Govt to consider appointment of junior Agriculture Minister

first_img– Granger’s Cabinet now stands at 27By Devina SamarooGovernment is willing to consider the appointment of a junior Agriculture Minister to provide assistance to Agriculture Minister Noel Holder in the management of the critical sector, once a request is made to Cabinet.Minister Holder’s performance came under public scrutiny and was up for much public discourse after an online news entity reported that the Alliance For Change (AFC) arm of the coalition Government is displeased with the direction agriculture is heading.Holder was put forward by the AFC since the agriculture portfolio was one which came under the AFC in accordance with theAgriculture Minister Noel HolderCummingsburg Accord.While admitting their dissatisfaction with the manner in which the closure of the Wales Sugar Estate was handled, the party has since clarified that its senior members never made such general pronouncements on the overall performance of the Agriculture Minister, neither did they put forward a recommendation for junior Minister.Nonetheless, sections of the public strongly believe that the Minister is not vibrant enough to take charge of the agriculture sector of the country.Minister Holder is still to meet with the sugar workers more than four months after the announcement was made and he has been heavily criticised for taking a “laid back” approach to the issue.In fact, the Action Committee of the Rice Producers Association (RPA) – an A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) aligned group – had already expressed that Holder is incapable of handling the tasks under his portfolio, and as such, declared that it has no confidence in his abilities to effectively and efficiently manage the agriculture sector.During an interview on his weekly television show ‘The Public Interest’, President David Granger indicated that he is aware of letters to the editors expressing concerns over the Minister’s performance; however, he made it clear Government’s policy is not determined by the contents of those publications.He clarified that this does not mean that his Administration does not take heed of public opinion.On the demands for an additional Minister, President Granger posited also that no formal request was ever made to him for there to be another Minister under the Agriculture Ministry.“If Minister Holder wanted assistance, he is free to approach me… Neither Mr Ramjattan, the Leader of the (AFC) party or Mr Holder has approached me on the matter. But you know, if there was a need, I would certainly give consideration to it,” he stated.“There might be a possibility of having a Minister within the Ministry of Agriculture but that need has not been articulated but it’s something that I might consider,” he further noted.Moreover, in light of the growing insecurities in the sugar industry which resulted following the closure of the Wales Sugar Estate and the shutdown of the remaining operations at the La Bonne Intention Estate, President Granger expressed willingness to meet with the disgruntled sugar workers to listen to their concerns.However, he did not indicate if there is a planned engagement in the making.Additionally, he noted that the Minister should have already devised a plan to present to the workers who were attached to the Wales Estate.“I hoped it would be ready by now but certainly by the end of the month,” he assured.Meanwhile, this consideration comes 10 months after the Head of State had defended his large Cabinet saying that he wanted a “lean” Cabinet.Granger’s Cabinet now stands at 27.last_img read more

