Daily Archives: September 18, 2017

Botswana Seeks Option to Buy Unusually Big Diamonds From Its Mines

GABORONE � Botswana is amending its law to give the government the first option to buy diamonds that are unusually large or have other unusual features found in its mines, such as the world’s second-biggest 1,109 carat diamond discovered two years ago.

The cornerstone of Botswana’s success has been one commodity, diamonds, coupled with a rigid adherence to prudent use of revenues, a rarity on a continent where natural riches are routinely squandered or stolen, or the cause of civil war.

A draft bill amending the Precious and Semi-Precious Stones Act says any producer coming into possession of what it terms an unusual rough or uncut diamond shall notify the minister within 30 days after which government shall have the first option to buy the stone.

The bill did not give a precise definition of unusual.

But an official told a local newspaper that it referred to stones that were unusually large, were particularly clear or had an unusual colour.

Moses Tshetlhane, chief minerals officer in the Mineral Resources Minister, told Mmegi Newspaper the amendment was motivated by the recovery of Lesedi La Rona, or Our Light, the largest diamond uncovered in over a century.

The price to be paid by government for a rough or uncut precious stone offered for sale by the producer shall be agreed between the parties in accordance with the current market price of the rough or uncut precious stone, the bill says.

The tennis ball-sized stone was found in November 2015 at Lucara Diamond Corp’s mine in Botswana and is yet to find a buyer after it failed to sell at Sotheby’s auction house in June 2016.

These outliers carry special features and any producer would celebrate such or even have them in museums as national treasures. So it is not unusual for governments to have options in such unusual diamonds, Tshetlhane said.

Lucara also unearthed another 812.77 carat stone, The Constellation, at the same mine, which fetched $63 million at an auction in 2016.

Source: Voice of America

Information Regulator briefs media on progress made on establishment of Regulator, 20 Sept

The Chairperson of the Information Regulator, Advocate Pansy Tlakula and the Members of the Regulator will officially brief the media on the progress made on the establishment of the Regulator and the work carried out by the Regulator thus far. The Chairperson will also brief the media on the publication of the draft Regulations as prescribed by Section 112(2) of the Protection of Personal Information Act No 4 of 2013 (POPIA).

The Regulator is empowered to monitor and enforce compliance by public and private bodies in line with the provisions of the Promotion of Access to Information Act No 2 of 2000 and POPIA. It is also the responsibility of the Regulator to issue Codes of Conduct for different sectors and to make guidelines to assist bodies with the development and application of such Codes of Conduct.

Source: Government of South Africa

Water and Sanitation on Water Research Council Symposium

The Water Research Council is hosting a three day Symposium on Adaptation to the New Normal

The Water Research Council (WRC) is hosting its biennial symposium beginning today 18th September and ending on the 20thSeptember. The theme for this symposium is Adapting to the New Normal.

During his opening address, the CEO of the WRC, Desighen Naidoo, emphasised the need to Adapt to the new normal through interventions to enable a sustainable development pathway by:

Driving a new research agenda and a new way of doing that research not just inter-sectorally and in a trans-disciplinary manner, but predominantly in partnership with the practitioner and user communities.

Looking at this as a giant challenge and the little pockets of knowledge and solutions available in different parts of the world must be brought together with greater impact through smart and generous international collaboration.

The need to re-visit the regulatory environment and current infrastructure paradigm with vigour.

Enabling sustainable development and ensuring universal access to basic services in the new normal through creativity, innovation and systems amenable to dynamic adaptation and improvement.

A characterisation by local actions supported by national and global endeavours.

Addressing the same symposium, the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Ms Nomvula Mokonyane, reminded the delegates about the reality of the rise of extreme weather patterns due to Climate Change and a growing global population.

These challenges require robust responses to ensure the required outcomes. The challenges are global; therefore the Memoranda of Understanding with neighbouring Namibia and the WRC must assist in resolving challenges in the regions, Southern African Development Community (SADC) and ultimately Africa as a whole.

Governments also have a responsibility to ensure SDGs are realised in all countries of the world. The High Level Panel on Water (HLPW) is meeting at the United Nations this week and will be addressing the UNGA on its work..

My expectations for the symposium are that there will be a translation of knowledge for the benefit of the world especially the under-developed. The outcomes of this symposium must also speak to a better water future, and encourage international partnerships. Such international partnerships can also be seen as we in Gauteng continue to enjoy water coming from the Kingdom of Lesotho.

The biennial symposium is one of the critical tools that the WRC utilises to ensure all new knowledge and innovation continues to drive water and sanitation delivery.

Source: Government of South Africa