Monthly Archives: March 2017

Ekurhuleni replaces ageing water meters

Pretoria � The City of Ekurhuleni says it continues with its project to replace 10 000 water meters that have exceeded their lifespan.

The R16 million project aims to ensure that water consumers are billed correctly and the loss of non-revenue water is reduced.

Non-revenue water is water that is pumped into the city’s water supply network, from Rand Water but is subsequently lost in the system.

One of the components of non-revenue water is real losses and apparent losses.

Apparent losses is water that is actually used, or consumed, but cannot be accounted for and is generally as a result of a combination of customer meter inaccuracies, unauthorised consumption or water theft, and data handling errors.

Member of Mayoral Committee for Water and Sanitation, Tiisetso Nketle, said that the aim of the project is to target and replace all aged domestic meters that are currently under-reading water consumptions, so as to increase the volume of water billed and thus accounted for by the city.

In the 2015/16 financial year, over 5 000 meters were replaced under this project. This year we are doubling that number to ensure that more consumers are able to access and read their meters. This practice will lead to residents being aware of their consumption and save water, said Nketle.

Meters that have been in operation for 20 years or more, and already been identified by the city’s Water and Sanitation Department are in Katlehong, Spruitview, Germiston, Alberton, Boksburg, Edenvale, Brakpan, Kempton Park, Tembisa, Nigel, Duduza and Springs.

Nketle said that the project has already begun in February in some of the areas and is expected to be completed by June 2018.

She said residents should at least expect a two-hour interruption during the installation.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Power-short Zambia Launches Switch to 100 Percent LED Bulbs

LUSAKA � Zambia is attempting to convert the nation to energy-saving light emitting diode (LED) lightbulbs to help plug crippling power shortages that have hit mining and agriculture and imposed daily rationing on parts of the country.

If all homes and industries switch to the longer-lasting bulbs, the country could save up to 200 megawatts of electricity annually � about 30 percent of its power deficit � according to the state-owned Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO).

The company is planning to distribute 5 million free LED bulbs by June in exchange for conventional ones, at a cost of $20 million. The aim is to replace every incandescent bulb in the country.

“With such initiative, we are going to save a lot of energy. Just imagine moving from 40 watts energy consumption for an ordinary bulb to … only 5 watts for LEDs,” Thomas Sinkamba, manager of the LEDs rollout at ZESCO, told Reuters.

So far, 3 million of the low-energy bulbs have been bought for $5 million, ZESCO senior manager Bessie Banda said.

The government in January banned the manufacture, sale and import of energy-hungry incandescent lightbulbs and several other inefficient devices.

It has also lifted import taxes on LED bulbs, solar panels and other energy-saving equipment, while imposing taxes on inefficient electrical devices.

Rozaia Mapika, a 53-year old a meat seller living in Lusaka, who received six LED bulbs free in December under the government scheme, said the new lightbulbs have cut her monthly electricity bill.

“We used to spend 300 Zambian kwacha [$30] monthly on electricity [for] household use,” said Mapika, who uses electricity for cooking, heating and lighting.

“Now, we are not exceeding more than 240 ZMW [$25] per month,” she told Reuters.

Some people, however, are concerned about the safe disposal of long-lasting LED bulbs and their impact on people’s health.

“[LED lightbulbs] contain mercury, which is highly toxic even in small doses,” said Robert Chimambo a board member for the Zambia Climate Change Network.

The LED bulbs are more expensive to buy than conventional bulbs, costing $5 compared to $1.50. But they last six times longer, promoters said.

Providing the bulbs free of charge is key to driving the switchover in a country where about 65 percent of the population live on less than $1.90 a day.

Powering a nation

The country’s electricity demand in the last five years has risen to 1,800 megawatts, up from 1,600 megawatts, as more areas have been electrified, putting increased pressure on the national electricity grid, according ZESCO.

The rising demand, coupled with two years of drought that lowered water levels in the country’s hydroelectric dams, have led to the country’s power shortages.

Electricity from the national grid has been rationed for up to six hours a day in parts of the country as a way to cushion the shortfall.

“Increased economic activities and [not enough] rainfall have severely impacted the power deficit,” Sinkamba said.

Insufficient investment in electricity generation has also worsened the country’s power deficits, the ministry of finance said in November.

The demand for power is likely to grow, as the government attempts to roll out electricity supplies to more people.

More than two-thirds of Zambia’s 15.5 million people have no access to any power, according to USAID, the U.S. government’s aid agency, which is working with Zambia to help improve its power supplies.

Justine Mukosa, a manager at the government’s Rural Electrification Authority, said that as demand for power increases nationally, other energy sources will be needed to reduce pressure on the national grid.

“We need to intensify other energy sources like solar mini-grid, wind energy and others,” Mukosa said.

