Category Archives: Technology

Red Tape Impacting Negatively on Service Delivery

Parliament� The Select Committee on Social Services has decried the unreasonably long process it takes to make appointments, procure equipment and service health facilities in the Free State Province. This according to the committee leads to poor service delivery.

The committee has over the past two days been visiting healthcare facilities to assess the implementation of interventions as proposed by the National Council of Provinces during the Taking Parliament to the People programme in 2017. The committee expressed its disappointment in the long process to appoint a maintenance officer at clinic level as the department of health needed approval from the Provincial Treasury first.

This arduous process has a direct link to the poor service delivery people are subjected to on the ground. For example, the NCOP recommended that operational managers at clinics be appointed within a reasonable time. We were informed that the Mangaung Metro District is doing badly in terms of appointing these managers said Ms Cathy Dlamini, the Chairperson of the Committee.

The maintenance of infrastructure is also a matter of concern with many facilities registering fears about slow or non-existent maintenance programmes. The committee has urged the department to put in measures in place to rectify this anomaly because the maintenance of infrastructure will extend the lifespan of much needed equipment.

The support offered at district level to clinics and hospitals must also be improved to create an environment conducive for effective service delivery in line with the Batho Pele principles.

The Committee has picked up a worrying trend where the department appoint people in an acting capacity for positions for a longer period than prescribed by regulations. The Committee has urged the Human Resources section of the department to put measures in place to stop this worrying trend.

Despite this, the Committee acknowledge some of the improvements as a results of the intervention by the NCOP. These include the construction of waste storage rooms in identified clinics, appointment of operational managers at some clinics, installation of alarms in some clinics as well as the procurement of medical equipment. The Committee has called for the implementation of all recommendations.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

Joint Constitutional Review Committee to Convene Hearings in Citrusdal

Parliament� A delegation of the Joint Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) will tomorrow (2 August) commence with its public hearings in the Western Cape. The first stop for the second delegation will be Citrusdal.

The committee was instructed by the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces to ascertain whether a review of section 25 of the Constitution and other clauses are necessary, to make it possible for the state to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation, and propose the necessary constitutional amendments where necessary. The committee has already held hearings in all the other provinces.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

Ex-Slave Seeks Office in Mauritania to Fight for Freedom

Born into slavery and kept as a servant for 30 years, Haby Mint Rabah is now running for parliament in Mauritania to fight for freedom in a nation with one of the world’s worst slavery rates.

Rabah’s candidacy is a first for the West African country, where more than two in every 100 people � 90,000 in total � live as slaves, according to the 2018 Global Slavery Index.

Slavery is a historical practice in Mauritania, which became the last country to abolish it in 1981. Black descendants of ethnic groups in the south are typically enslaved by lighter-skinned Mauritanians, often as cattle herders and servants.

Rabah, 44, was born into bondage and forced to work from age 5 as a maid and a field hand. She hopes to be a role model and show that freedom and a life after slavery are possible.

“I submitted my candidacy because I was a slave, like my parents and my parents’ parents before me,” she told the Thomson Foundation by phone from the capital, Nouakchott. “And I never saw a slave candidate in elections.”

Mauritania criminalized slavery in 2007, but few slave owners have been penalized. Some members of the political elite deny that slavery still exists, and several activists who spoke out against it have been arrested and even jailed.

Mauritania’s government has repeatedly denied restricting the activities of rights groups or making arbitrary arrests.

‘I know that they exist’

“The day that I’m in parliament I will defend the slaves … because I know that they exist and that they have many needs,” Rabah said. “I’ll be there for them.”

Rabah will stand in the September 1 elections as a member of the Mauritanian Rally for Global Action, the political wing of the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA), in coalition with the more established Sawab party.

Rabah was freed in 2008 with the help of the IRA after one of her brothers escaped and alerted the anti-slavery group.

As a slave, her chores included carrying water and herding animals. Her master repeatedly raped and beat her, Rabah said.

“I suffered every kind of mistreatment,” she added.

Slaves in Mauritania do not tend to escape because they are unaware of their rights and cannot envisage a life beyond slavery, said Boubacar Messaoud, president of rights group SOS Esclaves.

“[Rabah’s candidacy] is something that should encourage slaves to lift their heads … to see that when you are free, you have the possibility to access everything the others always had,” Messaoud said.

Source: Voice of America

Minister orders probe on PIC executives

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has issued a directive to the board of the of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) to commission a forensic investigation into the allegations against certain PIC executives.

According to the Ministry of Finance, the Minister met with the Board of Directors of the PIC on Wednesday to discuss how to deal with the governance issues at the state-owned fund manager and the allegations against certain PIC executives.

Further details on the independent inquiry, including the name of its head as well as its terms of reference, will be announced in due course, the Ministry said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Government supports film industry

Government is committed to supporting the film industry to ensure that it continues to contribute to South Africa’s economic growth, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

Davies said the country has recognised the significance of the film industry which not only tells South African stories but also contributes to job creation.

As a department we recognise that like in other sectors, one cannot be a successful player in the film industry if there are no incentives to support the industry, he said.

The Minister was speaking at the launch of the revised guidelines of the Department of Trade and Industry’s (dti) film and television production incentives which took place at the Durban International Film Festival.

In order to ensure that our incentives are competitive and relevant to the needs of the industry, we have conducted a review to see what revisions were necessary. Working with Industry and stakeholders in government we believe we have achieved the right balance to grow investment and foster transformation, he said.

He said the department assessed the incentive programme with extensive participation from industry and partner stakeholders in government.

[This was] in order to try to be competitive, and to ensure that the incentives support the development of sustainable value chains and inclusive ecosystems. We are looking forward to seeing more new productions including productions that will find their way onto the world stage, said Davies.

Amendments

Some of the amendments include those made to the guidelines of the Foreign Film and Television Production and Post-Production Incentive, South African Film and Television Production Incentive, South African Emerging Black Filmmakers Incentive, and the South African Film and Television Co-Production Incentive.

The new guidelines will be effective from 1 September 2018.

The revised incentive facilitates growth of the sector, building on South Africa’s shooting location advantages as a quality service provider for both local and international shoots.

Key in this value chain is the post-production work in which the dti would like to see more players and significant investment.

Fostering transformation

We have also introduced a requirement for transformation which will be at different levels, in the actual film itself and also in accordance with the general architecture of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment, said Davies.

He singled out the South African Emerging Black Filmmakers Incentive as particularly important for achieving transformation in the film industry.

To this end, the minimum investment required for qualifying for the incentive has been dropped from R1 million to R500 000 in order to allow more filmmakers to participate in the programme.

Under this scheme there will also be a once-off purchase grant of R2 million for the purchase of production assets.

We are looking at having a dialogue with stakeholders on the effects on the 4th Industrial Revolution on the film industry. We will engage on various interventions such as the establishment of relevant infrastructure like film studios, film schools and other facilities to support the long-term development and evolution of the film industry, said the Minister.

The dti said South African films keep attracting attention from international film festivals. This is demonstrated by productions such as Ayanda winning a Special Jury Prize at the Los Angeles Film Festival, Revolting Rhymes being nominated for an Oscar, Miner’s Shot Down being nominated for an Emmy Award and Tell Me Sweet Something winning an award at the Black Star Film Festival.

These productions have been funded by the South African Film and Television Production Incentives. Through this incentive, 530 productions with a total Qualifying South African Production Expenditure (QSAPE) valued at R15.8 billion were supported between 2013 and 2017.

Source: South African Government News Agency