Millions of People in South Sudan to Face Acute Hunger in Coming Weeks: UN

GENEVA – U.N. agencies warn millions of people in South Sudan will face acute shortages of food by the end of July, with tens of thousands experiencing famine-like conditions. A new report released Friday by the U.N.’s World Food Program, Food and Agriculture Organization and UNICEF, along with the government of South Sudan, assesses the food situation in the world’s youngest country.

Food is always in short supply during South Sudan’s lean season. But, this year, the situation is worse than usual because of a much-delayed rainfall on top of an economic crisis and population displacement due to conflict.

The United Nations estimates nearly 7 million South Sudanese, or 61 percent of the population, will face acute levels of food insecurity in about six weeks’ time.

World Food Program spokesman Herve Verhoosel tells VOA the crisis will be especially dire for thousands of people living in inaccessible parts of former Jonglei, Lakes, and Upper Nile states.

Twenty-one thousand people in the country are in a very catastrophic situation. They need very urgently access to that food,” said Verhoosel. “We know that urgent food assistance is needed in most of the country, especially because of the conflict and because of the season. And, that is at the end of July that we will have a very difficult time and most of the people will need that food assistance.

Verhoosel says people living in the worst-affected areas are experiencing famine-like conditions, with little or nothing to eat or to feed their families. The agency currently is providing food for 2.77 million people. Verhoosel says the WFP plans to scale up aid to reach more than 5 million by the end of the year.

The U.N. children’s fund and partners say they too will scale up services to reach more children affected by severe acute malnutrition with therapeutic feeding.

The Food and Agriculture Organization reports it is providing new varieties of seed suited to local conditions. It says it also is training farmers in techniques that will reduce losses from drought and flooding.

Source: Voice of America

Ethnic Conflicts in Mali Exacerbated by Extremist Presence

DAKAR – An attack that killed at least 35 people in a central Malian village on June 9 has been attributed to ethnic violence, but as Islamist militants continue to hold parts of Mali and the broader region, the distinction between ethnic conflict and jihadist terror is becoming blurred.

Conflicts between ethnic Dogon, traditionally farmers, and Fulani or Peulh, semi-nomadic herders, have intensified, although the two groups have coexisted for centuries. According to a U.N. report released last month, clashes between the two ethnic groups in central Mali were “exacerbated by the presence of extremist groups.”

“These conflicts have always existed, but they were not deadly in the way we see today,” said Alioune Tine, director of the Afrikajom Center, a think tank in Dakar. “Today we see a transformation of the conflict � the conflict is becoming more complex and displaced � because extremists play the differences and the problems between different communities and they exacerbate them.”

Since an extremist uprising in Northern Mali in 2012, large parts of the country have fallen out of control of the Malian government. In its stead, local groups have formed their own militias for self-defense.

Human Rights Watch estimates that at least 300 civilians were killed in 100 attacks in Mali during 2018.

Sunday’s attack

No specific group has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack on the Dogon village of Sobame Da. The government says the attack left 35 people dead. Initial reports put the death toll around 100; the government now says that number conflated the missing with the dead.

Locals believe the attack was carried out by Fulani militants in an act of retribution for the killing of about 160 Fulani on March 23 in the village of Ogossagou in the same region. Dogon hunters were accused in that attack.

An extra layer of confusion is often created in the culpability of attacks because of the ethnic backgrounds of certain extremist group leaders, according to Tine.

For example, Tine notes that Amadou Koufa, the leader of one of the most powerful al-Qaida affiliates in Mali, is ethnically Fulani.

“So when that group attacks, people will often say it’s the Fulani who attacked,” Tine explained.

Mali’s president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, visited Sobame Da in the Mopti region to express his condolences. But he also echoed calls from the U.N. urging victims to avoid a “retaliatory spirit,” and said that Mali would work to disarm local militias.

Security of Mali

But despite the U.N.’s stabilization mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and French Barkhane forces, the sheer size of Mali leaves many parts of the country, particularly in the center, without a reliable defense system or a way to be warned of potential upcoming attacks.

