Monthly Archives: June 2013

Mandela continues to unite SA – Tutu

Cape Town: Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu says former President Nelson Mandela is continuing to unite the nation of South Africa, in spite of being in hospital.

“Even stricken as he is in hospital, Madiba is uniting the nation again – this time in prayer,” said Tutu on Sunday at the opening of the ‘Cape Town Honours Nelson Mandela’ exhibition at the Cape Town Civic Centre.

The exhibition is the brainchild of Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille, a first of its kind to be held in South Africa.

The elderly former statesman has been in hospital since June 8 due to a recurring lung infection. Doctors describe his condition as stable but critical.

Messages of support and prayers have been pouring in for Mandela. Tutu took a moment to share a heartfelt message. “We come here not to lament… but to remember some of our most precious moments. We come here to honour.”

He thanked God for the incredible person that Nelson Mandela is. “We pray for his comfort and dignity.”

Also present at the opening was Minister in the Presidency, Trevor Manuel. He was part of Mandela’s Cabinet during his administration.

He recalled the times when Mandela called in members of his Cabinet for a talk. The experience, said Manuel, was not like that of a president disciplining a minister, but it was more like a father talking.

Manuel told the gathering that he did not want to go down memory lane, but would rather talk about some of Mandela’s characteristics.

He named some of these trademarks as being calm, cool and collected; caring about people; nation-building; being a dedicated and loyal member of the African National Congress and his understanding of leadership.

Mandela was also against racism and sexism, Manuel said.

“Nation-building is what he woke up to and spoke of every day,” the Minister responsible for the National Planning Commission said.

On the cool, calm and collected Mandela, Manuel recalled the day of Mandela’s release from Victor Verster Prison, 11 February 1990, and how the newly released political prisoner was separated from his convoy.

Manuel recounted how they “fetched and lost” Madiba. But the police told them where he was having tea. When Mandela saw them, he said: “Gee whiz! I was getting worried about you chaps. What took you so long?”

The opening was attended by a cross-section of politicians and civil society activists.

Manuel, Tutu and other speakers made a special point of thanking De Lille and the City of Cape Town for conceiving and holding the exhibition, which they said represented Mandela’s vision of unity in diversity.

De Lille said that South Africans were free today because “of the strong sense of freedom that lives so freely in him”.

She said she wanted to celebrate Mandela in his lifetime, adding “there is a reason we are here today: it is because Madiba is part of all of us and he gave a part of himself to all of us.”

The world will next month will observe Mandela Day on the 18th, where individuals are encouraged to do an act of good for 67 minutes for the betterment of mankind.

SA sends condolences to India after floods

Pretoria: President Jacob Zuma has sent condolences to the government and people of India following devastating floods in some parts of that country.

A staggering 10 000 people may have died in the monsoon floods which swept the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand two weeks ago, triggering landslides and washing away towns and roads.

Authorities have been folding up evacuation in many parts of the state, even as some 4 000 people are still said to be stranded in the mountains.

The state was hit by floods on June 16.

“We share with the people of India the sense of grief and loss,” said President Zuma.

South Africa and India share historical ties and enjoy strong relations at the bilateral and multilateral levels. The two countries are members of the BRICS (Brazil, Russian, India, China, South Africa) and IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) groupings.

Tight security for Obama’s Cape Town visit

Pretoria: With US President Barack Obama in the country, the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure has urged the public to be patient as they coordinate safety and security concerning the visit to Cape Town.

Obama and his family landed at the Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria on Friday, and proceeded to several engagements over the course of Saturday as part of his three-nation African tour.

The US President is in Cape Town today.

Amid tight security, which has seen several roads being closed off to the general public, the US delegation has visited various venues in Gauteng, and will do so in Cape Town.

“It is requested that members of the public refrain from converging in those areas in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the aircraft or vehicles in the security or transportation details, or even of the VIPs,” SAPS’s Brigadier Sally de Beer pleaded.

De Beer said during the dry-runs for Obama’s visit, which included the landing of helicopters, people were running across busy roads towards the aircraft.

“This not only places the pedestrians and road users at risk, it is very dangerous to approach a helicopter while its rotors are turning.”

Although all security operations undertaken were conducted in a manner aimed at causing as little inconvenience as possible to the community, businesses and other visitors to the country, De Beer pleaded with those who encounter inconveniences to remain patient and to be cooperative with security forces and public safety officers.

“We remain committed to upholding South Africa’s good reputation as hosts of secure international events and visits. All security measures are intended to keep both the VIPs and our own citizens safe.”

Obama and his delegation will today visit the prison museum on Robben Island.

