US Again Condemns Nigeria’s Twitter Ban

The U.S. has condemned Nigeria’s continuing ban of Twitter in the country, saying the action “has no place in a democracy.”

“Freedom of expression and access to information both online and offline are foundational to prosperous and secure democratic societies,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Thursday in a statement calling for the African nation to reverse its Twitter suspension.

He said the U.S. “condemns the ongoing suspension of Twitter by the Nigerian government and subsequent threats to arrest and prosecute Nigerians who use Twitter. The United States is likewise concerned that the Nigerian National Broadcasting Commission ordered all television and radio broadcasters to cease using Twitter.”

The U.S. had joined the European Union, Britain, Ireland and Canada last weekend in criticizing the Nigerian action. The Abuja government indefinitely banned Twitter after the U.S. social media company deleted a tweet from President Muhammadu Buhari’s account for violating its rules.

Tweet about unrest

Buhari’s tweet referred to the country’s civil war four decades ago in a warning about recent unrest, referring to “those misbehaving” in violence in the southeastern part of the country. Officials there blame the prohibited separatist group IPOB for attacks on police and election offices.

“Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand,” the president had posted on Twitter.

Buhari’s office denied the Twitter suspension was a response to the removal of that post.

“There has been a litany of problems with the social media platform in Nigeria, where misinformation and fake news spread through it have had real-world violent consequences,” presidency spokesperson Garba Shehu said in a statement.

Shehu said the removal of Buhari’s tweet was “disappointing” and that “major tech companies must be alive to their responsibilities.”

Twitter said it was working to restore the social media network in Nigeria, but government officials warned they would prosecute violators.

Source: Voice of America

MEC David Maynier welcomes announcement on Schedule 2 of Electricity Regulation Act

100MW generation threshold a big leap forward for energy resilience in the Western Cape

We welcome the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa today (10 June 2021) that Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act will be amended to increase the licensing threshold for embedded generation projects from 1 MW to 100 MW.

With load shedding costing South Africa’s economy R500 million per stage, per day, and the Western Cape’s economy R75 million per stage, per day, over the last two weeks load shedding has cost the South African economy approximately R25 billion, and the Western Cape approximately R3.85 billion.

We now need to urgently finalise Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act and clarify which categories of projects are covered by the relaxation and ensure that the permitting and registration requirements do not become another regulatory spiderweb causing unnecessary delays in the delivery of additional energy supply in South Africa.

We remain in an energy crisis and large-scale private sector participation in energy generation, in partnership with government, will be key to addressing the current shortfall in the Western Cape. And so, this is a positive move that will give much-needed certainty to investors and increase access to affordable, renewable energy in South Africa.

Source: Government of South Africa

Deputy Minister Buti Manamela hosts Mining Skills Workshop, 11 Jun

The Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Mr Buti Manamela, together with the Mining Qualification Authority, will be hosting a Mining Skills Workshop at the Waterberg TVET Campus in Limpopo.

The aim of the workshop is to expose TVET college students, unemployed youth and high school learners to the opportunities that are offered by the mining sector in the Waterberg area.

The workshop also aims to establish a closer working relationship between the mining companies and the college, with the hope that this will increase employment opportunities for the local communities.

Source: Government of South Africa

Covid-19: South Africa’s health minister put on leave over graft allegations

PRETORIA— South Africa’s health minister was placed on special leave over a corruption scandal involving an irregular government contract where $11 million was paid to a company connected to two people who used to work for him.

Zweli Mkhize has been spearheading the coronavirus response in South Africa, which has the most cases and deaths in Africa.

The move was announced Tuesday by President Cyril Ramaphosa in a statement from his office. It said Mkhize was placed on special leave from his job “to attend to allegations and investigations” around the irregular contract.

South Africa’s minister of tourism would step in as acting health minister, the president said. South Africa’s Special Investigative Unit is still probing the contract and hasn’t released a report, although Mkhize’s own health department has already found that the contract was “irregular.”

Mkhize has denied that he personally benefited from the contract and claimed he wasn’t involved in its awarding.

Mkhize’s former personal assistant and former spokeswoman are now connected to the Digital Vibes company, which was paid the money to organize media briefings for the minister during the coronavirus pandemic.

There are new allegations that Mkhize’s son personally benefitted from the contract.

It’s one of multiple corruption scandals that have tainted the South African government’s virus response.


Home Affairs addresses National Council of Provinces on policy debate, 11 June

The Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, and the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Njabulo Nzuza, will address the National Council of Provinces on the occasion of the policy debate on Vote 5: Department of Home Affairs, tomorrow, 11 June 2021 at 10H00.

The Minister and the Deputy Minister will unpack the plans and key priorities of the department for the 2021/22 financial year with a particular slant on how their work impacts on the delivery of public services in the nine provinces of the Republic of South Africa. They will also report on the commitments made in the past year in the quest to fulfill the Home Affairs mandate.

Members of the media are invited to follow the debate virtually on Parliament’s social media platforms, as follows:

Source: Government of South Africa