Category Archives: South Africa

Campaign against bullying, sexual violence launched in SA

A campaign to encourage South Africans, in particular pupils to pledge against bullying and sexual violence at schools was unveiled in conjunction with Youth Day.

Referred to as the “Ubuntu Pledge”, the campaign is going to encourage pupils and teachers throughout the country to sign the pledge during the course of national visits. The campaign comes after requests from organisations and individuals countrywide who offered assistance to stand against such acts.

The pledge at the same time commits individuals to uphold the constitutional values including human dignity, non-racism and non-sexism. Furthermore, it commits to “foster an environment of mutual respect both inside and outside of the classroom,” reporting all wrongdoing and encourages pledgers to “embrace boldness, loyalty and honesty.”

The campaign is a joint collaboration between Proudly South Africa, the Department of Basic Education and the Department of Women, Children and People With Disabilities, to name a few, in the aftermath of the Soweto girl who was ganged raped by a group of youth in April this year.

The incident was also recorded on a cell phone and went virul across the internet received national condemnation.

Giving a presentation at the launch, Proudly SA CEO, Leslie Sedibe pointed out that they were fully commited to the campaign and that the nation must never go through the incident ever again.

“As South Africans we must never accept the abhorrent crimes as a way of life in our country. It goes against every gain of our humanity,” he was quoted saying, adding that individuals must drive the message to the youth that abuse and violence was not acceptable and would not be tolerated.

Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Enver Surty stated the launch occurring on Youth Day, reveals a great deal with regards to the way forward for the country. Younger generation must follow and take lessons from the 1976 generation who stood up for what they believed in and have pride.

Just as much as youth have rights, these rights come along with responsibility, said the deputy minister.

He called the younger generation to uphold the principles of respect, honestly, integrity and mutual respect for other people.

Various other partners of the national campaign also include The National Prosecuting Authority, the Film and Publication Board, Crime Line, POWA, Princess of Africa Foundation, SHOUT, Orlando Pirates Football Club, Zinto Activation Group and the International Federation of Christian Churches (IFCC).

Celebrities such as Yvonne Chaka Chaka, PJ Powers, Baby Jake Matlala, Miss SA Teen Celeste Khumalo, have also offered assistance and joined as partners in the national campaign. They will serve as role models for the youth and take part in school visits.

Source: BuaNews

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SA has much to offer investors despite challenges

 

The Oxford Business Group (OGB) report on South Africa shows that the country provides long term growth prospects in spite of the obstacles it faces.

“The core message contained in the report is the fact that South Africa offers considerable and serious long term growth and development potential in spite of the challenges which we confront at present, some of those are challenges not of our own making but the winds of the world economy is blowing in our direction,” Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said at the inaugural launch of The Report South Africa 2012.

The business group spent roughly nine months in the country producing the report that investigates government’s efforts to enhance growth across the industrial sector, among others, in addition to examining challenges in conducting business in the country.

Both Government and industry were questioned in compiling the report. “The report articulates a clear message that South Africa is open for business,” said the minister, adding that the country has exceptional possibility to draw in investment.

“For government it is vital that we situate the OGB report and the private and public perspectives it contains in the overall context of our economic development strategy. It was also essential to position the report in the overall context of the country’s economic strategy”, the minister he was quoted saying.

South Africa also focused to boost its competitiveness and has worked tirelessly on achieving stabilisation in a number of industries that were vulnerable for example, the clothing industry. Issues such as inequality and unemployment continue to persist.

OGB head Michael Benson-Colpi pointed out that the report was for individuals that wished to understand more about South Africa. “It is a comprehensive report on South Africa, it is an educational in addition to a marketing tool,” he said.

The report was produced in partnership with the DTI.

 

Brand South Africa’s Ignatius Sathekge stated it was essential for the country to boost inter-African trade which could create opportunities for the country.

For the time being, Absa Capital CEO Stephen van Coller pointed out that the country continued to be relatively robust considering the events in the global economy, adding that there was a fresh sense of optimism with Africa being the second fastest growing region.

Having said that, the country “was not out of the woods yet” simply because it is faced with issues for instance the downgrading of the country by rating agencies along with currency volatility. He stated the country punched above its weight in attracting multi-nationals.

Regional Editor for Africa for the OGB Robert Tashima referred to South Africa as sophisticated, adding the fact that the country’s government budget was in excellent health. South Africa was lauded in that it took roughly 19 days to register a business when compared to the rest of the continent.