“Today, security forces of Mali and of the United Nations must replace militias to assure the security and wellbeing of the people,” Tine said.

In his most recent report on Mali, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the country must disarm ethnic militias, or “there is a high risk of further escalation that could lead to the commission of atrocity crimes.”

The presence of extremist forces and escalation of local conflicts is not limited to Mali � similar attacks have unfolded in neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger with increasing frequency.

Burkina Faso has seen more than 230 attacks in just over three years. In April, more than 65 people died in ethnic clashes inflamed by Islamist extremists seeking to gain a stronghold in the Sahel.

Source: Voice of America

President Cyril Ramaphosa announces reconfigured departments

On the 29th May 2019, President Ramaphosa announced the appointment of a reconfigured national executive following the recently held general elections.

Delivering the announcement, the President committed to a process of further reforms to promote coherence, better coordination and improved efficiency of government.

As part of these measures, the President has commenced with the process to conclude performance agreements with Ministers and Deputy Ministers. To strengthen accountability, further directed that the areas of responsibility of all Deputy Ministers must be clearly delineated.

In the departments with two Deputy Ministers, the Ministers will be responsible for the overall functioning of the Ministry and Department and under the Minister’s direction and guidance, the responsibilities between the Deputy Ministers are delineated as follows:

Ministry of Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development

Land Reform – Deputy Minister Mcebisi Skwatsha

Rural Development – Deputy Minister Sdumo Dlamini

Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

Local Government – Deputy Minister Parks Tau

Traditional Affairs – Deputy Minister Obed Bapela

Ministry of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation

Human Settlements – Deputy Minister Pam Tshwete

Water and Sanitation – Deputy Minister David Mahlobo

Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services

Correctional Services – Deputy Minister Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa

Justice and Constitutional Development – Deputy Minister John Jeffery

Announcements relating to the Ministries of International Relations and Cooperation and Trade and Industry will be made in due course.

The President has further announced the reconfiguration of old departments or the establishment of new departments to align them with the Ministries.

Some departments remain mainly unchanged, but require changes to nomenclature to conform to Ministerial portfolio designations. The total number of departments has been reduced by five, stemming from mergers and the transfer of functions.

The Ministers will oversee the following departments and entities as per their delegated portfolios:

The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development is responsible for the newly reconstituted Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD). This is a new department arising from a merger between the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR).

The Minister of Basic Education is responsible for the Department of Basic Education (DBE). The DBE will lead an integrated ECD function in collaboration with the Department of Social Development (DSD) and the Department of Health (DoH).

The Minister of Communications is responsible for the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT). This is a new department arising from a merger between the Department of Communications (DOC) and the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS).

The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs is responsible for the Department of Cooperative Governance (DCoG) and the Department of Traditional Affairs (DTA)

The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans is responsible for the Department of Defence (DoD) and the Department of Military Veterans (DMV).

The Minister of the Environment, Forestry and Fisheries is responsible for the Department of the Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF). This department arises from the transfer of the functions of forestry and fisheries from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The Minister of Employment and Labour is responsible for the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL). This department will coordinate all government efforts to create jobs and reduce unemployment, and will be required to change its approach from mere compliance enforcement to facilitating job creation.

The Minister of Finance is responsible for the National Treasury (NT), the South African Revenue Services (SARS) and the Government Pensions Administration Agency. The Infrastructure Development Management System (IDMS) function, currently under the National Treasury, is transferred to the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure.

The Minister of Health is responsible for the Department of Health (DoH)

The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology is responsible for the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI)

The Minister of Home Affairs is responsible for the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and the Government Printing Works (GPW)

The Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation is responsible for the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) and the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS)

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation is responsible for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO).

The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services is responsible for the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJ and CD), the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), and the Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ).

The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy is responsible for the new Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE). This department arises from a merger between the Department of Mineral Resources and the Department of Energy.

