Ekurhuleni taxi commuters urged to make alternative arrangements

City of Ekurhuleni Transport Planning, Roads and Stormwater MMC Andile Mngwevu has called on residents of the metro who use public transport to make alternative arrangements as talks between the city, the Gauteng Provincial Government and the taxi in…


City of Ekurhuleni Transport Planning, Roads and Stormwater MMC Andile Mngwevu has called on residents of the metro who use public transport to make alternative arrangements as talks between the city, the Gauteng Provincial Government and the taxi industry collapsed.

This as the industry halted services in protest on Thursday over a transport contract awarded to a bus company.

‘As a city we have a direct interest on the matter. These taxi operators are our stakeholders, and we have a great working relationship. At the same time the destruction of the lives of our people cannot be acceptable.

‘We have an obligation to ensure that our people are provided with reliable, safe and affordable transport at all times, and thus must take precedence in our talks. So, our commitment is to end this impasse and ensure that the situation normalises as soon as possible so that everyone continues with their lives,’ Mngwevu said.

The city said talks between the parties began on Thursday following the protest which affect
ed commuters – including school children – in Thembisa, Germiston, Vosloorus and other parts of the city.

‘Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport Kedibone Diale and her Ekurhuleni counterpart MMC Andile Mngwevu urgently convened a meeting with the taxi operators in an effort to address the matter.

‘However, there was a deadlock just hours into the meeting when the taxi industry demanded the immediate release of four of their counterparts who were arrested for various offences and the release of the seven vehicles which are also impounded by the state,’ the city said of the minibus taxi impasse.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Patel completes working visit to China

Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel and a high-level delegation have completed a four-day working visit to Shanghai, Nanjing and Beijing to meet with government officials, investors and a number of Chinese electric vehicles and bat…


Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel and a high-level delegation have completed a four-day working visit to Shanghai, Nanjing and Beijing to meet with government officials, investors and a number of Chinese electric vehicles and battery manufacturers.

Patel was hosted by his Chinese counterpart, Wang Wentao, the Chinese Minister of Commerce, at a bilateral meeting and working dinner during the visit.

The discussion reviewed trade relations and considered steps taken to implement agreements signed during President Xi Jinping’s State Visit in August 2023. New opportunities were also identified to strengthen economic ties. The leaders also discussed a possible Memorandum of Understanding on the automotive industry.

During his visit, Patel held bilateral meetings with eight Chinese companies, met six South African companies operating in China and undertook two factory site visits.

The SA delegation met with six potential Chinese investors in the electric vehicle value chain. Four are vehicl
e manufacturers, namely the Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corporation (SAIC), BYD Auto Manufacturers (the world’s largest electric vehicle producer), Foton Group and Beijing Automotive Industrial Group (BAIC).

The meetings were held with two battery producers: CATL – the world’s largest battery producer, and Gotion Hi-Tech International, who have a partnership with Volkswagen.

‘The investors we met were very interested in the market particularly with commencement of trade by South Africa under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (the AfCFTA).

‘I found them knowledgeable about local market conditions and keen to explore investment partnerships. This builds on positive sentiment we found in September last year in New York among American investors too,’ Patel said.

China is the world’s leading producer of electric vehicles (EVs) and batteries. The visit provided Patel with an opportunity to present the South African automotive value proposition and government policy support to companies looking to
invest in the South African automotive industry, particularly in EV manufacturing.

The SA automotive industry is supported by stable long-term policies, such as the South African Automotive Master Plan (SAAM) 2035 and a government support package for capital investment, and vehicle and component production.

The South African government released the Electric Vehicle White Paper in December last year. The paper outlines the country’s approach to supporting the transition to zero-emission vehicle production for the export and domestic market.

As part of the support for the transition, government has improved the automotive industry incentive package for electric vehicle production in South Africa. This includes increased investment support through a recently-announced tax measure.

The support from government ensures South Africa can compete in attracting vital investment into the industry that will facilitate the transition of this well-established sector to new energy vehicles. Access to export markets make
s South Africa a more attractive investment destination.

Minister Patel also met investors in the steel and energy sectors and discussed their plans for the SA market.

The Minister was accompanied by senior officials from the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the dtic.

China is currently South Africa’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade estimated at $34 billion (R556 billion) in 2022.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Over 14 000 youths employed in KZN greening project

The KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Environmental Affairs, Siboniso Duma, has announced that the department has employed 14 714 young people as part of the greening revolution.

The provincial Department of Environmental Affairs, guided by the agenda adopted b…


The KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Environmental Affairs, Siboniso Duma, has announced that the department has employed 14 714 young people as part of the greening revolution.

