AirAsia moved quickly to offer refunds, the ACCC said. Indonesian authorities claim they have found part of the fuselage of Indonesia AirAsia flight QZ8501 that went missing over a week ago with 162 souls aboard.Bambang Soelistyo, chief of the National Search and Rescue Agency said that five large pieces have been detected by sonar. “The biggest piece, measuring 18 metres long and 5.4 metres wide, appeared to be part of the jet’s body,” said Bambang Soelistyo.CNN says one object measures 9.2 x 4.6 x 0.5 meters (30 x 15 x 1.6 feet), a second measures 7.2 x 0.5 meters (24 x 1.6 feet) a third is 18 meters x 5.4 meters (59ft x 17.7ft) and a fourth according to the BBC is 9.8 metres by 1.10 metres (32ft x 3ft).While the A320 would have likely broken up on hitting the water the cabin is just 3.7 meters wide – not 5.4meters. The A320 is 27.5 meters long.Naval experts warn that the Java Sea is littered with wreckage from WW11 and previous claims of the plane being discovered have proved incorrect.Divers have tried to find the wreckage but say that the visibility is zero but conditions ae improving.90 divers from Indonesia and Russia are being deployed.The search for the black boxes has now started with a pinger locator being deployed. So far 37 have been recovered.The Indonesian authorities also say they have discovered a fuel slick from the missing plane.All told there are 30 ships and the same number of planes and helicopters involved in the search. A new 14-page report released by Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency claims weather is a major factor in the crash.QZ8501: OUT OF CONTROLQZ8501: TRUTH FIRST CASUALTYCNN QUOTES AIRLINERATINGS
UN ambassador Baso Sangqu andInternational Relations and CooperationMinister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane willlead the South African delegation as thecountry takes its place in UN SecurityCouncil. (Image: United Nations) MEDIA CONTACTS • Nthabiseng Ramatshela Department of International Relationsand Cooperation +27 82 675 0893 RELATED ARTICLES • South Africa regains UN Security Council seat • SA judge UN Human Rights head • UN, AU strive for peace in Africa • UN resolution supports SA 2010Nosimilo RamelaSouth Africa firmly committed itself to international peacekeeping efforts on 1 January 2011 when it took its place for a second term on the UN Security Council (UNSC).Voted in by 182 member states of the UN General Assembly last year, the country will serve as a non-permanent member for the 2011/12 term.The UNSC is made up of five permanent members – China, France, Russia, the UK and US – and 10 non-permanent members, which currently are Bosnia and Herzegovina; Germany; Portugal; Brazil; India; South Africa; Colombia; Lebanon; Gabon and Nigeria.The council is responsible for maintaining peace and security across the globe, usually by recommending that the parties involved reach an amicable agreement. The UNSC also conducts investigations into areas of conflict and may send in UN peacekeeping forces to help reduce tension.South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) said the country’s UNSC seat would give it the opportunity to forge closer partnerships with other member states.The department added that South Africa is committed to contributing to the work of the UNSC in maintaining international peace and security, particularly in Africa.“South Africa wants to advance the African agenda within the security council,” said the country’s UN ambassador Baso Sangqu.“More than two-thirds of the conflicts and crises that the security council handles are in Africa. It is not something that we should be proud of,” he said.Learning from experienceSouth Africa previously served on the UNSC in 2007 and 2008. “South Africa has learnt important lessons from the first term,” said Sangqu, who will lead the country’s UNSC delegation.Dirco said it has assembled a “crack team” of diplomats and officials to help South Africa serve on the council.“In its actions, South Africa will be guided by the commitment to uphold international law and universal values, and help others protect or achieve their inherent and inalienable rights,” said International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.She added that the country would continue with its efforts to promote and enhance the UNSC’s cooperation with regional organisations, particularly the African Union’s Peace and Security Council.Sangqu said: “Ivory Coast will be an issue we will have to deal with. There is now a standoff with regards to who the leader is. As a council member, South Africa will have to lead from the front on such issues.”South Africa will also advocate for more resources to help resolve the conflict in Somalia, the ambassador added.He said the UNSC should not to let the situation in that country become “a forgotten conflict” like the dispute between Morocco and Western Sahara guerrillas.
