SPEECH BY L N SISULU, MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS ON THE OCCASION OF THE BUDGET VOTE OF THE MINISTRY OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS

Chairperson
Honourable Members

All human achievements begin with the pursuance of an idea, a spark and at best, a dream. In our case, we, the African National Congress, it was in the course of our pursuit of the idea and dream of freedom that was embedded the protection of all the rights which were aimed at reclaiming our humanity. The struggle was a necessary price to pay if we were to defeat centuries old systems whose hallmarks were to demean, fragment, stratify, racialise and compartmentalise the human condition. The immediate challenge facing the ANC in government was how to create a new human consciousness – a consciousness that would be distinct to that which had been cemented over centuries by apartheid colonialism, to create a different fabric of society, a new identity – all the rights we enjoy today. All of these find expression in our struggle mandate. From a solid base, and innumerable delivery, our struggle continues. We claim no easy victories.

The struggle we talk about is one we lived, not one we heard or read about and decided to expropriate for opportunistic reasons. The rights that our people enjoy today, we have worked tirelessly for. None can take these away nor seek to erase their significance from the consciousness of our people.

As part of our contribution as Human Settlements, we moved with haste to restore the dignity of our people through the provision of shelter and engaged in the business of changing our human geography. What apartheid segregated, we are integrating at all levels of human existence – socially, culturally and economically. Our successes speak for themselves and they are internationally acknowledged. I repeat this at every opportunity so that we all internalise it: No other country in the world has achieved what the ANC government has achieved in the provision of shelter for its people. None! And we do it because that is what we promised our people, and because we are committed to our promises.

For those whose circumstances have not yet changed, we may not be there just yet, but to gauge our commitment – look at the previous condition of most of our societies and look at them now! We made that possible. We are as committed to you. We will change your conditions too. It is for this reason that today’s speech is dedicated to all those who still wait in hope. This government builds 1 003 houses every day. That means that every day 1 003 families move into new houses. You are in our sights. Change is within your grasp. To fast-track delivery, we have reviewed our policies and methods, so that you too can enjoy the comfort and security we fought for to give you.

Two weeks ago, the Deputy Minister and I celebrated the incredible feat of having delivered 4.3 million houses and subsidies that the ANC government has provided. We celebrated that we had delivered a world record to more than twenty million people. Put simply, twenty million people is more than a third of our country’s population. And we celebrated this in a city we have been building over the past ten years in Johannesburg, called Cosmo City. It is an amazing place. We built that city brick by brick, just one of many examples of what we are building all over the country. It is an example also of what is possible when the mind and the heart are aligned in pursuit of the best for our people. The model of Cosmo City is in the exhibition area outside the chamber. Please take time to see it and you are allowed to marvel as we continue building a new South African reality.

We are working with the same contractor on an integrated human settlement development at Midvaal, called Savanna City, which will consist of more than 18 000 BNG houses, 16 educational facilities, malls, clinics, crèches, churches, etc. This development will ensure that all the informal settlements in Orange Farm will be a thing of the past.

The first phase of the new city consists of 12 000 units, with mixed typologies that range from fully subsidised BNG houses to bonded houses and Rental units. A thriving city with all the elements that our policy determines constitute a human settlement, complete with twelve schools, three shopping malls, health facilities, police stations, a community centre with a hall, 43 parks and recreational areas, library, cemetery and several churches. Our model of the post-Apartheid city, reversing the legacy of segregation and exclusion. We have just promised them a stadium. Here in this city lives people who time forgot somewhere in Sgodiphoola in Soweto, and who are now fully fledged citizens, energetic, vibrant people, taking charge of their new lives. A changed people. From desperate and desolate to positive and participating.

It is important that we need to keep reminding ourselves, lest we forget, that we have come a long way from an ugly past. The changes did not come about in themselves. We have put a great deal of effort into this and we are justly proud of what we have been able to achieve. We took what was the best of our ideas and called it “Breaking New Ground”. We have had ten years of experience in delivering this endogenous policy. Endogenous, in a sense that it was home grown – not inherited or borrowed from elsewhere. Those operating in this space confirm that it was nothing short of a breakthrough in thinking and development. This policy is now embedded in the National Development Plan and is consolidated into the new Human Settlements policy, which Honourable Members will find on your desks as a draft White Paper.

We have the passion, the space, the opportunity and energy to continue to be at the cutting edge of policy development and contribute to the rest of the developing world. We can claim without arrogance that we are leaders in this field, and are continuously challenging and pushing the frontiers of knowledge.

Last month we had the honour of hosting an International UN conference, in preparation for the Third UN Habitat Conference – a world conference that takes place every 20 years and which will now take place in Quito, Ecuador in October. We had 512 delegates from 54 different countries, and representatives of 54 governments, including 14 Ministers of Housing and we were given the opportunity to shape and influence the future of international human settlement discourse and subsequent policy and practice. The theme of the conference was “Urbanization and Informal Settlements”. This was our choice as host country. We chose it because that is our present and pressing challenge with many of our people still living in squalor in places such as Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Nyanga, Philippi, Soweto, Orange Farm, Polokwane, Mahikeng, Tshwane, eMlazi and all whom we dedicate today. The conference grappled with the staggering figures presented.

