Wednesday 24th May 2017

In apertura della sua giornata romana il presidente degli Stati Uniti Donald Trump incontra Papa Francesco in Vaticano. Giunto nella Sala del Tronetto dell’appartamento papale, il presidente Usa ha incontrato il Pontefice e i due si sono scambiati una cordiale stretta di mano e alcune parole di saluto prima di iniziare un colloquio privato.

Il seguito che accompagna Trump da Papa Francesco è composto da 12 persone: la first lady Melania; la figlia Ivanka Trump col marito Jared Kushner; il segretario di Stato Rex Tillerson; l’assistente del presidente per gli Affari della Sicurezza nazionale H.R. McMaster; la assistente del presidente e direttrice delle Comunicazioni strategiche Hope Hicks; Daniel Scavino, assistente del presidente e direttore dei Social media; Gary Cohn, assistant del presidente e direttore del Consiglio dell’Economia nazionale; Louis Bono, incaricato d’affari ad interim presso la Santa Sede; Dina Powell, vice assistente per gli Affari della Sicurezza nazionale; Keith Schiller, vice assistente e direttore delle operazioni dello Studio ovale; Alessandra Bonatti, interprete.
 
Vestita in nero, veletta dello stesso colore: così Melania Trump si è presentata all’udienza con Papa Francesco. Come vuole il protocollo vaticano, infatti, soltanto le regine cattoliche possono vestire in bianco, mentre tutte le altre donne ammesse all’incontro con il pontefice devono essere vestite in scuro e con il capo coperto.

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Celebrazione anche alla Farnesina con il ministro degli esteri Alfano - 

President Jacob Zuma will on Thursday, 25 May 2017, host the national 2017 Africa Day celebration at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria.

Africa Day is celebrated annually on 25 May within the African continent to mark the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on 25 May 1963 and the African Union (AU) in 2002, as well as chart the progress made by the continent since then to advance democracy, peace, stability and socio-economic development.

The theme for Africa Month 2017 is “The Year of OR Tambo: Building a Better Africa and a Better World”. South Africa will use the day to reaffirm support for the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and commit the country to playing its role within the AU to ensure the successful implementation of the vision and plan to build a better Africa.

The 2017 Africa Day will also mark the celebration of 23 years since the country’s reintegration into the OAU/AU and the international community, following the dawn of freedom and democracy in 1994.

“Africa Day affords us an opportunity to celebrate our African identity. Our country was isolated for decades from the rest of the continent due to the evil system of apartheid colonialism. We are now a full member of the African continent, and since 1994, our continent is correctly the primary focus of our foreign policy,” said President Zuma.

The President said the celebration of Africa Day also provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the contribution of the African continent to South Africa's struggle for liberation.

“Through establishment of the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) in 1963, the Africa continent became a pioneer in being the first continent to focus on and encourage nation building through unity and freedom from oppression. We can never forget the refuge provided by many countries in the continent to South Africans who went into exile and provided material, social, political and military support. Africa Day thus provides an opportunity to celebrate that African solidarity and to continue expressing it through the ongoing support for many in the continent who are caught up in conflict. It is a day for us to celebrate African solidarity, friendship, a common humanity and destiny,” said the President.

The celebrations take place a few weeks after the successful hosting of the World Economic Forum on Africa meeting.

“The 27th session of the World Economic Forum on Africa was a tremendous and fruitful success for South Africa as we have collectively made a clear and coherent statement that South Africa and the African continent are ideal investment destinations and they are open for business,” President Zuma said.

South Africa continues to contribute to peacemaking, peacekeeping and post-war reconstruction and development efforts in the continent. South Africa also plays a key role in the economic development of the continent through the growing private sector investment in many countries within the continent.

The Africa Day celebration will be attended by ambassadors and high commissioners from Africa and abroad as well as stakeholders from various sectors.

Issued by: The Presidency
Pretoria

Giornata dell’Africa alla Farnesina

ROMA - Giovedì 25 maggio, in occasione del cinquantaquattresimo anniversario della fondazione dell’Unione Africana, si svolgerà alla Farnesina l’evento celebrativo della Giornata dell’Africa 2017.

“Si tratta di una celebrazione dall’elevato valore simbolico, che avviene poco prima del Vertice del G7 di Taormina, il cui outreach è dedicato all’Africa e che mi offre l’occasione per ribadire che il perno dell’azione di politica estera dell’Italia deve essere oggi più che mai rivolto verso il Mediterraneo e l’Africa”, ha commentato il ministro degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale Angelino Alfano.

