SA rhino poaching reportedly decreases

This is despite a dramatic escalation in previous years.

South Africa has recorded a decrease in the number of rhinos poached nationally compared to the same period in 2017, the government has said.

But it was concerned that though these figures have gone down but elephant poaching is on the rise.

It said between January and August 2018, 508 rhinos were poached compared to 691 in the same period last year.

In the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga, rhino poaching also continued to fall – with 292 poached this year compared to 332 in the same period last year.

The department said since January 2018, about 400 suspects were arrested on a range of charges including rhino poaching, and these included five Chinese nationals and eight South Africans who were arrested by the Hawks.

It said the integration of the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife to the police national operation, information gathering operations and case management system, proved to work in efforts aimed at eliminating the crime.

“These Level 3 and Level 4 traffickers were en route to China, Hong Kong and Vietnam at the time of their arrests,” the environment department said in a statement.

It said more than 60kg of rhino horn was confiscated and linked to poaching crime scenes in KwaZulu-Natal and the Northern Cape.

In the Kruger National Park, 162 alleged poachers were arrested while 145 weapons were seized in poaching-related incidents both inside and outside the KNP since 2018 and 83 rhino horns confiscated in the same period.

There are 530 rhino poaching-related cases currently in court, involving 750 accused and 1738 charges and 300 of them are on trial.

The charges range from rhino poaching, to rhino horn trafficking and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

“It is still of concern that our own personnel are being arrested for rhino poaching-related offences,” the department said.

(edited by NN)

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Linah Malatjie outlines eMalahleni’s successes

The municipality has made significant progress in delivering on its promise to residents during 2017/2018 financial year.

eMalahleni mayor Linah Malatjie has outlined her municipality’s successes in delivering on pledges it made.

She was addressing residents at the Sinqobile community hall Tuesday this week and told the residents of the completion of a string of projects – among others, the completion of the construction of roads in Hlalanikahle as well as the Mashiye street in Kwa-Thomas Mahlanguville.

Verdi road in Klarinet and Eton road in Mthunzi Vilakazi have also been completed at a cost of R10 million.

She assured the residents that 345 houses in eMpumelelweni will be connected to the electricity network by end of October 2018, “if everything goes according to plan”.

So far, the municipality has completed the building of 1168 km of outfall line to connect eMpumelelweni, Hlalanikahle and Klipspruit, she said.

And a total of 9161 meters of sewer pipes have been installed to deal with congestion at eMpumelelweni.

Schools have also benefited in the budget as several schools were refurbished and waterborne ablution facilities were constructed.

At Nancy Shiba Primary School, refurbishment and renovation of 18 toilets waterborne ablutions and provision of two 10 000 litres elevated water tanks.

Other schools which benefited include Sibukosethu, Sukumani, and Siyathokoza primary schools.

The rehabilitation of 34 waterborne ablution has been completed at Witbank High School.

Twenty eight classrooms, an administration block, laboratory, library, computer centre, school hall, 40 ablution, electricity fence, and three sports grounds have been constructed at the new Klarinet Primary school.

A total of R 241 million has been budgeted for the approved projects in the 2018/2019 financial year.

The mayor is visiting various communities in Izimbizos to source further inputs to the approved budget.

(edited by MLM, with Kingdom Mabuza)

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Public asked to use water sparingly

They say water levels are dropping due to a heatwave.

The department of water and sanitation has asked that people should use water carefully as water levels continue to drop.

Dam water levels dropped by 1% between last week and this week, the department said.

It said in a report released on Monday this week that on average water levels dropped from 75.7% to 74.7% in just seven days.

The Olifants river dropped from 66.9% to 66.1%.

The Inkomazi-Usuthu dropped from 77.1% to 76.3%.

The weather servicemen said this is due to hot weather causing increased evaporation.

(edited by MLM)

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Premier Mtshweni promises some action in badly run municipality

Ordinary people in this municipality always accuse politicians of diverting money meant for improving their lives to bankroll their own lavish lifestyles, only using them as voting cows every five years.

Premier Refilwe Mtshweni has promised actions in one of the worst performing Mpumalanga municipalities just a week after co-operative governance minister Zweli Mkhize made a visit to the province.

The Premier visited the Secunda area of eMbalenhle and Leslie over the weekend and found people living with sewer overflows as a result of abandoned and collapsing infrastructure.

Premier Mtshweni promises some action in badly run municipality

SEE ALSO: Parliament committee concerned of Gert Sibande’s “sluggish” response to falling waste water infrastructure

She said people cannot be expected to live in such conditions, sewer spilling onto their streets and homes.

Spokesman Zibonele Mncwango said Mtshweni wants the work to solve this problem to begin as soon as this week.

He said R50 million has been set aside by Mtshweni’s government to fix the Gert Sibande district municipality’s problem and other affected municipalities.

Premier Mtshweni promises some action in badly run municipality

It was reported last year that in fact all of Mpumalanga’s waste water treatement plants are leaking, polluting fresh water sources and officials were doing nothing to attend to the problem.

In a statement by Parliament’s water and sanitation committee early this year, officials at Gert Sibande district municipality – the province’s worst municipality – were slammed for their “sluggish” response in attending to the collapsing waste water infrastructure.

