Motlanthe reassures the nation

first_imgPresident Kgalema Motlanthe (Image: The Presidency of SA)Wilma den HartighThe global economic crisis and South Africa’s social grants were major priorities in President Kgalema Motlanthe’s State of the Nation Address on Friday.  He also assured South Africans that the nation is in a good state, despite the strain on the local economy and much political uncertainty.He said South Africa could not ignore the global credit crunch and its consequences for production and trade. The government’s immediate task is to devise responses that will minimise the impact of the crisis, he said, especially on the most vulnerable sectors of society.Motlanthe stressed that South Africa’s counter-cyclical budget policies had helped the country avoid the worst impact of the crisis.“We are in a period in which others are experiencing or projecting recessions. South Africa and the rest of the continent are still poised for growth, even if at a slower rate,” he said.The president announced that a task team was busy debating a number of interventions for the country. These include continued public investment projects, the value of which has increased to R690-billion for the next three years.“Where necessary, we will find creative ways to raise funds,” he said. This will include support by development finance institutions, loan finance from international agencies, partnerships with the private sector and utilisation of resources controlled by workers such as pension funds.Plans to expand employment in sectors such as health, social work, education and law-enforcement agencies will continue. The introduction of the next phase of the Expanded Public Works Programme will also be fast-tracked.  He spoke of “mitigating actions” to be undertaken within the private sector to counteract an excessive investment slowdown and unnecessary closures of production plants. For example, government will adapt industrial financing and incentive instruments to help deal with challenges in various sectors, and also encourage development finance institutions to assist firms in distress. Alternatives to layoffs will be explored, including longer holidays, extended training, short time and job-sharing.Many analysts and opposition parties welcomed the introduction of the task team, as well as the proposed intervention strategies.  “What stands out is that the president spoke about the global financial crisis. It is an indication that government is not in denial,” said Judith February, head of the political information and monitoring service at the Institute for Democracy in South Africa.She added that it was a “good steadying speech” that addressed how the economic crisis will impact on South Africans. However, she did express concern about the implementation of the initiatives.Raenette Taljaard, director of the Helen Suzman Foundation, said Motlanthe approached the implications of the global financial crisis for South Africa in a very thoughtful way.“He even made some suggestions of what can be done if we know that the credit markets are going to be closed for infrastructure,” Taljaard said.Dr Pieter Mulder, leader of the Freedom Front Plus, largely agreed.“Although the address was an election speech in a certain sense, the intervention plans are concrete and we welcome the task team discussions,” Mulder said.  Social grants also came under the spotlight in the address. Motlanthe said government has over the past 15 years done its best to attack the scourge of poverty through the social wage. Income poverty among African and Coloured communities has declined, partly as a result of higher rates of employment and access to social grants. In 1999 the number of grant beneficiaries was 2.5-million. By 2008 this had increased to 12.4-million.Research conducted by a team of academics at the University of Stellenbosch, led by Professor Servaas van der Berg, indicates that money-metric poverty declined substantially since the turn of the century. The reduction is to a large extent due to a dramatic expansion in social grants expenditure from 2002 onwards.Among households that include children (aged 17 and younger), the number of households reporting that a child went hungry declined dramatically (from just over 31% to 16%) between 2002 and 2006. Evidence of the social wage is also seen in massive improvements in access to primary health facilities.Despite these advances, Motlanthe said still more could be done.“Government is painfully aware that abject poverty is still too widespread in our society and the level of inequality is too high.”As part of the intervention plan, he said government will sustain and expand social expenditure, including progressively extending access to the child support grant to children 18 years of age and reducing the age of eligibility for old age pension to 60 years for men.Helen Zille, leader of the Democratic Alliance, was critical of this emphasis on social grants, saying poverty-stricken South Africans need more than a “few hundred rand a month” to sustain themselves. Zille said what is needed is to grow the economy and create more jobs so that people can sustain their families and earn a honourable living.Jacob Zuma, president of the ruling African National Congress, pointed out that the levels of poverty in 1994 were “beyond description” and social grants were necessary to address this situation. “It is important to begin to think how we can come out of this. We can’t have a country that depends on grants forever,” Zuma said, adding that an emphasis on education is an important tool to address this issue and lower the number of people dependent on grants.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at read more

