Daily Archives: June 19, 2017

Western Cape Education on estimated costs of damage to schools

Estimated costs of damage to schools reaches R124 million

The storm that hit the Western Cape on Wednesday, 7 June, damaged 170 schools, according to the latest report compiled by the Western Cape Education Department (WCED). In addition, two were damaged by the inferno that engulfed the Southern Cape.

The extent of damage at each school varies but includes roof damage at 102 schools, damage to fences at 27 schools, structural damage at 14 schools and damage to mobile classrooms at 4 schools. Schools have also reported other damages which include fire damage, fallen trees and damage to electrical components.

An estimated cost of repairs and/or replacement roughly stands at around R124 million. This figure is however not final as some schools are still being visited by various roleplayers from the WCED and the Department of Transport and Public Works (DTPW) and a proper assessment of damages is being compiled. Only once we have concluded this process will a more realistic cost of damage be available.

I must take this opportunity to commend all officials from the WCED and from the DTPW for trying to initiate the repair process as quickly as possible.

I am informed that as cases were reported to the Safe Schools Directorate, the information was immediately passed onto the DTPW who sent out inspectors to visit sites and assess damages. Our priority was to make schools operational as soon as possible, where possible. Officials that visited schools immediately took action in ensuring that where possible, school sites were made safe for use so that learning and teaching can continue with limited interference.

The WCED and DTPW teams meet every third day to assess progress and discuss strategy.

I must thank Minister Donald Grant and his officials for the excellent cooperation and collaboration in dealing with this matter.

A total of 55 schools that were visited for inspection were immediately repaired which means that learning and teaching could resume almost immediately.

The DTPW has procured contractors to execute reparation works at 27 schools and as the visits conclude today, contractors will be procured for those schools too.

At the 4 schools where the mobile units were damaged, we are in the process of repairing or replacing these units.

13 schools that are on leased land were damaged in the storm. The WCED and DTPW have ensured that all leased schools that reported storm damage were visited and made safe. The WCED contacted the owners to advise them of the damage and request that they make the necessary repairs be effected. The WCED will monitor this process.

In some cases, where minor damage has occurred or where damage did not affect teaching or learning at the school, the school will be advised to use their Norms & Standards Funding to do the necessary repairs.

A number of corporate donors have indicated that they are willing to offer assistance and for this we are extremely grateful. We are in the process of determining where best their support can be utilised.

I must also thank all my officials, school principals, and teachers and in some cases parents for their support and their willingness to work with our officials in meeting these challenges positively.

Source: Government of South Africa

Government allowed to recover R1.125bn from Absa

Pretoria - Government is allowed to recover R1.125 billion in misappropriated public funds from Absa Bank and its predecessor Bankorp.This follows a proclamation by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Monday when she released a report into misapprop...

Cameroon Detains 30 of Its Soldiers Fighting Boko Haram

YAOUNDE � Cameroon has detained 30 of its soldiers fighting Boko Haram in the northern part of the country. The Defense Ministry says the soldiers abandoned their positions in a protest over pay and working conditions.

Military officials in Cameroon say the incident happened earlier this month. Several dozen Cameroonian soldiers erected barricades near the country's border with Nigeria and asked to be immediately replaced. The soldiers were part of the Multinational Joint Task Force fighting Boko Haram since 2015.

Colonel Didier Badjeck, spokesperson of Cameroon's military, said the protest was "unacceptable." He said so far 30 of the soldiers who took part have been arrested.

He said the minister of defense gave instructions that the protesters should be arrested so that this bad memory can be forgotten. He said he does not understand what went wrong in the minds of the soldiers to abandon the commitment and oath they took to defend the nation with honor and loyalty even to the ultimate sacrifice.

Badjeck says investigations are ongoing to fish out those who may have masterminded the unrest.

Military officers who did not join the protest tell VOA the soldiers were disgruntled that they are not receiving the same allowances as their peers serving in the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic, who they said get an additional bonus of $500 per month.

But Cameroon's government says soldiers fighting Boko Haram are not U.N. peacekeepers and are not entitled to the same allowances. The force fighting Boko Haram is a regional mission organized through the Lake Chad Basin Commission.

Colonel Akoutou Mvondo, Cameroon's director of military justice, says Cameroon has paid salaries and allowances to soldiers sent to the front in the north, but he declined to say how much.

He said the military hierarchy took time to explain to these soldiers that their allowances and bonuses were to be paid from contributions of member states and that while waiting for the contributions, each country would pay its soldiers taking part in the war, according to agreements made with its soldiers.

Mvondo said soldiers who took part in the protest may be charged with acts of revolt or rebellion under the military justice code, pending results of the investigation.

The 8,700-strong regional force fighting Boko Haram is led by Nigeria and includes troops from Cameroon, Niger, Chad and Benin.

Donors, including Nigeria and the European Union, have pledged at least $250 million to fight the insurgents but that remains well short of the force's original projected budget of $700 million.

Source: Voice of America

Arts and Culture hosts Anti-femicide Imbizo in Soweto, 23 Jun

MRM, Arts and Culture hosts imbizo on anti femicide in SowetoThe Moral Regeneration Movement (MRM) in partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture will host an imbizo on Anti Femicide to confront the callous murder of women and girls. The event ...

DESPARATE FAMILIES SEEK COURT ORDERS TO COMPEL AUTOPSIES TO BE CARRIED OUT

JOHANNESBURG, Desperate families have approached the courts to compel forensic officers who are striking illegally in South Africa's Gauteng Province to return to their jobs so that autopsies can be carried out and they can retrieve the bodies of their...