AFRICA: TRANSPORT/SABC/31/1/18 SABANews 1
ADDIS ABABA – At least 23 AFRICAN countries have signed an agreement to set up the Single AFRICAN Air Transport Market, SAATM, with the aim to reduce air travel costs.
SOUTH AFRICAN SABC News says the move comes after people of the Continent have, for years, paid sky-high airfares when travelling within AFRICA.
It says the AFRICAN UNION has launched the major aviation trade agreement to change the situation, by allowing the airlines of signatory countries to access each other’s airports freely.
AU Chairperson, President PAUL KAGAME of RWANDA, has revealed the move at the launch of SAATM on the sidelines of the recent AU Summit in ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA.
He says the market is vital for the overall development of the continent, where international air links between many cities are expensive or non-existent.
SABC News also quotes a 2010 World Bank study as saying air travel between AFRICAN countries has for years, been governed by a relatively small number of bilateral agreements.
The report says the situation has been a legacy of the post-colonial era when air carriers from newly independent states connected chiefly with their former colonial powers.
It says many AFRICAN countries restrict their air services markets to protect the shares of national carriers, but the new deal hopes to reduce airfares and increase the number of direct air connections.
The SOUTH AFRICAN Representative to the International Civil Aviation Organisation has told the media companies can now freely access all countries in the single market, without relying anymore on bilateral agreements, whether they exist or not.
Current members of the SAATM are BENIN, BOTSWANA, BURKINA FASO, CAPE VERDE, REPUBLIC OF CONGO, IVORY COAST, EGYPT, ETHIOPIA, and GABON.
Others are GHANA, GUINEA, KENYA, LIBERIA, MALI, MOZAMBIQUE, NIGER, NIGERIA, RWANDA, SIERRA LEONE, SOUTH AFRICA, SWAZILAND, TOGO, and ZIMBABWE.
Nevertheless, SABC News says the group is hosting some of the continent’s busiest airports, including JOHANNESBURG, CAPE TOWN, CAIRO, LAGOS, and NAIROBI.
The new single air travel market comes as a priority of the AU Agenda 2063 for a peaceful and prosperous AFRICA, and the AU Chairperson says work is ongoing to apply TWO other planks of the Blueprint: a free trade zone and a single AFRICAN passport./Sabanews/cam
The process to appoint an interim the SOUTH AFRICAN Broadcasting Corporation, SABC Board will now begin in earnest.
SABC News says the National Assembly adopted the report of the adhoc committee looking into the fitness of the SABC Board.
Committee Chairperson VINCENT SMITH had earlier told the House it was evident the SABC Board was set to fail from the very beginning.
Opposition DA Deputy Chief Whip MIKE WATERS says the report reads like a SHAKESPEAREAN tragedy, with Communications Minister FAITH MUTHAMBI playing Lady MACBETH, and former COO HLAUDI MOTSOENENG acting as Lord MACBETH.
The lawmaker says the Communications Minister should be fired and criminally charged for her role at the national broadcaster.
SABC News also says the National Assembly has adopted an adhoc committee report highly critical of Minister MUTHAMBI into the affairs of the SABC.
It says the UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT has voiced objections to the fact that Mr MOTSOENENG was not afforded the opportunity to reply in person.
Mr MOTSOENENG says he will seek legal advice after he was refused the right to reply and he will hold a news conference to set the record straight.
Earlier, the ECONOMIC FREEDOM FRONT said it wanted criminal charges to be laid against the people implicated in the report.
Party MP FANA MOKOENA says Minister MUTHAMBI used an illegal Memorandum of Incorporation for the running of the SABC.
The group says it recommends criminal prosecutions of corrupt individuals in the entity and, most vital, the President to fire the incompetent minister.
The SOUTH AFRICAN opposition party says it hopes the Head of State will set aside his alleged factional and self-enrichment interest and do the right thing, for once in his life.
MPAKENI – The MPUMALANGA Provincial Department of Basic Education in SOUTH AFRICA is investigating ONE of its teachers for allegations of rape.
The move comes after the teacher allegedly sexually abused TWO pupils at the MPAKENI Primary School, in yet another such sex scandal in the region.
The authorities are also probing to find out the truth about reports claiming ONE of the parents accepted money as compensation when he found out about the rape.
State radio, SABC News says a 12-year-old girl has also reported her teacher for trying to have sexual relations with her.
It quotes the child as saying the FIRST encounter was when they were doing athletics and the teacher asked her to go and sleep with him at the Grade FOUR classroom, and he would give her 450 rand.
She says she then asked him if he could not see she was very young, to which he said is it only adults who sleep; and she just ran away from him.
The SECOND time he allegedly sent her to go and put books in the staff room and he blocked her from leaving, asking her to sleep with him; but she managed to open the door and ran out crying.
SABC News says the girl reported both incidents to her grandmother, who then informed the school principal.
It quotes the grandmother as saying she is hurt because the principal called her child and the teacher into his office, and ordered the child to forgive the teacher, without even calling her to be present.
The SOUTH AFRICAN national broadcaster says the MPAKENI community went on a rampage, demanding the teacher and principal leave the school.