Daily Archives: January 19, 2017

SOUTH AFRICA’S HAWKS SEEK ADVICE ON PROBE INTO MINISTER’S RHINO POACHING LINKS

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation of the South African Police Service, more commonly referred to as the Hawks, say they will seek advice from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regarding their inquiry into Minister for State Security David Mahlobo’s alleged involvement in rhino poaching.

The inquiry was launched in November last year, following an expose by the Al Jazeera satellite television network which aired a documentary alleging that suspected rhino horn trafficker Guan Jiang Guang and Mahlobo had a relationship linked to rhino poaching.

The allegations of the relationship between Minister David Mahlobo and Guang Jiang Guang stated that they were friends.

Hawks Spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi says the Guang family had since disappeared which made it difficult for them to conduct a proper investigation. We will seek advice from the NPA, as to whether we should continue with the inquiry or not.

Meanwhile, police in Mpumalanga Province are still looking for suspects following the poaching of three rhino over the weekend.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Parliament hosts public seminar on Foreign Services Bill in Pretoria

International Relations and Cooperation Committee to host seminar on bill, amid concerns about misrepresenting Foreign Policy

The Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation will on Tuesday, 24 January 2017, hold a public seminar on the Foreign Services Bill in Pretoria.

The Chairperson of the Committee, Mr Siphosezwe Masango, said the seminar is critical given the confusion that may be created by politicians misrepresenting South Africa’s foreign policy positions while travelling abroad.

The trips abroad may undermine South Africa’s foreign policy and the work of the President. Foreign relations are the preserve of government, said Mr Masango.

This situation is concerning and makes the pending Foreign Services Bill even more important so that people do not misrepresent the country unknowingly. This can hurt South Africa’s economy and trade relations, he said.

The Committee will on Tuesday hold a public seminar on the Foreign Services Bill, which aims to harmonise and bring synergy to the foreign services. Academics, labour, former diplomats and many others are expected to make an input.

Mr Masango encouraged the public and civic organisations to make use of this opportunity and have an input into the Bill.

International trips and fact-finding missions should benefit the country as a whole. These trips should seek to supplement and enhance the work of government and contribute to the advancement of Brand SA, he said.

Source: Government of South Africa

Minister Michael Masutha on Back to School campaign in Vuwani

Torched schools in Vuwani benefit from Minister Masutha’s clean-up as part of the back to school campaign

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Adv. Michael Masutha joined parolees and probationers as part of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) Back to School campaign in Vuwani, Limpopo, today (19 January 2017).

The clean-up operations follow the destruction of school property in the area during the 2016 public protests. The beneficiaries include Vhafamadi Secondary School, Vhudzani Secondary School and Mphagame Primary School.

Minister Masutha, who was joined by Chief Tshivhangwaho Mashau and other traditional leaders, used the opportunity to encourage learners to focus on their education. Parolees, who live in the local communities, have been deployed to various schools to provide physical labour and technical skills.

This is part of their rehabilitation, as they give back to their communities by making a positive contribution.

Minister Masutha engaged both school learners and educators on the importance of working closely with correctional centres. This will assist them to understand the various programmes offered to offenders, which may also see them benefiting through offender labour.

The Minister further explained that offenders and parolees receive training in different skills as part of their rehabilitation programmes, and such skills make a difference when they embark on their second chance once released.

National Commissioner Zach Modise encouraged parolees to stay committed and be change agents in their communities, in order to break the cycle of crime.

Vhafamadi Secondary School, which was completely guttered to ashes, is now a fully functional school with a new set of classrooms. The school Principal assured Minister Masutha that they will achieve a 100% matric pass, which will surpass the 62% they achieved in the 2016 academic year. Correctional Services will re-work the courtyard and fence the school.

This initiative forms part of a nation-wide programme in the rehabilitation of inmates through offender labour, whereby offenders are given an opportunity to correct their wrongdoing by giving back to communities. Pupils from all three schools were further encouraged to focus on their studies, as education is useful ammunition to help South Africa become a better country.

In addition, Minister Masutha discouraged the ill-behaviour of people who burnt down schools. As Government, we will always ensure that children of this country receive better education to better their lives, said the Minister.

Source: Government of South Africa

Global plan for better data launched

The inaugural United Nations World Data Forum was concluded on Wednesday with the launch of a global plan for better data to improve people’s lives, and new ideas and solutions to boost the collaboration, resources and policies needed to put it into action.

The Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data, which will be adopted by countries at the UN Statistical Commission when it meets in March this year, was prepared with inputs from the global statistical community and data experts from a wider range of stakeholders.

The UN World Data Forum is the perfect place to launch the Action Plan and get all the major players behind it.

To implement the transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and build a better future for people everywhere, it is essential to have accurate, reliable, timely and disaggregated data, said UN Under-Secretary-General Wu Hongbo at a press conference in Cape Town.

The plan, which sets out a global vision and a to do list for better data, calls for a commitment by governments, policy leaders and the international community to undertake key actions in six strategic areas including innovation and modernisation of national statistical systems, dissemination of data on sustainable development, building partnerships and mobilising resources.

Currently there are large data gaps that hinder policy makers from making informed decisions. Over 100 countries do not keep accurate birth and death records, and only 41% of countries regularly produce data on violence against women.

The unprecedented scope of the UN 2030 Agenda, with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, has magnified the challenge to track progress and inform policies.

We cannot achieve what we cannot measure, said Pali Lehohla, South Africa’s Statistician-General and head of Statistics South Africa.

Over 1 400 data experts from more than 100 countries have been holding discussions, data labs and interactive presentations at the forum from 15 – 18 January, with participants from governments, national statistical offices, the private sector and academia, international organisations and civil society groups.

The forum was hosted by the South African government and Statistics South Africa in partnership with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

Support for statistical development in Africa

Strengthening statistical systems was the subject of extensive discussion at the forum, and a number of commitments were advanced or reaffirmed.

The African Development Bank committed to present a proposal to its board to sustain and even scale up, over the next three years, its support for statistical development work across Africa.

The World Bank added its voice of commitment to support 78 International Development Association (IDA) countries to implement a multi-topic household survey every three years, as well as support capacity for gender statistics, among other areas.

Norway reaffirmed its commitment to supporting statistics and data by providing partners with high quality technical skills and expertise.

In addition to urging the strengthening of existing statistical mechanisms, the Global Action Plan calls for the application of new technologies and new data sources into mainstream statistical activities and integration of geospatial data.

It also calls for data on all groups of the population to be expanded so that no one is left behind — a key principle of the 2030 Agenda.

Innovative data solutions, a number of innovative data initiatives and tools were also announced at the forum.

The United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) launched a Data Disaggregation Action Plan to better measure vulnerable groups and ensure that everyone is counted and everyone counts.

UN Global Pulse launched a new tool, hazegazer.org, that can improve crisis management. Telefonica and CEPEI (Centro de Pensamiento independiente) launched datarepublica.org, a digital platform to connect citizens and development actors in Latin America with data for the SDGs.

Source: South African Government News Agency