Monthly Archives: April 2014

CONCERN OVER HIGH SUICIDE RATE AMONG POLICE IN SOUTH AFRICA’S MPUMALANGA PROVINCE

MBOMBELA, SOUTH AFRICA, April 30– Police in South Africa’s Mpumalanga Province have raised concerns over the increasing number of police officers in the province who commit suicide.

The statistics show that police officers committed suicide by medication overdose or by shooting themselves among other means. Since 2009 there has been a steady increase in the rate of suicides almost every year.

According to reports, in 2009, 73 police officers committed suicide. The number rose to 97 in 2010, dropped to 85 in 2011, but again rose to 98 in 2012. In 2013, the figure dropped to 34.

Since the beginning of the year in Mpumalanga, more than five police officers have taken their own lives.

“From April 2013 up to March 2014 we have had eight suicides in the province and from April 2014 we have already had three of them. So in total, if I start from 2013 up to now, we have had 11 suicides,” said Police Employee Health and Wellness Officer Colonel Mhlanga in this provincial capital Tuesday.

According to authorities, financial problems are some of the contributing factors to officers taking their own lives.

Mhlanga says in the light of these problems, the police officers are provided with professional counselling. “Much has been done to address this issue, the SAPS has been a pioneering organization in taking care of its employers in dealing with issues of personal financial management, relationships and anger management.”

Mpumalanga Police Head of Communication Selvy Mohlala urged police officers who have problems to use the wellness services that are available. “We have got a system in place in the South African Police Service (SAPS) to ensure that we support them, it is just unfortunate that some people ought not to share the information or the problems that they are having with other members.”

He added that there is a section dedicated to assist members of the SAPS in terms of every trouble they come across that is called the Employee Health and Wellness section.

SOURCE: SABC

BILLIONS OF RANDS WORTH OF STOLEN VEHICLES TAKEN OUT OF SOUTH AFRICA

JOHANNESBURG, April 30 – The South African Insurance Crime Bureau says 4.0 billion Rand (about 377 million US dollars) worth of stolen and hijacked vehicles were taken out of the country last year.

The Bureau, the South African Insurance Association and the Gauteng Province Road and Transport Department met here Tuesday to discuss the crime and pledged to work together to fight against organized insurance crime and related fraud in the motor vehicle industry.

Ismail Vadi, the Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Transport in Gauteng Province, said the partnership would enable the department’s officials to acquire the much-needed forensic skills to deal with such crimes.

“What really concerns us is the acquisition of fraudulent documentation from our DLTC’s (Driving Licence Testing Centres), corruption by some of our officials,” he added.

“We have done spot inspections from time to time. We have instituted disciplinary actions against a number of our officials involved and some of them have been dismissed. We are extremely concerned about the cloning of (registration of) vehicles, and the provision of fraudulent or cloned number plates.”

SOURCE: SABC

SPORTS MINISTER CALLS ON CORPORATE SOUTH AFRICA TO PARTICIPATE IN SPORTS TRANSFORMATION

JOHANNESBURG, April 30– South African Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula is looking to put the money where his mouth is when it comes to transformation in sport.

The minister, who has come under fire in recent weeks over the proposed 60-40 per cent quota to increase the number of black Africans in sports, met with some of South African sports’ major sponsors in Johannesburg on Tuesday to get them more involved in transforming South African sports.

With 84 per cent of South Africans under the age of 18 being black Africans, it makes business sense to get Corporate South Africa on board to invest in the youth of the country and assist with transformation, he told the corporate leaders.

Mbalula viewed the meeting as a way to involve big business as role players in the process of transforming South African sports.

“When they invest in the future of sport in South Africa, they understand where we are heading to and where we actually come from. It is very much in the interest of Corporate South Africa because sports and what we are doing is about the soul of the nation,” he said.

“There is no way we are going implement programmes that we have not shared with those who invest so much in their execution.”

Mbalula believes that the 60-40 quota is a realistic target. “We think that the quota is realistic to ensure that there is full transformation and nobody has come to us and say ‘No, minister and department, your policy is unrealistic’.

“I am here and ready to listen to people on what they are saying and nothing is cast in stone. I am ready to listen to them but we are not going backward, we are going forward.”

