Mining Charter court bid put on hold as Ramaphosa steps in

The day before it was supposed to start, an application by the Chamber of Mines for a judicial review and setting aside of the reviewed Mining Charter has been postponed.

“I am certain we will be able to resolve the current impasse and agree on a Charter that both accelerates transformation and grows this vital sector of our economy,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement.

The application was set to be heard in the North Gauteng High Court starting on Monday. But on Sunday evening both the mining advocacy body and the Presidency put out statements saying that negotiations would again commence.

“The Presidency has indicated that the president is committed to resolving the impasse over the Mining Charter and to facilitate a process of developing a new Mining Charter, inclusive of all stakeholders and in the interests of the industry and the country as a whole,” the Chamber said in a statement on Sunday afternoon.

“In line with the spirit and the tone of the message as stated by the President during SONA on 16 February, the Chamber of Mines is agreeable to the request by the Presidency to give negotiations a chance.”

“The Chamber of Mines wishes to reiterate its position that only a negotiated Mining Charter taking on board the views and inputs of all key stakeholders will enjoy the support and endorsement of all stakeholders.”

Space for engagement 

In a statement issued by the office of the presidency, Ramaphosa said that postponement would allow the Chamber and the Department of Mineral Resources “space to engage and find an amicable solution”.

“The Presidency and the Chamber of Mines have approached the seven other applicants, as well as two amici curiae, namely the National Union of Mineworkers and Solidarity, to advise them of this development, and have encouraged them to similarly postpone their applications,” his office said.

“This is in line with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s commitment during the State of the Nation Address to intensify engagements with all stakeholders on the Mining Charter to ensure that it is truly ‘an effective instrument to sustainably transform the face of mining in South Africa'”.

SOURCE: fin24.com

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA – MARCH 17: President Jacob Zuma during the official launch of the Invest South Africa One Stop Shop (InvestSA OSS) at the DTI campus on March 17, 2017 in Pretoria, South Africa. The initiative is part of the government’s drive to improve the business environment by lowering the cost of doing business as well as making the process easier. (Photo by Gallo Images / Alet Pretorius)

Sona delay causes headaches

Mninwa Mahlangu, South Africa’s ambassador to the US, flew into Cape Town early last week ahead of the now indefinitely postponed state of the nation address (Sona).

Mahlangu is one of Parliament’s guests and was invited in his capacity as a former chairperson of the National Council of Provinces. Now waiting indefinitely, he is one of Parliament’s presiding officers who were invited to the event. Other guests include former presidents, current heads of the Pan African Parliament and members of the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum.

Parliament is paying for Mahlangu’s accommodation as well as his local transportation costs.

The occasion brings to Cape Town heads of the judiciary and provincial legislatures, an imbongi who Parliament flies in and accommodates if he or she is from outside the Western Cape, eminent persons including nine radio competition winners – one from each province – and school children who form the civil guard and junior guards. The latter are generally from local schools.

Kwaito star Arthur Mafokate, who frequently attends the event, took to Twitter on Wednesday morning to offer the platform’s users the use of his hotel rooms, for which the hotel wouldn’t refund him. While it may be too early to quantify the costs of this week’s unprecedented postponement of the annual address, Parliament has been negotiating with suppliers to cap the costs at the rate they would have charged had the event gone ahead on the intended date.

Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said the institution had asked travel agencies to negotiate with hotels and airlines for tickets to be held, without the extra charges that are normally imposed in similar circumstances.

The legislature is negotiating with the City of Cape Town to ask for a week’s extension to keep up the parliamentary banners that line the streets in the central business district, at no extra cost.

City Press understands that Parliament sent hundreds of text messages to its guests this week, informing them about the postponement.

“We have sent SMSes, emails and called every guest to apologise for the inconvenience caused and to notify them that a new date will be communicated. We did that on the same day, swiftly,” said Mothapo. Parliament budgeted R4.3m for the event and is hoping not to exceed this.

On Tuesday, Parliament’s presiding officers: National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise announced that Sona was being postponed amid expectations that President Jacob Zuma would resign or that the ANC would remove him from office. Modise and Mbete said they came to the decision after reading “the mood of the country” and to accommodate unfolding political developments.

