September 2016

Responding to student protests: should the law be a tool of justice or violence?

Many South Africans fear and mistrust the police. Kim Ludbrook/EPA

What is needed to enable South Africa’s universities to proceed with the academic year? The answer, according to some, is to deploy private security companies on campuses.

Several of those who support such interventions are at my own institution, the University of Cape Town (UCT). As a law lecturer, I find this disquieting. Using private security companies as an alternative to police when engaging with protesters ignores the context within which these protests are occurring.

I teach a number of students who were involved in 2015’s initial #feesmustfall protests. They came face to face with private security guards and officers from the South African Police Services. When I am teaching them about private security and public order policing, I must take their lived experiences into account. Not doing so would make my classes irrelevant for failing to go beyond the written word of the law.

SANRAL hosts tender training workshops

SANRAL hosts tender training workshops
© picsfive – [[www.123rf.com 123RF.com]]</span>The South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) is hosting tender training workshops to help SMMEs create sustainable enterprises. The workshops are part of SANRAL Southern Region's community development and Routine Road Maintenance Projects, and is offered as part of SANRAL's Small Contractor Development, Training and Community Participation in SANRAL contracts.
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Solid Green offices awarded LEED certification

Solid Green offices awarded LEED certificationSolid Green's office in Rosebank, Johannesburg, has been awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification for commercial interiors. The project received six-star Green Star SA Interiors v1 certification earlier this year, and won the Highest Rated Building category at the Green Star SA Leadership Awards in July.
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Solid Green offices awarded LEED certification

Solid Green offices awarded LEED certificationSolid Green's office in Rosebank, Johannesburg, has been awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification for commercial interiors. The project received six-star Green Star SA Interiors v1 certification earlier this year, and won the Highest Rated Building category at the Green Star SA Leadership Awards in July.
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To DIY or not to DIY - that is every homeowner's question

To DIY or not to DIY - that is every homeowner's questionWhether you've just moved into your new place and have a few renovations and fixes in mind to make it your dream home, or if your older home needs a bit of a refresh, deciding whether or not to do it yourself is a huge consideration. Take for example tiling, while a small tiling fix can be done in a couple of minutes, a larger scale project could end in disaster if not done properly (think tiles falling off the wall and smashing to the ground).
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The Mandela Foundation's verdict on the Mandela era: it failed ...

Nelson Mandela, accompanied by his wife Winnie, walks out of the Victor Verster prison on February 11, 1990. Ulli Michel/Reuters

In a little-heralded move in 2015, the Nelson Mandela Foundation released a “position paper” on race and identity. It was written by the Foundation’s CEO Sello Hatang and archivist Verne Harris.

Sadly, it triggered little debate, possibly overtaken by #Rhodesmustfall and #feesmustfall, the subsequent political fallout and rise of Fallist movements. This is ironic, given that the purpose of the paper seemed to be re-positioning the Foundation to be a part of the segment of civil society that regards 1990-1994 as a moment of failure.

The African National Congress (ANC) and other liberation movements were unbanned by the apartheid government in 1990. In 1994 South Africa had its first democratic election, which the ANC won. The four year period came with a number of gains, most obviously formal equality, gender equality and others. There was also defeat for many less savoury proposals such as minority rights and so on.

South Africa's research output will be the biggest victim of student protests

The costs of student protests are far higher than imagined. Rogan Ward/Reuters

It will cost around R600 million to repair the damage caused by student protests across South Africa. That’s according to the country’s Minister of Higher Education and Training.

I’d suggest that this figure is merely the tip of the iceberg. The true cost of these protests is far higher. This cost can’t be measured in hard currency – yet. The higher education sector is being held to ransom and universities could lose the ability to do their core work: to teach and to conduct research.

This will have dire consequences for the entire country. South Africa is already struggling to produce enough skilled labour to meet demand. If universities cannot complete their academic years, as some fear, some students may miss out on the chance to graduate on time. They may choose to drop out entirely rather than trying to fund another expensive year of study.

Bright academics and postgraduates are likely to seek work or study opportunities elsewhere and major research projects could stumble as higher education’s crisis deepens.

Damaging the research machine

I have been an academic for more than 30 years. I have taught students; I still supervise postgraduates and I run a very successful research programme.

Why student protests in South Africa have turned violent

A student tries to stem her bleeding during clashes at the University of the Witwatersrand. Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

“Burn to be heard.” This chilling statement has been doing the rounds through word of mouth and social media on South African campuses in recent weeks.

The message has to be taken seriously. Buildings and vehicles at several universities have been burned since a new wave of protests kicked off in the middle of September 2016. The arsonists haven’t been identified yet, but government and university managements’ fingers are pointing at student protesters.

Some students have also used disruptive tactics to shut their campuses down until their demands for free education are met.

Universities have responded by securitising their campus; seeking wide-ranging interdicts against students and deploying private security guards.

How have things come to this?

Leave no Trace Camping; Green Camping Tips

Leave No Trace principals, sometimes shortened to LNT, is a must whether you are car camping or heading far into the backcountry.

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A new twist to whodunnit in science's famous Piltdown Man hoax

Eoanthropus dawsoni, or the Piltdown Man, never really existed. Wikimedia/Wellcome Images, CC BY

In 1912 it was announced that some remains of “the earliest Englishman” had been found in a gravel pit. This “hominid”, Eoanthropus dawsoni, became known as the Piltdown Man.

About 50 years later, South African anatomist Joseph Weiner exposed the Piltdown Man as a hoax. He revealed that a human skull and a modern orangutan jaw, both stained brown, had been deposited together in the gravel pit.

Weiner and his colleagues named Charles Dawson, a lawyer and amateur archaeologist based in Sussex, as the prime suspect in the forgery. Dawson claimed that his involvement in Piltdown had started when workers digging for gravel found the skull fragments and handed them to him.

It later emerged that Dawson was responsible for more than 30 forgeries. It is speculated that Dawson committed these in the hope of becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society – a distinction he never achieved.

Dawson’s role in the Piltdown Man hoax appears to have been confirmed in 2016 by palaeo-anthropologist Dr Isabelle de Groote and her colleagues. High-tech forensic analyses led them to conclude that only a single hoaxer, presumably Dawson, was responsible. The case seems closed. But is it?

Jobs: Property Development Manager - Kenya

Country: 
Kenya

PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT MANAGER - Kenya

Join an internationally active professional property consulting organisation with projects in the Far East, American and various locations in Africa. Due to ongoing projects and breaking new ground, our Client is looking for top quality people to support their ongoing growth.

You would need to have experience working for a property company in the investment arm and move into development manager for at least 5 years. If you have handled Project Management - this would be of great value to our Client. Qualification could be B Com/a related Engineering or Construction degree and a MBA would be advantageous. Support a well experienced developer to continue to make a meaningful foot print in Kenya, based in Nairobi. Project range includes major retail malls, various commercial buildings. They have some industrial projects which are due to be launched within the next 6 months - others projects are current.

Should you have this experience and are keen to explore an opportunity in Kenya, this may be for you. Expat conditions apply. Pse forward an updated CV - look forward to hearing from you.

Projects show growing importance of sustainability and innovation in tourism and travel

Oudebosch Eco Cabins, Kogelberg
Oudebosch Eco Cabins, Kogelberg</span>Recognition given to three key environmentally-rooted projects, which are among the final qualifying entries in the AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation, underscores the growing importance of sustainability and innovation in the tourism and travel and conservation sectors - as well as those where environmentalism more broadly plays a part.
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Projects show growing importance of sustainability and innovation in tourism and travel

Oudebosch Eco Cabins, Kogelberg
Oudebosch Eco Cabins, Kogelberg</span>Recognition given to three key environmentally-rooted projects, which are among the final qualifying entries in the AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation, underscores the growing importance of sustainability and innovation in the tourism and travel and conservation sectors - as well as those where environmentalism more broadly plays a part.
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Local players keen to exploit opportunities in gas sector

Local players keen to exploit opportunities in gas sectorThe South African engineering consulting industry has positioned itself to harness opportunities in the gas sector, but a clear gas master plan is required to convince investors and other stakeholders to put their weight behind the country's energy plans.
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Tsogo Sun shuffles Hospitality Property Fund’s top Management

SA’s largest hotel and casino operator, Tsogo Sun Holdings said on Tuesday last week that it had shuffled Hospitality Property Fund's senior management‚ following its takeover.

Gauteng government to Auction 31 state owned properties

Gauteng provincial government on Tuesday announced that it will be selling 31 state owned properties at auction in October, including Premier David Makhura's official residence in Bryanston.

Significant milestone for Buildings rated with Green Star SA certifications

The Green Building Council South Africa's (Gbcsa) total buildings rated with Green Star SA certifications hit the 200 mark for the first time, following the council's 10th year of operation.

Are Kenyan children ready for the leap from pre-primary to primary school?

Four-year-old Stacey Musimbi sits inside a specialised early childhood deaf unit programme in Nairobi. Reuters/Samantha Sais

A child’s brain develops rapidly during the first five years of life. In this time it is exposed to countless stimuli in a variety of environments. Research has demonstrated that participating in early childhood programmes leads to higher levels of academic achievement and better adjustment during later schooling years.

The significance of early childhood education is attested to by its positioning as the first goal in the World Declaration on Education for All which aims at,

Expanding and improving comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

In Kenya, preschool education is not compulsory. A child is not required to attend a pre-primary or early childhood development and education (ECDE) class before joining primary school. Nonetheless, many public primary schools have pre-primary schools linked to them.

Out of the more than 40,000 ECDE centres in Kenya, nearly 70% are attached to a primary school. There are 114,831 teachers with less than half of them professionally trained.

Africa's MeerKAT 'first light' images have blown all expectations

SKA South Africa

Something hugely important is happening in a vast, quiet stretch of South Africa’s Northern Cape province. A new radio telescope operating at just a quarter of its full power is revealing the universe’s secrets one image at a time.

MeerKAT will ultimately become part of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope. Once it’s completed some time in the decade following 2020, the SKA will be the world’s largest radio telescope. The project is shared between South Africa and Australia. It’s not just its size that sets it apart from other radio telescopes but also sensitivity and speed. At full power, the SKA will have 50 times the sensitivity and 10,000 times the survey speed of the best existing telescopes.

It will see more, and see it faster. It can explore the universe and answer some of humanity’s biggest scientific questions – like, “Is there life out there?” and “How are galaxies formed?”

All of this lies some time in the future. But already, MeerKAT is yielding remarkable results.

Off to a good start

MeerKAT currently comprises 16 dishes (of an eventual 64) functioning as a telescope array – a radio telescope works by effectively linking smaller dishes together and operating as one.

Explainer: the Non-Aligned Movement in the 21st century

Members of the Non-Aligned Movement meet at the session of the 17th summit of heads of state and government. DIRCO

When the Cold War started in the mid-twentieth century, the two world powers - the Soviet Union and US - responded by organising their allies into rival military alliances. The US founded the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), and shorter-lived alliances. The Soviet Union founded the Warsaw Pact.

Another response among some underdeveloped countries of the third world was neutrality. Presidents Sukarno of Indonesia, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Josip Tito of Yugoslavia and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of India co-hosted the Bandung Conference of 1955. They invited all governments who did not wish to join one of those two world power alliances.

The conference’s main themes were peaceful coexistence, and independence from colonialism and imperialism.

The Mayor of Mogadishu: what you get when African cliché is dropped

Mohamed Noor (left) and Huda Omar pose for a photograph during their wedding ceremony in Mogadishu, a picture at odds with the city's reputation. Reuters/Feisal Omar

News reporting is always shaped by a considerable amount of tension. How do you strike the balance between hooking the audience with the sensational while supplying sufficient detail and context for an informed understanding of the events being reported?

This tension is most apparent when dealing with complex issues set in environments geographically distant from your audience. Reporting Africa to the world has been shaped by this tension. It has also been shaped by frames that can replicate colonial prejudices, Cold War stereotypes or project images of “otherness”.

This is captured in Africa’s Media Image in the 21st Century: From Heart of Darkness to Africa Rising, a new volume by Mel Bunce, Suzanne Franks and Chris Paterson.

In their fascinating and informative new study of Africa’s media image, the trio relate how journalists have to fight to get stories from Nigeria and other key states into the news as areas worthy of reporting in their own right and not just when there was “trouble” there.

Conservation decisions must protect the livelihoods of people living in Africa

Bushmeat market in the Democratic Republic of Congo Flickr/CIFOR

182 member states of the world’s biggest convention on wildlife conservation have committed – at this year’s gathering – to consider how trade decisions impact community livelihoods.

The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) regulates trade in threatened species. But can its decisions improve livelihoods? More pointedly, can its decisions undermine the rights of communities to development, food security or their cultural heritage?

These questions feed into a wider debate about the relationship between conservation and development. Models of “fortress conservation”, “green grabbing” or “fences and fines” have been seen to place the interests of nature ahead of the development needs of local communities. This has generated resentment among some communities towards wildlife protection.

A broad range of multilateral frameworks such as Rio+20, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Sustainable Development Goals seek to address this. They envision a mutually beneficial and synergistic relationship between conservation and development objectives.

Quality control for building constructions: Six essential tests to perform

Quality control for building constructions: Six essential tests to performQuality control is a crucial process in many industries. It is particularly more important in building constructions for safety reasons since a single building collapse or electrical installation fault could lead to loss of many lives and properties.
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Quality control for building constructions: Six essential tests to perform

Quality control for building constructions: Six essential tests to performQuality control is a crucial process in many industries. It is particularly more important in building constructions for safety reasons since a single building collapse or electrical installation fault could lead to loss of many lives and properties.
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McConnell Dowell scoops award for project excellence

McConnell Dowell scoops award for project excellenceMcConnell Dowell, a subsidiary of Aveng Limited, was recently awarded for Excellence in Project Execution at the International Pipe Line & Offshore Contractors Association (IPLOCA) Awards.
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AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation finalists announced

AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation finalists announcedThe final qualifying entries for the 2015/2016 AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation have been announced.
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AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation finalists announced

AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation finalists announcedThe final qualifying entries for the 2015/2016 AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation have been announced.
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Devoted to urban planning

Photo by Jake Belcher
Photo by Jake Belcher</span>After internships and work opportunities at prominent architecture and social good firms like MASS Design Group, Rwanda and UrbanAfrica, MIT Master's student Billy Ndengeyingoma believes that well-designed housing can empower people and improve their lives. Born in Kigali, Rwanda, Ndengeyingoma realised that as an urban planner he is in a position to offer solutions to some of Africa's housing problems.
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#InnovationMonth: New technique extracts value from industrial ponds

#InnovationMonth: New technique extracts value from industrial ponds
© antikainen – [[www.123rf.com 123RF.com]]</span>On a satellite map of any of SA's big mines or refineries, there will be a series of blue-green pools. From afar, they look almost pretty, but they are brine ponds filled with a soupy sludge of water contaminated with the byproducts of industrial processes.
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