We deliberated on the global implications and what to do about the fact that approximately one billion people in the world out of a world population of 7.4 billion people live in slums and that this is set to increase. That one out of every seven people in the world today, live in slums. This is the unfortunate story of humanity in the 21st century, that this should happen amid the rising wealth of only a few.

We were confronted with the reality that South Africa is among the fastest urbanising countries, with approximately 63.6% of its population in urban areas. It is a phenomenon that is here to stay. Imagine the enormity of the problem. That makes for a very worrying situation. We need to urgently attend to this reality in our country. It is in our power collectively.

We welcomed the opportunity to host this conference, because this forced us to confront the questions around those that set the world’s agenda, and what role we should assume to influence it. Our choice of topic was deliberate, because our concern about the poor is not an accident. It is central to how we are socialized in our political formation. It is central to our ideology and our orientation: to be pro-poor and to be concerned about the most disadvantaged. We approach this not out of sympathy but an obligation borne out of our experience of the all-consuming disadvantage of cultural, spiritual, and material dislocation that apartheid bestowed on the majority of our people. It is a matter of commitment as it is also about solidarity. The choice of ourselves as host is also a mark of confidence that out of our experience we are in a better position to influence the global agenda. We are pleased to be counted among the countries that have made significant contributions to improving the lives of those living in informal settlements, and we will continue to do so.

In the recent StatsSA survey, released last month, it is confirmed that amid growing urbanisation, the percentage of people living in informal settlements has dropped from 17% in 2002 to 11% in 2014. That would technically mean that we are providing shelter faster than the rate of urbanisation, which is 2.4%. This is good news.

At all times we have been driven by the dire need of our people. We are concerned about the conditions of squalor that breeds all forms of social maladies such as crime, education deficit, health crises and the resultant poor quality of life. These are matters that are further exacerbated by the huge inequality gap. Inequality is not only a sad indictment on us, it is also an indicator of failure to grasp what it takes for society to move forward.

Having drawn from the lessons of the past, we have resolutely decided that, in order to speed up delivery, we have to change the way we do business. The first step is to create a new model of development that will unshackle the construction sector from the bureaucratic entanglement that has held it back. We need the industry to deliver faster. In this model, the partnership that we experimented on at Cosmo City is instructive. Here, government will provide the land and services, the banks will focus on providing funding, and so too will our housing bank. Contractors should focus on building houses. Our aim is to ensure that the private sector is stimulated to produce more. We want to unlock the full potential that exists outside government with a view of ensuring that government’s burden of providing houses is shared by those who can assist. We are introducing a framework that allows government to play its part while encouraging the market to participate as a full partner.

This system will also cut down on our entrepreneurs believing that they have to know someone in my department to engage in the construction business. You do not have to have any contacts. Here is an open invitation to all who have an interest and the necessary qualifications. Come build within our specifications and partnership. If you are an interested party, please come to our workshop on 9 May 2016 where we will plan how together we can build a nation. This is workable. We have done it on the N2 Gateway, Cosmo City, Savanna City and Fleurhof and we have had outstanding successes. The economic impact will be enormous. Currently the bid for our catalytic projects stands at R300 billion.

We have had our successes and we are very proud of this, but we have also learned with humility what we can do better. And here are some of the things we intend to do better.

1. Beneficiary lists

As I indicated last year, we were concerned about the inefficiencies in the waiting list process. We have now taken a policy decision to delink developers from the beneficiary list. There is no reason why developers are required to manage community issues of reallocations and allocation of beneficiary list when this is an administrative issue. Developers are a contracting third party to build houses within the time frames stipulated in the contract. Nothing else. The beneficiary list will be centrally approved. We have worked on a model that will be rolled out soon.

In allocating subsidised housing we will be prioritising backyard dwellers whose concerns about queue jumping by urban new comers are legitimate. These are people who are law abiding and have stuck by the rules.

2. Catalytic Projects

I indicated last year that we were going to build en masse to meet the backlog. The catalytic projects programme is expected to produce integrated mixed use residential neighbourhoods in well located locations closer to places of economic opportunities and social amenities. These will be built on the same model as Cosmo City, Fleurhof and others.

We have approved 46 provincial government mega cities and I have invited all the successful private developers to an official announcement of catalytic projects on 9 May 2016. Because the model is to sell the units to government, we are hoping for better quality and quicker turn-around time.

3. Government Employee Housing Scheme

In 2006 we embarked on a novel idea of ensuring that we can provide housing for the public servants who fall in the gap market. We have been mulling over this idea and revived it both when I was the Minister for the Public Service and Administration and now at Human Settlements. Together with the Ministry for the Public Service and Administration, we are happy to announce that the Government Employee Housing Scheme is now a reality.