They hoped that Sona would not be postponed by more than a week and said they would take into account the scheduled tabling of the national budget on February 21.

On Thursday, Mothapo said everything was being done to make sure the budget was not affected. The chief whips came to the same decision at their weekly meeting.

“There is a general agreement in Parliament including among the presiding officers, that the budget will not be shifted,” Mothapo said.

The Sona delay has affected the holding of all nine state of the province addresses. Several provincial legislatures have already invited guests and prepared venues and other logistics. The legislatures will wait for the Sona date before announcing theirs.

Meanwhile, sources in the ANC have speculated that the party may use section 90 of the Constitution to install Cyril Ramaphosa as acting head of the state. The section makes provision for the deputy president to act as president in the event that the president is out of the country, is unable to fulfil his or her duties, or if there is a vacancy in the office of the president.

SOURCE: Andisiwe Makinana – City Press


Cyril Ramaphosa succeeds Zuma as South African president

Cyril Ramaphosa has become South Africa’s president a day after embattled leader Jacob Zuma resigned.

He was the only candidate nominated by parliament, which is dominated by his African National Congress. MPs broke into song at the announcement.

In his first presidential speech, Mr Ramaphosa, 65, said he would tackle the corruption which allegedly became widespread under Mr Zuma.

The ANC had told Mr Zuma to step down or face a vote of no-confidence.

Mr Zuma faces numerous corruption allegations but denies any wrongdoing.

One allegation is that he allowed the wealthy Gupta family, to whom he has personal ties, to wield influence over policy, in an example of “state capture”.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Ajay Gupta, one of the three most prominent Gupta brothers, officials said on Thursday.

This follows a raid by the Hawks, an elite police unit, on their home on Wednesday. The family has denied corruption allegations.

President Ramaphosa told parliament that corruption and state capture were “on our radar screen”.

He is due to deliver a State of the Nation address on Friday. This was delayed last week amid uncertainty about who should deliver it and Mr Zuma’s reluctance to step down.

One opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, walked out of the parliamentary debate. It wants new elections, rather than the ANC deciding on the identity of the new president.”



Everything you need to know if Zuma leaves

As the country gears up for Zuma’s exit, we reveal what changes consumers can expect in the country, if Zuma falls on his sword and finally gives in to the National Executive Committee’s (NEC’s) call for his resignation.

Will South Africa enjoy victory?

According to Chief Economist at Investec, Annabel Bishop, South Africa has already enjoyed a victory of R30.2 billion foreign investment since Cyril Ramaphosa succeeded Zuma as President of the African National Congress (ANC) at the end of 2017.

This strengthened the rand by close to R2 against the dollar.

Bishop says that financial markets favour Ramaphosa as it is perceived that he will deliver good governance.


Zuma’s damaging leadership

Meanwhile, Zuma’s leadership has been severely damaging to the country, suppressing investment and economic growth. Bishop notes that business confidence has been depressed since 2009, averaging at 41%. This is significantly lower than the neutral 50% level.

During Zuma’s leadership, there has been credit rating downgrades and higher cost of borrowing.


Changes we can expect

Given South Africa’s Constitution, whether Zuma is removed from office through recall or a no confidence motion, the Deputy President, Ramaphosa will then occupy office and complete the term of the removed President.

The new President will then also be allowed to fill two of his own terms as President afterwards.

Bishop says that based on financial markets and the business sector’s favour toward Ramaphosa as President of the ANC, it is considered that he will follow economic policies that support economic growth and lean towards the free market approach.

She adds that this may also improve business confidence in the first quarter of 2018.

This can have a direct impact on investment and job creation.

“A marked rise above the neutral 50 level in business confidence would likely spur some fixed investment and job creation, but sustained faster economic growth for SA of the magnitude of 5% plus, will take time, as significant deterioration has occurred in SA’s previous key fundamental strengths, but for this repair to take place requires many more urgent interventions now”, says Bishop.

Bishop says that overall, South Africa could see a “better than expected economic growth outcome” this year and the next.