With South Africa’s gender equality statusbefore the UN, women’s rights in thecountry will receive new impetus.(Image: MediaClubSouthAfrica.com. Formore free photos, visit the image library) Masimanyane’s executive director LesleyAnn Foster is to present the country reportto the UN’s Cedaw committee.(Image: Shamin Chibba)MEDIA CONTACTS • Lesley Ann FosterMasimanyane executive director+27 43 743 9169 or +27 83 325 2497RELATED ARTICLES• Women’s month launched in SA• New body to empower SA women• SA women leaders unite for change• SA women take the lead• Media awards for SA womenShamin ChibbaWomen’s rights in South Africa will take a great stride forward when a national alliance of women’s organisations presents the country’s first shadow report in 12 years on the status of women in the country.On Friday 21 January, four representatives, led by the East London-based Masimanyane Women’s Support Centre, will stand before the UN’s Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw) committee.Here they’ll present research they conducted regarding the progress of women’s rights since the presentation of the first report at Cedaw’s 19th session in 1998. Gender equality is one of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.Each Cedaw party state is required to report to the committee every four years. South Africa will therefore be submitting its second, third and fourth reports.Cedaw will review the report and present recommendations to the government on which steps to take to improve the situation.Identifying achievements and obstaclesAccording to Masimanyane’s executive director Lesley Ann Foster, the alliance that conducted research last year consisted of women’s groups across seven provinces.“We have worked with other organisations and have collected information on how women’s rights have been enforced by government,” she said.The study asked women to identify the achievements towards gender equality, and also considered ways in which obstacles faced by women and girls on a daily basis could be overcome. However, judging from the research, Foster said the country has not made enough advances in the right direction.In a statement delivered to Cedaw on 17 January, she acknowledged that the South African government has made significant efforts to address these gender equality issues through the ratification of the Cedaw convention and its Optional Protocol, which was introduced in 1999.“Despite these efforts, the lived realities of women, their quality of life, and their status within society has not seen a significant change,” she added.Foster and her colleague Thabisa Bobo, also of Masimanyane, discussed three main issues, namely discriminatory laws, violence against women, and challenges to young women – specifically those from rural areas – with the Cedaw committee.South Africa’s shadow report may be downloaded from the Masimanyane website.Kenya, Israel and Liechtenstein will present their reports around the same time as South Africa.Forming the allianceSouth Africa started to catch up with Cedaw reports in October last year when 22 women’s rights activists from around the country gathered in East London for a Cedaw seminar.This was a drive by Masimanyane to form a national alliance of women’s rights organisations from each province. They would then contribute to a report on the progress of gender equality in the last ten years.It was here that South African activists learnt how to use Cedaw as a tool for advocacy and lobbying. To guide them through the process were activists Ivy Josiah, the executive director of Malaysia’s Women’s Aid Organisation, and Shireen Huq of the Nariphokko organisation in Bangladesh.According to Josiah, the activists educated South Africans on the Cedaw policies, explaining how they could be used as a useful instrument. “I showed women how this is a tool to analyse and solve problems.”Josiah believes the tool is an international principle that holds governments accountable. “There is this power called government that is duty-bound to make sure women are safe.”Foster added that Cedaw is a primary standard setting document that guides all UN member states which have ratified the policy as to how they should treat women and girls within their countries.The convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979 and is often referred to as an international bill of rights for women.Masimanyane’s executive director, Lesley Ann Foster, will be in Geneva to present South Africa’s shadow report to the Cedaw committee.
South Africa’s state power utility Eskom isinvesting heavily in wind and solar energytechnologies to reduce the country’sreliance on coal.(Image: MediaClubSouthAfrica.com. Formore free photos, visit the image library) Panellists at the roundtable discussionincluded, from left, Chamber of Mines CEOBheki Sibiya, City of Johannesburg MayorParks Tau and Eskom’s executive directorof resources and strategy Dr SteveLennon.(Image: Kathryn Fourie)MEDIA CONTACTS • Brand South Africa+27 11 483 0122Kathryn FourieBrand South Africa and the Financial Times hosted a roundtable discussion at COP17 on 2 December 2011, highlighting the importance of working towards a green economy by setting emission reduction targets with strong implementation plans.Under the theme of “Opportunities and challenges of the Green Economy”, the event comprised a panel discussion between government and business leaders, including Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa, City of Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau, Eskom’s executive director of resources and strategy Dr Steve Lennon and CEO of the Chamber of Mines Bheki Sibiya.The panel was chaired by Andrew England, Southern Africa bureau chief of the Financial Times.The discussion was attended by various stakeholders from business, academia, government and civil society.Complex balancing actAt the heart of the COP17 negotiations are drastic changes in projected and real climate patterns and the increasing levels of carbon emissions which cause it.Reducing these emissions is a key component of worldwide strategies to combat climate change. Broadly termed “greening the economy”, reduction efforts are characterised by governments trying to balance the needs of their economies, people and the health of the planet – far from a straightforward business.Minister Molewa opened the event with a keynote speech highlighting the importance of working towards a green economy by