I lavori inizieranno alle 15.00 con una breve introduzione del direttore generale per la Mondializzazione e le Questioni Globali della Farnesina, Massimo Gaiani, che darà lettura del messaggio di saluto del signor presidente della Repubblica Sergio Mattarella, al quale seguirà l’intervento del ministro Alfano.

Sono previsti anche gli interventi del presidente di turno dell’Unione Africana, Mohamed Chérif Diallo, ambasciatore della Repubblica di Guinea, e dell’ambasciatore della Repubblica del Congo, Mamadou Kamara Dekamo, in rappresentanza del Corpo diplomatico africano presso la Repubblica Italiana.

Parteciperanno all’evento il presidente della commissione Esteri del Senato, Pier Ferdinando Casini, e numerosi ambasciatori dei Paesi africani accreditati al Quirinale, nonché rappresentanti di istituzioni, università, istituti di ricerca, associazioni imprenditoriali, Organizzazioni Internazionali e ONG. (aise)

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339. Ms D Carter (Cope) to ask the President of the Republic:
With reference to his reply to oral question 4 on 17 March 2016, wherein he stated that he is intervening and dealing with the relationship between the Minister of Finance, Mr Pravin Gordhan, and the Commissioner of the SA Revenue Services, Mr Tom Moyane, at the presidential level (details furnished), (a) what are the details of the action he has taken at the presidential level and (b) why has his intervention at presidential level not resolved anything? NW389E

Reply:
Mr PJ Gordhan is no longer the Minister of Finance.

The Minister of Finance, Mr Malusi Gigaba and the SARS Commissioner, Mr Tom Moyane, have a good working relationship. There is no longer a need for mediation.
 
 
394. Mr D J Maynier (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:
(1) Whether he (a) has taken or (b) will be taking any action to deal with the request by the Commissioner of the SA Revenue Service, Mr Tom Moyane, contained in a statement on or about 24 February 2017, to intervene in the strained relationship between the Minister of Finance, Mr P J Gordhan, and the Commissioner; if not, why has he not or will he not be taking any action in respect of the Commissioner’s request; if so, what action has he taken or will he be taking in respect of the Commissioner’s request;
(2) whether he has found that the decision by the Commissioner to convene a press conference to make a statement about his strained relationship with the Minister was in the best interest of the SA Revenue Service; if not, why not; if so, why? NW447E

Reply:
1. Mr PJ Gordhan is no longer the Minister of Finance. The Minister of Finance, Mr Malusi Gigaba and the SARS Commissioner, Mr Tom Moyane, have a good working relationship. There is no longer a need for mediation.  
2. In light of the response under (1), this question is no longer relevant.  


421. The Leader of Opposition (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:
(1) On what date did he first gain knowledge (a) of the transfer of thousands of mentally ill patients from Life Esidimeni Healthcare to 27 unlicensed non-government organisations (NGOs) and (b) that some of the specified patients had died in the care of these unlicensed NGOs;
(2) Does he intend to establish a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Esidimeni tragedy; if not, why not; if so, by what date? NW474E

Reply:
1. I was briefed by the Minister of Health on Life Esidimeni on 1 February 2017, which was immediately after the release of the report on the matter by the Health Ombud, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba. Immediately after this briefing, on behalf of the government, I extended our deepest condolences to the families of psychiatric patients who died so tragically in Gauteng.  
2. The investigation that was conducted by the Health Ombud was comprehensive and sufficient with regard to assisting government with information to deal with the matters at hand. As such I am not intending to establish a Commission of Inquiry.


422. The Leader of the Opposition (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:
Does he intend to take any action against the (a) Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and (b) Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, following the court finding that Government’s decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court was unlawful and unconstitutional; if not, in each case, why not; if so, what are the relevant details in each case? NW475E

Reply:
No. The two Ministers represented the National Executive in these proceedings. As the Honourable Member clearly points out in his question, this was a Government decision, based on legal advice from highly competent lawyers.  

423. The Leader of the Opposition (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:
What were the reasons for employing the SA National Defence Force to assist the SA Police Service with maintaining law and order in and around the Parliamentary precinct on the occasion of the State of the Nation Address on 9 February 2017? NW476E

Reply:
The Honourable Member will recall that the DA approached the Cape Town High Court on this matter. I am therefore not in a position to comment further on it. The Court must be given an opportunity to deal with the matter.


