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Thu, 17 Aug 2017
President Zuma to launch BRICS African Regional Centre

President Jacob Zuma will preside over the official launch of the African Regional Centre of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB). The launch of the regional centre will take place in Sandton, Johannesburg.

“The BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] bloc of countries signed the agreement establishing the New Development Bank at the sixth BRICS Summit in July 2014 in Brazil,” said the Presidency on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the seventh BRICS Summit marked the entry into force of the agreement on the New Development Bank. The NDB headquarters were officially opened in Shanghai, China, in February 2016.

Another key resolution taken at the summit was to establish regional offices that would perform the important function of identifying and preparing proposals for viable projects that the bank could fund in their respective regions. President Zuma will be joined at the launch by the President of the NDB, Kundapur Vaman Kamath, Cabinet Ministers as well as other dignitaries.

Last week, the BRICS New Development Bank confirmed the appointment of National Treasury Director General, Dondo Mogajane, to the bank. The Director General was appointed as the new Director representing South Africa. The NDB was established by the BRICS countries to finance infrastructure and sustainable development projects.

The bank, which lends money to developing countries to help finance infrastructure projects, is seen as an alternative to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Source: http://www.sanews.gov.za/south-africa/president-zuma-launch-brics-african-regional-centre

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Thu, 17 Aug 2017
Madiba’s centenary to be celebrated

The Presidency has announced plans to host centenary celebrations of the late international Statesman and first President of a free and democratic South Africa, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, which will take place next year.

President Jacob Zuma has appointed an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC), which will plan and coordinate the historic centenary celebrations of Tata Madiba.

President Nelson Mandela would turn 100 years old on 18 July 2018, had he lived.

The IMC will coordinate the country’s commemoration programme to ensure that the legacy and heritage of the great Statesman is celebrated in a befitting manner in 2018.

The IMC on the President Mandela Centenary comprises about 12 Ministers and will be chaired by Minister in The Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe.

Other Ministers, who form part of the IMC, include Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Public Works Minister Nathi Nhleko, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, Sport and Recreation Minister Thulas Nxesi, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, Higher Education and Training Minister Bonginkosi Nzimande, and Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo.

The Presidency said the Deputy Ministers of these Portfolios are alternate members of the IMC. President Zuma has wished the IMC all the best in their responsibilities.

Source: http://www.sanews.gov.za/south-africa/madibas-centenary-be-celebrated

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Thu, 17 Aug 2017
Five South African Universities rated amid world’s best

The latest Academic Ranking of World Universities 2017 records five South African tertiary institutions in the top 500‚ with the University of Johannesburg registering its first placing. With a score in the 201-300 band‚ the University of the Witwatersrand leads the way.

The University of Cape Town is second best of the SA universities (301-400) followed by Stellenbosch‚ University of Johannesburg and University of KwaZulu-Natal (401-500). Institutions within the same rank range were listed alphabetically in the report‚ released this week by the Shanghai Ranking Consultancy.

UJ was overjoyed by its debut entry into the ranking.

Professor Ihron Rensburg‚ Principal and Vice-Chancellor of UJ‚ said in a statement on Wednesday: “Alongside the University’s QS Top 100 Under 50 Universities Ranking‚ this Shanghai Ranking result is received with great joy and celebration‚ as we continue to forge ahead and scale new heights.”

“This is a tremendous accomplishment and recognition for UJ‚ and it has been accomplished on our own terms of substantial access and success for the poorest in our nation‚ significant transformation of our academic community‚ alongside the active pursuit of global teaching and research excellence.”

UJ said the Academic Ranking of World Universities “is the most prestigious global ranking system in the world which uses only externally accessed‚ objective measures in its assessment of university performance. It is a ranking system that is heavily focused on research quality and impact“.

The university said it had “adopted a vigorous transformation agenda since its establishment in 2005‚ in order for staff and students to appropriately reflect the national and regional demographics and is recording good progress in this respect“.

UJ said it has‚ since 2006‚ grown its black academic staff component from 160 to 495.

Citing improved access to the university for SA’s poorest communities‚ UJ said its first year undergraduate enrolment from Quintile 1 and 2 schools had grown from 8% in 2016 to 31% in 2017.

The ranking placed the University of Pretoria in the 501-600 ranking band‚ followed by North West University in the 601-700 band and the University of South Africa in the 701-800 band. Harvard University took top spot.

The full ranking can be viewed here: http://www.shanghairanking.com/ARWU2017.html

Source: http://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/2017/08/16/five-south-african-universities-ranked-among-world-s-best

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Thu, 17 Aug 2017
Department evolves to improve housing delivery

The Department of Human Settlements is changing the way it does things to deliver houses more efficiently to communities in need.  The department has put together a “3C protocol”, which will see better coordination, cooperation and collaboration in human settlement projects.

Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu on Tuesday said the 3C model will be used in the development of mega projects of no less than 15 000 rental, subsidised and mortgaged housing units.

“These projects will each provide housing for an estimated 45 000 to 60 000 individuals,” the Minister said at the UNISA Human Settlements Seminar held in Tshwane on Tuesday.

Held under the theme ‘How the human settlements sector is responding to the rapid increase of urbanisation in South Africa’, the seminar provided a platform for sharing information between government officials, academics and various practitioners in the human settlements sector.

It is aimed at seeking solutions to current challenges such as rapid urbanisation and transformation of cities.  Minister Sisulu said the successful delivery of mega projects requires integrated development planning, radical spatial transformation, mixed housing, security of tenure and urban renewal as a means of serving burgeoning urban populations.

Strengthened partnerships with the financial sector, developers, the built environment professions and communities were also necessary to mega project success, the Minister said.

Job creation

Minister Sisulu acknowledged the human settlement development as being good for job creation during and post development.

“Based on the Expanded Public Works Formula, it is estimated that in Gauteng alone, we will over the next 15 years directly create 250 000 jobs in construction of housing and infrastructure.”

The Minister said focus will be on the provision of basic services and infrastructure, community participation and skills development, livelihood creation, incremental housing development and support, social facilities such as clinics, schools and playgrounds, as well as safety and security.

Township regeneration and mining towns

The department will also revitalise old townships and support mining towns by improving infrastructure and housing, and supporting the development of businesses and recreational facilities.

“We will strive to change these settlements from ‘desperate and desolate’ to ‘positive and participating’. This will also include the rejuvenation of our inner cities and will be done by tracking down absent landlords or expropriating unused buildings where landlords cannot be traced, and assigning them for the purpose of building social housing next to places of work and student accommodation close to places of higher learning,” the Minister said.

Housing social compact

Minister Sisulu said the department has formed a social compact with all stakeholders, including development professions and academia.  She said that they have recognised that the existing development professions, including planners, architects and engineers, have very specialised knowledge in their own fields.

“In order to augment our implementation capacity, I have, however, become convinced that there is a need for a new class of trained professional to draw together all the strands of sustainable human settlement development. Hence, we have entered into a special relationship with a number of academic institutions, of which UNISA is one, to develop a curriculum and institute a study programme [...]

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