Your official September events guide

South Africans are in for a treat this month, with a jam-packed line-up of planned events by government to help make the country a better place for all.

Government has called on all citizens, civil society organisations and community groups to partner in building social cohesion and nation building this month.

Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) on Tuesday said various initiatives will unfold this month aimed at celebrating the democratic gains that South Africa has made since 1994, which will also drive the nation towards the work that needs to be done to address the challenges that still face the country.

NDP turns five

The month of September marks the five-year anniversary of the National Development Plan (NDP), the blueprint for the work that needs to be done to achieve a prosperous society.

GCIS said the month will be marked by several activities, including a commemorative event to be held on 12 September, reflecting on the development and adoption of this plan by all political parties and the rest of society.

Other activities include the NDP lecture at the University of South Africa (Unisa) on 15 September, an NDP Joburg City Race which is set to take place on 24 September, and the launch of the NDP School competition at Tshedimosetso House, the seat of government communication, on 26 September 2017.

Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo said government encourages all citizens to become actively involved in these events and in the implementation of the NDP.

The successful implementation of this blueprint will facilitate the realisation of Vision 2030 which is to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality and unemployment.

The NDP is a South African blueprint and every citizen needs to take ownership and play their part to move South Africa forward. This September, I encourage both young and old to familiarize themselves with the NDP and work towards our country’s goals.

South Africa’s ‘special offering’ to the world is that it is framed as a multicultural nation characterized by a rich and diverse heritage.

Heritage month

This year, Heritage Month will be commemorated under the theme The Year of OR Tambo: Celebrating Our Liberation Heritage and Democracy. The focus will be on programmes of nation building and social cohesion.

Throughout the commemorations, South Africans are encouraged to visit a cultural institution and play an active role in affirming, promoting and preserving it.

Tourism month

While, South Africans reconnect with their past by visiting heritage institutions, they will also be actively participating in Tourism Month, under the banner I do Tourism Sustainably, which is aligned to the United Nations tourism theme: Sustainable Tourism for Development.

Sustainable tourism establishes an equilibrium between the environmental, economic and socio-cultural aspects of tourism.

Its intention is to minimize impact on the environment and local culture so that it will be available for future generations, yet at the same time, contributing to income generation, employment, and reducing poverty.

Sustainable tourism furthermore ensures that development creates a positive experience for local communities, tourism businesses, and tourists.

A special focus will be placed on domestic tourism in Mpumalanga, North West, Limpopo, Eastern Cape, Free State and Northern Cape with the aim of addressing the ongoing challenge of the lack of geographic spread of this industry by encouraging domestic tourists to consider these as ideal tourist destinations.

Tourism is a positive determinant of economic growth and job creation. The National Development Plan has identified tourism as one of the main drivers in the economy.

Economic flows generated by international tourism have become factors in economic growth, however domestic tourism is equally important. Let’s work together to make domestic tourism sustainable and attain the goal of reaching one million more domestic holiday tourists and four million more international tourists in the next five years, said Minister Dlodlo.

Public service

September is also Public Service Month, held under the theme: Together Moving the Public Service Forward: We belong, We care, We serve.

Government said it remains committed to building skilled public servants who are committed to the public good and who are capable of delivering consistently high-quality services.

This month South Africa also looks forward to the 4th Annual Thusong Service Centre, which forms part of the Public Service Month, and is guide by the theme: The Year of OR Tambo � Advancing Small Medium and Micro Enterprises at Thusong Service Centres.

The Thusong Week seeks to promote government’s Thusong Programme by demonstrating how the integration and alignment of government’s various mobile services linked to the Thusong Centres, allows services to reach more South Africans, especially in far flung and underserviced areas.

This plays a major role in meeting the service needs of citizens and thus fighting poverty in these communities. The week will also promote the work being done by SMMES in the various Thusong Service Centres.

Thusong Service Centres are one stop information and service centres offering the public a wide range of government and community services to build better lives. More information about the activities in your community during the Thusong Week can be found on the programme’s website www.thusong.gov.za

Remembering Steve Biko

Government will also, in September, commemorate the 40th anniversary of the death of Steve Biko in detention under the theme: Celebrating our liberation heritage and the legacy of black consciousness.

This icon of South Africa’s Black Consciousness movement selflessly dedicated his life to the fight for freedom and his sacrifice contributed to bringing about a free and democratic South Africa.

Arbor week

Citizens are further reminded to actively participate in Arbor Week from 1 to 7 September 2017 guided by the theme: Forests and Water.

Government felt it important to retain last year’s theme as we continue to suffer as a country under the burden of a crippling drought, which has done much to aggravate poverty in our country. We all must play a part to protect our environment by planting trees and using water conversation methods. South Africa is water scarce country and every drop counts, said Minister Dlodlo.

