-UNPOL, EU Reps AlarmThe US$14.2M out of the US$16.3M allotted to the Liberia National Police (LNP) in the 2017/18 fiscal budget for compensation to include salaries for civilian and paramilitary personnel overshadowed the release of a report on the Security Actions for Everyone (SAFE) Project yesterday.An honorarium and special and general allowances were also captured in the US$14.2 million, with US$3.1 million accounting for “non-financial assets.”The US$3.1 million, the police said, was intended for support and operations during the 2017 presidential and legislative elections.The report, released in Monrovia, covered police facilities and operations in four of the 15 counties, including Bong, Lofa, Montserrado, and Nimba, as well as police-community engagement.It was jointly conducted by International Alert, Liberia National Law Enforcement Agency (LNLEA), and the Center for Justice and Peace Studies (CIPS) with funding from the European Union (EU).It comes in the midst of the reported deplorable condition of prison facilities and other logistical situations experienced by the police.Yesterday’s forum was attended by representatives of the EU, United Nations Police in Liberia (UNPOL), and authorities of the LNP, among others.Meanwhile, participants agreed for the establishment of a Policing Trust Fund to provide support for needed police operations that are not reflected in the national budget.In separate remarks, European Union representative Agniesille Napierala and UNPOL’s Tabitha Mbugua said they believe that the allotment was unfair and unbalanced to make the country a safer place.“The Government of Liberia needs to improve on the budget to settle the imbalance and unfair distribution in it,” Mbugua, who proxy for the UNPOL commander, noted.“Such an imbalance in the budget would make it very difficult to have a strong partnership with the community in terms of support,” she said.Napierala also said the budget, that is hugely dominated by salaries, does not ensure accountability and transparency in the operation of the police.“How will the police manage to support the Community Watch Forum that is providing security assistance in the country to ensure a safer Liberia with the allotment of US$14.2 million as salary payment to staff of the LNP?” Napierala wondered. “How will they improve on the deplorable condition of prison facilities throughout the country?”Police Deputy Inspector General for Manpower and Training, William Mulbah admitted the huge financial difficulty posed by the budgetary allotment.“With the over 5,000 police officers, to set aside US$14.2 million for salaries is unfair and demeaning, and we had to work on it,” Mulbah assured.Despite the huge salaries, Mulbah said, they have made significant efforts in improving the relationship between the police and the community to make the country peaceful and safe.“This is evidenced by our handling of the ongoing elections process and our engagement with the community in combating crimes and improving on civilian complaints against police officers,” he indicated.The report said some police stations in the four counties do not have the necessary logistics for effective operations.“Some do not even have typewriters or computers and printers, and they have to resort to using commercial typewriters for their office operations. Many officers do not have uniforms and accessories and so, they have resolved to wear t-shirts as uniforms,” the report indicated.Cecil B. Griffiths, the president of LNLEA who read the report, said: “Moreover, many police stations in the rural areas, such as Zorzor and Flumpa police stations in Lofa County are in very deplorable conditions and need urgent renovation while the Ganta Police Station in Nimba County is in need of expansion.”The report also frowned on civilians recruited to assist police to man checkpoints in the country.“Community members complained that some of the police aides are the ones creating problems for them and are even operating without the supervision of the commander of police,” the report noted.The report also recommended that the police budget should be re-framed to capture the need for police stations in the counties.“Community members recommended that each police station should at least have one vehicle or motorbike, a computer, printer, solar panel or generator with a regular supply of gasoline, stationery and supplies, one smartphone for internet connectivity and food for the upkeep of detainees and suspects,” the report said.“To provide information about police work, community members are recommending that every police station should provide monthly or quarterly statistics on crimes, arrests, prosecutions and information about complaint mechanisms,” it indicated.On police achievement, the report said: “The police authorities made strong effort to promote accountability by issuing a number of tags to officers for identification purposes. This is a highly commendable initiative and we hope that the LNP authority will follow-up to ensure that all officers will have their names on their tags. Regular meeting between the police and community members is ongoing in addition to the SAFE project community dialogue; they are also having a regular policing forum in the various communities.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
9 April 2013 South African hotel and casino operator Tsogo Sun is to invest R220-million in Durban’s famed “Golden Mile” through refurbishing and combining its Southern Sun Elangeni and Southern Sun North Beach hotels into one complex, the Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani. Tsogo Sun’s investment was “a direct response to the substantial investment into the revival of the Durban beachfront promenade by the eThekwini Municipality,” Tsogo Sun CEO Marcel von Aulock said in a statement last week. eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo welcomed Tsogo Sun’s announcement, saying “there is so much good news to be told about the renewal of the city – with corporates coming back to the city centre, the International Convention Centre’s status as a leading convention centre in the country, the rescue of the iconic Durban Country Club, and the location of the Moses Mabhida stadium all contributing to the revitalisation of the city”. According to Tsogo Sun, the first phase of the project, which will be completed in May, will include the total refurbishment of the Maharani Tower, substantial new food and beverage offerings within the Elangeni Tower, and the renovation of the external building facades. The second phase will see the opening in the third quarter of 2013 of The Camelot Spa, featuring five treatment rooms, a double treatment room with a hydro therapy bath and a Himalayan salt room in the Elangeni Tower. The historic Raffles area is being transformed into a multi-purpose venue on top of the Maharani Tower available for conferences, launches and themed evenings with breathtaking views. The final phase will include a refurbishment of the Elangeni rooms and additional public areas. The Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani complex will boast 734 bedrooms, two gyms, three swimming pools, 17 meeting and conference rooms, two business centres, and 11 restaurants and bars offering a variety of a la carte and buffet meal options. The restaurants will include new offerings ranging from The Grill Jichana, “a modern and stylish grillhHouse with great food in a convivial ambience”, the Panorama Bar & Pool Deck, “a bar and light food zone with views of the coastline, serving cocktails, mezes, ice creams, granitas and light meals throughout the day”, and the Ocean Breeze Restaurant, “a laid-back Indian Ocean Island styled restaurant with a view second to none”. Visitors will still be able to enjoy old favourites such as Japanese restaurant Daruma, Piatto Mediterranean Kitchen, and the Lingela Restaurant, “one of the top traditional buffet restaurants in the country”. “We have great confidence in Durban, and it is our sincere belief that we have a responsibility to support the City to ensure that it achieves its full potential as the premier leisure and event city in South Africa,” said Von Aulock. “We believe that the positioning of the Southern Sun Elangeni and Maharani hotel complex combined with quality offerings and service will breathe new energy, life and soul into the Durban beachfront.” SAinfo reporter
30 September 2015We Are Protect is planning field testing of high-tech devices to stop rhino poaching in Africa.The British conservation group recently completed proof-of-concept trials in South Africa of high-tech devices such as spy cameras, heart rate monitors and GPS trackers on black rhinos. It is now aiming to move to field testing of its Real-time Anti Poaching Intelligence Devices (Rapid).There had been 1 617 positively identified poacher activities in the Kruger National Park so far this year, according to the Department of Environmental Affairs. This implies that there are three incursions each day, anywhere along the thousand-kilometre long Kruger border.By 27 August, 749 rhinos had been killed by poachers across the entire country. Of these, 544 were poached in the Kruger. This is an increase over the 716 rhino killed by poachers countrywide by the end of August 2014. Of that number, 459 rhinos were poached in the Kruger.How Rapid worksThe Rapid unit is fitted inside the horn of a wild rhino. This operation is painless because rhino horn is made of keratin, just like human nails or hair. The data from the device are then relayed live to a control centre, which could be many miles away.If the animal’s heart rate suddenly becomes heightened or declines, it triggers immediate analysis of the in-horn camera footage while an armed anti-poaching team scrambles on a rapid response mission to intercept the poachers at the location provided.The original impetus for Rapid came from the inability of teams on the ground to detect poaching quickly and effectively enough to catch the poachers and prevent the horn from reaching the illegal markets. The reality is that the group aims to save the rhino, not just its horn.Jason Gilchrist, an ecologist, wrote that to achieve this goal, Rapid should operate as a deterrent, not just an arrest mechanism. “This has raised the question of whether Rapid-tagged rhinos should ‘advertise’ that they are carrying the device. But that could simply drive poachers to target untagged rhino.“So, in order to achieve the aim of the project, to render poaching a ‘pointless exercise’, we need all individual rhinos to be fitted with Rapid and tagged to indicate so. That sounds expensive and it is not clear who would foot the bill.”Watch the world of a rhino through his horn:The We Are Protect team is already looking beyond rhino, and aims to expand the use of Rapid to other endangered creatures under attack from poachers, including elephants and tigers.“We need to throw everything we have, from all angles, at wildlife crime,” said Gilchrist. “If we cannot save iconic species like rhinos, elephants, and tigers it does not bode well for the less celebrated animals out there that are also suffering.”South Africa’s fight against rhino poachingSpecies conservation, including the conservation of rhino, formed part of her department’s strategic intervention, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said on 30 August. She was giving a progress update on the fight against rhino poaching. Her department is working in partnership with the Security Cluster departments, namely Defence and Military Veterans, Police and State Security, to put interventions in place to curb poaching of wildlife.