Zuma appoints new Public Protector

first_img19 October 2009President Jacob Zuma has appointed human rights lawyer Advocate Thulisile Madonsela as South Africa’s new Public Protector. Madonsela replaces Advocate Lawrence Mushwana, who left the position on Friday after serving out his non-renewable seven-year term.Madonsela was recommended for the position by a special parliamentary committee following a week of candidate interviews.The Public Protector is an independent institution established in terms of Chapter 9 of the country’s Constitution to strengthen democracy by investigating alleged improper conduct by state agencies or officials.‘Important responsibility’Zuma said Madonsela was taking on an important responsibility. “She will need to ensure that this office continues to be accessible to ordinary citizens and undertakes its work without fear or favour.”An advocate with extensive experience in constitutional, human rights and equality law, Madonsela was most recently a full-time member of the South African Law Reform Commission.As a member of a judicial transformation task team, Madonsela helped draft bills and a strategic plan for transforming the country’s justice system and state legal services as well as the Victims’ Charter and gender and employment equity policy.Zuma thanked Mushwana for the excellent service he had given to the country.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

UCT professor wins science award

first_imgThe renowned palaeobiologist is regularly published in science journals, has written two academic books and is also a children’s book author.(Image: UCT Faculty of Science)MEDIA CONTACTS • Katherine WilsonCommunication, Development & Marketing Manager, UCT Faculty of Science+27(0)21 650 2574RELATED ARTICLES•A fun approach to science teaching• Early African fossils found • Remarkable South African women hailed • Footsteps into the past Aneshree NaidooUniversity of Cape Town’s Head of the Department of Biological Sciences, palaeobiologist Professor Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan, received the World Academy of Science (TWAS) sub-Saharan Africa regional prize for the Public Understanding and Popularisation of Science.Chinusamy-Turan was one of five researchers who won the TWAS award: she shared honours with scientists from Argentina, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Egypt at a ceremony at the African Academy of Science (AAS) international scientist gathering in Nairobi in November. The AAS hosts the TWAS regional office for sub-Saharan Africa.Speaking at the event, AAS executive director Professor Berhanu Abegaz said the award was “proof that the region could produce world-class scientists in all fields of science and served as an inspiration to young African scientists”.In an interview with mediaclubsouthafrica.com, Chinusamy-Turan said she opted to study science as she’d always had an interest in maths and science at school. She says: “I went to university and registered in the faculty of science because I wanted to be a science teacher. In fact, after my honours degree in science, I actually did do a postgraduate diploma in teaching, but I think by then I also found that I really enjoyed science. So instead of going to teach at a school, I ended up registering for a master’s in science. The rest, as they say, is history!”Chinsamy-Turan is a UCT Fellow, a TWAS fellow, and a fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa. She is president of the Association of South African Women in Science and Engineering, and in 2005, was honoured as the Department of Science and Technology’s Distinguished Woman in Science.Women in science and engineeringAccording to its website, the “Association of South African Women in Science and Engineering is a dynamic association for all those who support the idea of strengthening the role of women in science and engineering in South Africa”.The organisation aims to:· Raise the profile of women scientists and engineers;· Highlight and address problems faced specifically by women in these fields;· Lobby for the advancement of women in science and engineering; and· Provide leadership and role models for young people wishing to enter the fields of science and engineering.Chinusamy-Turan has also served as an advisory board chair on Scifest Africa, Africa’s largest science festival, and is on the Cape Town Science Centre’s advisory board. She has also served as a director for the Iziko Museum’s Natural History Collections.She believes South Africa can produce more scientists if their research was made more accessible to the public and the scientific work being done was given more media coverage.“I honestly believe that scientists need more visibility among the public. I feel that learners often don’t think of science as a career because they don’t really know what scientists do. I therefore think that it is very important for scientists to communicate their research to the wider public and for the electronic and print media to showcase the good science that is being done in our country (and the world).”The palaeobiologist is regularly published in science journals, has written two academic books and is also a children’s book author. Her non-fiction book, Famous Dinosaurs of Africa, is about dinosaurs that roamed the continent millions of years ago. She also regularly gives talks to raise awareness on science.On who inspires her, Chinusamy-Turan says:” My parents. They always motivated me to do what I wanted to and to follow my dreams – even if it meant doing something like palaeontology – which they didn’t have a clue about!” She says she admires scientists such as Marie Curie (groundbreaking radioactivity researcher), and famous South African palaeoanthropologist,Phillip Tobias. She adds: “After my PhD I worked with palaeontologist, Peter Dodson, at the University of Pennsylvania, and I loved his passion and drive for science and research. Soon after my PhD, I was also most fortunate to meet Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska, a polish palaeontologist who made a huge impression on me.”Chinusamy-Turan has undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand, a higher diploma in education from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (then Durban Westville), and has completed two years in post doctorate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, in the United States. In 2012 she shared her research on the “extraction of biological information from fossil bones” at the TWAS General Meeting in Tianjin, China.UCT alumniThe University of Cape Town has been placed third overall in a Times Higher Education ranking of universities in BRICS countries and other emerging economies cementing its position as a leading research institution on the African continent and among BRICS nations.The oldest university in South Africa, UCT was founded in 1829, and boasts world-renowned heart surgeon, Professor Christiaan Barnard, and three Nobel laureates: Sir Aaron Klug, Professor Alan MacLeod Cormack and acclaimed author JM Coetzee among its alumni.last_img read more

