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Children’s Day promotes children’s safety
4 December 2017, 2:36 PM

The Ministry of Social Development has conceded that all children at poverty stricken communities at the Ratlou Municipality in the North West, remain at risk of being trafficked.

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Meat prices spike as drought persists
4 December 2017, 2:07 PM

The prolonged drought gripping parts of the Eastern Cape and other meat producing areas of the country is likely to cause a sharp increase in red meat prices this festive season.

The Red Meat Producers Association says this is largely due to the fact that farmers are forced to reduce their livestock numbers due to a lack of grazing. This has created a demand and supply imbalance.

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Safa announces R23m profit
3 December 2017, 9:05 PM

The SA Football Association (Safa) held its annual congress at the Sandton convention centre on Sunday, which saw the Association record a R23,1m in profit.

The profit is a big turnaround in the association’s coffers. Last year, Safa recorded a huge loss of R45m.

The congress also took a number of decisions which include bringing the 2018 elective congress from September 2018 to March.

The move to bring forward the Elective Congress was informed by the fact that Bafana Bafana have failed to qualify for the Fifa 2018 World Cup.

The idea to move the Safa elections to September 2018 was taken on 2016 in order to allow smooth preparations for the team and to give the new incoming executive a clean start to the World Cup circle.

Now that the team has failed to qualify for Russia, the congress unanimously agreed to bring the elections forward to March.

The Safa Congress on Sunday also agreed to make Zululand President Jeremiah Mdlalose the Safa NEC honorary member joining Obakeng Molatedi, Henry Mosesi, Lesole Gadinabokao and former Safa President Molefi Oliphant.

The congress was chaired by Safa President Danny Jordaan who lauded all members for a successful 2017.

Jordaan said Safa’s investment of over R100m in the National Technical Centre represented a commitment to develop a global benchmark of the development of internationally competitive teams having Provincial Academies among others.

Safa will appoint 18 Provincial Technical Officers, one male and one female, to provide operational capacity to enable the Technical Director to drive the Association’s vision.

Safa has built a robust talent pipeline at local level that has seen the country produce competitive junior national teams.

The Safa President decried the senior national team’s failure to qualify for Russia 2018 as a major setback for the Association’s vision. However, Jordaan said the fact that the junior national teams (Under-17 and Under-20) qualified for the Fifa World Cup as well as the Olympics gives a base for a process of renewal.

SAFA is encouraged by the progress shown by women national teams, with Banyana Banyana being crowned COSAFA champions while the women Under-17 and Under-20 FIFA World Cup campaigns are about to realise another global showpiece qualification.

On the healthy financial affairs of the Association, Jordaan said one key element of Vision 2022 was to build a world-class administration and this can only be achieved by having a financially stable organisation.

“On this front, the challenge has been great. The CEO and his team have done an excellent job of managing this difficult process, and I am pleased to announce that we have once more turned the corner to profitability,” said Jordaan in announcing a profit of 23,1m.

He said the profitability was due to the signing of Nike, South African Airways, SABC, Siyaya, Avis, Burger King and the renewal of contractual obligations with South African Breweries, Energade and Sasol.

He said it was heartening that the association had increased the broadcast revenue from R35m to R100m over this period.

SAFA is building the asset base by investing R100m in building a hotel at the National Technical Centre, SAFA House is worth R70m, the Legacy Trust has R210m in its account and SAFA has considerable shares in Netcare.

The association has also finalised and submitted a claim for US$10m to the South African government in relation to the Diaspora Legacy funding during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

SAFA CFO Gronie Hluyo concurred with Jordaan that strict financial controls had resulted in the big turnover. He said the Association had heavily cut down on its accommodation of the national teams as it was now utilising the National Technical Centre.

Hluyo said while last year the Association’s reserves were R6m, those figures had jumped to R30m this year.

The 2018 budget has been set at R305m compared to R341m last year

UN seeking to evacuate aid workers from Yemen 
3 December 2017, 8:34 PM

The United Nations (UN) is trying to evacuate at least 140 aid workers from the Yemeni capital amid fighting that has cut off the airport road, but is awaiting approval from the Saudi-led coalition, UN and other aid officials said on Sunday.

Coalition aircraft bombed Houthi positions in Sanaa overnight, residents and local media said, aiming to shore up supporters of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh as they battle the Houthi group, which is aligned with Iran.

It was the fourth day of clashes in which dozens have been killed, the Red Cross said.