We will act as guarantors to the banks, in order for the banks to make bonds available to government employees, in order for them to buy and invest in property. What we commit to the banks, is to ensure that the monthly repayments will be deducted from the salaries and this will be done by the DPSA. Human Settlements will do the rest, which is ensuring the provision of affordable housing, ensuring the possibility of social housing stock to enter into a scheme of “rent-to-buy”. This will mean that the unfortunate gap market that fall between the affordable and unaffordable, whose bulk is employed by the state, will now be catered for by ourselves.

I am happy to announce that the Departments of Human Settlements and Public Service and Administration have agreed on the terms of an implementation protocol which should allow for the implementation of the GEHS institutional and funding model. We will establish GEHS Project Management Offices (PMO) in all provinces, which will focus on advisory and support functions to make funding for government employees affordable. In October 2015, the Department signed a Memorandum of Understanding with BASA to collaborate in addressing the affordable housing challenges in our country. This includes working together to develop proposals that promote sustainable human settlements in both urban and rural areas, increase and fast track the supply and delivery of affordable housing stock in well located land, as well as to increase the number of approved end user loans for affordable housing.

4. Military Veterans

We committed ourselves in the 2015 Budget Vote to urgently address the backlog of housing for military veterans and immediately declared the Military Veterans programme a Ministerial Priority Project managed by the National Department. We have been informed by the Department of Military Veterans that the housing backlog for military veterans is 4 909. Today I am very happy to announce that we have put aside 5 600 houses for military veterans, exceeding and clearing the backlog immediately. What we will embark on, starting tomorrow is the allocation of the houses, matching the database to the province and to the individual. Special arrangements have been made to ensure that we are able to allocate the houses in the shortest time possible.

Now that we have cleared the backlog, a heavy load has been lifted from my shoulders. I take this opportunity to apologise most profusely to this sector for the time it has taken this government to get to this point and I reiterate that none is more special to us than you who delivered us our freedom. As we move forward I hope we can make up for our tardiness in the past and that you will learn how much we appreciate your sacrifice.

5. Northern Cape backlog

We have taken a decision as MinMec that we are going to target the Northern Cape to completely eradicate the backlog of houses. The backlog in the Northern Cape is 52 000 and it is possible for us to clear it within 2 years. I would like to be able to say within my tenure in this administration that there is a province that has no backlog and naturally therefore, no shacks.

Chairperson, now for our 2016 budget allocations. The Department budget is negatively affected over the MTEF period and was significantly reduced from a projected MTEF allocation of R105.7 billion to R101.8 billion, a reduction of R3.9 billion. This reduction affected both the operational allocation of the Department as well as the allocations of capital grants which would have a negative impact on the creation of housing opportunities.

The Human Settlements Development Grant was reduced by R1.6 billion, the Urban Settlements Development Grant was reduced by R807.3 million and the Restructuring Capital Grant allocated for rental and social housing was reduced by R1.1 billion. The allocation for the HSDG amounts to R18.3 billion. This grant, which aims to provide funding for the creation of sustainable and integrated human settlements was significantly cut by R1.6 billion.

The USDG has been allocated an amount of R10.8 billion. This grant was also affected by a reduction of R807 million over the MTEF. The grant is aimed at supplementing the capital revenues of metropolitan municipalities in order to support the national human settlements development programmes focusing on poor households.

From the HSDG, R1 billion has been ring fenced in the 2016/17 financial year for the upgrading of informal settlements in the 22 mining towns. In the 2016 Grant Framework, an allowance has been made that at least 2% be used for programmes and projects for the implementation of innovative building technologies

As the state we cannot alone address the massive and complex challenges faced by our country in the human settlements arena. The state and private sector and communities must commit to reach out and resolve that South Africans are adequately housed. We call on all employers, large and small to assist their employees to find decent shelter. It is part of what they extract from the unit cost of labour. We intend to extend our social contract to include large employers in a formal agreement about how we can follow in this endeavour.

In terms of the MTSF target, the Department is expected to strengthen current mechanism to mobilise private sector to contribute to human settlements development. We have therefore developed the Employer Assisted Housing Strategy and the mechanism to track employer assisted housing in the public sector and in the private sector; including commitments as per the Mining Charter and we urge the employers to cooperate.

I intend to approach the churches as they, more than any other sector, have a calling to respond to the plight of the poor. Together with them we can provide for the most basic needs of our people. Their concern about the spiritual needs of their flock should also include their living conditions. If they answer in the affirmative, which I expect they will, I have an answer for them. We are available, willing and grateful for any partnership!

I appeal to each one of you listening today, if you have someone working for you, a cleaner or a gardener, please ask them where they live, because it is your responsibility to assist them to a better life. Sometimes the process is to enrol on a beneficiary list or check the progress of an application. This can be very onerous for some of our people. You can assist them with this.

