Government hosts Climate Change Adaptation and Gender Mainstreaming Dialogue in Pretoria, 8 to 9 Mar

Dialogue on mainstreaming gender in climate solutions

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE), The Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) and The South Africa National Biodiversity Institute’s (SANBI) will host a Climate Change Adaptation and Gender Mainstreaming Dialogue on 8 - 9 March 2023, in Pretoria, Gauteng. The Dialogue takes place under the theme: Women Adapting to Climate Change.

The two-day event aims to deep dive into South Africa’s response to climate change, with a gendered lens, acknowledging that women and girls are impacted by climate change in very particular ways, exacerbating existing inequalities. The Dialogue takes place on the premise that women and girls are at increased risk with the phenomenon of climate change, impacting on them enjoying their human rights.

The National Dialogue will bring together representatives from international, regional, national and local government and non-governmental institutions and organisations to participate in sharing their experience and expertise on gender as it intersects with climate change.

The event coincides with International Women’s Day, 8 March 2023, which is being observed under the theme: DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for gender equality.

Source: Government of South Africa

Health dept condemns disruption at facilities

The Department of Health has condemned in the strongest terms the violent and disruptive actions by some members of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (NEHAWU) at some health facilities around the country this morning.

In a statement, the department said it noted with concern the violent and disruptive actions, which affected access to some facilities, mainly major hospitals.

“The department respects the right to strike by members of the trade unions, as enshrined in the Constitution of the country. However, such right should not violate the constitutional rights of others to life and access to healthcare.

“Any form of violence and intimidation directed at health workers, patients and infrastructure is condemned in the strongest terms,” the department said.

The department said it is working closely with the provincial health authorities and law enforcement agencies to monitor the situation to ensure rapid response and necessary urgent interventions to minimise the impact of the strike on the provision of essential health services.

“The participation of employees rendering essential services or maintenance services in the strike during working hours will constitute misconduct, and the principle of 'no-work, no pay' will also be strictly and timeously applied without fear or favour," the department said.

Some of the affected health facilities include Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, Leratong Hospital, Tembisa Hospital in Gauteng; Pelonomi and Manapo Hospitals in the Free State, Khayelitsha Hospital in the Western Cape; Tshepong and Moses Kotane Hospitals in the North West, and Kimberly and Upington Hospitals in the Northern Cape.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Health condemns violent and disruptive actions at health facilities

The Department of Health has noted with concern the violent and disruptive actions by some members of trade union NEHAWU at some health facilities around the country which affect access to some facilities, mainly major hospitals.

The department respects the right to strike by members of the trade unions as enshrined in the Constitution of the country. However such right should not violate the constitutional rights of others to life and access to healthcare.

Any form of violence and intimidation directed at health workers, patients and infrastructure is condemned in the strongest terms.

The department is working closely with the provincial health authorities and law enforcement agencies to monitor the situation to ensure rapid response and necessary urgent interventions to minimise the impact of the strike on the provision of essential health services.

The participation of employees rendering essential services or maintenance services in the strike during working hours will constitute misconduct, and the principle of “No-Work No Pay” will also be strictly and timeously applied without fear or favour.

Some of the affected health facilities include amongst other: Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, Leratong Hospital, Tembisa Hospital all in Gauteng; Pelonomi and Manapo Hospitals in the Free State, Khayelitsha Hospital in the Western Cape, Tshepong and Moses Kotane Hospitals in the North West, Kimberly and Upington Hospitals in the Northern Cape.

Source: Government of South Africa

KZN Agricultural sector contributes to economic growth

KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, says the agricultural sector continues to grow and make a positive contribution to food availability, employment and economic growth.

Speaking at the Provincial Agriculture Indaba held at Msunduzi Sports Field in Mandeni Local Municipality on Saturday, Dube-Ncube said the provincial government supports the acceleration and revitalisation of the rural economy to provide necessary farming implements and mechanisation in rural areas.

“Government continues its support to the [agricultural] sector by ensuring [that] underutilised land is brought into production and made available to communities and historically disadvantaged individuals,” Dube-Ncube said.

The Premier, together with Agriculture and Rural Development MEC, Super Zuma hosted the indaba, which looked at the role that agriculture and agribusiness can play in addressing the pressing challenges of employment, poverty and intergenerational inequality.

The Premier commended the signing of the Agriculture and Agribusiness Masterplan at national level, a social compact of the sector that ensures partners in agriculture work together for the transformation and inclusive participation of all.

“It is the role of government to ensure equitable access to land in order to reverse the apartheid spatial planning and to increase the participation of historically disadvantaged communities in agriculture and other land-based industries.

“It is therefore revolutionary that our National Assembly has adopted the Expropriation Bill which provides for expropriation of land without compensation and is now to be finalised in 2023 by the National Council of Provinces.”

She said the provincial government believes that next to tourism, agriculture holds the greatest potential to help KwaZulu-Natal’s economy grow and create mass employment in the coming years.

“Agricultural scientists and economists predict that huge growth in domestic production in 2023 which will necessitate that South Africa reaches new export markets with countries like China, South Korea, Japan, the USA, Vietnam, Taiwan, India, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, the Philippines and Bangladesh being targeted for fruit, wine, beef and grains.

“These are real opportunities for agriculture in KwaZulu-Natal [and] we want South Africa to become number one in agriculture again, and we want KwaZulu-Natal to lead that trajectory.

“In this regard, in 2023, in KwaZulu-Natal there will be a drive for the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development to broaden the blended finance instruments to accommodate more financial institutions and increase its scale to reach more farmers,” the Premier said.

Agri-hubs

She announced that the province will commence with the rollout of agri-hubs located in various districts, and an amount of R152 million has been allocated to Agriculture and Rural Development over the next three years.

“The agri-hubs programme has been identified as a national priority programme and is to be included in the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission and funded accordingly. There is ample appetite from local and international investors to partner with the KZN provincial government in the development of these agri-hubs and we expect construction to commence soon,” the Premier said.

During the Indaba, Dube-Ncube also unveiled a fleet of Yellow Plant Equipment, including trucks, tractors, TLBs (tractor loader backhoe) and excavators, which will help farmers and local communities to ensure food security and ward off hunger and poverty.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa appointed Minister of Electricity in the Presidency

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa as the new Minister in the Presidency for Electricity.

The announcement of the newly established position was made by the President during an address to the nation on Monday evening.

President Ramaphosa said in his new role, Ramokgopa’s primary goal will be to drive government’s programme of significantly reducing the “severity and frequency of load shedding as a matter of urgency” and to expedite government’s work to ensure the full implementation of the Energy Action Plan.

“To effectively oversee the electricity crisis response, the appointed Minister will have political responsibility, authority and control over all critical aspects of the Energy Action Plan. This will help to deal with the challenge of fragmentation of responsibility across various departments and Ministers which, while appropriate under normal circumstances, is not conducive to a crisis response.

“The Minister will be expected to facilitate the coordination of the numerous departments and entities involved in the crisis response, work with the Eskom leadership to turn around the performance of existing power stations, and accelerate the procurement of new generation capacity,” he said.

At the time of his appointment, Ramokgopa held the position of Head of the Investment and Infrastructure Office in the Presidency - a position he held since 2019.

A new role

The new Minister of Electricity in the Presidency will be empowered to carry out his duties through the transfer of certain powers and functions from the President in terms of the Constitution.

President Ramaphosa explained that the Minister of Electricity in the Presidency will also be empowered to carry out urgent actions needed to resolve the energy crisis through the recently gazetted National State of Disaster related to electricity regulations.

“The recently published disaster regulations empower the Minister of Electricity to issue directions to, among others, exclude critical facilities from load shedding where technically feasible; expedite various regulatory processes for energy projects; and enable Eskom to undertake critical maintenance more quickly and efficiently.

“The Minister in the Presidency for Electricity will liaise with other relevant Ministers to ensure coherence in the issuing of other directions during the national state of disaster,” he said.

President Ramaphosa added that the new Minister will stay in office “for as long as it is necessary to resolve the electricity crisis”.

The SONA announcement

President Ramaphosa initially announced the creation of the portfolio for a Minister of Electricity in the Presidency during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Cape Town, last month.

At the time, the President said the new Minister would “assume full responsibility for overseeing all aspects of the electricity crisis response, including the work of the National Energy Crisis Committee”.

“The Minister will focus full-time and work with the Eskom board and management on ending load shedding and ensuring that the Energy Action Plan is implemented without delay,” he said during the SONA.

A week later, during his reply to Parliament’s debate on the SONA, President Ramaphosa said the new Minister will be driving the coordinated actions of the National Energy Crisis Committee to ensure that load shedding is addressed “as a matter of urgency”.

“The Minister of Electricity will be focused day in and day out only on addressing the load shedding crisis, working together with the management of Eskom and the board. The Minister will be leading the National Energy Crisis Committee and interacting with all other departments in the spirit of cooperative governance.

“With the focus that the Minister of Electricity will have on load shedding and the work that is being done by Eskom and the board, I do believe that we stand a much better chance to address this overriding challenge and crisis that our country faces,” he said.

At the same debate, President Ramaphosa emphasised that the energy crisis requires the “undivided attention of a political principal who does not need to split their time and energies among different important responsibilities”.

“This appointment will ensure that there is a Minister who is ultimately responsible for resolving load shedding and who is able to work with all fellow Cabinet ministers, departments and entities to do so,” he said.

