a temporary intervention; we will still require a sustainable solution that appreciates that efficiency, through optimal staff capacity, needs to extend beyond the festive season.

Further to tackle delays, we are in discussions with ACSA on how best to rearrange counters. This is to separate South Africans, who do not need to take fingerprints, from foreign nationals, especially those who are providing for the first time their full set of fingerprints � for all ten fingers.

Our Director General met with stakeholders, compromising of airline associations and key tourism players. In this meeting, the DG updated our stakeholders on the implementation of IMC recommendations and also briefed them on our plans to deploy additional officials to key ports of entry.

Festive season plans for other ports

Regarding festive season plans for other ports of entry, a brief background should assist.

On 4 December 2014, the SA Cabinet resolved that the Department of Home Affairs should be responsible for the coordination of border management mandates and activities within government in the period leading up to the establishment of the Border Management Authority (BMA).

Through the BMA Project Office, the department effectively coordinated the 2016 Easter festive border coordination plans between various organs of state.

Similar plans have been put in place for the upcoming 2016/2017 festive period. The 2016/17 festive operational plan will ensure optimal coordination between government stakeholders in the border environment. The plan will come into operation from 08 December 2016 to 14 January 2017.

This plan outlines accountability and reporting requirements of different departments at ports of entry to the National Border Management Coordination Committee (NBMCC) and the BMA Project Office. The NBMCC will meet daily to assess border control processes at all ports of entry over this period.

The plan further addresses a number of key areas, such as:

a) Key border related risks and threats and proposed mitigation measures,

b) A travel advisory for the 2016/2017 festive period,

c) The extension of operational hours at targeted ports of entry,

d) The identification and responsibilities of port of entry managers,

e) The deployment of additional human resources and assets in the border environment,

f) The provision of additional infrastructure and specific improvements to ports of entry,

g) An escalation protocol to address problems, and

h) Departmental contact information.

The extension of hours will cover pre-festive season movement, the post-festive season period and the re-opening of schools for the 2017 academic year. Again people are encouraged to travel gradually in this period, rather than on a single day. Safety on the roads is paramount!

Birth Certificate requirement

Our officials have been inundated with enquiries from those travelling with children, regarding the requirement for birth certificates. The birth certificate, or unabridged birth certificate, is required for all children, below 18, travelling in or out of South Africa, except where a visa had been issued to a minor, as this would have been provided for as part of the visa application process.

Where a birth certificate has been applied for and cannot be produced or be obtained at the time of travel, an official letter stating this fact can be obtained from the nearest Home Affairs office before travelling through a port of entry.

From 1 November 2016, we now refer to this document as a birth certificate, as there is no longer need to distinguish between the old abridged and new unabridged birth certificate issued from 2013.

This is in addition to the requirement for valid passports, and visas where applicable, as well as affidavits confirming parental consent to such travel in the event that one parent is not travelling.

We encourage citizens to apply for birth certificates when they apply for child passports. Going-forward, details of parents will be printed in the passports, so that parents whose particulars are printed would not be required to take along birth certificates when travelling with their children.


These plans are rolled-out to ensure quick processing of people and goods at South African ports of entry and to alleviate problems recently experienced at OR Tambo International Airport.

We thank all officials for their dedication to the success of this project.

[A Table outlining the extended hours for the festive period is provided below]

Those taking a break, have a joyful rest, and a most fulfilling new year for all!

I thank you.

Source: Government of South Africa