Their sluggish response to the issue were found to cause raw sewer to pollute wetlands and the Vaal River, a national river that starts in the Ermelo and Standerton area and goes to supply millions of Gauteng households.

In 2015, AfriForum took samples from the Vaal River water in Standerton to a laboratory and tests revealed that the amount of E. coli and faecal coliform bacteria exceeded 1000 units per 100ml.

Recently, the Gert Sibande district municipality reportedly did tests on 45 water samples taken from Carolina, Nooitgedacht, Bettysgoed, Ekulindeni, Elukwatini, and Fernie.

Out of the 45 samples tested, it was found that 23 have high levels of E-coli and faecal bacterial materials.

ALSO RELATED: Mtsweni concerned about failing waste water infrastructure

“The Premier has called for an urgent removal of sewer spillage in Leslie and eMbalenhle,” spokesman Mncwango said on Facebook.

“She visited Leslie township on Saturday to check progress after she announced last month the provincial government’s commitment to clear sewer spillage which is imposing health hazards on the residents,” Mncwango said.

“She has instructed the human settlement department to start work as soon as next week,” he added.

ALSO RELATED: Zweli Mkhize visits poorly run Mpumalanga municipalities

Mtshweni once spoke about the issue in the Mpumalanga legislature while she was co-operative governance MEC after it was found that the province’s waste water treatment plants did not meet the department of water and sanitation’s standards of proper management of waste water infrastructure.

She said then that the reason these waste water treatment plans were leaking like this and not meeting the standards was because they did not have “maintenance plans”.

(edited by MLM)

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Cases of Mpumalanga children with Pertussis on the rise

The outbreak is with children younger than five, especially little ones.

The Mpumalanga health department says they have observed an increase in children with Pertussis.

Initially, symptoms of Pertussis are usually similar to those of a common cold – characterised by a runny nose, fever and mild cough.

But after days a fit of coughing follows, a high-pitched whoop sound or gasp may occur as the child breathes in.

The illness is known as ‘whooping cough’, among children younger than five years, particularly those younger than a year old.

13 cases have been reported across Mpumalanga and the public is advised to be on high alert when anyone or a child is experiencing or developing cold-like symptoms, including coughing and a runny nose.

They should immediately consult the nearest health facility to get medical help.

Caused by a germ known as ‘Bordella Pertussis’, the illness can spread from one child to another and is vaccine-preventable.

The Centre for Communicable Diseases said it will be spread when a person with it sneezes, coughs or breathes because the germs live in the nose, mouth and throat of the infected person, making it easy for them to spread to others.

“A person can get Pertussis when droplets of mucous or saliva from the sick person get into the mouth, nose or eyes,” the centre’s Mandla Zwane said.

He added that adolescents and adults who have been vaccinated previously may also get it but with minimal symptoms – like a sore throat or a persistent cough.

Anyone who has been diagnosed with Pertussis by a doctor or health care facility should avoid mixing with other people, especially infants and pregnant women, to prevent the further spread of the disease, Zwane said.

(edited by ZK)

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Zweli Mkhize to visit worst Mpumalanga municipalities

After meeting with Premier Refilwe Mtsweni, the minister will then meet with Gert Sibande mayor Muzi Chirwa, who runs the province’s worst performing district municipality.

Co-operative governance minister Zweli Mkhize is coming to the Mpumalanga province to look at the issues of municipal governance and poor service delivery.

Mkhize will be on a two-day visit in the province, meeting with municipal officials and discussing the issues of financial mismanagement, poor service delivery, Eskom debts and sewage spillages.

From 30 to 31 August 2018, the co-operative governance said Mkhize will visit the province in order “to support distressed and dysfunctional municipalities”.

ALSO RELATED: Mabuza corruption “left communities in ruin” – DA

“The minister will meet the provincial leadership led by the Premier Refilwe Mtsweni, co-operative governance MEC Speedy Mashilo and finance MEC Eric Kholwane,” the department said in a statement.

“The minister will also meet the mayors of distressed and dysfunctional municipalities in Mpumalanga,” it said.

The municipalities are Thaba Tshweu, Govan Mbeki, Lekwa, eMalahleni and Msukaligwa local municipalities.

Zweli Mkhize to visit worst Mpumalanga municipalities

Eskom Debt by Municipality

ALSO RELATED: Sylvia Nxumalo celebrates clean audit

Three of these troubled municipalities are in the Gert Sibande district, one in eHlanzeni and another in the Nkangala.

SEE ALSO: Parliament committee concerned about Gert Sibande’s “sluggish” response to falling waste water infrastructure

Mkhize will be accompanied by his deputies, Andries Nel and Obed Bapela.

“He will also visit KaNyamazane which has been hit by massive hailstorms which left a trail of destruction over the Lowveld. Currently work is ongoing to repair the damaged houses in that area.

“On the second day the minister will visit Gert Sibande district where Govan Mbeki, Lekwa and Msukaligwa municipalities are affected by sewer spillages as well as governance challenges,” the department said.

“The minister will also meet with other stakeholders, including business during the visit as part of promoting cooperation and partnerships in the spirit of working together to move South Africa forward so as to fix local government, under the theme: “local government is everybody’s business,” it said.

(edited by ZK)

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