“South Africa can eventually regain it’s A grade credit ratings, see unemployment drop below 22% and have sustained economic growth above 5.0% y/y again, and repair both its public and SOE finances as it has the capacity to do so, butmust now reduce the size of the state substantially, and allow conditions that see the private corporate sector triple in size”.

SOURCE: iol.co.za


Cape Town drought declared a ‘national disaster’

South Africa has declared the drought which has seen Cape Town hurtling towards “Day Zero” a national disaster.

The government made the announcement after reassessing the “magnitude and severity” of the three-year drought.

It has badly affected three of the country’s nine provinces.

The decision came as Cape Town announced its water saving measures, which require each citizen to use less than 50 litres a day, had successfully pushed back “Day Zero” to 4 June.

Just a matter of weeks ago, the date that Cape Town’s taps were predicted to run dry was 12 April.

Mmusi Maimane, leader of South Africa’s Democratic Alliance (DA), which runs both the city of Cape Town and Western Cape province, tweeted:


In another tweet, he revealed the average water use in Cape Town, a city of about four million people, was below 550 million litres. Two years ago, it was at more than a billion litres per day.

It has been no easy task for Cape Town’s residents. The 50 litre limit is just enough for a very short shower and one flush of the toilet a day when other needs – including just one load of the washing machine a week – are taken into account.

However, the decision to declare a national disaster means the central government – which is run by the African National Congress (ANC) – will now take responsibility for relief efforts.

According to South African news website eNCA, the co-operative governance minister Des van Rooyen said last week more than 70m rand (£4.2m; $5.8m) had been put aside to tackle the crisis in the Western Cape, as well as in the Eastern Cape and Northern Cape, two provinces which have garnered less headlines, but are also struggling with the effects of the drought.



Can you survive on 50 Litres of water a day?

In light of the city’s news yesterday, here are some tips on how to survive on 50 Litres or less a day.

The City of Cape Town released a statement saying, “we have reached a point of no return” with a detailed implementation of the new Level 6b water restrictions that limits residents to 50 Litres of water per person a day (double the amount of what is expected when Day Zero arrives).

Even if the city restricts us to 25 Litres per day, I would rather that came through my taps than having to stand in a queue and lug it around. It serves us all to save now!

We can’t do much about the politics and we can’t do anything about the weather, but we CAN all come together to try and save the day! Let’s save water while we still have something to save.

At this point literally EVERY DROP counts!

My family of five (including infant twins) uses between 30 and 40 Litres per person per day. This is what we do…

In the bathroom

1. Collect clean water that you run off before showering while waiting for hot water, and use this for cooking and drinking. We have a closed container with a tap that we then move to the kitchen when it is full; this is adequate for our cooking and drinking needs.

2. Collect any grey water you can and use that to flush the toilet. Turn off the taps to the toilet so you don’t accidentally forget. (I have found 40 years of habit hard to break).

3. Turn the shower off while soaping and only on for a few seconds to wet and rinse. Start washing your hair less often to “train it” for Day Zero.

4. Keep a bottle of bleach in your bathroom and add a few drops into stinky loos and grey water buckets.

5. Bath with a friend – my children are too small to shower so I bath them every 2 or 3 days (crawling babies get very dirty). Everyone baths together in a small quantity of water (about 30 litres) and on the other days we make do with a cat bath. The bath water is kept for flushing.

In the kitchen

As I mentioned we use our cold water run-off for cooking and drinking.

1. Collect any water left in glasses or water bottles before washing and use in pet bowls or to water house plants.

2. Use a water bottle instead of glasses so you can put it back in the fridge at the end of the day if there is any water left in it.

3. Cook foods such as vegetables in the microwave or steamer instead of boiling them in water. Use a steamer (electric or bamboo) that has multiple tiers to steam more than one thing at a time. Banish pasta, boiled eggs etc! If you do cook these, strain the water off into a bucket and use this for flushing.

4. Keep a bowl of water to rinse vegetables and fruit and at the end of the day use that water in pet’s bowls or for flushing.

