ZAMBIA PROPOSES COOPERATION IN ENERGY EFFICIENCY

SADC: ENERGY/ZNBC/1/3/18 SABANews 1

Africa shaking off the Dark-Continent label

LIVINGSTONE – ZAMBIA has called on the SADC countries to ensure cooperation between TWO major forums in the region if the economic bloc is achieve success in its energy programs.

ZAMBIAN Energy Minister MATTHEW NKHUWA says the Southern AFRICAN Power Pool, SAPP, and the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency should work together.

ZNBC News says he has made the call in a speech read on his behalf by SOUTHERN PROVINCE Minister EDIFY HAMUKALE, at the 50TH SAPP Management Committee Meeting in LIVINGSTONE Town.

It quotes Minister NKHUWA as saying energy efficiency and renewable energy are areas that SADC values.

However, he says the region depends heavily on hydro generated power that leaves it exposed to inconsistent supply of electricity due to Climate Change effects.

The Managing Director of the ZAMBIA Electricity Supply Company says his country now has a national Grid Code, which enables it to offer choice of supply for customers and ensure competition among producers.

VICTOR MUNDENDE says most domestic private enterprises continue to take part in the electricity supply industry through power purchase agreements or power supply agreements with his institution.

COPPERBELT Energy Corporation Managing Director OWEN SILAVWE has also attended the 50TH SAPP Management Committee Meeting, and has pledged his firm’s commitment to help increase electricity generation capacity in the country.

The SADC Summit held in AUGUST 1995 in SOUTH AFRICA created SAPP, after member governments, excluding MAURITIUS, signed a deal to form the Power Pool.

Energy ministers also approved the formation of the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency and decided it would be hosted by NAMIBIA./Sabanews/cam

RITUALIST ARRESTED ACROSS BORDER AFTER TWO MURDERS

SWAZILAND: RITUALS/TIMES OF SWAZILAND/23/2/18 SABANews 1

Owls are associated with witchcraft in African communities

MBABANE – A suspected ritual killer from SWAZILAND has appeared on murder charges before the WITBANK Magistrate’s Court in SOUTH AFRICA.

The TIMES OF SWAZILAND newspaper says THOKOZANI MSIBI was arrested after allegedly killing TWO minors in the neighbouring country.

It quotes the TIMES-LIVE publication as saying the Court has remanded the suspect in custody, pending a bail application scheduled for MONDAY.

Mr MSIBI allegedly kidnapped and later murdered NKOSIKHONA NGWENYA and GABISILE SHABANI, who was living with albinism.

The authorities suspect he took the kids from their home in HLALAKAHLE and the police discovered the TWO bodies in separate locations‚ after the children were reported missing.

Media reports quote MPUMALANGA Provincial Corporate Communications Officer Brigadier LEONARD HLATHI as saying they are hunting down more suspects in the matter.

He says the minors went missing on 28 JANUARY this year, after THREE armed gunmen broke into their home and forcibly removed them.

In another development, the TIMES says officials and members of the public have come up with different speculations after an owl appeared in broad daylight at the SWAZI High Court.

It says staff at the Court found the night bird at the entrance of the building between 10:30 and 11:00 AM.

AFRICAN communities mostly believe owls are associated with witchcraft, and the presence of ONE at the court premises has led people into suspecting foul play.

However, wildlife experts say not all owls hunt and eat during the night; and if one sees or hears an owl during the day it means it is a diurnal owl that sleeps at night and feeds during the day.

Nevertheless, the High Court event has forced people to conclude there is something out of the ordinary about it.

After its removal from the entrance, it landed midway by the stairs and remained there for the entire day; and even after High Court staff had knocked off, the owl remained on the steps and never moved an inch since morning.

The Chairman of the SWAZILAND WITCHDOCTORS ASSOCIATION, MAKHANYA MAKHANYA, has dismissed claims that the owl was just flying by like any other bird, saying something is happening since there are ongoing cases./Sabanews/cam

CONTINENT HEADING TOWARDS CHEAPER AIR TRAVEL

AFRICA: TRANSPORT/SABC/31/1/18 SABANews 1

Towards cheaper air travel on the Continent

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

GOVERNMENTS ENCOURAGED TO IMPROVE DATA SHARING ON WEATHER

SADC: DISASTERS/SABANEWS/24/1/18 SABANews 1
When disaster strikes, women and children suffer most
HARARE – Governments in the SADC Region have been urged to improve on information sharing to ensure communities are evacuated on time when weather-related disasters strike.
 
The Southern AFRICAN Research and Documentation Centre, SARDC, says people expect increased moisture to improve cropping, but floods can destroy crops and disturb food security.
 
It says excessive rainfall may also increase the incidences of malaria and water-borne diseases in the region as well as the possibility of damage to infrastructure due to flooding.
 
SARDC says ONE of the challenges still affecting SADC member states is the lack of current and reliable data on possible weather scenarios, resulting in many people getting killed or becoming homeless.
 