Unemployment at 24% was identified as a structural challenge. “The problems are worrying however they are not grounds for despondency,” said Tashima.

The country was praised for having policy and political stability, an outstanding business environment, natural resources in addition to infrastructure. “These can catapult the economy forward, they provide opportunity, pointed out the Editor.

When it comes to energy sector, programmes like the Renewable Independent Power Producers programme, the report discovered that “prospects for growth were electrifying”.

The report at the same time mentioned that inequality in South African society posed “long term concern”.

A number of the growth strategies recognized in the report include the diversification of exports, and strengthening skills sets.

Source: BuaNews

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South Africa is open for tourism and business

 

The emphatic message coming from the Department of Tourism during the recent Meetings Africa gathering is that South Africa is open for business..

Meeting Africa is recognised as Africa’s leading business and tourism trade show, and appeals to influential buyers from around the globe.

It’s a flagship marketing effort of South African Tourism (SAT), and focuses primarily on the so-called MICE (meetings, incentives, conference, and exhibitions) industry, with products and solutions that catch the attention of local and international buyers alike.

Meetings Africa 2012 at the same time saw the roll-out of the National Convention Bureau (NCB) which is intending to play a vital role in harnessing national tourism initiatives.

“The NCB will prove to add significant value to the country’s business tourism industry,” stated tourism minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, “and will strengthen and support efforts already being made to drive expansion in business tourist arrivals to make South Africa a truly global force.”

Van Schalkwyk remarked that through the prosperous hosting of major events including the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the recent COP17 climate change conference, along with other sporting, business and tourism events, South Africa has built its credentials as a accredited global host.

He went on to state that South Africa carries with it an advantage in that the country has world-class business and conference facilities, but in addition exceptional leisure tourism attractions along with hospitable and friendly people.

 

Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk

The NCB was started in November 2011 and is led by executive director Amanda Kotze-Nhlapho, who joined up with SAT following a successful tenure as head of convention bureau and events at Cape Town Routes Unlimited.

“We are convinced that the industry is in a position to contribute to the economy,” she explained.

The NCB are able to offer services which include help and support with the planning of conventions, all facets of the bidding process, and on-site event services.

Welcome to South Africa

A presentation by Mabeka Makola, SAT’s brand experience manager, provided specifics about the organisation’s SAT’s Welcome Campaign, geared towards inspiring all South Africans to welcome visitors warmly as a result inspire them to return.

He stated that the perception of the country is a vital element not merely in bringing visitors back, but also in inspiring them to pass on the word about South Africa back home.

“It’s about every single person working together to highlight the small things that will likely have a much better influence on visitor perception in the long run.”

The initiative is going into its second phase of execution, which brings the consumer on board. Phase one was concerned with talks with the trade.

“We have to partner with small businesses to make certain that this campaign actually reaches the full potential, simply because its success depends on partnerships,” said Makola.

Significance of the BRICS partnership to South Africa
A Meetings Africa panel discussion highlighted the role South Africa’s BRICS membership has played in fuelling trade and investment in the country.

South Africa officially joined the bloc of emerging economic powers in April 2011.

Soni, Brand South Africa chairperson, told the guests the fact that the move to join BRICS has allowed South Africa to connect with the big growth economies in the world, and additionally tap into their profitable markets.

“President Jacob Zuma has shared that since we joined the BRICS family, our exports grew four-fold into those countries and our imports into the same countries doubled,” said Soni. “It therefore makes business sense to play with the largest growing economies in the world.”

She went ahead and added that to make the most of these business opportunities, long-term strategies were needed, and these were in place.

 

Demidova, general director at Expert Avis Marketing, pointed out that there is remarkable interest in South Africa from the Russian side. “Russians have an interest in what is happening in this country, and are checking out the destination as a possible event alternative.”

She hinted at the likelihood of direct flights between South Africa and Russia in the foreseeable future, likening the idea to the recent non-stop flight to China introduced by South African Airways.

South Africa and China have established bilateral agreements in numerous areas, including transport, education, housing, infrastructure, and water resource management.

The introduction of non-stop flights between South Africa and Russia promises to facilitate business and leisure travel in between the two countries, stated Demidova.

She mentioned that South Africa will need to continue to keep focus on issues of accessibility to the country, such as visa requirements, flight length and destination promotion. She disclosed statistics from Russia which reveal that since Latin America dropped visa requirements, travel from Russia to that region improved significantly.