The provincial Department of Environmental Affairs, guided by the agenda adopted by the Council on Climate Change, is rolling out initiatives aimed at protecting the environment.

Municipalities have experienced a number of extreme weather patterns in the past five years, ranging from drought and heat waves to extreme storms, bringing severe lightning and flooding.

‘We are cognisant of the unfortunate reality that ordinary members of society are the first to bear the brutal brunt of such impacts and climate change. The destruction of socio-economic infrastructure and our economy is our major concern.

‘For these reasons, we have employed more than 14 714 energetic youth who will be foot soldiers,’ the department said.

The responsibility of the newly employed young people will include the following:

Protecting the environment.

Accel
erating the implementation of climate change mitigation measures.

Fighting the impact of waste.

Fighting invasive plants.

The department highlighted said there is a “silent army” marching across the province that looks harmless, yet it is growing by the day.

‘This ‘army’ is depleting the province’s water supply. It is intensifying wildfires, reducing agricultural productivity, and threatening globally significant biodiversity.

‘This army is what we call invasive alien species. There are more than 539 registered alien plants. Invasive species steadily diminish water resources, as they typically use significantly more water than native vegetation.

‘Critically, the greening revolution involves grassroots mobilisation against littering and illegal dumping. Litter is often carried by stormwater systems and streams into rivers and in coastal areas, into the ocean, where it impacts negatively on our beaches and freshwater marine life,’ the department said.

The department said that the greening revolut
ion is the launch of its unprecedented effort to ensure that KwaZulu-Natal becomes greener, cleaner, sustainable and prosperous.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Lane closures on N3 in Durban

The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) has advised motorists that the N3 highway between Westville Viaduct and Paradise Valley Interchange in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, will be subject to lane closures.

The road closures will start…


The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) has advised motorists that the N3 highway between Westville Viaduct and Paradise Valley Interchange in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, will be subject to lane closures.

The road closures will start on Monday, 11 March 2024 to 22 March 2024, between the hours of 8pm and 4.30am.

This is to facilitate the repainting of lane markings and installation of road studs as part of the construction process for the N3 road upgrades from the Westville Viaduct to the Paradise Valley Interchange.

‘The lane closures will take place on the east and westbound lanes of the N3 between Westville Viaduct (Pavilion Mall) and Paradise Valley Interchange (N3/M13 split). The Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI), with the assistance of the contractor’s traffic accommodation team, will monitor and manage traffic during this period,’ SANRAL’s Eastern Region Project Manager Jason Lowe said on Thursday.

Motorists have been urged to plan their trips and consider alternative routes to ensur
e safe and timeous arrival at their respective destinations, whilst adhering to speed limits.

‘SANRAL apologises for any inconvenience caused during this period of road improvements and appeals to the motoring public to be patient and considerate on the road,’ Lowe said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Call for improvement in efforts to deal with new alien species

With new alien species continuing to arrive in the country every year, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy, has called for enhanced efforts to prevent the introduction of new invasive species through vigilance at borde…


With new alien species continuing to arrive in the country every year, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy, has called for enhanced efforts to prevent the introduction of new invasive species through vigilance at borders and risk analyses.

‘Early detection and rapid response systems should be strengthened to identify and eradicate invaders before they become established. We must continue investing in research and innovation, supporting studies that enhance our understanding of invasive species dynamics to improve management strategies,’ Creecy said on Friday in Pretoria.

The Minister was addressing the launch of the report on the 3rd National Status of Biological Invasions and their Management in South Africa, which shows that over the last decade, 32 new alien species were either illegally or accidentally introduced, a rate of approximately three introductions per year.

‘It is essential to recognise that the impacts of biological invasions extend beyond the realm of biodiv
ersity alone. They have far-reaching consequences on our economy, agriculture, water resources and public health. Invasive species can devastate agricultural lands, leading to reduced crop yields and increased production costs.

‘They can also impair water quality, clog waterways, and impact our ability to access clean drinking water. Additionally, some invasive species pose risks to human health by acting as carriers of diseases or causing allergic reactions,’ the Minister said.

She said the national status report on biological invasions serves as a clarion call for action and is a reminder of the urgency of the situation and the imperative to act decisively.

‘By working together, we can protect our natural heritage, restore damaged ecosystems and secure a sustainable future for South Africa. I urge all stakeholders to embrace the findings of this report.

‘Let us unite in our resolve to address the challenges of biological invasions, ensuring that South Africa remains a beacon of biodiversity and a sanctu
ary for our precious indigenous plants, animals and ecosystems that support sustainable development and human wellbeing,’ Creecy said.

