CWP being up-scaled for bigger impact

Deputy President David Mabuza says government is working towards reconfiguring the Community Works Programme (CWP) to ensure that it has a bigger impact on reducing poverty.

The Deputy President said this when he fielded oral questions in the National Council of Provinces in Cape Town on Thursday.

This was his last questions and answer session before Members of Parliament go off on recess.

For as long as our economy is not generating sufficient number of jobs to absorb the majority of the poor and unemployed, government will continue to create work opportunities for the unemployed, especially the youth and women.

We are currently working on reconfiguration of our anti-poverty programme in order to improve better coordination, integration and synergies. Poor coordination and monitoring sometimes undermines the impact of this programme.

The extent of up-scaling this programme will be informed by the available budget, he said.

ANC MP from the Free State, Seiso Mohai, had asked the Deputy President whether there were any plans to expand the programme as a safety net for the poor, especially for the youth and women; and whether government was meeting the targets set out for the Community Works Programme to ensure it employs one million people by 2019.

The Deputy President said the programme is designed to alleviate poverty through the provision of work opportunities for poor and unemployed people, who are living in socio-economically depressed urban and rural areas including those under traditional authorities.

The programme, he said, forms part of the broad Public Employment Programme that is coordinated by the Department of Public Works.

The Community Works Programme has provided 729 257 work opportunities over the MTEF (annual, rolling three-year expenditure planning) period.

The programme has a footprint in all local and metropolitan municipalities and is being implemented in 226 sites.

As at end of March 2018, the female participation rate in Community Works Programme stands at 78%, far above the set target of 55%, and the youth participation rate at 37%, Mabuza said.

He said the programme was contributing to employment in sectors like agriculture, which includes the maintenance of community food gardens in schools, clinics, early childhood development centres and communal lands.

He said that the produce harvested from the community gardens helped feed the elderly as well as orphaned and vulnerable children.

The second most common work output is in the environmental and community services sectors where public spaces and facilities were cleaned or maintained such as schools, hospitals, sports fields, grave yards and parks.

Illegal dumping sites were cleared and recycling projects were undertaken at some of the sites. Blocked storm water drainage systems were unblocked, thus preventing potential flooding and saving lives.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Minister Senzeni Zokwana: Meeting of Brics Ministers of Agriculture and Agrarian Development

Speaking notes for the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Forsetry and Fisheries, Mr S Zokwana on the hosting of the 8th Meeting of The Brics Ministers of Agriculture and Agrarian Development held In Mpumalanga Province, South Africa

Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply of Brazil,

Honourable Blairro Maggi

Deputy Minister of Agriculture of China,

Honourable Yu Khangzhen

Deputy Minister of Russia,

Honourable Sergy Levin

Deputy Minister of South Africa,

Honourable Sifiso Buthelezi

The Delegation of India

Officials of government from all our BRICS member countries.

Ladies and gentlemen

It is with great honour that South Africa is a host country for the 8th Meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Agriculture and Agrarian Development. It is not just about hosting but about the important resolutions that we are going to ratify arising out of the work done by our technical teams. Important forward-looking decisions were taken last year in Nanjing, China for which this 8th meeting of Ministers must build on. As BRICS Agriculture Ministers we are racing against time in making meaningful impact against hunger, food security and climate change phenomena. Whilst our pace is commendable in this regard, but we must not rest into our laurels and be complacent about the mammoth tasks lying ahead.

As BRICS, we are an emerging block that carries with it the aspirations of more than 40% of the World population. Within this population lies challenges of poverty, food insecurity and the effects brought about by climate change as it affects production levels. United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) made an interesting observation that: With the clock ticking toward the 2030 deadline for meeting the international goals to eradicate hunger and poverty, Ministries of Agriculture in five of the World’s most important emerging economies are well positioned to take a leading role in helping to achieve these objectives.

In his address to the 7th BRICS meeting of Ministers in China last year, Assistant Director General and FAO’s Regional Representatives for Asia and the Pacific, Kundhavi Kadiresan made the interesting remarks: Despite the trends towards urbanisation, poverty in the World today is primarily rural. As a result, accelerating rural development will be key to achieving the SDGs. The question is how to do it? Our experiences in countries in different parts of the World have shown that it can best be done through a combination of agricultural growth and targeted social protection, but also through growth in the rural non-farm economy. Agriculture can be a driver of sustained and inclusive rural growth. In low-income countries, growth originating from agriculture is twice as effective in reducing poverty as growth originating from other sectors of the economy.

Economic indicators shows that agriculture in many parts of the World, no less in our own country, carries a potential of being a larger contributor (than it is) to national GDPs thereby representing a sunshine economic sector that we must nurture for prosperity of our nations. In South Africa, despite the effects of drought to the sector, agricultural sector displayed resilient and extricated this country from technical recession in the third quarter of 2017 when other sectors faced sluggish growth.

We must embrace the technological take over that is replacing old agricultural methods of doing agricultural business. These are necessary disruptions that puts us on a hi-tech competitive edge with younger generations becoming the masters of the new technological revolution in the sector. Through our collegiality as BRICS countries, I plead that lets hand-hold each other; lets share information and experiences in our scientific and technological advances that each one of us has. As BRICS block, we must be driven by the great sense of solidarity than competition, brotherhood than enmity and increased intra-trade.

Like many other countries which are affected extreme weather events and vulnerable to the effects of climate change, South Africa has been affected by meteorological hazards such as drought which has negatively affected our economy.

South African agriculture, forestry and fisheries is highly vulnerable and exposed to the impacts of climate change due, on the one hand, to our socio-economic context (e.g. the many land-dependent rural poor) and, on the other hand, to an already high risk natural environment (including high season to season climate variability, extreme weather events, times of severe water stress).

The impact of climate change is felt on both food security and livelihood perspectives particularly by poor smallholder and emerging farmers, as they are especially vulnerable as they have little means or no resources to cope with the increasing climate variability and frequencies of extreme weather events. Extreme weather events and their impacts are increasing at an alarming rate. The frequency and intensity of extreme weather events are expected to increase as a result of increasing climate variability and climate change and this will negatively affect agricultural productivity and food security. Recent model projections for South Africa generally indicate an increase in temperature and rainfall variability.

Adaptation to climate change remains a top priority for the developing countries like South Africa. Smallholder farmers represent about 80 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s farming population, and suffer disproportionately in the face of droughts, floods and other weather-related events.

Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and more severe, threatening the reliability and productivity of agriculture. This state of affairs contributes negatively to the already extreme levels of poverty, and is reinforcing inequity and chronic under-nutrition. These problems can only be solved through the widespread adoption of a more resilient, productive, sustainable, equitable and increasingly efficient farming practices. It is important to increase the capacity in the risk reduction of disasters, the prioritisation of training and awareness. These interventions will ensure that knowledge about potential hazards and usage of climate information become widespread.

We also have to promote and adopt climate smart agroforestry/fisheries approaches to mitigate and adapt to the climate change impact as well as to increase adaptive capacity of producers especially small growers in the forestry and producers in fisheries sectors.

But this climate change threat calls for all of us as BRICS countries to become climate change patrons by playing more meaningful role in the fight against global warming. Global warming in large measure, is man-made through selfish chasing of profits by excessive industry heavy machine polluters that produces greenhouse gas emissions that affect our ozone, and in turn affect our climate and agricultural land for food production.

We are excited that a significant progress has been made to implement the BRICS Action Plan: 2017 � 2020 for Agricultural Cooperation of BRICS Countries, and this includes the achievement of broader aims such as:

Supporting the United Nations (UN) efforts in fighting poverty and eradicating hunger at the global level, exchange information and experiences, policies, ensuring food security, enhance food supply capacities of BRICS, and reduce food crises.

Implementing national programmes of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, exchange and share basic agricultural information and technologies adaptive to climate change, strengthen resilience of agricultural productive systems and their adaptability to natural and climate disasters, and deepen cooperative research.

Improving the livelihoods of farmers especially through capacity building and participation of smallholder farmers in the global agricultural value chains and help smallholders of BRICS to increase food productivity and improve food security through meetings, technical cooperation, technology demonstration and training as well as holding BRICS seminars to share experiences of agricultural resilience and adaptation to climate change.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all the participants (both local and BRICS member states) who shared valuable information and experiences and also provided their valued contributions at BRICS climate smart approaches seminar held here in South Africa in the last two days ago (19 – 20 June 2018). The outcomes of the successful BRICS Seminar will encourage all of us to deepen cooperation under the theme: Promoting cooperation and exchange on climate change for stronger agricultural resilience to natural risks. We propose that BRICS member states continue to engage on matters that will enable us to achieve our common objectives and ensure priorities are met. We should focus more on increasing agricultural research cooperation amongst the academic and research institutions within BRICS and tapping into international funding mechanisms.

Once again I want to welcome all the Ministers and Deputy Ministers to this beautiful country of the African continent. I am confident that significant progress will be achieved today which will mark a revolutionary continuum from Nanjing decisions so that we surmount the enormity of the challenges confronting our nation states.

I therefore wish you well and good deliberations!

Thank you.

Source: Government of South Africa

COSAFA U17 Championships: Zambia Profile

Zambia will be the defending champions at the 2018 COSAFA Under-17 Championships have stormed to the title in Mauritius last year. It was a welcome change in fortunes for the Young Chipolopolo, who had been disqualified from the 2016 tournament after being found guilty of fielding two ineligible players.

But they put that set-back behind them to show their quality 12 months ago as they came through a difficult pool that also included regional heavyweights South Africa to secure the crown.

Zambia beat hosts Mauritius 3-0 in the final as Lameck Banda and Martin Njobvu finished as joint top-scorers. The team’s goalkeeper, Kennedy Nankhaima, also won the award for best gloveman in the tournament.