setting emission reduction targets with strong implementation plans.This is directly in line with the National Green Economy Accord that was signed in Pretoria recently. The accord focuses on the move to a low-carbon economy, while creating substantial employment within this transformation.Figures around the 300 000 mark have been mentioned in terms of job creation, linked to a time frame of 10 years to make this a reality.During the discussions England posed a question around the feasibility of the targets set in the accord.South Africa is aiming for a 40% reduction in carbon emissions by 2025. Fourteen years to reduce carbon emission by almost half the current levels, without compromising on employment rates and economic profit, is a tall order – further compounded by the fact that 90% of the country’s energy today comes from coal.Molewa stressed that while targets were high, they were based on sound study. “We will be getting into sustainable development that talks to our people, our economy and takes care of our environment,” she said.Cleaner coal and more renewable energyDr Lennon of state power utility Eskom was quick to defend government strategy in utilising a variety of energy production methods in its steps of transformation, and insisted that coal burning is not prioritised over other methods of energy production.While the government is investing heavily in wind and solar energy, with a resultant expansion in job numbers in these sectors, Lennon pointed out that Eskom is also investing in technology to produce more efficient and cleaner coal-based energy. Additionally, 20 000 new jobs will be created when the Medupi Power Station in Limpopo province comes online in 2012.Employment and the expansion of the job market is heavily linked to the greening of the economy, and in countries like South Africa – currently battling an unemployment rate of about 25% – it’s highly necessary that the government’s ambitious planning pays off, without compromising on the environment.
Rescued penguins at the Samrec centreoutside Port Elizabeth line up to be fed.(Image: Emily van Rijswijck) Pengiuns at the Boulders colony inCape Town live in prefabricated igloos.(Image: Janine Erasmus)MEDIA CONTACTS • Libby SharwoodSamrec+27 41 583 1830Emily van RijswijckHis name is Jay and he is a born and bred African. Originally from the biggest colony of African penguins on the continent, St Croix Island in Algoa Bay, Jay now lives the good life at the South African Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre (Samrec) at Cape Recife Nature Reserve in Port Elizabeth.After two attempts to release him back into the wild – without success, perhaps because Jay believes he is not yet ready – volunteers at the centre have adopted him as a permanent fixture and fellow volunteer.“Clearly Jay finds the rehabilitated life more agreeable, so we have decided that he can stay and become our mascot,” says Samrec volunteer Libby Sharwood.Sharwood has been involved with the rescue and rehabilitation of African penguins since 2000 when she started work as a volunteer at Bay World, the Port Elizabeth natural and cultural museum.With Bay World facilities running at capacity and stray birds putting the healthy penguin population there at risk, Sharwood decided to move the rescue facility to her house – a daunting task if one considers the smell and noise factor that comes with the little creatures.Finally, in 2009, with the help of funding from the National Lottery, the Samrec centre finally opened at its new facilities in Cape Recife, a headland at the southwestern tip of Algoa Bay.The centre works on the principles of the four Rs: rescue, rehabilitate, research and release with a strong emphasis on education. Over 2 000 schoolchildren visit every year, as well as the general public.The programme also has a school adoption component. The latest beneficiary is the Lonwabi Primary school, which caters for disabled children at an informal settlement outside Port Elizabeth.“Some of these kids have never seen a shell, let alone a penguin,” says Eddy Molekoa, educational manager.Saving the African penguin Jay is one of about 120 African penguins which make it to the centre yearly, thanks for the most part to the help of caring individuals who pick up stray animals on their daily beach walks.“The public is amazing,” admits Sharwood.Jay first washed up at Pollok Beach in 2010, “a very cold, underweight baby,” recalls Sharwood. With his many quirks, he has since stolen the hearts of volunteers, especially when he tries to catch dragonflies and mosquitoes.Recently, the centre released 23 penguins at Port Elizabeth’s Hobie Beach. Says animal manager Jared Harding: “We are not a zoo. We try to release the penguins back into the wild as soon as they are healthy. Keeping them at the centre is actually stressful to them.”But their rescue efforts remain a drop in the ocean.“For the extinction rate to be halted, we need to save about 1 000 animals a year.” Sharwood likens the severity of the situation to the similar fate facing rhinos.“In 2000, we were told that if nothing is done, in 30 years no more African penguins would exist. The situation is now worse, with extinction looming within five years,” she says.This month has been a particularly busy one for Samrec as the breeding season kicked off early and with fish numbers dwindling and penguin parents having to venture further off, a number of stray chicks have been found on the beaches, some still kitted-out in their fluffy coats.Like other facilities in Cape Town, Mosselbay, Jeffreys and Tenikwa, Samrec is constantly challenged to find enough fish for the centre, as well as meet the monthly vet’s bill, especially during breeding time.Ocean temperaturesHuman interference and global warming are the biggest risk factors for these vulnerable birds. With water temperatures rising, sea currents are moving further offshore, and this is where the schools of sardines and pilchards are found.Having to swim further for food has a severe impact on the amount of food the chick receives when the parent returns from hunting, and on the population in general.St Croix and Bird islands are where the two biggest colonies gather, with a healthy population also thriving at Boulders Beach in Cape Town. The latter colony is a fine example of how man and beast have learnt to live together in peaceful harmony.It is estimated that there are about 6 000 African penguins left.
31 May 2012 South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs will hold round-table discussions with rhino owners in the country as part of its bid to combat rhino poaching, which has reached “an unacceptable level”. Addressing the media at the department’s first national rhino conservation dialogue workshop in Johannesburg on Monday, Deputy Director-General Fundisile Mketeni said rhino poaching had reached an unacceptable level. “We are now at war,” Mketeni said, adding that the department would continue to engage with various key stakeholders. The objective of the national consultations is to solicit well-considered views on how best to secure the protection, safety and sustainable conservation of the rhinos in the country. Other areas of concern, including trade, rhino horn stockpile management, awareness campaigns, international engagements and population management, will be considered in this process.Collaboration with professionals Monday’s workshop was convened in collaboration with Mavuso Msimang, who has been appointed by the department as a rhino conservation issue manager. Msimang has been tasked with convening a series of meetings comprising a broad range of organisations, experts and individuals with a vested interest in the sustainable conservation of South Africa’s rhino population. Also speaking at the briefing was Colonel Johan Jooste of the Hawks, who said they were also looking at engaging countries like China and Thailand. “We will also be seeking assistance from the professionals,” he said. Filming at the Kruger National Park will also be forbidden in a bid to protect the rhinos. According to the latest statistics from Environmental Affairs, the highest number of killings this year was at the Kruger National Park, with 137 rhinos; it accounts for more than half of the total rhino killings that have taken place in the country this year. Mpumalanga had the most arrests with 44, followed by the Kruger National Park with 38; Limpopo had 19 arrests, North West 16, Gauteng 14 and KwaZulu-Natal 10 arrests. Mketeni said plans were under way to host another summit with the various stakeholders in September. A crime line has also been established to improve the level of co-operation with the public, as well as make access for would-be informers much easier. South Africans can report incidents of rhino poaching or tip-offs that could lead to arrests and the prevention of illegal killings to 0800 205 005. Source: BuaNews
23 October 2012 President Jacob Zuma has urged stakeholders in South African agriculture to find ways of providing tenure security for communal farmers, to increase support for emerging farmers, and to consider a new approach to land reform in the country. “We need to find ways of providing tenure security for communal farmers, and investigate better ways of financing land reform so that new farmers do not become saddled with debt,” Zuma at the African Farmers Association of South Africa (Afasa) gala dinner outside Pretoria on Monday evening. Zuma said South Africa was planning for what its agriculture sector would look like in the next 30 years through the National Development Plan produced by the country’s National Planning Commission. ‘More support for emerging farmers’ South Africa’s commercial farming sector, comprising an estimated 37 000 members, currently produces 90 percent of the country’s agricultural output. On the other hand, there are 25-million people live in SA’s rural areas, producing 10 percent of agricultural output through subsistence farming. Zuma said more support for emerging farmers would enable the government to improve the participation of black South Africans in commercial agriculture. He said 11 000 new smallholder farmers had been established since 2009, with a target of 50 000 having been set for 2014. Support has been provided to both new and long-established farmers through various state programmes, including Letsema, the Recapitalisation and Development Programme, and through funding agency Mafisa. Despite this support, Zuma said, only a marginal number of 5 381 smallholder farmers were involved in agri-businesses, and a mere 3 910 were linked to markets. “To achieve further success, smallholder farmers require a comprehensive agribusinesses support package, including favourable commodity pricing, access to finance, provision of technical expertise and mentorship, and contracted markets,” he said.Land reform: lessons learned On the question of land reform, Zuma said that the government had made a commitment in 2009 to transfer 30 percent of the 82-million hectares of agricultural land which was white-owned in 1994 to black people by 2014. This 30 percent translates to 24.5-million hectares. “Between 1994 and December 2011, 3.9-million hectares were redistributed through the land acquisition and redistribution programme. We have learned a number of lessons from the exercise.” According to Zuma, one major lesson was that the process of acquiring and distributing a particular piece of land was often lengthy, which escalated the cost of redistribution because the previous owner stopped investing in the land. He said many farms were in a poor state of repair at the point of acquisition, contributing to a decline in productivity on redistributed farms. This led to the adoption of the Recapitalisation and Development Programme in November 2010. By December 2011, 595 farms were in the process of being rehabilitated under this programme, mainly through rebuilding infrastructure.Land reform: new approach put forward Taking these issues into account, South Africa’s National Development Plan proposes a district-based approach to land reform and its financing. It proposes that each district should establish a land reform committee where all stakeholders can be meaningfully involved. The committee would be charged with identifying 20 percent of the commercial agricultural land in the district and giving commercial farmers the option of assisting in its transfer to black farmers, in line with the government’s land reform targets. The implementation of this land reform proposal would entail identifying land that is readily available from land that is already in the market; land where the farmer is under severe financial pressure; land held by an absentee landlord willing to exit; and land in a deceased’s estate. In this way, land could be found without distorting markets. After being identified, the land would be bought by the state at 50 percent of its market value, which is closer to its fair productive value. The shortfall of the current owner would be made up by cash or in-kind contributions from the commercial farmers in the district who volunteered to participate. In exchange, commercial farmers would be protected from losing their land and gain black economic empowerment status.Land reform: spreading the cost Zuma said this would remove the uncertainty and mistrust that surrounds land reform and the related loss of investor confidence, adding that a stepped up programme of financing should be created. “This would include the involvement of the National Treasury, the Land Bank as well as established white farmers. The model envisages that the cost of land reform be spread between all stakeholders. It also envisages new financial instruments being designed for the purpose of facilitating land reform. “These could include 40-year mortgages at preferential rates for new entrants into the markets, as well as land bonds that white farmers and others could invest in.” Zuma said this was an innovative proposal that needed to be tested, and that it would be useful to hear from members of the farming sector if they would support such an approach. Zuma said South Africa’s food security situation was too serious to leave to short-term planning only. “Our long-term vision document, the National Development Plan, forecasts that by 2030, more than 70 percent of South Africa’s population will live in urban areas, compared to just over 60 percent today. “Even with these changes, rural areas will remain home to millions of our people. We know this because there is also considerable movement within rural areas resulting in a consolidation into denser settlements,” Zuma said.Agriculture and job creation The National Development Plan argues that agriculture is the primary economic activity in rural areas and has the potential to create close to one-million new jobs by 2030; Zuma said this could be done by expanding irrigated agriculture. “There is evidence that the current 1.5-million hectares under irrigation can be expanded by at least 500 000 hectares through more efficient use of existing water resources and the development of new water schemes,” he said. Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, also speaking at Monday night’s dinner, said the government was working extremely hard to assist smallholder farmers to become commercial farmers. “We are working very hard to turn rural areas into commercially viable zones. We are trying to eradicate deeply entrenched poverty in rural areas through programmes that will overhaul the entire social system. “We need to decisively move so our programmes translate to visible change in our communities,” she said. Source: SANews.gov.za
Denel will provide game reserves with the latest technology in surveillance and skills training for rangers, in aid of the rhino crisis in South Africa.(Image: Denel) Rhino Hero revolves around Zama, a rhino, and his efforts to protect his species.(Image: Rhino Hero)MEDIA CONTACTS • Chris Masters ShortBlackMocca+27 71 520 4764RELATED ARTICLES• A legacy for the African rhino• Giving rhinos a voice through art• Sangomas join the rhino force• Taking the plunge for our rhinos• Special anti-poaching weapon for SA• Rhinos to get revenge on poachersCadine PillaySouth African National Parks (SANParks) and state-owned Denel, the largest arms manufacturer in the country, have signed a memorandum of understanding under which Denel will use its law enforcement technology to assist in the fight against rhino poaching.The country’s rhino death toll for 2012 currently stands at a shocking 549 – 61 more than the total for the whole of 2011. Out of this figure, 320 were poached in the Kruger National Park, which straddles the Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces in the north east of the country.Figures released by the Department of Environmental Affairs show that more than 1 600 rhino have been killed by poachers over the past five years and on average South Africa is losing one rhino every day and a half.