South Africa has an innovative regulatory system to address biological invasions, with decisions being more directly informed by the available scientific evidence.

‘For example, all legal introductions of new alien species require import permits and are issued only if the risks are demonstrated to be sufficiently low. In addition, the new National Border Management Authority has committed to improving the prevention of illegal and accidental introductions,’ the Minister said.

The report shows that invasive species, in particular trees and freshwater fishes, have major negative impacts on people and nature across the country by reducing South Africa’s water resources, degrading pasturelands and exacerbating fires.

‘In mountain catchments, we are seeing pine trees using up water, increasing the intensity of wildfires, and crowding out biodiversity. Alien freshwater fishes ar
e invading our water resources, reducing the diversity of our native fishes and other aquatic organisms,’ the Minister said.

Between 2020 and 2022, government invested over R1.5 billion to address biological invasions, targeting priority areas such as strategic water source areas, protected areas and biodiversity hotspots.

‘These interventions have also created much-needed employment, especially in rural areas. Several notable initiatives by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) raised over R180 million from the private sector to fund the control of invasive freshwater fishes and alien plants in the water catchments around Cape Town. This model could be replicated across other catchments and priority areas,’ the Minister said.

According to the report, there are 44 alien species on Marion Island, over half of which are invasive, while there are eight alien species present on Prince Edward Island, all of which are invasive.

‘Biological invasions on the Prince Edward Islands are being addressed through effec
tive biosecurity and on-island management. The house mouse is the most harmful alien species on Marion Island. The mice feed on plants, invertebrates, and endangered seabirds.

‘They also affect ecosystem processes such as sediment movement rates and nutrient cycling. Bold plans to eradicate the house mouse from Marion Island have been developed and are due to be implemented in 2027.

‘The eradication of mice from Marion Island is essential if its unique biodiversity is to be preserved. There is, however, still much work to be done,’ the Minister said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

OCJ warns on impersonation of Deputy Chief Justice

The Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ) has warned the public about a scammer impersonating Deputy Chief Justice Mandisa Maya.

The OCJ said the scammers are using Whatsapp to lure in unsuspecting victims.

‘According to the information available to th…


The Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ) has warned the public about a scammer impersonating Deputy Chief Justice Mandisa Maya.

The OCJ said the scammers are using Whatsapp to lure in unsuspecting victims.

‘According to the information available to the OCJ, the individual sent a WhatsApp message to an OCJ official requesting contact numbers of Judges. The mobile number from which the message came is 072 324 9318 and is registered on the WhatsApp application as belonging to ‘Chief Justice MM Maya’.

‘The public is warned not to fall prey to this impersonator and to be aware that impersonating a Judicial Officer is a criminal offence. The matter has already been reported to the South African Police Service.’

The office said members of the public and media are requested to contact the OCJ to verify the authenticity of any communication, directive, article, or social media post that purports to be that of a Judge.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Okongo councillor urges caution after electrocution incidentLebowakgomo police arrest four illegal mining suspects

Okongo Constituency Councillor Efraim Shipindo has urged residents to refrain from climbing electricity poles or transmission lines as it can cause serious injuries or even death.

Shipindo’s plea follows an incident involving two young boys, aged 11…

Okongo Constituency Councillor Efraim Shipindo has urged residents to refrain from climbing electricity poles or transmission lines as it can cause serious injuries or even death.

Shipindo’s plea follows an incident involving two young boys, aged 11 and 14, who suffered severe electrocution injuries after climbing power lines at Oshakati Shakatelenga village within the Okongo area.

The incident occurred on Wednesday while they were supposed to be tending to goats. They however began playing and climbed onto an electricity pole, resulting in the electrocution.

‘The two victims sustained significant injuries and are currently receiving treatment at Okongo State Hospital. Fortunately, their conditions are reported to be stable,’ Shipindo said.

The councillor said Northern Region Electricity Distributor (Nored) officials were called in to investigate the cause of the electric shock. Initial findings suggest that the incident was not due to technical faults, but rather suspected tampering with the electric ca
bles by the boys.

Shipindo emphasised the importance of parental guidance in educating children about the hazards of electricity to prevent such accidents.

Meanwhile Nored spokesperson, Simon Lukas, expressed concern over the incident and also said they want to encourage parents to assist them in educating children about the danger associated with electricity, as well as to caution them to stop playing with electrical infrastructure.

He said Nored will continue its public education and awareness initiatives, including visits to various schools in the region in order to educate, sensitise, and raise awareness among learners regarding the potential dangers of electricity.