According to the findings of the Eminent Persons Group on transformation, 84 per cent of South Africa’s youth under the age of 18 are black Africans.

Part of the idea of Africanisation, or using a quota system, is to maximise that human capital, not only for the sustainability of South African sport, but also to ensure long-term competitiveness.

Doctor Willie Basson, a member of the Emminent Persons Group (EPG) who produced a pilot evaluation or transformation status report on five of the country’s leading sports codes — cricket, rugby, soccer, athletics and netball — believes that the bottom-up process of transformation is the only way to change the demographics without hurting the country’s competitive profile.

“In order to move forward and to be able to start this huge under-developed human capital base — the 84 per cent under-18-years black Africans — the target has got to be moved, as otherwise we will stay there, do not progress and concentrate on this problem.”

The process of consultation between the government, the EPG and the sports federations on the implementation and targets will continue in the months to come. However, the federations have been warned that they will receive conditional support based on their progress.

Failure to comply will result in de-registering and the withdrawal of national colours among others.

SOURCE: SABC

South Sudan on verge of catastrophe – Pillay

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 30, 2014 – Opening remarks by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay at a press conference in South Sudan, Juba, 30 April 2014

“Good morning and thank you for coming.

As you may be aware I visited South Sudan almost exactly two years ago, in early May 2012. The new state was less than a year old, and while there were many human rights issues to discuss, and problems that needed rectifying, there was still plenty of optimism.

It therefore greatly saddens me that this second visit is the result of a drastic deterioration in the situation with a full-blown internal conflict taking place accompanied by numerous grave human rights violations. After the horrendous mass killings in Bentiu and Bor two weeks ago, the Security Council requested my Office to undertake an investigation, and the Secretary-General subsequently requested me personally to come and talk to the country’s leaders. He also requested his Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng to visit South Sudan at the same time.

The murder of hundreds of people, many of them civilians, in Bentiu, and the retaliatory assault on displaced people sheltering in the UN compound in Bor, which led to the death of at least 50 more men, women and children, have starkly underlined how close South Sudan is to calamity. Without the strong intervention of Indian peacekeepers, hundreds more might have been killed.

The deadly mix of recrimination, hate speech, and revenge killings that has developed relentlessly over the past four and a half months seems to be reaching boiling point, and I have been increasingly concerned that neither South Sudan’s political leaders nor the international community at large seem to perceive quite how dangerous the situation now is. Unfortunately virtually everything I have seen or heard on this mission has reinforced the view that the country’s leaders, instead of seizing their chance to steer their impoverished and war-battered young nation to stability and greater prosperity, have instead embarked on a personal power struggle that has brought their people to the verge of catastrophe.

Mr Dieng and I have conveyed the Secretary-General’s and our own concerns to President Salva Kiir, and five senior Ministers in his Government – namely Ministers of Cabinet Affairs, Defence, Justice, Finance and Foreign Affairs – here in Juba.

Yesterday, with the assistance of UNMISS we flew by helicopter to Nassir, where we held similar talks with the opposition leader Riek Machar. On the way, we visited the UN camp in Bor which was attacked by an armed mob on 17 April and listened to the concerns of some of the survivors and heard their descriptions of this brutal assault which appeared to have the sole aim of killing as many civilians in the camp as possible, on the basis of their ethnicity. We were unfortunately not able to visit Bentiu on this visit, but we discussed the attack there with Dr. Machar, since the mass killings in Bentiu were carried out by forces associated with the SPLA in Opposition which he leads. He assured us that he is carrying out his own investigation into what happened and that he will do his utmost to stop his forces from committing similar revenge attacks on civilians.

I welcome this commitment to investigate, as well as the investigations the Government says it is undertaking into the mass killings of civilians in Juba in mid-December which set off the escalation of ethnic-based revenge killings that have ensued over the four and a half months since then. But, if the people of South Sudan are to believe that there is accountability, these investigations must move swiftly beyond statements of intent to action: in other words arrests and prosecution after investigations conducted by an independent body, in a transparent process consistent with international standards and principles. This must be carried out quickly and the outcome must be published. Without accountability, there is nothing to deter others from committing similar summary executions and mass killings. Ordinary people – those who are most defenceless – and the civil society organizations and religious leaders whom I and my team met all speak of their great fear, and their despair at the situation their political leaders have inflicted on them.