Zambia had found success hard to come by in the regional competition before that, despite a steady history of providing excellent young players.

They have also, somewhat surprisingly, only made a single appearance at the African Under-17 Championships in the past when the competition was staged in Niger in 2015.

Defeats to Nigeria and Guinea sealed a first round exit, though players such as Patson Daka, Prosper Chiluya and Enoch Mwepu have developed well since then and become stars of the Under-20 and senior national team set-up.

The Class of 2018 will be coached by Oswald Mutapa.

Source: South African Football Association

SA must embrace 4th Industrial Revolution to remain competitive

South Africa needs to embrace the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution or risk being less competitive globally, says Deputy President David Mabuza.

The Deputy President said this when answering questions at the National Council of Provinces on Thursday afternoon.

He said last month, in his Capacity as the Chairperson of the Human Resource Development Council, he hosted the third HRDC Summit stakeholders, which discussed how to develop new networks, strengthen existing partnerships, and share the latest lessons through education and skills transfer.

The stakeholders, the Deputy President said, also looked at how governments can transform their economies in light of emerging trends in global economy, especially the implications of what is termed as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

At that Summit, a point was made that the pace of change over the last few years has largely been shaped by technological disruption and innovation.

These disruptions have an equal impact on the current set of jobs in the market. This means that as we continue to focus on skills development, we must bear in mind that even jobs that were considered as vocational, are now becoming high tech and require specialised knowledge and skills.

This reality suggests that digital disruption will impact on how we do things. Therefore, as South Africa we need to embrace this global trend or risk becoming less competitive on the global stage. As part of this embrace, our training and skills development must be accelerated to keep up with the pace of change, he said.

He said that the Department of Science and Technology is currently investing in the technological building blocks of this revolution.

On this end, the department will develop a public-funded science, technology and innovation plan of action over the next 12-18 months for socio-economic impact in the context of this revolution.

Through smart investments in research and development, the Department of Science and Technology is supporting South African industry to grow and create more jobs through building scientific, technological and knowledge-based capabilities, he said.

The Deputy President also said that government needs a private sector that is engaged so that as a country, everyone involved can unlock the full potential of education and training sector.

Future value creation lies in humans and machines working together to create new user experiences, new products, new services, and new possibilities.

We must therefore put relevant programmes in place to develop the necessary skills through rethinking education systems and incentivising lifelong learning. This is why investment in early childhood development is critical.

For its part, the Human Resource Development Council has held roadshows to create awareness regarding the HRD Strategy towards 2030 with various structures, including the Provincial Human Resource Development Forums, Provincial Human Resource Development Councils, Provincial Skills Development Forums, Public Sector Trainers Forum; and Human Resource Development Provincial Coordination forums.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Government’s intervention on Eskom welcomed

Cabinet has welcomed the intervention made by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan in the wage negotiations dispute between the Eskom management and labour.

Last Friday, Gordhan convened a meeting with the Eskom board and management and the three labour unions — National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and Solidarity — with the intention of getting all parties to engage on the issues around the employee salary negotiations.

Briefing the media on the Cabinet meeting on Thursday, Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said a team has been assigned to deal with issues of wage negotiations, and they hope that all parties will appreciate the need to expedite the process and find an amicable solution towards the impasse at Eskom.

She said Gordhan will continue to update Cabinet, Presidency and National Treasury on any development that may arise.

Responding to criminal acts reported, including road blockades, attacks on staff, and wilful damage of electricity infrastructure, Mokonyane warned that nobody is entitled to destroy property, whether its organised workers or public.

There is a law in South Africa that has been passed in line with the Criminal Procedure Act, where there is an amendment that deals with destruction of public property as an act of crime, and it is within that, that even the destruction of property in terms of what we’ve seen at Eskom, must be deemed as an act of crime.

Nobody is entitled to destroy property It is an act of sabotage and it is going to cost the state. In this instance, it is economic sabotage and the amendment act must actually kick in and deal with these issues, the Minister warned.

She said several arrests have been made in connection with this.

Protests on highways

Cabinet also strongly condemned the recent blocking of several highways by protestors in some parts of the country, warning that criminal acts of aggression and disruptions will not be tolerated.

Highways are a critical part of our transport infrastructure that supports the transportation of goods and services of the various sectors of the economy. Our constitutional democracy provides for platforms wherein people can raise their issues without causing any disruptions, Mokonyane said.

She further called on law-enforcement officers to take the necessary steps, within the confines of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996, to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.

Meanwhile, Cabinet has approved the Decommissioning and Decontamination (D&D) liabilities attached to the past Disused Strategic Nuclear Facilities (Stage 1) and current operating facilities (Stage 2) at Phelindaba site.

Currently, these liabilities reflect in the books of NECSA (South African Nuclear Energy Corporation) resulting in liabilities exceeding the assets, and project negatively on its going concern status.

Cabinet approved that the process should be taken forward in consultation with the National Treasury.

Source: South African Government News Agency