Daily Archives: February 16, 2018

Government turns up heat on crime

Crime fighting will remain a priority for government this year, with the introduction of several mobilisation strategies to help address the scourge.

During the course of 2018, government will implement the Community Policing Strategy.

The Community Policing Strategy’s aim is to gain the trust of the community and to secure their full involvement in the fight against crime, said President Cyril Ramaphosa during his State of the Nation Address on Friday.

Government, the newly elected President said, is of the view that the relationship between the police and the public determines to a significant degree how effective policing will be in the protection of social order.

Another initiative in place will be the introduction of a Youth Crime Prevention Strategy, which is set to empower and support young people to be self-sufficient and become involved in crime-fighting initiatives.

In recognition of the critical role that NGOs and community-based organisations play in tackling poverty, inequality and related social problems, government is to convene a Social Sector Summit this year. Among other things, President Ramaphosa said the summit should seek to improve the interface between the State and civil society and address the challenges that NGOs and community-based organisations (CBOs) face.

According to President Ramaphosa, a key focus this year will be the distribution of resources to police at station level.

This will include personnel and other resources to restore capacity and experience at the level at which crime is most effectively combated, he said.

Police stations are grappling with detective and vehicle shortages, resulting in low staff moraleS which in turn cripples the police’s ability to adequately serve the community.

The President hopes these initiatives will help address the county’s crime challenge.

The crime statistics for 2016/17 revealed concerning trends related to public safety in South Africa. Murder and organised crime � including carjacking – recorded an increase. Murder rose by 1.8% in the 2016/17 financial year after 19 016 cases were reported. Robbery with aggravating circumstances � which includes carjacking, residential and non-residential robberies, truck hijacking, cash-in-transit robberies and bank robberies – went up by 6.4% – from 132 527 reported cases in 2015/16 to 140 956 cases in 2016/17.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Ministers welcome President’s speech

Ministers have described Friday’s State of the Nation Address as the dawn of a new era.

Speaking outside the National Assembly shortly after President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered his maiden speech, Ministers commended the practicality of the measures announced to deal with corruption, poor governance, slow growth and unemployment.

Communications Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane told SAnews the speech drew the inspiration of a country turning over a new leaf.

The speech was well-received, well balanced, touched on critical areas � investment, the economy, job creation and focused on youth [jobs] and making sure that young people get out and talks about skills, said the Minister.

She said the speech gave clarity on the issue of the recently announced free higher education and training as well as his pronouncement on the Mining Charter.

In his speech, the President said this year, government will intensify engagements with all stakeholders on the Mining Charter to ensure that it is truly an effective instrument to sustainably transform the face of mining in South Africa.

Reacting to the speech, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies welcomed the President’s stance on ensuring that the industrialisation of the economy is prioritised.

He told SAnews government had been emphasising that the global economies are shifting towards industrialising their economies and that it was good that the President aimed to put in motion practical measures.

In his speech, the President said to promote industrialisation, government would use measures like preferential procurement and the black industrialists programme to develop a new generation of black and women producers that are able to build enterprises of significant scale and capability.

Higher Education Minister, Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize, said the President’s speech provided clarity on how several programmes would be funded.

There is absolute clarity as to where are we going and how we should make a paradigm shift.

But what I liked the most was emphasis on areas that bring about the growth of the Growth Domestic Product because once you succeed with that one, support for phasing in higher education, the healthcare programmes that he spoke about will be easier to sustain, she told SAnews.

Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Gugile Nkwinti said the speech inspired hope.

The State of the Nation Address ought to inspire people, not just the party that is leading government, but the people of South Africa. Look at all the parties there, they stood up and they clapped at the end of the speech. That is what South Africa needs. That is why we are happy.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana said all South Africans should aspire to preserve the legacy of struggle icons who fought to liberate the country for the betterment of the lives of all South Africans.

The speech was good � outlining our challenges, not shying from what we are faced with but coming up with possibilities about nation building, about obligations, about being responsible and I think out of this we need to say South Africa has changed and we need to make sure all of us make ourselves available to realise the dream of all those who served in Robben Island, including Nelson Mandela.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Madiba’s vision to guide President Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa says his administration will be guided by former President Nelson Mandela’s vision to lead South Africa with ethical behaviour and leadership.

We will recount Madiba’s long walk to freedom, his wisdom, his unfailing humility, his abiding compassion and his essential integrity. Guided by his example, we will use this year to reinforce our commitment to ethical behaviour and ethical leadership, said President Ramaphosa.

The President delivered his maiden State of the Nation Address in Parliament on Friday.

We are continuing the long walk he began, to build a society in which all may be free, in which all may be equal before the law and in which all may share in the wealth of our land and have a better life, said President Ramaphosa.

In mapping the year ahead for government, he said 2018 has been marked as the Nelson Mandela Centenary and as such the year would be dedicated to the global icon’s memory.

Mandela, who was known to South Africans as the father of the nation after leading the country into democracy and beyond, would have turned 100 years on 18 July 2018. The struggle veteran lost his battle to a recurring lung infection on 5 December 2013.