The slaughter in Bentiu and Bor was simply the latest in a long list of similar tit-for-tat attacks in towns and villages in many parts of the country, which have increasingly involved armed Dinka and Nuer targeting each other’s civilian populations, as well as foreigners. Many such attacks have gone largely unnoticed or unreported at the international level, but have served to accentuate the spiral of hatred and violence within South Sudan itself, with the Bentiu and Bor killings setting off further shockwaves in various tense ethnically-mixed areas around the country, and in the diaspora.

The towns of Bentiu and Malakal, situated in the oil producing region near the border with Sudan, have changed hands at least six times each since fighting broke out in mid-December, and there have been dozens of other violent incidents across a vast swathe of territory spanning the north, north-east and south of the country. These, and an increasing number of examples of incitement to violence on the basis of ethnicity carried out by elements on all sides, should ring loud alarm bells and inject much greater urgency into the peace talks being carried out under the auspices of the regional East Africa bloc, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Addis Ababa.

It is essential that the South Sudanese people and the international community impress on the country’s political leaders that they must stop blindly dragging their people down the path of self-destruction. Mr Dieng and I have warned those same leaders that current and future investigations will inevitably examine the extent to which political and military leaders either knew, should have known, or failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures to prevent war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by themselves or by subordinates under their effective authority and control.

With the rainy season just starting, we also urged the leaders to show more concern both for the 1.2 million people displaced inside South Sudan, or in neighbouring countries, and the many other South Sudanese who are now in real danger of facing famine, because the conflict has meant that this planting season will almost certainly be missed with devastating results on the country’s food supplies. If famine does take hold later in the year – and the humanitarian agencies are deeply fearful that it will – responsibility for it will lie squarely with the country’s leaders who agreed to a cessation of hostilities in January and then failed to observe it themselves, while placing all the blame on each other.

I was appalled by the apparent lack of concern about the risk of famine displayed by both leaders, when I raised the issue. The reaction to a call for 30 days of tranquility to allow people to go home to plant – although it may already be too late for this with the rains starting – was luke-warm: both leaders said they would if the other did, then made it clear they did not trust the other’s words. The prospect of widespread hunger and malnutrition being inflicted on hundreds of thousands of their people, because of their personal failure to resolve their differences peacefully, did not appear to concern them very much.

If, in the very near future, there is no peace deal, no accountability, no space to rebuild trust and promote reconciliation, and insufficient funds to cope with a looming humanitarian disaster, I shudder to think where South Sudan is heading. After so many decades of conflict and economic neglect, the South Sudanese deserve better than this, especially from their own leaders – but also from the international community, which has been slow to act. To give just one example: in December, the Security Council agreed that the number of UNMSS peacekeepers should be increased from 7,700 to 13,200, but the contributing countries have still not supplied some two thirds of the extra desperately needed troops.

I also urge donor countries to respond quickly to the humanitarian agencies appeal for funds, as well as applying their full political weight to the peace effort. The UN estimates that there are already 4.9 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, and that number is likely to climb, and their needs are likely to become more acute, if the fighting and violence are not halted immediately, and the international community does not lend more support.

The list of alarming statistics is long. Here are a few more: UNMISS unquestionably saved thousands of lives, when it opened the gates of several of its compounds to people fleeing deadly attacks. Some 80,000 people are now sheltering in these compounds. UNICEF reports that more than 9,000 children have been recruited into armed forces by both sides. 32 schools have been taken over by military forces, and there have been more than 20 attacks on clinics and health centres. Many women and girls have been raped, often brutally and sometimes by several fighters. Others have been abducted. Children have also been killed during indiscriminate attacks on civilians by both sides.

How much worse does it have to get, before those who can bring this conflict to an end, especially President Kiir and Dr. Machar, decide to do so?”

