Daily Archives: July 18, 2017

Zimbabwe Temporarily Lifts Ban on Foam Food Containers

HARARE � Zimbabwe’s Environmental Management Agency has temporarily lifted its ban on the use of expanded polystyrene (EPS) as food packaging material to allow businesses to clear their stocks.

The Agency says it has given businesses until October 17 to stop using existing containers and replace them with recyclable or biodegradable ones. The reprieve follows an outcry from businesses last week when the government board imposed an immediate ban of EPS, also known as kaylite.

Environmental Management Agency spokesman Steady Kangata says the new deadline won’t affect the ban itself.

“The ban still stands, it was only a reprieve of three-months given just to allow businesses to [tidy] up. It is also in line with the principle of natural justice to give them time to mop up their kaylite. Furthermore there are conditions that they were given, that within three months they are supposed to initiate a water management program that would ensure that the environment is clean. Not that kaylite would be seen all over,” Kangata said.

The EPS containers are among the garbage clogging drainage in Harare and contributing to flooding.

The government also says EPS emits toxic chemicals when the containers are burned, and garbage is routinely burned in Zimbabwe. Environmentalists in Zimbabwe are applauding the ban, but say the government has not gone nearly far enough. Other African countries, including most recently Kenya, have banned the use of plastic bags.

The president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers, Denford Mutashu, welcomes the three-month reprieve given to his members.

“It is not enough but at least it is a breathing space. There are some companies that have invested into the production of kaylite. We will also be helping them to lobby through the government to ensure that they get a reprieve. Because it is not easy for someone to bring their machinery here and two years down the line they are asked to move out or to stop production. So this is a serious area of concern.”

But the Environment Management Agency maintains the law under which the ban of EPS is being put in effect was enacted in 2012, and businesses had time to switch to other food packages or ask customers to it in instead using EPS.

When the reprieve ends, the government says anyone found breaking the EPS ban could be fined from $30 to $5,000.

Source: Voice of America

Leaders must unite to build a better world

Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has called on leaders of the world – in government, business and civil society – to work together to eradicate poverty and achieve all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

The SDGs are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

It is my sincere hope and wish that as we now focus on the implementation of the SDGs, we need all the available developmental tools and means of implementation at our disposal, Minister Molewa said.

She was addressing the United Nations High Level Political Forum 2017 in New York, USA.

We must work together in mobilising sufficient, adequate and predictable financial resources for the implementation of the SDGs. Developed countries must continue to honour their historic obligations and responsibilities, as part of the commitments made in the context of the global partnership for development. Without the means of implementation, we will not be able to achieve much, Minister Molewa said.

She said food security and nutrition are essential for sustainable development and strongly linked to the presence of sustainable agriculture, healthy and productive oceans and terrestrial ecosystems, all of which are vastly threatened by the impacts of climate change and as such, adversely affect food production.

In this regard, our commitment to and the full implementation of all elements of the Paris Agreement in its entirety, and not merely disaster risk management, and early warning becomes absolutely vital, Minister Molewa said.

The meeting of the high level political forum on sustainable development is convened under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council. It started on Monday and will conclude on Wednesday, 19 July.

The theme is ‘Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world’.

Source: South African Government News Agency

KHOMANI CULTURAL LANDSCAPE INSCRIBED AS SOUTH AFRICA’S 9TH WORLD HERITAGE SITE

PRETORIA, Inscribed as the ninth World Heritage Site in South Africa, the iKhomani Cultural Landscape has been added to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (Unesco) prestigious list of sites.

The area, which has now been recognized by Unesco as a site of universal value, covers the entire Kalahari Gemsbok National Park and is part of the Kgalagadi Trans-frontier Park which also covers parts of Botswana and Namibia.

The iKhomani and related San people are the ancestors of the entire human race. They descend directly from an ancient group of people who inhabited southern Africa about 150,000 years ago.

“This exciting announcement brings with it prospects of development for South Africa and our neighbours, but it has global significance that extends far beyond our region,” says South African Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa.

She said here Monday that the recognition by the Unesco would focus world attention on this iconic site and its role in the development of modern humans, adding that this is where all humans come from.