Washing up
I pack my dishwasher to the brim before I run it, and according to the specs (Defy Eco) it uses 11 litres per wash. Because I have twin babies I also run water to wash their baby bottles by hand everyday. (Try drawing a line on the side of the sink so you can see where to fill to). Once I have washed the bottles I wash up anything else that is lying around to maximise the use of this water. Then I run out the dirty soapy water (or save and use for flushing if you can) and I keep the rinse side and leave it there for the day for hand washing, washing out cloths for wiping etc.

1.Assign everyone in the house or office a mug for the day and only wash up at the end of the day.

2. Serve finger foods that don’t need a plate (sandwiches, wraps, pita breads). Or switch to paper plates.

Washing laundry
My washing machine, on the other hand, uses 56 litres per wash! This is more than one person’s quota per day. So ONLY wash what is necessary.

1. Hang your bath towels in the sun in the morning as this will dry them out quickly and prevent them from smelling. Sun is also a brilliant germ-killer and this will mean you need to wash your towels less regularly.

In the garden

1. Collect any and all rainwater that you can. This can be used for flushing, and if you are very lucky a little watering in the garden.

2. Accept that many of your high water-need plants will probably not survive and embrace water-wise gardening.

Outside of the house
Remember that your water total includes what you use outside the house (at the gym, eating at restaurants, at work etc). So don’t forget to practice water saving ways where ever you are.

SOURCE: food24.com


The battle for top ANC posts in Mpumalanga has begun

The real contest is for the powerful positions of chairperson and provincial secretary, which are key in provincial politics.

The stage is set for the battle for control of the ANC in Mpumalanga and senior members are putting their names in the hat to replace former ANC chairperson David Mabuza.

Mabuza, who is also premier, was elected as the party’s deputy president at the December national conference.

He is also expected to vacate the premiership portfolio.

The real contest is for the powerful positions of chairperson and provincial secretary, which are key in provincial politics. Last week, party activists put forward David Dube as their candidate for chairperson.

Dube shot to prominence as a campaigner for ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, alongside veteran politician Fish Mahlalela, who is also said to be eyeing the position.

Dube and Mahlalela belong to the same faction, but one side within the camp wants Dube and another backs Mahlalela.

Dube’s supporters said he was a “humble” and “down-to-earth” leader whose PhD would put him in good stead to guide municipalities and provincial departments to deliver services.

Peter Nyoni, head of the department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, is also vying for the post.

Dube, Mahlalela and Nyoni will be challenged by current provincial secretary Mandla Ndlovu, who also wants the chairperson position.

Provincial executive committee member and community safety MEC Pat Ngomane is the favourite to be provincial secretary.

SOURCE – citizen.co.za, Eric Naki


How Zuma refused to resign

A top official of South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) has given dramatic details of how President Jacob Zuma stubbornly refused to agree to resign at a meeting on Sunday.

The scandal-hit Mr Zuma was urged by the party’s top six officials to step down in favour of new ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa, but he refused, ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile said in a leaked audio published by the Times Live news site.

“We were saying to President Zuma on Sunday that we don’t want two centres of power; we want President Ramaphosa to take control not only of the ANC‚ but [also] the affairs of the state. And we were very clear about it,” Mr Mashatile said.

He quoted Mr Zuma as replying: ‘What do you guys mean by transition?’ He said this is a strange word that you guys have just coined. What is this thing you are talking about called transition?…I’m not going anywhere‚ I’m not convinced by you guys so I’m not going to resign.”

Afterwards, the officials – including Mr Ramaphosa – agreed to call a meeting of the party’s top leadership body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), to decide Mr Zuma’s fate.

However, the meeting was called off after Mr Zuma and Mr Ramaphosa held direct talks, agreeing to resolve the leadership dispute in the coming days without “discord or division”, according to a statement by Mr Ramaphosa.

SOURCE: bbc.com


Doctor must apologise publicly for separating patients

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has instructed a Limpopo doctor who separated patients according to race to make a public apology‚ do community service and participate in anti-racism advocacy workshops.

The SAHRC concluded its investigation into a complaint received about Dr Jimmy van den Berg‚ a general practitioner in Mokopane‚ the commission said on Thursday.

