Daily Archives: March 13, 2014

Minister Naledi Pandor appeals to the public to collect uncollected Smart ID Cards

Minister of Home Affairs, Naledi Pandor has made an appeal to members of the public who have applied for Smart ID cards to collect their uncollected cards at the designated Home Affairs offices across the country.

Since the roll-out of the Smart ID cards in February 2014 through 30 designated Home Affairs offices across the country to youths who are 16 years and above as well as pensioners who are 60 years and above a total of 100 000 smart ID cards applications have been received and processed. In this regard and of the 100 000 smart ID cards processed only 58 715 have been collected with 41 285 uncollected smart ID’s in Home Affairs offices around the country.

“Accordingly, we encourage those who have not collected their IDs to do so as a priority. Similarly we advise all citizens who have applied for the new Smart ID cards to visit offices of application to collect them. In this context, we wish to inform the public that it takes 10 days only to process a smart ID card application and delivery to the applicant. Citizens are therefore urged to respond positively to sms messages from the department urging them to collect their smart ID cards,” said Minister Pandor

SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS

EU Commissioner announces new support for Central African Republic during high level visit

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, March 13, 2014 – European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, will today announce €81 million of new EU support to the Central African Republic (CAR) during a joint visit to the country with French Minister for Development, Pascal Canfin, and German Minister for Cooperation, Gerd Müller.

The amount represents a significant boost in EU aid to the country and will help restore basic social services and livelihoods; particularly in the areas of education (for example, to help classes restart in schools which have been closed due to the conflict), health (to rehabilitate and reequip health centres), and food security and nutrition (to ensure agriculture continuity, for example, by providing seeds.)

Ahead of his arrival, Commissioner Piebalgs said: “The Central African Republic and its people are facing unprecedented challenges, and it is more important than ever that we act now to put in place the foundations for stability and future development.

“This is why we are determined to support the new Head of State in her will to restore security and bring peace back to the country. The problem of conflict is not solved, but we cannot afford to lose sight of our ambitions for long-term economic and social development and that starts with addressing people’s basic needs. Development is key to stability, which is why we continue to give it our full support”.

Schedule of Commissioner Piebalgs

During his visit to CAR, Commissioner Piebalgs will meet the new transitional Head of State, Ms Catherine Catherine Samba-Panza. He will also visit the National Authority for elections (NAE), where he will meet the members of the NAE and discuss plans for the preparation of elections.

The Commissioner will also visit health, food aid and cash for work programmes as well as the Palais de Justice and meet with civil society representatives , Erik Solheim Chairman of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) will also take part in this joint mission.

Background

Today’s new funding is in line with the Commission’s LRRD approach (Linking Relief, Rehabilitation and Development). It comes in addition to €20m support to elections which was already announced earlier in 2014. Overall, an additional amount of €101m has been offered to the Central African Republic in 2014 as an immediate response to the crisis. This aid is part of the bridging facility between the 10th European Development Fund, or EDF (which runs from 2008-2013) and the 11th EDF (from 2014-2020.)

Between 2008 and 2013, around €225 million were allocated for the whole country through the EU’s different financial instruments (€160 million through the 10th European Development Fund, or EDF, and €65 million through the EU budget).

The Central African Republic is as large as France and Belgium put together. The current crisis is affecting the majority of the population (4.6 million, half of them children). More than 50% of the Central Africans are in dire need of aid. As of 31 January, there were more than 825,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in CAR. More than 245,000 Central Africans sought refuge in neighbouring countries in the course of last year. Lack of access makes it difficult to deliver the urgently-required assistance to those suffering the consequences of violence.

The EU has taken the lead in advocacy and funding on CAR among relief donors, as a key partner of the Central African Republic and the country’s main donor. Relations are bound by the Cotonou Agreement. The restoration of security remains the immediate priority in order to stabilise the country in support of the political process, and is at the heart of the development aid.

Commissioner Piebalgs’ announcement today comes just ahead of the 4th Africa-EU Summit, which will take place in Brussels on 2-3 April 2014.