Button draws first blood on Vettel

first_imgHamilton, struggling for the pace he exhibited as he flew to pole on Saturday, finished third behind Red Bull’s defending double world champion Sebastian Vettel, who climbed from sixth on the grid.Vettel’s recovery — aided by a timely safety car intervention — shows that he and his team are not to be taken lightly, and will be locked into what looks like a close championship battle with McLaren.“That was beautiful, just a perfect start and it shows how good a winter can be,” said Button. “A great start to the year for me and the team.”It was the 2009 world champion’s third win in four years at the Australian Grand Prix, and the 13th of his career.Local hero Australian Mark Webber came home fourth to deliver his best finish at his home race in the second Red Bull.Two-time champion Fernando Alonso of Ferrari was fifth after a forceful race from 12th on the grid, following a disappointing qualifying performance on Saturday, ahead of Japanese Kamui Kobayahsi of Sauber.The 2007 champion Finn Kimi Raikkonen, who started 18th on the grid, came home seventh for Lotus in his first race after a two-year absence in rallying, and Mexican Sergio Perez was eighth for Sauber.Australia’s second entrant Daniel Ricciardo finished in the points on his debut with the Toro Rosso team by taking ninth position in a dramatic finish ahead of Briton Paul Di Resta, 10th for the Force India team.Seven-time champion Michael Schumacher of Germany was an early retirement in his Mercedes.Button said his confidence was boosted as soon as he arrived in Melbourne to check into his hotel.“I found I was staying in the same room as the last two times I won here (in 2009 and 2010) so that was a good omen I think,” he said, as Hamilton quipped: “Maybe you’ll have a different one next year.”“Every win means a lot,” added Button. “As a team, the win shows how important the winter (testing) is.“We’ve had a strong winter and yesterday we showed that in qualifying. It’s nice to come away with victory in the first race of the new season.“The guys have done an amazing job this winter. This win will definitely help them push hard in the extra hours in the morning and I thank them for that, doing that work for the extra parts that are so vital.”Vettel said he believed he had a good chance to attack the McLarens in the race and would have pushed to pass Hamilton even without the help of a safety car, after 38 laps when Russian Vitaly Petrov pulled up and parked his Caterham on the straight.Vettel said: “I decided to stay out when Lewis went into the pits and I think we would have had a crack without the safety car. Maybe it helped us a little bit to get past Lewis.“We had a great stop. I thought I would be in a good position to have a go at Jenson but two corners and he was gone. It wasn’t very easy to get away from Lewis but Jenson was out of sight. He deserved to win today.”A dejected Hamilton said: “Firstly congratulations to Jenson — he did a great job. And to the team for doing great job. It was a bit of a tough day for me, but we’ve got a lot of races ahead of us.“I was in a very similar to position to what I was last year. It was a tough race, but still positive for the team, so hopefully we can take that on for the next race.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000MELBOURNE, Australia, March 18 – McLaren’s Jenson Button won the Australian Grand Prix in a thrilling start to the season Sunday as he held off two-time defending champion Sebastian Vettel in second place.The 32-year-old Englishman started second on the grid but took advantage of a slow getaway by his pole-sitting team-mate Lewis Hamilton to take the lead at the first corner, and then controlled the race all the way to the flag.last_img read more

Arsenal tougher challenge than Real – Ozil

first_img0Shares0000Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil (R) contemplates his side’s 3-0 defeat in their Premier League match against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in south London on April 10, 2017LONDON, United Kingdom, Apr 16 – Mesut Ozil claims in his new autobiography that the physical nature of the English game makes it a sterner challenge than the ‘elegant’ Spanish league.The Arsenal playmaker, whose future with the embattled club is still uncertain, given his reluctance to continue with contract negotiations until he receives clarity on the future of Arsene Wenger, says that the aggressive nature of the Premier League has caused his body severe pain. “The Premier League is the toughest challenge I’ve experienced in football,” Ozil says in Gunning for Greatness: My Life.“If you can’t take it here, without whining, then you’re history. It’s something I had to get to grips with in the first few weeks and months after my switch from Real Madrid,” the 28-year old, who started his career in the Bundesliga, writes.“Whereas in Spain the entire game is based on elegant ball play — even teams from lower leagues try the same — in England you have scratching, biting and fighting. In England, football is one tackle after another. There’s barely any respite.“Generally this doesn’t happen in Spain because the ball is constantly on the move. Pass, pass, pass. The opponent rarely has the opportunity to intervene because the ball is already on the other side of the pitch.“In England you fail to notice how hard it is during the game itself and how many attacks the body sustains. You’re so full of adrenaline that you don’t feel the pain. But then, under the shower, you discover the ‘misery’. After some matches my shins have looked as if someone has gone at them with a hammer, covered in blue marks.“I’ve had scratches on the neck and bruises on my back, shoulders and chest from opponents’ elbows welcoming me into the Premier League when the referee wasn’t watching.“We complain so that the next time he’ll watch more carefully and spot if we’re kicked or elbowed. I do this just like Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben or Lionel Messi — all players who get kicked a lot because opponents are trying to disrupt their rhythm and because sometimes it’s the only way to stop them.“But, to my great surprise, I was forced to realise that even the English referees have their very own form of communication. In my early days at Arsenal they dismissed my appeals in a way that made me think I’d misheard them. They’d say things such as ‘Don’t whinge. You’ve got to deal with it. Welcome to the Premier League.’”“Sledging from the opposition. Cutting comments from refs. And football that’s harder than anywhere else — that’s the Premier League. That’s English football,” Ozil said. “And that’s the football I’ve got used to and love today.“At Arsenal I’ve grown tougher. I’ve learned to take so much more. I’ve toned a few more muscles than during my time at Real Madrid so I’m in a better position to meet the physical challenges.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

