Who Controls US$100K CU Subsidy from GOL?

first_imgThe administration of Cuttington University in Suakoko District, Bong County has clarified for the first time that it does not have control over a US$100,000 subsidy from the Government of Liberia (GOL).The clarification comes in the wake of a recent letter to the CU administration from Rivercess County Education Officer, and also a former lawmaker of Bong County, Samuel Bondo seeking explanation on the usage of the US$100,000 allotted by the government under the category, “Local Scholarships at Cuttington.”The University’s director of public relations, Prince V. Sampson, disclosed that the amount in question is being expended by Rep. Edward Karfiah through the Neyongor Welekelen Scholarship Scheme and Senator Jewel Howard Taylor through the Land Grant Scholarship, respectively.Mr. Sampson said at a news conference that the money is a CU subsidy, and that the administration has been instructed by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) to direct the money to the legislative programs of the two lawmakers.“We don’t have absolute control over this particular money and we don’t know how it is being expended. There is no written document from either of these lawmakers acknowledging us on the usage of the money despite being a CU subsidy,” Mr. Sampson said.The CU public relations director explained that the administration of Cuttington through its president, Dr. Evelyn Kandakai, during the last fiscal year wrote the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning requesting MFDP to detach the US$100,000 from the CU subsidy on grounds that the university has no authority over the usage of the money.“These are things that can embarrass us in our report especially when auditors come to audit government funds sent to the institution. If these lawmakers were giving us reports, we could attach their reports to ours and provide it to the government,” Mr. Sampson explained.Rivercess County education officer Samuel Bondo on February 8 addressed a letter to CU President Dr. Kandakai seeking an explanation on how the money was being managed and who were the direct beneficiaries of the scholarship.In the 2012/2013 budget year, Cuttington received US$1 million from government as a subsidy. The subsidy amount has been drastically reduced to less than half of the US$1 million.In an interview with a local radio station in Gbarnga over the weekend, the political affairs officer in the office of Senator Jewel Howard Taylor, Josiah Marvin Cole, said at no time did the Land Grant Scholarship place the money as part of Cuttington University’s subsidy.Mr. Cole explained that the Land Grant Scholarship has budgetary allotment in the National Budget, but not under Cuttington, as claimed by the CU administration, and challenged the University to provide documents to support the claim.When contacted for comment on the issue, the office of Rep. Edward Karfiah said it will comment on the situation at the appropriate time. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

‘Vineland Boys’ lead defendant gets life

first_imgThe lead defendant in the federal racketeering case against the Vineland Boys street gang was sentenced Monday to life in prison without possibility of parole. Rafael “Sneaky” Yepiz of Reseda, a leader of the Sun Valley-based gang, was sentenced during a hearing in U.S. District Court. Yepiz was convicted in October of 21 charges, including violating the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, drug trafficking and money laundering. He was the last to be sentenced among the nine Vineland Boys members or associates brought to trial so far in the law-enforcement probe aimed at squashing the street gang. Authorities said the gang terrorized parts of Burbank, North Hollywood and Palmdale for more than a decade. Prosecutors said the Vineland Boys trafficked in cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana in Los Angeles, Hawaii, Indiana and the East Coast. The group also is linked to four homicides, including the slaying of rookie Burbank police Officer Matthew Pavelka, who was killed in a shootout with alleged Vineland Boys member David Garcia, who is awaiting trial on murder charges. Meanwhile, trial for defendants Jose Ledesma, Raul Robledo and Javier Covarrubius, who face the death penalty in a 2003 witness-slaying case, is slated to begin in June. eugene.tong@dailynews.com (818) 546-3304 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Two more major roads in Dawson Creek could fail: Mayor