The Brussels summit will be held under the theme “Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace”. It is expected to mark a further significant step forward for the partnership between the EU and Africa in these three areas.

SOURCE: European Commission

UN human rights expert to meet Eritrean diaspora in Germany and Switzerland

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 13, 2014 The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Eritrea, Sheila B. Keetharuth, will undertake an official visit to Germany and Switzerland from 17 to 28 March 2014 to collect first-hand information from Eritrean refugees and migrants on the human rights situation in Eritrea.

Since her appointment in November 2012, the Special Rapporteur has made several requests to visit Eritrea, which have so far not been granted. She has repeatedly urged the Eritrean authorities to collaborate with her mandate with a view to addressing its human rights challenges.

“Due to lack of access to Eritrea, I have been engaging with Eritrean refugees and migrants outside of their home country, and all others concerned by human rights in Eritrea, including those who consider themselves to be victims of alleged human rights violations, human rights defenders and other civil society actors,” Ms. Keetharuth said.

During her mission, the Special Rapporteur will interview Eritrean refugees and migrants about the situation of human rights in Eritrea to corroborate allegations of widespread and systematic violations of human rights in Eritrea contained in reports she has received from a variety of interlocutors.

The Special Rapporteur expressed her appreciation that Germany and Switzerland have agreed to provide her with access to interview the Eritrean refugees and migrants residing in those two countries.

The result of her findings, which will be strictly limited to the situation inside Eritrea, will be reflected in her second report to the Human Rights Council in June 2014.

SOURCE: United Nations – Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

SOUTH AFRICA’S SPECIAL ENVOY TO SOUTH SUDAN COMPLETES FACT-FINDING TRIP

By Sthembiso Sithole

PRETORIA, March 13– South Africa’s Special Envoy to South Sudan, Cyril Ramaphosa, has concluded his visit to South Sudan and some other countries which are also members of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and are involved in the efforts to find a resolution to the on-going conflict in South Sudan.

The Department of International Relations and Co-operation said in a statement here Wednesday that Ramaphosa undertook the visit to familiarise himself with the unfolding events in South Sudan and to meet with key role-players.

“To this end, Mr Ramaphosa met with the President of South Sudan, Mr Salva Kiir Mayardit, Cabinet ministers, leaders of the (ruling party) Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and other stakeholders, The department added.

Ramaphosa also paid courtesy calls on Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

After his visit, Ramaphosa will report to President Jacob Zuma.

Ramaphosa will continue to engage with various role players in an effort to find a lasting peace, stability and reconciliation in South Sudan. He was accompanied on his recent trip by the Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency, Collins Chabane.

Fighting started in the world’s youngest country on Dec 15 last year when President Salva Kiir accused his then vice-president, Riek Machar, of mounting a coup.

International Relations Department Spokesman Clayson Monyela said Ramaphosa has enough experience to be involved in peace-making efforts.

“First, there is a level of confidence from them that South Africa can be trusted as a mediator mainly because of our moral authority on the issue of dealing with conflict and reconstruction, based on our experience as a country,” he added.

“We are trusted because people know we have the experience that we can share with them that they can learn from. And Ramaphosa as you know was central to the process that lead to South Africa’s first elections. So he really will be sharing those experiences as President Zuma’s Special Envoy.”

SOURCE: SABC

SOUTH AFRICA TO HAVE ADEQUATE POWER SUPPLY IN TWO YEARS’ TIME, SAYS FINANCE MINISTER

CAPE TOWN, March 13- Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan says South Africa is building three new power stations and has approved projects worth 110 billion Rand (about 10.2 billion US dollars) by independent power producers to bolster energy supply.

Speaking in Parliament here Wednesday following last week’s rolling blackouts in the country, Gordhan said South Africa was likely to have an adequate electricity supply in two years’ time.

Meanwhile, the outgoing chief executive officer of national power utility Eskom, Brian Dames, seems to have contradicted Gordhan, saying it will take about 10 years to rid the country of its power problems.

Dames, who was addressing the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Johannesburg, said an investigation was underway into why wet and poor quality coal was supplied to power stations, one of the factors which led to the blackouts. — NNN-SABC