Interconnectivity crucial to boosting Kenya, SA small business

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta says easing challenges in the transportation of goods between the South Africa and Kenya will maximise economic opportunities for businesses in the two countries.

He was speaking during a visit to a Transnet manufacturing facility in Pretoria with Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan, on Wednesday.

The Kenyan president is on an official State Visit to South Africa, which has paved the way for the two countries to deepen ties through the signing of at least eight memoranda affecting different departments including transport.

President Kenyatta bemoaned the challenges faced by small businesses in both countries.

“It should be easy enough for a small or medium enterprise based in Cape Town, Pretoria or Johannesburg to be able to move its products seamlessly to Kenya and vice versa. It should be easy for a company based in Mombasa, Nairobi [or] Kisumu to move goods to markets in Southern Africa,” he said.

President Kenyatta said these challenges can be overcome through collaboration and urged businesses and state owned-companies not to act as competitors but rather “as collaborators and partners”.

“The impediment is how to get those goods there; how to get them there easily in terms of speed and how to get them there at acceptable costs. That cannot happen if we do not deepen our linkages in terms of our air services, our seaways, and our rail and road networks.

“We need this interconnectivity to be able to facilitate and the only way we can do that is by bringing the co-operations that are responsible and charged with that mandate in our respective countries to partner and to start developing these rail, road, sea and air linkages,” he said.

President Kenyatta said his visit to the plant is the concrete realisation of the Memorandum of Agreement on Transport between the two countries.

“We are here…to see how we can deepen [Transnet’s] partnership with Kenya Railways and also with other railways and companies in our part of the world so that we can share technical input, we can share engineering expertise, we can share how to link our respective rails together, how to manage our respective rail systems together. All this in trying to facilitate the movement of goods between our two countries,” he said.

Meanwhile, Minister Gordhan highlighted some of Transnet’s capabilities.

“Transnet is quiet a unique state owned entity in the sense that...it has a port division, a port terminal division, an important rail division, a pipeline division that transports fuel from the coast to the inland and the engineering component,” Gordhan said. – SAnews.gov.za

Medical doctor suspended for fraudulently issuing medical certificates

The Health Professions Council of South Africa has suspended a Gqeberha-based medical doctor from practising medicine after he was found guilty of fraudulently issuing medical certificates required by drivers applying for Professional Driving Permits (PrDPs).

In a statement on Wednesday, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) said the National Traffic Anti-Corruption Unit (NTACU) and the Health Professions Council of South African arrested Dr Bongani Nqini in May 2019 following an investigation.

“The investigation was prompted by numerous complaints from members of the public who indicated that doctors in Zwide, Gqeberha were issuing medical certificates to members of the public without subjecting them to the necessary medical examinations.

“A member of NTACU, a unit of the Road Traffic Management Corporation, was assigned to obtain more information about the allegations,” RTMC said.

Acting as an undercover agent, the member went to the doctor’s rooms in Zwide on 14 May 2019 where he was given a sick note with five days leave without being examined.

He returned the following day, and he was given a medical certificate certifying that he was fit to apply for a PrDP without being subjected to the necessary physical examination.

The Health Professions Council of South Africa then initiated disciplinary action against Nqini and charged him with six counts of contravening the Health Professions Act 56 of 1979.

The doctor was found guilty on five counts and sentenced to a fine of R120 000 payable in six monthly instalments.

Nqini was further suspended from practising medicine for a period of three years wholly suspended for a period of five years on condition that he is not found guilty of a similar offence during the period of suspension.

The disciplinary committee found that the NTACU official who gave evidence against the doctor was “a truthful, honest and credible witness who did not change his version while under cross-examination”.

The committee further found that Nqini “is directly responsible for the vehicle accidents that are happening on our roads as a result of him certifying drivers fit to obtain PrDPs without examining them.”

“The RTMC welcomes the verdict against the doctor although it believes that the sentence could have been harsher to deter others from committing a similar offence.

“Members of the public are urged to report fraud and corrupt practices relating to the issuing of driving licences to ntacu@rtmc.co.za. WhatsApp messages can be sent to 083 298 7989,” RTMC said. – SAnews.gov.za

Buying locally manufactured products adds to economy

Every rand spent by South Africans on locally manufactured products this Black Friday makes an important contribution to economic growth and job creation.

“Choosing locally made goods this Black Friday could be a game changer for the South African economy, injecting billions of rands into economic growth and turning the tide on unemployment,” says Proudly South African CEO Eustace Mashimbye.

“Part of South Africa’s economic recovery lies in creating meaningful job opportunities – a process which begins with citizens supporting locally made and manufactured goods.

