Friday, July 19, 2024

Growth, job creation and poverty reduction - key priorities for SA's 7th administration

Growth, job creation and poverty reduction was the key priorities that President Cyril Ramaphosa outlined as he opened parliament on Thursday

PHOTO: X - @PresidencyZA

Addressing a joint sitting of the two houses of parliament after a grand opening ceremony including a display of military pageantry, Ramaphosa also listed tackling the high cost of living and cutting red tape among his administration's goals.

"We are committed to improve the well-being of our country and its people through inclusive growth, the creation of jobs and the reduction of poverty," the president told lawmakers in Cape Town.

In his address, Ramaphosa promised business-friendly reforms, such as an overhaul of the graft-ridden public service, and to "massively increase" investment in infrastructure.

But the former trade unionist added that growth must be "inclusive" and "support the empowerment of black South Africans and women and all those who in the past had been relegated to the fringes of our nation's economy."

Addressing one of the most sensitive issues in South Africa, the president also pledged increased funding for reforms that will transfer state land to communities.

Access to land is one of the priorities of the vociferous opposition to Ramaphosa's coalition led by the leftist uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) parties, which demand the expropriation of land owned by white South Africans.

Impeached judge John Hlophe, an MK official who is leader of the opposition in parliament, denounced the ruling coalition as intended to "preserve the current power of white monopoly capital in the economy, give advantage to white privilege".


Done By: Mitchum George

Thursday, July 18, 2024

NATJOINTS satisfied with security measures in place for Opening of Parliament Address

The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) is satisfied with the security measures that have been put in place for the Thursday’s Opening of Parliament Address (OPA).

“Just like many other major events that have taken place without disruptions nor incidents in the City of Cape Town this year alone, the NATJOINTS is confident that the OPA will take place in a safe and secure environment,” said Brigadier Athlenda Mathe, National SAPS spokesperson.

PHOTO: X - @SAPoliceService

The NATJOINTS is responsible for coordinating all security and law enforcement operations throughout the country and is led by the South African Police Service (SAPS), State Security Agency (SSA) and South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

Mathe reflected that NATJOINTS has this year alone successfully policed a number of major events, including the 2024 National and Provincial Elections (NPE), the first sitting of the National Assembly and Provincial Legislatures, as well as the Presidential Inauguration, among others.

‘’Throughout the policing of all these events, stability prevailed throughout the country and no major incidents and no disruptions were reported. This as a direct result of the competence and capabilities of the country’s law enforcement agencies coordinated and led by the NATJOINTS.”

She emphasised that only people who are accredited and authorised to be around the City Hall will be allowed in and around the venue.

Mathe also warned members of the public against committing any illegal acts, as law enforcement agencies will not hesitate to act against anyone who conducts themselves in an unlawful manner.

“Any threats or disruptions will be dealt with decisively within the ambit of the law. Those who wish to protest, are urged to do so peacefully and must at all times consider the applicable laws of the country. To this end, high density operations under Operation Shanela are continuing through increased roadblocks, vehicle checkpoints, high police visibility on foot, vehicle, mounted and air patrols will be conducted.”

Mathe said stabilising operations and the deployment of members at crime hotspots to ensure heightened integrated crime prevention operations, are also underway. A notice to all Airmen (NOTAM) has also been issued by the Civil Aviation Authority which restricts the airspace within five nautical miles and twelve thousand feet above sea level to the Cape Town City Hall.

Mathe also advised that the area is a strictly no drone zone.

“Those who are found to be operating drones in the vicinity will be in breach of the restriction imposed by the Central Airspace management. Transgressors will be dealt with.”

Mathe expressed gratitude to the residents of Cape Town for their warm reception and cooperation, and requested the continued cooperation of all dignitaries, including the attendees and participants attending the 2024 OPA.

 “The NATJOINTS co-chairs affirm the NATJOINTS state of readiness. Law enforcement agencies are already on the ground and are ready to deliver a safe and secure event,” Mathe said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the OPA at 7pm.

Done By: Sihle Jezile & Mitchum George

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Parliament ready for OPA2024

Parliament says it is all systems go for Thursday’s Opening of Parliament Address (OPA) by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Presiding Officers of Parliament, briefed the media on Wednesday afternoon on the state of readiness to host the 2024 OPA. The opening of Parliament will be attended by members of both houses - the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces - and will mark the start of the new five-year parliamentary cycle. The address provides President Cyril Ramaphosa an opportunity to outline the key priorities and policies of the seventh administration. The seventh administration is made up of several political parties that formed a Government of National Unity.

National Assembly Speaker, Thoko Didiza, highlighted the difference between the State of the Nation Address (SONA) and Opening of Parliament Address (OPA)

‘’The Opening of Parliament Address (OPA) serves as a pivotal platform for the President to articulate the administration's comprehensive plans and long-term vision for the upcoming five-year term. This landmark event not only outlines the government's strategic objectives and policy priorities but also officially inaugurates the new parliamentary term. It symbolizes the continuity of democratic governance and sets the stage for legislative and executive collaboration in addressing national challenges and pursuing the country's development goals.

‘’The State of the Nation Address (SONA), delivered annually by the President in February, serves as a platform to review the government's past-year performance and outline its agenda for the coming year. The Joint Rules also aim to maintain order and decorum in the Chamber while promoting civility among Members,’’ added Didiza.

PHOTO - @ParliamentofRSA - National Assembly speaker, Thoko Didiza

She says the new rules prohibit members from interrupting the President during the Opening of Parliament Address and further stipulate that this joint sitting must focus solely on the specific business for which it is convened.

This year's OPA holds particular significance, as it coincides with the commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of South Africa's constitutional democracy. The OPA also takes place on International Nelson Mandela Day - a day which resonates the ideals of democracy, freedom, equality, and service to humanity.  National Assembly Speaker, Thoko Didiza, encouraged citizens to engage in meaningful and impactful acts of service to others, thereby changing the world around us.

‘’The Presiding Officers of Parliament will take time away from their OPA duties to participate in service programs around Cape Town, working with non-governmental organizations and institutions. Additionally, in partnership with the City of Cape Town, the Mandela Exhibition at the City Hall will form part of the initiatives advancing the objectives of Mandela Day.’’

Between R6m – R14million has been set aside for OPA.

‘’The reason we budgeted in this range is about looking at the cost factors. At the 2024 SONA, we budgeted R8.4 million, but the actual expenditure might be less. It may be slightly more,’’ said Xolile George, Secretary to Parliament.

The theme for the 2024 Opening of Parliament Address (OPA) is: "My Parliament, My Voice, My Future."

PHOTO: X - @ParliamentofRSA

The OPA, says Didiza, will retain full ceremonial features, and these include:

·        Before the formal programme begins, the SANDF will conduct a display of military pageantry, which will include a performance by the military band, precision drills, and a display showcasing the skills and traditions of the armed forces of the Republic. The official proceedings begin when the President of the Republic arrives. At this moment, the military choir will perform the national anthem, timed to coincide with display of the 21-gun salute.

·        As it is the tradition, the proceedings will be characterised by ceremonial processions involving provincial Speakers, Premiers, members of the judiciary, the Deputy President, and culminating with the arrival of the President. These processions underscore the unity and cooperation between different levels and branches of government.

National Council of Provinces Chairperson, Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane, said approximately 490 Members of Parliament and representatives of the South African Local Government Association, is expected to attend Thursday’s proceedings.  Among the guests invited to attend in person are former Presidents Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe, and Jacob Zuma; Former Speaker and Deputy President: Baleka Mbete; Former Deputy Presidents, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and David Mabuza; Former National Assembly Speakers and National Council of Provinces  Chairpersons; Chief Justice Zondo, Deputy Chief Justice Maya, and 15 Judges; Executive Mayor of Cape Town: Geordin Hill-Lewis; 9 Eminent Persons representing each of the provinces. They are distinguished South Africans who have achieved outstanding results in their respective fields or have been recognized for their contributions to society. Others prominent guests invited include including representatives from various international and regional multilateral organizations, parliamentary associations, and legislative bodies.

PHOTO: X - @GovernmentZA

The upcoming OPA will feature the cultural tradition of an Imbongi. The Imbongi's role are tasked with poetically reflecting on the socio-economic and political state of our nation, offering insightful commentary on the country's rich cultural tapestry. For this year's OPA , the Imbongi will perform in TshiVenda, chosen through a rotational selection process to ensure fair representation of South Africa's linguistic diversity. Lutendo Evens Mugagadeli, widely known as "Venda boy Poet," is the chosen Imbongi for the upcoming Opening of Parliament Address. This multi-talented artist has made a name for himself as a praise poet, musician, promoter, voiceover artist, writer, and presenter. Vendaboy Poet rose to national prominence after an impromptu performance of praise poetry for President Cyril Ramaphosa on a domestic flight, showcasing his quick wit and artistic prowess.

‘’His unique, raw, and homegrown talent has since graced both domestic and international stages, earning him multiple accolades. Among his notable achievements are winning the Best Poet category at the 2018 South African Traditional Music Awards (SATMA), Best SATMA Tshivenda Album in 2019, and Best SATMA Praise-Singer in 2022. Vendaboy Poet's versatility and skill have seen him perform at high-profile events, including the BRICS Summit in South Africa, various awards ceremonies, festivals, and corporate and government functions,’’ said Didiza.

In terms of the glitz and glam, and those attending are expected to wear Proudly South African clothing to promote the use of locally produced attire to boost the local economy.

‘’This historic event marks the beginning of the 7th term of our democratic Parliament and reaffirms our unwavering commitment to constitutional democracy. It serves as a powerful symbol of our nation's ability to overcome adversity and continue the important work of governance. We look forward to welcoming all participants to this significant occasion, which promises to be a compelling demonstration of our nation's democratic principles, unity, and resilience,’’ said National Assembly Speaker, Thoko Didiza.


Done By: Esobusi Mkangelwa & Mitchum George

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Dam levels supplying Cape metro increases to almost 20%, following adverse weather

Dam levels supplying the Cape metro has increased significantly to almost 20%, in just one week. This is due to the adverse weather conditions experienced in the past week.

PICTURE: City of Cape Town

Total city storage across its six major dams now stands at 93.2%, up 19% from 74.1% a week ago. The largest dam, Theewaterskloof, is at 97%

SCREENSHOT of dam levels in the Cape (Info: City of Cape Town)

With more rainfall expected this week, the City of Cape Town’s Disaster Risk Management Centre has asked residents to take necessary precautions to reduce the risk of flooding or fires.

‘’We plead with the community not to play in the water as there could be sharp objects in the water. We also do not know if the water is safe to play in. It also poses the risk of power lines that could possibly snapped. Also, on your premises if there are flood waters in your home, ensure electricity is switched off, and keep the necessary documents safe,’’ said Sonica Lategan, City of Cape Town’s Disaster Risk Management spokesperson, who spoke on Bush Radio’s Sakhsizwe programme.


Done By: Elona Sibunzi

A coordinated response needed to attend tp disasters - Gift of the Givers

A coordinated response is needed to better the response to the needs of the vulnerable in an event of disasters. This is the view of NGO, Gift of the Givers.

‘’This country is prone to disasters – floods, drought, tornado, fires – and when it comes to disaster response there is not a single department taking full control. It is always shifted from one department to the next. There is no centralization to say it is declared a disaster, this one department will take control e.g. seeing that there is a 100 000 people affected, we will have a warehouse packed with necessities, we have accommodation plans in place for people that are affected now,’’ said Ali Sablay, Gift of the Givers project coordinator, who spoke on Bush Radio’s Everyday people programme on Monday.

‘’That is what emergency is about. Emergency means rapid reaction and this means assisting those as quickly as possible. How do you tell a child or grandmother, we cannot assist you because of lack of resources. No, we do not want that reaction. What we want is to say that disaster plans can be implemented if you have the right plans in place. The worst part is the poor and destitute that are suffering and we experience it first hand on the ground,’’ he added.

PHOTO: Facebook - Gift of the Givers

Sablay expressed gratitude to the Disaster Risk management Centre, but raised concerns about the delay once the help has been requested.

‘’Once a report is given on how many people are affected, then there is a delay. All the red tape that takes place, as it goes through different departments for approval, and our work does not stop there. The sad part is the number of people affected by the current storm increases.’’

Sablay reflected on the recent storm that wreaked havoc in the Western cape.

‘’It caused total destruction, since the storm began last Sunday. You can see the extensive damage in informal settlements. Our first point of call was in ward 99 in Khayelitsha where close to 4 000 people were displaced and two weeks ago, excessive gale force winds blew away nearly 800 informal structures.’’

‘’On day one of the inclement weather, we were inundated with calls as residents in informal settlements pleaded for assistance, We sent our teams on the ground for the necessary assessment and last Sunday, when we done our humanitarian aid, we saw it was over 15 000 people affected on Day 1. Our teams assisted those in informal settlements on the Cape Flats, with hot meals, blankets, personal hygiene packs, baby packs, and we also replaced two wheelchairs. Our operations are ongoing and we will carry on for the next few days,’’ he told Everyday people’s Lerato Mashile.

He says the challenge the NGO is facing is the running out of supplies.

‘’Our supplies could not meet our demand. Literally, all the blankets in the Western Cape were handed out. We had to pull in additional resources from other warehouses in other provinces. We also had issues with accessibility to roads – in some of the areas, where it was either washed away or it was too dangerous. Although we wanted to deliver the goods, it was a challenge; Another challenge is not being at all the places at the same time. If it is 15 informal settlements calling you on the same day, and you have so many team members that toy have to split up. Our teams sometimes working from 7a.m to 1a.m the next day trying to assist the communities.’’

Sablay called on community members to assist by donating items such as blankets, personal hygiene packs, baby packs, non-perishable food items, amongst others.


Done By: Mitchum George

Police Ministry Outlines Plan to Improve Public Safety

In a recent speech, Police Minister Senzo Mchunu laid out the main goals for the police force under the new administration. The ministry's top priorities are enhancing public safety and rebuilding trust in law enforcement. Combating Violent Crimes Reducing serious crimes like murder, robbery, and attacks on women is a major focus.

PHOTO: X - @SAPoliceService

"These terrible acts have caused so much suffering, and we're going to do everything we can to stop them. Improving Police services, this includes addressing corruption, getting police more involved with communities, and upgrading stations and equipment.‘’

"Regaining the public's trust is crucial, and that means fixing issues like corruption and connecting better with neighbourhoods. Targeting Organised Crime Specialised units will tackle complex criminal networks in areas like drug smuggling and fraud,’’ he added.

In the Minister's words, "These sophisticated groups are a big threat, and we're going to dismantle them." Building Community Partnerships Collaborating with other agencies, businesses, and community groups will be key, as the Minister said, "By working together, we can pool resources and expertise to make our streets safer."

The Police Ministry's agenda reflects a renewed commitment to addressing the country's security challenges and creating a safer South Africa.


Done by Stephanie Van Rayen

Motor accidents spike due to bad weather

 The inclement weather in the past week saw a law enforcement officers arresting fewer suspects, from 333 to 201. Meanwhile, motor vehicle accidents skyrocketed.

“The inclement weather may have kept some criminals at bay, but it's been a busy week for our traffic services and emergency services who attended to at least 293 crashes ranging from fender benders to more serious incidents,” said JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security.

Picture by: City of Cape Town

“It's likely the tally is far higher as not all incidents are necessarily reported through the same channels. The worse the weather, the better our driving habits should be,” he added.

Smith urged motorists to take extra caution, with more rain predicted this week, he urges motorists to increase their following distance and switch on their headlights to adapt to the challenging conditions.

Smith reported that Cape Town traffic services recorded 16,604 transgressions, impounded 120 public transport vehicles and executed 1,256 warrants of arrest. They made 27 arrests, 24 were for driving under the influence of alcohol and three for reckless and negligent driving.

The metro police department made 32 arrests, including two for drunk driving.

Done by: Sihle Jezile

Kidnapped baby in Khayelitsha reunited with family

A four-month-old baby that was taken during a hijacking in Khayelitsha over the weekend has been reunited with her family. The infant had been travelling in his uncle’s bakkie at the time of the incident on Saturday afternoon.

“According to reports, the complainant was at his uncle place to deliver chicken with his white Isuzu LDV. While they were busy with the chickens in the back of the LDV, five unknown males came to them and pointed the complainant with a firearm. The suspects then took the cellular telephones of the complainant and his uncle and then got inside the LDV and drove away,’’ said Captain F.C van Wyk.

