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Young South Africans urged to volunteer

first_img15 June 2012Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale has called on young South Africans to make positive changes in their communities by volunteering their services.Sexwale was speaking during the handing over of new houses built by youngsters in the farming community of Kirkwood outside Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape on Thursday, just two days before South Africa celebrates its Youth Day national holiday.“We emphasis this thing of volunteerism because this is the month when young people took to the streets and took matters into their own hands to better the lives of South Africans – they never sat back,” Sexwale told scores of young people at Thursday’s handover.Youth build programmeThe houses were built by a group of youngsters as part of the National Youth Development Agency’s (NYDA’s) “youth-build” programme, which encourages young people to participate in community development through the construction of houses.The 36 houses are part of the 36th anniversary of the June 16 Youth Day commemorations. The agency said each house was subsidised through sponsorships to the value of R79 812.78, which included all the building material.Sexwale said there was often a misconception among the youth of today that voluntary work was mainly for old people and the unemployed. He found it strange that many young people refused to do voluntary work even if it would equip them with skills.“This the month we remember a painful year 1976, but what we need to encourage in today’s youth is that despite the challenges, they can still do things to better people’s lives, things like what these youngsters here have done,” Sexwale said.Sexwale hailed the 150 youngsters who were involved in the construction of the houses, describing them as an inspiration to the nation and the heroes of 1976.He said that his department and the NYDA would spread the initiative to other provinces to encourage more youngsters to get involved in the programme.Human settlements projects ‘across the country’Among the beneficiaries of Thursday’s handover was 75-year-old gogo Nongazelo Maqhabase, who had been sharing a small shack with her three grandchildren for many years.She said: “I do not have words to describe how I feel, I never thought I would one day own a decent house of my own. I am a happy person today, I express my gratitude to all those who were involved in the building of the house.”Sexwale said the government was currently busy with human settlements projects across the country. A total of 10 000 houses were being built in Lephalale in Limpopo province, 50 000 in KwaZulu-Natal, and 35 000 to the south of Johannesburg.“So we are building human settlements all over the country, and by doing so we are not just putting a roof over people’s heads but we are creating jobs for the youth, because construction is a skill – we are providing skills, educations and knowledge.”‘We are also present in construction’NYDA CEO Steven Ngobeni said the agency was impressed by the interest it had attracted from young people, considering that construction was viewed as “a sector for the unskilled”.“As young people we are making a statement that we are also present in construction, and we need that skill to be further strengthened in us,” Ngobeni said. “As young people we refuse to let our challenges stand in the way of us seeing progress both for ourselves and our communities.”Deputy Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Obed Bapela, also speaking at the handover, decried the fact that more than 50 percent of South Africa’s unemployed youth were under the age of 35.He blamed a lack of skills and a high dropout rate at schools as contributing to the country’s youth unemployment.“In 1991, we enrolled more than 1.5-million, but only 500&nsbp;000 reached matric,” Bapela said. “We cannot pride ourselves over that; we have to change focus and the way we do things.”He said the Presidency would be requesting all ministers to produce a report on “what they have done for the youth”.“We will be requesting them to give us reports on what is it that they have done in job creation and youth development since we established youth directorates in all departments”.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

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Call for learners to study maths, science

first_img10 July 2012Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor has encouraged those learners who won the Square Kilometre Array (SKA)-MeerKat Schools Competition to study maths and science, saying South Africa needs more people with these skills.Speaking at the awards ceremony in Pretoria on Monday, Pandor told the successful learners that the country needed more scientists. “We want to invest through you.”She also encouraged learners to be innovative so they change the character of South Africa.Learners from Grades 4 to 11 from various schools throughout the country were given an opportunity to enter the SKA-MeerKat competition, and 200 000 competition forms were distributed to various schools, science centres and community centres.The department received over 36 000 entry forms in the primary and high school categories across all nine provinces, where learners had to fill out a form and complete a multiple choice questionnaire based on the SKA project.The aim of the competition was to increase awareness of one of the most exciting engineering and research projects ever undertaken. Prizes included laptops, printers, digital cameras and organised tours to their nearest astronomy observatory.Karobo Melato, a 14-year-old Grade 7 learner at Boiterelo Primary School in Potchefstroom in the North West Province, was one of the learners who won the competition; he told SANews that upon completing matric, he wanted to be a technician in the South African National Defence Force.“I want to operate the big machines in the Defence Force,” he said.South Africa and its partner countries won the bid to host most of the telescope, with 70% of the telescope to be built in Africa and 30% in Australia.Once complete, the SKA will consist of about 3 000 dish-shaped antennae spread over an area of over 3 000km. The core of the telescope will be constructed in the Karoo region of the Northern Cape, with outlying telescope stations throughout South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Mauritius, Namibia and Zambia.The magnitude and sensitivity of the SKA telescope will allow scientists to explore the origins of the first galaxies, stars and planets and the evolution of the universe. It will be able to collect weak cosmic radio signals from the edges of the universe from a time before the first stars and galaxies formed.As the main host of the SKA, South Africa is expected to become a global centre for information technology, fundamental physics, astronomy and high-tech engineering. Top scientists and engineers throughout the world will be attracted to the country’s shores.Source: SANews.gov.zalast_img read more

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2 days agoAxel Tuanzebe back to boost Man Utd

first_imgAxel Tuanzebe back to boost Man Utdby Paul Vegas2 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe is set to return at the weekend after a hip injury forced him out of the draw with Liverpool.The centre-back, 21, picked up the problem in the warm-up on Sunday and was replaced by Marcos Rojo.The Sun says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to rest the youngster for Thursday’s Europa League clash against Partizan Belgrade but he is expected for the trip to Norwich.Tuanzebe will be in contention for a place in the squad for the Carrow Road clash when Solskjaer looks to build on the draw against the Champions League holders.He had started the previous two Premier League matches against Arsenal and Newcastle, after getting told he is part of the first-team plans at United when loan offers came in this summer. About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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Liberals set to decide on future of Social Security Tribunal sources

first_imgOTTAWA — Federal cabinet ministers will soon decide whether and how to reform the oft-maligned tribunal Canadians use to appeal federal benefits rulings, potentially undoing changes made six years ago intended to make it work better.The Social Security Tribunal hears appeals of government decisions on things like eligibility for Employment Insurance and the Canada Pension Plan. It replaced four separate bodies in 2013.One key change was cutting the number of people hearing most cases from three to one. Another was to replace part-time hearing officials in many places with full-time staff in fewer locations.A report last year from consulting firm KPMG estimated the moves saved about $22.6 million a year. Timelines for decisions also spiked as the tribunal was undermanned and overwhelmed with cases, and didn’t have a proper transition plan. The KPMG report argued the tribunal wasn’t designed with the appellants in mind.Labour and employer groups have each told the government they want a return to the system as it existed before the tribunal’s creation. Still, KPMG warned against a return to that old system, saying the current one could be improved without a total makeover.Officials are now expected to ask ministers to consider partially reverting to the three-person panels that once heard cases, or to go with a hybrid system of old and new, or simply make tweaks, say sources with knowledge of the recommendations, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss issues under cabinet review.A spokesman for Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said the minister’s office couldn’t speak to, or verify the authenticity of, documents related to matters of cabinet confidences, which are closely guarded government secrets legally protected from unauthorized release.In the fall, Duclos asked the new chairman of the tribunal to create a “client-centric culture” to make appeals move quickly and transparently.The tribunal now allows people to choose whether to have their hearings in person, on the phone or by videoconference. Rule changes have also made it easier to launch an appeal and waiting times have dropped. The backlog of cases has fallen from about 7,250 in April 2017 to 3,925 at the end of last year.The tribunal has made “a lot of progress, but there is still more to do,” said chairman Paul Alterman in a public post this month.Over the last few months, the government held closed-door consultations with stakeholders, labour and employers groups, as well as experts who offered six options for officials to mull over before presenting them to cabinet.Sources described how officials talked about improving the qualifications of people hearing appeals, including whether to have multi-member panels for disability claims involving complicated medical histories. There was a sense that officials, including Duclos, were taking the ideas seriously.Stakeholders say a benefit of the previous system was that people had their cases heard in their communities by people who understood the lie of the land locally. When someone talked about conditions at a particular company, for instance, the panellists knew what they were talking about.Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, said the previous system was fair and equitable for workers. The Liberals, he said, will have a “terrible time” explaining any decision other than a return of the three-person panels.“We have no foundation to make any argument to keep that (tribunal) system based on the experience of our members and, to a large extent, what the unemployed have had to experience,” Yussuff said.Monique Moreau, vice-president of national affairs for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said her members want any changes aimed at getting people through the system quickly, and in a way that makes them feel comfortable, as well as ensuring employers feel represented.“We were actually fans of the previous system and I think some of the changes that have come in the newer model, they haven’t really lived up to expectations,” Moreau said.Officials are likely to label a return in any way to the old system as the most expensive option for the government to consider. Tweaks to the tribunal would be the cheapest. The sources weren’t able to put a dollar figure to any of the options being discussed.Jordan Press, The Canadian Presslast_img read more