“We are convinced that this technology will build the ability to detect and deter would-be poachers and provide early warnings to law enforcement officials deployed on the ground,” said Riaz Saloojee, CEO of Denel.Sophisticated technology for game reservesSaloojee said that Denel has, over the years, developed highly sophisticated law-enforcement technology for use at home and abroad. The technology is currently used to combat perlemoen (abalone) poaching on South Africa’s west coast. As a result of excessive poaching, perlemoen was declared an endangered species in terms of CITES regulations in 2007, but the status was removed in 2010 when the illegal trade seemed to have subsided.SANParks spokesperson Wanda Mkutshulwa explained that Denel will provide game reserves with cutting-edge surveillance technology and will also assist in training rangers to operate and interpret data from the technological devices.Dr David Mabunda, CEO of SANParks, is confident that the latest initiative will help reduce incidences of poaching and keep the numbers of poached rhino down.“Though we admit that we have lost a few battles, and suffered a few bloody noses, we have no intention of losing this war,” he said. “We will fight until the last man or woman standing to save the nation’s heritage.”The details of the technology could not be revealed due to security reasons.Rhinos get their own appWhile Denel’s technology will hopefully detect poachers before they get to the rhino, two South Africans are also using modern technology to raise funds and awareness for the same cause.Anyone with a smartphone or tablet will now be able to download Rhino Hero, an application developed by social entrepreneurs Chris Masters and Alasdair Muller. At present the app works only on Apple devices but will shortly be available for Android.The pair, who started their company ShortBlackMocca together earlier this year, said that 50% of the proceeds raised from the app’s downloads will be donated to the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), a leading conservation effort that has been at the forefront of the poaching war.Everyone can be a rhino heroRhino Hero revolves around the rhino Zama (isiZulu, meaning “to make an effort”) and his efforts to protect his species. According to Masters, the game was designed to create awareness and drive support by giving people a fun way to interact with the cause, which is close to the hearts of many South Africans.Zama does not have x-ray vision or super strength, but his strength comes from the people who support his cause. The player launches Zama into poachers’ camps, driving him to take charge and destroy the camps, one by one, scoring points and going up a level after reaching a certain number of points.“The beauty lies in the way the game mirrors the Save the Rhino campaign,” said Masters. “One person, or in the case of the game, one rhino, really can make a difference.”The popularity of apps and the large number of people downloading them regularly through their smart devices inspired the ShortBlackMocca team to focus on this ever-growing market. According to the Apple app store, as many as 25-billion apps have been downloaded through the store, while a further 10-billion were downloaded through Google’s Android app store.“It was a business opportunity,” said Masters, “but also a way to raise awareness through the types of apps they created.”Persecution victory The number of arrests made by South African authorities in relation to rhino poaching so far stands at 222. The recent sentencing of a syndicate member, Thai national Chumlong Lemtongthai, to an unprecedented 40 years in prison, was welcomed by the South African government.Lemtongthai pleaded guilty to 59 counts in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court earlier this month.Justice minister Jeff Radebe commended the country’s National Prosecuting Authority for their work in bringing Lemtongthai to book.“Rhino poaching and smuggling threatens the government’s efforts in preserving our environment and economic stability of the country,” said Radebe in a statement.
28 October 2016Bernice Dapaah is the chief executive of the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative (GBBI), a project that farms bamboo plantations in her hometown of Kumasi, southern Ghana, to manufacture cost-effective, robust and environmentally friendly bicycles.Dapaah began the company in 2008 and manufactures bicycles for farm workers and schoolchildren. The company also exports more than 1,000 units to Europe and North America.Along the way, she is helping to empower Ghanaian youth by creating employment opportunities in farming bamboo and manufacturing the end product. The company currently employs 40 young people to construct its flagship product, the Eco Ride, a bicycle consisting of 75% bamboo.The Eco Ride is not only affordable to most Ghanaians, but Dapaah hopes that as bicycles become more popular, they will boost rural transport and help to cut the country’s carbon pollution. The company’s small-scale farming initiative also makes sure that 10 bamboos are planted to replace each one used for manufacture.Almost Done! #GhanaBambooBikes pic.twitter.com/W42qE6iRSk— Ghana Bamboo Bikes (@GhanaBambooBike) January 27, 2016According to Dapaah, the strength of bamboo, a grass that is five times stronger than steel, as well as its pliability, mean the bike can be made easily and that it is robust enough for all road conditions.The process #GhanaBambooBikes pic.twitter.com/M49O0swbjs— Ghana Bamboo Bikes (@GhanaBambooBike) January 27, 2016The Eco Ride is used by farm workers for their daily commute to work, and is especially useful for children to get to school. The company donates a number of bicycles to schools in the Kumasi area.Bamboo bikes, a sustainable solution to climate issues in Ghana: https://t.co/TZKDBrs8sD pic.twitter.com/6uhav2Wxlm— EcoNigeria (@EcoNigeria) August 26, 2016The bikes are also used to deliver medical supplies to hospitals and rural clinics.Happening Now:Prez Kufuor Launches Trade Mark for @GhanaBambooBike pic.twitter.com/b3X2ndiJap— Ghana Bamboo Bikes (@GhanaBambooBike) September 27, 2016The company’s trademark was officially launched in Accra, Ghana’s capital, in September. At the launch, Dapaah – with the help of former president JA Kufuor – asked the government to enact by-laws to help create a culture where those “who prefer to use these bicycles can ride them safely everywhere”.