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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

South Africa confirm relaxation of Cape Town water restrictions

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xihua) -- The City of Cape Town on Monday announced the relaxation of restrictions on water use staring on Oct. 1.

"The relaxation of restrictions is a moderate proposal that is based on a hydrological risk assessment that indicates that it is safe to do so at the level of risk that is agreed upon," the city said.

The decision came after Cape Town’s dam levels were nearing 70 percent of storage capacity due to rainfall at the beginning of winter and conservation efforts of Capetonians, Executive Deputy Mayor Alderman Neilson said.

Water restrictions and the associated tariffs will be lowered in the interim from Level 6B to Level 5 from Oct. 1, he said.

Water conservation efforts will remain in place, but the daily water usage target will be increased from 50 liters to 70 liters per person and the daily collective consumption target will increase by 50 million liters to 500 million liters, Neilson said.

The Western Cape Water Supply System’s dams are now at 68 percent capacity, a significant improvement on the situation at the end of the previous winter, when they were at 38 percent capacity, according to the city.

In February this year, the city imposed Level 6B water restrictions, the most stringent in history, due to a persistent drought.

"Much work is planned over the next few years to augment the city’s water supply," Neilson said.

"Our water conservation awareness and demand management will continue as always."

Cape Town was on the brink of becoming the world’s first metropolis to run out of water last year, when Capetonians braced for the so-called Day Zero, which refers to a time when dams supplying water to the city run dry, water taps are switched off and residents have to collect water at designated points.
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UPDATE:

South African government refrains from endorsing
Cape Town’s bid to relax water restrictions

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xihua) -- The South African government on Monday refrained from endorsing the City of Cape Town’s bid to relax water restrictions despite a significant rise of water in dams.

"Water restrictions imposed by the national government will remain in place and only be reviewed once the average Western Cape provincial dam level reaches 85 percent," the national Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) said.

According to the DWS, the dam levels assessment report as at September 10 suggests that the dam levels of the Western Cape Water Supply System have reached 68.9 percent, a notable increase increase from last week when it was at 65.96 percent.

Earlier on Monday, Cape Town announced the relaxation of restrictions starting from October 1.

The city said it made the decision taking into consideration that Cape Town’s dam levels were nearing 70 percent of storage capacity due to good rainfall at the beginning of winter and the phenomenal conservation efforts of Capetonians.

Water restrictions and the associated tariffs are thus to be conservatively lowered in the interim from Level 6B to Level 5 from October 1, 2018, the city said.

Therefore, the water usage target will be increased from 50 litres to 70 litres per person per day and the daily collective consumption target will increase by 50 million litres to 500 million litres to ensure that water conservation efforts remain in place, Executive Deputy Mayor Alderman Neilson said.

Neilson said the municipality has been in discussion with the national department for some time about relaxing the restrictions but failed to get its blessing.

"The difficulty with the national department is that they’ve taken a broad approach that they are going to wait the right end of the season," Neilson said.

He said the city can no longer wait on the national department.

Essentially, all the users in the rain catchment areas have reviewed the hydrological information that’s available and have all come to the conclusion that it is appropriate now for a stepwise relaxation of restrictions, Neilson said.

But in its Monday statement, the DWS defended its decision to keep the water restrictions, saying this is to safeguard the available resource particularly at this point when the winter rainy season is coming to an end.

The DWS is urging all water users to continue to save water and use water sparingly during the spring and summer seasons, DWS spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said.

Cape Town, South Africa’s legislative capital with a population of four million, was on the brink of becoming the world’s first metropolis to run out of water last year, in what was called Day Zero which refers to the time when dams supplying water to the city run dry, water taps are switched off and residents have to collect water at designated points.

In February this year, the city imposed Level 6B water restrictions, the most stringent water control in history, due to a persistent drought.
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EARLIER REPORTS:

South African police trying to allay panic following spate of child abductions

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- The South African Police Service (SAPS) on Friday tried to allay panic following a spate of child abductions and kidnappings in the country.

The SAPS assures the country that continuous awareness and educational talks on the safety of children are done at various institutions including schools, SAPS Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said.

This came after a spate of child abductions and kidnappings rocked the nation.

In the Western Cape province alone, at least 13 cases of child abductions and attempted kidnappings have been reported since August 8.

The victims are mostly female learners who were targeted while walking to or from school, according to the Western Cape Education Department.

In three of the 13 cases, the victims were sexually assaulted, department officials said.

Police said they had no idea at present about who or what group is behind these crimes.

Meanwhile, various video clips have gone viral on social media platforms recently, depicting cases of child kidnappings and abduction, fueling panic among the South African public.

The SAPS has been trying to confirm if those depictions occurred in any part of South Africa, Naidoo said.

Some of these videos might even be re-enactments as they are conveniently taken in a way that neither the location nor any other can be ascertained, he said.

If these cases of abductions and kidnappings are not officially reported to police, "the only reasonable conclusion we can draw from this is that these videos are hoaxes," said Naidoo.

"We are appealing to social media users to act responsibly and verify information before posting and sharing, as such postings do nothing more than cause unnecessary panic and paranoia among our communities," Naidoo said.

Social media, when utilized responsibly, is an important communication platform that assists the police in combating crime and arresting criminals, he added.

Naidoo urged families to report cases of abductions and kidnappings, saying police will never know that these incidents really happened if they are not officially reported.

"While the recent social media postings remain unconfirmed, it is a reality that children do go missing.

"Therefore, parents and guardians are urged to exercise vigilance at all times," Naidoo said.

According to non-governmental organization Missing Children South Africa, one child goes missing every five hours in the country, but only one percent of the victims are ever found.
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Majority in public hearings do not want change
in Constitution for land reform in South Africa

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- Majority of people do not want to change the Constitution for land reform in South Africa, as confirmed by oral submissions in public hearings, according to figures released on Friday.

Various groups that made oral presentations to the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) in Parliament this week supported the position that Section 25 of the Constitution need not be amended to implement meaningful land reform, said Thandeka Mbabama, Member of Parliament from the Democratic Alliance (DA).

The CRC has been holding public hearings on the necessity to change Section 25 of the Constitution to pay way for land expropriation without compensation, strongly proposed by the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

The DA is opposed to change the Constitution for land expropriation without compensation.

The DA supports land reform and believes that it is a vital instrument to correct the injustices of the past, "however, it is not necessary to change Section 25 of the Constitution to achieve reform," said Mbabama, who is also DA Shadow Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform.

According to Mbabama, the majority of the groups who made oral submissions agreed that the ANC’s lack of political will and rampant corruption have failed land reform, a position the DA has long held.

In its presentation, civil group AgriSA said expropriation without compensation has already caused a significant lag in capital investment in the agriculture sector.

AgriSA, the Banking Association of South Africa and Business Unity South Africa agree that an amendment of the property clause will undermine investment and result in capital flight and a weaker rand.

Universities that were represented at the hearings highlighted the findings from the High-Level Panel report by former President Kgalema Motlanthe and agreed with the findings that institutional challenges and a lack of political will are mainly to blame for the slow pace of land reform.

Groups such as the Alliance for Rural Democracy highlighted the lack of tenure security amongst millions of people such as those living in communal areas.

This is due to a lack of protection by the ANC-led government as mandated by the Constitution, they argued.

Non-profit organization, Phuhlisani NPC, echoed this sentiment, saying there is no evidence to suggest that expropriation without compensation will accelerate land reform, while the Helen Suzman Foundation argued that the ANC-proposed approach is likely to delay land reform due to litigation.

Even the ANC’s alliance partner, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), agreed that Section 25 of the Constitution is adequate to empower the government to implement land reform.

The DA expects the CRC to consider the views of the majority who do not believe that the Constitution must be changed for land reform, Mbabama said.

In the hearings, the ANC strongly advocated bold action to implement land reform through expropriation without compensation.

The implementation of this approach will enable South Africans to truly transform their country into a non-racial, non-sexist, humane and equal society, the party insisted.

The ANC-led government is currently engaged with stakeholders in a transparent and responsible process that provides required leadership on how land expropriation without compensation can be finalized, Deputy President David Mabuza told MPs on Thursday.
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South African deputy president reaffirms determination to end TB by 2030

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- Deputy President David Mabuza on Friday reaffirmed the government’s determination to end tuberculosis (TB) by 2030.

South Africa will work with other countries and global partners to achieve this goal by 2030 in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, said Mabuza, who is also Chairperson of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC).

The SANAC is charged with coordinating South Africa’s response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, bringing together stakeholders from government, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, civil society, activists, health workers as well as religious and community leaders.

"In order to defeat the scourge of TB, it is of paramount importance that we provide leadership and work together to accelerate our national and global collective actions, investments, research and innovations urgently to fight this preventable and treatable disease of tuberculosis," Mabuza said.

He was speaking as South Africa was preparing itself to participate in the first UN High Level Meeting on Tuberculosis in New York on September 26.

Earlier on Friday, Mabuza convened a special consultative SANAC plenary meeting at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

After the UN High Level Meeting, it is crucial that South Africa immediately develops its own implementation plan that will take the meeting’s resolutions forward, Mabuza said.

Currently the government is seeking to screen and test 14 million people for HIV and TB annually over the next three years.

According to the World Health Organization, TB remains among the top 10 leading causes of death globally.
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SEE ALSO:

Black South Africans are able to make success of owning
and managing land says President Cyril Ramaphosa

South African government cautions against any
politically-motivated statement over land reform

             

 

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