An uphill battle for Uptown

first_img“We still have these lots empty from the buildings that were torn down and weren’t replaced,” said Langan, who remains a co-owner of the building that housed his former store. He and others point to the empty lots, such as the one on Greenleaf next to the Havana House, the grassy area in front of the parking structure or the parking lot on Philadelphia Street and Bright Avenue. There remains hope for the Uptown area, some say. Rents are increasing and a new plan to renovate the area is now being reviewed by the Planning Commission. “In the last year and a half, with the specific plan and improved events, we’re turning it around,” said Larry Trujillo, executive director of the Whittier Uptown Association. “We still need to clean it up and work on infrastructure so better businesses can come in,” he said. The last 20 years haven’t been easy for the Uptown area, which until the earthquake seemed to be progressing well after the losses of car dealers on Greenleaf Avenue as well as JC Penney and other major stores during the 1960s and 1970s. “It was definitely pretty vibrant,” Councilman Bob Henderson recalled. “There were a lot of little local businesses unique to Whittier and they were flourishing.” Then at 7:42 p.m. Oct. 1, 1987, the Whittier Narrows Earthquake hit, leaving bricks, broken glass and other debris at the core of the Uptown area on Greenleaf Avenue and Philadelphia Street. Eighteen buildings eventually would be demolished. Damage was estimated at $80 million. Initially, many of the small business owners would operate out of 25 trailers set up on the now-empty lots. Langan’s building survived, but he lost $50,000 in inventory. But many of the business owners wouldn’t come back. “People had the stigma of it and for years didn’t want to come back,” Langan said. “It reminded them of that horrible day.” Others were struggling before the earthquake and with this disaster didn’t have the resources to continue, he said. After the quake, the city came in with a plan for the rebuilding of the Uptown area. There were some successes – a new theater replaced the adult theater, and some new restaurants like Crepes and Grapes Cafe, Phlight and Starbucks opened. But unlike the rest of the city, retail struggled. Part of the difference was that a resident or even a developer outside of Uptown could come in a with a plan to demolish the existing building and expand. But that wasn’t true in Uptown, said Helvey, the city manger. “You can’t tear an old building and construct a new one like you can on a home remodel,” Helvey said. You also can’t convert a second floor to condos because there’s no parking, he said. There were other problems, said Kim Wicker, co-owner of Monte’s Camera Shop that has been in existence since 1948. Wicker has been involved with it since the late 1970s. “We needed hard-core specialty stores and a couple of anchors,” Wicker said. Part of the problem were the new big-box retail stores that began to emerge during the 1990s, Wicker said. And they weren’t interested in coming to the Uptown area. “I hear people say that Uptown Whittier isn’t close to the freeway,” he said. The former Bank of America building also has been a problem, with three nightclubs either failing or the last one – Ibiza – being kicked out by the city. “I would be very reluctant to see a nightclub there,” Henderson said. “We never wanted any nightclubs but were told it would be a dining establishment. That hasn’t worked out.” It was a difficult situation for the city, Trujillo said. “The choices weren’t easy,” he said. “Do you tear down and start a whole new Uptown area or do you work with what’s left? We’re finally starting to head in that direction.” Two decades later there is reason for optimism. “Uptown is definitely improving,” Langan said. “The rents and leases have really gone up in the last few years and encouraged builders to look at new buildings.” The specific plan also gives reason for hope, some say. It has a new code that is expected to make it easier to attract developers. The concept also focuses on new housing. “This whole concept of bringing homeowners into the Uptown area really makes a lot of sense,” Henderson said. And more residents will mean a larger market for the retail owners, officials say. Still, as bad as the earthquake was, there were some positives from it, Councilman Greg Nordbak said. “It really helped us progress in the quality of design standards,” Nordbak said. “We don’t throw in strip malls any more,” Nordbak said. “We’re not taking in houses that were destroyed and putting in apartments. In a sense we were hurt in the short run and helped in the long run.” (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3022 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! You’ve got the Uptown area, which still is struggling, as shown by the empty lots never rebuilt on after the magnitude-5.9 earthquake hit on Oct. 1, 1987. Some buildings that crumbled that day were cleared away, but nothing has replaced them. Then, you’ve got residential areas where many are rebuilding or remodeling to make their homes larger and nicer. There is no sign of the 100 chimneys that tumbled or the 17 homes that were destroyed. And Whittier Boulevard has two remodeled shopping centers and a new one. “(Whittier) has actually continued to improve since the earthquake,” City Manager Steve Helvey said. “We’ve seen a landslide of significant home remodels and reinvestment in our residential areas,” Helvey said. “It’s hard not to drive down a street and not see a home being torn down and being rebuilt.” Commercial development has been slower – in part because of lack of available land. Still, two shopping centers – the Quad and Whittier Town Center, formerly Whittwood Mall – have been completely remodeled. A third – the Whittier Marketplace – opened after the earthquake. You can’t say that about the Uptown area, according to city and business leaders. “(The earthquake) just about destroyed Uptown,” said Jeff Langan, longtime owner of the former Whittier Paint, Wallpaper and Art Co. “There was so much damage that it virtually destroyed the character of the town. last_img read more