We have been encouraged to see statistical evidence of the successes we have achieved by StatsSA and the South African Institute for Race Relations. When all is said and done, we have done exceptionally well. To borrow from the SA institute for Race Relations, “they can huff and they can puff, but they can’t blow these houses down”.

I have consistently been quoting statistics that have been provided to us from outside our own data for the simple reason that we want you to understand that this is not us exaggerating our own story. Here is the final non-partisan quote from renowned economist, Mr Mike Schussler. He predicted that “by the end of 2016, black ownership (as those previously disadvantaged) of South Africa’s primary residential market could be up to as much as 60%”. And he concludes that it “has been a huge success story”.

The Deputy Minister and I would like to thank the Chairperson and members of the Portfolio Committee for their support. They are surely one of the busiest committees in parliament and have a permanently packed programme. A special thank you to the Chairperson for representing me at different fora in the run-up to the Habitat III conference.

I want to conclude with one of Bernard Shaw’s famous comments when he observed that “some people see things as they are, and ask why, and others dream of things as they never were, and ask why not”. We have now delivered 4.3 million houses and subsidies – and we are asking ourselves, what about 6 million? If all the role-players and policies come together, we should be able to deliver 6 million houses and subsidies by the end of the current administration. Let’s all ask ourselves, why not.

I thank you

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Ministry Human Settlements – Republic of South Africa.

Source:: SPEECH BY L N SISULU, MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS ON THE OCCASION OF THE BUDGET VOTE OF THE MINISTRY OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS

Categories: AFRICA

UK Cabinet Office Minister visits South Africa to attend Going Global and Open Government Partnership Meeting

The UK Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, Rt. Hon Matt Hancock, is visiting South Africa where he attended the British Council Going Global event, an open forum for education world leaders to debate international higher and further education issues and challenges, at which the Minister delivered a keynote speech in conjunction with Dr Blade Nzimande, South African Minister for Higher Education and Training – see attached press release on the opening plenary session of Going Global. Mr Hancock will also attend the Open Government Partnership (OGP) steering committee meeting hosted by the South African Government as Chair of the OGP.

At Going Global, Mr Hancock highlighted UK contributions to collaboration and innovation in international education, speaking about the UK’s commitment to globally enhance the reach and quality of higher education for all. At the OGP meeting, Mr Hancock joined Ministers from other countries to discuss their commitment to making governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens.

The UK is a world leader on open data, recently being ranked first in the world on the World Wide Web Foundation’s Open Data Barometer. The UK government is committed to being the most open and transparent government in history – remaining at the forefront of a global transparency revolution that is changing governments for the better. The UK recently surpassed 27,000 datasets of published data on data.gov.uk. The UK was the first country to commit to a publicly available register of information about the real owners of companies and is a Lead Steward for the International Open Data Charter. This builds on the G8 Open Data Charter, with principles that for the release of open data that all governments can adopt. We are now working with civil society on the UK’s third Open Government Action Plan to take our transparency plans even further.

The UK will host an international Anti-Corruption Summit on 12 May. As well as agreeing a package of actions to tackle corruption across the board, it will deal with issues including corporate secrecy, government transparency, the enforcement of international anti-corruption laws, and the strengthening of international institutions. This is the first summit of its kind, bringing together world leaders, business and civil society to agree a package of practical steps to expose corruption so there is nowhere to hide, punish the perpetrators and support those affected by corruption and drive out the culture of corruption wherever it exists.

Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, Matt Hancock, said:

“The UK is a leader on transparency. I’m proud to be in South Africa supporting this very important agenda. In the UK we are completely rethinking how we use and open up our data to benefit the citizens we serve. We are the most transparent government ever, using the best data to develop the best services for citizens. By releasing more data, we are also helping our companies prosper by create new services for the public such as apps to reduce travel time and every day we get better at publishing more data for businesses. Increasing openness and tackling corruption are two sides of the same coin. Corruption is a huge challenge. Next week the UK will host our first ever anti corruption summit where we will step up global action to expose, punish and drive out corruption in all walks of life.”

Notes for editors

Going Global

Held by the British Council, Going Global, now in its 12th year, is the largest open conference for higher education leaders. After great success in the Middle East (2013), Americas (2014) and London last year, we are bringing this leading forum to Africa for the first time. Going Global is expecting more than 800 VCs, Pro-VCs, Presidents, Rectors, Ministers and Chief Executives from around 75 countries including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, China and Ukraine. Speakers will include Dr Blade Nzimande, Minister for Higher Education and Her Excellency, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

Open Government Partnership

The Open Government Partnership was launched in 2011 to provide an international platform for domestic reformers committed to making their governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens. Since then, OGP has grown from 8 countries to 69 participating countries. In all of these countries, government and civil society are working together to develop and implement ambitious open government reforms. To become a member of OGP, participating countries must endorse a high-level Open Government Declaration, deliver a country action plan developed with public consultation, and commit to independent reporting on their progress going forward. South Africa is currently chairing the OGP, and the Africa Regional Meeting is taking place from 4 to 6 May.