“There is a plane on stand-by in Djibouti for 140 international staff,” a UN official in Sanaa told Reuters.

About half were from non-governmental organisations, he said.

“Fighting is moving towards the airport and the situation is very tense. We can’t even evacuate staff,” he said.

United Nations staff have been confined to their living quarters in Sanaa since clashes erupted on Thursday, he said.

Shells were falling near the UN compound in Sanaa on Siteen Street on Sunday, with one source on the scene saying stray bullets had hit the compound.

The compound is empty as staff had been told to stay at home and not report to work. Another aid worker with an independent agency in Yemen, who declined to be identified, said the UN was planning to evacuate as many as 180 UN and other aid workers, but UNofficials considered the airport road was not safe enough.

Russell Geekie, a UN humanitarian Spokesman in New York, said the UN planned to reduce the number of non-essential staff in Sanaa, but they could not yet safely move, and exact numbers were unclear due to the fluidity of the situation.

“We are very concerned by the clashes in Sanaa city, which have reportedly resulted in civilian deaths and have negative implications for the humanitarian response,” Geekie said in an emailed response to Reuters.

“At present, fighting is restricting movement within the city, including on the airport road. The airport remains closed with Sanaa residents holed up in their homes.”

Clearance to land at Sanaa airport has yet to be received from the coalition, who control the skies over the Houthi-controlled capital, aid workers said.

Saleh said on Saturday he was ready to turn a “new page” in ties with the coalition fighting in Yemen if it stopped attacks on Yemeni citizens, in a move that could pave the way to end nearly three years of war.

The apparent shift in position came as Saleh’s supporters battled Houthi fighters in Hadda, a district in southern Sanaa where members of Saleh’s family, including his nephew Tareq, live.

In Geneva, Spokeswoman Elodie Schindler of the International Committee of the Red Cross said, “In light of the current chaotic situation, the ICRC is looking to downsize staff presence in Yemen to a core team.”

Shembe’s successor to be announced in two weeks
3 December 2017, 7:40 PM

The legal representatives of the late Nazareth Baptist Church leader in the Thembezinhle faction of Vela Shembe say the announcement of his successor will be made on the 16th of December. Shembe, who died last week Friday after he succumbed to illness, was laid to his final resting place at his home in Mthwalume on the south coast of KZN.

Thousands of congregants of Nazareth Baptist Church gathered at the Thembezinhle temple in uMthwalume on the south coast of KZN to pay their last respects to their late leader.

The funeral was closely monitored by a tight security force to ensure safety.

He took over the faction in 2011 after the death of his brother Vimbeni Shembe who led both Thembezinhle and eBubleni factions.

The church divided after Vimbeni’s death leading to a violent court battle between Vela and Vimbeni’s son Mduduzi Shembe who leads eBubleni.

According to Vela, Vimbeni nominated him as his successor, but the church elders chose Mduduzi.

The court had ruled in favour of Vela.

However, Mduduzi appealed the court’s decision.

Speaking at Vela’s funeral, leader of the Nazareth Church of God bases in Clemont in Durban Reverend Mthembeni Mpanza called for unity in all factions of the church.

Congregants were expecting that a new leader would be announced as it has become a norm in the Shembe Church that when a leader dies a new one is announced on the day of the funeral.

Thembezinhle faction Spokesperson Nkululeko Mthethwa says the late leader has made it clear through his lawyers that he does not want his successor to be announced on the day of his funeral.

Mthethwa says the late leader wants to give both his family and followers time to mourn his death.

“It has become a habit that the new leader is announced at the end of the funeral same day. However, Inkosi Vela made it clear to his lawyers that he does not want this to happen. He wants people to mourn and also to give time to his family.”

Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Willies Mchunu  who delivered a keynote address, called on all church denominations to unite in the fight against social ills, and ongoing violence in the province.

Mchunu called on the church to set a good example.

“The church needs to help government restore morals and respect amongst many of our people in this province. We are experiencing many bad things like violence, crime and racism. The church is our only hope.”

Vela’s family described him as a humble leader who wanted to unite all congregants of the Shembe Church.

Vela’s brother, Menzi Shembe, “As the family, we are very saddened by the death of my brother. He was unique and wanted to bring about change and unity. ”

Meanwhile, none of the leaders from the eBubleni faction were present at Inkosi Vela’s funeral.

Vela’s successor is expected to be announced on the 16th of December.

He survived by his wife and 13 children.

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