Daily Archives: September 12, 2018

MEC Sihle Zikalala calls for unbundling of monopoly in ICT industry

MEC Zikalala calls for the unbundling of monopoly in the ICT industry

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala believes self-regulation with respect to ICT companies wasn’t working in the process of extending digital connection to poor & remote communities.

Government, he said has to come with regulatory mechanism that would unbundle monopoly by few companies that have footprint across the world to ensure there were meetingful partnerships in the development of new technologies to reach out to remote & poor communities.

Mr Zikalala was speaking during the Roundtable Discussion hosted by International Telecommunication Union in Durban. He however he highlighted the importance of skills development to empower young people to actively participate in the digital economy.

Some collaborations with different role players in the ICT sector especially educational and research institutions such as Durban University of Technology & Moses Kotane Institute, he acknowledged were contributing in addressing the digital divide.

Installation of wi-fi services in public facilities like Thusong Centres would go a long way in accelerating ICT connectivity particularly in less developed areas, Zikalala added.

The Minister of Telecommunication & Postal Services, Dr Siyabonga Cwele stated that government was making an effort to widen access to digital linkages through installation of the broadband to be able to meet the developmental goals as reflected in the Vision 2030 of the NDP.

But he admitted the rolling out of the broadband was costly in the face of other pressing developmental challenges hence he said government was working with private sector in broadening universal access to ICT services.

The ‘ITU Telecom 2018’ has attracted delegates from all continents and there seems to be a consensus that access to digital technology would influence pace of socio-economic development the world over. Partnership would be crucial in ensuring equitable deployment of new technologies.

Source: Government of South Africa

No threat of sanctions ahead of land expropriation

There is no reason to believe any country would impose sanctions against South Africa as it engages in a process to implement land expropriation without compensation.

Addressing members of the National Council of Provinces during a question and answer session on Tuesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said there is increasing consensus among individuals and organisations � both within the country and internationally � that accelerated land reform is essential for inclusive growth and development.

He said this as the debate around amending the Constitution to pave the way for expropriation without compensation continues to intensify.

There is broad support for government’s position that the measures required to effect land reform must be guided by the Constitution, must affirm the rule of law, must enhance the property rights of all South Africans and should not undermine the economy, agricultural output or food security.

We have no reason to believe that any country would impose sanctions on South Africa for any actions that we take that are constitutional, lawful and consistent with international law, said the President.

He said he had discussed the land reform programme with the United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May when she came to South Africa on a working visit recently.

She welcomed the way in which we are approaching the land issue, and understood that land reform could unlock further investment opportunities, as long as it remained legal and transparent and was the product of a democratic process.

Last month, United States President Donald Trump took to Twitter to state that he had directed his Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to look into land expropriation and the alleged killing of farmers in South Africa.

Addressing Members of Parliament on Tuesday, the President said his office had not received any communication from the US government regarding the expropriation of land without compensation.

However, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation did meet with the Charge d’Affaires of the United States Embassy on 23 August 2018 regarding comments made on Twitter by US President Donald Trump.

The Charge d’Affaires was urged to convey to the Government of the United States, South Africa’s deep concern and to point out that the people of South Africa, of all races, are working together through Parliament and other legal platforms to find a solution to this historic challenge.

President Ramaphosa said South Africa remains ready and willing to engage with any country or international organisation on its approach to land reform.

He added that South Africa enjoys good political, economic and trade relations with the United States and diplomatic channels remain open to provide clarity on any issue of mutual interest, including land reform.

Source: South African Government News Agency

City to improve maintenance at rental units with specialised vehicles

The City recently acquired a number of specialised vehicles and equipment to repair and maintain city assets. The newly established mobile maintenance teams will have access to fully equipped vehicles to do repairs on the go. This will also increase reaction time when responding to service requests.

The Mayoral Committee Member for Assets and Facilities Management, Councillor Stuart Diamond, last week, 5 September 2018, unveiled the specialised vehicles and equipment at the Ndabeni maintenance depot. These vehicles, some of which are already in operation, will fast-track repairs and improve service delivery.

The vehicles are equipped with specialised tools to do repairs on the go and will allow maintenance teams to respond quickly to deal with water leaks, electrical faults and pipe bursts among other maintenance requests at the City’s rental stock.