South Africans are also encouraged to join government in these planned events and be part of the work that is unfolding to make South Africa a better place for all. GCIS said it is through collaborative efforts that the country can be moved forward.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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Government notes reports of new Gautrain deal

The Gauteng Provincial Government says it has noted with concern media reports stating that Murray & Roberts Holdings acquired a 50% shareholding in Gautrain.

The Gautrain Management Agency further notes that the Gauteng Provincial Government has not received a formal notice of any change in shareholding in BCC [Bombela Concession Company], the provincial government said in a statement on Wednesday.

The province has not had an opportunity to review the transaction, as it is entitled to under the Concession Agreement and its approval of the change in shareholding may be required.

Media reports based on the Murray & Roberts announcement, the provincial government said, are thus premature.

This serves to confirm that ownership of the entire Gautrain System is vested in the Gautrain Management Agency, a Gauteng provincial public entity, Gauteng MEC for Transport and Roads, Dr Ismail Vadi, said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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Marine tourism plan to grow economy

Cabinet has approved the Coastal and Marine Tourism Implementation Plan, which is set to grow the economy and boost tourism.

Developed under the auspices of the Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy, the plan will also seek to integrate coastal developments with existing inland experiences, with the view to maximise participation opportunities.

The plan will uplift tourism in the ocean economy. It will grow a world-class and sustainable coastal and marine tourism destination that leverages South Africa’s competitive advantages in nature, culture and heritage, said Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo, who was briefing the media on Thursday on Cabinet decisions.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority says marine tourism ranks among the top four sub-sectors of the country’s maritime economic sector projected for phenomenal growth in the next two decades. According to the authority, it contributed R19 billion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013, with projections currently indicating yields as high as R44 billion in 2020 and rising rapidly to R134 billion in 2033, generating between 800 000 and one million jobs.

Indian Ocean Expedition

Cabinet has also approved South Africa’s participation in the Second International Indian Ocean Expedition for 2017 � 2020.

The participation will support South Africa’s chairpersonship of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) in 2017/18.

South Africa plays a strategic role as one of seven founding members of the IORA. This opens opportunities beyond South Africa’s coastal marine and tourism, and extends opportunities to one third of the world’s coastline.

Minister Dlodlo said South Africa will use its research vessel, SA Agulhas II, to conduct marine research, while training and building scientific capacity for South Africa and East Africa.

The gathering of basic long-term environmental data and information will place the developing countries of the Indian Ocean Rim in a better position to conserve the integrity of its ocean and to find ways to unlock their respective potential ocean economies to improve the lives of their citizens.

Cabinet was also apprised by the Chemicals and Waste Economy Phakisa Labs, which are scheduled to commence this month.

These labs form part of the country’s intervention to manage the threats to the environment and human health caused by chemicals and waste.

Minister Dloldo said they will provide a further opportunity for the South African chemical industry to identify manufacturing niches that are associated with Green Chemistry � the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the generation of hazardous substances.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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Labour on review of 72 JSE Securities-listed companies for compliance with EE legislation

Department of Labour places 72 JSE Securities-listed companies on its beam of radar for compliance with EE legislation

The Department of Labour’s Inspection and Enforcement Services (IES) branch has initiated a National Director-General (DG) Review to inspect 72 JSE Securities-listed companies to ensure compliance with employment equity.

The initiative is part of achieving the department’s outcome to promote equity in the labour market. The National Director-General Review team started with the inspections last month (in July) and these will continue until December 2017. The National DG Review involves a process of interrogating company’s EE plans to assess whether the plan complies with legislation and is able to transform when put to test.

According to Department of Labour Chief Director Statutory & Advocacy Services, Advocate Fikiswa Mncanca the programme started with a review of the JSE Securities Exchange, which the department found it was wanting when it comes to EE implementation.

Mncanca said the DG review found that the JSE Securities plan was not complying in terms of Section 20 (2) of the Employment Equity Act and DG recommendations were issued and the CEO and her team signed the recommendations and agreed to address the shortcomings.

The JSE has been given 60 days to comply.

While the inspections and National DG review(s) are in progress, the department is also busy with EE workshops across the country. The department started EE workshops in July to engage with stakeholders nationally to ensure compliance with EE legislation. The workshop will end in September in Gauteng.

It is our responsibility to educate our stakeholders on the expectations, conduct inspections to check compliance and for those employers that are not willing to comply refer them for prosecutions and enforcement compliance, Mncanca said.

Mncanca cautioned that if a company does not have a plan, it will be subjected to a fine of R1,5-million. Those failing to report on EE plans will also be subjected to a penalty of R1,5-million. She said if a company has reported on EE plans, but is found not to have an EE plan it will be taken to criminal courts for prosecutions and enforce compliance.

Source: Government of South Africa

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