Daily Archives: January 17, 2018

US Seeks Extradition of al-Qaida Suspect Jailed in France

The United States is seeking to extradite a suspected al-Qaida terrorist imprisoned in France.

The Justice Department on Wednesday unsealed its indictment on federal terrorism charges of German citizen Christian Ganczarski, who also goes by several Arabic aliases.

The charges include conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens and providing material support to al-Qaida.

Tunisia attack

Ganczarski is in prison in France for his part in a 2002 al-Qaida attack on a synagogue in Tunisia.

U.S. authorities say Ganczarski’s association with al-Qaida goes back to 1999 and that he was close to senior al-Qaida leaders. He allegedly provided them with expert guidance on computers, radio communications and weapon systems maintenance. He is said to have lived in al-Qaida camps and guest houses.

He rubbed shoulders with Osama bin Laden and the men who planned and executed plots from the bombing of U.S. embassies in East Africa that killed 225 people to the 9/11 attacks that cost 3,000 lives, New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill said.

9/11 attack

Ganczarski was in Germany on September 11, 2001. But according to U.S. authorities, he had been aware that a significant event would happen.

Ganczarski faces life in prison if extradited and tried and convicted in the United States.

Source: Voice of America


MAPUTO, The current outbreak of listeriosis in neighbouring South Africa presents no threat to Mozambique, says Mozambican Health Minister Nazira Abdula.

Speaking to the media during a tour of health units here Monday, Abdula said the Mozambican government was in contact with the South African health authorities, and was also being kept updated by the World Health Organization (WHO).

All necessary preventive measures have been taken, she said. The type of prevention required is within what we are already doing,” she added.

Basic preventive measures include respect for the norms of individual and collective hygiene, and ensuring that homes are kept clean. She urged all citizens suffering from fever, diarrhoea or vomiting (which could be symptoms of listeriosis) to seek immediate medical attention.

Listeriosis is a disease caused by the bacterium listeria monocytogenes, which enters the human body through the consumption of contaminated food. It is a severe form of food poisoning and its symptoms include fever, muscle aches, and sometimes nausea or diarrhoea.

In pregnant women, the infection can result in miscarriage, premature delivery, and serious infection of the infant or even stillbirth.

The South African outbreak of listeriosis is the worst on record in that country, with more than 750 confirmed cases, and at least 60 deaths. The source of the outbreak, which began in December, is so far unknown.


South Africa: Delays and Doubts – Gigaba Adds to the Confusion On Actual Funding for Free Higher Education

In a Press Conference yesterday Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba broke the news that free higher education will not be rolled out over the promised five years, but over eight. Just two weeks ago Higher Education Minister, Hlengiwe Mkhize, said free education would be phased in over five years. It is time that the two ministers spoke to one another about this.

Even eight years seems an inordinately short time for him to find the roughly R40bn to R50bn per annum that will be required once students in all years are funded. He himself acknowledged that our national budget is inadequate even without this requirement. So which other Departments will this money be taken from? Social Development? Basic Education? Human Settlements?

With registration ongoing during January, students and their parents are not sure what exactly is happening.

Minister Gigaba also cast further doubt on the ANC’s grasp of the issues when he said that “the Government had now established how much free higher education would cost”, but at the same time that “nobody can be very certain about the actual quantum of the figures required for the funding of the system”. He admitted that there “was still a lot of uncertainty” including how many students would actually need financial assistance. Students must be wondering what on earth all of this means.

And on Sunday we suddenly heard that the Ministry will be requiring students to do 80 hours community service a year and participating in the economy after studies have been completed, as a condition of the free education.

This is a serious matter for students. A student who registers this year for a free first year will do so on the expectation that his or her second and third year will be funded. But the Minister clearly has doubts about this. And will community service and ‘participating in the economy”, whatever that may mean, be required or not?

Adding fuel to this fire are opportunists like the EFF who are inciting violence by calling for walk-in registrations, and blaming Universities and Colleges when they cannot provide places for students once they are full. Minister Mkhize has not helped by calling upon Colleges to “be creative” in admitting extra students. Is she totally unaware of how enrolment planning in her Department actually works? Between her populism and the EFF’s opportunism, educational institutions are being hung out to dry.