Ji, Civic Group founder from China, shared Demidova’s sentiment, and suggested that the Chinese people would like to know much more about South Africa and how to do business with the country.

“Our emphasis is on cooperation and seeking for a win-win situation,” she said. “We are extremely open to forming new partnerships and are focusing on the long term interest.”

Devarajan, president of India’s largest travel group Kuoni India, mentioned that there are numerous factors to take into consideration when organizing a MICE tour.

“The planner wants a focus on logistics, access and customising an itinerary to suit the traveller, while the tourist wants to see new things, experience new sites and enjoy nightlife and shopping. Corporate visitors want more bang for their buck and are concerned about safety” he explained.

When it comes to Indian visitors to South Africa, Devarajan mentioned that their numbers would increase if hotels made available more Indian products, such as Indian television channels and cuisine.

The harsh truth for business tourism, said Soni, is the fact that South Africans will need to speak with one voice.

“Business, government, society and the media really have to communicate accurate messages, and we all need to be ambassadors for our country.”

Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com

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Corruption Watch – another step towards fighting corruption

Combating corruption acquired some serious artillery with the roll-out of Corruption Watch, an independent civil society institute established make it possible for South Africans to report and confront corrupt activity in both the public and private sectors.

The unveiling, held at the Women’s Gaol museum at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, was attended by a number of government, civil society and business leaders, most notably Jay Naidoo, Mark Haywood, Mary Metcalfe, Njongonkulu Ndungane and public protector Thuli Madonsela, in addition to a significant contingent of news media.

Corruption Watch’s function consists of a newly launched website along with a SMS hotline to obtain reports of corruption, along with a pledge which individuals can sign online to indicate their rejection of corruption.

 

 

The internet site is going to be a library of stories coming from the South African public, a safe and secure portal for evidence-based whistle blowing activity, in addition to a resource for information regarding corrupt activities throughout South Africa.

As part of his keynote speech, Cosatu secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi praised Corruption Watch as being a “critical resolution of Cosatu and civil society” as well as a “dream come true to empower our people”.

We will never be successful in our mission to overcome this fast advancing enemy except in cases where we can effectively mobilise and empower ordinary people, strengthen and build a people-centred developmental state, brought about by honest men and women, and construct independent state institutions that fight against corruption on a daily basis and transform the judiciary and media, he was quoted saying.

The general public can inform Corruption Watch about their experiences and sign the pledge online.

To SMS, send the text “BRIBE” to report corruption or, to sign the pledge, type “PLEDGE” including your first and last names to the number 45142 (the SMS costs R1).

Individuals are also able to discuss it on Facebook and Twitter (@corruption_sa).

Eliminate abuse of power and position

Corruption Watch director David Lewis stated that by gathering, interpreting and acting on information compiled from the public, the media and other sources, the organisation would eventually be in a position uncover the corrupt misuse of public money.

“We have established this organisation make it possible for citizens to report and confront public and private sector individuals abusing their power and position.”

The information gathered by the organisation is going to be utilized to reveal hotspots of corrupt activity throughout the country at municipal, provincial and national level. Where corruption is rife, Corruption Watch is going to seek out partnerships with powerful organs of civil society to effect change.

“We would like to guide the national conversation with regards to corruption from resignation to action,” said Lewis.

The website would be the principal interface between the public and Corruption Watch, however the organisation could also be contacted via SMS, Twitter and Facebook.

 

Cosatu secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi

By way of social media, individuals can easily talk about their stories pertaining to all types of corruption, including but not exclusive to bribery, kickbacks and graft; have an impact on peddling and patronage; along with corruption in the work place where they’ve observed or happen to be victims of favouritism, nepotism, ghost workers and illegitimate absenteeism. Individuals will be able to complain of cases of bid-rigging, price-fixing, arbitrage and profiteering, cartels and collusion and tender and procurement irregularities.

The private information of anyone reporting an incident is going to be kept confidential, however the information collected is going to be aggregated, making it possible for Corruption Watch to analyse the data, identify patterns and draw a “heat map” of when and where corruption is going on.

“Information from crowd-sourcing provides a clear understanding of what is occurring on the ground,” said Lewis. “While we {will not|probably won’t|probably will not} be in a position to investigate every single report, the consolidated knowledge of people coming to our site will furnish us with a powerful tool to develop alliances with other institutions and NGOs. Strengthening the scale and voice of civil society will assist South Africans to defeat corruption.”

