Daily Archives: February 10, 2017

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will undertake a working visit to the Kingdom of Lesotho on Friday

Maseru – Deputy President of South Africa and SADC Facilitator Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to pay a working visit to Maseru, capital of the Kingdom of Lesotho later today, Friday 10 February 2017, in pursuance of his SADC mandate to consolidate peace and stability in the Kingdom.

In this regard the working visit of the Facilitator Deputy President Ramaphosa will review progress made with regard to the implementation of SADC recommendations on constitutional and security sector reforms including the investigation into the death of the late Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao.

During the visit, the Facilitator who will be supported by several members of the SADC-appointed Oversight Committee will pay a courtesy call on His Majesty King Letsie III and hold discussions with the Right Honourable Prime Minister Mosisili and members of his coalition government.

As is customary, the Deputy President will also have an occasion to meet with leaders of all opposition political parties, college of Chiefs, Council of Lesotho Churches, and members of the Mahao family to be briefed on their assessment of the current political and security situation in the country.

SADC has committed to providing experts in the various fields to assist the country in developing a long lasting solution to the constitutional and security sector reform.

Deputy President Ramaphosa is expected to return to South Africa later in the day, Friday 10, February 2017, ahead of his planned meeting with exiled Lesotho political leaders on Saturday in Gauteng.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa

Government briefs media on impact made by government and construction relating to settlements agreement signed in 2016, 13 Feb

Impact and progress made between the government and construction relating to settlements agreement signed in 2016

Media is invited to a media briefing to be addressed by Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Gugile Nkwinti, Minister of Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Public Works, Thulas Nxesi, and Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters on the impact and progress made on the ground-breaking transformation instrument, entered into between the construction companies and government, relating to the Settlement Agreement signed last year.

Note to editors: On 10 October 2016, Government and seven construction companies implicated in collusion in various projects, entered into a multi-billion rand settlement agreement covering financial contributions and transformation.

Source: Government of South Africa

South Sudan Now Largest Refugee Crisis in Africa

GENEVA � More than three years of civil war in South Sudan has forced 1.5 million people to flee into neighboring countries, creating Africa’s largest refugee crisis and the third largest in the world after Syria and Afghanistan, the U.N. refugee agency reports.

Since fighting erupted between the government of President Salva Kiir and rebel forces led by First Vice-President Riek Machar in December 2013, the United Nations estimates more than 3.5 million people have become homeless.

More than 2 million people have been displaced within the country, and the rest � or more than 1.5 million � have taken refuge in six neighboring countries � Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Central African Republic.

Violence prompts people to flee

Intense fighting last July in the capital, Juba, prompted a huge uptick in the number of people fleeing South Sudan in 2016.

UNHCR spokesman William Spindler said more than 760,000 people fled across borders after the collapse of a peace deal between the government and opposition forces.

An average of 63,000 people were forced to leave the country every month. Some half-a-million had to flee in the last four months since September 2016.

“More than 60 percent of the refugees are children, many arriving with alarming levels of malnutrition � enduring devastating impact of the brutalities of the ongoing conflict,” he said.

Impact on nearby countries huge

Newly arriving refugees have reported widespread suffering inside South Sudan, including massacres, kidnappings, and rape.

The UNHCR said the refugees told aid workers that fears of armed groups and threats to life, as well as acute food shortage, forced them to leave their homes and seek asylum.

Spindler told VOA the impact of hundreds of thousands of refugees on neighboring countries has been huge.

There are refugees in camps, he said, but there are many who are hosted by the local communities, which are some of the poorest in those countries. That is why it is so important that those countries and those communities continue to receive assistance.

Appeal for funds comes up short

Spindler explained that with so many large-scale displacements around the world, UNHCR humanitarian operations are suffering from a lack of attention and chronic underfunding.

He said it was particularly worrisome in the case of South Sudan, given the large size of its refugee crisis. He praised the generosity of the host countries, but noted that his agency’s relief efforts were being hampered by a serious lack of money.

Last year’s appeal for $649 million, he noted, was funded to only 33 percent, making it extremely difficult to provide critical services, such as clean drinking water, food, health and sanitation facilities.

He said the UNHCR currently was working with authorities in the host countries to provide life-saving support and basic needs for the many South Sudanese arriving in desperate condition.

Uganda’s handling of refugees impressive

Uganda is hosting most of the South Sudanese refugees, nearly 700,000. Despite this huge burden, Spindler told VOA that the treatment of the refugees by the Ugandan authorities was exemplary in many ways.

They are integrated into the community. They are allowed to have access to farming land. So, they are not all in camps, said Spindler.

So, the UNHCR approach is to help not just the refugees, but the communities hosting them, which are themselves, in some cases, very poor and in great need, he said.