According to Councillor Diamond, it is envisaged that each of the four area-based service delivery areas will have a dedicated mobile maintenance team. These maintenance teams will act as a first responder to maintenance emergencies and will deliver services, similar to the services offered by a depot, to communities at an accelerated pace. This is in line with the City’s Organisational Development and Transformation Plan which aims for excellence in customer service. The dedicated teams will also engage with customers to determine how well the City responds to service faults or complaints.

Multi-skilled teams will operate from the vehicles to do repairs and maintenance onsite. The six-seater mobile maintenance vehicles will be stocked with frequently utilised maintenance materials, tools and equipment in order to do the work once the rental unit has been inspected.

Team members includes a driver, four construction and electrical artisans supported by maintenance assistants and administrative staff.

The deployment schedule of the maintenance mobile teams will be based on the historical needs assessment in the four service delivery areas.

In addition to the above, the department has also purchased four aerial work platforms (cherry pickers) which will be used to maintain the installation and repairs to area lightning as well as other specialised maintenance requests such as assessing roofs and gutters at rental units.

The intention is to deploy a cherry picker for each area to allow for rapid response to maintenance requests. The City’s maintenance depots will have access to the vehicles and equipment.

‘The addition of these specialised mobile maintenance teams is a step in the right direction that will increase mobility and customer-centric service delivery. The effectiveness of the maintenance teams will be monitored to ensure that we continuously improve on our services to residents.

‘We ask tenants to alert us to elements that may pose a safety risk. We call upon residents to work with us by being our eyes on the ground and to log a service request should an element need attention,’ added Councillor Diamond.

Source: City of Cape Town

SOUTH AFRICA TO ATTEND G-20 TRADE MINISTERS MEETING IN ARGENTINA

PRETORIA– Changes brought on by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the inclusive global value chains will be at the centre of discussions when trade ministers of the Group of 20 (G-20) leading developed and emerging economies meet this week in Argentina.

South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies is set to attend the meeting which begins Friday at the resort city of Mar del Plata, the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) said in a statement here Tuesday. The meeting will focus on key factors for G20 policy-making to support participation and upgrading in inclusive Global Value Chains (GVCs) in the agricultural sector at regional and global levels.

The meeting will also provide a platform for an exchange of experiences on how G20 countries can address the challenges associated with disruptive changes presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and leverage the opportunities in order to advance inclusive growth.

Davies said Tuesday that GVCs had led to a reconfiguration of trade and investment flows. Location in the value chain is a critical determinant to how benefits are shared.” he stressed.

“African countries participate in GVCs mainly as suppliers of primary products. What is required is to preserve policy space to move-up the value chain into production of high-value products in order to promote meaningful participation in GVCs.”

He added that the Fourth Industrial Revolution was leading to unprecedented disruptions in trade and production. The G20 offers an opportunity for the exchange of views on global developments, regulatory framework and policy responses that facilitate leveraging the NIR and managing the challenges to promote inclusive growth, said Davies.

For South Africa, the G20 engagements provide a platform to discuss, assess, and advance economic and policy issues, and for knowledge transfer on policy practices to foster the country’s development objectives.

It also provides a platform for the exchange of views on the current developments in global trade.

The G20 Trade Ministers Meeting is taking place at a time when the multilateral trading system is facing unprecedented challenges. Of concern is the rise of trade measures that are not compatible with the World Trade Organization. The G20 Trade Ministers meeting will provide an opportunity for a dialogue on current developments in international trade and its implications for the global economy, Davies said.

Davies further emphasized that South Africa’s participation at the ministerial meeting is to contribute to and shape global trade and investment policy debates by providing views from a developing country standpoint.

South Africa’s core objective in engaging in the G20 is to advance a development oriented perspective on all the issues under discussion that preserves policy space to advance South Africa and Africa’s development integration, promote inclusive growth and structural transformation.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Over one million worth of drugs recovered

WESTERN CAPE � A joint Hawks’ Narcotics Enforcement Bureau (SANEB) and Crime Intelligence disruptive operation on Tuesday morning led to the recovery of Mandrax tablets valued at just over a million rand.

The operation resulted in the recovery of about 24 000 Mandrax tablets from an apparently abandoned vehicle that was parked near a local hotel in the vicinity of the Cape Town International Airport. The vehicle and the drugs have been seized pending further investigations.

Source: South African Police Service