Monthly Archives: April 2018

SOUTH AFRICA: MINISTERS CALL FOR NEOGTIATED SETTLEMENT TO END BUS STRIKE

PRETORIA– South Africa’s Ministers of Transport and Labour have called on parties involved in the ongoing bus strike to come to a negotiated settlement.

Transport Minister Dr Blade Nzimande and Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant have met with representatives of organised labour and employers in the bus industry, where they were briefed by both parties on their bargaining positions aimed at ending the protracted bus strike.

The Ministers noted progress in negotiations and appreciated the fact that both parties are determined to resolve the impasse swiftly, with concessions already made from the original positions held by both parties prior to the negotiations.

Both Ministers called on all parties involved to find a negotiated settlement under the allowable rules and regulations in the interest of all South Africans.

Now in its second week, the bus strike has left thousands of commuters stranded, with many being forced to use other modes of more expensive transport.

In their joint statement, the Ministers said while they are not party to the negotiations, the only reasonable outcome that they expect from the negotiations is the immediate resumption of bus operations, while labour and employers are finding a permanent solution to the impasse.

Both Ministers will continue to observe the negotiations with keen interest and wished all involved best regards in concluding the negotiations.

Bus drivers involved in the strike are demanding a 9.5% salary increase in the first year and 9% in the second year. They initially demanded 12%, with their employers offering 7%.

The South African Transport Workers and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) announced last week that they will be intensifying strike action this week. Last week, negotiations deadlocked with unions refusing to back down from their demands.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Hanergy Launches CSR Campaign to Bring Accessible Solar Powered Lighting to Africa

Company’s innovative thin-film solar powered “Humbrella” to help increase access to clean and free electricity

BEIJING, April 28, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Hanergy, a pioneering multinational clean energy company, today announced the launch of its “Lighting Africa” Project, under which the company will donate its first off line bath of solar-powered Humbrella, which is worth of a million RMB (US$160,000) to Africa through the China NGO Network for International Exchange.

Founder of Hanergy Li Hejun takes a group picture with NGO representative and African Ambassadors

The Hanergy 2018 Humbrella CSR Launch Ceremony was attended by ambassadors from 22 African nations as well as representatives from 8 NGOs, 10 multi-national companies and stakeholders from various circles.

Humbrella is the latest addition to the company’s growing roster of mobile energy solutions. Combining the world’s highest conversion efficiency thin-film solar panels with the common umbrella, the Humbrella integrates four functions including off-grid power supply, electricity storage, night lighting, and terminal charging. The Humbrella has a diameter of 2.7 meters and weighs only 8.8 kilograms due to Hanergy’s amazingly light & flexible thin film solar panels.

Currently, only 37% of Africans have access to a stable power supply and electricity shortages routinely prevent children from having enough time for study, seriously impacting their education. The Humbrella offers a practical solution to this problem by converting sunshine and store as much as 40000 mAh electricity, ensuring a 10-hour high quality reading time for children, or charging more than 10 3000mAh smart phones. In addition to lighting, the Humbrella is equipped with 4 UBS ports, which could be plugged for lamps, small fans, or electric insect repellent.

At a speech delivered at the launch event, Hanergy CEO Li Hejun said, “It is an honor for us to be able to use our unique mobile energy and thin film solar capabilities to contribute to public welfare in Africa. We hope that the Humbrella will light up the lives of many Africans and open up new possibilities for the future of African development.”

“I take this opportunity to invite Hanergy Group to consider the possibility of investing in the energy sector in Senegal by taking advantage of the many opportunities and incentives that my government offers to foreign investors,” said Mr. Mamadou Ndiaye, Senegal ambassador to China.

Although in the popular imagination Africa has a beautiful and clean natural environment, the fact is that air pollution is very serious in many areas due to the widespread use of diesel power generators. These generators emit toxic and harmful gases and cause respiratory and heart disease while also contributing to the occurrence of acid rain, which threatens food production and biodiversity. Because the Humbrella leverages thin-film solar power generation technology to directly convert solar energy into electricity, it can replace diesel generators and achieve “zero emission” energy.