“Such by-laws will help promote the use of bicycles in our communities,” Kufuor said, “and also encourage those who sit in the comfort of four-wheel drives to exercise our muscles.”Kufuor, who is the UN Special Envoy for Climate Change, congratulated Dapaah on the success of her company and her efforts to transform rural transport.“Dapaah has shown initiative, innovation and leadership to transform our society. She is doing this not for the high end of the market but for a product that is affordable to our society, whether rich or poor,” he said.“The raw materials (have been here for thousands of years) and her persistence and perseverance have found a meaningful way to use it commercially and for the good of the people of Ghana.”As demand for the Eco Ride in Ghana and abroad increases, the company is expanding its bike manufacturing operations with the help of the country’s Newmont Development Foundation. It will open another factory at Ntotroso in Brong Ahafo in 2017. Dapaah also hopes to diversify into other bamboo products, including handicrafts and fuel/bio-energy generation.Together with American non-governmental organisation the African Bicycle Contribution Foundation, GBBI hopes to increase the number of bicycles for rural schoolchildren in Ghana and the rest of West Africa.“My favourite part of (this company),” Dapaah says, “is when I go to the workshop to see the youths and know they are able to earn a living. I feel so happy when I see we have been able to create a bit of laughter for them.”Source: Graphic Online (Ghana)SouthAfrica.info reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SouthAfrica.info material
Cariema Isaacs and Janine Roberts – both of whom are passionate about entrepreneurship and job creation – have started the Ukama Kitchen Incubator in Cape Town.Cariema Isaacs and Janine Roberts (both in middle) with business owners who are involved in the Ukama Kitchen Incubator. Isaacs says the incubator aims to preserve heritage and culture through a celebration of home- baked and cooked food. (Images supplied)Melissa JavanTwo South African women who are passionate about both the food industry and entrepreneurship, have opened the Ukama Kitchen Incubator in Cape Town.Through the incubator, unemployed women can cook or bake in a certified kitchen, explains co-founder Cariema Isaacs. This way, the women’s products will be compliant with government standards and policies, and sellable in a consumer market. The incubator was opened in December 2017.Isaacs, who wrote Cooking for My Father in My Cape Malay Kitchen, says the vision of Ukama is to transform home cooks and bakers who sell their products to support their families, into fully fledged entrepreneurs.Calling them foodtrepreneurs (food entrepreneurs), she says the plan is for the cooks to reach a bigger target market, both locally and internationally, in the future.WatchA certified kitchenCo-founder Janine Roberts says a facility needs to be certified by a regulatory body that inspects the facilities and certifies them safe to make food items for the retail market. “We are certified by Intertek and we are also halaal certified by the South African National Halaal Authority.”Roberts, who has more than 14 years’ experience in the packaging industry, adds: “Women who work from home kitchens are not able to get their products listed in the formal retail market because of health and safety regulations. Retailers need to ensure they only buy from suppliers who work in facilities that are complaint with health and hygiene requirements.”Being compliant means the cooks are able to sell to national retailers such as Pick n Pay and Checkers.For the past ten years, Roberts, a serial entrepreneur, has focused on social entrepreneurship. Her company, Ukama Packaging Solutions, is a multi-stakeholder collaboration – a bridge – between clients seeking packaging services and micro-entrepreneurs providing the labour.In addition, she established the Ukama Community Foundation, an NGO linked to the company that every day feeds about 200 children from Vrygrond in Cape Town.She has received the Tony Elumelu Foundation Top 1000 African Entrepreneurs award, as well as the Spark International Changemaker award in 2015.Behind the scenesUkama Kitchen Incubator sets up equipment for, training and development of small business owners.Foodtrepreneurs already have products on the shelves at the Ukama Kitchen Incubator, which they have sold to customers. “These entrepreneurs have products such as biscuits and shortbread, samosas, smoothies, traditional atchars and Cape Malay jams.