Source: Namibia Press Agency

Police in Lebowakgomo have successfully apprehended four male suspects for engaging in illegal mining activities and violation of immigration laws at Makurung village in the Capricorn District Municipality in Limpopo.

The arrest of the foreign nationals, aged between 22 and 35, forms part of the ongoing high-density Operation Vala Umgodi.

‘Acting swiftly, the members of the SAPS Capricorn District Illicit Mining Task Team conducted a targeted operation on Wednesday at approximately 20:30 in the Lebowakgomo policing area, leading to the discovery of an illegal mining site in Makurung village.

‘Upon approaching the scene, the police noticed an idling power generator. As they moved closer to the site, they discovered the four male suspects actively engaged in illegal mining. The suspects attempted to flee, but were successfully apprehended,’ said the police in a statement.

They said during the arrest the police seized various mining equipment utilised in the illicit activities, including three shovels, two
electrical cables, two fans, one spade, one rake, one pick, one container containing chrome, one jackhammer, one power generator, one drill point and two cellphones.

In a separate incident, the SAPS Vhembe District Illicit Mining Task Team successfully recovered abandoned mining equipment at an illegal mining site in the Muchipise village, outside Malamulele.

The recovered items included three picks, three spades, one hammer, two headlamps, two cellphones and a 10 kg bag filled with precious stones.

‘Upon realising that the police had arrived at the scene, the suspected illegal miners swiftly fled in various directions, managing to evade arrest and leaving their equipment behind.

‘The team confiscated the items and continued with their efforts to disrupt illegal mining activities through a series of crime prevention techniques, including foot patrols, vehicle checkpoints and stop-and-search operations,’ police said.

During the course of Operation Vala Umgodi in Malamulele, a total of 30 vehicles and 122
individuals were subjected to thorough searches.

The police said they would remain vigilant in pursuing the individuals involved in illegal mining and those who fled from the scene to avoid arrest.

‘This ongoing endeavor underscores the commitment of the police in combating illicit activities and upholding the rule of law in the province.’

Source: South African Government News Agency

MSC’s R350m investment poised to boost KZN economy

The Mediterranean Shipping Company SA’s (MSC) R350 million investment in KwaZulu-Natal will go a long way in boosting the provincial economy and creating jobs for the local community.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, said this at the unveil…


The Mediterranean Shipping Company SA’s (MSC) R350 million investment in KwaZulu-Natal will go a long way in boosting the provincial economy and creating jobs for the local community.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, said this at the unveiling of MSC’s new cold storage facility at Cator Manor in Chesterville, Durban.

Officially opened on Thursday night, the facility has the capacity to accommodate 10 000 pallets and is poised to meet the growing demands of the cold logistics market and ensure the preservation of temperature-sensitive goods, guaranteeing their quality during transit.

Delivering the keynote address, Dube-Ncube expressed her appreciation to MSC for choosing KZN as their investment destination of choice, noting the state-of-the-art facility represents an investment in the development and construction of a cutting-edge cold storage facility.

‘The investment by MSC is not only a vote of confidence in our economy but it shows that if we work together as government and the private secto
r, there is so much we can achieve.

‘The fact that MSC has invested R350 million in the construction and development of this cold storage facility, is a clear demonstration that you share our positive outlook for the future growth of KwaZulu-Natal,’ Dube-Ncube said.

MSC South Africa Chairperson, Captain Salvatore Sarno, said the establishment of the cold storage facility underscores MSC’s commitment to enhancing supply chain reliability for perishable goods, and playing a pivotal role in facilitating the international trade of temperature-sensitive products worldwide.

Sarno said South African exporters are set to benefit from a comprehensive logistics solution enabling their perishable products to reach global markets seamlessly via sea transport.

“We are proud to unveil this state-of-the-art cold storage facility, which not only reinforces our dedication to supporting the South African economy but also underscores our commitment to job creation and economic growth.

“This investment exemplifies our ongoi
ng efforts to provide value-added services to our customers while contributing to the development of the local economy,” Sarno said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Nampa to train media professionals in oil and gas coverageEconomy must transform to meet development demands

WINDHOEK: The Namibia Press Agency (Nampa) is set to initiate training programmes for media professionals that focus on the coverage of emerging sectors within the oil and gas industry.

Nampa Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Linus Chata made the announc…

WINDHOEK: The Namibia Press Agency (Nampa) is set to initiate training programmes for media professionals that focus on the coverage of emerging sectors within the oil and gas industry.

Nampa Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Linus Chata made the announcement on Thursday during a high-level tertiary education funding budget review dinner held at the Nampa headquarters in Windhoek.

The event was officiated by Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila. Also in attendance were Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation Itah Kandjii-Murangi, Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Technology Modestus Amutse, and prominent industry figures.