The Humbrella launch event in Beijing also saw the establishment of Hanergy’s public welfare initiative, the “Lighting Africa Foundation.” Open to participants from all over the world, the foundation will match every purchase of a Humbrella sent to Africa with one US dollar to be invested in long-term poverty alleviation and public welfare activities, thus doubly contributing to the public benefit of local communities in Africa.

“As China’s largest NGO, we welcome more companies like Hanergy could contribute to African people’s welfare. Hanergy provides a good mobile energy solution to Africa and sets a good example of corporate social responsibility. Hopefully more organizations and companies could join the project in making the world a brighter place,” said Liu Kaiyang, Deputy Secretary-General of China NGO Network for International Exchanges.

About Hanergy

Hanergy, the world’s largest clean energy company, has a comprehensive clean energy solution, covering hydro-power, wind-power, and solar power. Since 2009, Hanergy focuses on thin-film solar power research and development, and is launching a series of products including solar roof tiles, foldable solar-paper power bank, solar backpack, Building Integrated Photovoltaics, solar roads and many others. With a worldwide staff of more than 16,000 and more than 2500 patents, Hanergy is devoted to providing the world a clean energy solution for a better life and sustainable world.

Media contact

Mark Lu
Email: LUFENG@hanergy.com
Phone: +86(10) 83914567 ext 5259

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/683557/Hanergy_Africa_CSR.jpg

SOUTH AFRICA DEALING DECISIVELY WITH CORRUPTION – PRES RAMAPHOSA

PRETORIA– South Africa is fixing itself by addressing corruption and maladministration, said President Cyril Ramaphosa, who addressed the national Freedom Day event in Bloemfontein.

Speaking in Sesotho, the President told the throngs gathered at Dr Petrus Molemela stadium in the Free State that the monies that have been stolen from government will be paid back in order to build a better future for the country.

To loud cheer, the President said corruption at State-owned enterprises was also being dealt with.

The fight against corruption has continued to dominate the national conversation in South Africa in the wake of allegations of State capture and corruption scandals in the private sector. Government has committed that anti-corruption efforts within the State will be more effectively coordinated and all forms of corruption must be exposed and prosecuted.

National Minimum Wage

President Ramaphosa used the platform to talk about the National Minimum Wage (NMW), which is aimed at improving the conditions of the working poor.

The NMW Bill and supporting Basic Conditions of Employment and Labour Relations Bills are currently before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Labour for consideration.

The bill proposes, among other things, that the National Minimum Wage level be set at R20 per hour and be reviewed annually. However, the minimum wages for domestic and farm workers will initially be set at R15 and R18 an hour respectively.

Several thousand union members marched in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and other cities on Wednesday to voice their opposition to the R20 an hour minimum wage, which they have called “starvation wages”.

The President sees the minimum wage — which was meant to be introduced on 1 May but has been delayed — as an important first step to tackle labour instability and wage inequality.

President Ramaphosa said the bill is a great victory for the workers of the country and is a tribute to the social partners who worked so hard to make it a reality.

Some people have argued that the starting minimum wage of R20 an hour is not a living wage. They are correct. Some argue that the National Minimum Wage will not end income inequality. They too are correct.

However, the President said the National Minimum Wage does provide a firm and unassailable foundation � which is agreed to by all social partners � from which to advance the struggle for a living wage.

We must remember that the introduction of the National Minimum Wage will increase the income of over six million working South Africans. A wage increase of that size and extent is unprecedented in our history, and we must celebrate it.

He said the National Minimum Wage is like a great hill we have climbed, but we dare not linger, because there are still many more hills to climb.

Land expropriation

With regards to land, President Ramaphosa said economic freedom means that the land that was taken from black South Africans needs to be returned.

