Free schooling for five million

first_imgThe department of education announced that the amount of no-fee schools and learners will more than double in 2007.Currently there are 7 800 no-fee schools in the country, but in 2007 the total of schools will be more than 13 000. This means more than 5 million learners from poor households will not have to pay school fees. (Image: Brand South Africa)Brand South Africa reporterOver five million children across South Africa will benefit from the country’s no-fee schools policy in 2007, the Department of Education said on Wednesday.In total, 5 001 874 learners from 13 856 schools across the country have been listed by the provincial departments as beneficiaries of the policy for the 2007 academic year.This follows Education Minister Naledi Pandor’s recent announcement in Parliament that 40% of the country’s learners would benefit from the policy next year.There are currently 7 800 no-fee schools in the country, benefiting approximately 2.5-million students.The government introduced the no-fee school policy to end the marginalisation of poor learners. This is in line with the country’s Constitution, which stipulates that citizens have the right to basic education regardless of the availability of resources.The policy was introduced early this year as part of the Education Amendment Act, signed into law by President Thabo Mbeki in January.The no-fee policy empowers the minister of education to exempt certain schools from charging fees, based on poverty levels of the area they serve. The government determines which schools qualify to be no-fee schools using data from the Poverty Index supplied by Statistics South Africa.Up to R530 per learner is allocated for each designated school.In addition to this, the department is developing a framework which will allow schools in more affluent areas to receive subsidies if they enrol non-fee learners.Schools are compelled to inform parents of the school fee exemption for poor learners.The province with the highest number of learners not paying fees next year is KwaZulu-Natal, which will have 1 173 503 beneficiaries enrolled at its 3 341 no-fee schools.The Northern Cape – the country’s least densely populated province – will have the lowest number of non-paying learners, with 102 244 children at its 335 no-fee schools.Source: South African Government News Agency.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

