Monthly Archives: January 2018

Radiant.Earth and OpenAQ Partner to Fight Air Pollution in Africa

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Radiant.Earth today announced its partnership with OpenAQ to bring together a diverse group of individuals in Ghana and Kenya who are deeply concerned about poor air quality in their community and are looking for solutions.

Radiant.Earth, a non-profit advocating for open geospatial data for positive impact and improved decision-making, will provide OpenAQ with institutional support to organize two workshops focusing on air inequality.

Air pollution, one of the biggest global health threats of our time, kills more people in Africa each year than unsafe water or childhood malnutrition. However, despite the fact that it is a stealthy killer, the development of public policy to address this problem remains complicated. OpenAQ, established specifically to fight air inequality worldwide, approaches this policy problem by opening up air quality data and convening around it a diverse global grassroots community of people from multiple sectors.

“This collaborative community approach is impactful,” says Dr. Christa Hasenkopf, Co-founder of OpenAQ. “To date, we have opened up more than 150 million air quality measurements from 8,174 locations in 64 countries. We worked with community members across the world, who have launched policy-relevant field studies and petitioned their parliaments for action. Members of our community have collaborated on articles for the general media, written a joint science and policy commentary, developed apps and bots, conducted research, and built open-source tools.”

The workshops in Ghana and Kenya will focus on identifying overarching goals and strategies shared among participants to fight air inequality—zeroing in on tangible, attainable, and specific actions that participants can take. The plan is also to connect workshop participants with the larger OpenAQ Community, so as to exchange ‘community wins’ and open-source resources to have a larger impact.

This project is funded in part by The Godley Family Foundation, which backs innovative solutions that address health and environmental issues. “We are pleased to partner with Radiant.Earth, OpenAQ, and local communities in finding creative ways to address the global air inequality problem,” says Frederick Godley, MD, President of the Godley Family Foundation.

“Help from The Godley Family Foundation and Radiant.Earth will allow us to expand the OpenAQ community, and to learn and share with the communities in Ghana and Kenya,” says Dr. Hasenkopf. “We are enormously grateful.”

“Open data are essential to unmasking problems and finding solutions to global challenges,” says Ms. Anne Hale Miglarese, CEO of Radiant.Earth. “We are pleased to support OpenAQ with this project as they work to empower the public to fight air pollution through open data, open-source tools, and cooperation.”

Scheduled to take place in the second quarter of 2018, the OpenAQ workshops in Accra, Ghana and Nairobi, Kenya are an opportunity for local tech, science, policy, government, media, open data, software, art, and other air inequality-related sectors to interact with each other and the global OpenAQ Community and Platform.

ABOUT OpenAQ

OpenAQ is a non-profit that fights air inequality by opening up air quality data and connecting a diverse global, grassroots, multi-sectoral community.

ABOUT Radiant.Earth

Radiant.Earth is a non-profit organization committed to aggregating the world’s open Earth imagery and providing access and education on its use to the global development community.

Media Contact

Christa Hasenkopf
Co-Founder
OpenAQ
Info@openaq.org

Madikizela Mandela discharged from hospital

Anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela Mandela been discharged from hospital, the Mandela family said on Tuesday afternoon.

I’m pleased to be going back home where I’ll be able to rest and fully recuperate from the short illness. The doctors and nurses who looked after me were wonderful, said Madikizela Mandela.

Madikizela Mandela, 81, was admitted at Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg 10 days ago with a kidney infection and also suffering from exhaustion.

The family says it is delighted that she has now been discharged from hospital.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Committee on Labour Briefed on National Minimum Wage, after NEDLAC Process

The Portfolio Committee on Labour has said it will welcome public comment on the National Minimum Wage bill in the next three weeks, when the Committee is expected to start deliberating on the Bill. The Department of Labour today tabled the National Minimum Wage Bill for the consideration of the Committee.

The Minister of Labour, Ms Mildred Oliphant, told the Committee that the Bill is a mechanism, intended to deal with income inequalities and improve the living conditions of the poor.

This is in line with the pronouncements of the President in the State of the Nation Address of 2014 to investigate the possibility of a national minimum wage. The task was delegated to the Deputy President to lead the process at National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), Minister Ms Mildred Oliphant said.