London Anti-Corruption Summit

The London Summit in May 2016 will be the world’s first international Anti-corruption Summit with the aim of stepping up international action to expose, punish and drive out corruption in all walks of life. Over forty countries are expected to attend with fifteen leaders confirmed so far. The 2016 Summit will bring together leaders from across the world, and focus on international action to meet the following key objectives: deterring corruption; ending impunity for those who commit corruption; and supporting and empowering those who have suffered from it.

Minister Hancock

The Minister for the Cabinet Office has overall responsibility for the policy and work of the department. Responsibilities include: public sector efficiency and reform; digital transformation of government; civil service issues; industrial relations strategy in the public sector; government transparency; civil contingencies; civil society; cyber security; and UK statistics.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of British High Commission Pretoria.

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Source:: UK Cabinet Office Minister visits South Africa to attend Going Global and Open Government Partnership Meeting

Categories: AFRICA

How the cloud can help your business stay secure as cyber-crime soars in Kenya

With the threat of cyber-crime and insider fraud on the rise, Kenyan companies should be looking towards cloud applications as one means of improving the security of their IT environments.

That’s the word from Dr. Rutendo Hwindingwi, Divisional Director for Sage East and West Africa (http://www.SageAfrica.com), who says that Kenyan organisations are wrestling with the growing danger posed by threats such as malware, hackers, and theft of computing devices.

Most enterprises – especially small and medium-sized businesses feel ill-prepared for the risk that cyber-crime poses to their business, he adds. They lack the budget and the specialist IT expertise they need to defend their businesses against today’s sophisticated cyber-criminal.

Kenyan organisations lost some Sh15 billion to cyber-crime in 2014, reveals the 2015 Cyber Security Report (http://serianu.com/downloads/KenyaCyberSecurityReport2015.pdf). The document was authored by Serianu Cyber Threat Intelligence Team, PKF Consulting and the United States International University-Africa’s Centre for Informatics Research and Innovation. According to the paper, 64% of respondents were not trained in cybersecurity issues at all and 20% lacked sufficient cyber security budgets

Cyber-crime triples

Though the public sector was hardest hit by cybercrime, smaller organisations also need to be aware of the growing list of dangers they face, says Dr. Hwindingwi. It is particularly alarming that cyber-crime tripled in 2014 over 2013, indicating a country-wide lack of skills and resources to address the problem, he adds.

“Running your own IT infrastructure today is complex and expensive, especially if you are going to run your own server room,” says Dr. Hwindingwi. “You need to invest in firewalls and antimalware software, be ready to patch your operating systems and applications, and have specialist skills who are up-to-date with the latest threats.”

Locked up like Fort Knox

Against this backdrop, many organisations are starting to look to the cloud as one way of improving their IT security. Leading providers of online payroll and accounting applications, for example, host the software and their clients’ data in secure data centres underpinned by world-class technology, including the latest security.

Access to this specialised data centre is restricted, with only authorised personnel being able to enter. Around-the-clock armed security employees together with CCTV keep a watchful eye over it. This will free SMEs from doing backups, buying and installing new versions of the software, and fencing their data behind high security software.

When it comes to accessing the software, each user requires a unique password and username is required. Only invited persons are given access, using their own passwords and usernames. It is easy to track who has accessed the system and changed the data, making it harder for insider fraudsters to tamper with the records.

Physical theft: a major threat

Dr. Hwindingwi notes that one of the most common problems when it comes to information security in East Africa is the high rate of device theft. With the cloud, there’s less risk of losing data stored on a laptop or a USB stick because everything is stored in the cloud and not on devices that could be lost or stolen.

“Of course, that doesn’t mean you can neglect information security in your business. You’ll still be using your own devices to access the cloud, so there are some security vulnerabilities you need to take care of on your side,” Dr. Hwindingwi adds.

He offers some ideas about how to protect a business from data security threats:

  • Educate your end-users about the basics of information security – for example, make sure they know why they need to choose strong passwords and that they’re alert to the dangers of phishing emails designed to persuade them to give their log-in details to people with criminal intentions.
  • Install antivirus and anti-malware software on your laptops and desktop computers, and then keep it up to date with the latest definitions.
  • Get serious about mobile security. Lock your device behind a PIN code or password when not in use so hackers or thieves can’t access your data. Also, most mobile devices today allow you to track their location or remotely wipe data. It’s a good idea to enable this functionality just in case the device goes missing.
  • Keep software up to date with security patches: When it comes to desktops and notebooks, be sure to keep your operating systems and browsers up to date with the latest security patches.
  • Where your cloud provider allows it, enable two-factor authentication. For example, you could set your account up to ask for a code sent to you by SMS when you log in or use a fingerprint in addition to a password.
  • Be careful about where you log into cloud services. Be wary of unsecured public Wi-Fi networks.

“The future is mobile and we are giving our customers the power to control their businesses from the palm of their hand, thanks to the power of the cloud. We connect our customers to accountants and partners with real time and intuitive information about their business” Dr. Hwindingwi says. “And we’re doing it in a way that helps our clients improving the security and integrity of their data.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Sage.

Join Sage at their Sage Day Event taking place on Wednesday, 11 May 2016 at Southern Sun Mayfair in Nairobi to gain insight into their software solutions for Accounting, HR & Payroll, Business Management solutions and CRM.
o Ivan Epstein (President for Sage International and Chairman of Sage Foundation) as well as Dr. Rutendo Hwindingwi (Divisional Director for Sage East and West Africa) will both be available for media interviews.
o Please contact Clive at Idea Engineers should you (a media representative) be interested to attend and conduct a media interview.

Idea Engineers (PR agency for Sage)

Clive Moagi
Tel: +27 (0)11 803 0030
Mobile: +27 (0)73 4116 023
Clive@ideaengineers.co.za

Del-Mari Roberts
Tel: +27 (0)11 803 0030
Mobile: +27 (0)72 5958 053
delmari@ideaengineers.co.za

About Sage
Sage (http://www.Sage.com) is the market leader for integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems, supporting the ambition of the world’s entrepreneurs. Sage began as a small business in the UK 30 years ago and over 13000 colleagues now support millions of entrepreneurs across 23 countries as they power the global economy. We reinvent and simplify business accounting through brilliant technology, working with a thriving community of entrepreneurs, business owners, tradespeople, accountants, partners and developers. And as a FTSE 100 business, we are active in supporting our local communities and invest in making a real difference through the philanthropy of the Sage Foundation.

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Source:: How the cloud can help your business stay secure as cyber-crime soars in Kenya

Categories: AFRICA

Briefing by EU on support to health sector in Zambia,

Media Advisory

What: Briefing by European Union on support to health sector in Zambia through the MDGi programme

When: 4 May 2016

Time: 13:00hrs (lunch followed by briefing)

Where: Mulungushi Conference Centre, Room 2 Old Wing.

Why: The Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ), the European Union (EU), and the United Nations (UN) are supporting the implementation of an ambitious programme: the “Millennium Development Goal Initiative (MDGi) — Accelerating Progress towards Maternal, Neonatal and Child Morbidity and Mortality Reduction in Zambia.” This programme will be implemented over a 48-month period and aims at improving the availability and quality of health and nutrition services in 11 districts in Lusaka and Copperbelt provinces, covering over 30% of the Zambian population. The total budget of the programme is Euro 48 million (more than 400 million Kwacha) and it is solely funded by the EU.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

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Source:: Briefing by EU on support to health sector in Zambia,

Categories: AFRICA

Press release on PBF support to AU in Burundi: UN Peacebuilding Fund Finances African Union Human Rights Observers in Burundi –

Thirty-two (32) African Union human rights observers will be able to continue their work in Burundi for another six months after the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) transferred $2.26 million to the African Union Commission late last week, the AU and the PBF announced today.

This is the first time the PBF provides direct support to the African Union Commission and it represents a move toward strengthened cooperation between the UN and the AU in peacebuilding, in line with the resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly and Security Council last week, calling on the UN to strengthen its cooperation with the AU and other regional organisations.

In this latest round of financing, the PBF also supports the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Burundi with just over $300,000 for training and joint monitoring missions with the AU.

The observers were deployed in response to the decisions of the African Union Peace and Security Council of 14 May 2015 and 13 June 2015, expressing its concern with the increased cases of human rights abuses in Burundi. They are tasked with observing, monitoring and documenting human rights violations in the country as well as human rights advocacy with the government.

The observers have been deployed since July 2015 with funding support from the European Union, which is also supporting the AU military experts in Burundi. The PBF funds cover 32 human rights observers’ presence from April to September 2016. Their deployment is the second step in the AU’s planned deployment of 100 human rights observers and 100 military experts.

This support builds on existing PBF financing for human rights in Burundi. Human rights have been one of the key areas of PBF support to Burundi from the initial stages of PBF engagement in 2008. The AU and the PBF welcomed this fruitful cooperation and hope that the presence of the AU human rights observers will help to reduce the violations of human rights in Burundi.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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Source:: Press release on PBF support to AU in Burundi: UN Peacebuilding Fund Finances African Union Human Rights Observers in Burundi –

Categories: AFRICA

Canada announces new support for Women’s Empowerment in Middle East and North Africa

Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced on behalf of the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Canada’s contribution of $16.3 million to further support women’s empowerment in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region through a project implemented by the Forum of Federations.