“As I have constantly emphasized, were it not for the measures we have undertaken as part of the Integrated Strategic Management of Rhinoceros the situation would be worse, given the escalation of poacher activity,” said Molewa.Their teams had made physical contact with heavily armed poachers 95 times so far this year, close to three times a week. “To illustrate the escalation of the threat, let me remind you that for the whole of 2014, there were 111 contacts with heavily armed poachers,” she said.“In response to this escalated threat, we have stepped up our efforts, which include traditional anti-poaching policing strategies. In this regard, the utilisation of K-9 units, night capability as well as air and land capability, is now bearing fruit.”At the core of this strategy, the minister added, was a wildlife sector transformation agenda to ensure provision of sustainable alternative livelihood strategies for South Africans, which would help to curb poaching. “This strategy seeks to promote inclusive economic opportunities, reflected by a sector which will be equitable and dictate fair processes and procedures in the distribution of natural resources and access to markets, and undertaking of projects that will assist to uplift the financial and economic status of our people,” she concluded.Watch the Security Cluster speak about their intervention programmes to stop rhino poaching:Meanwhile, Collet Ngobeni and Felicia Mogakane were in New York City on 27 September to accept the United Nations top environmental accolade, the Champions of the Earth award, on behalf of their organisation, Black Mambas.Both women are two of the original members of the 24-strong group, South Africa’s first all-female anti-poaching team. Black Mambas was set up in 2013 to protect the private Balule wildlife reserve, a park that borders the Kruger, and its resident rhino.Over the past two years the team, which does not carry guns, has reduced snaring by 76% in the reserve, saving the lives of rhino and putting poachers out of action.UN Environment Programme deputy executive director Ibrahim Thiaw said the success of the Black Mambas in reducing poaching raised the question of how and where this programme could be replicated.Source: The Conversation and South Africa.info reporter
After racking up a considerable number of air miles Misha Teasdale decided to offset his carbon footprint.Through its School Trees project the organisation plants fruit trees at schools, institutes and organisations around South Africa and Zambia and works with students to understand the importance of trees and how to care for plantsIn September 2010 Teasdale decided to try planting 1000 trees in one month, and to get as many people as possible involved in his project; the team planted more than the targeted 1000 trees at various schools in the Cape Flats in the Western Cape.The project’s success prompted Teasdale to turn his idea into something bigger. With the help of friends Lauren O’Donnell and Jeremy Hewitt he founded Greenpop.Greenpop promotes planting trees and sustainable living by educating people about the importance and benefits of trees.“I was a freelance writer and copy editor so I started at Greenpop doing PR [public relations] to try and attract attention to what we were doing,” says O’Donnell, director at Greenpop.“At that point we were just a group of friends trying to plant 1000 trees in one month so that’s all I expected. I didn’t think it would gain so much traction and continue.”ROOTS OF LIFE“Humans are inherently connected to nature so as soon as people are reminded of this and of the fact that our planet is our one precious home, we are easily reconnected,” O’Donnell says.“It’s human nature to know that trees are important, we just need to be reminded now and then.”Trees and other forms of vegetation are primary producers in the food chain; they provide a major and indispensable form of food and help sustain life by absorbing carbon dioxide to produce oxygen.Trees also prevent soil erosion; purify ground water by filtering out toxins; form wind barriers; and are a natural resource easily turned into useful goods.They also beautify spaces and attract diverse animals.“Green spaces make people happier, they increase pride of place, create shade and cool spaces down.“They encourage biodiversity and so much more,” says O’Donnell.GREENPOP’S MISSIONGreenpop encourages people to plant indigenous vegetation as indigenous plants are more suited to South Africa’s dry climate and don’t use up scarce water resources.Through its School Trees project the organisation plants fruit trees at schools, institutes and organisations around South Africa and Zambia and works with students to understand the importance of trees and how to care for plants.Every July Greenpop hosts a reforestation and eco-educational project in Livingston, Zambia (images: Sarah Isaacs)Greenpop’s reforestation project is aimed especially at rural communities, where residents cut down trees for firewood. The organisation wants to encourage communities to plant more trees to replace the ones they cut down. Some plant species also help improve soil quality, helping rural communities grow better crops to feed their families.During its annual Reforest Festival at the indigenous Platbos Forest in the Western Cape, Greenpop invites tree-lovers to participate in a two-day tree planting spree. Dates for the festival will soon be released.During the organisation’s 2013 Reforest Festival some 5000 trees were planted.PLAY YOUR PART“Plant a tree, either in your own neighbourhood or gift a tree on our website and we will plant it on your behalf and send you a certificate with the GPS coordinates of where your tree is growing,” says O’Donnell.To learn more about Greenpop visit its website, email the organisation or call +27 21 461 9265.
Property developer, Citiq, has come up with a South African first, a shopping centre made entirely of shipping containers.The design of the shopping centre is planned to reflect “the vibrant, trendy and somewhat bohemian character” that has made Melville famous. (Image: 27 Boxes)Brand South Africa ReporterEver since some enterprising individual came up with the idea that used shipping containers cannot simply be dumped or cut up as scrap metal, but can be used as structures to replace formal buildings, South African companies have latched onto the idea and are coming up with innovative solutions to property development.Pop into any township or informal settlement in South Africa and one will certainly discover shipping containers of all shades and sizes being used as spaza shops, phone shops or a trendy hair salon. Big cell phone companies like MTN, Cell-C and Vodacom, realising the benefits of these structures, have also cashed in, putting up container cell phone shops at strategic street corners.South African property developers are also weighing options of using traditional building methods against buying cheap second hand shipping containers to build bigger structures like low cost flats and houses. Property developer, Citiq, is one such enterprising property company that has come up with a South African first to build a shopping centre made entirely of shipping containers.27 Boxes shopping centreThe new 2 400m² shopping centre, known as 27 Boxes, will be go up in Melville, in the Faan Smit Park between 3rd and 4th Avenue, a stone’s throw from the suburb’s popular 7th Street.The development will provide 78 shops and 200 underground parking bays. The design of the shopping centre is planned to reflect “the vibrant, trendy and somewhat bohemian character’ that has made Melville famous, transforming the suburb “into a bespoke shopping centre and parkland’, Citiq CEO Paul Lapham told Moneyweb.The preliminary cost of the development is pegged at around R12-million but the underground parking bays will increase costs slightly, according to Lapham.“27 Boxes will not be a normal retail development,’ said Lapham. The retail shops will be small, with an average 14m² in space and rentals ranging from R1 600 to R2 000 per month, much more affordable than retail space in, for example, Sandton City where rentals range between R15 000 to R20 000 per month.Ideal shopping centre“Affordable shopping space is geared for the needs of small entrepreneurs, artists, creative people and food lovers. We hope 27 Boxes will provide an ideal environment to attract shoppers and encourage visitors to linger and enjoy what’s on offer from the eclectic mix of tenants,’ said Lapham.Retail space at the shopping centre will be occupied by a couturier, a bakery, microbrewery, furniture manufacturer, a restaurant, a coffee shop and a boutique garden centre. Art galleries and studios, a children’s playground and an amphitheatre will be thrown into the mix.Before undertaking any major construction development, most retail developers prefer to have at least 70% of their retail space pre-let. However, 27 Boxes will be different and pre-letting is not a requirement, according to Lapham.Permanent tenant shops will be complemented by “pop-up” shops available for periods of a week, allowing the centre “to constantly evolve’ its offering in terms of tenant mix. With Citiq having been given the go-ahead to start construction by the City of Johannesburg, the company hopes construction will be done by the end of January 2015, with the retail centre opening its doors in February.Mill Junction in Newtown27 Boxes follows yet another of Citiq’s Johannesburg “shipping container’ projects which saw the company convert grain silos into student accommodation in Newtown. The Mill Junction, which uses one of the old Premier Mill silo structures as a base, is topped with four floors of repurposed shipping containers and houses 400 students.Lapham said shipping containers have long been associated with pop-up malls and temporary exhibition stands. They have also provided the basic building block for a number of internationally acclaimed retail developments. Box Park in London, and a retail park in Christchurch, New Zealand, are both examples of what can be achieved with the humble shipping container, he said.“We look forward to providing residents and tenants with a shopping experience that will spearhead the revival of Melville,’ said Lapham.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.