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SA rapper AKA.
AKA supports student protests
11 February 2019, 6:55 AM

SA rapper AKA has come out in support of the country’s students as they protest at some institutions of higher learning over various grievances.

On his Twitter account, AKA – whose real name is Kiernan Forbes, says he has been monitoring the situation at Wits University and has called on the public and celebrities to unite behind students.

He also announced that he has donated R100 000 to the SRC Humanitarian fund.

The rapper has urged people to join him at the Knockando Residence Hall of Wits from 1pm on Monday when he will hand out meals to students.

Former ANC Member of Parliament Vytjie Mentor
Mentor back on stand at State Capture Inquiry
11 February 2019, 6:22 AM

Former African National Congress (ANC) Member of Parliament Vytjie Mentor will be back on the stand when the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture resumes in Parktown, Johannesburg, on Monday.

She will complete her evidence and be cross-examined by some of those who have been granted leave to do so.

They include Hawks’ Advocate Mandla Mtolo and Major-General Zinhle Mnonopi.

So far, some witnesses who have testified before the commission have implicated a number of officials and high-profile ANC members in alleged corruption.

They include ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe, National Executive Committee member Nomvula Mokonyane, former party deployee Dudu Myeni and Member of Parliament Vincent Smith.

Cosatu general-secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali says those who are implicated should recuse themselves from any party position until their names are cleared.

“They must wait for their fate. We accept that some of them are not guilty until proven otherwise but for the sake of good governance, the best thing is to wait, clear your name and then say I’m ready to be deployed because I’ve been cleared.”

Click on video below: 

In land-scarce Southeast Asia, solar panels.
Southeast Asia, solar panels float on water
8 February 2019, 1:24 PM

Solar power companies in Southeast Asian that are competing for land with agriculture, industry and expanding populations have found an innovative alternative: placing floating panels in lakes, dams, reservoirs and the sea.

Earlier this week, the state utility Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) said it will submit a proposal for a 45-megawatt floating solar plant in the Sirindhorn dam in the country’s northeast.

EGAT plans to invest in about 16 such projects across 9 dams in the country, deputy governor Thepparat Theppitak told reporters.

Elsewhere in the region, Singapore is developing one of the world’s largest offshore floating solar systems in the Strait of Johor to the north of the island.

“In land-scarce countries like Singapore, the widespread use of PV systems is hindered by space constraints and limited roof space,” said Frank Phuan, chief executive officer of Sunseap Group, which is building the system.

The platform has to be “more robust” than systems in reservoirs or lakes to withstand tougher conditions on the open sea, and to overcome barnacles that may grow on it, he said.

It was also difficult to find a spot in the sea that was not frequented by shipping vessels, he said.

Despite these challenges, floating solar systems are growing quickly in Asia alongside those on the ground and on roofs according to the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS).

While floating panels are more expensive to install, they are up to 16% more efficient because the water’s cooling effect helps reduce thermal losses and extend their life, according to SERIS.

The panels also reduce evaporation from water bodies when temperatures are warm, thus saving freshwater for drinking.

“The greater efficiency offsets the higher cost of installation,” said Celine Paton, a senior financial analyst at SERIS.

“Technological advances should soon bring them on par with ground systems” in terms of cost, said Paton.

Southeast Asia is particularly well suited for floating panels because of the scarcity of land and because they can be easily installed in the region’s many hydro power dams, where they can use existing transmission systems, she said.

China currently accounts for most of the more than 1.1-gigawatts of floating solar capacity now installed, according to the World Bank.

India recently announced a plan to develop 10-GW of floating solar capacity.

The technology’s potential is about 400-GW, or about as much generating capacity as all the solar photo voltaic panels installed in the world through 2017, the World Bank said.

There are concerns that the panels could block sunlight, affecting marine life and ecosystems, and that the electrical systems might not withstand the onslaught of water.

But backers say the technology is proven, and that the panels cover too small a surface area to create major problems.

Sol Plaatje Municipality Speaker Elizabeth Johnson.
Former ANC speaker accuses party of failing her
8 February 2019, 1:02 PM

Former Sol Plaatje Municipality Speaker and ANC member Elizabeth Johnson has accused the ANC in the Northern Cape of failing her, hence her decision to become a member of the newly formed GOOD party.

The former speaker accuses the party of protecting the then Mayor of the Municipality – Mangaliso Matika’s – corrupt activities and overriding her complaint that he made her job impossible through his sexual advances.

She says she was fired as speaker and party member allegedly after she refused to table and approve a budget that she believed had financial discrepancies.

“I refused any corrupt activities, I was in his was, so must remove me. He wanted a relationship with me. You can’t give someone money and say come to my place then he start to kiss me, I did not agree with that. I did go to the police station and did an affidavit.”

Click on audio below: 

Managing Director at Business Partners, Ben Bierman.
‘Not much mention about SMMEs in SONA’
8 February 2019, 11:16 AM

Managing Director at Business Partners, Ben Bierman says that not much mention was made about Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) during the State of the Nation Address on Thursday.

Bierman says however, the little that was mentioned could make things easier for small businesses.

“There was not a lot mentioned on SMMEs, but I think if one takes for instance the drive to improve our competitiveness rating and the ease of doing business – all of those initiatives would make things easier for small businesses in terms of removing some of the red tape.”

Bierman says a vital point made by the president was how SMMEs could drive economic activities through exports.

“For SMMEs I think that, that could be quite vital as well, in the sense that we need to find new markets for those already existing businesses to ensure that they also grow bigger.”

Bierman says the biggest constraint SMMEs face is funding; however he is hopeful that the Budget Speech will be clearer about startup capital and funding for small businesses.

Click on interview below:

Click on video below:



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