March 2017

UCLG Culture Summit: Lasts days to register!

UCLG Culture Summit

From 10-13 May 2017 the Second UCLG Culture Summit will be held in the Province of Jeju (South Korea). The Summit will be a global gathering bringing together cities, local governments, experts and leaders from around the world to discuss culture as a key pillar for sustainability.

Under the theme “Commitments and Actions for Culture in Sustainable Cities”, the Second UCLG Culture Summit aims to develop and reinforce messages on the role of culture in sustainable development, with particular emphasis on the importance of cities and local spaces. It will be a forum for knowledge-sharing, peer-learning and networking among cities and local governments, which expects to gather participants from all world regions. 

Zuma's cabinet reshuffle opens the door for nuclear deal in South Africa

Malusi Gigaba has been appointed as South Africa's finance minister. EPA

South Africa has just witnessed a game changing cabinet reshuffle with the firing of five ministers and several deputy ministers. This included the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his second-in-charge Mcebisi Jonas.

The three ministries with the most critical impact on the energy sector have all been affected, significantly increasing the chances of the country opting for a highly controversial nuclear energy programme.

In the energy portfolio, former minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson has been replaced by cabinet newcomer Nkhensani Kubayi. The minister’s removal might have been driven by her recent passivity around the nuclear build. The second ministry affected is Public Enterprises, which supervises the state electricity utility Eskom, and has a new deputy minister.

But the most crucial change is in the National Treasury which is now in the hands of two perceived Zuma loyalists. Malusi Gigaba, former home affairs minister, is the new finance minister and Sifiso Buthelezi his deputy.

South Africa has lost a key line of defence against corruption. What now?

The sacking of South Africa's Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has created uncertainty about the future of the country's finances. Nic Bothma/EPA

South Africa’s currency and bond markets plunged after a dramatic late night announcement that South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma had fired the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas as part of a major cabinet reshuffle.

It’s no exaggeration to say that the removal of the finance minister is the greatest threat to public finances experienced in democratic South Africa.

Let’s be clear, the motive for removing the minister and his deputy had nothing to do with the responsible and safe management of South Africa’s economy. Rather it has everything to do with Gordhan and his team’s intent to safeguard the fiscus against irresponsible and corrupt activities. It follows that whoever replaces them will be amenable to facilitating such activities.

Stakes for South Africa's democracy are high as Zuma plunges the knife

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has shafted and shifted 20 cabinet posts. Aaron Ufumeli/EPA

South Africa has reached a crisis point in its political history that’s been looming on the horizon for more than a year. In the dark of night – literally – President Jacob Zuma demonstrated his ruthlessness by firing finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, amid a 20-person reshuffle of his government.

The magnitude of what has happened shouldn’t be underestimated. The Save South Africa campaign, echoing the sentiments of the country’s progressive-minded constitutionalists, described Gordhan’s dismissal as “an outrage”.

There are two major concerns. The first is the impact on the economy, the second is a political and democratic one.

It’s not hyperbolic to suggest that what happens next – in the coming hours and days – will determine whether South Africa’s hard-won democracy will survive or whether it will join the club of post-colonial calamities that have scarred the continent’s past. The stakes couldn’t be higher.

LVDC Conference on Sustainable Electricity Access set for Nairobi

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Image source: [[]]</span>In an effort to bring electricity access to 1.3-billion people who currently have none, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) will host a conference in Nairobi, Kenya to unpacking the potential of low voltage direct current (LVDC). The inaugural LVDC Conference on Sustainable Electricity Access will take place at the Hotel InterContinental Nairobi on 22 and 23 May 2017, in partnership with the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS).
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Firing of South Africa's finance minister puts the public purse in Zuma's hands

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma during his State of the Nation Address in February 2017. Reuters/Sumaya Hisham

South Africa has entered a new political chapter that promises catastrophic outcomes after President Jacob Zuma reshuffled his cabinet last night, firing the finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, among others.

