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Businesses boom as shoppers flock to malls ahead for shopping
21 December 2017, 1:22 PM

Packed parking lots, long snaking queues and jubilant shoppers are features at this time of the year at shopping malls across Gauteng.

Malls across the province are abuzz with activity as shoppers rush to get their hands on their Christmas goodies. Many shopping centres have also extended their trading hours this month to accommodate the high number of patrons.

With Christmas and the New Year just around the corner, malls are abuzz with activity. Men, women and children can all be seen frequenting malls and filling their trolleys while indulging in their Christmas shopping.

Little 10-year-old Sirion Chetty who loves Christmas shopping, says he wishes that his parents were millionaires so that he can get all his dream presents.

“My parents said the economy is bad you know. If we had a lot of money I would buy drones, nerve guns, sweets and nice shoes. But I’ll just settle for a remote control car this year.”

From toy shops to clothing stores to groceries outlets, business is booming ahead of Christmas.

Christopher Mdulaiza is an owner of a liquor store in Randburg and he says December has always been the best month for sales.

“All I can say is that the business is good so far because most of the people are coming to buy each and every time so the shop is always full. We don’t have a day where we can say the business is not going good. But all I can say that business is good because of the festive season and everyone is happy and I’m happy too.”

Consumers cautioned to be extra careful about their spending

Mohammed Hannif is the manager of a large retail store at Cresta shopping centre and he says the Christmas rush is already in full swing.

“Customers will walk into your stores waiting in the long lines, waiting for that specific shoe, order the best of the best just for the month of December waiting for the perfect gift for their loved ones, for their family members just to keep them happy. You get us as retailers extending our trading hours just to keep a customer satisfied to give them the service that they need.”

Despite all the good deals and specials stores have on offer this season, Lebogang Selibi from the National Credit Regulator (NCR) has advised consumers to be extra careful about their spending.

“Our advice is especially for those people who will be receiving bonuses and who have already received bonuses to not forget to do their monthly budget to include their extra income they received from their bonus, to buy and keep school uniforms now in December, to pay for essential expenses now and to also save for the New Year. We know that a lot of people have been paid around the 15th of December and will be paid again at the end of January so the income they have must last them about a month and a half.”

Despite the festive season being filled with happiness and celebration, it’s also a time where criminals are on the prowl.  Shopping malls can get extremely busy this month and if you are not careful, you can quickly become an easy target for criminals.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula says he has instructed all police officers to deal swiftly and decisively with criminals.

“We are not warning them, we are just telling them that those who promote criminality, we will take them off society and take them were they belong and that is jail. Criminals must know that we have got an appointment with them and there is no retreat in relation to fighting crime and dealing with dangerous criminals, we will meet them pound for pound and toe for toe.”

It’s also very important to never leave packages and shopping bags visible on your car seat. When you take your shopping bags full of goodies back to your car and want to continue shopping, you should park your car in another spot so criminals who may be watching you, think that you have left for the day.

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ANC bans higher structure members from contesting lower structures
21 December 2017, 11:51 AM

A member serving in the higher structure of the African National Congress (ANC) will not be allowed to contest a position in the lower structure. Once a person has been elected to a higher structure he or she will have to relinquish a position in the lower structure.

That’s according to the newly amended constitution of the ANC.

The party’s National Conference held at Nasrec south of Johannesburg also emphasised the need for party structures to strengthen mechanisms in the organisation that will speedily deal with disputes to avoid members going to court to seek recourse.

The ANC conference has tightened the screws ensuring that party leaders elected to upper structures do not for convenience go down to lower structures to contest for positions. In March this year Andile Lungisa who was a member of the party’s Eastern Cape PEC defied directive from former Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe not to contest a position of Regional Chairperson in the Nelson Mandela Bay.

Lungisa pointed that there was no clause in the party’s constitution that prohibits him from contesting in a lower structure. Now the conference has made an amendment to the constitution to deal with similar issues.

Head of the ANC’s subcommittee on constitutional amendments, Dr Mathole Motshekga addressed a media briefing on the party’s constitutional amendment.

“Where a person holding a position in the lower structure but elected to a higher structure, that such a person should relinquish their positions in the lower structure. Or if you are in the higher structure you should not avail yourself for election in the lower structure.”

They also emphasised on the need for party structures on strengthening mechanism in the organisation that will speedily deal with disputes to avoid members running to court to seek recourse.  In some provinces including KwaZulu-Natal and Free State aggrieved members opted to take the party to court accusing the party of failing to address their concerns.

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa says attending swiftly to complaints by party members will reduce instances where members resort to court for find recourse

“But what we seek to do is to create sufficient mechanisms internally without undermining the right of our members where they feel aggrieved that they can go out of the organisation. But let us not create that possibility; we must create mechanisms. For example we must deal with issues of gate keeping, because people could go to court because of gate-keeping. That’s why we say we must exhaust and create very elaborate mechanisms, internal mechanisms, to avoid further to find ourselves to have to be directed by courts on our failure.”

The conference ruled that the Integrity Commission derived its powers from the ANC NEC and therefore it is accountable to the ANC and therefore will make recommendations to the NEC.

In the run up to the conference some members felt the commission should be given more teeth and that its findings be binding.

ANC NEC top ten
21 December 2017, 9:59 AM

All the African National Congress (ANC) senior leaders who wanted to contest the top six positions have made it to the governing party’s national executive committee (NEC).

This however excludes former party treasurer general Mathews Phosa. He was vying for the position of the president alongside other six candidates. The party announced its new members of the NEC on Thursday morning. They include former ANC Youth League deputy president Ronald Lamola.

Zweli Mkhize tops the list after he received 2550 of the 4283 votes, followed by Dr Nkosazana Dlaminni-Zuma with 1975.

Several members who also serve as cabinet ministers have also made a cut into the NEC. They include Mildred Olifant, Lindiwe Zulu, Mosebezi Zwane, Nosiviwe Maphisa-Nqcakula, Faith Muthambi and Malusi Gigaba.

ANC leaders who didn’t make it back in the NEC include SA Communist Party (SACP) leader Blade Nzimande and ministers Thulas Nxesi, Gugile Nkwinti and Senzeni Zokwana.

Amongst those who made it into the 80 member strong NEC is Bheki Cele, Senzo Mchunu, Pravin Gordhan, Naledi Pandor, Zingiswa Losi and Jackson Mthembu. These are known supporters of the newly elected president of the ANC Cyril Ramaphosa.

However, some of those who openly campaigned for Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to lead the ANC secured enough support needed to be an NEC member. They include Pule Mabe, Nomvula Mokonyane, Nathi Mthwethwa and Bathabile Dlamini.

It remains to be seen whether these two different sides will be able to deliver on the conference’s mandate of unifying the organization, following bitter squabbles in the build up to the conference.

Who is Cyril Ramaphosa? A profile of the new leader of South Africa’s ANC
21 December 2017, 7:30 AM

South Africa’s governing party, the African National Congress (ANC), has a new president – Cyril Ramaphosa. But who is he?

Ramaphosa cuts a fitting figure to take over government, stabilise the economy, and secure the constitutional architecture that he helped create at the end of apartheid.

But to expect more would be expecting too much. He is unlikely to veer far from the traditional economic path chosen by the ANC.

There are five important features we can draw on to make some conjectures about the man.

The early days

Ramaphosa was born in Johannesburg, the industrial heartland of South Africa, on November 17, 1952. The second of three children, his father was a policeman. He grew up in Soweto where he attended primary and high school. He later went to Mphaphuli High School in Sibasa, Limpopo, were he was elected head of the Student Christian Movement soon after his arrival, attesting to his Christian beliefs.

He studied law at the then University of the North (Turfloop), where he became active in the South African Students Organisation, which was aligned to black consciousness ideology espoused by Steve Biko. He became active in the University Student Christian Movement, which was steeped in the liberation black theology of the black consciousness movement.

After graduating with a degree in law, Ramaphosa continued his political activism through the Black People’s Convention, for which he was jailed for six months. He went on to serve articles and joined the Council of Trade Unions of South Africa which was to form the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) with Ramaphosa as its first secretary general. He helped built the NUM into the largest trade union in the country, serving as its secretary general for just over 10 years.

Business and politics

His prominence and public stature grew even more when he was elected secretary general of the ANC in 1991. He went on to play a key role during South Africa’s transition, becoming one of the key architects of the country’s constitutional democracy.

Under the auspices of the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (Codesa), he became the ANC’s lead negotiator during negotiations on a post-apartheid arrangement.

Following this, he led the ANC team in drawing up a new constitution for the country. It is now considered one of the most progressive constitutions in the world.

In 1994 Ramaphosa lost the contest to become President Nelson Mandela’s deputy. Having Thabo Mbeki appointed instead was a blow, but persuaded by Mandela, Ramaphosa went into business.

For the next two decades Ramaphosa put his energies into building a large investment holding company Shanduka with interests in sectors ranging from mining to fast foods. The success of the group confirmed his reputation as a skilled dealmaker and negotiator.

During this 20-year period in business, Ramaphosa established deep links in the private sector in South Africa.

This set him at odds with sections of the ANC which believe that the post-apartheid arrangements delivered political power, but not economic freedom. These voices have become louder under President Jacob Zuma’s presidency with calls for radical economic transformation and action to tackle white monopoly capital.

Ramaphosa will have his work cut out for him as he tries to accommodate these demands by driving a more inclusive social compact in the country while simultaneously trying to manage rampant corruption in the private and public sectors.

Road to presidency

Even during his years in business Ramaphosa remained close to the ANC, serving as a member of the national disciplinary committee.

But he made his major comeback onto the political scene at the ANC’s 2012 elective conference in Mangaung, Bloemfontein where he was elected deputy president of the ANC, and later of the country.

Two years prior to this Ramaphosa became deputy chairman of the state-run National Planning Commission. He presided over its diagnostic report, which set out the problems facing the country in clear terms. A plan was drawn up to provide answers to the challenges identified in report. Known as the National Development Plan, it was tabled as a blue print for the type of society South Africa could become.

The plan showed Ramaphosa’s strengths as an architect of social compacts.

Since its tabling the plan has been left to gather dust. But it remains a point of reference, and serves as a counterpoint to calls for radical economic transformation.

Ramaphosa is likely to emphasise stability – in government and the ANC. Given his history he is likely to want to stabilise the economy rather than to pursue radical interventions.

Ramaphosa has a personal interest to secure a stabilising social compact akin to the one he negotiated in 1994 given developments that have left the country economically and socially weaker. These have included allegations that parts of the state have been taken over by corrupt civil servants and some private sector interests, high levels of unemployment and increasingly fractious public debates.

Not surprisingly during his campaign trail he moulded his image on the sanctity of the rule of law and on the dictum that social stability hinges on respect of the rule of law.

The big question mark over Ramaphosa is how effective he will be. Although he’s been the deputy president of the ANC and of the country for five years, some believe that his influence has been minimal and that he has not been able to imprint his leadership on the party – or the country.

Will he be able to impose his will on those he now leads? Ramaphosa will be presiding over officials who have big personalities and have enjoyed long periods of political power. They are used to leading, not following.

Capetonians turn to technology as drought crisis worsens
21 December 2017, 7:26 AM

The City of Cape Town says Capetonians and visitors to the city are now able to download a water channel app on their phones.

The app contains the most important drought related and water saving content.

The province is currently facing the worst drought in 100 years.

Dam levels currently stand at 33%. The City says the application is available to all network users.

Steps on the how to download the app can be found on the City of Cape Town’s website.

Mayoral spokesperson Zara Nicholson says its crunch time.

“It is crunch time. We ask all partners to do what they have been doing but to increase their efforts tenfold. There are still too many people who are not doing enough to save water and we need each and every resident on board if we are going to beat this drought and avoid day zero.”

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