Daily Archives: October 18, 2017

FORMER CHIEF EXECUTIVE SAYS HE RAISED ALARM WHEN HE LEFT THE POWER UTILITY

The Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises was briefed by Mr Brian Dames, former Chief Executive of Eskom � and also by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa).

Briefing the Committee, Mr Dames said the work being done by the Committee is commendable but I think it’s too late � you should have done this a long time ago.

Mr Dames briefed the Committee on the corporate governance at Eskom during his tenure as Chief Executive there.

Acting Chairperson, Ms Zukiswa Rantho, said: I am worried you say we started the process late. To me, you’re saying we let the country down and you were one of the people who were at Eskom and you knew what was happening and you did not report to the Committee or to the law enforcement agencies.

I had raised the alarm and engaged with the former chair of the Committee I may not have articulated it correctly, said Mr Dames.

Mr Dames informed the Committee that the governance of Eskom during his time was well-defined and well-structured. The tone of the governance changed after the 2010 World Cup and the appointment of a new board under the chairmanship of Mr Zola Tsotsi.

Responding to questions from the Committee, as to whether Mr Dames had met with the Gupta family. He said: I was asked to meet some people by the former minister of Public Enterprises adviser, Mr Siyabonga Mahlangu arranged the meeting. I was angry after the meeting and told him that I will not meet with these people again. It was a strange meeting as there were three agenda items that were to be discussed, the coal contracts including The New Age Breakfast show was part of the meeting.

The Committee noted with concern the response provided by Mr Dames when he could not recall the individual he had met during the meeting arranged by adviser to the former Public Enterprises Minister.

The Committee asked Mr Dames to explain the increases in the price of coal in the procurement processes during his time. The Committee alluded to the Hitachi deal and that it was an embarrassment for the country. The Committee was of the view that even though Mr Dames reported tender irregularities in the procurement processes, his voice was not loud enough.

The Committee asked if it was correct for the Minister to interfere and intervene in the procurement processes. Mr Dames said the Minister only intervenes if no proper processes have been followed.

Members of the Committee said the inquiry will look into repurposing the power utility and investigating the mismanagement of state funds in State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and the involvement of the Gupta family. One of the mandates of the inquiry is to look into the financial sustainability of Eskom.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

SOUTH AFRICAN TELESCOPES DETECT GRAVITATIONAL WAVES FROM MERGER OF NEUTRON STARS

CAPE TOWN, Oct 18 (NNN-SA NEWS) — South African scientists have announced that two local telescopes in the country have for the first time detected gravitational waves which are a result of a merging of two neutron stars.

The two telescopes are the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) in Cape Town and the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) located in the small town of Sutherland in the Karoo, the srmi-arid inland region of the southern part of South Africa.

According to previous research, the neutron stars, which are the smallest and densest known stars, collided 130 million light years ago, an event which resulted in gravitational waves being emitted and detectible for 100 seconds.

In an interview shortly after the announcement at the SAAO headquarters in Cape Town Monday, Dr Daniel Cunnama, a ?post-doctoral Research Fellow at the South African Astronomical Observatory, said the detection, which happened on Aug 17, was very significant for astrophysics.

Why we are here today is basically we have for the first time detected gravitational waves and electro-magnetic radiation, or light, from the same event [the merging of the two neutron stars] and we have managed to follow up this event with South African telescopes in Sutherland. Multiple telescopes contributed to the understanding of this astronomical event, he said.

Leading up to the detection, a total of about 4,000 scientists and astronomical researchers from observatories, universities and other institutions from around the world and many in South Africa collaborated in the research.

Seven papers have already come out from the South African Astronomical Observatory around this event. More than 70 observatories were included in this observing campaign.

The original detection was made in the United States, along with the European Space Observatory as well as many others that were involved. It is a great day for South African astronomy. We have shown ourselves to be able to contribute valuably to an international endeavour. We have world class telescopes here, which we have managed to set up over the last 20 years and we can really do wonders for future science such as this, said Cunnama.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Eldos commits to get rid of drugs

The community of Eldorado Park and spheres of government have committed to work together to get rid of drugs in the hot spots or drug dens known as ‘loli lounges’.

The parties made the commitment on Tuesday during a meeting between the community, Gauteng Department of Social Development, child care and local anti-substance abuse community based organisations.