The commission received several complaints that Van den Berg segregated patients into different waiting areas‚ consultation rooms‚ and reception areas.

“It was further alleged that staff had segregated toilets and kitchens and could not use the same kitchen utensils. The complainants told the SAHRC that black patients were billed more than white patients for the same medical services. The Commission conducted several inspections at the medical rooms and confirmed that patients and staff were being segregated on the basis of race‚” the commission said.

Van den Berg agreed to co-operate with the commission and indicated his willingness to resolve the matter expeditiously and amicably.

“Dr Van den Berg is to provide the commission with a written undertaking to immediately desist from segregating patients and staff according to race and to refrain from any similar actions‚ words or attitudes‚ which violate Chapter 2 of the Constitution in the future‚” the SAHRC said.

The commission also sought a written public apology for this violation of the rights to equality of his patients and staff. Van den Berg and his staff are further required to participate in anti-racism advocacy workshops facilitated by the SAHRC within three months of signing the conciliation agreement.

The SAHRC required additional undertakings that Van den Berg provide 48 hours of free medical service at a medical facility serving a disadvantaged community‚ and that he covers the cost of one counselling session for each member of his staff adversely affected by the segregation at his medical practice.

The commission said it would impose harsher penalties through the courts should the terms of the agreement not be honoured.

A conciliation agreement on this case will be signed on Friday morning.

SOURCE: timeslive.co.za


Jacob Zuma will be a very rich man, thanks to taxpayers

Political parties and officials have been calling on President Jacob Zuma to resign and have even threatened to oust the President.

If he resigns though, he will still live a comfortable life and enjoy several benefits.

Zuma will reportedly be paid his annual salary of R2 989 845 after stepping down for the rest of his life.

In addition to this hefty salary, he will also enjoy a security team and an official vehicle.

He will be given an office, secretary and be entitled to free domestic flights on the national airline.

These benefits have likewise been enjoyed by former presidents, FW de Klerk and Thabo Mbeki.

The entitlements that these former presidents are granted is outlined in the Presidential Handbook.

List of benefits given to all former state presidents in South Africa:

– Personal security that will protect him, his entire family and immediate family.

– A home which the state will either contribute towards partially or fully, dependent on Zuma’s safety requirements.

– Health insurance and special treatment at military hospitals .

– An official salary of R2.87 million which was approved in 2016. An increase in this salary is subject to government gazettes.

– An indirect line to government. This will permit the former president to apply his services at diplomatic functions which is ultimately at the discretion of the incumbent president.

However, whilst still occupying office, Zuma and his family benefit from family medical cover.

Zuma and his family receive healthcare services which are billed to the surgeon-general through the South African Military and Health Services (SAMHS) of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

Zuma’s vehicle and maintaining costs are also borne by the South African Police Service (SAPS). Meanwhile, air transport costs are for the account of the SANDF using state-owned or privately chartered aircraft.

When using an aircraft, the Presidency however has to foot the bill of catering costs.

Zuma further has to liberty to occupy official residences in Cape Town, Pretoria and Durban.

All furnishing, maintenance and even the provision of flowers is billed by the Department of Public Works.

However, household staff are employed by the Presidency which also pays for special advisers “as needed”.

The first lady also bears benefits, such as being entitled to services of a private secretary‚ a state-owned vehicle and driver or protector. These costs are borne by SAPS.

The spouse of the president enjoys “reasonable support” with day-today arrangements of dependent school-going children”.

The pensions for retired presidents were previously calculated on 75% of their annual salary. However, since April 2008, this was amended to 100% of a president’s annual salary.

According to former president FW de Klerk’s spokesperson‚ Dave Steward‚ a former president is entitled to receive an official vehicle for life. The former president could also be awarded an armoured vehicle, depending on the security assessment done around the former head of the state.

“They also have security for life, which is determined by the security assessment done by the relevant police unit and receive free flights on South African Airways inside SA‚” said Steward.

Mbeki and De Klerk currently have an annual pension of about R2.1 million which is not much less than what Zuma will be receiving.

SOURCE: iol.co.za