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

Garmin, the Global Leader in GPS Satellite Technology, is calling on business partners in West Africa

Garmin, the Global Leader in GPS Satellite Technology, is calling on business partners in West Africa

The CEO of Garmin Sub-Saharan Africa invites you to meet with our trade delegation in Accra, Ghana from the 12th to the 16th of May 2014

ACCRA, Ghana, April 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The CEO of Garmin Sub-Saharan Africa (http://www.garmin.co.za), invites you to meet with our trade delegation in Accra, Ghana from the 12th to the 16th of May 2014. The purpose of the trade delegation is to engage with prospective businesses partners in West Africa who have strong distribution and/or reselling capabilities and a proven track record of successfully furthering brands into their designated markets.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/garmin-logo.jpg

With global annual revenues of over U$2.5 billion and a presence in 54 territories around the globe, Garmin has sold over 100 million products sold worldwide, and have realised that it is important to have the right mix of channel partners, products and tools available in each territory to provide product support.

The extensive ranges of products serve many industries including Marine, Outdoor, Automotive, Sports and Wellness. Garmin’s products or tools are suited to developing economies where infrastructure requirements are extensive and mapping out of new boundaries, roads, waypoints are key to the countries expansion.

Sustainable farming and the information required to plot out a field, calculate the area for planting seedlings or determining the land gradient of your farm to select the most suitable pump are just some key uses of our products.

Marine Echo range of fishfinders make use of GPS and sonar technology to map and view fish under water which is a great aid in subsistence fishing. Garmin Outdoor watches are great for hiking, where the handheld devices track waypoints. With the expansion of cities and roads in Accra, Lagos, Yamoussoukro, Yaoundé, Libreville and Dakar, the Garmin Automotive products become a valuable tool in navigating the streets, finding petrol stations, hotels, restaurants, and shopping centres.

GPS technology is used in sport and Garmin’s range of Fitness watches track personal data such as time, speed, distance, calories, cadence and when paired with a Heart Rate Monitor, tracks your heart rate. These products are used by coaches worldwide to improve athlete performance and fitness. New to the market is Garmin’s range of rugged Action Cameras to record HD footage, Virb Elite comes with a built in GPS and can pair with a Heart Rate monitor to record Heart Rate, speed, distance and route. Another exciting sector is the health and wellness market where Garmin VivoFit wellness band tracks your steps and sleeping patters encouraging you to stay active.

In conjunction with PDSA Ghana, Garmin will be hosting discussions on West African business opportunities to resell, distribute and service our wide range of GPS products and solutions. To register for a meeting visit http://www.garmin.co.za/westafrica or email us directly on mike.clarke@garmin.com

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Garmin Southern Africa (PTY) Ltd.

Contact: Michelle Hohls

Tel: +27 11 251 9964

Email: michelle.hohls@garmin.com

For review units and additional information on new products, features, pricing and availability regarding Garmin Southern Africa’s (GSA) products and services please contact Michelle or visit www.garmin.co.za. For additional fresh info, what’s happening, fun events and pics to prove it, follow GSA on:

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ABOUT GARMIN:

Garmin (http://www.garmin.co.za), the global leader in satellite navigation has been successful in creating navigation and communication devices which embrace lifestyle needs and enrich the lives of customers’ since 1989. The brands innovative products span various areas of interest, including automotive, marine, fitness, outdoor recreation, and aviation and wireless applications. Garmin Southern Africa (GSA) is a member of Garmin Ltd. (Nasdaq:GRMN). This group of companies has designed, manufactured, marketed and sold navigation, communication and information devices and applications – most of which are enabled by GPS technology. Contact GSA for unmatched direct services and support on (011) 251 9999 or visit the GSA headquarters in Honeydew, Johannesburg, in the Kimbuilt Industrial Park at number 9 Zeiss Road, Laser Park.

Notice on Forward-Looking Statements:

This release includes forward-looking statements regarding Garmin Ltd. and its business. Such statements are based on management’s current expectations. The forward-looking events and circumstances discussed in this release may not occur and actual results could differ materially as a result of known and unknown risk factors and uncertainties affecting Garmin, including, but not limited to, the risk factors listed in the Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011, filed by Garmin with the Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission file number 0-31983). A copy of such Form 10-K is available at www.garmin.com/aboutGarmin/invRelations/finReports.html. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made and Garmin undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

SOURCE: Garmin Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd