Daily Archives: August 11, 2017

‘Don’t turn a blind eye’ to dire situation of children in DR Congo’s Kasai region – UNICEF

The world must not turn a blind eye to the dire situation of children and families in the Grand Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today, stressing that nothing can justify terrible acts of abuse against women and children.

Children and women tell us of terrible acts of abuse. Many children have been recruited by armed forces, drugged and caught in the violence. Nothing can justify these actions, said Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, in a statement.

Over the past 12 months, more than 1.4 million people � including 850,000 children � have been forced from their homes, and their lives turned upside down by widespread acts of extreme violence. More than 200 health centres have been destroyed, and one in four health centres is no longer functioning normally. An estimated 400,000 children are at risk of severe acute malnutrition.

Children have lost a year of education, as hundreds of schools have been targeted and looted, teachers killed or fled for safety. Teachers are not able to go to work, while parents are scared to send their children to school.

She urged all parties to the conflict to protect children, end grave violations against children, and preserve schools and health services.

Humanitarian actors must have unhindered humanitarian access to affected populations so that we can reach all those in need of assistance, she said.

UNICEF is responding to the escalating humanitarian needs, but unless this violence stops, our best work will never be enough, she said. The lives of many thousands of children are at risk.

Source: UN News Centre

SOUTH AFRICAN POWER UTILITY ESKOM NOW HAS EXCESS CAPACITY

JOHANNESBURG, South African power utility Eskom operates a resilient power system and the State-owned company now operates a resilient power system with excess capacity positioning it to support South Africa’s economic recovery, says its interim Group Chief Executive Johnny Dladla.

Whereas security of power supply was the key concern two years ago, the focus has now shifted to managing surplus capacity, Dladla, who was promoted to his current position in June, said in his first situation report here Thursday.

Eskom said that as a result of additional new generating capacity being added from the Medupi, Ingula and Kusile power stations and the utility’s rigorous fleet maintenance programme, plant availability had improved from 69.9 per cent in 2015 to 77.3 per cent at the end of March this year.

Eskomsaid all four units at the Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme located on the border of Free State and KwaZulu-Natal Provinces, with a total installed capacity of 1,332 megawatts (MW), are now in commercial operation while Unit 5 of the Medupi Power Station located in Limpopo Province was synchronised in September 2016. Medupi’s Unit 4 was also synchronised on May 31, 2017.

The unit, with installed capacity of 794 MW, achieved commercial operation on April 3, 2017, after completing performance, reliability and compliance tests. Commercial operation is when the construction and optimisation of the unit is complete.

Eskom is ideally positioned to support the economic recovery of South Africa and enable industrial growth across Southern Africa. We will build on the momentum of our performance and efficiency improvements over the recent years and become a more customer-centric organisation that partners with key sectors to increase industrial activity, electricity consumption and job creation, said Dladla.

Meanwhile, the power utility said adherence to a strict plant maintenance programme had resulted in a drastic reduction in unplanned maintenance and the number of breakdowns over the past two years. In terms of our existing Generation Sustainability Strategy, we aim to achieve 80 per cent plant availability, 10 per cent planned maintenance and 10 per cent unplanned maintenance by 2020, said Dladla.

Eskom has also adopted an aggressive sales volume growth to support economic growth by encouraging an annual growth of 2.1 per cent in local demand and 8.0 per cent growth in export sales over the next five years.

We set out with the aim of stabilising and re-energising our business for longer-term sustainability and growth, by setting aggressive goals for progress. We shall continue with our rigorous programme of planned maintenance, to ensure security of power supply, while also minimising the use of open cycle gas turbines. We are already reaping the rewards, said Dladla.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Somali Military Commander Survives Apparent Assassination Attempt

The commander of Somalia’s Custodial Corps, General Hussein Hassan Osman, has survived an apparent assassination attempt inside Mogadishu’s central prison, security sources have told VOA Somali.

A suicide bomber detonated a vest midday Friday inside the prison, authorities said, saying that General Osman survived the attack and was rushed out of the prison. VOA Somali later contacted Osman, who said he did not want to comment on the attack.

Witnesses say a man ran after the commander when he stepped out of his car on his way to a mosque inside the prison.

A security guard intercepted the suspect, forcing the attacker to detonate a suicide vest, killing the soldier and wounding three others, according to security sources.

Security sources say three people were arrested.

It’s unclear how the bomber managed to pass through security checks to make his way to a mosque inside Mogadishu’s biggest central prison.

The mosque also is used by officials from Somalia’s military tribunal, which tries Al-Shabab suspects.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack.

Source: Voice of America

MEC Ismail Vadi on NANDUWE and WATA taxi routes

Gauteng MEC for Road and Transport, Ismail Vadi, today announced that he intends extending on Monday, 14 August 2017, the notice closing the five taxi ranks and routes linked to violence, unrest and instability in Soweto for a further three months.

I intend to extend the extraordinary measures instituted on 13 July, which are aimed at stabilising public transport services in Soweto, for a further three months as there is no agreement between the two associations aimed at normalising the situation,” said Vadi.

The affected taxi ranks and routes were shut down by Vadi in mid-July due to on-going violent conflicts between Witwatersrand African Taxi Association (WATA) and the Nancefield Dube West Taxi Association (NANDUWE), which negatively affected thousands of commuters.

Vadi said that he has not received any assurances from the leadership of the two taxi bodies about restoring peaceful operations in the area.

Vadi had insisted that there be:

An immediate removal of armed security companies on all taxi routes and ranks allocated to the two Associations;

A commitment to end all forms of violence and intimidation;

An agreement that the two associations will conduct their taxi operations in terms of the provisions and conditions provided in our respective (original) Operating Licenses until the appeal by WATA is adjudicated upon by the Transport Appeals Tribunal nationally;

Taxi operators affiliated to NANDUWE and WATA put visible stickers that are different from each other to distinguish them for law enforcement purposes.

The two associations are unable to agree to these conditions which urgently warrant consideration to extend notice of suspension of minibuses on the affected routes.

Source: Government of South Africa