We have called on Parliament to address this crisis urgently, but our call has been rejected.

Whoever delivers the State of Nation Address must clearly state how, when and even whether the plan for free education will come to fruition. When Cyril Ramaphosa becomes President will he stretch the number of years it will take to ten? Or even fifteen?

Like all ANC policies, this plan is incoherent and is causing confusion and anxiety among the country’s youth.

The DA has long held that free education for the poor is possible, that a tiered system of student funding would be feasible and that this needs careful planning in advance. The effects of the reckless Zuma announcement will affect our educational system for a long time to come, and may still have consequences we cannot yet predict. But they will be serious.

Source: Democratic Alliance

New school opens on first day of academic year

Learners attending the newly constructed Everest Primary School in Newclare, Westbury, were full of smiles as they entered their school on the first day of the academic year.

To mark the first day of school, Gauteng Premier David Makhura will be joined by MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi and MEC for Infrastructure Development Jacob Mamabolo to hand over the new school.

This is an important landmark as this new school replaces an old asbestos school, thereby reducing the number of schools built of inappropriate materials, further committing ourselves to work towards the eradication of these inappropriate structures.

We believe that all has been done to ensure a smooth start to the first day of school � that learning and teaching starts without any hindrance, the Gauteng provincial government said in a statement.

In addition, Members of the Executive Council (MECs) will be deployed to various schools across the province to oversee the smooth running of the first day of schools.

They will assess conditions in each of the schools to which they are deployed as well as consult with communities.

Admissions placement

The provincial department of education hosted an Admission Open Day this past weekend at various decentralised venues (in districts) to address the backlog of the 31 000 unplaced learners and to attend to all other admissions related queries.

We appreciate parents who visited the centres for assistance and assure them that the department is doing everything possible to place all unplaced learners. We appeal for patience and cooperation in the interest of learners, the provincial government said.

As total of 2 565 of the 31 000 learners have been placed. Additionally a total of 4500 new applications have been received since Saturday.

Unplanned financial implications of admitting late applicants are substantial. Additional funding will have to be found to finance educator salaries, additional classrooms, learning and teaching support materials and school furniture. Procurement processes are also not instant but can take weeks to complete, the provincial government said.

Parents that still have admission queries in relation to Grade 1 and 8 are advised to visit the admission centres. The centres will continue to operate until the end of January.

Preparations for National Senior Certificate 2018

The Gauteng Department of Education has opted to begin early with preparations for the National Senior Certificate in order to improve overall performance compared to 2017. The following interventions will be implemented by the department:

Ensure an uninterrupted teaching and learning so that most of the curriculum can be covered during normal contact time.

Supplementary lessons and tuition will be offered as part of the Secondary School Improvement Programme (SSIP).

Implementation of special interventions such Litnum (Literacy Numeracy Strategy); Maths and science, among others.

The Head of Department (HOD) will conduct a series of meetings to support schools performing below 60%, as part of our ongoing effort to provide support and uplift poor performing schools.

All districts are required to submit intervention plans to monitor and support all schools across the province.

Tracking and monitoring of progress on a weekly basis by MEC, HOD and Districts.

The Department will also ensure that all these interventions are replicated for all the grades.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Minister Bathabile Dlamini acknowledges academic performance of social grant beneficiaries, 18 Jan

The Minister of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, will on Thursday, January 18, acknowledge the academic performance of social grant beneficiaries who wrote their matric in 2017.

She will also recognise the overall performance of all social grant beneficiaries living in child-headed households and in the Isibindi Programme who are in tertiary institutions around the country.

Isibindi is a community-based programme that deploys trained community-based child and youth care workers in communities in an innovative team outreach programme providing care, protection and developmental support to vulnerable children and families.

Last year, a total of 417 239 learners who are beneficiaries of social grants wrote their matric and 1 813 of these learners were under the Isibindi Programme.

Source: Government of South Africa