The Minister of Police is responsible for the South African Police Service (SAPS), the Independent Police Investigation Directorate (IPID) and the Civilian Secretariat for the Police Service (CSPS)

The Minister in the Presidency is responsible for the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) including the National Planning Secretariat, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) and Brand SA.

The Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities is responsible for the new Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA). The DWYPD arises from the transfer of the youth function from the DPME and the function of people with disabilities from the Department of Social Development.

The Minister Public Enterprises is responsible for the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE).

The Minister for the Public Service and Administration is responsible for the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), the National School of Government (NSG) and the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI).

The Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure is responsible for the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI). Over and above what it was previously responsible for, the department will assume coordinating responsibility for all public infrastructure development.

The Minister of Small Business Development is responsible for the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD)

The Minister of Social Development is responsible for the Department of Social Development (DSD).

The Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture is responsible for the new Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC). This department arises from a merger between the Department of Sport and Recreation and the Department of Arts and Culture.

The Minister State Security is responsible for the State Security Agency (SSA). Processes are already under way to reorganize the SSA, based on the recommendations of the Review Panel Report on the State Security Agency. These changes will be communicated in due course.

The Minister of Tourism is responsible for the Department of Tourism (DT)

The Minister of Trade and Industry is responsible for the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic). The Economic Development Department (EDD) is disestablished and incorporated into the dti. The Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) is transferred from the EDD to the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI).

The Minister of Transport is responsible for the Department of Transport (DoT)

The President is, in line with the Public Service Act, the Executive Authority of the department, The Presidency.

The Public Service Commission is responsible for the department, the Office of the Public Service Commission (OPSC).

All state-owned entities, development finance institutions (DFIs) and national regulatory institutions attached to ministries and departments of the Fifth Administration will move to the relevant ministries and departments of the Sixth Administration in line with the reconfiguration indicated above.

National Macro Organisation of the Government (NMOG) governance structures have been set up to support the reconfiguration process. Consultation and ongoing communications shall be undertaken with the affected departments, clients and organised labour.

The redesign of organisational structures is limited to the realignment of macro organisational structures and exclude restructuring. Staff will transfer to new departments with their existing conditions of service.

The reconfiguration of the national government in the sixth administration has seen a reduction of five departments from the fifth administration, stemming from mergers and the transfer of functions. To summarise what is stated above, the following ten departments are merged, into five departments respectively:

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (without the forestry and fisheries portfolios) is merged with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to form the new Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD);

The Department of Communications and the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services are merged to form the new Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT);

The Department of Mineral Resources and the Department of Energy are merged to form the new Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE);

The Department of Sport and Recreation and the Department of Arts and Culture are merged to form the new Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC); and

The Economic Development Department is merged into the Department of Trade and Industry to form the new Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic).

As previously stated by His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa, the project of reconfiguring government and the state is an ongoing process and there will be continuing review and monitoring of the work of the new departments.

Source: Government of South Africa

Labour on Small and Medium Enterprise

SA SME defies odds � moves from 5 employees to 260

A South African company, ANAX Logistics, established in 2007 as a Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) and started off with only 5 employees has grown to now employ 260 people and has been selected by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to represent South Africa at the 2019 Africa Kaizen Awards to be held in Tunis, Tunisia on 26 June 2019.

The rationale behind the 2019 Africa Kaizen Awards is to enhance capabilities and competitiveness of African companies by promoting the concept of Kaizen through mutual learning process of know-how and the practical experiences of Kaizen activities in Africa, Asia and Latin America as well as the sharing of information on Africa Kaizen Initiatives.

JICA the organiser of the awards, recognizes Kaizen as an approach to enhance the foundation of firm capabilities necessary for companies to grow and innovate. The Kaizen concept is a Japanese management philosophy that enables the implementation of best workplace practices to yield higher productivity levels.

In recent years, the achievements of Kaizen has attracted the interest of an increasing number of countries in Africa. At the occasion of the sixth Tokyo International Conference of African Development (TICAD VI) in 2016, Kaizen received high attention as a promising method to increasing quality, productivity and competitiveness with the unique pillar of Japanese cooperation.