480. Mr W M Madisha (Cope) to ask the President of the Republic:
How does he explain the rationale behind his decision to relieve three eminent and respected black advocates (names furnished) from their duties at the Judicial Services Commission? NW537E

Reply:
I am empowered by Section 178(1) (j) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, (the Constitution) as Head of the National Executive to designate four persons to serve on the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), after consulting the leaders of all the parties in the National Assembly. Members of the JSC that I have designated serve until I replace them in terms of Section 178(3) of the Constitution. The three members served in that capacity since 2009 and I decided to replace them to enable others a chance to also serve on the JSC. I would also like to once more express my gratitude to the three members for the immeasurable contribution they have made during their tenure.  


545. The Leader of the Opposition (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:
Has he nominated the former Minister of Finance, Mr Nhlanhla Nene, for any position at the New Development Bank, in line with his public commitment to do so in December 2015; if not, why not; if so, (a) on which date did he nominate the specified person, (b) for which position at the New Development Bank and (c) what progress has been made to date to appoint the person in the specified position? NW602E

Reply:
I have on several occasions, including in a reply to a written Parliamentary Question (No. 347), publicly stated that South Africa indeed nominated Mr Nhlanhla Nene for the position of Head of the African Regional Centre of the New Development Bank, also known as the BRICS Bank. No further action is being taken in this regard as Mr Nene subsequently accepted a position in the private sector.


546. The Leader of the Opposition (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:
Did he pay Fringe Benefits Tax on the non-security related upgrades at his private homestead in Nkandla; if not, why not; if so, (a) on what date did he pay the specified taxes and (b) how much tax did he pay? NW603E

Reply:
The issue of Tax is a confidential matter between the South African Revenue Services and the Tax payer.    


802. Mr M Waters (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:
Whether the Minister of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, either in her current position or in her previous position as Deputy Minister of Social Development ever applied through the Executive Members Ethics Act, Act 82 of 1998, for permission to retain any gifts; if so, (a) on which dates did the Minister apply for such permission, (b) what was the nature of the gift, (c) what was the value of the gift, (d) what is the name of each person who gave the gifts, (e) which company did each person who provided the gift work for at the time and (f) was permission granted in each case? NW865E


815. Mr D J Maynier (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:
With reference to the official statement, titled Finance Investment Roadshow, issued by The Presidency on 27 March 2017, what are the detailed reasons that he cancelled the National Treasury’s non-deal international investor roadshow headed by the Minister of Finance, Mr P J Gordhan, which was scheduled to take place between 27 March 2017 and 31 March 2017? NW878E

Reply:
There are two separate cases currently pending in the Gauteng High Court and the Constitutional Court respectively. The issues to be considered by the Courts, amongst others, relate to Mr Gordhan in his capacity as the former Minister of Finance. It will therefore be inappropriate to comment on the question asked while these matters are before the Courts.   
 

870. Mrs A M Dreyer (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:
(1)(a) How many times has the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Comprehensive Social Security (IMC) met since its establishment in 2016, (b)(i) where and (ii) on what date was each meeting held and (c) what was on the agenda of each meeting;
(2) which (a) Ministers serve on the IMC and (b) Minister is responsible for calling the meetings of the IMC? NW936E
 
Reply:
1. I established the IMC on Comprehensive Social Security in 2015 consisting of five Ministers (the first five Ministers listed under 2a below). Early this year, I took a decision to reconstitute this IMC to include other Ministers (as listed below).
a Twice.
b (i) & (ii) 9 September 2015 in Cape Town and 12 May 2017 in Pretoria.
c The main agenda of the IMC is to address existing policy gaps by developing a responsive social protection system for South Africa as envisaged in Chapter 11 of the National Development Plan (Vision 2030). The IMC’s agenda also entails taking forward the Social Security Reform Discussion Paper.
1(a) The following nine Ministers are Members of the IMC:
• Minister of Social Development
• Minister of Finance
• Minister of Labour
• Minister of Health
• Minister of Transport
• Minister of Home Affairs
• Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services
• Minister of Communications
• Minister of State Security (b) The IMC was previously co-chaired by the Ministers of Finance and Social Development. However since its reconstitution, I am the Chairperson of the IMC.


947. Ms D Carter (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:
(1) Whether the Government has concluded an agreement for the development of nuclear plants with representatives of (a) the Russian government and (b) any Russian company subsequent to the removal of Mr Pravin Gordhan as the Minister of Finance; if so, in each case, (i) on what date was the agreement concluded and (ii) by whom;
(2) have any agreements been concluded regarding the (a) project management and/or (b) construction of the specified nuclear power plants; if so, in each case, (i) with whom and (ii) at what cost? NW1016E

Reply:
1(a) No
(b) No
 
1(a) & (b): Over the years, before the removal of the former Minister of Finance Mr Pravin Gordhan from office, the Department of Energy has been undertaking the preparations for the rollout of the Nuclear New Build Programme (NNPB). As part of these preparations, the Government has entered into Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs) with nuclear vendor countries. These IGAs cover a broad range of areas for potential cooperation. Amongst others, the IGAs cover the use of nuclear energy for electricity generation including the design, construction, operation and decommissioning of nuclear power plants in South Africa.  

It should however be noted that the Western Cape High Court has recently reviewed and set aside the decision of the Minister of Energy of 10 June 2015 to table some of these Intergovernmental Agreements before Parliament in terms of Section 231(3) of the Constitution.
 
i South Korea, USA, China, France and Russia.  
ii. The IGAs have no financial implications attached to any of them because they are cooperation agreements.
 
 
953. Mr J S Malema (EFF) to ask the President of the Republic:
(1) Whether he is aware of any (a) renovations, (b) security upgrades and/or (c) infrastructure-related works that are being carried out at his private residence in Nkandla by the relevant government departments; if not,
(2) whether he inquired from the relevant Minister after it was revealed in the Sunday papers that such work was being undertaken; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so,
(3) whether he agreed with the relevant Minister(s) that the work is undertaken? NW1081E

Reply:
1. No
2. Please refer to the attached media statement that was issued by the Ministry of Public Works on 23 April 2017.
3. See the reply above (2).  


971. Mr D America (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:
(1) Has he formally determined the (a) remuneration and (b) service conditions of commissioners of the Public Service Commission, including that of the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson, in line with the Public Service Commission Act, Act 46 of 1997, as amended; if not, (i) why not and (ii) by when will he do so; if so,
(2) are the (a) remunerations and (b) service conditions linked to other positions in the Public Service to allow for annual revisions; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;
(3) whether commissioners qualify for any additional benefits, such as medical aid support, pension benefits and housing allowances; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details? NW1099E

Reply:
1. The Conditions of Appointment are derived from or are linked to the salaries and conditions of service which apply to comparable (identified) Senior Management positions in the Public Service. Due to this link, I will be able to issue the 2017 Annual Determination once the cost of living adjustment for Members of the Senior Management Service for 2017 has been determined by the Minister for Public Service and Administration, after consultation with the Minister of Finance.  

2. The Conditions of Appointment, inclusive of remuneration and conditions of service, applicable to members of the Public Service Commission are derived from or are linked to the salaries and conditions of service which apply to comparable (identified) Senior Management positions in the Public Service. The conditions of service of Senior Managers in the Public Service are determined by the Minister for the Public Service and Administration. Despite the linking of the salary dispensation of Members of the Public Service Commission with the Senior Management Service, the salary progression measures (notch increases) introduced for the SMS in 2002 for implementation with effect from 1 April 2003 were not extended to Commissioners.

(3) The Conditions of Appointment applicable to Members of the Public Service Commission provide for an Inclusive Flexible Remuneration Package for members of the Public Service Commission. This package consists of the basic salary (70% of the package), the State’s contribution to the Government Employees Pension Fund (13% of the pensionable salary) and a flexible portion. The flexible portion can be used for a motor car allowance, 13th cheque, medical assistance, housing allowance or non-pensionable cash allowance.  It should however be noted that the total amount structured for these benefits must equal the amount available in the flexible portion of the Member’s package.  


1075.  Mr D J Maynier (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:
Whether an intelligence report played any role in informing his decision to reshuffle the Cabinet on 31 March 2017; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details? NW1214E

Reply:
The status of the so called intelligence report is a subject of litigation in Court proceedings, in which the Democratic Alliance is a party. I therefore cannot comment on the matter.

Supporting document below:
PQ 953
Statement issued by the Ministry of Public Works, 23 April 2017

MEDIA STATEMENT

PUBLIC WORKS MINISTER NKOSINATHI NHLEKO DENIES KNOWLEDGE OF FURTHER UPGRADES AT PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA’S NKANDLA RESIDENCE

The Minister of Public Works Nkosinathi Nhleko has learnt with shock that Government plans further upgrades of President Jacob Zuma’s private residence in Nkandla as reported in the local media today.

Since Minister Nhleko moved to public works this month, he has held several meetings with senior members of the Department of Public Works on various key strategic issues relating to the department.

Said Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko: “No one has ever briefed me about the alleged planned upgrades and it is all news to me. If indeed such upgrades are on the cards, it certainly would be tantamount to misconduct that I have not been formally appraised on the matter.”

Minister Nhleko also finds it extremely disturbing that someone from the legal department allegedly spoke to the media on this matter without the knowledge and sanction of the Ministry of Public Works.

“What informs this overzealousness and breach of internal media liaison protocols and guidelines?”

Tomorrow the Minister will seek clarity on the alleged upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla private residence from the Director General of Public Works Mziwonke Dlabantu.

For now the Ministry of Public Works will not be making further public comments on the matter.

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Dear Resident,        
        
Cape Town’s overall dam levels are at the lowest level seen in recent years and the continuing drought crisis means that everyone needs to cut their water usage even further.

We urgently request that you:
•    only use municipal drinking water for drinking, cooking and essential washing
•    limit your usage to 100 litres per person per day.

As of 1 February 2017, the City of Cape Town applied Level 3B water restrictions to help conserve the critically low municipal drinking water supply. Make sure that you are adhering to Level 3B water restrictions, looking for and fixing any water leaks on your property and saving water in your home.

The City’s Mayoral Committee has recommended that Council adopt more stringent Level 4 water restrictions. If approved, the new restrictions will come into effect on
1 June 2017.

The proposed Level 4 restrictions include:
•    No irrigation with municipal drinking water allowed at all
•    No washing of vehicles, trailers, caravans or boats with municipal drinking water allowed – use only non-potable water or waterless products
•    No topping up or filling of residential swimming pools permitted, either manually or automatically
•    Irrigation from boreholes or alternative water sources within 7 days of rainfall discouraged
•    All exemptions granted under Level 2 or Level 3 restrictions are revoked, and only certain re-application will be allowed
•    Higher water tariffs

Don’t wait for the new restrictions to come into effect – save water now! #thinkwater

Help us save water: report water issues (e.g. burst pipes or faulty meters) and restriction offences:

•    Call 0860 103 089 (choose option 2: water related faults)
•    SMS 31373 (max of 160 characters)
•    Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
•    Online through our Service Requests tool

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Western Cape premier says the road to inclusive growth includes intelligent investment in education, detailed planning, unifying leadership and efficient execution - 

Claire Bisseker - BusinessLive - 


SA is in danger of becoming caught in a stale, polarised debate between the state and the free market when it should be focusing on how to transform society by emulating the experiences of successful nations.

In 1940, the Scandinavian countries had the same economic conditions as Nigeria. In 1965, on gaining independence from Britain, Singapore was worse off than Zimbabwe was at independence. The tiny island nation was battling opium addiction, widespread poverty and unemployment, and was riven with ethnic cleavages.

A relentless focus on education and meticulous planning enabled Singapore to take its diverse population out of poverty to the frontier of the knowledge economy in a single generation (1965-2000). A lack of natural resources forced the city-state to focus on educating its people — people who were "hard-working, thrifty, eager to learn" in the words of Lee Kuan Yew, the country’s first prime minister.

Lee governed for three decades (1959-1990) and though his mildly authoritarian government quashed civil liberties in its obsession with achieving economic prosperity, he succeeded in getting everyone to pull together towards this common goal.

"Trying to get agreement on a few core issues is what Trevor Manuel was trying to do with the National Development Plan [NDP]," says Western Cape premier Helen Zille, who recently returned from a study trip to Singapore.

In fact, she feels Singapore’s national plan from 15 years ago is not that different to the NDP. Adopted by government in 2014 but mostly ignored, the NDP is based on the notion that South Africans have to get past party-political differences to grow the economy, and that growth needs to be the yardstick against which all policies are measured.

"The difference was that in Singapore everyone bought into it, pulled together, and with very good monitoring and implementation, the government actually landed the plan throughout society," says Zille.

Zille doesn’t believe that democracy needs to be put aside to pull people out of poverty, nor is she advocating the kind of cultural discipline that prevails in Singapore, but she is applying some aspects of its developmental approach in the Western Cape.

"Singapore taught me that you start with the workers you have (not the ones you wished you had) and create the greatest number of jobs for them you can," says Zille. "Then you look five years ahead and start ensuring you are training up the required skills."

The Western Cape government has picked three sectors it believes have the potential to grow fast and draw on the type of labour abundant in the province: agriculture and agro-processing, tourism, and the energy economy. Highly labour-intensive agriculture is great for absorbing large numbers of low-skilled workers and the province is already significantly ahead of its job-creation targets in this area. It is also doing well in meeting its tourism targets. "One of the advantages of tourism is that people can be trained very quickly for jobs in this sector," says Zille.

The province is also making strides in developing its green economy.

For Zille, the buzzword for Singapore’s approach to development is "alignment strategy". It involves detailed planning at the level of each industrial sector to get all the actors in that sector to pull together towards an agreed end-goal.

But it goes further than that. Singapore’s next five-year Future Economy Plan involves looking to the "super-smart" economy of the future, then planning back to primary school for the type of education and skills required.

The plan concludes that in an era of rapid technological change where new technologies (like Uber and Grab) can supplant entire industries, and robotics and artificial intelligence are displacing routine jobs, it is vital that workers constantly upgrade their skills to stay relevant.

The plan doesn’t pretend to be able to predict which industries will succeed. Rather, its starting point is that Singapore must embrace change and innovation, and remain open to trade, talent and ideas while building the deep capabilities required by technological development.

For Singaporeans this means thinking of education as a life-long journey and acquiring transferable skills because they are unlikely to stay in one career their entire lives.

Of special interest to SA is how Singapore became a global leader in technical and vocational education.

At Singapore’s independence, more than 90% of school-leavers followed an academic route to careers. This bias against technical education was not aligned with the country’s initial job-creation-through-industrialisation strategy. It also realised that as it moved from a low-cost, labour-intensive economy to a hi-tech, high-skills economy, the demand for skilled technicians would continue to grow.

To enable its economic development, it set out (through the systematic implementation of rolling five-year plans over 30 to 40 years) to end the stigma against technical education and then to make it the preferred choice for school-leavers.

Today, about 70% of Singaporean school-leavers take the technical route through education. In SA the ratio is roughly 60:40, with 1.1m students at university and 700,000 in technical education.

The sector remains stigmatised in SA — partly because of the legacy of Hendrik Verwoerd, who forced a choice between academic education for whites and vocational education for blacks.

Professor Joy Papier, who heads the Institute for Post-school Studies at the University of the Western Cape, feels that the sector "has come a huge distance" and there are now pockets of excellence and really good practice.

"I don’t think we’ve reached the point where the sector is seen as a real option for young people where they can achieve the equivalent of what they can get from higher education," she says. "But perceptions are changing slowly, helped by the fact that enrolment has doubled over the past 10 to 15 years and that, since 2007, bursaries have been made available by the state."

The key lessons from Singapore’s technical-education success include the need for students to acquire a strong foundation at school; for technical colleges to train for the job market (both the present and the future); to offer excellent campus facilities and teaching; to enjoy generous government support; and to build strong links to business.

Taking a leaf from Singapore’s book, the Western Cape has established the SA Renewable Energy Technology Centre (Saretec), a specialised training school within the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

A first in SA, it even has a high tower so trainee wind-turbine service technicians can get used to working at heights. Their qualification is internationally recognised.

To align all the players in the green economy and to get them to pull together, provincial government established GreenCape, a nonprofit development agency under Mike Mulcahy. It played a key role in bringing Saretec to fruition and has developed a system to allow homes and businesses to feed rooftop solar-generated electricity back into the grid. So far 15 Western Cape municipalities have adopted the system, which has been approved by the national energy regulator.

"We help those departments and organisations that have the right levers and mandates to see how they fit together to form part of the bigger picture," says Mulcahy. "It’s about putting the right people in a room together and providing the energy to push the project over the line."

The city and the province are doing everything possible to reduce red tape and to encourage green industries to invest in
the Atlantis special economic zone on the West Coast, with its abundance of wind and sunshine.

According to Moody’s Investors Service, SA has one of the world’s fastest-growing green economies.

Zille says most of this activity is occurring in the Western Cape thanks to the effort being put behind its development.

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