Daily Archives: February 14, 2017

Victims of Crime Survey released

Housebreaking and home robbery are the most feared types of crime in South Africa, according to the 2015/16 Victims of Crime Survey.

This is despite households experiencing a decline in housebreaking and home robberies from 931 000 incidents in 2010 to 807 000 in 2015/16.

The results of the Victims of Crime Survey for 2015/16 were released by Statistics South Africa on Tuesday. The nationwide household based survey examines perceptions and experiences of citizens in all nine provinces.

The data shows that households in North West, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape were the least likely to report incidents of housebreaking and home robbery, while Western Cape and Free State were the most likely to report such incidents to the police.

When asked about their opinions on crime, households thought housebreaking/burglary and home robberies were the most feared types of crime. This is worrying because it shows that people do not feel safe, Statistician General Pali Lehohla said.

The report also shows that about 712 000 (2%) of individuals experienced theft of their personal property, while 254 000 (0.7%) experienced assault in 2015/16.

Despite the good news about the achievements over the last five years, South Africans feel that violent and property crime is increasing to the extent that the majority of households don’t feel safe to walk alone in parks or allow their children to play freely in their neighbourhoods, Lehohla said.

As a result of fear of crime, households in South Africa take measures to protect themselves and their property.

More than half of the households took physical protection measures for their homes and slightly more than a third of vehicle owners took protection measures for their vehicles.

When asked about what they perceived to be the motive for perpetrators for committing property crimes, Lehohla said more than three-quarters of households in South Africa thought that property crimes were committed because of drug-related motives.

The perception that drugs were a reason behind the high prevalence of violent and property crime featured predominantly in Eastern Cape with 90.1%, Western Cape with 84.6% and Gauteng with 80.8%.

Car hijacking most reported crime

The report shows that guns were the most commonly used weapon by perpetrators of car hijackings, home robberies and murder.

With regards to crime reporting, rates varied a lot depending on the type of crime from 95% in the case of murder to 17.3% in the case of crop theft being reported to the police.

Car hijacking was the most reported individual crime, where between 80% and 100% of the incidents were said to have been reported during the reporting period.

On the other hand, there was a sharp decline in reported assault incidents, from 93.3% in 2011 to 48.6% in 2015/16.

Livestock theft reporting also declined from 40.9% in 2011 to 29.3% in 2015/16.

The report indicates that the majority of households did not report crime incidents to the police because they believed the police could not or would not do anything even if they reported.

These reasons jointly accounted for an estimated 57.2% for theft of personal property, 64.1% for robbery, 23.8% for assault and 24.9% for consumer fraud, reads the report.

Levels of satisfaction with justice system

With regards to the levels of satisfaction with the police and courts in 2011, an estimated 64.2% of households were satisfied with the police in their area, while about 58.8% were satisfied with the police in 2105/16.

The decline in satisfaction with the police was most severe in the Western Cape, from 71.3% in 2011 to 57.1% in 2015/16.

The report indicates that those who were satisfied with the courts thought that courts passed appropriate sentences, while of those who were satisfied with the police were of the opinion that the police were gender and disability sensitive and tolerant.

There was a decline in household satisfactions with the courts, from 64.5 % in 2011 to 54% in the reporting period. The Western Cape displayed the lowest levels of satisfaction with courts at 32.2%.

Many provinces felt that the courts were too lenient on criminals and it took long for cases to be finalised.

Feeling safe

Despite citizens in all provinces — with the exception of Limpopo — taking less than 30 minutes to get to a police station, the survey provided evidence of a decline in police visibility during the last five years.

From 2011 to 2015/16, a noticeable decline was observed in the percentage of households who felt safe walking alone both during the day or when it was dark, while throughout the period, the majority felt safer walking during the day than in darkness.

Slightly more than a third of households felt safe walking alone in their area.

Corruption

On perceptions of corruption, about 16.4% of the households thought that employment opportunities were the main reasons bribes were solicited. This was followed by policing, traffic fines, social grants, housing and driving licences.

At provincial level, the Free State with 44.7% and KwaZulu-Natal with 44.5%, had the highest proportion of households who thought that people are paying bribes to speed up these processes.

Lehohla said the survey is important as it guides government in formulating its policies in the fight against crime.

Crime creates anxiety in society and has a negative effect on the quality of life and economic development. In order to achieve the national strategic outcomes on crime, it is important that we measure such patterns and perceptions.

Source: South African Government News Agency

UN Agency Meeting on Army Worm Outbreak in Southern Africa

HARARE � The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is holding an emergency regional meeting in Zimbabwe on the spread of army worms in southern Africa, which is already struggling with food shortages. The pests are destroying crops in Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

FAO coordinator for southern Africa Chimimba David Phiri said the meeting is aimed at finding a strategy to contain the situation.

Many countries are affected…. It is the countries that are going to offer solutions of a coordinated approach to control this. Now that we have this fall army worm, we cannot eradicate it. In the Americas, it has been there since 1957 and they have not managed to control it because it keeps evolving. So we cannot expect that it can be eradicated. But we have to find a plan for managing it from now onwards, Phiri said.

Experts suspect that fall army worm might have come when the southern African region imported maize from the Americas during a El Nino-induced drought in the 2015/2016 rain season.

The three-day meeting in Harare is also grappling with other plant pests such as the South American tomato leaf miner that has been found in Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The bug has caused extensive damage, according to International Red Locust Control Organization for Central and Southern Africa Director Moses Okhoba.

He says the east Africa region is also on high alert, amid the spread of H5N1, a highly pathogenic avian influenza in 12 west and central African countries, and H5N8 in wild and domestic birds along the shores of Lake Victoria, in Uganda. He says resources are being stretched.

So we need to quickly think how quickly the region as a whole, not only in the outbreak areas, but also those states that are protected by the activities that are undertaken within the frontline states. So generally, I would say whatever we propose [at the meeting] in terms of protection is crucial to ensuring that food is secure in the region. Otherwise we end up with a disaster, Okhoba said.

The FAO says more than 40 million people need food assistance in southern Africa before the next harvest that starts in March, with Zimbabwe and Madagascar being some of the worst hit by El Nino-induced drought.

Source: Voice of America

Western Cape hosts digital game competition to drive social change

Western Cape residents to use digital game to drive social change

A digital game competition is set to give Western Cape residents the opportunity to drive social change in their communities.

Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, said the Serious About Games initiative would use a new approach to address the challenges facing the province’s poorest residents.

The project is a collaboration between the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi), Interactive Entertainment South Africa (IESA), 67 Games, and the Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI).

Minister Winde said the Serious About Games initiative called for game developers to work with communities to create a game which would allow residents to reimagine their communities, with a focus on better access to economic opportunities. Four teams were selected as semi-finalists and have until 24 March to develop the prototype of their game.

We asked gamers to partner with community organisations to look at the biggest social and economic challenges caused by apartheid urban planning. The focus is on creating a platform for innovative community-sourced solutions to these problems. We also hope to foster a culture of innovation in our communities. As government, we are thinking of new ways to obtain data and trends we can use to make sure our projects are responsive to residents’ needs. We’ve seen how the fourth industrial revolution continues to disrupt the economy, and it also presents alternative pathways to connect with citizens to improve government services, said Minister Winde.

Michelle Matthews, Head of innovation at CiTi, said: We are seeing a growing community of professionals from different backgrounds coming together to use games as a platform for education and learning across sectors, from civic engagement to healthcare. In the coming months, we hope this competition, funded by the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, will serve as a catalyst for the Serious About Games community.

Each team will create a prototype of their game for final judging. The winning team will develop their game and make it available to communities.

The panel of judges included WITS game design lecturer Hanli Geyser, international indie game developer Veve Jaffer, start-up consultant Alex Fraser, gaming industry lawyer Nicholas Hall, and Olivia Dyers and Bianca Mpahlaza-Schiff of DEDAT.

The games proposed by the four semi-finalists are:

Vukuzenzela: The team is comprised of RenderHeads, an experienced game development company, and Ikhayalami, an NPO with years of experience in on-the-ground informal settlement reblocking. Their game focuses on improving living standards by reconfiguring the layout of informal settlements, allowing for easy access for emergency services, provision of infrastructure and basic services, and recreational areas;

Sea Monster and VPUU (Violence Prevention Through Urban Upgrading) Collaboration: Their players would be community youth leaders with few resources, but a secret special ability to influence the world around them. They do this by using their ‘Energy’ � an ability to have agency over their own actions � to inspire and get support from others who want the same things they do, in order to create successful projects that upgrade their community, team leader Jade Mathieson of serious games producer Sea Monster told the judges. The game is informed by content used by VPUU in its leadership forums, and the game would be user-tested by these groups during prototyping. The team argued that the data produced would provide both the VPUU and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism with greater insight into social conditions and preferences of youth in poor communities;

Next Question: Their game tackles the issue of youth unemployment, and team member Fabio da Graca told the judges they wanted to help inspire people to start their own businesses, but also to boost existing entrepreneurs who could learn from the successes of others.

Through an intuitive swipe-based decision system, you interact with the community, building relationships and creating business nodes as you go, he said.

They were addressing the harsh reality faced by young South Africans � a lack of confidence, business skills, and validation of their ideas;

Indie Collective: This is a collaboration between experienced entertainment game developers who collectively have worked on nine released games. Under-utilised community facilities were the subject of their game proposal, which sees players build up and manage their own community centre.

Community members visit the centre and engage with the facilities and people there. As the player gathers enough resources to afford more extensions � such as trading spaces, libraries, sports fields or gardens � they will find resource demands increasing for additional upgrades, as well as more interesting tap-to-earn opportunities, said game designer Rodain Joubert.

Effectively, they would gather data about what players would like to see in their real-life communities, ultimately guiding thinking about how to achieve full use of community facilities.

Source: Government of South Africa

SOUTH AFRICAN PARLIAMENT REFUTES ALLEGATIONS OF POLICE ON ITS PREMISES

The South African Parliament has refuted allegations that members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) had helped its security personnel in ejecting MPs from the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party from Parliament ahead of last Thursday’s State of the Nation Address by President Jacob Zuma.

The EFF and the leading opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), whose MPS staged a walk-out, both claim that police officers disguised as Parliament’s Protection Services personnel were used.

Meanwhile, Parliament is expected to conclude its investigation into Thursday’s chaotic scenes.

The EFF maintains the protection services members were in fact police officers and should never have been allowed inside the National Assembly. The DA says it too is investigating whether this is indeed the case although Parliament has vehemently denied this.

Parliament Spokesperson Parliament Manelisi Wolela said Monday: “We have sufficient capacity in terms of the parliamentary protection services, we need no assistance from anyone else to be able to move Members of Parliament out of the facility and therefore any allegation to that effect is rejected by Parliament forthwith.”

Wolela added that Parliament’s investigations into the events of that night were ongoing. The probe includes allegations of an unidentified substance in the public gallery.

The report will be handed to Parliament’s presiding officers — Baleka Mbete, the Speaker of the National Assembly, and Thandi Modise, the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (upper House of Parliament) — on Tuesday.

Wolela said: “It’s going to cover quite a range of things, including the extent of damage and all those issues and clearing up the issue of the substance that was emitting smoke and which created so much discomfort among people.

“It’s been confirmed that it is not pepper spray but forensic investigators in the South African Police Services are analysing that to determine exactly what that substance is.”

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Change in SANAC leadership

Dr Gwen Ramokgopa has tendered her resignation as a trustee of the South African National Aids Trust.

This was announced on Monday by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in his capacity as chair of the South African National Aids Council (SANAC).

Following the appointment of Dr Gwen Ramokgopa as Gauteng Member of the Executive Council (MEC), I have accepted her resignation as a trustee of the South African National Aids Trust.

I thank Dr Ramokgopa for her valuable contribution to the trust and look forward to working with her further as she steers government’s Aids response in Gauteng, said Deputy President Ramaphosa.

The South African National Aids Trust is responsible for overseeing the SANAC Secretariat.

Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba has been appointed as acting chair of the trust. Ntsaluba has been a member of the trust for the past two years.

Ntsaluba is a former Director General in the Departments of Health and International Relations and Cooperation.

His immediate task includes the finalisation of the process of appointing the Chief Executive of the trust (SANAC Secretariat), a position vacated by Dr Fareed Abdullah at the end of January this year, said Deputy President Ramaphosa.

Noting the excellent contribution to the work of SANAC done by Dr Abdullah, Deputy President Ramaphosa wished him well in his next assignment.

Source: South African Government News Agency