In the biggest cabinet reshuffle in post-apartheid South Africa, Zuma replaced 10 ministers and 10 deputies. His decision to replace Gordhan with Malusi Gigaba, who is not known for mastery of the finance and economics portfolio, shocked the markets with the rand falling to a two-year low.

This will lead to substantially higher inflation and an increase in interest rates, with a negative impact on all South Africans. At the same time the country’s credit risk rating will be downgraded, with concomitant higher borrowing costs for the government.

But it’s Gigaba’s close relationship with Zuma’s cronies – particularly the controversial Gupta family – that’s of greater concern. He also appointed another acolyte, Sifiso Buthelezi, to replace Jonas as deputy finance minister.

President Zuma Reshuffles Cabinet

Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma has made changes to the National Executive in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

“The changes bring some younger MPs and women into the National Executive in order to benefit from their energy, experience and expertise.

“I have directed the new Ministers and Deputy Ministers to work tirelessly with their colleagues to bring about radical socio-economic transformation and to ensure that the promise of a better life for the poor and the working class becomes a reality,” the President said in a statement in the early hours of Friday morning.

The changes are as follows;


1. Minister of Energy, Mmamoloko “Nkhensani” Kubayi
2. Minister of Transport, Joe Maswanganyi
3. Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba
4. Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula
5. Minister of Public Works, Nathi Nhleko,
6. Minister of Sports and Recreation, Thembelani Nxesi
7. Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa
8. Minister of Public Service and Administration, Faith Muthambi
9. Minister of Home Affairs, Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize
10. Minister of Communications, Ayanda Dlodlo

Deputy Ministers

1. Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration, Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba
2. Deputy Minister of Finance, Sifiso Buthelezi
3. Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises, Ben Martins
4. Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Maggie Sotyu
5. Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Gratitude Magwanishe
6. Deputy Minister of Communications, Thandi Mahambehlala,
7. Deputy Minister of Tourism, Elizabeth Thabethe
8. Deputy Minister of Police, Bongani Mkongi
9. Deputy Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams
10. Deputy Minister of Small Business Development, Nomathemba November.

SACAP Annual Fees 01 April 2017 - 31 March 2018

SACAP has announced its annual fees and charges for the period 01 April 2017 - 31 March 2018. Council has endeavored to keep the annual increase to a minimum with an increase of seven percent (7%).


Annual Fee for Professionals R2 825,00 (inclusive of 14 % VAT)
Annual Fee for Candidates R1 207,00 (inclusive of 14 % VAT)

The SACAP Annual Fees board notice can be accessed on the following hyperlink : Annual fees and charges for the financial year 1 April 2017 – 31 March 2018.

Registered Persons will find their new invoice for the period 1 April 2017 - 31 March 2018 uploaded onto your personal profile on Your Membership (YM) on Monday, 03 April 2017. YM is SACAP's online information portal tool for registered architectural Candidates and Professionals.

SACAP advises that invoices cannot be made out to companies, and will not be emailed, posted, faxed or printed out by our administrative staff.

UNACLA meeting


24 April 2017. Istanbul, Turkey


the Mayor of Istanbul and Chairman of UNACLA, Mr. Kadir Topbas, is inviting UNACLA members to a special meeting to take place in Istanbul on April 24th 2017. Under the title "The global development agendas, implications for local governments", the meeting will be Chaired by Mayor Topbas. Mr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, has already confirmed his participation.

The points of the agenda will include:

1) The local implementation of the global agendas: what opportunities and challenges for local and regional governments?
2) The role of UNACLA in facilitating the dialogue between local and central governments to implement the global agendas at local level.
3) The voice of local governments in the UN: Strategy of the Global Taskforce.  
4) Events and communication opportunities for the immediate future.


The Kenyan doctors' strike is over, but there's a lot of unfinished business

The end of the doctors' strike in Kenya is a truce in the fight for better health care. Noor Khamis/Reuters

Kenyan doctors have returned to work after a gruelling 100-day strike, but a pressing question lingers: what are the long-term implications of their action on Kenya’s creaking health service?