The world’s biggest cycle race

first_imgThe Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tourmay take riders through some of SouthAfrica’s most spectacular scenery, but it’sstill 100 kilometres of hard work. The race brings out many cyclists’ innerclown. Hollywood actor Matt Damon’sparticipation in the 2009 race lured manyhopefuls out onto the streets of CapeTown. Some cyclepunk. After successfully negotiating the worst ofthe Boyes Drive descent, these cyclistshead towards the bright yellow-coveredhay bales at the bottom of Clairvaux Roadand a sharp right turn into the Main Road. The Argus is as much about the spectatorsas the cyclists. These Clovelly locals madethemselves comfortable on the pavementoutside their house.(Images: Jennifer Stern)Jennifer SternThe 32nd annual Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour, held in Cape Town on 8 March 2009, had some 25 600 cyclists pedalling the roads of the Cape Peninsula and tens of thousands of spectators lining the route to cheer on friends and strangers. The world’s largest individually timed cycling event, it’s a circuit of over 100 spectacularly scenic kilometres, and a celebration of sport, community and place with a history going back over more than three decades.The 2009 tour was, according to David Bellairs, co-director of the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust that organises the event, “without a doubt the toughest Cycle Tour ever. Never before have we experienced such gale force winds during a race.”Although 35 000 cyclists entered this year’s race, conditions were such that only 25 600 actually took part. Winds of up to 60 kilometres an hour blew down tents and caused a number of injuries – mostly broken collar bones, arms and legs, luckily none of them too serious.There have been other years that offered an equally tough challenge. In 1987 freezing rain and wind had a number of cyclists opting out, and in 2002 the race was officially stopped because temperatures of up to 42°C made it unsafe. This year, the start was delayed because of the strong wind and – towards the end of the day – people were literally being blown off their bicycles, so the organisers called a halt.One of the race’s most famous stretches, both dreaded and loved by cyclists, is Chapman’s Peak Drive. This long, steep and beautiful coastal drive is a test of mind and muscle, and most of the leisure cyclists are extremely grateful for the granny gear on their mountain bikes.But the road has been closed to traffic for quite a few months because of the risk of rock falls after heavy rains last year. It was a big decision but, after careful consultation, the drive was declared safe and the traditional route could be followed. Well, almost.The Main Road between Muizenberg and Kalk Bay on the False Bay Coast is undergoing extensive rebuilding and so it was likely that the single lane would cause a severe bottleneck and, more seriously, the uneven road surface could be dangerous. So the cyclists had to take a short detour over Boyes Drive. This only added a kilometre to the race, but it did include a long, uphill slog and a scary, twisting and steep descent.Recognising the extreme nature of the final little downhill chicane on Boyes Drive, the organisers brought in loads of hay bales, put up warning signs and stationed marshals with loud hailers exhorting cyclists to slow down. It worked. There were a few minor tumbles, but nothing like the potential carnage that cyclist and organisers alike were dreading.A beginning in protestThe Argus started off more as a protest than a race. In1977 two keen cyclists, John Stegmann and Bill Mylrea, fed up with the lack of cycling infrastructure in Cape Town, decided to do a long race around the peninsula. It was part of a plan to popularise the sport and get support for the construction of safe cycle lanes and routes throughout the city.It was a great idea, but not particularly successful. A few bicycle lanes appeared over the next few years, but it was pretty ad hoc and remained a small isolated feature of the city’s streets. Fortunately, this is in the process of changing. In March 2006 the signing of the Cape Town Declaration led to the formation of the Non Motorised Transport Forum, which is now managed by the Cape Town City Council.But that first race, which was run on Saturday 26 October 1978, was the start of big things. Originally, Stegman and Mylrea intended to call it the Peninsula Marathon but, realising they needed media backing, they offered naming rights to – at that stage – a rather reluctant Cape Argus newspaper.So the race started off as the Argus Cycle Tour, and soon became simply “The Argus”. This remains its popular name, although today supermarket chain Pick n Pay is the main sponsor.Rapid growthThat first race saw 585 hopefuls lined up at the start, of whom 446 finished in the cut-off time, then set at eight-and-a-half hours. It seems like a long time, but cyclists had to weave through normal Saturday morning traffic. The following year it moved to the now familiar March slot and, in 1990, it was moved to a Sunday as it was getting far too big for a Saturday. By 1997, with over 28 000 participants, it was clear that competitors and cars could not coexist and the route was closed to traffic for the morning.There are many reasons for the immense popularity of this iconic race. First, the scenery is simply gobsmackingly gorgeous. But it’s also the vibe. It’s one of the few races in the world where recreational cyclists can ride in the same event as serious professional competitors – albeit at different times.In fact, most of the serious cyclists are finished and showered and starting on breakfast before many of the “fish and chips” at the back have even got on their bikes. In 1992 it got even more serious with the inauguration of the prestigious Giro del Capo or “Tour of the Cape”, an event made up of four one-day races of which the Cycle Tour is the last leg.Although for most the entrants it’s really all about taking part – and finishing – the serious cyclists are fiercely competitive. This year, the first man home was  Arran Brown (Medscheme), shortly followed by Robbie Hunter (Barloworld) and Nolan Hoffman (Neotel), all within a split second of each other in a time of  02:46:32. Jennie Stenerhag (Alpha Pharm) led the women’s pack in a time of 03:06:01, with Anriette Schoeman (Nashua Telecoms) and Marissa van der Merwe hot on her wheels.While these serious athletes whizz along the route early in the morning in a dazzling blur of colourful lycra, it’s the slower, more relaxed entrants that really embody the character of the Argus. And there are always the weirdos – the people dressed as rhinos, Superman or fairies. Cyclists in lycra shorts and a dress shirt with a bow tie are not uncommon, and even one intrepid Braveheart lookalike has been seen pedalling the route in a kilt – hopefully wearing far more underneath than is traditional.This year there was much excitement with Hollywood actor Matt Damon and his younger brother Kyle taking part in – and finishing – the race on a tandem bike. Damon is in South Africa to film the new Clint Eastwood movie about South Africa’s win in the 1995 Rugby World Cup.And then, of course, there are the spectators. Cape Town makes a day of the Argus. Those lucky enough to live on the route set up camp in their front gardens, on their verandas, or on the pavement outside their houses. Deck chairs, umbrellas, picnics, bottles of bubbly and various forms of music all add to the festival air.It is a bit of a mixed blessing as most of them can’t go anywhere until after midday, but it’s only one day a year. And a few thousand travel in from adjacent suburbs to line the route.It’s Cape Town’s biggest party.Related articlesImproving lives with bicycles The Tour de Kruger – a wild ride Bikes for Africa – from bamboo The adventure starts here Useful linksThe Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle TourGiro del CapoPick n Pay 94.7 Cycle Challengelast_img read more

Gold Fields unveils three BEE deals

first_imgPreferential dividend, phased out suspension “These deals are central to our commitment to make every current employee at the company an owner,” said Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland. The acquisition will be facilitated through a unique vendor financed phased participation scheme that will see the shareholding acquired at no cost to the BEECO. According to a statement this week, Gold Fields says the shares will be issued to the trust at par value of 50 cents per share. With Gold Fields shares closing at R98.35 per share on 30 July, the approximate accounting cost of the deal to shareholders would be about R1-billion. The B-class shares’ right to participate in other distributions over and above the preferred dividend will initially be suspended. The suspension will be lifted on a phased-in basis, resulting in the B-class shares having the same rights as the A-class shares, as follows: Direct South Deep holding The Thusano Trust, which will benefit over 47 000 employees, will exercise full voting rights on behalf of the employees. The share allocation to employees will be based on an employee’s length of service with Gold Fields, ranging from 100 shares for one year service to 480 shares for 20 years service. SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material The company announced the empowerment deals after disclosing that the Department of Mineral Resources had executed the new order mining rights for its South Deep gold mine. “The shares are allocated free of charge but have to be held for 15 years. The employees will receive dividend payments during those 15 years. Based on historical dividend yields the dividend payments will total about R20-million a year,” the statement read. Broad-based BEE consortium a selected number of black business and community leaders, who will not be related parties as defined by the JSE Listings Requirements, holding a combined 36% interest; and a Broad-Based Education Trust, to facilitate and promote education, youth and skills development for the mining industry, which will hold a 54% interest in BEECO; New order mining rights a Broad-Based Community Trust, which will hold a 10% interest in the consortium. The cumulative effect of the execution, together with the previous conversions for Driefontein, Kloof and Beatrix granted in 2006, is that all of Gold Fields’ South African operations have now been granted their new order mining right. 6 August 2010 In the second transaction, BEECO will be issued with 600 000 Gold Fields shares, representing about 0.08% of shares in issue. These shares will carry no restrictions, unlike those from the final empowerment transaction. Gold Fields has announced three black economic empowerment deals that will see an employee share scheme and a broad-based BEE consortium buying discounted shares in the South African gold miner, thereby enabling it to meet its 2014 empowerment targets. Employee share option scheme As holders of the B-class shares the BEECO will be entitled to a cumulative preferential dividend of R20-million per annum for the first 10 years, R13.3-million per annum for the next five years and R6.7-million for the next five years payable out of profits of South Deep. After 20 years the preferential dividend ceases. The next two empowerment transactions involve a new-formed BEE consortium, BEECO, which will comprise the following elements: In the third transaction, the BEE consortium will subscribe for a 10% holding, in the form of B-class shares, with full voting rights directly in Gold Fields’ South Deep mine with a phased participation over 20 years. The first transaction will see the establishment of an employee share option scheme, to be housed and administered through the Thusano Share Trust, which will hold an effective 10.75% stake in GFIMSA, the holding company which controls Gold Fields’ South African assets. The BEECO must retain ownership of South Deep for 30 years which is the term of the new order mining right granted to South Deep. The South Deep licence has also been extended by the department to include a contiguous property, called Uncle Harry’s, which contains a mineral resource of about 14.5-million ounces of gold. “At the same time we are expanding opportunities for historically disadvantaged persons to benefit from the exploitation of the country’s mineral resources by promoting broad-based ownership, employment, and the advancement of social and economic welfare generally.” after 10 years, in respect of one-third of the B-class shares;after 15 years, in respect of another one-third of the B-class shares; andafter 20 years, in respect of the remaining one-third of the B-class shares.last_img read more

After Ballmer: One Microsoft, Or Many?

first_img3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Tags:#Bing#Microsoft#Office#Windows#Xbox brian proffitt Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Related Posts center_img IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Steve Ballmer will be out as Microsoft CEO sometime within the next 12 months. Will his successor run the same company Ballmer is leaving?There have always been calls to break up the software giant, dating back to the days when the Department of Justice successfully painted Microsoft as a monopoly. At the time, the government was unwilling to go that far. But with Microsoft’s top leadership now on the way out, the question is again coming to the fore.There are two scenarios in which Microsoft could split up. The first fault line falls along the enterprise and consumer boundary: one new company would sell or manage Windows, Office, Bing and Xbox to consumers and the other, more enterprise-oriented company dealing with Windows Azure, SharePoint, Microsoft Dynamics and SQL Server.See also: Steve Ballmer Announces His Retirement As Microsoft CEO and Microsoft’s Best Bet For Its Next CEO Currently Runs NokiaThe pros of this sort of split are pretty obvious: each business would be able to focus on its core customer base and pull the most profit out of their brands.But in recent months, Microsoft has stated its intentions to become a “devices and services” company. This has been reflected in its corporate decisions and marketing strategies, but it could also make a difference in how a hypothetical split could occur.One such idea would be to not split the company so much as keep a solid core and sell off everything else. That core could include Windows 8 (with Windows Phone), the Windows Azure cloud platform, SharePoint and Office 365. Everything else that wasn’t strictly a device or service (Xbox, SQL Server or Microsoft Dynamics) could be sold off piecemeal or consolidated into new spinoff companies.See also How The Internet Of Things Will ThinkBing is the oddball here. It’s most definitely a service and should stay in the core company, but it is also losing money (though admittedly less money than when it started). But I think Bing should stay. If and when Windows mobile devices take off, a homegrown search engine will be better than outsourcing search to Google.A smaller, leaner Microsoft would have a big impact on the rest of the IT industry, since so many partners and customers are directly touched by Microsoft. But with all of the extra baggage the company has been lugging around for decades, now might be a great time to shed some weight and come out a stronger company in the end.Something needs to be done, though, and soon. Since 2001, Microsoft shares have risen just 33% growth, while the rest of the NASDAQ jumped 59% in the same period. And Microsoft has seen the writing on the wall, at least to judge from its recent management reorganization.See also Microsoft Tries Again To Aim All Its Guns Outside The CompanyThere are arguments to be made, of course, for keeping the company together. Bing has serious potential to be a key component for any Internet of Things strategy Microsoft might have. Xbox could be a big gateway for Microsoft in the living room.But it’s going to be a tough slog. Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…last_img read more

Ebony Park Residents Receive Property Titles

first_img This engagement forms part of the government’s priority strategy for effective social inclusion to uplift and empower citizens. Homeowners in the Ebony Parkhave finally received the priceless document, after waiting for more than 30-years to formalize their holdings. The recipients were among 110 beneficiaries earmarked to receive titles. The remaining 40 certificates will be issued to the other residents following the completion formalities, inclusive of their signing the documents. Story Highlights As the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing intensifies its efforts to deliver titles to property holders island-wide, the latest recipients to benefit from this undertaking are homeowners in the Ebony Park Housing Scheme in Clarendon.They have finally received the priceless document, after waiting for more than 30-years to formalize their holdings.Ebony Park was developed in 1979 under the Project Oasis initiative, which targeted the provision of housing solutions, and lands for young farmers, in an effort to boost agricultural production for subsistence and export.The development was financed with funding allocated by the Organization of American States (OAS), and supported with technical assistance provided by the Government of Israel.On October 11, some 70 persons, mostly farmers, publicly expressed their joy when they opened the large brown envelopes they received, containing their titles, which were presented during an official handing over ceremony in the community.The recipients were among 110 beneficiaries earmarked to receive titles. The remaining 40 certificates will be issued to the other residents following the completion formalities, inclusive of their signing the documents.“I am feeling so good. Words cannot explain how I am feeling. I heard about the titles coming through; but seeing the reality this evening, it gives me cold bumps. I just feel in my body, a different feeling,” said farmer, Napthali Morant.Mr. Morant cultivates pumpkins, potatoes, onions, and banana on the farm land he occupies, and used the proceeds from generated from previous harvests to improve his house and finance the education of his four children, Nordia, Marlon, Tashnia, and Melissa. They are now married and are also happy to see their father finally getting his title.Mr. Morant says he is “in no hurry” to use his title for any transaction at this time and just wants to “keep it safe”. “I am already going forward with my crops; so the title will be put up safely while I continue with my crops,” he told JIS News.Another recipient, Michael Plummer,says he began farming in Ebony Vale in 1979, and currently cultivates hot peppers, cassava, pumpkin, and most vegetables. He explains that the community has developed significantly, since its establishment.“When we came here, it was all wood land. (But) a lot of development has taken place since then,” he said, citing construction of the HEART Academy among the examples of infrastructural development taking place.He, too, is elated at receiving his title. “Having your title, now, can assist with our farming. I am presently doing active farming and one of the small farmer’s biggest challenges is finance. So this title can help us in this aspect,” he said.For Elaine Thompson-Ranger, getting her title is “like icing on the cake”, while her friend, Anjella Beezer, could not contain her joy.“This is the greatest achievement I could ever get. There is nothing more important than this. I don’t need anything more; I just want life now, to enjoy what I have,” Mrs. Beezer said.Among the other joyful recipients were two members of the Clarendon Parish Council, Deputy Chairman and Councillor for the York Town Division, Councillor Uphel Purcell, and Councillor Godfrey Knight of the Toll Gate Division. They, too, have resided in the community since its fledgling years.Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, noted the importance of the titling exercise in renewing social and economic activities, particularly in rural communities. This, he indicated, by the holder using the document as collateral for business transactions or financing their children’s education, among other pursuits.“This is, indeed, a life-changing document, and we are working harder to put more power in the hands of the people. Home ownership is one of the cornerstones of community and family development, and we will continue to work assiduously to advance the welfare of the Jamaican people,” Dr. Guy said.He also informed that the Ministry’s land titling programme will be further accelerated with the aim of bringing joy to an additional estimated 5000 persons by the end of the 2013/14 fiscal year.  This engagement forms part of the government’s priority strategy for effective social inclusion to uplift and empower citizens.Earlier this year, while making his contribution to the 2013/14 sectoral debate, Dr. Guy noted the countless financial possibilities which property titles can unlock for the holders, which can yield both local and national economic benefits.This, he pointed out, would yield a rippling effect in spurring economic growth and development, and raising many Jamaicans standard of living.last_img read more