Posts tagged as: public

South Africa:U.S.$1.2 Million for Storm Damaged Public Buildings

The preliminary cost of repairing public buildings under the custodianship of the National Department of Public Works that were damaged as a result of the inclement weather in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng is about R16 million.

“While the final cost is being quantified to inform the final assessment, repairs at some of the 30 properties in KwaZulu-Natal, that is 17 state owned facilities occupied by South African Police Service, Departments of Labour, Justice and Defence as well as13 leased facilities has commenced,” Public Works Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko said on Monday in a statement.

According to the Minister, repairs to the South Gauteng High Court and Krugersdorp Home Affairs in Gauteng which were minimum have already been attended to.

He said that contractors are expected to be on site by the end of this week at all remaining sites after emergency procurement procedures and appointment of contractors have been finalised.

Minister Nhleko has committed to mobilise resources to assist the affected provinces wherever possible.

He said that the Ministers and Members of Executive Councils Meeting (MINMEC) held on Friday noted progress and the leadership provided by Premiers of KwaZulu-Natal, as well as Gauteng and expressed confidence that interventions aimed at mitigating the effect of the damage will minimise disruption to services.

“MINMEC expressed condolences to families that lost their loved ones during the disaster and appreciation of the commitment of officials who were part of rescue operations, disaster relief efforts and technical assessment teams. The heroic action of ordinary citizens and humanitarian organisations has demonstrated Ubuntu,” Minister Nhleko said.

South Africa

A ‘Truly Wondrous Moment’ – African Telescope Helps Observe Spectacular Cosmic Event

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Madagascar:Chinese Businesses Donate for Madagascar’s Fight Against Plague

Antananarivo — The association of Chinese traders and entrepreneurs in Madagascar (ACECMA) made a financial donation on Friday evening for Madagascar’s fight against a deadly plague.

“On the occasion of this ceremony, I announce on behalf of ACECMA association to donate 50 million ariary (about 16,667 U.S. dollars) to Madagascar’s government for the control of plague and the fight against the spread of plague,” ACECMA President Cai Guowei said at an event marking ACECMA’s 10th anniversary.

“Chinese citizens in Madagascar attach great importance to the welfare of Malagasy people and to the charity towards the Malagasy people,” Chinese Ambassador to Madagascar Yang Xiaorong said in her speech.

“This donation from the ACECMA proves once again the goodwill of the Chinese nationals to fight the plague together with Madagascar,” Yang said.

The ambassador added that the Chinese government also attaches great importance to its relationship with Madagascar and made efforts to help Madagascar to pass this difficult moment.

China on Thursday handed over a package of medical supplies worth 220,000 U.S dollars to Madagascar for it to fight the plague that has killed 57 people in the past three months.

For his part, Madagascar’s Prime Minister Olivier Mahafaly Solonandrasana said that “Madagascar shares the same values, the same sense of solidarity with China.”

“Madagascar needs China for its economic recovery and I am sure that China also needs Madagascar,” said the prime minister.

“May this win-win spirit between Madagascar and China will know again unimaginable development in the near future,” said the prime minister.

According to the Madagascar’s Ministry of Public Health, the death toll from the plague reached 57 in Madagascar from Aug. 1 to Oct. 12.(1 U.S dollar is worth about 3,000 ariary)

Madagascar

Health Officials Battle to Contain Pneumonic Plague

The island of Madagascar has been experiencing annual plague outbreaks since 1980. This year however, a worse form of… Read more »

Uhuru Torch Remains Relevant Today, Say Analysts

By Katare Mbashiru

POLITICAL analysts have welcomed the government’s stance on Uhuru Torch Race, snubbing critics’ repeated calls to abandon the race.

For many years, opposition parties in particular have been pushing for the ban of the Uhuru Torch Race, which they dismiss as total misuse of taxpayers’ money. But, President John Magufuli, speaking at the torch’s extinguishing ceremony in Zanzibar over the weekend, vowed “Uhuru Torch is here to stay.”

He hit back at critics of the Torch race, which he said remains relevant to Tanzanians, considering its role in unifying the nation and stimulating socio-economic development around the country.

In separate interviews yesterday, political scientists supported the president’s stance saying the critics of the race were purely missing the point and their thinking is myopic in nature.

University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) Senior Lecturer Bashiru Ally argued that the Uhuru Torch is a national symbol that deserves protection by all Tanzanians regardless of their political inclinations.

“Uhuru Torch is the symbol that unifies all Tanzanians… that is why the president tried in his speech to explain to all Tanzanians the history of the country and the logic behind the torch,” he said.

