Daily Archives: January 21, 2018

Tunisian Forces Kill Senior al-Qaida Member

Tunisian special forces have killed a senior member of al-Qaida in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in a remote western area of the country, near the border with Algeria.

Tunisian officials have identified the militant as Bilel Kobi, a senior aide to Abu Musab Abdul Wadud, the leader of the militant group.

Another jihadist was also killed in the operation as a special unit of the National Guard and soldiers circled an armed group of militants in the western region of Kasserine overnight Saturday, the Ministry of the Interior said.

Islamic State claims most major attacks in Tunisia including a hotel attack and an attack on a museum that killed dozens of tourists in 2015 as well as raids by militants who crossed from Libya into Tunisia in 2016.

More than 3,000 Tunisians have left over the last few years to fight for Islamic State and other militant groups in Iraq, Syria and Libya. Authorities are trying to prepare for the threat posed by their return.

Source: Voice of America

Military Veterans on education support

As the DMV matures and builds its capacity to roll out the 11 benefits listed in the Military Veterans Act, there is a serious constraint in our budget allocation. There is a massive increase in the demand for benefits from military veterans as a result of the increasing capacity of the department and its engagement with military veterans.

The increase in demand for benefits has resulted in a serious budget shortfall for DMV as from the previous financial year. The further budget cuts announced by National Treasury in December 2017, of 5% in the case of DMV, further increased this shortfall.

To ensure that all deserving military veterans continue to receive support from DMV, the department had to adjust its available budget through a re-prioritisation process.

On 17 January 2018 the Minister and Deputy Minister of Defence & Military Veterans, held a consultation with the South African National Military Veterans Association (SANMVA) and its affiliate associations to explain financial pressures facing the DMV and to solicit buy in and support for the proposals of the department.

The DMV in the last academic year provided an education support benefit to 7712 military veterans and their dependants. For this academic year the number of applicants has increased to 11600, with about 4000 new applicants. This increase means that the department needed to take immediate steps to ensure that the available resources are spread amongst all qualifying and deserving applicants.

The following are the steps that the department is taking:

For Basic Education Support

1. For new applications for the 2018 academic year, the maximum benefit will be R20 000 per leaner per annum. This is to ensure that in spite of budgetary constraints, all military veterans and their beneficiaries who qualify are provided with this important benefit.

2. For continuing learners the threshold will remain at R42 500 in 2018, however in 2019 the maximum amount will be R20 000 for all learners in basic education.

For Higher Education Support

1. The Department is obligated and commits to provide all continuing military veterans and their dependants studying at higher education institutions (both public and private) with education support, subject to them meeting the DMV qualifying criteria.

2. In line with statement of the President of the RSA, the honourable JG Zuma on the 16 December 2017 with regard to the provision of free education to poor and working class students, DMV will engage with the Department of Higher Education and Training and NSFAS to ensure that continuing students studying in public higher education institutions who meet the criteria (i.e. a family income of less than R350 000) will be provided with the education support benefit through NSFAS.

3. DMV commits to assist to ensure that all deserving military veterans and their dependants continue to receive education support from the department.

All military veterans who have enquiries are encouraged to be in contact with the department.

Source: Government of South Africa

ANGOLA WANTS STRONGER AFRICAN OIL PRODUCER ORGANISATION

LUANDA, Angola wants an organisation of oil producing countries with greater visibility and projection in the African and world energy scene, said the Minister of State for Economic and Social Development, Manuel Nunes.

Speaking at the opening of the Extraordinary Meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Organisation of African Petroleum Producing Countries (APPO), the minister mentioned the need to complete the reform process, so that it could be equipped with instruments and mechanisms capable of stimulating a more dynamics.

In a brief history of Angola’s experience in the field of petroleum, he pointed out that during the period 2009/2017 the average annual growth of the oil sector was negative, but the average annual growth of the economy as a whole was positive, since the non-oil sector counterbalanced the oil shortage.

For this reason, he said that the weight of the oil sector in the economy has been declining from around 45 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2002 to about 30 percent in 2017, a reduction that has not yet translated into structural change in government revenues and exports, which remain strongly dependent on external shocks, in particular the fluctuations in the price of oil on the international market.

The official added that the Government is aware that the definitive and lasting solution lies in the diversification of the economy of the country, with the bet on national production, especially the staple products.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Minister Nomvula Mokonyane represents President Zuma at Liberian inauguration

The Minister of Water and Sanitation, Ms Nomvula Mokonyane will represent President Jacob Zuma at the inauguration ceremony of the President-elect of the Republic of Liberia, His Excellency Mr George Weah, Sr.

The inauguration is scheduled to take place tomorrow, 22 January 2018 in Monrovia, Liberia.

Liberia and South Africa share strong economic and trade relations, further cemented during a State Visit to South Africa by the outgoing President, Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf last year. President Sirleaf is leaving office after serving two six-year terms as Africa’s first elected female Head of State.

President Zuma has remarked that the peaceful and democratic manner under which the elections in Liberia were conducted signified yet another positive step towards deepening democracy on the African continent.

Source: Government of South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA: NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE TO BE REVIEWED ANNUALLY

PRETORIA, The national minimum wage will be reviewed on May 1 of each year, in line with government’s aim of alleviating poverty in the labour market.

In the review of [the national minimum wage], the commission which advises the Minister [of Labour] has to take a number of factors into consideration such as inflation, the cost of living, wage levels, wage differentials, productivity, the ability of business to carry on successfully as well as the impact on Small Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) and employment, Director, Employment Standards at the Department of Labour Stephen Rathai said.

He said the review process should also promote medium-term targets to reduce wage differentials and alleviation of poverty.

The regulation will include the procedure for exemption, the obligation on employer to consult with the employees or their trade unions and the criteria for evaluating exemptions, Rathai said.

He was addressing stakeholders mainly from labour about the soon to be introduced national minimum wage on Friday in Witbank, Mpumalanga.

The objective of the briefing session was to ensure that the national minimum wage, as a new labour policy intervention instrument, is communicated to all the intended beneficiaries such as workers.

This also includes educating the workers on the implications of proposed amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), the Labour Relations Act (LRA), the Accord on Collective Bargaining and Industrial Action and the Code of Good Practice on Collective Bargaining, Industrial Action and Picketing.

The briefing sessions are being held around the country and started on Nov 9, 2017. They target all sectors of the economy.

Briefing sessions have been held in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, George, Pietermaritzburg, Richards Bay, Durban, Tzaneen and Polokwane.

The national minimum wage is scheduled for implementation from May 1, 2018.

The agreed national minimum wage at National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) is pegged at R20 an hour for major sectors, with the exception of sectors such as farm workers and domestic workers.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK