Daily Archives: June 5, 2017

Young leaders gather to generate innovative solutions to tough challenges in West Africa

ACCRA, Ghana, June 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — More than 130 young African leaders met in Accra, Ghana from May 31 to June 1 to collaborate on solutions to tough challenges in their countries and communities.

Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders logo

At the West Africa Regional Conference as part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, these young professionals collaborated with their peers to share solutions for deepening engagement with youth and communities. During the conference’s pitch competition, Fellows had the opportunity to showcase their state-of-the-art projects and ideas to potential business partners, including Rainbow Consult, Kwese TV, Rendeavour, nFortics, Africa Internship Academy, and The CSR Training Institute.

Mandela Washington Fellow Laud Anthony Basing from Ghana won the competition with his innovative pitch for a v-discharge toolkit, a self-administered vaginal diagnostic tool that connects to a mobile app to treat infections and improve health outcomes for women across West Africa.

“The pitch competition and the Fellowship provided an important platform to showcase my product, obtain important feedback, find partners, and acquire investors,” Basing explained. Other pitches included a disability-friendly apparel business, a culinary tourism company, a multi-purpose community tool bank, and a community literacy project.

Young African leaders from 21 countries attended the conference, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Robert P. Jackson urged Fellows to continue to push forward, stressing that, “innovation is what is needed to change the face of the continent. Leaders are those who refuse to give up in the face of challenges.”

Dr. Patrick Awuah, Founder and President of Ashesi University College, delivered the keynote address and reminded Fellows that, “the character of a leader will become the destiny of a nation.”

The Mandela Washington Fellowship brings 1,000 young African professionals from across the continent to US universities for six weeks of leadership training. Competitively selected, the Fellows represent the continent’s emerging generation of entrepreneurs, community leaders, and public officials working to shape the future of Africa.

Fellows also presented on how they are tackling community problems to support entrepreneurship, end youth unemployment, and foster economic development.

Theo Sowa, CEO of the African Women’s Development Fund, encouraged Fellows to understand the importance of collaborating with each other, now and into the future. “Leadership is not about the individual. It’s about the collective and working together.”

USAID and IREX support Mandela Washington Fellows in Africa after they complete the U.S.-based portion of the Fellowship, with continuing professional development opportunities, mentoring, networking, and training to advance these young leaders along their professional endeavors as they help build a brighter future for Africa and forge deeper bonds with counterparts in the United States.

“Through the Fellowship, these young leaders can engage and build the kind of relationships, business practices, and transparent governance that is essential for both African and US businesses to enter and thrive in emerging markets,” said Taleb Salhab, Vice President for Global Programs at IREX.

Photos  and  video  from the conference are available online.

Hashtag: #MWFCon17

Alex Cole, Director of Strategic Communications, IREX
acole@irex.org

Logo – http://mma.prnewswire.com/media/150532/irex_mandela_washington_fellowship_logo.jpg

Cape Town on standby ahead of weather warning

Pretoria � The City of Cape Town is on standby following a warning from the South African Weather Service (SAWS) of high rainfall, gale-force wind and possible snowfalls later this week.

All City services and relevant external agencies are on standby to deal with the consequences of the severe weather that has been forecast, the city’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security and Social Services, JP Smith, said on Monday.

The SAWS has advised the City of Cape Town’s Disaster Risk Management Centre that an intense cold front is expected to affect the Western and Northern Cape on Wednesday and Thursday.

In preparation for the severe weather, the city has cleared away uprooted trees, attended to other infrastructure such as roadways affected by strong winds or potential flooding, and has dealt with any potential power disruptions.

The City will also make emergency shelter and associated humanitarian relief available in the event that any people are displaced as a result of the frontal system.

We further appeal to the public to report any emergency incidents to our Public Emergency Communication Centre so that we can respond as speedily as possible and mitigate the fallout, Smith said.

Residents can contact 021 480 7700 from a cell phone or 107 from a landline for in the case of an emergency.

Residents can reduce their flood risk by taking heed of the following tips:

Make sure that drainage pipes on property are not blocked

Make sure that the storm water gutters around property are free from debris

Check for dead or burnt trees that have the potential of falling onto your property and causing damage

Place sandbags where necessary to protect critical areas

Check the terms of your insurance policy with regard to flood and mud damage

In informal settlements, raise the floor level of your home to be higher than the land outside

Listen to weather warnings that are issued by the South African Weather Service

The weather warnings which have been issued by SAWS include:

Heavy rain (50mm of rain in a 24-hour period) is possible over the western parts of the Western Cape on Wednesday. The highest rainfall is expected particularly over the western mountainous areas. Further showers are expected in the west overnight into Thursday.

The cold front may also lead to snowfalls over high-lying regions of the western half of the Western Cape and the southern high ground of the Northern Cape. Snowfalls are possible during Wednesday afternoon/evening, but the majority of snowfalls are expected during Thursday. There are chances of some disruption as a result of these snowfalls.

The intense cold front at the surface will cause gale-force winds (65 � 90 km/h) along the south-western coast on Wednesday, spreading to the southern coastline on Thursday. Gale-force winds can also be expected over the southern interior of the Northern Cape and most of the Western Cape interior where winds could reach 65 � 80 km/h.

The effects of the weather system are also to be seen in the sea state, with high to very high seas and wave heights greater than 6 � 8 m expected south of Alexander Bay from Wednesday afternoon and reaching 9 � 12 m between Lamberts Bay and Cape Agulhas, spreading along the south coast by Thursday. These waves will also have high energy with the long wave period which will very likely cause storm surges and damage to the coastal regions all along the west and south-west coast and, to a lesser degree, the south coast due to the orientation of the bays and the westerly to south-westerly swell and wind conditions.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Minister Lynne Brown: Eskom Development Foundation report

Eskom Development Foundation report on MMMD multi-purpose centre clinic

Councillors and officials of the Moses Kotane Municipality

Eskom officials

Representatives of the Eskom Development Foundation

Representatives of the Health Department (national, provincial and district), Department of Land Reform andthe Department of Public Enterprises

Members of the MMMD Community Trust

Members of the Mokgalwaneng community

Friends, comrades and colleagues

Good morning, goeie mAre, dumelang

I would like to start off by thanking you for the welcome you have given me; for reminding me that there is much for us to celebrate in South Africa. And much that remains to be done!

To be honest, when I visit villages such as yours I feel that I can do without Eskom because your spirit recharges my batteries. And I’d sleep better at night.

Ladies and gentlemen

We can’t really do without Eskom.

If you follow the news you’ll be forgiven for thinking the company is on its last legs � awaiting a priest to read the last rites. But that is not the truth.

It has been the subject of very serious allegations of conflicts of interest and corruption. It is not just in Eskom’s interest, but the entire country’s interest, that these allegations are proven or removed from the table � as quickly as possible.

That is why I made repeated calls this year for further inquiries into these matters.

The President’s announcement that he would support the establishment of a judicial commission into alleged state capture will be very good for Eskom and other state-owned companies.

In the meantime, I have announced an investigation by the Special Investigations Unit supported by a preferably a retired judge to look into coal contracts and procurement. It is here that most of the alleged problems lie.

If Eskom was not involved in coal procurement most people would agree that it’s doing quite a good job.

It is important to understand why the coal contracts are so hot: They are worth billions of rands. For many years, the contracts to supply coal to Eskom were held by white companies only. Not much has changed. Some of these contracts are coming up for renewal. Those who hold them don’t want to lose them. Others are very keen to grab them.

There are many bulls in the kraal.

We must find ways, when the contracts are renewed, of bringing in more black-owned companies. They must be brought in through legal tender processes.

People of Mokgalwaneng

I am telling you these things because it is important for all South Africans to be part of the discussion about why a healthy Eskom is so critical to our nation.

Eskom doesn’t just keep the lights on, although that is important.

Every week it is rolling out electricity connections to more and more South Africans, in more and more villages across the nation. And it is supplying the power that industry needs.

Eskom is a giant company owned by the state. It is the fourth largest electricity regulator in the world. More than 46 000 South Africans work for Eskom, putting food on their families’ tables. This makes it among the largest employers in the country.