The doctors had gone on strike to push the government to implement a collective bargaining agreement signed in 2013. They ended the strike after reaching a deal with the government on salary increases of between 40% and 50% for all doctors in the public sector, signing of a collective bargaining agreement within sixty days and that there would be no victimisation of those who had been on strike.

A 40% salary increment is a formidable achievement for a trade union in Kenya: nonetheless other key issues that the union had raised were not fully addressed.

Doctors have resumed work. But the health facilities they work in remain unchanged. The long queues in public hospitals, insufficient supplies, lack of specialists in peripheral facilities and many preventable deaths are still a reality.

Moving forward, the health agenda should take centre stage in Kenya’s political and development debates to push for quality health care and ensure that the colossal health bills don’t continue to cripple Kenyans.

The 'fourth industrial revolution': potential and risks for Africa

Klaus Schwab, the World Economic Forum founder, holds his book about the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Reuters/Denis Balibouse

Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum, argues that the single most important challenge facing humanity today is how to understand and shape the new technology revolution. What exactly is this revolution, and why does it matter, especially for Africa?

The “fourth industrial revolution” captures the idea of the confluence of new technologies and their cumulative impact on our world.

Artificial intelligence can produce a medical diagnosis from an x-ray faster than a radiologist and with pinpoint accuracy. Robots can manufacture cars faster and with more precision than assembly line workers. They can potentially mine base metals like platinum and copper, crucial ingredients for renewable energy and carbon cleaning technologies.

3D printing will change manufacturing business models in almost inconceivable ways. Autonomous vehicles will change traffic flows by avoiding bottlenecks. Remote sensing and satellite imagery may help to locate a blocked storm water drain within minutes and avoid city flooding. Vertical farms could solve food security challenges.

The machines are still learning. But with human help they will soon be smarter than us.

Why South Africa’s courts cannot rein in a delinquent government


South Africans sighed with relief when the Constitutional Court recently handed down a judgment in the country’s social grant saga, averting a catastrophic constitutional crisis. About 17 million social grant beneficiaries would not be left without support. Unfortunately, while the court saved the country from one constitutional crisis, it also revealed the depth of the crisis South Africa is still in: one that’s worsening daily.

The crisis the country faces is that no matter how hard the courts try to protect the public from its delinquent government, they are failing. This is partly because most of the executive demonstrates repeatedly that it sees the orders of the court as a mere obstruction to be overcome, and considers the moral authority of the court irrelevant.

The courts can, as done in this case, push further into monitoring, but the truth is they have no capacity to monitor effectively and no force at their disposal to make the government obey them. The police, prison services and defence force answer to the executive, not to them.

The Constitutional Court’s two main jobs

When the Constitutional Court decides a case, it has two main jobs: to make a finding on the law, and to construct a remedy that will solve the problem. The Constitution allows the court a wide latitude to issue “any order that is just and equitable”.

Thousands flock to Alex Mall for Inauguration

Despite consumers’ seemingly waning appetite for retail therapy, Alex Mall, featuring numerous popular clothing and interiors brands, was officially opened on Wednesday by Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba.

Limpopo Aims to Deliver 80 000 Houses

Lebowakgomo — The Limpopo government will increase the number of human settlements in the fast growing towns as well as the Special Economic Zones areas of Tubatse and Musina-Makhado.

Government aims to deliver 80 000 housing units over the two financial years.

Tabling her Budget Speech in the provincial legislature in Lebowakgomo, Makoma Makhurupetje, the MEC for Co-operative Governance, Human Settlement and Traditional Affairs (CoGHSTA), said that both the volume and the quality of delivery across the province must be increased.

"We will ensure that our housing delivery spreads across growth towns and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) as part of the department's endeavour to meet the target of delivering 80 000 housing opportunities by 2019," MEC Makhurupetje said.

As declared by the Premier of Limpopo Stan Mathabatha and the Department of Trade and Industry as a special economic zone, Tubatse SEZ was allocated R40 million to be spent on housing around the area.

The MEC further said that Musina-Makhado SEZ is allocated R40 million to secure 900 sites during the 2017/2018 financial year.