Dr Ally underscored the need for all political parties to unite in support of the national symbols, urging Tanzanians to support Dr Magufuli in his quest to unite the nation. Another UDSM Senior Lecturer of Political Science and Public Administration, Dr Benson Bana, described the president’s stand on the Uhuru torch as candid.

“There is no any country in the world that has no symbols and it is these symbols that unite and mobilise people,” he said. He dismissed the opponents of the torch, saying they have myopic ideas and lack reasonable agenda.

“The president’s vow to defend the Uhuru Torch was timely,” he added. The 2017 Uhuru Torch race climaxed on Saturday after running in 31 regions and 195 councils, with inspection and launch of 1,512 development projects valued at 1.1trn/-.

Dr Magufuli presided over the torch’s extinguishing ceremony at the Amaan Stadium and used the event to respond to critics questioning its relevance to Tanzanians in the modern era.

He gave three reasons in defence of the Torch race, at least during his tenure in office, insisting that the Torch is more relevant today than ever.

“The Uhuru Torch is the national symbol that promotes development; unites Tanzanians and strengthens our union; it also symbolises freedom and light… during my tenure and Dr (Ali) Shein, the Uhuru Torch race will be sustained,” he vowed.

UDSM lecturer, Alexander Makulilo said the relevance of the torch was the most important thing especially on unity and projects that ought to be launched during the race. He lashed out at a section of politicians opposed to the torch on cost grounds. “The issue of cost is immaterial, the most important thing is its relevance.”

Mr Elijah Kondi, also UDSM lecturer, said there was no way the Uhuru Torch Race could be scrapped, arguing that the torch represents the nation.

In Zanzibar, President Magufuli received a report from the Torch Race National Leader, Mr Amour Hamad Amour and promised to work on all the suggestions. The event coincided with the commemoration of the death of Mwalimu Nyerere, 18 years ago.

Yesterday, President Magufuli pledged to work on all the proposals in Amour’s report.

“During the race, I was following up on the projects that you were visiting and the directives that you were issuing… I want to assure you that we will act on all areas you raised queries,” assured the president at a luncheon with the torch runners. Dr Magufuli flew back to Dar es Salaam from Zanzibar yesterday.

Tazara Vows to Increase Domestic Tourism As Numbers Skyrocket

By Iddy Mwema

Tourists have expressed their satisfaction with Tanzanian tourist attractions as Rovos Rail from South Africa increases its routes from three to five this year.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam yesterday during the arrival of a tourist train from South Africa, the Tanzania and Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) Public Relations Officer, Ms Regina Tarimo, said the increase of routes is evidence that tourists are satisfied with Tanzanian services.

“Our railway line is connected to Southern African countries, which is an opportunity for increased revenue as well as tourist attractions. This year, Rovos rail has brought tourists five times in the country compared to three times in the previous years.

This shows how tourists are satisfied with services offered here and tourist attractions which are available,” she said, adding that Tanzanians should cultivate a culture of visiting the country’s tourist attractions.

On his part, Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) Public Relations Officer, Mr. Geoffrey Tengeneza said the increase of the rail routes is also a clear evidence of a good job being done by the tourist board in publicising the country’s tourist attractions.

In order to promote domestic tourism, Mr. Tengeneza said negotiations are underway between TTB and TAZARA to launch special routes during weekends that will give citizens a chance to visit tourist attractions and national parks where the rail passes.

“Our aim is also to make sure we influence as many citizens as possible to boost domestic tourism. Soon dialogue between TTB and TAZARA will start to promote local tourism,” he revealed.

According to him, Tanzania, home of Mount Kilimanjaro and Serengeti National Park, have been great tourist destinations which are witnessed by the increasing number of tourists in recent years.

One of the tourists, Ms Annette Steele from London, couldn’t hide her excitement as she sets to visit Zanzibar.

“I love Zanzibar, I can’t wait to land on beautiful beaches in Zanzibar,” she said happily when reached for comment.

Tanzania

‘Family Planning Clinics Can Help Screen for Cervical Cancer’

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Special Forces Deployed At Home of Friend of Slain Police Spokesman

By Joseph Kato

Kampala — Special Forces Command (SFC) have taken over the security at the home of Ms Christine Mbabazi Muhoza, a woman said to be a close friend to slain police spokesperson, Andrew Felix Kaweesi, who is currently under siege.

Police spokesperson, Mr Asan Kasingye, confirmed that Ms Mbabazi alerted Nateete and Old Kampala police on Thursday that her house was under siege for unknown reasons.