“With unemployment at record highs, the power of consumer activism could be the catalyst our country desperately needs to unlock investments in labour-absorbing sectors such as manufacturing,” Mashimbye said.

According to Statistics South Africa, retail trade accounts for some 15% of the country’s entire GDP. Retail trade sales in September amounted to nearly R94.4 billion.

The Unisa Bureau of Market Research estimates that Black Friday spending alone is expected to reach R11.3 billion this year – over a tenth of this total monthly spending in a single day.

“Consider what this sum could do for the economy and employment if directed towards local businesses.

“To move the needle in the right direction and safeguard our country’s future, it’s important to realise that every rand spent on domestic goods is a vote for positive socio-economic change,” Mashimbye said.

Mashimbye noted that there is a common misconception that an emphasis on localisation inevitably means a compromise in terms of either price or quality, risking high inflation, poor standards, or both.

However, this fails to recognise that many South African goods are globally competitive in terms of quality.

Secondly, it is important to consider that through stimulating domestic demand for South African goods and services, businesses will receive the reassurance needed to further invest in growing capacity, with cost benefits for consumers.

“By purchasing locally manufactured goods, we will finally begin to overcome some of South Africa’s structural economic challenges.

“We can create new opportunities throughout value chains for low-skilled and unskilled workers, driving sustainable economic development. Local businesses can then pass on the price benefits of economies of scale to consumers in a virtuous cycle that benefits all.

“Additionally, job creation means more financially independent citizens who can participate in the formal economy, accelerating local market demand and further stimulating economic growth,” Mashimbye said.

In a competitive market, one may find imported goods that are more or less expensive than local items but that is where one must make a choice, he adds.

“As consumers, it’s important to remember that cheap imported goods are not necessarily of a high quality. When it comes to large global fashion brands, for example, you may be paying a premium for the brand name rather than the quality. South African products may offer superior value for money, in addition to their economic benefits.

“Anyone seeking value guarantees this Black Friday should keep an eye out for the Proudly South African tick of quality assurance.

“By choosing local, consumers send a strong signal to businesses that we are collectively prepared to address South Africa’s unemployment crisis,” Mashimbye added.

For a closer look at the wide range of Proudly South African products on offer, visit Proudly South African’s Black Friday guide.

The Living Lekker Locally video showcasing the very best of local goods can also be viewed here: https://youtu.be/VfTw3m70ON0. In addition, it can be viewed on Proudly SA’s website. – SAnews.gov.za

Police urged to do utmost to protect communities

Police Deputy Minister Cassel Mathale has called on members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) to serve communities to the best of their abilities.

The Deputy Minister made the call during his address and in response to comments and complaints raised by the community during a recent Crime Prevention Ministerial Imbizo at Boitumelong Sports Ground in Bloemhof in the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District, North West.

Accompanied by national and provincial SAPS leadership, Mathale engaged the community of Bloemhof to address their crime concerns. The Imbizo was also attended by the Deputy National Commissioners; Lieutenant General Masemola and Lieutenant General Vuma, Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Kwena and his deputies, representatives from the Office of the MEC for Community Safety and Transport Management, Heads of Entities, the District Commissioner, Provincial Heads and Station Commanders.

High on the agenda were issues of gangsterism, alcohol and drug abuse in the area.

The engagement also sought to provide the residents with a platform to discuss and engage the SAPS on the identified crimes plaguing the community and at the same time promote and improve relations between police and the community at large.

In his address, he said the presence of the Ministry and police presence in Bloemhof was a confirmation that the community had power which compels the collective to interact, listen and get guidance from the community as part of working together to do more.

He requested the community to work together with the Station Commander in addressing criminal activities in the area. Furthermore, he urged the police to respect the community so that they can earn their respect and that SAPS members who are involved in criminal activities, will be arrested and change from the dignified and much loved blue uniform to an orange one. Regarding the shortage and misuse of resources, the Deputy Minister requested the police leadership at National and Provincial level to urgently attend to the challenges, including allegations that the station's telephone is continuously not working.

Concerning COVID-19, the Deputy Minister requested the community to vaccinate as that will also ensure that life goes back to normal so that challenges of poverty, crime and unemployment can be vigorously fought.

In outlining the purpose of the day and brief response to the concerns raised by the community, the Deputy National Commissioner: Policing, Lieutenant General Masemola, also shared with the community, the contact details of the Station Commander, the District Commissioner and the Provincial Commissioner.

As part of information sharing and public education, Heads of Entities such as Civilian Secretariat for Police Service, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) also addressed the attendees.

The Deputy Minister reminded the community to behave themselves in a responsible manner during festive season to ensure that every one is safe and assured South Africans that the “Country in Blue" is in full swing and extending its reach through blue light visibility. – SAnews.gov.za

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