Mzansi counts down to Election Day

Monday, April 8, 2019

In exactly a month – South Africans will take to the polls for the 2019 National and Provincial Elections.

Democratic national and provincial elections have taken place in South Africa every five years starting in 1994.

Elections are an important way for people to debate and decide on their country’s future. They also provide an opportunity for voters to put to use their constitutional rights.

The national and provincial elections are two different elections to choose representatives to the National Assembly and Provincial Legislatures. Although they are different elections, they are held on the same day.

What is the difference between the two?

National government makes and carries out laws and policies for the whole country. It is made up of Parliament led by the Speaker; and National Government led by the President and Ministers.

The Provincial Government, on the other hand, makes and carries out laws and policies that affect the province only. It is made up of the legislature led by the speaker, and Provincial Government led by the Premier and Members of the Executive Council (MECs).

South Africa’s electoral system is called the Proportional Representation (PR) system.

The PR system awards seats to political parties according to the percentage of votes each party receives in an election.

Political parties submit a list of candidates to the IEC for the National Assembly and the Provincial Legislatures. Candidates are listed in their order of preference.

On Election Day, voters vote for the political party of their choice, not individual candidates.

After counting, political parties are allocated seats according to the percentage each party received.

An advantage of this electoral system is that it makes sure that smaller political parties are included and represented. This means that the legislatures are made up of people with different interests.

Currently, 26 744 565 South Africans are on the voters roll, according to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

Since its inception ahead of the 1999 national and provincial elections, the voters’ roll has shown steady growth of over 47% and contains the highest number of registered voters to date, recording an increase of 1 366 748 voters since 2014.

A total of 30 532 voters have applied to cast their vote in the national elections at one of South Africa’s 121 foreign missions.

The IEC has also opened its doors for the applications of special votes - until the 18 April.

The special votes will allow those who are unable to reach a voting station due to physical infirmity, disability or pregnancy – to cast their votes in the comfort of their homes. The second type of special vote is cast at a voting station - which is opened for any voter who is unable to cast their ballot on voting day.

These special votes will be conducted between 09H00 and 17H00 on Monday, 6 May 2019 and 7 May 2019

According to IEC statistics, of the 26.74 million registered voters, 14 716 879 are women (55%) which is 4% above the demographic split of the South African population, according to Statistics South Africa which is based on 2018 Midyear Population Estimates.

The provinces with the highest number of registered voters are Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

In terms of age, the biggest category of voters are those aged 30 – 39 years old (6 685 472) which represents 24.99% of the roll.

The IEC has confirmed that a total of 48 political parties will be running for the elections. -

A promising project for Zandspruit community

Democratic Alliance (DA), African National Congress (ANC) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are working together to provide housing in the community of Zandspruit.

DA Johannesburg Mayor Cllr Hemman Mashaba and MMC for Housing Meshack van Wyk revealed the parties’ alliance when they conducted an oversight visit to Zandspruit. The community mostly affected and in most urgent need for all political parties to unite and provide proper housing, according to Mashaba. 

The mayor’s visit marked the official launch of a project that will lead to the construction of 7000 housing units to replace shacks. The oversight visit also aimed to ensure that all processes planned for extensions 83, 84 and 85 are followed to enable the multi-party government to deliver services effectively.

 “Last year, I came to listen to the residents’ problems and challenges,” the Mayor said in an interview with the Chronicle. “They then showed me the land that the city can use to develop and provide the community with stands. I prepared a report to the council and it was approved that we can go ahead.”

 In the history of Johannesburg, the mayor said, this is the first time that all political parties were willing to work together on a particular project.

“From day one, the provincial government wanted to collapse our multi-party government in the city of Johannesburg,” Mashaba said. “Multi-party government is so important when it comes to community development. I think I will use this project as a model throughout the city. We want to do away with informal settlement over the next 10 to 15 years.”

Mashaba added that the City of Johannesburg is in discussion with Eskom to assist the community with proper electrification.

Nkosi Mthembu,who has lived in Zandspruit for the past 19 years,  said it was a promising sign to see all political parties going for the same goal.

“What we want is proper infrastructure in our community,” he said. “Politicians always come to us with different ideas especially towards elections. But this time I hope their promises will stand.” 1

Eco Culture Sechaba Foundation embraces World Water Week

About 7000 learners from four Cosmo City primary schools sang, danced and learned about waterissues during the annual March Water Week awareness campaign from 18 to 24 March conducted by Eco Culture Sechaba Foundation partnering with Centurion Systems.

As part of the campaign, Eco Culture demonstrated how sewer pipes get blocked by foreign objects like plastic bags, newspaper and nappies, with the hope that the demonstration will change learners’ behaviour.

“We did hands on workshop with all grade six pupils,” said the Eco Culture co-founder Alex Frost. “It gave them the practical exposure to wetlands, their health and biodiversity. Such activities made learning easier and fun for them.”

“Multiple sewage leaks are a daily occurrence in Cosmo City,” said the Eco Culture Environmental Education coordinator Marylin Ndhlovu. “During the water awareness campaign the participants conducted the mini Stream Assessment Scoring System (SASS) water test in the Cosmo City conservation area.”