As a result of some of the aggregated information – and from time to time a personal story signifying an endemic form of corruption – Corruption Watch will initiate research, commission reports and compile a sufficient amount of documentation to refer matters to the appropriate investigative or prosecutorial authority, as well as engage in policy-based advocacy work.

“Our first campaign,” said Lewis, “is requesting individuals to sign a pledge online, or via SMS, refusing to get involved in corruption and, in the event that they are civil servants, committing to treating public resources with respect.”

‘Nowhere to hide’

Justice minister Jeff Radebe likewise took to the podium, decrying corruption as a “cancer” in South African society.

“This cancer of corruption can only be defeated by the concerted initiatives of all South Africans … meaning that the roll-out of Corruption Watch is highly commended,” he stated.

 

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe and Cosatu’s Zwelinzima Vavi

The minister added the fact that the organisation would certainly assist to transform many South Africans from being passive recipients within a democracy into “important role-players who actively combat corruption”.

“We would at the same time like the media to continue in its determined efforts to expose corruption whenever it rears its ugly head.”

He added: “We are positive that Corruption Watch is going to be an independent unbiased voice and barometer displaying the strides we as a nation are making to fight corruption. Everyone must fully understand that there is nowhere to hide as far as corruption is concerned.”

United front against corruption

Public protector Thuli Madonsela pointed out that the initiative “couldn’t have come at a better time” and that the Public Protector team was honoured to be part of it.

“Many sectors of society can learn a good deal from this development. As a nation we require a united front against corruption and central to this is active citizenship.”

Accountability and transparency are, in addition central to the organisation, she added.

“I’m encouraged by Corruption Watch’s understanding that corruption is a societal problem – it’s not an isolated problem.”

Corruption is additionally rife in the regulatory environment, service delivery, along with the public and private sector, she pointed out.

 

 

“It is time that all of us as patriotic South Africans stand together to fight corruption with courage and resilience. We look forward to working with Corruption Watch in taking the process forward when it comes to awareness-raising, protecting and encouraging whistle-blowing and promoting transparency in the government’s legal framework.”

Madonsela called on all sectors of society to throw their weight behind the initiative, adding that actively fighting corruption is needed to alleviate poverty, boost service delivery, and promote safety and justice.

“Each of us carries a responsibility to fight corruption in the public and private sector to make certain that we establish a society where there is public accountability, integrity and responsiveness to all the people of the country.”

Taking action

Financed primarily by donations from charitable foundations, Corruption Watch has been established as a non-profit organisation by Cosatu’s office bearers, who have been receiving progressively more complaints with regards to corruption from its membership along with the general public.

Its board of directors is comprised of Bobby Godsell, Adila Hassim, David Lewis, Mary Metcalfe, Mavuso Msimang, Njongonkulu Ndungane, Kate O’Regan, Zwelinzima Vavi, with Vuyiseka Dubula in the chair.

 

Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com

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Corruption continues to plague South Africa

In the recent Corruption Perceptions Index released by Transparency International, South Africa ranked 64 out of 183 countries surveyed. The report reveals that a number of governments are failing to safeguard citizens from corruption, whether it is abuse of public resources, bribery or secretive decision-making.

Transparency International cautioned that protests throughout the world, frequently ignited by corruption and economic instability, illustrate that citizens feel their leaders and public institutions are neither transparent nor accountable enough.

“This year we have seen corruption on protestors’ banners be they rich or poor. Whether in a Europe hit by debt crisis or an Arab world starting a new political era, leaders must heed the demands for better government,” said Transparency International chairperson Huguette Labelle.

 


The Results

 

The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries and territories based on their perceived levels of public sector corruption. Regarded as an aggregate indicator that brings together numerous sources of information about corruption, making it possible to compare countries.

The 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index reveals that absolutely no region or country globally is immune to the damages of corruption. The result reveal that a vast majority of the 183 countries and territories evaluated score below five on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean) .

New Zealand, Denmark and Finland top the list, while North Korea and Somalia are at the bottom.

South Africa scored 4.1 out of 10.

 

Corruption comes with a cost. Transparency International is of the opinion that investing in a “relatively corrupt” country as compared with an uncorrupt one can possibly be 20% more costly.

South Africa ranked 64 out of 183 countries in Transparency International’s 2011 corruption perceptions index, slipping 10 places from the previous year and ranking the country in seventh place in sub-Saharan Africa.

Corruption continues to plague way too many nations across the world.

To view full report and country rankings – click here

 

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