"The department will also provide an additional R100 million to be spent on housing and additional land over the next three years to support envisaged growth in this SEZ," she said.

The MEC also said additional land will be identified at the Musina and Makhado areas to dove-tail the envisaged growth and foreign direct investment (FDI) with 20 800 jobs to be created through the SEZ.

With the five municipalities having received unqualified audit in the province, the MEC said "in the coming months, we will work with the municipalities that have consistently obtained unqualified audit results to help them deal with the outstanding issues to attain a clean audit".

Furthermore, she said in-line with the priorities of phase two of the back-to-Basics programme, the department will give special attention to municipalities receiving disclaimers.

City of Cape Town takes bold step in Tafelberg battle

Sea Point could be eligible for affordable housing subsidy

By Ashleigh Furlong

The whole of Cape Town is to be declared a “restructuring zone”, meaning that national social housing subsidies can be accessed for any social housing development in the city, including the Tafelberg site in Sea Point.

The City of Cape Town announced this in a statement today.

Referring to uncertainty about current restructuring zones, Councillor Brett Herron, Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, said: “We are proposing to extend our restructuring zones, subject to the Western Cape Government and the National Minister’s approval, so that no area is excluded in future.”

The statement follows questions by GroundUp over the last few days to the City and the provincial cabinet over the status of Sea Point as a restructuring zone.

The Cabinet last week announced its decision not to build affordable housing on the Tafelberg site, giving as one of the reasons that Sea Point is not included in a restructuring zone and therefore the project would not qualify for a subsidy.

A restructuring zone is an area designated for economic, racial and social integration through social housing. A restructuring zone is intended to bring about spatial restructuring, allowing lower income households access to urban areas with economic opportunities from which they would otherwise be excluded.

An application by the City for restructuring zones in the “CBD and surrounds (Salt River, Woodstock and Observatory)” was approved and gazetted in 2010. The City told GroundUp on Friday that it had interpreted “CBD and surrounds” to include Sea Point. But this was clearly not the interpretation of the provincial cabinet.

In its statement today, Herron said: “There is currently some uncertainty as to whether ‘central business district and surrounds’ includes areas like Sea Point, for example.”

Can the relationship between Europe and Africa stand the test of time?

The European Union's relationship with Africa is as old as the independence story. Shutterstock

The signing of the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community (EEC) 60 years ago in March 1957, came at a tumultuous time in relations between Europe and Africa.

Just weeks earlier Kwame Nkrumah had declared Ghana a republic, an event which was a turning point in the decolonisation of sub-Saharan Africa.

Nkrumah remarked that the treaty’s inclusion of colonial territories was to neocolonialism what the Berlin Treaty of 1885 had been to colonialism.

He had a point. Two of the six founding members of the EEC – Belgium and France – still held substantial colonial interests on the continent. Accession to the community thus posed the crucial question of what to do about them.

The question became contentious enough to threaten the collapse of the entire Treaty of Rome negotiation process. The other four members of the EEC were Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Morocco reaps rewards of major changes in its diplomatic strategy

King Mohammed VI of Morocco, (L) walks with Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. Reuters/Tiksa Negeri

At a time when the European Union is bemoaning the loss of the United Kingdom, Morocco has rejoined the African Union, ensuring that every African country is again a member.

Morocco has also served formal notice that it will apply to join the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas). At a time when there’s a growing northern backlash against free trade areas.Morocco has been actively negotiating with more than one of these in Africa.

What is going on? Morocco is now outflanking and outvoting Algeria, South Africa and their allies.

The main reason is that Morocco has been on a massive diplomatic drive, using both its political and economic muscle. Since his coronation in 1999, the king has led over 40 visits to African countries south of the Sahara. And 85% of Moroccan foreign direct investment is in other African countries.

Morocco is today the second largest foreign investor, after South Africa, in other AU countries. It’s also now in a position to grant foreign aid that swings AU votes in its favour.