‘This event is the first of many similar engagements Nampa will be hosting going forward. We plan to give exposure to a wide range of sectors of our economy and society,’ Chata said.

The CEO noted that Nampa has ‘come of age’ and is determined to leverage all available avenues to deliver on its mandate.

‘We are scaling up and expanding beyond traditional ne
ws and information collection and dissemination, to content creation. With the aid of modern technology, we are able to connect corporate entities with their target markets here in Namibia and beyond,’ Chata added.

Nampa board member Bertha Amakali, while officially opening the event, commended participants for their dedication to national development, stressing the importance of research, innovation, and training in emerging sectors such as oil and gas and green hydrogen.

‘Our collective efforts will guide us toward sustainable growth and impactful outcomes. Besides the presentations, let us engage in constructive dialogue, share insights, and chart a course that aligns with our Harambee mantra, no one must be left out,’ said Amakali.

Amakali further revealed that Nampa has finalised its strategic plan, outlining its readiness to serve as a reliable information and content partner in the era of multimedia and emerging technologies.

She encouraged collaboration, stating, ‘Our teams will be calling on you
soon to discuss what we can do for you with our diverse capabilities.’

Nampa currently distributes content to over 500 digital media platforms and 88 newspapers across more than 70 countries and regions worldwide. The news agency delivers news to over 18 radio stations throughout Namibia.

Source: Namibia Press Agency

All sectors of the economy must adjust to new demands for personnel, skills, research, digital connection, and alternative platforms for education, health, and public services.

This is according to the Deputy President, Paul Mashatile, who was speaking at the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) retreat in Johannesburg on Friday.

‘For us to match with the new demands, we must undergo a rapid paradigm shift and reorientation to realign the content of our curriculum offerings and skills development programmes,’ he said.

Chaired by the Deputy President, the HRDC is an apex national, multi-sectoral advisory body established to create a collective response to the national challenge of human resource development in the country.

Human resource development refers to formal and explicit activities that will enhance the ability of all people to reach their full potential and serve to improve the productivity of people in their areas of work.

The council’s term, which was established in 2010, ends on 31 March
2024.

However, government is looking into extending the existing term by six months to facilitate a seamless transition and process of appointing new council members.

Guided by the Human Resource Development Strategy for South Africa (HRD-SA) 2010-2030, the council’s retreat is aimed at reflecting on and evaluating its work in terms of the progress made so far.

‘I believe that the country’s re-conceptualised Human Resource Development Strategy and Master Skills Plan will give further impetus to our efforts to address skills shortages across all sectors of our economy.’

He said the Master Skills Plan consolidates previous strategies affecting skills development across the nation.

These include the National Development Plan 2030, the National Skills Development Plan 2030, the Innovation and Skills Compact, and the Medium-Term Strategic Framework.

The country’s second-in-command believes that the retreat should aim to influence the new Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) as government plans for the admi
nistration.

‘It is only when the country’s human resource development priorities are in line with planning frameworks across departments, that the work of the Council will receive the necessary attention and traction it deserves.’

The gathering is also an opportunity to zoom in on underlying challenges faced by the country, which serve as an impediment to achieving the council’s mandate, lessons learned and interrogating the need to change or restructure the council.

The retreat also looks at key future focus areas to be attained in the remainder of the current term and beyond.

International Women’s Day

He also shifted his focus to International Women’s Day, which is celebrated annually on 8 March.

The Deputy President said this year’s theme ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress’ emphasises the need to address economic disempowerment and promote diversity and empowerment across all societal sectors.

‘As the HRDC, we anchor our support for women’s development on creating programmes that foster a support
ive environment, promote skills acquisition, and provide access to resources, opportunities and quality education.’

He also commended the former Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka for her role in championing global gender equality during her tenure as the Executive Director of United Nations Women.

‘Our global efforts to leave no one behind are embedded in the strategic efforts towards gender equality, and as South Africa, we remain committed to championing the cause for both gender equality and gender justice.’

Human Rights Month

Deputy President Mashatile also touched on Human Rights Month, which recognises the constitutional right to basic education, including adult basic education, and further education, which he said the State must take reasonable measures to make progressively available and accessible.

Speaking at the launch of Human Rights Month earlier this week, Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Zizi Kodwa called on all South Africans to participate in the activities planned for Human Rig
hts Month.

The Minister said National Human Rights Day commemoration on 21 March, will be preceded by an International National Human Rights Conference, bringing together key stakeholders from across the globe as well as other government departments, to assess progress on the advancement of human rights since 1994.

Source: South African Government News Agency