Source: Voice of America

How Ebola Impacted Liberia’s Appetite for Bushmeat

When Ebola struck Liberia, consumption of bushmeat dropped dramatically. But in an odd twist, poorer households cut their consumption much more than well-to-do households.

The findings have implications for public health, as well as wildlife conservation. Education campaigns about the risks and consequences of bushmeat hunting have focused on rural villagers near protected nature reserves.

But, it turns out, the more tenacious consumers may be the wealthier city-dwellers.

Bushmeat � wild animals like monkeys, duikers and pangolins � is an essential protein source for many rural West Africans, but it’s also a favorite of urbanites.

Satisfying that demand has created, in some places, “empty forests” that are otherwise pristine but are devoid of critical wildlife.

In addition, bushmeat can spread diseases like Ebola because, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “human infections have been associated with hunting, butchering and processing meat from infected animals.”

Before the 2015 Ebola outbreak, Jessica Junker and her colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology based in Leipzig, Germany, had studied Liberians’ preferences for bushmeat compared to chicken or fish.

Tradition, taste

“We asked people, ‘If you were at a party and you could choose the type of meat you could eat there, what would you like to eat?'” Junker told VOA. That scenario aimed to take cost out of the equation.

Bushmeat often topped the list.

People prefer the taste, Junker said. Bushmeat also is often cheaper than domesticated meat. Plus, it’s a traditional part of their diet.

“Many people have told me, ‘Well, we’ve always eaten bushmeat. Our fathers have eaten bushmeat,'” Junker said.

When Ebola hit, she decided it would be a good time to see how attitudes toward eating wildlife had changed.

Bushmeat consumption dropped, as expected. However, it dropped less among wealthier people.

Rich or poor, before Ebola, people said they ate bushmeat every other day on average. During the outbreak, that dropped to once a month among the lowest-income survey respondents, but once a week among the highest-income respondents.

It’s not clear why that should be, but Junker notes that poorer people hunt bushmeat themselves. “During the Ebola crisis, a lot of people didn’t leave their houses,” she said.

In the cities, it was illegal to sell bushmeat. But “there was an underground bushmeat market,” she said. “If you wanted to get bushmeat, you could still get it,” as long as you had money.

Awareness campaigns

The study was published in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

It presents a challenge for those seeking to preserve wildlife or protect public health.

“If you really like something, you’re not very likely to change that,” Junker said. “Ebola is quite a drastic event, but it doesn’t change your preference. You stop eating it because it’s dangerous.”

She says her group would like to repeat the survey now that the crisis is over. They suspect that people have gone back to their old eating habits.

And, she notes, the study suggests education efforts may need a change in focus.

“Most of the awareness campaigns nowadays are centered around protected areas where the animals actually live. But maybe those are not the people who then consume the bushmeat,” she noted. “It might be people much farther away in the urban centers and who need to be educated about the impact this has.”

Source: Voice of America

New ministers, deputy ministers sworn-in

Pretoria � President Jacob Zuma has officiated over the swearing-in ceremony of the new Ministers and Deputy Ministers to the National Executive.

The new Ministers and Deputy Ministers have taken their oath of office in a ceremony that was held on Friday evening at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House, in Pretoria.

Ministers, who were already serving in Cabinet in other portfolios, as well as serving Deputy Ministers, who are taking up responsibilities in new portfolios, were not sworn-in.

In a statement issued on Friday morning, President Zuma said the changes bring some younger MPs and women into the National Executive in order to benefit from their energy, experience and expertise.

The new appointments are as follows:

Ministers

Minister of Energy, Mmamoloko Nkhensani Kubayi

Minister of Transport, Joe Maswanganyi

Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa

Minister of Home Affairs, Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize

Minister of Communications, Ayanda Dlodlo

Deputy Ministers

Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration, Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba

Deputy Minister of Finance, Sifiso Buthelezi

Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises, Ben Martins

Deputy Minister of Communications, Thandi Mahambehlala

Deputy Minister of Police, Bongani Mkongi

Deputy Minister of Small Business Development, Nomathemba November

Source: South African Government News Agency

CAPE TOWN’S HIGHEST RESIDENTIAL BUILDING HOME TO NEW RADISSON BLU

Radisson Blu, the iconic hotel brand driven by innovation and design, is proudly announcing the opening of a new Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence in Cape Town, South Africa. This is Carlson Rezidor’s 10th hotel in operation in South Africa.

“We are delighted to open our first signature Radisson Blu hotel & residence in Cape Town and expand the presence of our iconic upper-upscale hotel brand in a dynamic destination like Cape Town, which continues to attract more international travelers year-on-year,” said Marc Descrozaille, Area Vice President, Africa & Indian Ocean, The Rezidor Hotel Group. “Our 10th hotel opening in South Africa is another firm proof of our focus on expanding in Africa. Today, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has 34 hotels in operation and under development on the African continent. The Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence Cape Town is also our first mixed-use property in South Africa, made up of fully-fledged upper-upscale hotel apartments, showcasing the diversity of our designer portfolio.”