It says there is also need to retrofit, or to add new technology or features to, public infrastructure such as schools – as they act as both centres of learning and as sanctuaries in cases of emergencies such as floods.
 
The Centre says River Basin Organisations, like the ZAMBEZI WATERCOURSE COMMISSION, ZAMCOM, are making efforts to improve the sharing of information on water flow and climate conditions.
 
ZAMCOM is in the process of strengthening information sharing in the EIGHT Basin States: ANGOLA, BOTSWANA, MALAWI, MOZAMBIQUE, NAMIBIA, TANZANIA, ZAMBIA and ZIMBABWE.
 
The involved nations share the data through the ZAMBEZI Water Resources Information System Enhancement THREE: Hydro-meteorological Database and Decision Support System, or ZAMWIS-DSS.
 
The SARDC says the main objective of the ZAMWIS-DSS is to support the promotion and coordination of the management and development of resources of the ZAMBEZI Watercourse in a sustainable and climate-resilient manner.
 
Authorities expect that once the system is completed, riparian states will be able to respond better to flood hazards in the future; and the region is taking another measure to set up village-based response systems to respond to floods.
 
The alert system includes the use of traditional knowledge systems in raising awareness through civic education, like, for example, the appearance of large populations of ants will indicate occurrence of floods.
 
Weather and other experts say floods may present opportunities to the SADC Region if countries start prioritizing water harvesting projects to harness rains and use the water for agricultural purposes in future, especially during drought years./Sabanews/cam

WORKERS THREATEN NATIONAL BLACKOUT TO DEMAND BONUSES

Swaziland Anti-riot Police at work

SWAZILAND: BONUSES/TIMES OF SWAZILAND/7/11/17 SABANews 1

 
MBABANE – Workers at the SWAZILAND Electricity Company have threatened to plunge the country in darkness unless the employer tells them when their bonuses will be paid this year.
 
The TIMES OF SWAZILAND newspaper says they have staged a demonstration at their ELUVATSINI House Head Offices in the capital, MBABANE.
 
It quotes the employees as saying they have worked hard and deserve to earn the bonuses, especially because they did not receive their cost-of-living adjustments.
 
The workers have defied a court order stopping the industrial action after management won an application against the strike, which the employees voted for during a weekend meeting.
 
They assembled before the ELUVATSINI House and demonstrated, demanding to see Managing Director MESHACK KUNENE, amid strong police presence.
 
The TIMES says the employees have told Mr KUNENE they want their bonuses for the financial years 2015 to 2016 and 2016 to 2017, for which the Executive and Management have been meeting with no solution.
 
SWAZILAND Electricity Company workers say they do now trust their managers and want the Managing Director to use his power to pay out their bonuses, or they will switch of the whole Kingdom./Sabanews/cam

AU CONSULTS REGIONAL PARTNERS ON COMMON POSITION TO END TB

AFRICA: TB/SABANEWS/7/11/17 SABANews 1
JOHANNESBURG – The AU Partnership and Coordination Forum on AIDS, TB and Malaria has reviewed the draft Common AFRICA Position on TB for the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting in 2018.
 
A statement from the continental group says the Draft Common Position on TB was last month reviewed by the Ministry of Health TB Program Managers in HARARE, ZIMBABWE.
 
It says the document focuses on SIX pillars: leadership, country ownership, governance and accountability; universal and equitable access to prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care and support.
 
Others are access to affordable and quality assured medicines, commodities and technologies; research and innovation; health financing and strategic information; promoting leadership, country ownership, governance and accountability.
 
The draft calls for sustained political commitment and for increased leadership, ownership, integration, governance and management of TB programs to promote accountability.
 
It further calls on governments to intensify TB responses through working with AFRICAN leaders as champions, cross-sector partnerships, increased oversight and accountability, improved monitoring, evaluation and reporting.
 
The AU says while recognising structural and operational barriers to achieve universal access, the draft calls for Member States to scale up TB programs to reach, find, treat and cure all people with the killer disease.
 
It also calls for Multi Drug Resistant TB to be declared a global emergency and health security threat, to ensure it can be addressed properly in most affected countries.
 
The draft calls for access to TB services in congested settings, high risk areas like prisons, mines and areas affected by conflict and humanitarian emergencies, to help guarantee no one is left behind.
 
The Common AFRICA Position calls for governments to pursue new innovations and ensure access to affordable and quality assured medicines, commodities and technologies for TB.
 
The draft says governments should strengthen ties with research institutions to enhance innovation and evidence-informed policies and programs as well as increased investments in research and innovation.
 
AFRICA will also push for increased domestic and international funding to health through innovative financing mechanisms, social health insurance schemes and increased allocations at various levels.
 
The Common AFRICA Position also calls for improved data to inform policy and programs for TB, while the AU Commission has lined up various consultation conferences ahead of the UN meeting.
 
TB is spread through the air from person to person, when a patient coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings; and people nearby may breathe in the bacteria and become infected./Sabanews/cam