A new portfolio

Before ascending to national government, Ramokgopa worked as the Member of Executive Committee (MEC) for Economic Development, Agriculture and Environment in Gauteng.

At local government level, Ramokgopa became one of the youngest mayors to head up a metropolitan municipality in South Africa when he took up the mayoral chains at the Tshwane municipality in 2010.

He held that position for at least five years.

Ramokgopa was also the CEO of both the Metropolitan Trading Company and the Johannesburg Market and was Deputy Chairperson of the board of Trade and Investment in Limpopo

He earned his Doctorate (PhD) in Public Affairs in 2019 with a dissertation titled: Leadership in establishing the Gauteng City-Region: the Case of the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality.

He also holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, a Master’s degree in Public Administration and a Master’s Degree in Business Leadership.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Government invests R252m in sports infrastructure

Government has allocated R252 million through a ring-fenced Municipal Infrastructure Grant for the construction and upgrading of local sport facilities in the 2022/23 financial year.

According to the International Cooperation, Trade and Security (ICTS) cluster, 27 municipalities have been allocated in this financial year for infrastucture development.

“An additional R5 million will be spent on installation of 10 outdoor gyms and children's play parks, which will also create 50 temporary jobs in local communities.

“In the 2022/23 financial year, 29 new library facilities and 40 existing library infrastructure are earmarked to be financially supported at an estimated budget of R310 million,” a statement released by the ICTS cluster said on Monday.

SA to host various major international sporting events

South Africa will host various major international sporting events this year.

“South Africa hosted the Women’s T20 World Cup in Cape Town, which culminated in the finals on Sunday, 26 February. In the finals, though the Proteas ladies fell short by 19 runs, they made history with a silver medal finish,” the ICTS cluster said.

South Africa will also host the Netball World Cup 2023 that will take place at the Cape Town International Conference Centre, from 17 July to 8 August 2023.

The hosting of major international sporting events is part of South Africa’s economic recovery strategy, with the focus on the lasting legacy that these events leave behind to benefit the country.

The Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan intends to build a new economy and unleash South Africa’s true potential. The overarching goal of the plan is to create a sustainable, resilient and inclusive economy.

The following international events will be held in the country:

Netball World Cup, July/August 2023 (R90m over MTEF starting in 2020).

ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023.

Formula E, CT, February 2023/24/25/26/27.

World Table Tennis Championships, Durban, May 2023.

World Masters Rowing Regatta, Roodeplaat, September 2023.

Monetisation of the Sport Industry

Government continues to work on monetising and sustaining the business of sport. This endeavour is intended to grow the business of sport through the following outcomes:

Procurement spend of equipment and attire by all spheres of government and sports federations. The department has a transversal tender for procurement of sports attire and equipment for the 16 priority codes of sport, at a cost of approximately R300 million.

Sports federations also procure various services that contribute to the business of sport. In the long term, the intention is to work with other Trade and Economic Departments and agencies to create local manufacturing capability for sport goods for long term production.

Promoting the sale of South African manufactured sport products.

Prosperity and development

The ICTS cluster said South Africa should continue the just transition to low carbon forms of energy generation and production at a pace the country can afford and in a manner that assists in ensuring energy security and opens up the possibility of new investments, new industrialisation and above all creates new jobs.

“Our just transition must prioritise workers and communities in vulnerable industries and ensure no one is left behind. This year, government received the first tranche of the $8.5 billion offer from the JET partnership with Germany and France. This money has been transferred to National treasury,” the ICTS cluster said.

The Just Energy Transition Partnership has finalised the Just Energy Transition Investment Plan (JET-IP) for a five-year period, starting in 2023 – 2027.

The JET-IP sets out the scale of need and investments required to achieve the decarbonisation commitments made in the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

Cabinet has adopted a Just Transition Framework developed through the Presidential Climate Commission.

The Just Transition Framework informs the basis for SA's long-term climate action and affirms South Africa’s net zero decarbonisation goal. It is firmly set in the context of the country's sustainable development challenges.

“The 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be a significant moment where the first global stocktake will take place to provide an assessment of collective progress towards meeting global climate goals.

“For the African continent, unlocking finance, technology and capacity building support will be of utmost importance. In this regard, we look forward to attending the African Climate Conference to be hosted by Kenya in September this year,” the ICTS cluster said.

The cluster said South Africa should prioritise the implementation of the current Southern African Development Community (SADC) development plans, complemented by renewed bilateral agreements focused on advancing shared growth.

“There is increased responsibility on all countries to contribute their best effort to implement their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Our country is fully committed to contributing its part.

“However, developing countries throughout the globe will require considerable financial contributions if they are to achieve their NDCs and build climate resilience. The UNFCCC and its Paris Agreement requires developed countries to contribute to transitions in developing countries,” the ICTS cluster said.

Source: South African Government News Agency