This highest residential building in the Mother City has won several awards for its architectural design. It is situated on the corner of Riebeeck and Long Street in Cape Town’s foreshore. The Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence’s design is a beautiful mix of historic and ultra-modern. The 214-room hotel residence is within walking distance of all the city’s main tourist attractions and just a kilometer away from the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).

Desmond O’Connor, General Manager of the Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence Cape Town, says: “The iconic design of the building pays homage to the Art Deco design language and the same design direction has been applied in the public areas and to an extent in the bedrooms. In conjunction with this style, inspiration was also drawn from the natural elements of the city. The design and décor of the rooms thus create a cocoon and instils a welcoming calm to the traveller, something that is not commonly found in city hotels these days. It creates a sense of serenity.”

The hotel is set to take advantage of the influx of corporate travelers, as Cape Town fast cements its place as one of the world’s leading conference and exhibition capitals. Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence Cape Town offers a state-of-the-art executive business lounge and a range of modern meeting and conference rooms, all featuring the latest technology and amenities.

Radisson Blu’s very own signature concept, The Stratus Room, offers a dining experience that embraces the local cuisine with a mix of seasonality; beetroot or baby marrow – encompassing a theatrical approach to service. For those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Cape Town’s streets, The Ghibili Pool Bar and Terrace, located on the rooftop, provides a get-away lunch setting for the simple soup-goers or anyone who dares to take on the mouth-watering steak sandwich. The Sea Street Bar and Lounge is a perfect excuse for a cold tipple and savory nibble.

O’Connor says that Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence Cape Town aims to provide its guests with a world-class hospitality experience. “Our guests’ comfort is our number one priority, and we look forward to welcoming them to Cape Town’s newest and most contemporary hotel property,” O’Connor concludes.

For more information, please visit: https://www.radissonblu.com/en/hotel-capetown-residence

Media Queries:

Saadiyah Hendricks, Area PR Manager, Africa & Indian Ocean
saadiyah.hendricks@carlsonrezidor.com

Lucie Cardona, Director Media Relations & Reputation Management
lucie.cardona@carlsonrezidor.com

About Radisson Blu®

Radisson Blu® is one of the world’s leading hotel brands with 300 hotels in operation in 69 countries and territories. Radisson Blu’s vibrant, contemporary and engaging hospitality is characterized by a unique Yes I Can!SM service philosophy, and all of its first class hotels offer a range of signature features that are empathetic to the challenges of modern travel, including the 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. Distinguished the world over as the brand with Hotels Designed to Say YES!SM, Radisson Blu offers a vivid visual celebration of leading-edge style where the delight is in the detail. Radisson Blu hotels are located in prime locations in major cities, airport gateways and leisure destinations across the world.

Radisson Blu is a part of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, which also includes Quorvus Collection, Radisson®, Radisson RED, Park Plaza®, Park Inn® by Radisson and Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM. For reservations and more information, visit www.radissonblu.com. Connect with Radisson Blu on social media: @RadissonBlu on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook.com/RadissonBlu

About The Rezidor Hotel Group

The Rezidor Hotel Group is one of the most dynamic hotel companies in the world and a member of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. The group features a portfolio of more than 480 hotels in operation or under development with 105,000 rooms in 80+ countries.

Rezidor operates the core brands Radisson Blu® and Park Inn® by Radisson in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). In early 2014 and together with Carlson, Rezidor launched the new brands Radisson RED (lifestyle select) and Quorvus Collection (luxury). In 2016, Rezidor acquired 49% of prizeotel. Rezidor has an industry-leading Responsible Business Program and is named one the World’s Most Ethical Companies by the US think-tank Ethisphere since 2010.

In November 2006, Rezidor was listed on the Nasdaq Stockholm, Sweden. HNA Tourism Group Co., Ltd., a division of HNA Group Co., Ltd.-a Fortune Global 500 company with operations across aviation, tourism, hospitality, finance and online services among other sectors-became the majority shareholder in December 2016.

The Rezidor Hotel Group and its brands employ more than 43,700 people in EMEA and is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.

For more information, visit www.rezidor.com
Twitter @carlsonrezidor
LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/company/2364
Instagram www.instagram.com/rezidor_ourpromise

Attachments:
A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/ba6c1977-a594-4d02-8dce-f8bd98c798ce

Attachments:
A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/08ec3a3a-9169-492a-b22a-57b1418bcf18

Attachments:
A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/a8ea4ef3-ecfe-4ca5-aaea-fa1193f4590d