South Africa

Ramaphosa urges improved economic integration in Africa

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President Cyril Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa will work with countries in the continent to rid the world of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

He was addressing new ambassadors and heads of missions who are assigned to the country.

These new diplomats are from Angola, Zimbabwe, Jamaica, Indonesia and Mexico among others.

This was his first reception of diplomats since becoming president in February this year.

Ramaphosa singled out the recent signing of the agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area as key to the realisation of economic integration in Africa.

At least 44 countries including South Africa have signed the agreement adopted at the last African Union (AU) Summit in Rwanda.

The Continental Free Trade Area will amongst others allow the free movement of goods and people in the continent.

The new diplomats are equal to the task, with Ambassador Filomena Delgado from Angola saying she hopes for better relations with mutual economic spinoffs.

Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to South Africa, David Hamadziripi, says his mission is to ensure Harare becomes the next best investment destination for South African companies.

Jamaican Ambassador Veronica Comfort hopes to broaden trade and strengthen contact.

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Temperatures expected to drop even further

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With the icy cold weather gripping the country, temperatures are expected to drop on Tuesday night below zero degrees celsius.

Motorists have been advised to drive with caution in the regions where recent snow had fallen and could now be melting.

Temperatures are expected to remain low for the rest of the week.

Several passes had also been closed due to heavy snow falls.

Meteorologist Azwi Tuwani says, “Tonight we are expecting sub-zero temperatures for the interior and mountainous areas. The lowest high temperature is Sutherland at 8, the highest temperature been 24 for Phalaborwa. For the rest of the week, the temperatures remain very low in the mid-teens for the interior, but will see a little bit of a pick-up going to the weekend. Maybe some areas starting to be at 20.”

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Uber, Taxify drivers remain on strike

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Striking drivers of the e-hailing taxi services Uber and Taxify have threatened to remain on strike until their demands are met. However, they did not proceed to Taxify’s offices in Bryanston after handing over a memorandum of demands to Uber management in Krammerville near Sandton.

They have given Uber until Thursday to respond to their demands. They want the 25 percent commission received by the company to be immediately reduced to 15 percent.

They are also demanding better rates in light of fuel hikes and that the two companies stop training more drivers and putting more cars on the road, saying they are even struggling to make a profit because the market is too congested.

Non-striking Uber and Taxify drivers were pulled over and forced to join the protest by their striking colleagues at various locations such as OR Tambo and Lanseria airports, as well at a number of Gautrain stations.

The situation was no different at Zoo Lake where hundreds of drivers gathered on Tuesday morning before making their way to Uber’s offices in Krammaville near Sandton. However, they were made to wait for about three hours, with management unwilling to engage them.

“Uber is a very arrogant organisation. Uber was forced by the SAPS to send management to come receive the memorandum. They were highly unwilling; they come out to receive it under duress. They call us partners but they’re so afraid to engage with their so-called partners. So it goes to show that there’s not partnership here, it’s just on-going exploitation. And they feel no need to justify their actions to us,” says Spokesperson for the drivers Vhatuka Mbelengwa.

When Uber Representative Deon du Toit eventually came out to meet them, he had very little to say. “I accept this on behalf of Uber, it will reach Uber management within minutes of me receiving it. I’m going to sign this with your representatives. And we’re ready to do this.”

The drivers were not pleased, as they called on Uber to immediately shut down the online taxi app. Mbelengwa says they expect feedback from Uber by Thursday. “We have given them a maximum of 48 hours to respond to us, failure to do so, we will reconvene here. Failure to do so, we’re going to be offline; we’re going to continue to mobilise drivers. And engage with drivers in different areas who may not be aware of what’s happening; make them aware so we can correctly encourage them to stay offline.”

The march was also supposed to proceed to Taxify’s offices in Bryantson. “We sent out a team to the Taxify offices and there was absolutely nobody there. They had completely absconded. They had abdicated responsibility of engaging with us. So we saw it fit not to proceed forth to Taxify. We’ll re-strategize, and at a date sooner rather than later, we’ll go to Taxify,” says Mbelengwa.

However, Taxify’s country Manager Gareth Taylor says they have been engaging with drivers and are already addressing some of their concerns. “At Taxify we take a 15 percent commission. Drivers on Taxify earn typically 13 to 20-percent more than drivers on other e-hailing platforms. We increased the fares couple of weeks back in response to the petrol price being increased. With regards to safety, we’ve introduced the Lamola integration that has increased our partnership in the relationship that we have with the police and we’re in a better position to collaborate with the police on when and where things are happening. Coming out in the coming weeks will also be armed response.” Click below for more on the story: 

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KZN premier lambastes racial attack on Indians

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Willies Mchunu

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu has condemned the racial comment making rounds on Facebook, in which the user is inciting violence against the Indian community.

In his comment, the user says Indians should go back to India, or suffer the consequences – making inferences to the recent death of a young girl in a botched hijacking in Chatsworth, south of Durban.

The subsequent outbursts on Facebook have created much racial tensions, to which a local businessman has laid charges.

Mchunu says he will be instructing a team to investigate, so that the user responsible will be charged accordingly.

“Why they are made a soft target I do not know. No Indians who are living in KZN or SA legally can be evicted by a single SMS. We plead with every member of society, ‘let us not bow down to this racial hatred that is displayed by some people. Let us not target the Indian community and make them a soft target for these attacks.’”

Chairperson of the Grey Street Mosque, Ahmed Valley Mohammed, says the Indian community is tired of being the soft target, when it comes to crime. He says he believes prayer is greatly needed in South Africa.

“I cannot justify if this is a trouble or criminal element, but it is on social media, and a message of this nature can turn a wrong signal and message. It will be difficult for our people who are going through a traumatic time of being hijacked, assaulted and robbed… I will pray, because it’s not only a threat, but a racist allegation and something must be done.”

The post KZN premier lambastes racial attack on Indians appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

Source: SABCNews

SABC to rebrand programs

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The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) says South Africans can, from Monday, look forward to reworked and rebranded programming across its television, radio and online platforms.

The public broadcaster says the changes are designed to keep up with the modern broadcast environment and emerging digital opportunities.

The SABC says this includes providing a premium source of news in South Africa and the continent.

The changes will start being implemented from Monday, including a faster paced Morning Live programme on SABC 2.

SABC News on all radio platforms will have a distinct signature tune for news bulletins that will reflect the identity of their premium news source.

Commenting on the repositioning journey, Group Executive of News and Current Affairs, Phathiswa Magopeni stated, “SABC News is the largest news brand in the country, and there is no better way to affirm our role and impact on South Africans than to reimagine and transform our brand to speak to the soul of the nation in a way that is balanced and unrestrained.”

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Source: SABCNews

KZN establishes team to investigate alleged death threats to AG’s staff

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The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Cooperative Governance has established a team to investigate the alleged death threats directed to the Auditor General’s staff auditing eThekwini Metro’s books.  Earlier, eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede briefed the media and expressed her concerns following the incident.

MEC for Cooperative Governance in the province Dube Ncube says they are concerned about reports that auditing staff, which have been auditing books from eThekwini Metro, have received death threats.

It alleged that the audit staff received these threats after they requested certain documents from both Supply Chain Management and the city’s Integrity and Investigations which are crucial in their audit work.

MEC Dube Ncube says they will also involve police to investigate the death threats. “We are already sending a team to do an investigation at the eThekwini municipality and are in touch with all relevant people as to what lead to the situation of those threats. As a department we feel that it will be totally unacceptable. So we take this on a very serious note and we want to make sure that if needs be the police are also coming in so as to assist us should there be any investigation that leads to any threat that would have been given or said,  we will ensure that police intervene in that regard.”

Gumede and City Manager, Sipho Nzuza expressed concern about these threats. Gumede, who was abroad, had to cut short her trip when these reports surfaced.  According to the Mayor the municipality will together with law enforcement agencies provide security to the AG’s staff when they come back to do their work.

“We are in communication with the AG’s office and we will not leave this situation unattended, this issue must be dealt with and we must ensure that it does not repeat itself. We are fully committed to clean governance.”

City Manager Sipho Nzuza says the Auditor General’s staff was not necessarily auditing municipal accounting records, but was testing municipal controls on supply chain management. Meanwhile, the MEC for Cooperative Governance will on Monday meet with the KwaZulu-Natal Head of the Auditor General’s office.

Click below for more on the story: 

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Ramaphosa authorizes SIU investigation into several municipalities

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has authorized the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) to investigate serious irregularities in several municipalities and government departments.

The national Department of Public Works‚ the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport and the two Eastern Cape metro municipalities – Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City – are among those under investigation.

Ramaphosa signed the broad range of proclamations in Pretoria.

The SIU will among others investigate the procurement of goods and or services in a manner that was not fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective contrary to the applicable legal framework.

Nelson Mandela Bay mayor, Athol Trollip has welcomed the announcement of a series of investigations by the Special Investigative Unit into municipalities including the Nelson Mandela Metro.

Trollip says R8.8 billion of irregular expenditure, as noted by the Auditor General this week, must be the focus of the investigation.

He says it was spent by previous administrations who failed to preserve relevant documentation.

Trollip says the SIU must carry out its mandate and support the coalition government to clean up years of maladministration.

Related video click below:

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Police Commissioner takes crime head on in Cape Flats

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National Police Commissioner  General Kehla Sitole on Friday officially launched an operation to combat gang violence in the Western Cape, at a community meeting in Lavender Hill, on the Cape Flats.

Operation Thunder will see 269 police members from specialised units being deployed to hotspots which have been identified in the province.

Sitole says the aim of Operation Thunder is to stabilise gang ridden areas in the Western Cape where crime is rife. He says they will also be migrating more resources from across South Africa, to the Western Cape, to improve policing in the province.

” There’s quite a lot of resources that will be coming from National Headquarters, Provincial Headquarters, we are pushing them down to police stations so that we make optimal use of the resources and we take the resources where the crime is. So some of these police stations here, they will benefit out of that process which will include even the upgrading of some of the police stations,” says Sitole.

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Ekurhuleni residents threaten protests over housing issues

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Residents in the south of Johannesburg have warned they may resume their protests, citing disappointment with Saturday’s feedback provided by Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Uhuru Moiloa on their housing demands.

Moiloa says the province has identified portions of land where close to 60 000 housing units will be built in the area.

He addressed residents of Eldorado Park, Freedom Park, Finetown, Ennerdale and other nearby townships at the Eldorado Park Stadium on Saturday.

The MEC said the province was now waiting for the City of Johannesburg Mayor to sign the power of attorney before the process of building houses could commence.

However the community was not impressed.

One of the community leaders says: “We’re tired of waiting, if they want us to go back to the streets, that’s what we’re going to do. We will go back to the streets. There will be a meeting most probably to decide on the way forward.”

“It seems like the only time the government will ever listen to you, it’s when you burn down infrastructure.”

The post Ekurhuleni residents threaten protests over housing issues appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

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Subscription TV broadcasting services on spotlight at Icasa inquiry

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The subscription television broadcasting services came under the spotlight at an inquiry at Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s (Icasa) offices in Sandton, Johannesburg.

The regulatory body held public hearings as part of its mandate to promote competition in the broadcasting and the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sectors.

The purpose of this inquiry is to establish factors that have contributed to new broadcasting licensees not being able to successfully launch their services and attract a number of new subscribers.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation’s main bone of contention in this inquiry is what it describes as unfair competition from its competitors.

SABC Chief Operations Officer Chris Maroleng is worried about advertising limitations among other things, saying some of the public broadcaster competitors seem to be benefiting from more advertising, and this gives them an unfair advantage.

The public broadcaster has proposed that the current regulations be amended to level the playing field in the broadcasting sector.  Following this inquiry the information collected will be published for further consultation.

 

 

Below is the SABC presentation to ICASA on Inquiry into Competition in the subscription broadcasting market:

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Source: SABCNews

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