first_imgUPDATE: The Dangerous Goods Route has been reopened at the intersection with Highway 2/8th Street.DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – The road carrying BC Highway 2 over Dawson Creek could fail if floodwaters continue to rise.Mayor Dale Bumstead says that the culverts that contain the creek bearing the city’s name underneath 8th Street, which is concurrent with the highway, are completely blocked by debris, which has dammed the creek. According to Bumstead, waters have overtopped the road near the Dawson Creek mall and have washed out the sidewalks along the East side of the road. Bumstead says that if the rains continue to fall, the city could lose all of 8th Street, which is one of the arterial routes that connect both sides of the city.- Advertisement -The floodwaters have also washed out the culverts at 15th Street, as well as at the Snake Pit Road east of town near the airport. Bumstead says that city crews believe that 17th Street may have also been washed out, although he added that the road is too far under water to determine with any certainty. He added that the 10th Street Bridge is currently standing, although it is current;y inundated by water.Currently, the only road connecting the North and South sides of the city is the Dangerous Goods Route west of the city, although Bumstead says that the southern part of the road near its intersection with 8th Street is currently impassable. A pilot truck is currently directing single-lane alternating traffic along the detour. More than 40 people have been evacuated from their homes, and are being taken care of at the Dawson Creek Fire Department.Bumstead says that he has a meeting planned this morning with city officials, as well as representatives from the provincial government to assess the situation and determine whether the city will declare a local State of Emergency.Advertisement 20160616_063147_1-HDR Flooding in Dawson Creek - photo courtesy of Craig Hartel. Flooding in Dawson Creek – photo courtesy of Craig Hartel. Flooding in Dawson Creek/Photo: Craig Hartel Flooding in Dawson Creek/Photo: Craig Hartel Photos from Dawson Creek - Facebook Photos from Dawson Creek – Facebook The dangerous goods route in Dawson Creek Wednesday night - Twitter user fsjchic The dangerous goods route in Dawson Creek Wednesday night – Twitter user fsjchic Flooding in Dawson Creek - photo courtesy of Craig Hartel. Flooding in Dawson Creek – photo courtesy of Craig Hartel. A map of road closures provided by the City of Dawson Creek. A map of road closures provided by the City of Dawson Creek. Note the reopening of Finnegan’s Corner is not included.last_img read more

Mukangula late strike lifts Thika over Wazito

first_img0Shares0000Thika United forward Eugene Mukangula vies for the ball against Wazito FC’s Mark Odhiambo during a Kenyan Premier League clash at the Camp Toyoyo on May 6, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluNAIROBI, Kenya, May 6- Eugene Mukangula struck two minutes from time as Thika United picked a massive result beating Wazito FC 1-0 at the Camp Toyoyo Ground on Sunday afternoon to ease their relegation fears barely five days after their head coach Nicholas Muyoti resigned.Goalkeeper trainer Joseph Rutto picked up on interim basis and he inspired the side as they won only their second match this season. The first half was devoid of chances as the two teams sized each other in midfield. Wazito came close to opening the scoring in the 14th minute, but Thika’s Collins Okumu made a superb goal-line clearance to thwart Piston Mutamba’s effort after the lanky forward had lifted the ball over the keeper.Three minutes later, Thika had their first chance when Dennis Odhiambo’s long ball landed behind the defense, but a chasing Eugene Mukangula had a weak connection with the keeper off his line to easily pick the ball.Two minutes later the visitors tried the same move to plant the ball behind the defense but Hansel Ochieng’s control inside the box from a Michael Mutinda pass was poor, the keeper coming off to pick the ball.Emmanuel Tienan had a great chance with 10 minutes left before halftime when Kennedy Ayacko’s freekick from the right landed on his path unmarked at the edge of the six yard box but his header was wid.Five minutes to the break the hosts thought they should have had a stone wall penalty after Mutamba was hacked into the box but the ref waved play on much to the chagrin of the players and technical bench officials.The pace picked up an inch in the second half and six minutes in but Samson Ndegwa saw his shot from the right one on one with the keeper saved and from the resultant corner, Mutamba headed wide.The hosts had another great opportunity with a free kick in the 57th minute from a good goal scoring range but Mutamba’s curling effort was fisted away by keeper Eliud Emase.On the other Thika had a chance from similar circumstances and Mukangula’s effort evaded the target by a few inches with keeper Peter Odhiambo left rooted to his spot.Wazito continued pressuring for a goal and they almost got it in the 65th minute when Marvin Onyango’s shot from range deflected off Dennis Odhiambo, but the ball came against the crossbar with the keeper beaten.Thika were soaking in the pressure and they had an opportunity 15 minutes from time when Shami Kibwana’s shot from range attracted a full stretched save from Odhiambo.They picked the all important goal in the 88th minute when Mukangula headed home from Shami Kibwana’s cross after his initial effort was saved by the keeper.0Shares0000(Visited 3 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Museums embrace tours via cell phone