“We join our colleagues in the Department of Environmental Affairs in welcoming this global recognition of our people and our cultural heritage. Minister Edna Molewa and her team are the official custodians of the site, but this achievement belongs to all the people of South Africa.” said Xasa.

“This is the heritage that our entire nation should treasure and preserve. We will take a whole of government approach to ensure that all development takes into account the need to protect and preserve this unique environment, the cultural practices of the local people, and all the heritage aspects of this amazing cultural landscape.”

She said that following the announcement, South Africa can be sure that the benefits of tourism development in the region will make a big difference in the lives of the local communities in the future.

The announcement also opens further possibilities to explore the integrated development of tourism in the Southern African region, especially with neighbouring countries of Namibia and Botswana. The interest in this site is likely to spread further north throughout Africa.

We are always willing to work with our African counterparts to link and co-develop cultural and heritage products for the benefit of regional tourism, which makes a significant contribution to many economies on the continent. We congratulate our counterparts in Angola and Eritrea for the simultaneous inscription of UNESCO sites in their countries,” said Xasa.

“These announcements once again demonstrate the unique cultural and heritage tourism assets we have in Africa. We must work together to convert these assets into economic and social benefits, without negatively impacting on the environment, the culture and the dignity of people past and present.”

The Minister applauded the local communities in the area for their efforts to preserve their culture. She said this acknowledgement of the universal significance of the site will formalise and consolidate the continued preservation of ancient cultural practices and traditions.

The iKhomani Cultural Landscape is associated with a unique culture which goes back to the Stone Age. The landscape has remained relatively unchanged since humans were hunter-gatherers. The area is managed by South African National Parks.

The other eight world heritage sites in South Africa are the Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa, Maloti-Drakensberg Park, Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape, Vredefort Dome, Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape, Robben Island Museum, iSimangaliso Wetland Park and the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Mandela Day: Do your bit to make a difference

With the world marking Nelson Mandela International Day today, ordinary citizens and Cabinet Ministers are going out into communities to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate.

Every year on 18 July, South Africans and the global community honour South Africa’s late former President and international icon, Nelson Mandela. The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed Mandela’s birthday, 18 July, as Nelson Mandela International Day in 2009.

Environmental Affairs Deputy Minister Barbara Thomson will today roll up her sleeves and participate in a clean-up event to raise awareness about waste management issues within the community.

The Deputy Minister will also donate educational toys and books to the JC Joshua Pre�Primary School and Eastwood Community Hall in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. She is also expected to hand over soccer and netball kits, while also giving gifts to the elderly.

Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi will celebrate Nelson Mandela Day at Kgalushi Secondary School in Eldorado village in Bochum, Limpopo, where he will paint the school and distribute sanitary towels to learners.

The Minister will be accompanied by officials from various transport entities, who will educate learners about aviation, maritime, rail and road safety issues. The Minister will also donate food parcels in Eldorado village.

To mark the day, Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize will interact with over 30 expectant mothers and hand out birth certificates for newly-born babies at Sebokeng Hospital. This is in a bid to promote early child birth registration and reiterate the call to register births within 30 days.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini will commemorate Nelson Mandela Day in Kliptown, Soweto.

Minister Dlamini will hand out sanitary towels to women and girls from poor families.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Labour on Uber drivers and CCMA ruling

Department of Labour’s position in terms of Uber drivers and CCMA ruling

The Department of Labour acknowledges and applauds the ruling by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration that Uber drivers are the employees of the company. The decision is in line with the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 as amended. It means that any person who falls in that category is an employee and therefore fully covered in terms of labour legislation.

Following the death of one of the company’s employees, the department has clarified the position in terms of labour legislation.

With regard to the Uber drivers, like any employees, there are no exception. They are fully protected by the South African Labour Laws including the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act 130 of 1993 (COIDA), Commissioner Vuyo Mafata said.

The COID Act compensates employees who are injured during the cause of duty or deceased thereof. It therefore means the beneficiaries of the Uber driver who passed on after he was allegedly attacked in Pretoria last month qualifies for compensation as per the Act.

The Fund will have to be provided with all the required documents in order to process the claim. Employees will not be penalised or forfeit their benefits because of unregistered employers, instead such employers will be fined.

Employers must register their companies with the Compensation Fund so that employees are covered under the COID Act.-ENDS

Source: Government of South Africa