Daily Archives: October 5, 2017

SOUTH AFRICA: GOVERNMENT STRENGTHENING OVERSIGHT ON STATE-OWNED COMPANIES

PRETORIA, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown says processes are underway to strengthen her oversight role as a shareholder of South Africa state-owned companies (SOCs) to improve governance.

She said the department’s challenge is to inculcate the principles of good governance practised within the department across SOCs. The Minister said events that have unfolded over the past year have demonstrated the need for a departmental structure that is agile, swift to respond to challenges at SOCs and capable of ensuring compliance.

The department should, in this financial year, complete a realignment process to significantly strengthen the tools at its disposal to exercise its oversight responsibilities.

Lessons learned over the past year will also profoundly impact the terms contained in the shareholder compacts signed by the shareholder and SOCs in the future.

The 2016 Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) differs from the 2014 version and it gives me, as shareholder, additional powers to act decisively to ensure the assets of the 54 million South Africans are looked after. The major change here is that the Minister has now been assigned the power to act against a Chief Executive Officer of a State-owned company should the need arise.

The Minister said the principles of the new shareholder policy to improve the performance of SOCs and sharpen government’s role as shareholder were approved by Cabinet in the last financial year.

Minister Brown said in instances that company employees conspire among themselves to commit wrongful acts, the Shareholder relies on the company’s executive and board to spot the infraction and take the requisite action.

Ahead of the presentation of the department’s annual report, the Minister announced that State-owned entities needed to emulate the performance of the department.

Salient features include a clean audit report from the Auditor-General, and the fact that the department spent almost 95% of its budget, achieving 18 of 22 set targets.

Taking a step back, it is important to note that in my first year as Minister, the department had a qualified audit, followed by an unqualified audit and now the clean audit. This needs to be emulated at all SOCs in my portfolio, she said.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Trade and Industry on SA Premier Business awards

JSE confirms its support for the SA Premier Business awards for second consecutive year

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) will for the second consecutive year be endorsing the South African Premier Business Awards (SAPBA). Now in their 5th year, these annual Awards are presented by Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) in partnership with Brand South Africa and Proudly South African.

The JSE lending its name as a sponsor elevates the Awards from their inaugural event in 2013 to what they represent today. The conferring of a South African Premier Business Award adds credibility and enhances the exposure in their market of the sector winners, said the Director-General of the dti, Mr Lionel October. It means a lot to have the backing of the JSE both to the hosts and to the entrants, October added.

The Head of Marketing at JSE, Mr Mpho Ledwaba commented: We believe that these Awards are amongst the most prestigious in the business sector, recognising the spirit of enterprise, excellence and job creation, whether in a large multinational competing in the Investors or Exporter categories, or in a small start-up. Entering such Awards is a way of evaluating your own company and measuring it against sector best practices. Winning is a validation that you stand out amongst your peers, and so we believe that this kind of recognition is very motivating for business, added Ledwaba.

The JSE will next month host the media launch of the gala event, which will take place at the Sandton Convention Centre on 7 December 2017h. In addition, they will offer a training programme to five executives from the company which takes the first prize in the Investor of the Year category.

Entries are currently open in the following categories and will close on 13 October 2017 at midnight for online submissions and 15h30 for hard copies, (which can be hand delivered to Proudly South African, 23 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank):

Manufacturers Award

Exporter Award

Enterprise Development Award

Women Owned Business Award

Investor of the Year Award

Proudly South African Enterprise Award

Play your Part Award

SMME Award

Young Entrepreneur Award

The Black Industrialist Award.

Source: Government of South Africa

Water & Sanitation attending to AG’s concerns

Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane says processes are underway to address issues flagged by the office of the Auditor General (AG) within the department.

The Minister on Wednesday presented the department’s 2016/17 annual report to the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation in the National Assembly.

Minister Mokonyane also gave progress on the implementation of some of the department’s bulk water and waste infrastructure projects.

As Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba is due to table the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement later this month, departments are back in Parliament to table their annual reports for the next few weeks.

Work is being done to deal with capacity building for our own officials. [We will be] dealing with our accruals and reconciliation on a month-to-month basis so that we are able, per quarter, to trace what has been done and what needs to be spent on and how best we can give projections going into the future, the Minister said.

Minister Mokonyane said while the department is working to address several areas of concern, there were instances where objections have been raised with the office of the AG. One of them is fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

We have objected to this area of the audit from the AG, particularly the statement where it is alluded that a system of control — which includes proper project management and costing techniques in line with construction norms and standards — was inadequate and that to this extent, the department’s processes to ensure that fruitless and wasteful expenditure is identified and disclosed were inadequate. This is one area where we are objecting to the statement made by the AG, she said.