The project, Empowering Women for Leadership Roles in the MENA Region, will help more than 5,400 women in Jordan, Tunisia and Morocco increase their participation and representation at all levels of government, including in parliaments, local governments, women’s coalitions, civil society organizations and academia. By improving their skills in such areas as public speaking and management, as well as their familiarity with political systems, this project will empower women to take leadership roles in parliaments and participate in decisions that will have an impact on their lives and their communities.

Parliamentary Secretary Goldsmith-Jones made the announcement at the Women in Parliaments Global Summit in Amman, Jordan. The Global Summit presents a unique opportunity to discuss and engage in dialogue on the most pressing issues regarding the role and importance of female decision makers in today’s parliaments.

Quotes

“Canada is committed to promoting greater gender equality and more inclusive governance. Women’s participation in political spheres and decision-making spaces is essential to ensuring that democracies are truly representative. More women in leadership positions means a more balanced view on policy. And it tells young girls and boys that power can, and should, be held equally.”

– Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

“The Forum of Federations thanks the Government of Canada for generously supporting this important project, which will encourage gender equality and women’s empowerment in political participation. With this announcement, Canada continues its role as a global leader in promoting and encouraging women’s leadership around the world.”

– Rupak Chattopadhyay, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Forum of Federations

Quick facts

There are an estimated 9,000 woman parliamentarians around the world.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2015, the average participation rate for women in the parliaments of Arab countries is 7 percent compared to the global participation rate of 25 percent.
In MENA region countries, only 25 percent of women are employed in the workforce compared to 50 percent globally.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Department of Foreign Affairs Canada.

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Source:: Canada announces new support for Women’s Empowerment in Middle East and North Africa

Categories: AFRICA

Consultative meeting in Algiers on the start-up of AFRIPOL

The African Union (AU) Commission held in Algiers, Algeria, on 27-28 April 2016, the consultative meeting on the start-up of the African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL).

The meeting was intended to provide an opportunity for AFRIPOL to learn from the experiences and best practices in police cooperation from the other police cooperation organizations, as part of the steps towards the full operationalization of AFRIPOL in 2017. The participants included the Chairperson and representative of the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (SARPCCO) and the East African Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (EAPCCO), respectively. Other regional police and law enforcement cooperation organizations, including the ASEAN Chiefs of Police (ASEANAPOL), the European Union’s law enforcement agency (EUROPOL) and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) participated at the meeting. The AU Commission and the African Center for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) were also represented. Algeria participated as host of the AFRIPOL Secretariat.

The opening session featured statements by His Excellency Major General Abdelghani HAMEL, General Director of National Security of Algeria and Dr. Tarek A. SHARIF, Head, Defence and Security Division in the Peace and Security Department of the AU Commission. The statements highlighted the transnational nature of the organized crime and the terrorist threat, and stressed the need for cooperation between and among the relevant agencies in the Member States to counter them.

Participants exchanged views, experiences and best practices on sharing of information, building and sharing databases, staffing, effective cooperation, including beyond the continent, and the need for minimum requirements in training.

In his closing remarks, Major General Abelghani HAMEL, stressed the need for enhanced cooperation between the police and law enforcement agencies in Africa and the benefits of such cooperation in the fight against transnational organized crime and terrorism.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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Source:: Consultative meeting in Algiers on the start-up of AFRIPOL

Categories: AFRICA

Yohannes Tilahun has announced his intent to resign from his position as Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) of GE Ethiopia

I would like inform you that Yohannes Tilahun has announced his intent to resign from his position as Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) of GE Ethiopia (http://www.ge.com/africa/company/ethiopia) as of May 1st 2016 to pursue other opportunities.

Yohannes joined us from Ethiopian Investment Commission (“EIC”), where he held the role of Senior Director, Strategy. He has also served as a special advisor to the CEO of the EIC as well as other Government Ministers on numerous issues including priority focus areas for greater economic development through private sector involvement. Prior to this, he held roles of increasing responsibilities in the US with Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley. Yohannes brought years of experience in designing and successfully executing large multi-stakeholder
projects and leading teams to deliver results.

We thank Yohannes for his contributions to support GE’s growth in Ethiopia and we wish him all the best in
his future endeavors.

Daniel Hailu, COO Ethiopia will be acting CEO Ethiopia until a replacement is identified.

Jay Ireland
President & CEO, GE Africa

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of GE.

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Source:: Yohannes Tilahun has announced his intent to resign from his position as Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) of GE Ethiopia

Categories: AFRICA

Yohannes Tilahun has announced his intent to resign from his position as Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) of GE Ethiopia

I would like inform you that Yohannes Tilahun has announced his intent to resign from his position as Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) of GE Ethiopia (http://www.ge.com/africa/company/ethiopia) as of May 1st 2016 to pursue other opportunities.

Yohannes joined us from Ethiopian Investment Commission (“EIC”), where he held the role of Senior Director, Strategy. He has also served as a special advisor to the CEO of the EIC as well as other Government Ministers on numerous issues including priority focus areas for greater economic development through private sector involvement. Prior to this, he held roles of increasing responsibilities in the US with Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley. Yohannes brought years of experience in designing and successfully executing large multi-stakeholder
projects and leading teams to deliver results.

We thank Yohannes for his contributions to support GE’s growth in Ethiopia and we wish him all the best in
his future endeavors.

Daniel Hailu, COO Ethiopia will be acting CEO Ethiopia until a replacement is identified.

Jay Ireland
President & CEO, GE Africa

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of GE.

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Source:: Yohannes Tilahun has announced his intent to resign from his position as Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) of GE Ethiopia

Categories: AFRICA

Statement by the Spokesperson on the Presidential Elections in Equatorial Guinea

The elections in Equatorial Guinea, while held in a generally orderly manner and calm atmosphere, were a missed opportunity for the democratisation of the country.

The campaign was held without any debate on national issues. There was an inequitable access of candidates to public media and financial resources as well as incidents of harassment against opposition candidates, including an attack carried out by security forces against the headquarters of an opposition party. This environment challenges the conclusions of the national dialogue process held in 2014, notably regarding the aim to facilitate the establishment and work of political parties and to open political space.

The confirmation of presidential election results opens the way for President Obiang to serve another term. We note the President’s public undertaking that this would be his last term.

The Preliminary declaration issued by the African Union Election Observation Mission, which the EU acknowledges, contains important recommendations. They include the need to reinforce political dialogue and consensus building among all stakeholders in the electoral process and the reform of the National Electoral Commission with the objective of making it a permanent, more inclusive, impartial and independent body in accordance with the Constitution.

Equatorial Guinea’s ratification of the revised Cotonou Agreement would allow comprehensive political relations and full co-operation to match those which the EU enjoys with other African, Caribbean and Pacific states.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of European Union.

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Source:: Statement by the Spokesperson on the Presidential Elections in Equatorial Guinea

Categories: AFRICA

100 Young Nigerians to be Unveiled as New Mandela Washington Fellows

The U.S. Mission to Nigeria will introduce 100 young Nigerian leaders recently selected to participate in the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship Program for Young African Leaders. U.S. Ambassador James F. Entwistle will deliver keynote remarks during a special reception in the newest fellows’ honor.

What: Introduction of the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows

When: Thursday, May 5, 2016, at 4:30 p.m. sharp

Press Arrival: 3:45 p.m.-4:15p.m. (No admittance after 4:15p.m.)

Where: U.S. Embassy, Plot 1075, Diplomatic Drive, Central Business District, Abuja

Interested journalists who wish to participate in this event should register in advance with Sani Mohammed by phone or text at 0703-408-5920 or via e-mail at MohammedS@state.gov.

Please Note: Participating journalists are encouraged to arrive at the Embassy no later than 4:15 p.m. to allow adequate time for security screening. Please bring this invitation and your media credentials for easy identification. Note that laptops, cell phones, and liquids are not allowed in the Embassy. However, recording devices like portable recorders and cameras will be allowed into the compound.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria.

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Source:: 100 Young Nigerians to be Unveiled as New Mandela Washington Fellows

Categories: AFRICA

Consultative meeting in Algiers on the start-up of AFRIPOL

The African Union (AU) Commission held in Algiers, Algeria, on 27-28 April 2016, the consultative meeting on the start-up of the African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL).

The meeting was intended to provide an opportunity for AFRIPOL to learn from the experiences and best practices in police cooperation from the other police cooperation organizations, as part of the steps towards the full operationalization of AFRIPOL in 2017. The participants included the Chairperson and representative of the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (SARPCCO) and the East African Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (EAPCCO), respectively. Other regional police and law enforcement cooperation organizations, including the ASEAN Chiefs of Police (ASEANAPOL), the European Union’s law enforcement agency (EUROPOL) and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) participated at the meeting. The AU Commission and the African Center for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) were also represented. Algeria participated as host of the AFRIPOL Secretariat.

The opening session featured statements by His Excellency Major General Abdelghani HAMEL, General Director of National Security of Algeria and Dr. Tarek A. SHARIF, Head, Defence and Security Division in the Peace and Security Department of the AU Commission. The statements highlighted the transnational nature of the organized crime and the terrorist threat, and stressed the need for cooperation between and among the relevant agencies in the Member States to counter them.

Participants exchanged views, experiences and best practices on sharing of information, building and sharing databases, staffing, effective cooperation, including beyond the continent, and the need for minimum requirements in training.

In his closing remarks, Major General Abelghani HAMEL, stressed the need for enhanced cooperation between the police and law enforcement agencies in Africa and the benefits of such cooperation in the fight against transnational organized crime and terrorism.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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Source:: Consultative meeting in Algiers on the start-up of AFRIPOL

Categories: AFRICA