October 2017

Roadside Lights: The Quiet Beauty of Japanese Vending Machines at Night

[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Photography & Video. ]

It started on a cold and snowy night when a wandering Japanese photographer became fascinated by the way the white flakes were piling up on an ordinary vending machine on the side of a road.

Eiji Ohashi began to document these machines, set against the rural backdrops and natural landscapes of Japan, a country with the highest ratio of vending machines to humans in the world (1 to 23).

For Ohashi and others, these devices are symbols of warmth and light in the long dark winters of Hokkaido, Japan’s cold north island. They offer hot drinks to offset the nighttime chill.

Gauteng recovers illegally occupied buildings

The Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) has launched an initiative to recover government buildings that are illegally occupied.

The department intends to use these buildings for student accommodation and for other service delivery needs.

The department on Tuesday said it has identified several properties that are illegally occupied, which pose a risk to surrounding communities.

Some of these properties are highly valuable assets, while others are non-core assets, which will be disposed through auctions.

MEC Jacob Mamabolo told the Gauteng Provincial Legislature that the initiative was part of the provincial government’s objective to maximise the value of all registered and strategic properties owned by government.

In 2016, the department completed the Immovable Asset Register worth just over R31 billion and is already implementing a programme to ensure that these properties provide value to Gauteng residents.

The department has already started reclaiming some illegally occupied properties In the City of Tshwane to make them available to meet the student accommodation needs.

“I will be taking this initiative to the other parts of the province to reclaim these properties for the interests of the people of Gauteng,” said the MEC.

He said the department has received the go-ahead from the provincial government to ensure that all public properties are managed effectively and efficiently in order to relieve the province of the unnecessary costs such as those related to security and maintenance.

The process of disposing of properties that are non-strategic to the core business of government is already in motion and has seen the official residence of the Premier being sold.

The department will enter into medium and short term leases with the private sector so that government’s property portfolio can be utilised to help boost the economy.

Jobs: Project Managers (Packages) - London based Property Developer

United Kingdom

Project Managers (Packages) - London

Property Developer with full service real estate services and investment leaders requires staff to continue their ongoing developments.

Ideal candidate should have a proven track record working (perhaps 5-10 years exp) in the UK for a major project management consultancy handling large building projects.

Related degree is essential as well as a keen team man who understands how a building is put together. You would be part of a young dynamic team who has secured top Snr PM's in the UK to steer this iconic new development which is just about to begin.

You would be responsible for one of the packages as this is a GBP's 500ml mixed use development which has been sensitively put together to support people's living and working conditions in the best possible surroundings.

Without a doubt some of the values you need are respect, service, integrity, excellence, with an ability to think out of the box as well as a proven track record with contactable references to confirm your ability to deliver!

If this brief synopsis of the position appeals to you, I look forward to hearing from you. Should you wish to discuss this further for details, pse send me an email to jacqui@wallstreetglobalcareers.com - I will call back at a time you could indicate. Look forward to hearing from you? Jacqui M Tuck

Nurses strike shows poor management of health care in Kenya

Striking Kenyan nurses take part in a protest in Nairobi. Reuters/Baz Ratner

Nurses in Kenya’s public hospitals have been on strike since June, paralysing health care services countrywide.

At the centre of their dispute is a collective bargaining agreement that had been struck with county governments through the council of governors. The agreement addresses pay, working conditions and promotions. But it’s not been honoured by the governors because they say it’s too costly and hasn’t been cleared by the salaries and remunerations commission. The commission’s mandate is to set and regularly review salary and benefits of all state officers and to advise the government on remuneration and benefits of other public servants.

The government has responded to the impasse by threatening to sack the nurses and freezing their salaries.

Some nurses have gone back to work, though most remain on strike.

South Africa can't afford to see its universities pitch over the precipice

South Africa boasts world class universities. It must not allow their quality to drop. Shutterstock

For the past two years the actions of government and protesting students have slowly started squeezing South Africa’s universities into a shadow of their former selves.

In his book “As by Fire” prominent educationalist Jonathan Jansen argues that South Africa is witnessing the end of its universities. He explains that this doesn’t mean the doors will close. Registration will not stop. The day to day business of universities will continue. But, he warns, the excellence evidenced by the rankings of South African universities will slowly dip into oblivion.

South Africa is the only country in Africa with ten universities that regularly feature on at least one world ranking list. These ten are institutions that South Africans can be hugely proud of and whose achievements could serve as models for expanding excellence to other institutions.

Happy World Cities Day!

On the occasion of the World Cities Day 2017, UCLG President Parks Tau and UCLG Presidency wish a happy Cities Day




South African crime stats show police struggling to close cases

South Africa's Police Minister Fikile Mbalula's biggest challenge is to ensure that criminals are brought to book. Reuters/Mike Hutchings

South Africa’s latest crime statistics released by the country’s police service reflect a continued long-term decline in levels of non-violent property crime, a possible stabilisation following four years of increase in murder, and a sustained rise in violent property crime.

More worryingly, a closer look at case outcomes points to the toll that the leadership crisis in crime intelligence and the struggling detective service are beginning to take on investigative capacity.

Each of the last four national police commissioners has been removed on suspicion of corruption or being otherwise unfit for office. These and other senior criminal justice system appointments are now widely seen as sites of factional disputes within the ruling African National Congress (ANC), or as attempts by the powerful to avoid facing criminal responsibility for their actions.

How to ensure the shortest payback period for commercial solar

How to ensure the shortest payback period for commercial solar
© rido – [[www.123rf.com 123RF.com]]</span>While the payback period on commercial solar photovoltaic (PV) systems has decreased substantially to within five years or less, reducing the time depends largely on the property owner.
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Zimbabwe’s financial system is living on borrowed time - and borrowed money

An illegal money changer holds bond notes outside a bank in Zimbabwe's capital Harare. Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

Zimbabwe’s financial system increasingly resembles a house of cards. Were one card to give way – for instance, if South Africa’s power utility, Eskom, were to have the temerity to suggest that Zimbabwe actually pay for the electricity that it’s supplying the country – the entire edifice would collapse.

To put it another way, the government is bust. It is again printing money to cover its spiralling costs, and inflation is rising. And given that there’s an election looming in 2018, Zimbabwe’s ruling party, ZANU-PF doesn’t want to cut-back. Far from it, it wants to carry on spending, as fast as it can.

The rot goes back to the early 2000’s. ZANU-PF profligacy had been fuelled by acontinuous cycle of simply printing more money, and resultant runaway inflation. Mega-inflation meant that ordinary people lost their pensions and whatever savings they had, as the Zimbabwe dollar lost its value and people resorted to barter or the use of other currencies.

What does the future African city look like?

What does the future African city look like?
© Chin Leong Teoh – [[www.123rf.com 123RF.com]]</span>What does the future African city look like? How do we identify the impact and trends resulting from urbanisation? What new regulation and governance models are needed? What about engagement models that embrace social inclusion and civic participation?
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Imposing Architecture: Modern Loft Tower Looks Like a Ghost Ship

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

Looming above an industrial parcel near an abandoned railway terminal in Beirut, seven balconies jut out into the air like the hulls of stacked skeletal ships. ‘Plot #1282’ by DW5 Architects is one of the first major architectural projects to be erected in a depressed area beside military barracks, fallow agricultural land and a 100-foot-wide highway. It will add 95 industrial lofts to a local that’s currently non-residential, and since other buildings will likely spring up all around it in the coming years, those balconies are strategically focused on preservable views of the city.

A maximum of two apartments will be located on each floor, with the floor slabs arranged around nine exposed cores. Each living space features minimal interior partitioning and lots of glass.

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