On irregular expenditure, Minister Mokonyane said the department’s views were totally different from those raised by the AG. She said the matter will be taken up to engage with the AG so that there is consistency based on what was audited in previous year, dating as far back as 2008 up to this financial year. This, the Minister said, has to do with the R750 million in payments that the AG alleges are in contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.

On unauthorised expenditure the department has enhanced capital infrastructure planning projects and it has also been able to reduce emergency intervention projects to a minimal [in compliance with the financial prescripts].

This is what we are already doing with all new projects and this again is another contradiction between ourselves and the AG, in view of the fact that we are dealing with multi-year projects that are audited differently every year and yet it is a continuation of the work that we are doing, Minister Mokonyane said.

Progress being made on bulk water infrastructure projects

Minister Mokonyane gave an update on some of the projects that the department set out to implement in the current financial year. These include the successful implementation of a desalination plant in Richards Bay.

On the [various] regional and bulk infrastructure projects, we had 35 large water and waste water services projects. Most of them were completed during the period under review.

Of the 519 small water and waste water services projects that we implemented under the Accelerated Community Infrastructure programme, we were able to complete 31 and the others, because of their nature, are multi-year projects.

The department has implemented the desalination plant in Richards Bay, which was also seen as a drought intervention but it is also an investment going into the future.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Premier Supra Mahumapelo on World Teachers Day

Bokone Bophirima Province conveys well wishes to teachers

Premier SOR Mahumapelo has on behalf of Bokone Bophirima Provincial Government extended well wishes to all teachers in the province and the country at large as today marks what is globally know as World Teachers Day.

Celebrated annually since 1994, it is through this day that we acknowledge the active role that teachers play in the development of society.

Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers being the theme for 2017, this brings the Province to also focus and celebrate all professors, teachers, researchers and others who otherwise provide educational services to students at institutions of higher learning as the empowerment of knowledge givers is an important priority in the development of society.

Education being endorsed as a societal matter in the province, the North West Provincial Government requires that on this day teachers must enjoy professional independence, freedom and the tools needed to deliver quality education which must take into account learners’ circumstances, needs and expectations.

This is also motivated by the fact that we do acknowledge the hardships that teachers go through as result of crises, conflicts and insecurity, alongside rising intolerance and discrimination, as well as budgetary restrictions amongst other factors affecting teachers in much of the world.

Mahumapelo has on this day reiterated his call for society to rally behind education and ensure that we mobilise resources, both human and financial, in the quest to improve education for the better in our province.

In this year of Oliver Tambo, teachers remain critical agents in the delivery of quality education in the context of a free environment that is empowering to them. Added Mahumapelo.

The provincial Executive Council recently has approved the permanent appointment of over 3000 temporary teachers in the province as part of the efforts to ensure job security and stability to teachers.

Source: Government of South Africa

Islamic State Claims Attack on Misrata; 4 Dead, 40 Wounded

TRIPOLI, LIBYA � Gunmen killed at least four people and wounded nearly 40 Wednesday in a suicide attack on a court complex in the Libyan city of Misrata, officials and a witness said.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, saying in a statement run by the group’s Amaq news agency it had targeted one of the most prominent strongholds of Libya’s U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).

The attack shows the enduring militant threat in Libya after a Misrata-led coalition under nominal GNA command battled for more than six months last year to oust Islamic State from its former stronghold in Sirte, about 230 kilometers (140 miles) southeast of Misrata.

Since then, militants have been trying to regroup in the desert south of Sirte. They have stepped up their presence in remote areas, though attacks in urban centers have been rare.

Several attackers

Wednesday’s attack was launched by several assailants who drove up to the complex in central Misrata in a black vehicle, a witness said.

One of them blew himself up at the gate and the other two with Kalashnikovs opened fire at random, he said. Shooting could be heard all over the city center after the attack.

The witness, who asked not to be named, said he believed the attackers also had used rocket-propelled grenades.

The military alliance from Misrata that led the campaign in Sirte said two suicide attackers were involved in the operation, and that there had been an explosion after a gun battle lasting about 20 minutes.

The attackers killed four and wounded 39, Misrata hospital said in a statement, listing names of victims. Two of the attackers blew themselves up and a third was killed during the gun battle, said a local security source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Bomb disposal experts also defused a booby-trapped car that had been packed with explosives to be used in the attack, he said.

Military base

Misrata, a large commercial port about 190 kilometers east of Tripoli, is one of Libya’s major military power bases but the city itself has been largely immune from armed clashes and attacks in recent years. Dozens of Islamic State suspects are being held in the city.

Libya slid into turmoil after a NATO-backed uprising that toppled long-time leader Moammar Gadhafi six years ago. It remains divided between loose political and military alliances based in the east and west, resulting in a security vacuum in the center of the country.

As militants increased their activity in recent weeks to the south and east of Sirte, the United States launched two sets of airstrikes against jihadist desert camps.

The U.S. also provided air support for the Misrata-led campaign last year.

Source: Voice of America