No end to crisis in sight

Spindler noted that no solution to this conflict, which was entering its fourth year, was in sight. As the numbers of refugees grew, so did the needs.

He said it was imperative that the international community responded to his agency’s appeal for $782 million so that it could carry out its regional humanitarian operations.

He said millions of people displaced inside Sudan, as well as the refugees and the host communities sheltering them in neighboring countries depended upon a good response to the appeal for their survival.

Source: Voice of America

MORE VISIBLE POLICING FOR SOUTH AFRICA

President Jacob Zuma has promised South Africans that there will more visible police on the streets as the government builds on the successful pattern of deployments implemented under it Safer Festive Season Campaign, which proved that police visibility is the most effective way to combat crime.

This campaign, centred around the back-to-basics approach, focuses on aggravated robberies, border security, taxi violence, illegal firearms, the enforcement of the Liquor and Second-hand Goods Acts, the enforcement of by-laws, as well as crimes against women and children.

Delivering his annual State of the Nation Address (SONA) to Parliament here Thursday, President Zuma said the police “will also utilise certain specialized capabilities, such as the Tactical Response Teams and National Intervention Units, to assist in addressing problematic high-crime areas.

He said police would focus on hotspots like Soshanguve in Pretoria, where crimes such as hijackings and robberies are high.

It is such communities that need to build stronger partnerships with the police to ensure that criminals do not prey on residents, the President said, calling on the public to work with the police to ensure safer communities.

Other measures to fight crime nationally will include the establishment of specialised units, focusing on drug-related crime, taxi violence and firearms and the enhanced utilisation of investigative aids such as forensic leads. The police will also enhance the utilisation of the DNA Database in the identification of suspects.

One of the strategies that the government will adopt this year in the fight against crime, President Zuma said, will be ensuring that those who are released from prison do not commit crime again.

The Department of Correctional Services continues to work hard to turn prisons into correctional centres through offering various services. As a result, compliance levels with parole and probation conditions have improved to reach a historic mark of 98 per cent.

The fight against corruption will also be intensified. In the last year, anti -corruption saw several success stories. Within the National Prosecuting Authority, the Asset Forfeiture Unit completed 389 forfeiture cases to the value of 349 million Rand (about 25.9 million US dollars) and obtained 326 court order to freeze assets worth a total of 779 million Rand.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Panel to facilitate government advertising

Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) has appointed a community print advertising panel that will ensure that small independent publishers benefit from government advertising.

The appointed media sales agencies are Community Newspaper Initiatives; Eastern Province Community Print Media; Milele Grassroots Media Pty Ltd; Mpumalanga Community Newspaper Co-operatives Limited; Capro Pty Ltd and Splendid Marketing and Communications.

In a statement on Friday, GCIS Acting Director General Donald Liphoko said government acknowledges the critical role played by the media, particularly community media in building an informed citizenry.

The establishment of the panel is just one of the initiatives to fast-track the transformation of the media landscape and ensures that government messages reach all communities.

Through the panel, GCIS will communicate with millions of South Africans on a daily basis to complement its existing media platforms, which include publications, a news media bureau, radio and television broadcasts, and community engagement through its extensive Izimbizo programme, said the acting Director General.

The panel is a major step forward in transforming and diversifying government’s media communications mix.

The panel compliments the direct purchasing of advertising space on 89 community radio stations with a daily reach of 6 553 000 listeners.

To further enhance support to small independent publishers, the department has also established a database of emerging publishers that are not represented by the community print agencies on the panel.

GCIS will deal directly with these publishers to ensure that all publishers will benefit from government advertising.

Since establishing a media buying competence in government, GCIS has placed advertising to the value of R158 million in community media, providing an important revenue stream to the sector, making government by far its largest supporter and contributor.

This initiative will see 168 publications and other emerging publishers across South Africa benefit from government advertising.

Meanwhile, GCIS continues to uphold government’s commitment to pay suppliers within 30 days of receipt of proof and invoices in its endeavour to ensure the viability of the businesses.

Further to this, GCIS continues to engage with the relevant stakeholders to ensure that all community platforms within this sector are registered on the Central Supplier Database.

Community media has the ability to inform public discourse which is imperative in strengthening our democracy and addressing the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality as identified in the National Development Plan.

Through paid advertising government helps to support and sustain the community media model, which in turn creates jobs and opportunities for respective communities, said Liphoko.

GCIS continues to strengthen government communication, which includes empowering community media, so that government’s policies and programmes reach all citizens.

The GCIS remains focussed on its mandate and is making great strides in coordinating and leading strategic government communication and the establishment of a panel of community print media is yet another critical milestone for the GCIS, he said.

Source: South African Government News Agency