A solution to Somali piracy is in sight -- local communities hold the key

Suspected pirates surrender to a multinational naval force in 2009. Reuters/Jason R. Zalasky/U.S. Navy

The recent hijacking of an oil tanker by alleged Somali pirates raises a number of important questions. The MT Aris 13 was the first commercial vessel to be hijacked since 2012. For the international community, the question is whether this represents a new spectre of piracy on the horizon.

The attack also raises serious doubt over the long-term effectiveness of current counter-piracy measures. Billions of dollars have been spent on eradicating the menace. Anti-piracy organisation Oceans Beyond Piracy analysis suggests that in 2012 alone about USD$6 billion was spent on mitigating pirate activity around Somalia.

There’s little indication of an imminent large-scale return to piracy off the Somali coast. But there’s no ruling out the possibility of more frequent attacks in the future. The real danger is that, should piracy gain a footing again, the pirates will have considerable skill and expertise to draw on.

Women in Construction Awards 2017 - Call for nominations (Closing date : 03 April 2017)

Construction is everyone’s world, regardless of gender." - Frans Pienaar, Chairman of Inyatsi Construction.

Submit your nomination for the prestigious Women in Construction Awards 2017!

Now in its fifth year, the Women in Construction Awards - have evolved into the leading African platform for the recognition and celebration of women in the construction, cement and concrete industry.

The awards, which comprise both individual and organisational categories, acknowledge the increasingly important role women play in the industry and will be decided by an esteemed
judging panel of industry experts who will assess nominations in the following eight categories.

Individual categories:

      Pioneer in Innovation Award

      New Starter of the Year Award– Under 30

      Woman Architect of the Year Award

Ahmed Kathrada: a simple life full of love after 26 years of incarceration

Ahmed Kathrada leaves a legacy filled with self-sacrifice and courage. Kopano Tlape/EPA

Ahmed Kathrada, one of South Africa’s preeminent struggle stalwarts who has died at the age of 87, was best known to many as Kathy or Uncle Kathy. He was a most unassuming man. Shy and non-imposing, he would walk through his neighbourhood and if approached it would be like meeting an old family friend. He was warm and gentle, always leaving you with a smile. That’s how I came to know and love him.

His quiet demeanour belied a sharp and inquiring mind. Until his last days he was interested in politics always referring to himself as a political animal. He requested a meeting with Rhodes Must Fall activists, exchanging notes on history and activism.

Often he would remind me that “saints are sinners”. Part of being human we had a margin of error, allowing ourselves the right to self-correct but also to forgive. In many ways, he maintained a childlike innocence – always seeing the best in everyone.

Surrounding himself with strong and opinionated people, he married the fierce and courageous Barbara Hogan whom he adored. She was also an anti-apartheid activist. He was most animated with Barbara and his godchildren, Mateo and Hari, sharing stories of domestic bliss including the famous “mouse in the house” that kept eating bits and pieces of his chocolates. Barbara entertained with good humour all his jabs, revealing a warm and tender relationship.

Starting Young: 4 Tips For Reducing Waste In Schools

In order to reduce the amount of waste produced by our schools, we need to emphasize sustainability from a young age. This can be accomplished through student leadership and with the implementation of a few simple programs.

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How to make an Internet of Intelligent Things work for Africa

The Internet of Things offers great opportunities for Africa. Shutterstock

Late in 2016 Senegal’s Banque Regionale De Marches announced the launch of the eCFA Franc; a cryptocurrency for the countries of the West African Monetary Union – Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Togo and Guinea-Bissau. This and similar innovations mark the coming of age of a new generation of applications – an Internet of Intelligent Things – that could provide a new infrastructure for economic development across Africa.

The Internet of Things is a network of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items. They are equipped with electronics, software, sensors and network connectivity so they can collect and exchange data. There’s wide enthusiasm about spectacular innovations such as Intelligent refrigeratorsand driverless cars. But a quieter revolution is underway in everyday systems and facilities, such as financial services.

Why collaboration could help the Niger Delta overcome its difficulties


Nigeria is a country that has amassed major oil wealth, but also suffers from extreme poverty. The Niger Delta, the country’s main oil producing region is one of the areas experiencing chronic underdevelopment and environmental degradation.

Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil exporter and suffers from what’s known as the natural resource curse – a broad term that describes how resource rich countries tend to experience less economic growth. Countries rich in resources like oil are also fertile territory for corruption. Increased national corruption in turn leads to poor development.

This is certainly true in the Niger Delta where money meant for development has been wasted. As a result the situation for local communities has worsened due to a lack of proper healthcare, clean water and jobs.

Ahmed Kathrada: exhibit A of the values imbued in South Africa's Freedom Charter

Nelson Mandela and Ahmed Kathrada share a moment in South Africa's Parliament in 1999. Reuters/Mike Hutchings

Another South African legend has gone. Ahmed ‘Uncle Kathy’ Kathrada, an unassuming, quiet man who has left South Africans with a legacy that’s immediate, not historical.

Born in 1929, two factors mark his life and his passing, as they did for Nelson Mandela: he was African National Congress through and through. And he was a non-racialist. The byline of the Kathrada Foundation, a non-governmental organisation he established, is to ‘deepen non-racialism’. This is something he believed in to his core, even as others around him began to argue for an Africanist approach.

He was saddened that others, in an attempt to advocate for “colour-blindness” or more strident African nationalism, watered down the noble value of non-racialism. He maintained that non-racialism was a radical solidarity that at its very soul had undoing structural and interpersonal racism, and wrote:

I would still insist that meeting the modern challenges of poverty, hunger, homelessness and so on requires an approach that has a non-racial outlook embedded within it.

Tackling Sustainable Development One Step at a Time

There’s no doubt we have work to do. Let’s begin by tackling sustainable development one step at a time.

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Cornubia development roadworks under way

Construction of a bridge over the N2 motorway is progressing well. The bridge will connect Cornubia with the Umhlanga Ridge town centre.
Construction of a bridge over the N2 motorway is progressing well. The bridge will connect Cornubia with the Umhlanga Ridge town centre.</span>Construction on the Cornubia residential and commercial development adjacent to Umhlanga Ridge continues apace. With the Cornubia Shopping Mall scheduled to open in September and residents and commercial tenants starting to take occupation, improving access into the development is necessary says Mtura Matshini, development executive of Tongaat Hulett Developments.
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5th Assises of Decentralised Cooperation

5th Assises of Decentralised Cooperation

10-11 July 2017. Brussels, Belgium 


The fifth edition of the Assises includes an opening session and five parallel thematic roundtables, on 10 July, 2017 and a plenary session and six workshops on 11 July , 2017. The plenary session will bring together the "rapporteurs" of each roundtable to present the main conclusions of the discussions. This will be followed by an exchange of questions and answers between the participants and high representatives of the EU institutions.

5th Assises of Decentralised Cooperation

Kenya leads smart city charge in Africa

By Raidarmax –
By Raidarmax – [[ Wikimedia Commons]]</span>While many see Africa as lagging in harnessing the benefits of smart city development, Kenya is leading the charge to embrace this new technology-rich ecosystem, says Riaan Graham, sales director for Ruckus Wireless sub-Saharan Africa.
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ECOSOC 2017 Integration Segment

ECOSOC 2017 Integration Segment

8-10 Mayo 2017. New York, United States


The 2017 Integration Segment of ECOSOC will be chaired by H.E. Mr. Nabeel Munir, Vice-President of the Council (Pakistan), and will be held 8 to 10 May 2017, at UN Headquarters in New York.

ECOSOC 2017 Integration Segment

What are the regulations regarding pool safety?

What are the regulations regarding pool safety?Very few respondents know of the legislation regarding privately owned swimming pools, according to a new survey conducted by pool cover specialists, Aqua-Net. The legislation was presented to parliament by the National Regulators for Compulsory Specifications (NCRS), an entity affiliated with the department of Trade and Industry. Alarmingly, the few residential pool owners who know about the legislation are not adhering to these crucial laws.
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