Author: Liesl Frankson

Old Cape Town hospital to be converted to R3bn housing development

Conradie Hospital in Cape Town is soon to be the site of a new R3 billion housing development following the Western Cape Cabinet’s decision to approve the project. Speaking at a press briefing this week Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said that the development was a step towards redressing “apartheid urban space” News24 reported. The development, which is known as the Conradie Better Living Model, is situated between Thornton and Pinelands and will include affordable housing, road infrastructure and public transport in the surrounding area. Transforming apartheid spatial planning Commenting on the development Zille said transforming apartheid spatial planning was a big priority for the City of Cape Town.  “This project will help accelerate our efforts in this regard. We are planning on getting more projects like these going,” she added. Zille noted that collaboration between the state and private sector would be key to keep housing units affordable. “The State makes the land available and the private sector... Read More

Eskom working to keep a black Christmas at bay

Eskom has asked all its senior managers to cancel their festive leave as the utility works around the clock to keep the lights on this Christmas. According to the utility it needs all hands on deck to try and reduce the current load shedding to a minimum of stage one as opposed to the stage two currently underway. Speaking at a media briefing on Thursday, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan assured the public that his department and Eskom are hard at work to put a plan in place that will ensure stability. Poor management and maintenance The minister identified poor management and poor maintenance of old power stations was as some of the reasons for the load shedding, which Gordhan termed a “crisis.” “Today we feel the effect of State capture and the reality that we have very old power stations that we are operating,” the minister said. Agreeing with Gordhan, Eskom Chairman Jabu Mabuza noted that the utility... Read More

Ekurhuleni keeping an eye on air polluters across the city

In an effort to identify and tackle harmful emissions the Ekurhuleni Municipality has deployed continuous ambient air quality monitoring systems across the city. Following a feasibility study that identified areas with high concentrations of air pollution the municipality strategically placed 10 stations across the city from Bedfordview to Tembisa. Legal obligation The stations will assess ambient air pollutant concentrations and the information produced from the systems will be used to determine their impact on the environment, as well as the health impact on the community. Ekurhuleni’s Air Quality Practitioner (AQP) Bobby Marilli says the City has a legal obligation to monitor ambient air in terms of National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act No 39 of 2004. “The most harmful kind of air pollution is the ones we can’t see with the naked eye. Air pollution occurs if there is a change in the composition of the ambient air caused by smoke, dust, gases, fumes, aerosols and odorous substances which... Read More

Emfuleni condemns attacks on its infrastructure

The Emfuleni Local Municipality has condemned the ongoing attacks on its infrastructure from cable theft syndicates. According to the municipality the attacks, which recently claimed the life of a security guard at the Rietspruit Waste Water Treatment Works, have reached crisis levels in the municipality. “Theft, damage and vandalism of municipal infrastructure are worrying factors which have reached crisis level in Emfuleni,” the municipality said. “Over the past five years, the municipality has lost over R1 million on cable theft at Rietspruit WWTW alone. This latest incident will drain a further R 280 000 from the coffers of the already financially burdened ELM,” it explained. An embattled municipality The embattled municipality was thrust into the spotlight recently with the collapse of its finances and service delivery, particularly its sewage services which resulted in the pollution of both Emfuleni and surrounding rivers including the Vaal. The situation in the municipality has been so dire that national government has had to step... Read More

Reports of sewage in water fake news – Joburg Water

Johannesburg Water has dubbed messages doing the rounds on social media about sewage in its water supply as fake news. “Johannesburg Water has noted the WhatsApp messages that has been doing the rounds since this morning alleging that water in Coronationville is contaminated with sewer, we can state on record that we haven’t received any formal complaint to this regard, the source of this information cannot be traced and there has been no report of a sewer burst in the area,” the utility noted in a statement on Wednesday. It added that its laboratory teams were on standby to test the water as soon as the exact location of the contamination could be established or the radio station that reported on the contamination could provide further information. “The water is the City of Johannesburg is safe to drink and the alleged message is fake news,” Johannesburg Water said. Water quality concerns in Gauteng Meanwhile the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse... Read More

The Dung Beetle Project: Empowerment through innovation

In an effort to address the problem of plastic waste, deforestation and the continent’s energy crisis in one fell swoop, not-for-profit organisation Alliance Earth has created an incredible engineering solution that converts plastic waste into energy. By Liesl Frankson The UN Environmental Programme says that around 8 Mt of plastic waste ends up in the world’s oceans each year. That’s the equivalent of a garbage truck full of plastic being dumped into the ocean every minute. At the same time, sub-Saharan Africa is facing a wood fuel crisis with massive environmental consequences, as the most dominant energy form for cooking and energy for many communities remains wood. The Dung Beetle Project aims to address these and other challenges in a fun and innovative way using art, education and technology that has existed for almost 100 years. The solution – a plastic gasification system covered by a steel structure in the form of a dung beetle – uses pyrolysis to... Read More

Coca-Cola pledges half a billion rand to stimulate recycling

Coca-Cola has pledged more than half a billion rand over three years to stimulate recycling industries across Southern and Eastern Africa. The investment, which was announced at the Global Citizen Mandela 100 Festival, is expected to create more than 19 000 income opportunities, many of them for women. The company also announced the launch of a new 500ml Bonaqua PET bottle that will be made from 100% recycled PET which will be available from March 2019. Speaking at the event Maserame Mouyeme, Director: Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability at Coca-Cola Southern & East Africa acknowledged the harm that packaging, in particular plastic, can do to our environment. World without waste “At Coca-Cola we believe in doing business in the right way because people matter and our planet matters too. So as part of our World Without Waste strategy by 2030 for every bottle or can that we sell globally, we will take one back so that it has more... Read More

Government relaxes Western Cape water restrictions

Following good seasonal rainfalls, the Department of Water and Sanitation has decided to relax water restrictions from for urban and agricultural use in the Western Cape. According to Rashid Khan the Department’s Regional Head of the Western Cape, water availability at is currently much healthier than a year or two ago which is why national government has decided to relax water restrictions by 45% to 10% for domestic use and 60% to 10% for agricultural use. Khan notes that the decision to relax water restrictions is based on the hydrological data that was recently updated by the department through a scientific model. “The model shows that reducing water restrictions will bring the system into balance and it will then be operated to ensure security of supply to both urban and agricultural users,” he explains. Ensuring uninterrupted water supply Khan says the reduction of restrictions is residual and is also aligned to climate change impacts. “It must be noted that... Read More

Eskom wants government to take on its R100bn debt

In an effort to shore up its balance sheet, Eskom is looking to government to absorb R100 billion of its debt Chairman Jabu Mabuza told the Business Day newspaper. The plan, which forms part of the utility’s turnaround strategy, would add 2% to debt-to-GDP ratio and according to the report is likely to be seen as negative by ratings agencies. Mabuza made the comments to Business Day as Eskom was meeting investors on a roadshow to London and the United States this week. Increasing debt This comes after Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said Eskom should go to bond markets for funds rather than rely on state bailouts, which have been used in the past. The utility’s debt has increased to R419 billion, and the company has resorted to load shedding as insufficient spending on maintenance has reduced its ability to generate electricity. Mabuza further confirmed the utility’s dire financial situation at a news conference last week noting that asset... Read More

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