Government has set several plans in motion to celebrate the colourful and inspiring life of Mandela through a series of programmes that will span across the year.

An Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) has also been established and is responsible for planning and coordinating the centenary programme befitting the legacy and heritage of Mandela.

The IMC is made up of Ministers from Departments such as Arts and Culture, Communications and Public Works, among others and engage closely with the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Centenary celebrations have already kicked off with the Unthreading Mandela Exhibition unveiled by the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

South Africans and the world at large will be able to view a TV series to be aired globally that deals with different periods in the icon’s life.

President Ramaphosa called on South African’s to embody the late Statesman’s ideals of unity.

We should honour Madiba by putting behind us the era of discord, disunity and disillusionment, he said.

The vision of the man born in Mvezo in the Eastern Cape on 18 July 1918 will light the path for President Ramaphosa as he builds on former President Jacob Zuma’s achievements.

In celebrating the centenary of Nelson Mandela we are not merely honouring the past, we are building the future, said President Ramaphosa.

Albertina Sisulu centenary

Another giant of the struggle, Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu will also be celebrated this year.

Through her remarkable life and outstanding contribution, she defined what it means to be a freedom fighter, a leader and a diligent and disciplined servant of the people

As we mark her centenary, we reaffirm that no liberation can be complete and no nation can be free until its women are free, said President Ramaphosa.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Government to introduce the first national minimum wage in May

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the introduction of a national minimum wage is an example of what is possible when South Africans engage in meaningful dialogue to resolve differences.

The national minimum wage will be introduced on 1 May 2018.

The President said this was a historic achievement that is expected to increase the earnings of more than six million working South Africans and improve the living conditions of households across the country.

The introduction of a national minimum wage was made possible by the determination of all social partners to reduce wage inequality while maintaining economic growth and employment creation.

It stands as another example of what is possible when South Africans engage in meaningful dialogue to resolve differences and confront challenges, said President Ramaphosa, delivering his maiden State of the Nation Address on Friday.

Cabinet approved the National Minimum Wage Bill in November last year.

Representatives of government, business, the community sector and two of the three labour federations represented at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) signed the national minimum wage agreement.

The minimum wage agreement was overseen by President Ramaphosa while he was Deputy President.

According to the Department of Labour, all workers who do not fall under the farm/forestry, domestic sectors, Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) and learnerships should not be paid less than the set R20 minimum wage per hour.

According to the National Minimum Wage Bill, the farm/forestry sector’s minimum wage is R18 an hour, which is 90% of the set minimum wage. The domestic sector will get 75%, which amounts to R15, EPWP workers will get 55%, which is R11, whereas the wage for learnership agreements are set out in Schedule 2 of the National Minimum Wage Bill.

The Department of Labour has been conducting engagement sessions on the implementation of the national minimum wage.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Campaign on cancer to take centre stage

President Cyril Ramaphosa says in the next three months government will launch a massive cancer campaign similar to the HIV counselling and testing campaign.

The campaign will involve the private sector as government aims to mobilise all resources to fight the scourge of cancer.

The President said this when he tabled his State of the Nation Address in Parliament on Friday.

President Ramaphosa, who is also the Chairperson of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), said government will also take the next critical steps to eliminate HIV from our midst this year.

By scaling up our testing and treating campaign, we will initiate an additional two million people on antiretroviral treatment by December 2020, he said.

As it stands, South Africa today has the biggest HIV treatment programme in the world with over 3.9 million people on treatment by August 2017.

HIV positive South Africans now have access to anti-retroviral drugs irrespective of their CD4 count. It is through these efforts of HIV treatment that led to an increase in life expectancy and low levels of mother-to-child HIV transmission rates.

Research by the South African Medical Research Council shows that mother-to-child transmission declined from 8.5 percent in 2008 to 1.5 percent in 2015. As a result, thousands of babies were protected from HIV infection.

The Health Department, under the leadership of Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, will in April 2018 introduce the new fixed-dose combination of three drugs, Tenofovir, Lamivudine and Dolutegravir that will make it easier for patients to adhere to treatment.

National Health Insurance (NHI)

President Ramaphosa said the time has arrived to finally implement universal health coverage through the National Health Insurance (NHI).

The NHI Bill is now ready to be processed through government and will be submitted to Parliament in the next few weeks, said President Ramaphosa.

Certain NHI projects targeting the most vulnerable people in society will commence in April.

The first phase of the NHI started in 2012 and paved the way for the implementation to universal access to health.

According to the Health Department it has achieved the following since 2012:

Established District Specialist Teams to supervise doctors in each district and further contracted GPs to work in public clinics.

Finalised the infrastructural needs for all 700 health facilities as well as refurbishment and backlog maintenance.

Within the 10 pilot districts, 34 new and replacement clinics were built.

Outside the 10 pilot districts, 96 clinics have been completed and with 132 others in progress, to give a total of 228 new and replacement clinics.

In the same period within the pilot districts we have completed 154 clinics were the refurbished and 192 others are in progress.

Source: South African Government News Agency