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant “I generally don’t buy the audio tours when I go to a museum unless it’s a Monet or somebody really impressive,” said Chris Mengarelli, 53, who used her phone to tour the exhibit “Visual Politics: The Art of Engagement” at the San Jose Museum of Art. “It was much more convenient than having to rent a headset and worrying about what kind of germs are being transmitted,” said Mengarelli, of San Jose. Museums have been making audio tours available over cell phones since at least 2002, when Southern Utah University opened an exhibit of historical photos documenting 100 years of local theater. Matt Nickerson, a professor of library science, wrote the script and taped old actors recalling their performances in Shakespearean plays. He recruited an actor and engineer to record and mix the audio tour at a radio station. “It turned out to be much simpler than I thought,” he said. Using the services is as easy as dialing a number and selecting the code that corresponds to the piece a visitor is viewing. At least one tour, offered at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, responded to voice commands, but museum officials there discontinued the feature because it encouraged too much chatter. SAN FRANCISCO – Art lovers, history buffs and science devotees, take note: to get the most of your next museum visit, you may want to bring your cell phone. Not to gab on, of course, but to listen to audio tours that weave music, narration and recordings from historical archives designed to bring more context to the exhibitions. For many visitors, it comes as a welcome alternative to the decades-old system of museums renting out expensive handheld devices. Museums across the country, once averse to noisy cell phones, are suddenly encouraging their use. In the past year, about a dozen – including museums in Los Angeles, Berkeley, Tacoma, Wash., Minneapolis and Greenwich, Conn. – have begun offering cell phone tours, mostly for free. Dozens more are in the process of implementing the service. One reason for the surge is the emergence of companies such as Guide by Cell of San Francisco and Ashburn, Va.-based Spatial Adventures Inc., which run servers and phone systems so museums don’t have to. For now, most museums offer cell phone audio for free, although users must pay roaming charges or other costs that apply to their cell phone plan. Museums are able to give away the service because Guide by Cell and other companies, living off investor financing, aren’t charging as they try to jump-start the trend. “When we have to pay, or someone has to pay, we may have to change things,” said Suzanne Isken, director of education at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, which started using Guide by Cell audio for one of its exhibits in January. The chief benefit of cell phones is their ubiquity. With almost 204 million Americans carrying a cell phone, according to industry group CTIA – The Wireless Association, museums no longer have to maintain fleets of handheld devices. Isken estimated her museum will spend $20,000 just to pay the staff that checks out, cleans and recharges the dedicated devices it will use for an upcoming exhibit on the work of artist Robert Rauschenberg. The staffing costs are in addition to rental fees for the units and other costs, she said. Cell phones also make it easy for visitors who have decided to skip the audio tour to spontaneously change their minds. “You don’t have to go back to the desk and rent something,” said Robin Dowden, director of new media initiatives at the Walker Art Center. Not all museums are embracing the trend. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is studying cell phone audio tours but has decided to hold off for now. Instead, it offers audio files that visitors can download from the museum Web site and play on their iPod or other portable music player while viewing exhibits. “Just because you have a phone in your hand and can call up a message about every piece in a gallery doesn’t mean those messages are going to be engaging,” said Peter Samis, associate curator of education at the museum. “Museums themselves are relative novices at this and don’t have any experience producing this type of content in-house,” he said. “There’s a steeper learning curve than many proselytizers of the technology are willing to acknowledge.” Mengarelli, the San Jose resident, confessed to finding some portions of the audio tour “distracting.” She also complained that her arm got tired holding a cell phone to her ear for 30 minutes. Still, the San Jose Museum of Art’s experiment with cell phone audio has already changed the way some visitors take in art. Ben Patel, a 29-year-old hotel worker who arrived just before closing time one day last week, quickly snapped pictures of the images on his digital camera, so he could view them later on his computer while listening to the narration on his phone. “It’s a good idea,” he said. “I’m short on time and the museum will be shut before I can view all of them.” On the Net: San Jose Museum of Art: http//sjmusart.org/ Guide By Cell: www.guidebycell.com/ 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

BREAKING NEWS: HOSPITAL BACK IN OPERATION – MANAGER APOLOGISES TO PUBLIC

first_imgThe flooding at Letterkenny General Hospital last night.BREAKING NEWS: The Emergency Department at Letterkenny General Hospital is back in operation.A clean up was completed in the reception and administrative areas that had experienced a very low level of flooding due to water leaking into these areas following torrential rain in the Letterkenny area earlier in the evening, said the HSE.The hospital’s ED went off call for three hours from 8pm to 11pm to expedite the clean up. Clinical areas in the ED and hospital services in general were not affected, said the hospital.Flooding in the roadway and car park has partly abated and people are advised to use extreme caution if coming to the ED.The emergency services remain at the scene in anticipation of more heavy rainfall.An investigation into the cause of the flood has already started. Seán Murphy, General Manager, Letterkenny General Hospital, stated: “I want to acknowledge the hospital staff, the ambulance service, the staff at Sligo Regional and Altagelvin Hospitals, our local GPs, the fire service, the council and the Gardaí for their cooperation.“We regret any inconvenience caused to patients and their families.“Although services are now back to normal, we would like to remind the public to keep the Emergency Department for emergencies and to contact their GP or GP Out of Hours services in the first instance.“We would also like to remind people that visiting the Short Stay Ward in the hospital has been suspended for the time being due to cases of norovirus on the ward.“If relatives are concerned about patients on this ward, a nominated person from each family can liaise with the Clinical Nurse Manager on the ward regarding planned visiting. The contact number is 074 912 5888, extension 4084. “People who have vomiting and diarrhoea symptoms should not attend the hospital but should contact their GP in the first instance if they have serious concerns. We would like to thank patients and the public for their cooperation.”BREAKING NEWS: HOSPITAL BACK IN OPERATION – MANAGER APOLOGISES TO PUBLIC was last modified: August 6th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:APOLOGYEDfloodhospitalletterkennylast_img read more

Donegal Death Notices – Rest in Peace

first_imgDonegal death notices for today, Sunday, March 25. Paddy MULLENThe death has occurred of Paddy Mullen, Abbey Village, Kilmacrennan, Co. Donegal and formerly of Halpin Terrace, Drogheda, after a short illness at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda. Beloved father of Adele. Sadly missed by Theresa, sisters Bernadette and Margaret, nieces, nephews, extended family, neighbours and friends. Reposing at his late residence in Kilmacrennan from 6pm today, Sunday, March 25th. Funeral from there at 10am on Tuesday, March 27th, going to St Joseph’s Church, Rathmullan, for requiem Mass at 11am. Burial afterwards in Rathmullan Cemetery. Family time from 11pm to 10am. Paul BLAKELEYThe death has occurred of Paul Blakeley, Killyclug, Letterkenny, Donegal / Keadue, Roscommon; peacefully at his home, in the loving care of his family. Beloved partner of Deborah Stockdale and loving step-father of Rose, Rhianna and Rachel. Cherished brother of Anne, Jennifer, Gillian, Maria, Anthony and the late Ian. Deeply regretted and sadly missed by his partner, step-family, sisters, brother, extended family, neighbours and friends.Remains reposing at his home. Funeral leaving his home on Monday 26th March at 11am, for private cremation at Lakeland Crematorium, Cavan at 2pm. Donations in lieu of flowers, if so desired, to the Donegal Hospice, care of any family member. House private, family and friends are welcome. Donegal Death Notices – Rest in Peace was last modified: March 25th, 2018 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:obituarieslast_img read more

Steve Kerr on Jordan Poole’s slump: ‘I know exactly how he feels’

first_imgNEW ORLEANS — Warriors coach Steve Kerr had plenty of shooting slumps during his playing career, but the one in the 1996 Finals stands out to him. “I was having a great playoff run and, all of a sudden, in my first Finals, I couldn’t make a shot.”Then, in Game 6, Kerr found his rhythm, going 3-for-4 for seven points and helping clinch the Chicago Bulls’ fourth championship. Kerr, one of the great shooters in NBA history, is in a qualified position to give slumping rookie Jordan Poole advice. …last_img

Poverty levels in South Africa dropping: 2014 SA Stats report

first_imgPoverty levels dropped in South Africa between 2006 and 2011, reaching a low of 20.2% for extreme poverty and of 45.5% for moderate poverty, according to the Poverty Trends in South Africa report released by Statistics SA on Thursday.(Image: Statistics South Africa)Brand South Africa reporterThe report applies three measures of poverty, with extreme poverty defined in terms of a “food poverty line” below which people are unable to purchase enough food for an adequate diet.Less extreme poverty is defined in terms of a “lower-bound poverty line”, below which people can afford an adequate diet but would have to sacrifice food to purchase non-food items; and an “upper-bound poverty line” marking the level at which people can purchase both adequate food and non-food items.The drop in poverty in the country, according to the report, translates to roughly 10.2-million South Africans living in extreme poverty (below the food line) in 2011, compared to 12.6-million in 2006; and 23-million living in moderate poverty (below the upper line), compared to 27.1-million in 2006.In terms of the lower poverty line – higher than the food line but lower than the upper line – 32.3% of the population, or roughly 16.3-million people, were living in poverty in 2011, down from 42.2% or 20-million people in 2006. It is this line that the country’s National Development Plan (NDP) uses in setting its ambitious target of eliminating poverty by 2030.The report notes the dramatic impact the global financial crisis of 2008/09 had on the livelihoods of South Africa’s poorest, with the number of people living below the food line jumping to 15.8-million in 2009 before dropping below 2006 levels again by 2011.Impact of social wage ‘critical’The overall decrease in poverty is attributed to the combination of a growing social safety net, income growth, above-inflation wage increases, decelerating inflationary pressure, and an expansion of credit.“[I]t is critical to note the positive impact the provision of a ‘social wage’ package has been in helping reduce poverty in the country,” the report states.The South African government provides a “social wage” in various ways, including free primary health care, no-fee paying schools, social grants (most notably old-age pensions and child support grants), state-subsidised housing, and the provision of basic services (water, electricity and sanitation) to households.According to the UN Development Programme’s 2013 Millennium Development Goals country report for South Africa, close to 60% of government spending is allocated to the social wage, and expenditure on these services has more than doubled in real terms over the past decade.“There has been a doubling in per capita health spending over this period, 1.5-million free homes were constructed, and free basic education was provided to the poorest 60% of learners,” Statistics SA says in its report.“Although initially seen as a short-term measure to address poverty, social grants have increasingly become a source of livelihood in South Africa and have played an instrumental role in reducing poverty levels.”The decline in the number of people living below the food poverty line is corroborated by Stats SA’s latest General Household Survey, which shows that self-reported hunger in South Africa dropped from roughly 30% in 2002 to just 13% in 2011.Inequality still among world’s highestHowever, while the poverty situation is improving, inequality in the country remains a serious problem, according to the Poverty Trends report, which measures inequality in terms of the Gini coefficient – a number between 0 and 1, where 0 indicates total equality and 1 indicates total inequality.South Africa’s Gini figure was approximately 0.65 based on expenditure data (per capita excluding taxes) and 0.69 based on income data (per capita including salaries, wages and social grants) in 2011.“These high levels of inequality, amongst the highest in the world, are only slightly smaller than the Ginis recorded in 2006 [0.67 and 0.72 respectively]”, the report states.“The share of national consumption between the richest and poorest remains stubbornly stagnant. The richest 20% of the population account for over 61% of consumption in 2011 (down from a high of 64% in 2006). Meanwhile, the bottom 20% see their share remaining fairly constant at below 4.5%.”Source: Statistics South AfricaWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Infrastructure development in South Africa

first_imgSouth Africa is on a multibillion-rand development drive to remedy the skewed implementation of infrastructure during the apartheid years, and to meet the demands of a growing economy and population.Power lines outside Beaufort West in the Western Cape. (Image: Chris Kirchoff, Brand South Africa, For more free photos, visit the image library)Brand South Africa reporterIn its preparation to host the 2010 Fifa Football World Cup, the government invested heavily in building or upgrading 10 world-class stadiums, and on the energy, transport and telecoms infrastructure needed for this massive event.Sections in this article:FundingEnergyTransportTelecommunicationsWaterUseful linksFundingInfrastructure funding is largely provided by South Africa’s national government. Parastatal companies also undertake infrastructure development in some sectors, while other initiatives include the government’s Expanded Public Works Programme, and public-private partnerships.The government has courted foreign direct investment to lure investors into areas that need infrastructure, and foreign companies often build, own and operate facilities. The government has introduced a policy of broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE), which requires foreign companies to go into partnership with local businesses, shifting company ownership patterns.In 2006 parastatals such as the power utility Eskom and transport group Transnet were earmarked to receive 40% of the R372-billion the government set aside for infrastructure development. Eskom is to spend R84-billion, mostly on energy generation, transmission and distribution. Transnet is to spend R47-billion, with R40-billion of this going to harbours, ports, railways and a petroleum pipeline.The Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) will spend R5.2-billion on airport improvement and the Dube Trade Port, while R19.7-billion will go to water infrastructure.In 2006, South Africa’s Public Investment Commission (PIC) announced plans to create a continent-wide, 25-year equity fund to mobilise local and international investment for infrastructure development in Africa. PIC includes the Government Employees Pension Fund and has around R600-billion in assets under management, making this the largest fund-management initiative in the country.PIC will spend around R1-billion on property development – mostly in shopping centres in South Africa’s townships and rural areas – over the next three years. Its “Project Rural” will merge its Community Property Fund with Government Employees Pension Fund retail.The government’s budgeting of a massive R372-billion for upgrading and building new infrastructure over the next three years is set to be a powerful growth driver for South Africa’s construction industry, and its infrastructure spending plans are attracting growing interest from the investment community.In 2006, three construction-related companies on AltX were listed in the space of a month, and the share prices and capitalisation of these companies climbed rapidly. Launched in October 2003 as a parallel market to the JSE, AltX is aimed at fast-growing businesses, start-ups, family-owned businesses, black economic empowerment companies and junior mining companies.Given the backlog in the province of Limpopo, the government plans to spend over R3.6-billion on upgrading and providing new infrastructure. Over R1-billion has been budgeted for rural electrification, and in addition R600-million has been allocated for municipal support, township establishments and site demarcation.Energy South Africa Mpumalanga, 2008: Kendal Power Station. (Image: Graeme Williams. Brand South Africa. For more free photos, visit the image library)South Africa’s economy is booming, with the GDP growth rate hitting 4.9% in 2004, 5.1% in 2005, and 5% in 2006. This growth, together with rapid industrialisation and a mass electrification programme that has brought power deep into the rural areas, means increased demand for energy, and an overworked electricity infrastructure. It is anticipated that generation capacity will peak by 2011.In 2007 the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) released the findings of an audit into 11 major electricity distributors in the country; this recommended that the government spend more than R400-million on refurbishing of infrastructure. The energy regulator was forced to intervene following a spate of power outages across the country in 2005, blamed mainly on the poor state of the country’s electricity distribution infrastructure.South Africa is to spend R97-billion to increase the capacity of its electricity grid over the next five years. Eskom is committed to spending R97-billion over the same period on building new coal-fired power stations and reopening mothballed ones. The private sector is expected to invest a further R23-billion in increasing capacity in the same period.Earlier in 2007, Eskom received a licence to build the first new coal-fired power station in the country for more than 20 years, with a R66-billion project in Limpopo.In addition, consortium led by US power producer AES will build, own and operate two new open-cycle gas turbine peaking-power plants, representing an investment of over R5-billion during the construction phase, a significant portion of which will be foreign direct investment.In August 2005, five consortiums qualified to bid for the right to build, own and operate two new power stations in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. The plants are expected to cost R6-billion to build and to be fully operational by the end of 2008.New markets In the past five years, the electricity market has been deregulated to make way for regional electricity distributors (REDs) and independent power producers (IPPs), limiting Eskom’s monopoly.REDs will be run by Eskom and local authorities, which will buy electricity from power generators at wholesale prices determined by Nersa. Plans are to set up six REDs across the country, combining the distribution function Eskom with that of 187 municipalities already distributing electricity in the country.Coal and carbon Coal accounts for 75% of primary energy consumption in South Africa. Most of this is used to generate electricity, while a significant amount is channelled to synthetic fuel and petrochemical operations. Due to its dependence on coal-fired electricity, South Africa is among the top 15 emitters of greenhouse gases in the world. As the country is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, there is a commitment to reducing its emissions. To this end Eskom is diversifying its energy sources, in conjunction with other parastatals such as the Central Energy Fund.Fuel The current energy crunch will also be alleviated with a US$600-million (about R4-billion) diesel and petrol pipeline linking the Mozambican capital, Maputo, with South Africa. Operated by the firm Petroline, which is controlled by a South African-Mozambican consortium, the pipeline is expected to be in operation by the end of 2009.Nuclear power South Africa serves on the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The government has identified uranium as a strategic mineral, and will be developing a uranium mining and beneficiation strategy.A nuclear centre is planned with the Department of Science and Technology helping establish a national Nuclear Manufacturing Centre (NNMC). The Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa will provide R10-million a year for the next three years to establish the NNMC.Peaking power The Coega Industrial Development Zone has been identified as one of two sites for constructing a peaking power plant. The Department of Mineral Resources aims to procure about 1 000 megawatts of new peaking generation capacity for 2009 and 2010.Transport A minibus taxi rank in Johannesburg. In order to get rid of unsafe taxis on the roads, the Department of Transport is implementing its R7.7-billion taxi recapitalisation programme. (Image: Chris Kirchhoff, Brand South Africa. For more free photos, visit the image library)The government will be spending some R9-billion on upgrading the transport system ahead of the 2010 World Cup. The funds are to be divided among South Africa’s nine World Cup host cities as follows:Bloemfontein: R298-millionCape Town: R766-millionDurban: R851-millionJohannesburg: R1 320-millionNelspruit: R212-millionPolokwane: R179-millionPort Elizabeth: R520-millionPretoria: 694-millionRustenburg: R69-millionIn addition, the Department of Transport is to spend R2.3-billion on the country’s bus system, including the creation of a bus rapid transit system. Money is also being channelled into the South African National Roads Agency (R430-million), the South African Rail and Commuter Corporation (R1 316-million) and the Cross Border Road Transport Agency (R1-million). The department is also to spend some R65-million on monitoring and evaluation specialists.Transnet is to invest R78-billion on revitalising the country’s railroads, ports and pipelines. The company’s strategy is to dispose of its non-core assets, and use the proceeds of their sale in developing its infrastructure. About R20-billion of these funds is to be spent on pipelines, ports and rail infrastructure for the KwaZulu-Natal-Gauteng corridor.Taxis In order to get rid of unsafe taxis on the roads, the Department of Transport is implementing its R7.7-billion taxi recapitalisation programme, with 20 000 old vehicles targeted for scrapping in 2007, and over 7 000 old taxis scrapped to date.The government aims to have replaced up to 80% of the country’s taxi fleet by 2010. Owners who want to exit the industry or buy new vehicles are offered R50 000 for each unroadworthy minibus taxi that they send in for scrapping by accredited agencies. New government regulations demand that minibus taxis be fitted with seatbelts for each passenger, have rollover bars, a type-two braking system and commercially rated tyres of sizes 185R or 195R. Some R353.5-million has been paid out in scrapping allowances, allowing taxi owners to revamp their ageing fleets with newer, safer vehicles.A draft plan to reform the country’s current bus subsidy system to include minibus taxis has been approved in principle by stakeholders in the transport industry.Air travelIn 2002 the semi-privatised Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) was formed to upgrade standards at the country’s airports and improve productivity. Its capital expenditure to this end was R800-million in 2003, and a total of R2.6-billion by the end of 2004.In preparation for the demands of the 2010 World Cup, Acsa has allocated R5.2-billion to an infrastructure expansion programme for the three main airports at Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban International, as well as at seven smaller airports.In 2006, OR Tambo International Airport announced that R3.4-billion would be spent on upgrading security and facilities by 2010, and another R8-billion on building a new terminal, to be completed by 2012.The upgrades will also ready the airport for both handling the giant Airbus A380 and accommodating the Gautrain rapid rail link. A new R8-billion terminal will be built, as well as a R1.8-billion central terminal building. A further R218-million will be spent on nine new aircraft stands, and a R512-million “international pier” development will allow for a substantial increase in the number of passengers boarding and disembarking via air bridges. About R81-million will also be spent on expanding the international departures concourse, and a second multi-storey parkade is being built. Security at the airport has already been improved with the construction of a 25 kilometre perimeter wall and strengthened access control at the gates, costing R52.5-million.At Cape Town International Airport, Acsa plans to spend R900-million on a new central terminal building as well as building a R160-million multi-storey parkade with 2 500 parking bays, to add to the R100-million, 2 000-bay parkade recently completed.Durban International has begun construction of a R90-million, 1 500-bay multi-storey parkade, and plans are in place to expand the airport’s existing terminal. In 2007 construction began on a new airport north of the city, the King Shaka International Airport, which will be managed by Dube Tradeport. The airport is due to be completed in 2009, at an estimated cost of R2-billion.In 2006 the Eastern Cape Transport Department unveiled the Blue Skyway Aviation Strategy, in an effort to maximise the potential of the Bhisho and Mthatha airports in the Eastern Cape. In 2007, Bhisho airport underwent a R100-million upgrade, making it suitable for international flights.The South African Police Service Air Wing will relocate to the Bhisho Airport, while the Port Alfred-based 43 Air School has declared its intent to expand to the airport and has started assisting in recommissioning refuelling facilities.Air BP has also started refurbishing the fuel depot at own cost. A new R5-million fire tender was brought in from overseas, with a view to increasing the emergency capacity of the airport and improve its grades from two to four.The Limpopo government will spend R76-million on upgrading the international airport in Polokwane and domestic airports in Giyani and Thohoyandou. In 2006, R13-million was spent to improve navigational aid and R10-million on the construction of part of the terminal building. In 2007, R28-million was set aside for the completion of the terminal building, R31-million for the construction of infrastructure at the cargo hub and R17-million for the development of Aero City, which includes parking, feeder roads and ring roads around the terminal building.Ports The National Ports Authority (NPA), a division of Transnet, controls seven of the 16 biggest ports in the region. In 2006, the NPA finished building the Ngqura Port, a multi-user deepwater port on the Coega River outside Port Elizabeth. It is South Africa’s eighth and latest commercial port development.Rail South Africa’s rail network is controlled by Transnet Freight Rail, a division of Transnet, and the South African Rail Commuter Corporation (SARCC). SARCC currently has an initiative to provide a safe and efficient service for commuters, while reducing traffic on the roads, and has set aside over R16-billion over three years to improve its services, R7-billion of which is earmarked for upgrading coaches.Johannesburg’s Soweto Business Express was launched in 2007 in order to cut down commuting times between Soweto and the city centre, offering additional amenities to lure travellers away from the roads. It operates during peak hours only, travelling between Naledi in Soweto and Johannesburg Park Station in less than 45 minutes.Further plans include the multi-billion rand Gautrain high-speed rail link between Johannesburg, Pretoria and the OR Tambo International Airport; the Moloto Rail corridor linking Gauteng and Mpumalanga, and the Klipfontein corridor in Cape Town.There are also plans for improving passenger rail and road transport, including creating a bus rapid transit system in all metropolitan municipalities, and recapitalising Metrorail.Transnet is conducting a feasibility study on building a railroad ring around greater Johannesburg, in an effort to reduce delays and boost rail freight capacity.Road Government projects to maintain new and existing roads, as well as the construction of several new toll road developments, are under way, under the South African National Roads Agency.TelecommunicationsTelkom’s massive telecoms tower, the Hillbrow Tower, dominates the Johannesburg skyline and has become the symbol of the city. (Image: Chris Kirchhoff, Brand South Africa. For more free photos, visit the image library.)National operator Telkom has met and exceeded its roll-out targets of over 1.6-million lines along the country’s large transmission infrastructure, necessitated by the country’s vast geographical area, and covering about 156-million circuit-kilometres. Digital microwave and optical fibre serve as the main transmission media.Although Telkom’s monopoly has expired, its right to provide basic services has simply been extended to include the second network operator, Neotel, and, in some cases, signal carrier Sentech.Mobile communications operators Virgin Mobile, Vodacom, MTN and Cell C, contribute to making the country the fourth-fastest growing cellphone market in the world, a market that is expanding at a rate of 50% a year.In September 2007, MTN announced plans to build a 5000km fibre-optic network covering the country’s major centres within the next two years in order to cope with the increasing demand for bandwidth from its customers. This national backbone