Spotlight on open access learning

first_imgRay Maota Open access resources will benefit everyone, especially pupils, as they will be able to access valuable information which would have been out of their reach if they had to pay for it.(Image: images, visit the image library) Professor Russel Botman, rector and vice chancellor of Stellenbosch University, said that it was important to bridge the divide and to set up processes for the free flow of information to and from developing countries.(Image: Stellenbosch University)MEDIA CONTACTS• Reggie RajuBerlin 10 Conference: programme chair+ 27 21 808 4641RELATED ARTICLES• A winning open education system• Take-away content to help pupils• Open access to SA journals• Education goes mobile with VodacomOpen Educational Resources (OER) is a system that uses digital materials for teaching, learning and research, and makes them freely available online.While many OERs are developed in industrialised countries, developing nations should themselves be more than mere consumers of them.OERs are to be shared, exchanged, expanded and adapted – with appropriate attributions.After becoming the first African university to sign the Berlin Declaration on open access to knowledge in science and humanities in 2010, Stellenbosch University will also become the first African host of the Berlin 10 Open Access Conference.Berlin 10 is the result of a meeting organised in 2003 by the Max Planck Society and the European Cultural Heritage Online project, where international experts were brought together “with the aim of developing a new web-based research environment using the Open Access paradigm as a mechanism for having scientific knowledge and cultural heritage accessible worldwide”.The result was the signing of The Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, a document outlining the promotion of the internet as a medium of stimulating knowledge worldwide.Building on the widely accepted Budapest Open Access Initiative, the Berlin Declaration also calls for authors not to expect payment for their research and for them to give permission to others to use their work, so as to accelerate the pace of scholarship and research.Talking open accessThe Berlin 10 Open Access Conference, where unrestricted access to research material is to be discussed, will be held at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) in the Western Cape from 6 – 8 November 2012.The conference has been held annually since 2004 and to date Germany, Switzerland, England, Italy, France, China and – most recently – the US – have hosted it.Professor Russel Botman, rector and vice chancellor of Stellenbosch University, said: “Stellenbosch University will be a proud host of this prestigious event along with the Max Planck Society; the Academy for Science for South Africa; Unesco; and, the Association of African Universities.”Making research more accessibleBotman said that the time is right for Berlin 10 in South Africa.“South Africa and its academic and research institutions are at the juncture where they are formally adopting open access principles.“Africa is a near silent, almost invisible contributor to global research, but the research that is being conducted on the continent is not easily accessible to the international audience.”Botman said that it was therefore important to bridge the divide and to set up processes for the free flow of information to and from developing countries.“In my capacity as the vice president of The Association of African Universities, it is my obligation to see that higher education on the continent benefits from Berlin 10 but more importantly that Africa fully embraces open access itself,” he said.Signatories of the Berlin DeclarationSignatories of the Berlin Declaration will add value to the worldwide research output and at the same time make their mark as a progressive institute“Since Stellenbosch signed the declaration, five other institutions in South Africa have done the same,” said Botman.These are: the University of Cape Town; the University of the Free State; the University of Pretoria; the University of South Africa; and the University of Johannesburg.There are 10 other African institutions that have already signed the declaration, including the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana; the National University of Lesotho; and, the Mbarara University of Science and Technology in Uganda.If your institution wants to sign the Berlin Declaration, your highest representative needs to send an email or letter to the president of the Max Planck Society, indicating his or her wish to be listed as a signatory of the Berlin Declaration.Botman said: “Stellenbosch University is also one of a small group of institutions worldwide that have started to publish some of their journals using open source software.“In October 2011 the university launched 11 titles now being made available in this way.”Registration for the conferenceRegistration to attend the conference is now open and early birds will get a discount.Those who register before 15 September 2012 pay R3 300 (US$391), while those who miss that deadline will pay R4 000 ($474).The registration payment includes registration for the main conference, as well as lunch and coffee/tea breaks; workshops; conference and workshop material; the welcome function; and a gala dinner including transport.For payment and account details visit the Berlin 10 website.last_img read more

Cloud Computing: Cloud Adoption Uneven Across Countries in Europe

first_imgLast week Friday we looked at two surveys about the scope of cloud acceptance — a survey by CA Associates that found that 93 percent of companies are using the cloud, and another one by SWC Technology Partners that concluded that less than 4 percent of companies are using applications hosted in the cloud.  The conclusion was that there is currently a huge split between what different segments of  companies are doing. segments.  It’s not clear exactly what the parameters are that make up the profile of a cloud-adopter company versus the cloud-abstainer ones, but  both the location and size of company seem to play a significant factor.A number of other recent surveys continue to highlight the uneven acceptance of cloud computing.  Compare the following two cloud adoption reports, one surveying usage in the UK, and the other in Norway.Cisco’s 2011 CloudWatch report on cloud adoption in the UK found that only 7 percent of companies in the US are using the cloud.  That number is expected to expand to 23 percent in two years time.  But Ian Foddering, CTO and technical director at Cisco UK and Ireland, thinks that part of the reason why the adoption rate appears low is that people are just not aware that they’re using the cloud.  “People don’t even realize they’re consuming cloud-based services [even when they use software like or Cisco WebEx].”The Cisco report also cited another possible reason why companies in the UK have been slow to move on cloud computing: lack of standards.  95 percent of companies said that the lack of common cloud standards is a major concern, and 65 percent said that cloud standards were critical.  But again, not all companies share the same perspective.  Foddering said that  “some vertical sectors are very concerned about the lack of standards, and some, like healthcare, see the lack of standards as a barrier to entry, while some service providers, don’t see it as a factor at all.”But then consider a report from Rammboll which surveyed cloud adoption in Norway.  The report found that over the last year the use of cloud computing has doubled.  Now more than  35% of public sector bodies and private sector companies are using cloud-based application, compared to just 14% from the previous year.  The Rammboll report found that in Norway the main concern about cloud computing is security.  Security was cited by 91 percent of public sector companies and 83 percent of private companies as their number one worry.Terje Mjøs, one of the authors of the report on Norway, said that “suppliers of cloud computing must be able to reassure their customers that the supplier has the expertise needed to use software and virtualisation to establish watertight walls between different businesses in the cloud, and that the supplier can implement user management and access control that is 100% reliable. Users want to be reassured that cloud computing is secure and reliable. Storms in the cloud will keep users indoors, where they are today.”last_img read more

10 months agoBorussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich approach Chelsea for Morata

first_imgBorussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich approach Chelsea for Morataby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea striker Alvaro Morata is the subject of German transfer interest this week.While he scored twice in victory over FA Cup opponents Nottingham Forest on Saturday, Morata’s future this month remains clouded.Marca says Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich have approached Chelsea about a price for the Spaniard. Bayern are also in talks for Morata’s teammate Callum Hudson-Odoi.AC Milan and Sevilla have also registered their interest for Morata this month.Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri will sanction his departure if a replacement can be found. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img

SA World Cup squad Amla Steyn make the cut Hendricks Morris miss

first_imgCape Town: South Africa announced their 15-man squad for the upcoming ICC World Cup on Thursday. Hashim Amla’s experience helped him make the cut while Reeza Hendricks and Chris Morris missed out. Dale Steyn, who recently made a comeback into regular action for South Africa after resolving long-standing injury issues, has also been included in the squad. Apart from the veterans, Aiden Markram, Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada, Andile Phehlukwayo and Rassie van der Dussen have all made it. 40-year-old spinner Imran Tahir, who had said that he will retire from ODI cricket after the World Cup, was also named in the squad. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhWith 7910 runs to his name, 36-year-old Hashim Amla is one of the most successful ODI batsmen of all time for South Africa but he has been struggling for form over the past one year. Reeza Hendricks was being seen as a potential replacement for Amla but the latter’s experience seems to have helped him book a ticket to England. Amla, Du Plessis, Duminy, Miller, Steyn, Tahir and de Kock were all part of the team that reached the semi-final of the 2015 World Cup. This is the first time Du Plessis will be leading the side in the tournament with the previous squad being led by AB de Villiers who retired from international cricket in 2018.last_img read more

Ruchi Soya lenders to vote on Patanjalis Rs 4350crore offer

first_imgNew Delhi: Lenders of debt-ridden Ruchi Soya will vote on April 30 to decide on Baba Ramdev-led Patanjali Ayurved’s revised Rs 4,350 crore bid for the edible oil firm, sources said. Patanjali, the lone player left in contention after the exit of Adani Wilmar, had last month increased its bid value by around Rs 200 crore to Rs 4,350 crore for the Madhya Pradesh-based Ruchi Soya. This excludes capital infusion of Rs 1,700 crore into the company. Sources said the Committee of Creditors (CoC) met on Friday to discuss the revised bid of Patanjali and decided to conduct the voting process on April 30. Ruchi Soya Industries owes around Rs 9,345 crore to financial creditors and another Rs 2,750 crore to operational creditors. In December 2017, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) had referred Ruchi Soya for insolvency proceedings on the application of financial creditors Standard Chartered Bank and DBS Bank.last_img read more

Body of jute mill worker found in Barrackpore youth killed in Nimta

first_imgKolkata: The body of a jute mill labour was found at Manirampur in Barrackpore on Wednesday night. In another incident, a youth was murdered in Nimta on Wednesday night.According to sources, Kamal Das (58) a resident of Manirampur in Barrackpore used to work in a jute mill at Titagarh. He used to live in Manirampur. Some of his relatives lived near his house. Since the past few days, no one had seen Das in the area. On Wednesday night, some of his relatives and neighbours saw lights inside his house were on and the doors were open. Also, a foul smell was coming out of his house. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaWhen a few of his neighbours went to check his house, they saw Das lying in a pool of blood on the floor with his throat slit. Immediately, Barrackpore police station was informed. During the probe sleuths found the almirahs inside Das’s room were open and valuables had been stolen. Also, three glass and a bottle of liquor was seized from the room. It is suspected that the persons who had killed Das and stole valuables in the house. Das did not get a chance to alert anyone when he was murdered. Till Thursday night, none could be arrested in this case. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayIn another incident, a youth identified as Mrinmoy Mondal was killed while he was standing outside of his in-law’s house in Nimta. Though he was originally from Gaighata in North 24 Parganas, Mrinmoy used live at Nimta after his marriage. On Wednesday, around 12 am, he was reportedly standing in front of his in-law’s house. All of a sudden some of his neighbours who were standing close to him, saw a person crossing him riding a bicycle and immediately Mrinmoy hit the ground bleeding profusely from his neck. When they got busy to help Mrinmoy, the bicyclist managed to flee the scene. He was declared brought dead by the doctor in a local hospital. It is alleged that the unknown bicyclist killed him. Sleuths are interrogating Mrinmoy’s wife and in-laws to find clues in the case.last_img read more

Andre Silva Portugal were the better team

first_imgAndre Silva insists Portugal were the better side after scoring the only goal in their 1-0 victory against Italy on Monday night.The UEFA Nations League match between Portugal and Italy in Lisbon was decided by An Andre Silva second-half goal.Bruma played a vital role in the build-up of the goal as he squared the ball to Andre Silva, who beat Donnarumma with a shot into the left corner of the net in the 48th minute.“We were expecting a strong Italy performance, but we were up to it and did well to neutralise them,” Silva told RTP.Cristiano Ronaldo, JuventusSerie A Betting: Match-day 3 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Considering there is a number of perfect starts so early in the Serie A season, as well as a few surprisingly not-so perfect ones….“I have some friends in the Italian national team, but there are no friends on the pitch. I have to focus only on getting the victory for Portugal.“I did think that overall we were the better team on the night and deserved the win.”Italy’s next match in the UEFA Nations League comes next month when they travel to Poland.last_img read more

Liverpool fans will support United today Neville

first_imgAccording to the former Red Devils footballer, the Reds and Chelsea’s supporters will surely wish for a United victory at the DerbyManchester City is currently leading the English Premier League in first place with 29 points.The Citizens have won nine matches, drawing twice and losing none.They are being trailed by Chelsea and Liverpool, who have 27 points each, but one less victory.And this is why fans from both teams will surely support Manchester United in today’s Manchester Derby.“Liverpool fans will absolutely be supporting United on Sunday, no doubt,” said former Red Devils footballer Gary Neville to Sky Sports.Daniel Fark, Norwich City, Premier LeagueDaniel Farke, From mid-table in the Championship to the Premier League Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Norwich City manager, Daniel Farke, has taken his team from the middle of the table in the English Championship to play with the big boys in the Premier League.“Not supporting, but desperate for them to take points off Man City. So will Chelsea.”“There is a danger here to what City are doing that they could run away with this again. There is a danger,” he added.” I did not think it three or four weeks ago, but in the last few weeks there have just been signs that they could pull away.”“They do not look like they are blinking, or wilting in any way, shape or form. I thought that the Wolves game was a game that could give others encouragement,” he explained.“It has not proved to be the case. They have destroyed everything in front of them and they are playing at such a high level.”last_img read more