Mr Kasingye said police found UPDF officers deployed inside Ms Mbabazi’s home in Lungujja, Rubaga Division and denied police officers entry despite their bid to explain that they had been instructed to “rescue her.”

In response, the UPDF officers insisted they had been instructed not to let anyone inside.

“UPDF officers did not allow our officers to get in. Our police officers tried to gain entry by use of force and this caused a standoff between police and UPDF officers and this lasted for some hours,” Mr Kasingye said.

Police said after the push and pull situation, police and UPDF leadership resolved to have a neutral force to man the security at the premises.

Mr Kasingye declined to reveal the neutral force. However, reliable sources said SFC has since taken over.

“What I can confirm is that the police and UPDF officers have left that place and a neutral force is now in charge of security at those premises. I will address that matter in tomorrow’s (Monday) press briefing,” Mr Kasingye said.

SFC’s spokesperson, Capt Jimmy Denis Omara, said he was yet to be briefed on the deployment, adding that he needs time to get details so that he could respond to our inquiries.

Defence and UPDF spokesperson, Brig Richard Karemire, confirmed that the operation at Ms Mbabazi’s home was conducted by ISO but declined to offer details regarding the operation.

“It was (an) ISO led operation. Once army officers are attached to ISO, their conduct and operations are handled by ISO. It is ISO that can explain why the operation was conducted,” Brig Karemire said.

When contacted, the Director of ISO, Col Frank Bagyenda Kaka said he could not discuss the matter in the media because it is under investigation.

“Discussing it will tamper with our investigations. When an appropriate time comes, rightful channels will be used to tell the public,” he said.

In her social media rants, Ms Mbabazi claims she has been under house arrest for close to a month.

Uganda

Suspected Arsonists Attack MP’s Home

Suspected arsonists attempted to set ablaze the home of Arua Municipality MP Ibrahim Abiriga in Anyafiyo Village, Arua… Read more »

Law Review Team Faces a Rocky Path

By Gaaki Kigambo

As Uganda’s Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee readies itself to scrutinise the Bill to remove presidential age limits, its composition, the time allotted to it, and the prevailing public mood all seem likely to make the journey ahead anything but pleasant, especially for its proponents.

The decision by the 23-person committee to start public hearings 20 days after it was referred to them on October 5, effectively scuttles its proponents’ plans to have it wrapped up before Christmas.

According to information from the ruling NRM party, the anxieties and excitement of the festive season would help drown out the agitation against the Bill.

The 45 days within which the Rules of Procedure require the committee to report back to the House elapse on December 5. The committee finds this period insufficient.

Festive break

If an extension is granted, it will take the committee process into March 2018 because of the festive break, which usually runs from mid December to early February.

While the Rules of Procedure say a committee may continue to sit even when the House is adjourned, it is unlikely the legal committee will work through the festive season. Any insistence to do so will reignite questions about the urgency of the Bill, which sparked unsightly brawls inside Parliament chambers on September 26 and 27.

Equally, in spite of NRM’s numerical strength on the Committee, it starts out rather disadvantaged. At least three out of its 13 members have publicly opposed the removal of age limits. One seconded the Bill and therefore the Rules bar him from contributing to or voting on it.

According to the rules, committee decisions are by consensus. If that fails then a majority vote of members present obtains. If the votes are equal, the proposal shall be taken to be lost.

Now the sponsor of the Bill Raphael Magyezi plans to petition the Government Chief Whip Rose Nankabirwa and the Speaker of Parliament to reconstitute the committee in order to guarantee an “objective report.”

“Some members have already expressed their rejection of the Bill and they have gone on record in the media on that. So they should step aside from this committee… . I’m not ready to face the committee well aware that some members will not support me,” Mr Magyezi told reporters in Parliament on October 11.

Change members

Parliament rules allow the NRM to change its members on the committee. Yet the opposition says if they do so, it will only expose their panic and further work against them in the public eye.

“You see at the beginning they thought that this matter will be between the NRM and the opposition but then NRM MPs came out and opposed it. Now they don’t trust their own,” said opposition chief whip Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda.

Some NRM MPs both on and off the legal committee who are undecided say their position is dependent upon consultations with their constituents. This is NRM’s third major hurdle.

Formal consultations await the release of “facilitation” worth Ush20 million ($5,460). Yet a few NRM legislators who have attempted to tease out public approval for the Bill have either been stopped in their tracks or roundly told off not to remove the limits.

Uganda

’11 Million Ugandans Eat Unacceptable Food’

At least 11.1 million Ugandans (30 per cent) eat food described as “unacceptable” for human development, Uganda Bureau… Read more »

South Africa: Minister Gigaba Tables Section 16 Notice Regarding SAA Bailout

press releaseBy Alf Lees MP

The DA notes that the Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, has met the obligation to report to Parliament on the R3 billion bailout National Treasury granted to South African Airways (SAA) – as required by Section 16 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

Minister Gigaba’s report raises some serious questions, which require urgent clarification before the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement is delivered in Parliament.

What exactly is the amount that will constitute the “required equity” that Minister Gigaba refers to in his report? Is it the R 5.2 billion already paid to SAA or the R10 billion that Minister Gigaba and National Treasury have recently said would be required in the 2017/18 financial year?

Another concern to the DA is that the Minister in his report to Parliament, confirmed that banks and other lenders have agreed that they would extend the 31 October 2017 deadline for the repayment of the R5 billion owed to 31 March 2019, on the condition that “the required equity injection into SAA [be] tabled during the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement and approved by parliament”.

It is not practically nor legally possible for Parliament to approve an Appropriation Bill by the 31st of October. It seems that Minister Gigaba assured banks and other domestic lenders that Parliament will approve an equity injection at some date after the 31st of October 2017.

If this is the case it would be a very serious indictment and would simply reinforce the existing perceptions amongst South Africans that Parliament is just a rubber stamp for any and all decisions made by President Zuma and his cabinet.

Further concerns from the report include:

Parliament’s approval of “the required equity injection” is not the only condition made by the lenders. The question is, therefore, what are the other conditions?

Where will the R5 billion come from to pay lenders on 31 of March 2019?

If the payments to SAA are going to be “budget neutral” what are the assets that are going to be sold off? Considering that Telkom withdrew the cautionary issued on the trading of its shares.

It is clear that Minister Gigaba, like an aircraft awaiting permission to land, is in a holding pattern of buying time for SAA to temporarily continue flying. The losses, by Gigaba’s own admission, will continue to mount up and will require further cash bailouts within the next two months in order to avoid the liquidation of SAA.

Quite clearly, even with the latest bailout of R3 billion SAA is still not a Going Concern. And will not be able to cover the losses in October let alone for the last four months of the current financial year. Once again the tabling of SAA’s annual report and its Annual General Meeting will be delayed. Allowing Dudu Myeni to remain in control and evade her much needed exit from the SAA board.

The DA remains convinced that the only logical action for the Minister to take is to put SAA into business rescue in order to stabilise it and then to sell the airline to the highest bidder. It is immoral to expect poor South Africans to be deprived of basic services in order to fund the losses of SAA, a mismanaged state-owned airline.

Alf Lees MP

DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Finance

South Africa

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South Africa:Minister Gigaba Tables Section 16 Notice Regarding SAA Bailout

press releaseBy Alf Lees MP

The DA notes that the Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, has met the obligation to report to Parliament on the R3 billion bailout National Treasury granted to South African Airways (SAA) – as required by Section 16 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

Minister Gigaba’s report raises some serious questions, which require urgent clarification before the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement is delivered in Parliament.

What exactly is the amount that will constitute the “required equity” that Minister Gigaba refers to in his report? Is it the R 5.2 billion already paid to SAA or the R10 billion that Minister Gigaba and National Treasury have recently said would be required in the 2017/18 financial year?

Another concern to the DA is that the Minister in his report to Parliament, confirmed that banks and other lenders have agreed that they would extend the 31 October 2017 deadline for the repayment of the R5 billion owed to 31 March 2019, on the condition that “the required equity injection into SAA [be] tabled during the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement and approved by parliament”.

It is not practically nor legally possible for Parliament to approve an Appropriation Bill by the 31st of October. It seems that Minister Gigaba assured banks and other domestic lenders that Parliament will approve an equity injection at some date after the 31st of October 2017.

If this is the case it would be a very serious indictment and would simply reinforce the existing perceptions amongst South Africans that Parliament is just a rubber stamp for any and all decisions made by President Zuma and his cabinet.

Further concerns from the report include:

Parliament’s approval of “the required equity injection” is not the only condition made by the lenders. The question is, therefore, what are the other conditions?

Where will the R5 billion come from to pay lenders on 31 of March 2019?

If the payments to SAA are going to be “budget neutral” what are the assets that are going to be sold off? Considering that Telkom withdrew the cautionary issued on the trading of its shares.

It is clear that Minister Gigaba, like an aircraft awaiting permission to land, is in a holding pattern of buying time for SAA to temporarily continue flying. The losses, by Gigaba’s own admission, will continue to mount up and will require further cash bailouts within the next two months in order to avoid the liquidation of SAA.

Quite clearly, even with the latest bailout of R3 billion SAA is still not a Going Concern. And will not be able to cover the losses in October let alone for the last four months of the current financial year. Once again the tabling of SAA’s annual report and its Annual General Meeting will be delayed. Allowing Dudu Myeni to remain in control and evade her much needed exit from the SAA board.

The DA remains convinced that the only logical action for the Minister to take is to put SAA into business rescue in order to stabilise it and then to sell the airline to the highest bidder. It is immoral to expect poor South Africans to be deprived of basic services in order to fund the losses of SAA, a mismanaged state-owned airline.

Alf Lees MP

DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Finance

South Africa

Tsvangirai Returns From South African Hospital

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Mike Sonko Set to Pick County Secretary

By Lillian Mutavi

Lydia Kwamboka, governor Mike Sonko’s lawyer, and former Makueni speaker Stephen Ngelu are among those shortlisted for Nairobi County Secretary position.

Others shortlisted candidates include David Kinisu Sifuna, Acting County Secretary Simon Leboo Morintat, Peter Kariuki Mbugua, Khalid Masud Salim, Reuben Kipkemoi ChirChir and John Njuguna.

During the reign of Evans Kidero the position was held by Dr Robert Ayisi, however, during the transition period after Mr Sonko took over, the position held by Mr Leboo in an acting capacity.

Speaking to Nation, Mr Sonko said that the position had been advertised in conjunction to the county government act and the county will follow due process to ensure the suitable candidate is picked.

“The County Secretary shall be competitively sourced from amongst persons who are university graduates with at least ten years’ experience in administration and management,” said Mr Sonko.

The office of the County Secretary is the heartbeat of all operations by the Executive in the county.

The mandate of County Secretary include being the Head of the County Public Service and also the secretary to the County Executive Committee among others.

In a document seen by Nation those shortlisted have been scheduled to attend interviews on October 23 and 24.

“Upon conclusion of the interviews, the board will forward the names of suitable candidates. On receipt of the concurrence of the above shortlist, we will publish the list on our website and newspaper,” read the letter.

Kenya

Ban on Anti-Polls Body Demos Sparks Storm

The stage has been set for confrontation between National Super Alliance (Nasa) and the police on Friday in Nairobi,… Read more »

Insurance Companies Raked in Shs628b in 2016 – Regulator

By Joseph Kato

Kampala — Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) has revealed that the insurance industry collected Shs628b in 2016/2017 Financial Year rising from the Shs600b that was collected in 2015/2016.

Ms Mariam Nalunkuuma, the IRA communications officer, said Shs188.4b (30 per cent) was spent on claims and Shs251.2b was used to insure clients’ covers.

“Shs188.4b (30 per cent) remained in the coffers of insurance companies. The insurance did very well in terms of settling claims and we intervened in settling misunderstandings between insurers and clients,” Ms Nalunkuuma told Daily Monitor in Kampala last week.

A total of Shs200 billion was spent on clearing insurance claims in the 2015/2016 fiscal year.

This was revealed by Mr Protazio Sande, the IRA assistant director marketing and development at sports gala for insurance companies in September last year.

Mr Ivan Kilameri, the IRA statistician, explained that the trade fare was an opportunity for IRA to engage the public which he said was still ignorant about insurance products.

“Many times you find an insurance company engaged in wrangles with claimants because the claimant did not understand the cover he undertook. We mediate in such scenarios so that the two parties come to a compromise,” Mr Kilameri said.

Ms Nalunkuuma encouraged insurance companies to indemnify clients’ covers to avoid troubles that could arise when disasters doubling their net capital happen.

She encouraged underwriters to underwrite covers that are not very strenuous for instance, to avoid taking covers in billions when their capital is in millions of shillings.

“If your capital is Shs5b and you underwrite an insurance cover of Shs600b, you should be fast at insuring it because you won’t be able to get out of it when a disaster happens,” Ms Nalunkuuma added.

Meanwhile, manufacturers decried delays in full implementation of the Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) policy which they said had kept trade imbalance at $3.5b (Shs12.6 trillion).

“…Local industries need only 40 per cent of this order to transform the current situation,” said UMA board member Richard Mubiru.

Uganda

’11 Million Ugandans Eat Unacceptable Food’

At least 11.1 million Ugandans (30 per cent) eat food described as “unacceptable” for human development, Uganda Bureau… Read more »

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