African countries participating in this year’s awards also include Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia, Ethiopia and South Africa. The South African company selected for the awards, ANAX Logistics, was established in 2007 by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and owner, Mr Ntsikelelo Eric Mgqibelo and his wife Mrs. Fezeka Mgqibelo.

Mr. Mgqibelo states, for our company to be nominated to participate in these awards is a phenomenal feat for a company of this size and with the humble beginnings that it had. Implementation of the Productivity SA Work Place Challenge into our business has ensured that we inculcate a culture of continuous improvement in all spheres of our business thus contributing significantly in the attainment of critical KPIs required by our clients for much needed value add in their operations. This was a catalyst that has strongly ensured exponential growth achievements in the recent past, taking ANAX Logistics from small humble beginnings to a medium / large size business contributing significantly to job creation in the local economy.

This is clearly a vindication of returns that could be realised when government agencies and big businesses make a concerted drive to invest time and resources into developing small businesses and ensuring their sustainment. Our achievements would not have been possible without the involvement of Productivity SA, extensive participation by our employees / work teams and contributions made by our key / major clients; ie. Mercedes Benz SA, Total SA, Shell SA, etc.

We believe that the opportunity to participate in the 2019 Africa Kaizen Awards will not only allow us to compete, but to also give us a platform to get more exposure on world class best practice benchmarks, something we plan to bring back home to further improve the way we run our business operations and to share experience with other up and coming business counterparts.

Productivity SA was responsible for the implementation of productivity-improvement methodologies within ANAX Logistics via the Workplace Challenge Programme. A continuous improvement programme that measures, quality, cost, delivery and innovation. Winners of the competition in Tunisia will head to the TICAD VII Conference to be held in August in the city of Yokohama, Japan.

The Chief Executive Officer of Productivity SA, Mr Mothunye Mothiba, wished ANAX Logistics well and says efforts towards leading a productivity and competitiveness driven growth and development agenda in South Africa must be heightened.

Source: Government of South Africa

Sudan Military Acknowledges Violations in sit-in Dispersal

KHARTOUM, SUDAN – Sudan’s ruling military has acknowledged that security forces committed violations when they moved in to disperse a protest sit-in camp outside the military headquarters in Khartoum last week.

The spokesman of the ruling military council, Gen. Shams Eddin Kabashi, told reporters at a news conference late Thursday that an investigation was underway and that several military officers were held in custody for alleged deviation from the action plan set by military leaders.

Kabashi did not elaborate on the violations beyond describing them as painful and outrageous.

Over 100 people were killed in the capital and across Sudan in a sweeping crackdown last week, according to protest organizers. Protesters also said more than 40 bodies were pulled from the Nile River in Khartoum and taken away by security forces.

We feel sorry for what happened, said Kabashi. We will show no leniency and we will hold accountable anyone, regardless of their rank, if proven to have committed violations.

The dispersal of the sit-in was an alarming turn in the standoff between the protesters and the military, which removed President Omar al-Bashir from power in April after a months-long popular uprising against his 30-year rule.

Rights groups expressed alarm over the violence.

On Thursday, U.N. Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Pramila Patten expressed grave concern over reports of mass rapes of protesters and female medical personnel by security forces and militias.

U.N. experts on Wednesday said they were concerned Sudan is sliding into a human rights abyss in the aftermath of the security forces’ deadly clampdown. The experts, appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council, called for an independent investigation into violations against peaceful protesters in Sudan.

Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, a coalition of political groups representing protesters, insists on an international investigation � a demand Kabahi strongly rejected.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch urged the Sudanese military to restore access to the internet, which has been blocked since the start of the clampdown.

Separately, Kabahi dismissed the death toll announced by the Sudanese Doctors Central Committee, a group associated with the protesters, as misleading and incendiary.

The group had said 108 people were killed and more than 500 were wounded. The military-controlled health ministry later put the death toll at 61.

Source: Voice of America