Then there are all the people who work for companies who supply goods and services to Eskom and its fleet of power stations � from coal, to industrial and mechanical equipment, to the maintenance of buildings, to catering to security. That must be at least another 100 000 jobs.

But, like they say in the adverts, that’s still not all. Eskom builds infrastructure. Its build programme has provided jobs for tens of thousands workers in the construction industry. At the peak of its construction, last year, the new Kusile Power Station had 17 000 workers on site.

If you total up all those numbers it gives you a clear picture of why we say Eskom is a key lever in a developmental state such as ours with extreme levels of inequality, poverty and unemployment.

It is an engine of South Africa’s economy.

Ladies and gentlemen

Because Eskom is a State-Owned Company, which means it is owned by the people of South Africa � all of us � it is very different to privately owned companies like Shoprite or Engen.

Private businesses make money for their shareholders. State-Owned Companies must also be careful about money. But instead of generating profits for the few, they must profit the majority.

State-Owned Companies must build infrastructure, create jobs � and with whatever money they have over they must further develop the people and facilities, such as through this clinic.

They call this kind of non-core spending, Corporate Social Investment or CSI. Because Eskom is a giant State-Owned Company, it is able to take on very meaningful community projects.

I am very proud of the Eskom Development Foundation’s work, and particularly, of the fruits of its relationship with the MMMD Community Trust.

It is even more pleasing that Eskom is able to do all these things, and will still make a small profit, again, this year. And it is very positive that although Eskom is entitled to draw more money in Government loans, it has not added extra financial pressure on the State.

Programme director

It is Youth Month, so with your permission I’d like to send a quick message to the young members of the community.

The message is simple: Study maths and science. Our State-Owned Companies need young people with those skills. They need pilots, engineers, accountants, lawyers.

Last year, the six State-Owned Companies in the Public Enterprises’ portfolio (Eskom, Transnet, Denel, SA Express, SAFCOL and Alexkor) collectively enrolled nearly 9 000 trainees in various critical skills programmes. And nearly 1 800 learners received bursaries for the current financial year.

Let me finish by addressing the women of this community. I know that women in poorer communities bear particular burdens, and that access to health facilities for you and your children shouldn’t be one of them.

This clinic will benefit all in the community, men, women and children. But I am particularly pleased by what it means for women, and mothers in particular.

I thank you.

Source: Government of South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA: GENDER COMMISSION SPEAKS OUT ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, CHILDREN

PRETORIA, South Africa’s Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) says it has noted with concern the increasing spate of intimate partner killings and the rape of women and children.

The CGE strongly condemns all acts of gender based violence, not limited to intimate partner killings. The brutal killing and burning of Karabo Mokoena, the senseless raping and murder of Courtney Pieters, the killing of a 33-year woman in Langa, Cape Town, the killing of five women in Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape and the gang rape of a pregnant woman in Soweto, Johannesburg, has brought the spotlight back on gender based violence.

Through our media monitoring processes, the Commission has noted that the killing of women by their partners, rape of women and children is increasing at an alarming rate, the CGE said.

It called on parents, guardians, men formations and other organisations to begin a process of engaging their children, particularly the boy child, about issues of respect.

Buying a woman gifts and material things does not mean you own a woman. Nobody deserves to die just because during the relationship money was spent on them. Phrases like ‘if I can’t have you, no one will’ should not even occupy any person’s vocabulary.

We call upon the police to ensure that protection orders are served in accordance with the law. Perpetrators of gender based violence are made to understand the gravity that will follow should they break protection orders, said the CGE.

The CGE called for the law to be stringently applied.

Society needs reassuring that our streets, malls and parks will be safe for both women and children, without having to look over their shoulders to see if they are being followed or watched by those with ill intentions.

The CGE pleaded with society to report all forms of gender based violence to the police.

We also call upon parents and guardians to ensure that their children are safe at all times. Parents and guardians must also know the whereabouts of their children.

We urge members of the public who have knowledge of and information on acts of violence, rape and abuse to call our toll-free number 0800 007 709 to report such cases, it said.

South Africa marked Child Protection Week from May 28. While the week has concluded on Sunday, the responsibility of looking after children continues 365 days a year.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK