YPO Announces the 2017 Global Innovation Award Winners

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Honoring Global Innovators Initiating Breakthroughs   that Inspire Positive Transformation DALLAS – 17 May 2017 – YPO, the premier chief executive leadership organization in the world, concluded its second-annual YPO Innovation Week by announcing the winners of the Global Innovation Awards, which honors those YPO members who have created transformative innovations and nurture continued growth […]

Minister Nathi Nhleko on speeding up transformation of property and construction sectors

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Transformation of the property & construction sectors to be speeded up-Nhleko

The baseline study towards transformation of the property sector as well as the launch of the construction sector codes and charter are to be finalised to speed up the radical economic transformation agenda, Public Works Minister, Nathi Nhleko announced in his Budget Vote speech tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.

We will integrate all initiatives aimed at transforming procurement processes to be in line with the charter and focus on promoting skills development through the Built Environment Skills Pipeline Strategy to support the roll out of infrastructure delivery in the country, declared Nhleko.

Nhleko indicated that the Council for the Built Environment (CBE) will be hosting a Transformation Indaba on 29 August 2017 at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Gauteng to deal with challenges of the governance framework.

He acknowledged that skills shortage remains a challenge and expressed appreciation of the partnership that his department had established with Universities of Technologies and the private sector to address it.

A programme to place interns for work place training was implemented during the financial year under review, he said.

The professional councils and entities that have been established should strengthen and support us to deliver on our mandate, Nhleko emphasised.

He cited the CBE Act, Construction Industry Development Board(CIDB) Amendment and other pieces of legislation that have been passed over the years to professionalise the construction and built environment sector.

Source: Government of South Africa

Norwegian Man Freed From DRC Jail

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A man who was sentenced to life in prison for murder and espionage in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been freed and has returned to Norway, Norwegian newspaper Verden Gang reported Wednesday.

Joshua French, who has dual British and Norwegian citizenship, was serving a life sentence after he and a fellow Norwegian, Tjostolv Moland, were convicted of murdering their driver in Congo in 2009 and spying for Norway � charges they both denied. They originally were sentenced to death, but their sentences were commuted.

French and Moland were in Congo researching ideas for an extreme tourism company when they were charged with and found guilty of the murder of Abedi Kasongo. The two men said their car had been ambushed by gunmen and that their driver had been shot.

The men also were charged with espionage because they were carrying military ID cards at the time. The Norwegian government denied that the men were spies.

Moland found dead

In August 2013, Moland was found dead in his prison cell. A Congolese military court found French guilty of strangling Moland, but a Norwegian forensics team assisting French informed the court that Moland had hung himself.

Earlier this year, Congolese Justice Minister Alexis Thambwe Mwamba told Norway’s largest media organization, NRK, that French would be released this year.

French’s mother, Kari Hilde French, wrote on her blog that her son’s health recently has been “very bad,” and that his most recent stint in the hospital had lasted 4� months.

“Our greatest wish is to get Joshua French home alive before it is too late,” she wrote.

Source: Voice of America

Plans underway to arrest overcrowding at Correctional Centres

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Cape Town � Plans are in place to reduce overcrowding at Correctional Services centres, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha said on Wednesday.

The Minister was briefing journalists ahead of tabling the Correctional Services Budget Vote in the National Assembly, in Parliament.

He said national overcrowding currently stood at 137%, a figure that varies from centre to centre.

Plans are in place to introduce measures that would reduce overcrowding by way of relocating offenders from overcrowded to less crowded centres, while effecting necessary and urgent infrastructural improvements and necessary expansion to realise more bed space in response to an ever rising need, he said.

The Minister said a continued increase in offender population has presented unavoidable challenges of overcrowding at correctional services facilities over the years.

Recently, in 2016, non-governmental organisation Sonke Gender Justice brought a case of overcrowding at Pollsmoor Correctional Centre near Tokai in the Western Cape.

Minister Masutha said the case once again highlighted the problems that overcrowding creates towards ensuring safe custody premised by humane conditions.

We need to highlight that we have reduced overcrowding in Pollsmoor to at least 157%, much closer to an order of the Western Cape High Court of 150%, he said.

Shorter-term sentences on lock-down

The Minister said, meanwhile, that while the number of offenders who have been given longer term sentences were on the rise, those that were being given shorter sentences were on a decline.

In the past 13 years (2003 � 2016), sentences between six and 12 months decreased by 51% and those between 12 to 24 months plummeted by 71%.

What is even then worrying is that sentences between 10 and 15 years increased by 77%, he said.

The Minister said the number of offenders sentenced to 20 years and above increased by a 439%, while lifters grew up by 413%.

This, the Minister said, was unfortunately an indication that South Africa is becoming an increasingly violent society.

The figures, the Minister said, were indicative of the fact that there is an urgent need to create additional bed space and to take extra levels of care on the existing infrastructure, which is dilapidating due to limited maintenance.