Obama will then stop at a community centre focused on healthcare with retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

He will go on to give a speech of his African tour at the University of Cape Town before heading to Tanzania, his last stop in the tour.

Telkom announces tariff hikes

Pretoria: Telkom has set its increase on basic voice and data connectivity services at an overall 1.3%, below the Consumer Price Index, which is currently at 5.6%

The telecommunications operator is, however, leaving broadband subscription fees unchanged.

The tariffs will be applicable as of 1 August 2013.

The adjustments also see a decrease in the tariffs for outgoing fixed to mobile calls of 3.1% to R1.30 (Incl VAT) per minute during peak time and by 2.7% to R1.05 (Incl VAT) per minute during off-peak time.

Telkom’s Managing Director for consumer services, Manelisa Mavuso, said Telkom remains committed to serving customers’ best interests and to making telecommunications accessible to all South Africans.

“We have therefore endeavoured to contain the adjustments to a minimum and kept them significantly lower than inflation, which is currently at 5.6%,” said Mavuso.

He highlighted the fact that DSL and Telkom Internet monthly subscription charges remained unchanged, even though current upgrades, as part of the company’s Network Transformation Programme, will result in speed increases on the Fast and Faster DSL options.

Resulting in a significant decrease for current long distance calls, on-net local and long distance call tariffs for Postpaid and WorldCall will be combined into to a single tariff of R0.46 (Incl VAT) per minute during standard time and R0.23 (Incl VAT) per minute during Callmore time. The minimum charge will be R0.63 (Incl VAT).

Also, PrepaidFone on-net local and long distance call tariffs will be combined into one and charged at R0.70 (Incl VAT) per minute during standard time and R0.33 (Incl VAT) per minute during Callmore time. The minimum charge will be R0.96 (Incl VAT) and the surcharge for PrepaidFone and Top-up increases from R0.66 to R0.70 per call.

Installation charges will increase by 6% and this includes Postpaid, PrepaidFone ISDN and DSL services. Line rental for PrepaidFone (weekly/monthly and Top-up) also increases by 6%.

International calls are adjusted by 0% overall, however, tariffs to some destinations will increase, some will decrease and others will remain unchanged.

Postpaid analogue residential line rentals will increase by 5.8% to R157.00 (Incl VAT) per month and business line rentals will increase by 6.2% to R216.00 (Incl VAT) per month.

The monthly subscription for the Telkom Weekender Plan (previously Closer 1) increases to R176.00, Telkom Evening and Weekend Plan (previously Closer 2) to R194.00 and Telkom Unlimited Anytime Plan (previously Closer 3) to R350.00.

All public payphone call tariffs remain unchanged.

Greenest municipality winners announced

Pretoria: The Ekurhuleni metropolitan has added a feather in its cap by being announced the overall winner in the Greenest Municipalities competition, walking away with prize money of R3.5 million.

EThekwini was the first runner-up and walked away with R3 million, while the City of Cape Town was the second runner up and scooped R2.5 million.

At local municipality level, Greater Tzaneen topped the category, bagging the R3.5 million prize money. It was followed by Newcastle and Drakenstein, which walked away with R3 million and R2.5 milllion respectively.

The winners were announced by Water and Environmental Affairs Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi during an award ceremony held at Marianhill Landfill Site, Durban, on Friday.

The prize money has to be utilised for projects that promote environment related projects and green economy initiatives. A total of 111 metropolitan and local municipalities had entered the completion.

The Greenest Municipality Competition (GMC) started its life as the Cleanest Town Competition (CTC), with a primary focus on implementing the National Waste Management Strategy.

According to the ministry, the competition is premised on reducing, recycling and reusing waste materials. Although these principles are still relevant, other elements related to sustainable development and various greening interventions have been added.

“Our Green Economy Plan emphasizes the implementation of measures to strengthen and expand our economic growth through recycling and enterprise development, so that we can generate and sustain jobs as well as formalise existing jobs in the waste area as part of the economy,” said Mabudafhasi.

The Department of Environmental Affairs has conducted numerous studies that have clearly illustrated the capacity constraints that are experienced by municipalities in delivering waste services in landfill operations, waste collection planning and administration and refuse collection.

In this light, the deputy minister said the department was planning to bridge the capacity gap by involving community members, as partners and ambassadors, in the process of solving the environmental challenges in general and waste challenges in particular.

“The low levels of capacity in municipalities present an excellent opportunity for the creation of jobs, on-the-job training, continuous up-skilling as well as enterprise development for the youth.

“An estimated 3 577 jobs will be created by placing young people in municipalities, where they will work as landfill site assistants, waste collection administrators and environmental awareness educators,” said Mabudafhasi.