The meeting aimed to address the plight of eight children who were rescued from substance abuse in southern Johannesburg last Friday.

During a meeting, the parties agreed that the interest of the children should take precedence, and ensured that the well-being of eight children affected by the incident is paramount.

The meeting also emphasised that the children’s care and safety should be guaranteed from this moment, starting with the Head of Department formalising their stay at the No More Victim Safe House, until the department finalise their care.

This includes the involvement of families to ensure sustainable and lasting solutions for children’s well-being, with the department leading the process.

The meeting further committed to improve channels of communication by the community and cooperation between the City of Johannesburg, the South African Police and the department.

Members of the community were encouraged to report the areas suspected to have drug problems, and that law enforcement must be responsive.

The department reported that five children have been given attention, and the other three are still with the families.

Department spokesperson Mbangwa Xaba said the children’s situation is highly regulated and the space would be given to children to deal with the matter.

The process must be sustainable and this means we must involve the parents. Whether we would like to lay charges against the parents for neglect, should be decided after the investigation by the department’s social workers, Xaba said.

City of Johannesburg Member of Mayoral Committee in Public Safety, Michael Sun, committed the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department to ensure that members of the community have urgent response when they need action.

Meanwhile, the accounting officer of the department has committed to take appropriate steps in addressing all areas of disquiet raised by the community.

The community claimed that two senior staff members did not act as they should have in responding to their call in the spirit of Batho-Pele Principles and placing people first.

Source: South African Government News Agency

MEC Dan Plato condemns airport shooting

I condemn in the strongest possible manner the shooting which took place at the upper roadway of the Cape Town International Airport this morning.

The brazen shooting, alleged to be gang related, has injured an innocent bystander as well as a well-known alleged gang boss � who the bullets were apparently intended for.

The total disregard for the law and the lives of the public at a National Key Point requires an in-depth investigation by the police, assisted by intelligence agencies.

The investigation’s scope has to ensure that not only those responsible for the shooting face the full might of the law, but also that the reasons for the shooting and those implicated in these reasons are investigated and held accountable for any illegal or criminal actions.

As part of my oversight mandate over policing in the province and in the interest of public safety, I visited the Cape Town International Airport this morning and met with key security personnel. I wish to assure the public that airport security and on-site police responded immediately to this unforeseen incident and have already met on how to further sharpen existing security measures to help prevent any future incident � both outside and inside the terminal.

As we approach the festive season, I urge all major private businesses, privately owned public spaces, shopping centres or complexes to ensure that their security systems are adequately geared to help ensure public safety through incident prevention and early detection.

I urge the private sector to work with their local police, law enforcement and safety services in this regard. The Department of Community Safety remains a willing partner to help broker the necessary relationships between government agencies, safety stakeholders, security industry and private business to help see to it that the public’s safety remains the main concern throughout the upcoming festive season. I will also be engaging in safety oversight visits, where possible.

I call on anyone with information regarding today’s incident to report it to their closest police station. We have to speak out against all crime in our united efforts against crime.

Source: Government of South Africa

MEC Magome Masike appoints team of managers to sort out sewage system at Moses Kotane Hospital

MEC Masike Intervenes to Sort out the Moses Kotane Hospital Sewage System

The North West MEC for Health, Dr Magome Masike has appointed a team of managers to sort out the sewage system at the Moses Kotane Hospital. The sewage collapsed earlier this year leading to leakage of unclean water flowing to the street.

The District Management intervened by among others contracting a truck which was used to collect the sewage waste and pump it into the Moses Kotane Local Municipality sewage plant. The Department of Public Works also assisted in this regard by providing their sewage trucks. The above are however temporary measures.

As a long term solution, the entire sewage system will need to be fixed. I have instructed our Infrastructure and Capital Planning Unit to follow up this matter by holding the service provider who did the initial work accountable. The service provider should get back on site to rectify the mistakes and fix the sewage system at Moses Kotane Hospital, said MEC Dr Magome Masike

The Head of Department have proceeded to engage with Public Works for continued support with their trucks to suck the sewage and dispose the waste at the Moses Kotane Local Municipality sewage plant. The MEC will also engage with the Mayor of Moses Kotane Local Municipality to allow their sewage plant to be used until the contractor finishes the work on-site.

Source: Government of South Africa