House may bet ban will make sites fold

first_img“There are no needle marks. There’s no alcohol on the breath. You just click the mouse and lose your house,” he said. Congress has considered similar bills several times before. In 2000, disgraced lobbyist Jack Ambramoff led a fierce campaign against it on behalf of an online lottery company. Online lotteries are allowed in the latest bill, largely at the behest of states that increasingly rely on lotteries to augment tax revenues. Pro-sports leagues also like the bill, arguing that Web wagering could hurt the integrity of their sports. The horse racing industry also supports the bill because of the exemption it would get. Betting operators would not be prohibited from any activity allowed under the Interstate Horseracing Act. That law written in the 1970s set up rules for interstate betting on racing. It was updated a few years ago to clarify that betting on horse racing over the Internet is allowed. Greg Avioli, chief executive officer of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, said the mention of horse racing in the bill is “a recognition of existing federal law,” not a new carve-out. He said the racing industry has a strong future in the digital age and acknowledged the bill would send Internet gamblers to racing sites. “They’d return to the one place they can bet legally,” Avioli said. That’s what some critics say is unfair. “Somehow we find ourselves in a situation where Congress has gotten in the business of cherry-picking types of gambling,” complained Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla. Wexler had tried unsuccessfully to include exemptions for dog racing and jai alai, both popular in Florida.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – Gamblers who prefer their laptops to blackjack tables won’t like what Congress is doing. Today, the House plans to vote on a bill that would ban credit cards for paying online bets and could padlock gambling Web sites. The legislation would clarify existing law to spell out that it is illegal to gamble online. To enforce that ban, the bill would prohibit credit cards and other payment forms, such as electronic transfers, from being used to settle online wagers. It also would give law enforcement officials the authority to work with Internet providers to block access to gambling Web sites. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2Some opponents of the legislation say policing the Internet is impossible, that it would be better to regulate the $12 billion industry and collect taxes from it. The online gambling industry is based almost entirely outside the United States, though about half its customers live in the U.S. Other critics complain that the bill doesn’t cover all forms of gambling. They point to exemptions they say would allow online lotteries and Internet betting on horse racing to flourish while cracking down on other kinds of sports betting, casino games and card games like poker. “If you’re going to support legislation that is supposed to `prohibit gambling,’ you should not have carve-outs,” said Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the conservative Traditional Values Coalition. Other conservative and antigambling groups are supporting the legislation, sponsored by Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Jim Leach, R-Iowa. John Kindt, a business professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who has studied the issue, calls the Internet “the crack cocaine” of gambling. last_img

Pochettino reveals incredible coincidence following Everton thrashing

first_imgTottenham’s thrilling 2-6 victory at Everton coincidentally came on Mauricio Pochettino’s 26th wedding anniversary.The Spurs boss had two reasons to celebrate after his side blew the Toffees away with a breath-taking exhibition of attacking football, with the scoreline reflecting the number of years he has been with his wife.Harry Kane and Heung-min Son both hit doubles, while Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen chipped in to complete a special day for their manager. RANKED Pochettino was delighted with his team’s stunning display no dice 2 Kane completed the rout, scoring his fourth consecutive brace against the Toffees, and Pochettino could not hide his pride for his ‘fantastic’ team.“I think it was fantastic. It’s not only the score, the performance was amazing. I’m very proud of the effort and the performance from the team,” he added.“On Wednesday, we beat Arsenal and today Everton – it’s fantastic to see the team showing the energy that is so important during this period. The belief and the faith can only happen with a positive person and I think Sonny and the whole team were fantastic.” Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade REVEALED ADVICE Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions Latest Football News Forbes list reveals how much Mayweather, Ronaldo and Messi earned this decade BEST OF Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? REVEALED He told talkSPORT: “It’s a double celebration because of the amazing result, 2-6, and another because today is my anniversary – I got married with my wife 26-years ago.“What a coincidence, no? 26 years ago I was getting married at my wedding and today 2-6 against Everton.“That is my present for my wife!” Everton took the lead through Theo Walcott, but Tottenham responded immediately as Son capitalised on a joint-mistake by Jordan Pickford and Kurt Zouma.Alli put Spurs in front with a smart low finish before Kane gave Pochettino’s side a 3-1 lead going into half-time.And there would be no relenting after the break as Christian Eriksen slammed home an exquisite volley from 20 yards and Son bagged his second either side of Gylfi Sigurdsson’s well-taken goal for the hosts. Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won huge blow The Tottenham boss celebrates with his players Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury MONEY Ronaldo warned Lukaku how hard scoring goals in Serie A would be before Inter move 2last_img read more

Sarri confirms when Kepa will return to Chelsea team after Tottenham demotion

first_img RANKED Sarri will start Kepa in one of the next two games Kepa paid the price for his actions during the Carabao Cup final MONEY ADVICE REVEALED LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS 2 Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? REVEALED no dice Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade huge blow Ronaldo warned Lukaku how hard scoring goals in Serie A would be before Inter move Forbes list reveals how much Mayweather, Ronaldo and Messi earned this decade “I think it was the right decision [to bench him], Kepa made a big mistake, he paid with the club, and then he had to pay with the team.“But now I have to think we have to stop, Kepa from tomorrow will be with us. He is back in the team for the weekend, I don’t know in the next match if he will be on the pitch or not, but one of the next two he will [start].“When you are young I think you can make mistakes, and the most important thing is that you need to understand very well after every mistake. For me, now the best thing is to close it.” BEST OF Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri insists Kepa Arrizabalaga remains his number one goalkeeper despite dropping him to the bench for the 2-0 victory over Tottenham.The 24-year-old shot-stopper, who defied Sarri by refusing to be substituted during the Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester City, will return to the starting XI for one of the next two games. Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions 2 While the Blues manager initially described the situation at Wembley as a misunderstanding, Arrizabalaga was fined a week’s wages and then replaced by Willy Caballero for the London derby at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.But Sarri claims he is ready to put the incident to bed, now that the Spaniard has paid a sufficient price to his team-mates.When asked if Arrizabalaga remains first choice between the sticks, Sarri said: “Of course. Caballero was untested as Chelsea put the bitter disappointment of the cup final behind them with victory over Spurs.A cagey affair of few clear-cut chances was decided by a moment of magic from Pedro and a shocking own-goal from Kieran Trippier.last_img read more

Spencer/Columbus wrestling cruises to conference win at Stanley-Boyd/Owen-Withee

first_imgRockets have five pins in first Cloverbelt winBy Paul LeckerSports ReporterSTANLEY — The Spencer/Columbus Catholic wrestling team had five pins and went on to defeat Stanley-Boyd/Owen-Withee 46-24 in a Cloverbelt Conference dual meet Tuesday night at Stanley-Boyd High School.Dominick Wichlacz (120 pounds), Bryce Shaw (145), Carson Hildebrandt (170), Hunter Luepke (220), and Logan Zschernitz (285) won by pin for the Rockets.Ashton Ackman (106) added a major decision, and Caden Schillinger (152) won in overtime for Spencer/Columbus, which is now 1-1 in the conference.Spencer/Columbus will host a multidual meet, which includes Stratford, on Friday night.(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of 46, Stanley-Boyd/Owen-Withee 24120: Dominic Wichlacz (SC) pinned Ruben Sanchez in 4:54.126: Leo Rodriguez (SC) won by forfeit.132: Taylor Bach (SC) def. Tanner Henderson 13-11.138: Double forfeit.145: Bryce Shaw (SC) pinned Marcus Carmeans in 2:17.152: Caden Schillinger (SC) def. Dalton Smith 13-11 in OT.160: Sam Burzynski (SBOW) pinned Cody Derks in 1:56.170: Carson Hildebrandt (SC) pinned Matthew Moffit in 5:47.182: Nathan Schiedler (SBOW) pinned Tanner Kleinschmidt in 2:44.195: Ben Turner (SBOW) pinned Daniel Richmond in 0:25.220: Hunter Luepke (SC) pinned Jakota Todd in 2:49.285: Logan Zschernitz (SC) pinned Eric Bentler in 1:12.106: Ashton Ackman (SC) won by major decision over Dustin Bergman, 16-4.113: Joseph McDermond (SBOW) won by forfeit.last_img read more

The quick guide to South Africa

first_imgWhat languages do South Africans speak? Is South Africa a democracy? Are there big cities with modern amenities? Are the roads tarred? How far will my money go? You’ve got three minutes to spare? Here’s the lowdown on why South Africa’s going to surprise you.South Africa has more than 51-million people of diverse origins, cultures, languages and beliefs. (Image: Brand South Africa)Brand South Africa reporterWelcome to the southern tip of Africa. Here, two great oceans meet, warm weather lasts most of the year, and big game roams just beyond the city lights.This is where humanity began: our ancestors’ traces are still evident in fossilised footprints 80 000 years old, and in the world’s oldest rock paintings. Today, South Africa is the powerhouse of Africa, the most advanced, broad-based economy on the continent, with infrastructure to match any first-world country.You can drive on wide, tarred highways all 2 000 kilometres from Musina at the very top of the country to Cape Town at the bottom. Or join the millions of international travellers who disembark at our airports every year.About two-thirds of Africa’s electricity is generated here. Around 40% percent of the continent’s phones are here. Over half the world’s platinum and 10% of its gold is mined here. And almost everyone who visits is astonished at how far a dollar, euro or pound will stretch. Welcome to the Republic of South Africa.Who lives in South Africa?South Africa is a nation of 51.77-million people of diverse origins, cultures, languages and beliefs. Around 79% are black (or African), 8.9% “coloured” – the local label for people of mixed African, Asian and white descent – 8.9% white, and 2.5% Indian or Asian. Around 280 000 people classified themselves as “other” in the census undertaken in 2011.The majority of South Africans are Christian, the largest church being the indigenous Zion Christian Church, followed by the Dutch Reformed and Catholic churches. Many churches combine Christian and traditional African beliefs, and many non-Christians espouse these traditional beliefs. Other significant religions – though with much smaller followings – are Islam, Hinduism and Judaism.South Africa’s peopleWhat languages do people speak?There are 11 officially recognised languages, most of them indigenous to South Africa. Just under 40% of the population speak either isiZulu or isiXhosa. You don’t speak either? If your English is passable, don’t worry. Everywhere you go, you can expect to find people who speak or understand English.English is the language of the cities, of commerce and banking, of government, of road signs and official documents. Road signs and official forms are in English. The President makes his speeches in English. At any hotel, the receptionists, waiters and porters will speak English.Another major language is Afrikaans, a derivative of Dutch, which northern Europeans will find surprisingly easy to follow.The languages of South AfricaIs South Africa a democracy?South Africa is a vigorous multiparty democracy with an independent judiciary and a free and diverse press. One of the world’s youngest – and most progressive – constitutions protects both citizens and visitors. You won’t be locked up for shouting out your opinions, however contrary.Democracy in South AfricaWhat about apartheid?Up until 1994, South Africa was known for apartheid, or white-minority rule. The country’s remarkable ability to put centuries of racial hatred behind it in favour of reconciliation was widely considered a social miracle, inspiring similar peace efforts in places such as Northern Ireland and Rwanda. Post-apartheid South Africa has a government comprising all races, and is often referred to as the rainbow nation, a phrase coined by Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu.A short history of South AfricaIs foreign business welcome?The “open for business” signs are up. The country offers an investor-friendly environment in which 100% foreign ownership is allowed. Repatriation of profits is liberal. The exchange rate is favourable. And if you’re doing businesses anywhere in Africa, this is the gateway to the continent.South Africa: open for businessWhat’s the weather like?Summery, without being sweltering. In Johannesburg, the country’s commercial capital, the weather is mild all year round, but can get cool at night. Durban, the biggest port, is hot and sometimes humid, a beach paradise.And in Cape Town, where travellers flock to admire one of the world’s most spectacular settings, the weather is usually warm, though temperamental. If you’re visiting from the northern hemisphere, just remember: when it’s winter over there, it’s summer over here. Bring sunglasses and sunscreen; leave the raincoat at home.South Africa’s weather and climateIs it a big country?To a European, yes. The country straddles 1.2-million square kilometres, as big as several European countries put together. To an American, maybe not – it’s an eighth the size of the US. Still, it’s more than a day’s drive down the highway from Johannesburg in the north to Cape Town in the south (if you’re driving sensibly), with the topography ranging across the spectrum from lush green valleys to semi-desert.How is it divided up?South Africa has nine provinces. Gauteng, the smallest and most densely populated, adjoins Limpopo, North West and Mpumalanga in the north. The Northern Cape, the largest province with the smallest population, is in the west. The Free State is in the middle of the country. And the coastal provinces of KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape lie to the south.South Africa’s geographyAre there big cities with modern amenities?There’s more to Africa than lions. Johannesburg, a city of skyscrapers, sprawls wider than London or New York. The lights work, the water flows, there are multi-lane highways and – unfortunately – traffic jams.You can book into a Hilton or a Hyatt or a Holiday Inn and eat at cosmopolitan restaurants serving anything from sushi to burgers to crocodile steaks. Or you can lie back on a couch and choose from five analogue and over 50 digital TV channels.What are the big cities?South Africa has two capitals. Cape Town, the oldest city, is the legislative capital, where Parliament sits. Pretoria, 1 500 kilometres to the north, is the executive capital, where the government administration is housed.Next door to Pretoria, and close enough that the outer suburbs merge, is the commercial centre of Johannesburg, once the world’s greatest gold mining centre, now increasingly dominated by modern financial and service sectors. The second-biggest city is Durban, a fast-growing port on the eastern coast, and the supply route for most goods to the interior.South Africa’s major citiesHow do I get to South Africa?By air – unless you have a boat or rugged overland vehicle. More than 70 airlines and more than 23-million passengers a year move through South Africa’s 10 principal airports, including the three major international airports in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.Getting to South AfricaYou say the roads are tarred?Yes, even in the smallest towns. The major centres are connected by more than 16 000 kilometres of tarred and regularly maintained national roads, including thousands of kilometres of dual carriageway. The national railway has about 30 000 kilometres of rail track connecting the smallest hamlets.South Africa’s transport networkI’ll be able to phone home?That, and more. With a network that is 99% digital and includes the latest in fixed-line, wireless and satellite communication, South Africa has the most developed telecommunications network in Africa.Almost 13-million South Africans own mobile phones, many using them to access the Internet. Increased capacity and more stable connections, largely as a result of undersea cables, as well as more competitive pricing are helping to grow the South African internet market.South Africa’s telecommunicationsAre there modern banks?South Africa has a world-class, sophisticated financial sector, abreast of all the latest technological trends. From the moment you step off the plane you’ll start seeing banks, bureaux de change and automatic tellers (ATMs) all over. All major credit cards can be used in South Africa, with American Express and Diners Club enjoying less universal acceptance than MasterCard and Visa. Foreign banks are well represented, and you can bank by ATM or internet.How far will my money go?With a favourable exchange rate for many international currencies, you’ll find South Africa a very inexpensive destination. South Africa’s unit of currency is the rand, which is divided into 100 cents. Coins come in denominations of 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2 and R5, and notes in denominations of R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200.Banks and foreign exchange in South AfricaCan I drink the water?High-quality tap (faucet) water is available in South Africa’s urban areas, but not all water in rural areas is safe to drink straight from the tap.In some areas, the water is mineral-rich, and you may experience a bit of gastric distress for a day or two until you get used to it. Bottled mineral water, both sparkling and still, is readily available in most places.Is it safe to walk around?Like anywhere, yes – provided you don’t go wandering about deserted streets at the dead of night. Yes, there is crime in South Africa. But you don’t need to do more than take the usual sensible precautions.Know where you’re going before you set off, particularly at night. Don’t walk alone or display valuable possessions carelessly in public. Lock the doors at night. And, like anywhere else in the world, know that there are some areas of the major cities where outsiders present a more vulnerable target. It is easy to avoid these areas without lessening your enjoyment of a country and a people who are, with a few exceptions, remarkably warm and welcoming.Is it true that there are robots on the street corners?Yes, there are. In South Africa, traffic lights are known as robots, although no one knows why. A pick-up truck is a bakkie, sneakers are takkies, a barbeque is a braai, an insect is a gogga and an alcoholic drink is a dop.South African English is lekker!Will I get to see wild animals?You won’t have to go far to do so. An hour’s drive from such urban jungles as Pretoria and Johannesburg, you can see lions, elephants, buffalo and hundreds more species in their natural environments.One of the world’s first wildlife conservation areas was South Africa’s Kruger Park, more than a century old. Today it is part of a single broad conservation area that spans private and public game parks and stretches across national borders into neighbouring Mozambique and Zimbabwe.There are other reasons for visiting South Africa too: golden beaches, some of the world’s best surf, spectacular scenery ranging from mountains to deserts, eco-systems found nowhere else in the world, an opportunity to experience African culture first-hand – and one of the least expensive holiday destinations you’ll find.South African travel experiencesWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Tackling root causes of gender violence

