Daily Archives: July 21, 2017

Government commits to root out violence

President Jacob Zuma says government will continue to take positive measures and work closely with communities to root out the scourge of violent crimes against women and children.

The President was addressing the 50th anniversary of the death of Chief Albert Mvumbi Luthuli that was held in Groutville in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday.

While government has made considerable progress on the gender equality front, President Zuma reckons that Luthuli would have been deeply pained by the high levels of violent crime against women and children in society today.

Although Luthuli died about 50 years ago under mysterious circumstances, President Zuma said the country must take solace in the fact that his legacy lives for generations to come to learn and build on — to make the country a united, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous society.

The official report was that he was run over by a train. The report remains unconvincing to this day, said President Zuma.

Luthuli was a committed freedom fighter who outlined South Africa’s vision as follows in the Nobel Peace Prize lecture on receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize from the Norwegian Nobel Committee in 1960, which he accepted in 1961.

Speaking in the context of Mandela Month, President Zuma said the values of South Africa’s Constitution should provide a moral and ethical edifice from which citizens can draw sustenance and a sense of purpose.

According to President Zuma, Luthuli was a practical exponent of such values as exemplified in his quest for equality, especially gender equality, non-racialism, openness, respect and his fervent fight against all manifestation of tribalism.

The values of respect, selflessness, openness and accountability all epitomise who Chief Luthuli was. We are therefore duty-bound to learn from him and find ways in which his ideals and values can find a practical expression in our day to day lives.

Source: South African Government News Agency

US WARNS SOUTH SUDAN REGIONAL PLAN IS LAST CHANCE FOR PEACE

The United States warned on Thursday that a new regional plan to shore up South Sudan’s failing peace agreement was the last chance for Juba’s leaders to end the war, now in its fourth year.

US Deputy Ambassador Michele Sison told the UN Security Council that Washington will reconsider its support for the deal signed two years ago by President Salva Kiir and rival Riek Machar, if the latest effort fails.

The remarks highlighted growing impatience by the US administration with leaders in South Sudan, which won independence from Sudan just six years ago with strong backing from the United States.

“It is high time for action,” Sison told the council.

The plan agreed by the regional IGAD group is “the last chance for salvaging the peace agreement,” she said.

“If South Sudan’s leaders do not participate in this high-level forum in good faith, and stick to its deadlines, the United States will need to review our position and priorities on support for the peace agreement and its implementing bodies.”

The seven-nation IGAD group agreed this month to launch the so-called “revitalization forum” to push for a permanent ceasefire and talks on ending the war, the latest bid by the regional leaders.

Ethiopia’s Ambassador Tekeda Alemu said the region was now speaking with “one voice” on South Sudan and that there was “no viable alternative” to the regional plan to support a settlement.

The United States has repeatedly called for an arms embargo and sanctions on those who are blocking peace efforts in South Sudan.

A US bid to impose the tough measures failed to win support at the council in December after Russia, China, Japan, Egypt and four other countries abstained in a vote on a US-drafted sanctions resolutions.

“The Security Council waits and waits,” Sison deplored. “We wait for things to change in South Sudan, but nothing is changing in South Sudan.”

“The violence continues. Horrific atrocities are reported so often that they become almost routine.”

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and more than 3.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes in the conflict that has stirred ethnic rivalries between Dinka, Nuer and other groups.

The war began when Kiir accused Machar, his former deputy, of plotting a coup and heavy fighting flared in Juba last year when Machar returned to the capital under the terms of the peace deal.

Machar has since been residing in South Africa and regional countries, at the request of the United States, are preventing him from returning to South Sudan.

Source: National News Agency

SOUTH AFRICAN GOVT ASSURES PUBLIC SERVANTS’ PENSION FUNDS ARE SAFE

PRETORIA, South Africa’s National Treasury has again re-assured the country’s public sector employees that their savings in the Government Employees’ Pension Fund (GEPF) and Public Investment Corporation (PIC) are safe and their benefits and pensions are not at risk.

The GEPF said the funds under its management are invested in government bonds which are publicly traded, which allows interested investors to invest in them. “It is worth noting that a significant portion of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) bond-holdings are government guaranteed, the GEPF said.

The GEPF also stressed that investing in SOEs is part of its mandate to the PIC. The mandates are based on a detailed asset and liability modelling exercise, the GEPF said.

According to National Treasury, the aim of the PIC is to safeguard the pensions of public servants and ensure reasonable returns are generated for contributors. “The Government does not interfere in the PIC’s investment processes and therefore does not influence or attempt to influence the PIC to fund SOEs.” the Treasury said.

The PIC is a regulated institution that has to comply with regulations at all times.”

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to address the Launch of National Programme of Tribute for Ahmed Kathrada

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will tomorrow, Saturday, 22 July 2017, address the Launch of the National Programme of Tribute for the late anti-apartheid struggle veteran, Ahmed Kathrada, in his hometown of Schweizer-Reneke, North-West Province.

Deputy President Ramaphosa attends the launch at the invitation of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, to honour the life of Ahmed Kathrada and his dedication to the liberation Struggle in South Africa.

During the visit to Schweizer-Reneke, Deputy President Cyril Rampahosa will also pay a courtesy visit to the Kathrada family.

The event takes place several weeks ahead of Mr Kathrada’s birthday, and marks the beginning of a national programme of tribute and reflection on his life and legacy.

The national programme of tribute is being launched because there are a number of people and organisations who had indicated that they would have loved to have been given an opportunity to speak about and reflect on Kathrada’s life after his passing in March this year, but were unable to attend the funeral and memorial services. People also needed to be given sufficient time mourn the passing of such an important role player in the South African liberation struggle before reflecting on the depth of his contribution to the country, said Neeshan Balton, Executive Director of the Foundation.

The Schweizer-Reneke event is the first on the national programme.

The programme will include tributes by the Kathrada family and fellow anti-apartheid activists.

The launch will be attended by various struggle stalwarts, representatives of political, business and faith-based organisations including members of the surrounding communities.

Deputy President Ramaphosa will be supported by senior government officials.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa

NMMU becomes NMU

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth has relaunched itself as the Nelson Mandela University.

The university says the new name affords them an opportunity to rethink the kind of university it can, and should become as it contributes to the resolution of the myriad of educational and developmental challenges �in line with late former president Nelson Mandela’s legacy.

The launch of Nelson Mandela University will not only be a celebration of the efforts to be named after this great leader, but of the University’s commitment to transformation and truly living out its values � which mirror those of Mandela � that includes Ubuntu, integrity and respect for diversity, the university said.

Speaking at the relaunch on Thursday, Deputy Presidency Cyril Ramaphosa said the university must strive to uphold all the values the struggle icon stood for. These inlcude non-racialismS non-sexismS honestyS truth and integrity.

This university must be at the forefront of efforts to make higher education accessible to the poor and marginalised. This university must be at the forefront of efforts to ensure that higher education is an instrument for the achievement of social equality � that it does not simply perpetuate privilege.

The launch was held at the university’s Missionvale Campus and was attended by a number of other dignitaries, including former deputy Chief Justice, Dikgang Moseneke.

The deputy president also called for the decolonisation of the higher education system.

We need an education system that will see Africans as worthy contributors to the development of curriculum content.

A university that associates itself with Nelson Mandela , the Deputy President Ramaphosa said, must necessarily review its curriculum, and examine the subtle layers of colonial and neo-colonial norms that underlie its thought systems.

It will have to liberate the minds of the oppressed and awaken them to the potential of African scholarship.

It will have to remove the cloak of institutionalised racism and sexism. It will have to promote an African renaissance and contribute, through teaching and research, to the making of the African Century.

The Deputy President added that the university must remain rooted in answering the challenges that confront our society in a global economy and that serves the continent and her people.

The institution will have to build partnerships for African scholarship through knowledge sharing and be deeply-rooted in its African identity.

When students walk onto the grounds of this university they should feel the humanism of Nelson Mandela. They should feel part of a people-centred university � where all are recognised and valued for their individuality.

Source: South African Government News Agency