 “The learners used nets to fish for aquatic invertebrates; the species composition that was found was used to determine the stream’s water quality using a scoring sheet based on the invertebrates that were caught. The learners from Cosmo City West Primary and Tirisano-Mmogo Primary found the stream to be in a critically poor condition, and this was most likely a result of the constant sewage pollution leaking into the stream.”

“We are piloting the Enviro Buddies programme within two beneficiary schools in Cosmo City,” Frost said. “The Enviro Buddies programme takes the form of an extra-curricular activity and introduces the learners to environmental issues through theoretical and practical activities that will be conducted once a week.”

Eco Culture Sechaba Foundation is a fully registered Non-Profit Organisation, Public Benefit Organisation and Social Enterprise that focuses on developing and placing environmental sustainability programmes in both schools and communities. These programmes are designed to educate and improve environmental conditions within these communities.

20bn investment shows “SA has a lot to offer”

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Since President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his massive investment drive for the country, at least US$20 billion has been amassed.

Last year, the President announced an ambitious plan to attract investment to the country of $100 billion in the next five years. And, in the past few months, this drive has already seen investments pour in to the amount of $20 billion. The President said this when he addressed day two of the Investing in African Mining Indaba at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Tuesday. The conference is being attended by Heads of State, investors and deal makers from around the world.

“We have recently returned from the World Economic Forum in Davos and a State visit to India, where we engaged with the investment community on, among other things, South Africa’s ambitious programme to mobilise far greater levels of investment.

“Our message to international investors is that we are taking practical measures to build an economy that is underpinned by inclusive growth, competitiveness and transformation.

“This message found practical expression in the inaugural South Africa Investment Conference, which we hosted in October last year.

“Several companies at the conference made announcements of investments, which amounted to around $20 billion in total,” the President said.

The investments, President Ramaphosa said, are a clear indication that the South African economy has a lot to offer, and that opportunities for growth are abundant if the country harnesses its areas of comparative advantage and creates an environment conducive to investment.

“The fact that three of these major investment announcements came from the mining sector gives credence to our view that mining in South Africa is a sunrise industry.

“We expect that they will make a valuable contribution to accelerated economic growth and greater job creation,” he said.

With South Africa’s mining industry having a long history that spans over 150 years, the President said the country’s mineral wealth has attracted large capital investments over the decades, resulting in the development of integrated industrial value chains that generate significant value for the economy.

“South Africa hosts the world’s largest reserves of platinum group metals and manganese, and some of the largest reserves of gold, diamonds, chromite ore and vanadium. 

“As government, we regard the mining industry as a key player in the future growth and development of our economy, with huge potential for exploration, production and beneficiation. “It is for this reason that we have prioritised the restoration of a policy and regulatory environment that is stable and predictable.

“Significant work has been done to remove the uncertainty that held back the development of the industry,” he said.

Steps being taken to address investor concerns.The President said, meanwhile, that the country has emerged from a period of strained relations where the courts became the main platform of engagement between the industry and government.

He said government undertook to hold engagements with the industry because it recognised the critically important role that mining can and must still play in shaping the future of the country.

“To this end, we moved to speed up the finalisation of the Mining Charter and to provide greater clarity on the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill.

“Because of their importance, these actions formed a critical component of the Economic Stimulus and Recovery Plan we announced in September 2018 after our economy went into a technical recession.

“As part of the package, government is reprioritising spending -- within the existing fiscal framework -- towards initiatives that are aimed at driving economic activity, including financial and non-financial measures to turn around the economy.”

The President said government further recognised the challenges raised by investors, including administered prices for ports, rail and electricity, as well as infrastructure bottlenecks.

“We welcome the interactions we have had with the private sector, representing both local and international, on a number of issues that are of concern to them and some matters of concern to us.

“We are working in earnest to address the constraints that were raised with us, as we implement the Stimulus and Economic Recovery Plan. We are addressing issues that are of concern to companies such as Visa Regulations, reducing the cost of doing business, eliminating many bureaucratic constrains and making it a lot easier to conduct business,” he said.

Government to unveil Eskom recovery plan

The President assured that work is being done to address energy concerns in relation to Eskom.

He said investors had raised a concern over an important infrastructure challenge - the security and affordability of energy supply.

“We have been giving detailed attention to the crisis at Eskom. Eskom is currently facing significant operational, financial and structural challenges.

“Eskom’s contribution to the health of our economy is too great for it to be allowed to fail. It is too important and is too big to fail, and we will not allow it to fail. Restoring and securing energy security for the country is an absolute imperative.

“In the coming days, we will be announcing a package of measures to stabilise and improve Eskom’s financial, operational and structural position and to ensure security of energy supply for the country,” he said. Land expropriation to promote economic activity President Ramaphosa said government has used its engagements with investors to outline South Africa’s approach to land reform.

He said investors raised a concern about the proposal for the expropriation without compensation to be among the mechanisms used to promote land reform.

“We must emphasise that our approach will enhance, rather than undermine, property rights as we seek to address what we have termed the original sin that was committed against black South Africans during colonial and apartheid days.

“The measure we are proposing will apply to land for the purposes of land reform only, and within a clearly defined set of circumstances.

“This measure will be undertaken in a way that promotes economic development and agricultural output, and that does not undermine the principles of our Constitution or the rule of law.

“Investors need not fear that their investments and assets will be taken away from them,” President Ramaphosa said. –

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