I have seen many of our regions taking advantage of offender labour to do some of the critical maintenance work, and this must be applauded, the Minister said.

Department to manufacture and distribute sanitary towels to young girls

The Minister said, meanwhile, that the department would play an active role in assisting young girls who, at times, miss school because they cannot afford sanitary towels.

In October, the department was granted full patent rights for a sanitary pads machine that was invested by Johan Piek, a Correctional official from the Leeuwkop Production Workshop.

This machine will enable us to make a much needed contribution to society and bring back dignity in our young women.

At Boksburg, 25 offenders successfully completed their training in horticulture and the centre continued to produce accredited artisans to the tune of 35 in 2016 alone, the Minister said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Global health improving but challenges remain: WHO

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A comprehensive review of the state of the world’s health shows progress for many people in recent years, but plenty of challenges too, if Member States are to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

That’s according to a new World Health Organization (WHO) report, published on Wednesday.

Among its findings, it shows that although many people have better access to healthcare than ever, they are more likely to fall into debt to pay for it.

Daniel Johnson has more.

This year’s edition of the World Health Statistics review provides a snapshot of gains and threats to people’s health all over the globe.

Gathered using data from 194 Member States on more than 20 health-related sustainable development goal targets, the report compares how far countries have come � or not � so far this millennium.

The statistics reveal plenty of progress towards combating HIV, in anti-malarial net distribution, antenatal care and sanitation.

It’s not such good news on tuberculosis however; the latest global data suggests more than 10.4 million new TB cases and 1.4 million deaths in 2015.

This treatable and curable disease is a major problem, especially in Africa, where access to diagnosis and treatment is to blame, but also in the former Soviet states of Eastern Europe.

The World Health Organization’s Dr Christopher Dye explains why:

“The rate of TB is going down in these countries, that’s the good news. The bad news is it’s going down very slowly indeed. And an important confounding factor in slowing that decline is the spread of drug resistance.”

There’s been more success in reducing deaths from non-communicable diseases � a key Sustainable Development Goal target.

According to the WHO report, the probability of dying from diabetes, cancer, heart or lung disease among 30 to 70 year-olds has fallen by 17 per cent since the year 2000.

More worrying is the cost of healthcare in low to middle-income countries, with latest data indicating that more than nine in every 100 people are likely to suffer financially because of it.

Source: United Nations Radio

Minister Michael Masutha: Correctional Services Budget Vote 2017/18 media briefing

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Budget Vote Media Statement by the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Adv. Michael Masutha

Ladies and gentlemen of the media, thank you for taking time to be with us for this briefing ahead of our Budget Vote at 14h00.

The Department of Correctional Services plays an important role in the criminal justice system in South Africa as part of the JCPS Cluster and the justice value chain. The citizens of this country must never doubt our ability of building a South Africa where all people would enjoy quality life in a safe, and secure, environment. The Annual Performance Plan encapsulates the Department’s predetermined objectives for the 2017/18 financial year, as well as the performance targets we have set in order to deliver on our mandate. We take leverage from the National Development Plan which compels government to build a just, fair, prosperous and equitable society that everyone can proudly call home. It is for this reason that our programmes are structured to transform individuals to leave our centres as change agents. The budget allocation for 2017-18 financial year is R22.8 billion, aligned to effect the implementation of our programmes.

In November 2015, I established a Task Team to drive the review of our parole system. I will be reporting to the Members of Parliament today that a draft position paper has been finalized. Key to note is that consultations are continuing, and we shall keep the media updated. Various pieces of legislation impacting on the parole system including Correctional Services Act and Criminal Procedure Acts are being reviewed. Once all necessary processes have been finalized, we will approach Cabinet and Parliament with draft legislation to effect implementation of the Position Paper.

Key to our capacity to deliver on our core mandate is adequate infrastructure which must be in a proper state. Nationally our overcrowding is at 137% and varies from centre to centre depending on a number of factors including the size and location of the centre. Plans are in place to introduce measures that would reduce overcrowding by way of relocating offenders from over-crowded to less crowded centres while effecting necessary and urgent infrastructural improvements and necessary expansion to realize more bed space in response to an ever rising need.

A continued increase in offender population has presented unavoidable challenges of overcrowding in our correctional facilities over the years. A case brought by Sonke Gender Justice, in December 2016 on overcrowding in Pollsmoor, has again highlighted the problems that overcrowding creates towards ensuring safe custody premised by humane conditions. We need to highlight that we have reduced overcrowding in Pollsmoor to at least 157%, much closer to an Order of the Western Cape High Court of 150%.

We are pleased that shorter term sentences keep on decreasing, while long term sentences are on the rise. In the past 13 years (2003- 2016), sentences between six and 12 months decreased by 51% and those between 12 to 24 months plummeted by 71%. What is even then worrying is that sentences between 10 and 15 years increased by 77%. The number of offenders sentenced to 20 years and above increased by a staggering 439%, whilst lifers grew by 413%. This says that we are increasingly becoming a violent society.

Looking at these figures, there is an urgent need to create additional bed space and take extra levels of care over our existing infrastructure which is dilapidating due to limited maintenance. Utilization of offender labour will go a long way in reducing the level of dilapidation in our facilities. I have seen many of our regions taking advantage of offender labour to do some of the critical maintenance work, and this must be applauded.

Having visited the new Tzaneen Correctional Centre construction site in January this year, I am happy that many major projects are progressing as per the schedule. Standerton phase II has been completed, and the last phase is planned to be finished this year. The renovated Correctional Centre in Estcourt will also be completed this financial year.

A while ago government realised the need to centralize the development of a centrally coordinated and transversal information system within the criminal justice system resulting in the introduction of the Integrated Justice System project which is supported by establishment of portals by each of the key stakeholders in the justice system value chain that would support such a system. Living in the 21st century compels us to modernize our systems, and take full advantage of Information Communication Technology. The Integrated Inmate Management System (IIMS) is not only ground-breaking, but it streamlines business processes across all correctional facilities, and provides a single-view of inmate and offender information, based on biometric identification.

The system is up and running in Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre and Johannesburg Remand Detention Centre, having commenced on 19 March 2017. IIMS will give us clear cut profiles of inmates in our facilities, and such profiling is key in terms of classifying offenders accordingly. We are on course with the national roll-out, and such innovation is complemented by other technological advances such as the installation of cell phone detection technology in eleven (11) centres and fourteen (14) body scanners to be installed this financial year.

Our responsibility is to rehabilitate all those admitted in our centres, and marshal them into a new path. The thrust of offender rehabilitation showcases correctional centres as places of new beginnings, where education and skills development are the beating heart of corrections. Those at high risk are young people, who constitute more than 65% of the offender population in this country. However, we do take solace from some of our programmes which point to a positive outcome. Our matriculants in the 2016 academic year achieved at 72.1% pass rate albeit slight reduction from last year, there was improvement in Maths and Science.

We are also humbled by some of our partners who continue to invest in our rehabilitation programmes. The National Skills Fund (NSF) has approved over R87 million, for 2017/18 to 2018/2019 financial years, targeting to skill more than 10,058 offenders. Another partnership was established with the Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority (SASSETA), with a commitment to provide funding for the training of offenders in various accredited skills programmes.

The Department of Correctional Services can, and will, play an active role in assisting young girls who, at times, miss school merely because they cannot afford sanitary towels. In October 2016, DCS was granted full patent rights for the sanitary pad machine, invented by Correctional Official Mr Johan Piek, at Leeuwkop Production Workshop. This machine will enable to us make a much needed contribution to society, and bring back dignity in our young women. At Boksburg, 25 offenders successfully completed their training in horticulture and the centre continued to produce accredited artisans to the tune of 35 in 2016 alone.

We are a Department of caring individuals, and I have invited a Correctional Official, by the name of Aubrey Baloyi, as one of my special guests for his humility and goodwill. Mr Baloyi saved R2000 from his learnership stipend and bought Mr Cesar Cumbe a wheelchair, having realised Mr. Cumbe’s daily struggle of using self-made knee pads in order to crawl. This is well in line with the spirit of Ubuntu, and this country needs more Baloyi’s. As a Department, we are very proud of this young man.

Correctional Services will continue to offer employment through Learnership programmes. Our target is the youth, who are most vulnerable. We also make a concerted effort to attract learners from child-headed household backgrounds, and we are privileged to have two of them with us today � Alex Sello Chokoe from Polokwane and Nompilo Angel Moyeni from Kokstad. Our contribution was awarded a gold medal for the Best Interns Learnership Programmes and Best Skills Programme, at the National Skills Authority (NSA) awards ceremony. Such recognition has even encouraged us to further recruit 3, 096 youth in the next learnership programme. It is, therefore, not surprising that we have reduced the backlog of unfilled vacancies, by 7.4% in the past financial year.

A vexed issue that has repeatedly been raised with me during the izimbizo and other public engagements is the issue of criminal records, pointed as a significant hindrance in the employment of ex-offenders. Save for minor offences which are administratively expunged at the lapse of a period of 10 years, a person retains criminal record for life even beyond completion of their sentence unless they receive a presidential pardon upon application. This is a global practice and it is meant amongst other things as an alert regarding a person’s past criminal conduct for potential employers but not be construed as legal barrier for employment of that person. We are however reflecting on the concerns raised and will be looking at the desirability of reviewing the law in this regard in line with international best practice

Ladies and gentleman, rehabilitation of offenders remains key and it is our quest to foster transparency. Let us engage and move South Africa forward!

Source: Government of South Africa