first_imgSouth Africa is implementing a strategy based on changing mindsets while promoting partnerships and social inclusion in order to tackle the root causes of gender-based violence, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini told the 57th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York on Wednesday.Tackiling the root causes of gender based violence will take a change in mindset. (Image: GovZA)Brand South Africa reporterMinister Bathabile Dlamini, who is part of a South African delegation attending the two-week session, was speaking during a roundtable discussion on the importance of primary prevention of gender-based violence.Dlamini noted that, despite UN member-country commitments to tackle such violence, it remained unacceptably high globally, with UN estimates showing that on average one in three women was beaten or raped during her lifetime.Tackling the apartheid legacy of violenceSince 1994, Dlamini said, the South African government had put a number of administrative and legislative instruments in place to address the root causes of violence in general, and gender-based violence in particular.One of these was the National Crime Prevention Strategy of 1996, which recognised that the causes of violence were deep-rooted, relating to South Africa’s history and socio-economic realities, and therefore could not be addressed through policy or legislation alone.Dlamini said South Africa’s violent history of oppression and the struggle for liberation from apartheid had left the country with a “culture of violence”, in which violence was seen as a legitimate means of resolving social, political, community and even domestic conflicts.“For this reason, the strategy advocates for primary prevention anchored on awareness and education, as well as mobilisation and participation of civil society in efforts to address this challenge,” Dlamini said.Too often violence is seen as a legitimate means of resolving social, political, community and even domestic conflicts.. (Image: GovZA)“This is key if we are to transform the social norms and cultural practices that perpetuate violence.”Promoting social inclusionShe added that the country’s preventive agenda was also anchored on promoting social inclusion, because poverty and inequality were major drivers of violence not only in South Africa, but also across the globe.For this reason, the government had prioritised the provision of basic social services, including social grants and the expansion of educational opportunities, especially for vulnerable groups.“Our prevention strategy is also characterised by the establishment of multi-sectoral partnerships, such as the recent establishment of the National Council on Gender-Based Violence and the high-level inter-ministerial committee on the causes of violence against women and children.”She commended the work of South African civil society organisations such as Sonke Gender Justice Network, as well as government leaders, in initiating programmes on gender equality, masculinity and male involvement in prevention.Alcohol and substance abuseAt the same time, the government was making concerted efforts to combat alcohol and substance abuse, both major contributors to violence.“We have recently started with the National Youth Camp, with the hope that we may educate our youth on such matters as social responsibility, love for one’s country, human rights, and other intrinsic values that should make them more responsible citizens of our country and of the global community.”Dlamini said she believed there was increased preparedness at both country and global level to act against violence towards women and children.“Primary prevention must be at the core of this commitment and action, with an emphasis on educating and engaging the community to positively change norms, attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate violence.”Primary prevention with an emphasis on educating and engaging the community is the key to combating gender based violence. (Image: Must Bol)Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more