Africa’s high-tech boom boosts the continent’s competitiveness

first_imgKonza City is one of the largest infrastructure projects planned in Africa. When complete, it will be a major technology hub. (Image: KOTDA)• Miriam RahediManager, Branding, Marketing & CommunicationsKonza Technopolis Development Authority (KOTDA)+254 20 434 [email protected] Sulaiman PhilipIn Nigeria it’s the Wennovation Hub; Cape Town has CodeBridge, and Zambia BongoHive. Across Africa, from these centres to the ICT Incubator in Mauritius, the continent is alive with tech entrepreneurs.In Nairobi coders and entrepreneurs find one another at the iHub. In Ghana, Mobile Webs’s 300 techies have driven the growth in region-specific apps and technology, showing that Africa’s tech industry has grown quickly and organically; now African governments are looking to harness that success to spur diversity and growth in their economies.Over the next few years two new cities will emerge. Both – one in Ghana and the other in Kenya – are the vision of a new Africa made real.Ghana will spend $10-billion of private and public money over the next three years to build Hope City. Once completed it will provide employment for 50 000, have housing for 25 000, and facilities geared towards encouraging the growth of Ghana’s blossoming IT sector.Designed around a complex of six towers, which will be built to resemble Ghana’s traditional compound housing, the tallest will be a 75-storey, 270m-high colossus, the highest building in Africa. Once completed Hope City will be the largest tech assembly plant in the world, able to manufacture a million products a day.Hope City in Ghana will be home to the tallest building in Africa, once it is completed. (Image: OBR Architects) Africa’s ‘Silicon Savannahs’Roland Agambire, CEO of Ghanaian tech company RLG Communications, has been tapped to run the project. He believes that the lack of research and manufacturing infrastructure is holding back Africa’s ability to diversify its economies and tap into the high-tech boom that is coming to the continent. As he told CNN, “The inspiration behind Hope City is to have an iconic ICT park where ICT players from all over the world can converge to design, fabricate and export software and everything arising from this country.”Over the next 20 years Kenya will spend $14.5-billion to build Africa’s Silicon Savanah 60km from Nairobi. The construction is part of Kenya’s $25-billion infrastructure re-building programme. Money will be spent to improve Kenya’s commuter rail system, increase investment in green energy, and build a world-class sports academy. And it is Konza, with its hoped-for 200 000 jobs, that is the most significant project.The architects envision a network of roads sweeping out from a CBD through residential neighbourhoods, a science park and two tech hubs. Green space will run along the seasonal rivers, and schools and a university, hotels and places of worship will all grow out of the 20km² open savannah.Water pipelines are being laid to supply the 100 million litres a day Phase 1 – predicted to be completed by 2017 – will need. Construction on a new rail link connecting Konza to Mombasa and the port of Malaba has also begun.The Konza Technopolis Development Authority aims to attract software developers, data centres, call centres and light assembly manufacturing industries to the Silicon Savanah. Konza will be a game changer for the ICT sector in Africa, President Mwai Kibaki believes. “We expect to spur massive trade and investment as well as create thousands of employment opportunities for young Kenyans in the ICT sector.” Diversifying African economies through ICTA recent Africa Progress Panel report highlighted the importance of diversifying African economies. The authors argued that governments needed to embrace new technology to help diversify and improve their financial systems. They went on to argue that continued foreign investment was dependent on a skilled labour market and acceptance of new technologies.World Bank economist Hinh Dinh believes that now is the time for projects like Hope City and Konza, large infrastructure projects that show the world that Africa is indeed open for business. “If African countries miss this opportunity, it will take decades to catch up with the rest of the world.”There have been advances and successes in African IT. The face of mobile banking has been changed by M-Pesa. Rwanda is hoping that its investment in digital technology will speed its transition from an agrarian economy to a service one.John Ngumi runs the Konza project and believes steadfastly that the project will create between20 000 and 30 000 jobs by the time the first phase is completed in 2017 and a total of 200 000 by 2030. He believes that Konza will create jobs outside the IT industry as the city evolves to completion.But not everyone is convinced that this top-down idea to build the African IT industry will work. Including local communities for sustainabilityAlex Mukaru is a Nairobi-based IT entrepreneur who argued, to CNN, that the government has both overlooked the challenges of starting a business and misjudged the ability of the sector to create jobs on a large scale. “Getting everything you need to help you compose your project into a working unit is a challenge. You find that you lack the money or resources to move to the next level.”His concerns are grounded as Konza and Hope City have run into problems with local communities.Kenya had to introduce bylaws (recently rescinded) restricting informal settlements to outside a10km exclusion zone and the Hope City site has had to be moved after the developers squabbled with local leaders, who claimed they had angered the ancestors.Professor Vanessa Watson of UCT’s African Centre for Cities writes that cities like Hope and Konza threaten the well-being of the urban poor and, as is happening already, help to mobilise against them.Governments, Watson warns, want to re-imagine African cities as sub-Saharan Dubais or Shanghais without considering the conditions in most African cities. Looking to build legacies politicians disregard the fact that most of the population that will be displaced are extremely poor and living in informal settlements and that those left behind are excluded from the benefits of new developments.“Draped in the rhetoric of ‘smart cities’ and ‘eco-cities’, these plans promise to modernise African cities and turn them into gateways for international investors and showpieces for ambitious politicians. They disregard conditions of urban populations living in deep poverty and with minimal urban services, and could indeed make the situation worse.”Social engineering through grand purpose-designed cities are nothing new. Among the most legendary is the Le Corbusier-designed city of Chandigarh in northern India. Intended to replace Lahore – lost to Pakistan after partition in 1947 – as Punjab’s provincial capital, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru wanted to set a marker. Chandigarh was going to represent India’s emergence into a brave new world, free of the yoke of Britain’s colonial rule.The crowning achievement of the Swiss architect’s career, the only city he custom-designed (right down to the manhole covers, door handles and furniture) and built, was meant to be a living experiment, the encapsulation of his theories on urban planning.Its boulevards were designed to accommodate a growing number of cars and its wide open plazas meant as a gathering place for citizens. Designed to house 300 000 people it is now home to a million. It is considered safe, with job opportunities in abundance and lively cultural and educational sectors.Chandigarh is a success not because it was custom-designed, but in spite of this. The administration quarter, the reason for the city’s existence, is surrounded by machine gun nests and barbed wire – because of its proximity to the border with Pakistan and the disputed Kashmir region. The Capitol complex is slowly returning to the forest while the rest of the city is thriving. Chandigarh’s administration centre has been allowed to decay. The pools around the Capitol are dry most of the year. (Image: Dave Morris)The citizens of Chandigarh appropriated their city and made it more blue collar than bureaucratic. Today Konza and Hope City are still jigsaws of trenches encircled by fences. In Konza the water infrastructure is being completed and just the borders of Hope City has been marked out of the bush. It is a long way away before any citizens of these silicon savannahs get to make their cities over in their own image.last_img read more

Seeking water quality cooperators

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Ohio State University Extension is seeking additional farmers in the Maumee River Basin to help with a water monitoring research project looking at Dissolved Reactive Phosphorus losses from fields. Increases in DRP in the watershed have been tied to increased occurrences of Harmful Algal Blooms in Lake Erie. The data collect will help better quantify actual losses from an economic and environmental standpoint, lead to tools that can target high risk fields so cost effective Best Management practices can be designed that maintain crop productivity while reducing phosphorus losses.This project gives a farmer the chance to find out how much Dissolved Reactive Phosphorus (DRP) in pounds per acre is leaving their field site, based on their crop production system. Farmers will be provided their individual data plus summary data for all sites in the project. The data will be used to understand what conditions lead to DRP loss and what recommend Best Management Practices (BMP’s) can be used to reduce nutrient loss.A plastic water sampling disk is placed at the end of field tile or within drainage water management structures during two periods of the year, September to December and March to June. The sample devices are changed out every 4-5 weeks during each sample period. A standard soil test analysis will be provided as well. There is no cost to the farmer for the water or soil sampling.The primary field selection recommendation is that drainage water sampled should only include water from the farm practices being done by the cooperating farmer. Shared field mains that include multiple farmer managements, road drainage, household water drainage or other areas not under control of the farmer should not be used. The field main should drain 5 or more acres. There is no upper limit to field size as long as the drainage area is known and the field area drained is under the control of the cooperating farmer. The end of the field main tile or a drainage control structure on the main tile should be accessible for deploying samplers.Field Management information by date for tillage, fertilizer applications and crop cover planting that occur in the 3 months prior to sampling through when the last sampler is pulled out will be collected. This data is extremely valuable to understand how practices influence the water quality results.More details on the sampling project as well as a signup link can be found at http://go.osu.edu/farmerwaterproject or contact Lee Richter, Program Coordinator, Water Monitoring Project, [email protected] or Greg LaBarge [email protected] Please signup by March 10 to participate in the second sampling period.For farmers who participated in the September to December, 2015 sampling. Samplers from this period are currently at the lab and we expect results back in the next 6-8 weeks. You do not need to sign fields that were used in 2015 up for this 2016 sampling. If you would like to add a field please give Lee a call or send her an e-mail.last_img read more

HHLA Sees Steady Throughput amid Weak Global Trade

first_imgzoom German terminal operator Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) has seen its container throughput decrease by 2.1 percent in the period from January to September 2016, compared to the same period of 2015.The operator handled a total of 4.9 million TEUs in the nine-month period, down from the 5 million TEUs reported a year earlier.HHLA said that group revenue and operating result (EBIT) remained within the previous year’s range, as its revenue stood at EUR 871 million (USD 952.6 million), compared to EUR 868.9 million (USD 950.3 million) reported a year earlier, while its operating result increased to EUR 126.9 million from EUR 123.9 million.Additionally, container transport by the terminal operator’s Intermodal companies increased by 5.9 percent to 1.05 million TEUs.“HHLA turned in a satisfactory performance given the still subdued global economic growth, weak global trade, a further slowdown in global container throughput and continued infrastructure deficits,” Klaus-Dieter Peters, Chairman of HHLA’s Executive Board, said.He added that HHLA sees “a positive trend in the Container segment over the year,” as the Intermodal segment “once again recorded encouraging volume growth.”“We are confident that we can reach our targets by the end of the financial year,” Peters noted.Developments over the course of the year indicated that the container segment had bottomed out. After the negative volume trend seen in the first half of 2016, volumes recovered in the third quarter, growing by 5.6 percent compared with the same period of 2015. This growth was largely driven by an increase in feeder traffic, particularly between Hamburg and Russia.Although the container throughput and revenue is still expected to remain on a par with the previous year’s figures, HHLA said that it now predicts a moderate increase in container transport.last_img read more