could cost up to R1.3-billion, depending on possible joint ventures or partnerships.Neotel Neotel, the second landline operator, will land a private-equity funded fibre optic submarine cable locally that will connect south and east Africa to Europe and India by early 2009. Neotel’s network rollout involved an R11-billion capital expenditure plan as the company develops its network and services.Neotel has agreed to a partnership with private submarine cable operator Seacom to land the SEA cable system in South Africa, to cater for growing local bandwidth demand. The system has a design capability of 1.28 terabits, in order to cope with expected demand in 2010 and beyond.At the same time, Neotel states it is committed to its participation in the East Africa Submarine System (EASSy), while the company also announced that it would partner with Infraco to build a second submarine fibre optic cable along Africa’s west coast.InfracoInfraCo Africa  is a new state-owned company, formed in 2007 to provide long-distance connectivity to the country’s telecommunications market on a cost basis. It will not be a full-fledged telecommunications company itself, but will act as a provider of broadband capacity through fibre-optic cables to other operators in the country.Sentech The role of state-owned signals provider Sentech will be to provide internet connectivity through wireless systems rather than fibre-optic cables. Sentech will also focus on delivering connectivity to the government and wider public sector.EASSy East Africa Submarine System (EASSy), a 9900km-long optical submarine cable between Durban and Port Sudan, will slash telecommunications costs in Africa, and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2008. The network will deliver a regional capacity of 320 Gigabits per second, and it is expected to cost some US$240-million (about R1.6-billion).Alcatel-Lucent, a Paris and New York-listed network solutions provider, will lay the optical cables for EASSy in 2007. EASSy will link up with terrestrial fibre-optic cables to make up what will be known as the Nepad ICT Broadband Network, which aims to free the continent from its dependence on expensive satellite systems to carry voice and data traffic.City broadband plans The metropolitan municipalities of Cape Town, Tshwane (Pretoria), eThekwini (Durban) and Johannesburg plan to have their own broadband networks to provide their residents with cheaper voice and data services.Johannesburg has invited companies to bid for a R500-million public-private project to build its own broadband network and the city will invest about R100-million in the project, with the private sector asked to finance the remaining R400-million. The city expects the private partners to make money from the project through selling its spare capacity to businesses and consumers, and possibly also charging the municipality to use the network.Call centres South Africa is to build a R125-million, 1500-seat call centre to boost the global competitiveness of the Coega Industrial Development Zone outside Port Elizabeth – the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Park.WaterDamsDam wall of the Blyde river dam- Hoedspruit Limpopo province South Africa. (Image: Chris Kirchoff, Brand South Africa. For more free photos, visit the Image Library)Water from the Berg Water Project near Franschhoek will flow through Cape Town’s taps in 2007, 18 years after the project was first mooted. The project yield is an 18% increase in the yield of the Western Cape water system, with a gross storage capacity of 130-million cubic metres. In today’s terms, the project will cost between R1.4-billion and R1.5-billion.The Cabinet has approved the establishment of the National Water Resource Infrastructure Agency (NWRIA) by April 2008 to ensure long-term water security. The agency will take responsibility for developing and operating the major national dams and water transfer schemes that are currently managed by the Department of Water and Sanitation.The agency will also integrate the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA), the parastatal organisation responsible for funding the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. The TCTA has already been tasked to finance and implement projects such as the Berg Water Project in the Western Cape and a new R2-billion pipeline from Vaal Dam to assure supplies to Eskom and Sasol.Several dams being commissioned or completed around the country, will ensure bulk availability of water, and there is a bulk supply upgrade planned for linking Polokwane and Flag Boshielo Dam.Useful links Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative Airports Company of South Africa Cell C Central Energy Fund Coega Industrial Development Zone Cross Border Road Transport Agency Department of Minerals and Energy Department of Science and Technology Department of Transport Department of Water Affairs and Forestry Dube Tradeport East Africa Submarine System Eastern Cape Department of Transport Eskom Expanded Public Works Programme Gautrain GCIS: 2010 Fifa Football World Cup Infraco AfricaMetrorail MTN National Energy Regulator of South Africa National Ports Authority Neotel Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa Public Investment Commission Public-Private Partnerships .Sentech South African National Roads Agency South African National Roads Agency Spoornet Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority Transnet Virgin Mobile Vodacom Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? 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