She said this process was now finished, and a proposal had been submitted and accepted by the Cabinet.

The Committee was taken through aspects of the Bill. It heard that the impact of the minimum wage on employment creation had been discussed at Nedlac and that exemptions would be granted if a company had demonstrated sufficiently that it was unable to implement it.

Departmental official Mr Thembinkosi Mkalipi said the Bill speaks of a two-year grace period for the agriculture and domestic sectors, which will be reviewed on a two-year basis. The national minimum wage will not apply to volunteers who do not receive a salary and cannot be varied [downwards] by a contract of employment, or agreements between an employer and an employee. The only variation that one can make is an upward variation, he said.

Members asked why the hourly rate was applied differently to Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) workers and those employed in the private sector. Committee Member Mr Ralph Moteka commented that it made no sense that EPWP workers were paid less than the proposed hourly rate.

Why do we say EPWP must get R11? Are we not passing the buck to the private sector? he asked. The conditions of the workers are the responsibility of government, he argued: You are the biggest employer and many of the most vulnerable people in our society are employed through EPWP. Let us include them as normal workers.

In response, he heard that the EPWP was a scheme intended to equip people with skills while drawing an income.

The Chairperson of the Committee, Ms Fezi Loliwe, said the process was now for MPs to take the Bill forward. At the end of the day, we should do something that will benefit our people.

Other pieces of legislation that were tabled at the Committee were the Labour Relations Amendment Bill and the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

Eleven Limpopo traffic officers in court for corruption

The 11 traffic officers arrested in Mokopane, Limpopo, for bribery and corruption are due to appear in the court this morning.

The officers, aged between 32 and 54, were arrested by the Road Traffic Management Corporation’s National Traffic Anti-Corruption Unit and the Hawks this week.

RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane said their arrests follow intensive investigations into the allegation of bribery and unethical conduct among traffic officers in the province.

Zwane said investigations are continuing and more arrests can be expected.

The success of this operation should send a clear message to traffic officers that crime does not pay and they must strictly adhere to the terms and conditions of their employment.

The latest arrests bring the total number of traffic officers arrested in this province to 33 since December 2017.

Meanwhile, RTMC has also sent its heartfelt condolences to the families of two Johannesburg Metro Police officers killed on Monday night in Johannesburg.

A motorist is alleged to have ploughed through the blockage, slamming into three cars and killing the two officers.

The incident provides further evidence of why human factors rank so high as the main contributors to high road traffic fatalities in South Africa. We further urge all road users to obey traffic rules and cooperate with law enforcement officers, said the CEO of the RTMC, Makhosini Msibi.

Source: South African Government News Agency

New Day Zero date announced

Day Zero, when household taps run dry in the City of Cape Town, has been moved back four days to April 16, the city announced on Tuesday.

According to the latest data, dam levels for Cape Town have dropped by 0.9% to 26.3%.

The average daily water production of all water sources is at 580 million litres per day compared to the target of 450 million litres per day.

Although there are many dedicated water ambassadors whose are working to help avoid Day Zero, the city has called on those who are not rolling up their sleeves to join their neighbours in the fight.

We need all water users to join the efforts of Team Cape Town, Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson said.

Level 6B water restrictions which, among other requirements, set the daily water usage of 50 litres per person per day, will come into effect from Thursday, 1 February 2018.

This is in an effort to drive water usage down further as it is the only way that the city can avoid Day Zero.

New water tariffs also come into effect from 1 February 2018.

According to the city, increasing the cost of water should help to change behaviour and drive down usage further, especially among high users.

All income from the proposed tariff will go towards funding essential water services. The city does not make a profit on water revenue, said Neilson.

Level 6B water restrictions include:

A daily limit of 50 litres or less per person whether at home, work, school or elsewhere.

Outdoor usage of boreholes is strongly discouraged. Usage for irrigation purposes will be limited to a maximum of one hour only on Tuesdays and Saturdays before 09:00 and after 18:00.

Borehole/wellpoint water use must be metered and all users are required to keep records and have these available for inspection.

Permission from the National Department of Water and Sanitation to sell or buy borehole/wellpoint water.

Citizens can visit www.capetown.gov/thinkwater for all water-related information, including Level 6B restrictions and FAQs about Day Zero, as well as tips to lower usage even further.

Source: South African Government News Agency