“[We have our] very own barista, who is also disabled and we really wanted to give him a chance to manage our coffee bar,” says Isaacs.BootstrappingThe money for the business came out of the pockets of Isaacs and Roberts, although the former says their challenge is lack of funding. They have set up a Kickstarter fundraising page and so far have received several small donations. “[Due to] the lack of funding our existing product lines are focused on longer-life shelf items such as pickles and konfyt [jam].“For items where preservatives are required, such as our curry and pasta sauces, we’d have to approach a food technologist and the cost per product, per hour, per consultation is exorbitant at this stage,” says Isaacs. “We simply cannot afford it, and we would like to help these women.”Writer Melissa Javan asked Isaacs more about the Ukama Kitchen Incubator:Melissa Javan: You said you wanted to change the landscape of home cooking and baking. How do you plan to do this?Cariema Isaacs: Yes, we feel strongly that our kitchen incubator will change the landscape of home cooking and baking businesses, because there are various benefits that are derived from producing products in a commercial kitchen.The aunty who sells her biscuits in the community will always only have access to her direct neighbours, friends and family.The foodtrepreneur, or business owner, has access – through the kitchen incubator – to knowledge and skills related to logistics, buying and selling, branding, marketing, recruitment, networking, accounting and the necessary business acumen one needs to run a successful brand and business. The same aunty is now not just selling, but she is learning business skills that will equip her to focus on profit generation, rather than on just making ends meet, collaboration and management of clients.MJ: Are you still fundraising for Ukama Kitchen Incubator on Kickstarter?CI: Yes we are. We’ve not managed to receive any funding apart from small donations and support from other business partners and brands.MJ: You wrote a cookbook about Cape Malay cooking. Is Ukama going to focus on Cape Malay cooking?CI: Many of our foodtrepreneurs had been following me on social media, so it was easier for them to contact me about becoming part of this initiative. Our intention is to focus on South African heritage fare, but we also recognise the current popularity of halaal cooking and baking, and it would be foolish not to capitalise on this trend.MJ: Why is an incubator necessary for people who want to take their home cooking and baking to the next level?CI: It allows for a broader target market, and an opportunity for the entrepreneur to market their products through a commercial and certified kitchen that complies with all hygiene and safety regulations. It’s also a chance to become a fully fledge entrepreneur supported by training, mentorship and coaching.Cariema Isaacs, co-founder of Ukama Kitchen Incubator, says cooks at the incubator will be able to export their products through Ukama’s commercial kitchens. Through the initiative, South African expats will be able to get from home products “the way mom made them”.MJ: How did you and your business partner meet?CI: Janine constantly has people coming to see her asking whether she can market or package heritage food such as jams. I was approached to help a co-op of unemployed women based in Bo-Kaap, who wanted to draw tourists to their homes for cooking classes.I contacted Janine about my own product range, which is due for release in 2018, which may have included the Bo-Kaap co-op. Janine spoke to me about collaboration and the idea of starting a kitchen incubator. We put our heads together and decided to start a company and build a vision for our brand; in less than a week the Ukama Kitchen Incubator was registered.MJ: What can people who join the Ukama Kitchen Incubator expect?CI: First and foremost, we are a family, as our name suggests – “Ukama” is a Shona word for family. We work in teams while still being able to maintain our individual products and skills.There are also areas that some newbies may find overwhelming, such as working in a commercial kitchen where rules and regulations apply, where we are pedantic about our packaging, labelling, presentation and hygiene standards.Through all of this, we also have fun and learn from one another and we always praise hard work and skill.MJ: On your Facebook page, you speak about your recipe swap with Sri Lankans. Are you planning to teach people at the incubator some of these recipes?CI: Oh my gosh, yes! I think in my past life I must have been a guru or coach or a mentor. I love teaching and sharing ideas and learning from others. I am also enrolled for part-time studies at the International Institute of Culinary Arts Dubai to attain my diploma as a chef, and I feel I can bring much of that knowledge to our kitchen incubator.MJ: Can you give us two lessons you learned in business?CI: Being an entrepreneur is hard work, but one of the most gratifying roles I’ve ever had. Every part of yourself is in every facet of the brand and the business and that, for me, speaks of my own ability to adapt and transform.Stay in your lane, don’t focus on who you think the competition is and what they might be doing – be true to your own vision. The vision should be your North Star and whenever you feel low or lost, that will bring you home again and again and again.Source: UkamaWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.