‘’Inside the LDV was the four-month old baby of the complainant. The complainant then tried to get a brick to break the window of the LDV in order for the suspects to stop but they kept on going. The complainant then immediately reported the incident at the police,’’ he added.

Van Wyk said the child was found abandoned in Makhaza near the Golden Arrow stands and was returned to his mother. The baby was taken to a medical facility for treatment. Police said the vehicle was recovered and that no arrests has been made as yet.

SAPS are probing cases of carjacking and kidnapping.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is requested to call Crime Stop on 10111.


Done By: Elona Sibunzi

More than 158 000 people affected by 'Cape of Storms'

More than 158 000 people in Cape Town have been affected by the adverse weather conditions, since the beginning of July.

In a statement on Monday, the City of Cape Town says 47 663 structures were either flooded or damaged.

Its Disaster Risk Management Centre said its teams conducted multiple briefings over the weekend to assess the impacts and monitor the efforts to address service challenges like residential flooding, flooding of roads and infrastructure, the removal of obstructions like trees from roadways, electricity outages, as well as responses to emergency incidents.

‘’Disaster Risk Management officials are continuing with assessments in communities as calls are being logged. There has been a substantial increase in calls for assistance from backyard dwellers and assessments are being made in these areas. The City's Informal Settlements Management Department issued 1090 flood kits in various informal settlements over the weekend, in addition to the kits handed out during the week,’’ said Sonica Lategan, City of Cape Town Disaster Risk Management spokesperson.

‘’Roads and Stormwater has provided milling, sand, and sandbags. Our NGO partners Al Imdaad, Islamic Relief, Gift of the Givers, Salvation Army, MEALS ON WHEELS, Mustadafin Foundation, Ashraful and SASSA have assisted affected residents with humanitarian relief.’’

‘’The collapse at Southfield Canal in Plumstead has affected two property walls, prompting the placement of sandbags and ongoing cleaning of the canal. With rivers and other water bodies already at full capacity, catchment management officials are closely monitoring these waterways. Weather-related power outages are currently affecting twenty-four areas across the city and officials are working nonstop to restore power,’’ added Lategan.

According to the centre, at least 18 huge trees were uprooted over the weekend in the areas of Bellville, Durbanville, Constantia, Tokai, Kuilsriver, Eersteriver, Noordhoek, Silvermine, Sun Valley, Lentegeur, Sunnydale, Parkwood and Redhill.

COURTESY: X - @riridiamond7912

Lategan says many roadways have been affected, wither by flooding or rockfalls and mudslides, and that work is ongoing to address these impacts.


Done By: Elona Sibunzi

Western Cape declared a disaster area following adverse weather conditions

The Western Cape has been declared a disaster area following adverse weather conditions in large parts of the province, last week.

The declaration was made on Friday following a meeting between Premier Alan Winde and the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Velenkosini Hlabisa in Cape Town.

COURTESY: X - @NationalCoGTA

A follow-up meeting was held on Monday.

‘’I want to thank the minister for meeting with us [provincial government]. It is amazing how we applied or disaster on Friday and the very same day we got declaration back and I was able to sign off the government gazette today [Monday]. Unbelievable in the speed it was dealt with, and it was a sight visit and the complexity that the number of disasters our province faces and how we mitigate better in the future. Whether floods or fires, and various other climate change related, we have to learn from it.

Done By: Esobusi Mkangelwa

Monday, July 15, 2024

Kraaifontein scholar who allegedly assaulted his grandma granted bail

The 19-year-old from Kraaifontein who allegedly assaulted his elderly grandmother has been granted bail.

Luvo Nqaza appeared in the Kuilsriver Magistrates’ Court on Monday

More than a week ago, a video went viral showing the boy allegedly attacking his grandmother

He has been charged with assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and contravention of the Older Persons Act.

The court granted him free bail under the conditions that he attends school from Monday to Friday and remains under house arrest on weekends.

He will be in the care of his older sister at a different address.

The case has been postponed to 27 September for further investigation.


Done By: Elona Sibunzi

Growth, job creation and poverty reduction - key priorities for SA's 7th administration

Growth, job creation and poverty reduction was the key priorities that President Cyril Ramaphosa outlined as he opened parliament on Thursda...