He committed to accelerating the redistribution of land, both in urban and rural areas, to ensure that poor South Africans are able to own land and have the means to work it.

He said government will land expropriation without compensation where it is necessary and justified.

We call on all South Africans to be part of the broad process of consultation on how we should implement this decision in a way that makes redistribution meaningful and which contributes to a stronger economy, greater agricultural production and improved food security.

The move is aimed at extending property rights to all South Africans.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

SOUTH AFRICA INTRODUCES NEW REGULATIONS TO CONTROL DATA COSTSG

JOHANNESBURG– The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has announced new regulations to eliminate the punitive nature of data costs in the country.

The regulator announced here Thursday that the new regulations would reduce the cost of communication without prescribing lower prices for now.

Icasa councillors say consumers are being treated unfairly by network providers by charging them exorbitant out-of-bundle rates, without prior consent, when their data limit has been exceeded. The councillors also argue that consumers lose unused data at the end of the month.

Under the new regulations, network providers are required to notify users when their data has reached 50 per cent, 80 per cent and 100 per cent depletion levels.

The networks providers are also required to allow consumers an option to rollover unused data to the following month. Consumers should be allowed to transfer data quotas to other people who are on the same network.

People should also not be charged out-of-bundle rates without their prior consent.

The new regulations will be published in the Government Gazette next week and will come into effect at the beginning of June.

Icasa said that thereafter, it would begin the process of examining data prices with the view to bringing them down.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

SOUTH AFRICAN POWER UTILITY ADDRESS CHALLENGES FROM SHORTAGES OF COAL, DISMISSES LOAD-SHEDDING FEARS

JOHANNESBURG– South African power utility Eskom says it has put in place measures to address its current challenges resulting from coal stock shortages but dismisses fears of load-shedding.

It said in a statement here Wednesday that the challenge of coal stock levels being below the required target of 20 days at seven of its power stations was not ideal given that the country is heading into the (Southern Hemisphere) winter period which will see higher electricity usage.

Eskom has, however, put measures in place to address the current coal shortages. Eskom is highly cognizant of the significant impact insufficient coal supply would have on its operations and the entire country.

Eskom is currently facing imbalances where several coal-fired power stations, particularly those in the Mpumalanga Province, are affected. However, it is also important to note that at this stage, the level of coal stock days in more than half of the 15 coal-fired power stations in the Eskom generation fleet is maintained above the grid code target of 20, it added.

Coal stock levels are below the required target of 20 days at the Arnot, Tutuka, Majuba, Hendrina, Camden, Kriel and Komati power stations. Although the total current coal stock day levels of 35 days (excluding Medupi and Kusile Power Stations) are within an acceptable range, it is necessary to have all stations at the required stock day levels, Eskom said.

A number of factors, including the historical underinvestment at cost-plus mines due to capital constraints and the undersupply on both coal quality and quantity by the Tegeta mines which are under business rescue, have negatively impacted stock levels and production. Eskom has informed Nersa [National Energy Regulator of South Africa] of the current coal supply challenges and planned remedial actions as per regulatory requirements, said the utility.

Eskom’s recovery plan includes securing additional coal supplies for the affected stations and a further redirection of coal stock is underway to address the imbalance.

Eskom’s interim Group Chief Executive Officer, Phakamani Hadebe, also dismissed media reports of impending load shedding as unfounded. The recent media reports on impending load shedding due to a shortage of coal are unfounded. Eskom has contracted 84% of the coal it requires over the next five years. A recovery plan is in place to address the short-term imbalance of coal and to improve the stock days at the seven stations below minimum. Eskom is working on ways to expedite the coal procurement process at these mines, said Hadebe.

He added that the situation cannot be compared to 2008 when South Africans experienced load shedding. During that period coal production and delivery were severely affected with wet coal being at the centre of the various challenges experienced at that time.

It remains standard practice at Eskom to increase vigilance on all critical processes particularly during the traditionally higher demand winter period in order to manage for the unexpected and to ensure that the lights stay on.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK