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south african airways
south african airways
A report in the Sunday Times of 6 January 2013 confirms that South African Airways (SAA) is once again in a state of severe crisis. Thousands of passengers narrowly missed having their flights grounded this week when government stepped in to provide the national carrier with an emergency short-term loan to cover fuel costs for local and international flights.

Earlier this week, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba signed a guarantee that enabled SAA to secure a R550 million loan.

This latest bail-out follows in the wake of numerous crises that have plagued the national carrier in the past year. On 8 October 2012, the DA released a statement warning Minister Gigaba that, if thoughtful and measured interventions were not applied urgently , SAA could find itself grounded by the end of 2012. I have also requested the Competition Commission to investigate a possible connection between state bailouts and the closure of other domestic airlines in South Africa.

In March 2012, SAA posted losses of R1.25 billion. A rash of resignations by board members occurred during the last quarter of 2012 and the appointment of Dudu Myeni, a close ally of President Zuma, as acting chairperson did little to strengthen the position of the crisis-ridden airline. Myeni’s record does not exactly inspire confidence:

Early last year, senior officials in the Department of Water Affairs recommended that she should not be reappointed as chairperson of the Mhlathuze Water Board because “she would bring instability back into the board and was at the centre of the current crisis and disharmony”.

A failed probity test revealed a default judgement against her in relation to R416 460 owed to ABSA bank in respect of a R3,7 million Richards Bay property.

Standard Bank received a R1.7 million judgement in its favour in respect of a property she reportedly co-owned.

She was implicated in an investigation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) into alleged maladministration, abuse of state resources, unfair dismissal of staff, and noncompliance with procurement and tender processes at Mhlathuze between January 2004 and September 2008. The outcome of the investigation never saw the light of day and an SIU source has claimed that an “outbreak of shredding paper and deleting computer files” stopped the investigation in its tracks.

The endemic dysfunction of SAA has sapped public coffers for far too long. Privatisation of the national carrier is the only recourse, and government can no longer hide behind the excuse of “national pride” whenever privatisation is mentioned. There is no national pride in an airline that survives on repeated Government bailouts; that posts losses of R1.25 billion; and that has still not managed to come up with a viable turnaround strategy.

Government cannot continue to secure emergency funds for SAA indefinitely. Minister Gigaba needs to acknowledge, sooner rather than later, that the costs of running a national carrier far outstrip the benefits. The idea of a state-backed carrier has flown its course.

Natasha Michael, DA Spokesperson on Public Enterprises

By Zumani Katasefa

MOVEMENT for Moral Rearmament chairperson Kelvin Chulu has condemned Roan Member of Parliament Chishimba Kambwili for allegedly using abusive language in the media.
Mr Chulu was reacting to a statement which quoted Mr Kambwili having said that it was stupid for the UPND to claim popularity on Copperbelt province.
He warned politicians against insulting each other as the country heads towards the general elections. Mr Chulu said leaders, must lead by good example.
Meanwhile Kambwili has said that the PF has shamed its critics after successfully holding its general conference.
“We have shamed our critics, who were saying that we were not a democratic party, I want to tell them that we are a most democratic party, we had 3500 delegates to our convention while the MMD only had 1000, this clearly shows that PF is very democratic,” he said./ENDS.

By MARTIN NKOLOMBA

ZAMBIA is one of the prosperous African countries and deserves to be ranked one of the best on the continent, former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo has said.

General Obasanjo said it is wrong for international investors to think wealth in Africa can only be found in South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria because Zambia is also doing well economically.

This is according to a statement issued yesterday by first secretary for press at the Zambian Embassy in Brussels, Samuel Ngoma.

General Obasanjo said this at the International Policy Summit in Brussels, on Building Growth in Africa.

He said Africa is generally doing well economically.

The former president was one of the key speakers at the summit at which the general consensus was that most African countries were too small to be a viable market on their own.

The European Union, which was also represented at the summit, said there is no alternative to regional integration in Africa.

The union said it was committed to supporting regional blocs with much money which was going unspent because Africa was only paying rhetoric to integration.

Obasanjo’s statement comes on the heels of the country winning a B+ rating by two international credit rating companies, Fitch Sovereign Group and Standard and Poors, in March this year.

Fitch allotted Zambia a B+ for recording an improvement in its economic performance since 2003 which has been brought about by improved macroeconomic stability, economic liberalisation , rising private sector investment and production in the mining sector and a strong agricultural performance.

Standard and Poors also assigned Zambia a B+ rating two weeks later, in recognition of the country’s debt sustainability.

Private Sector Development Association (PSDA) chairperson Yusuf Dodia welcomed Gen. Obasanjo’s statement that Zambia should be considered on the lines of South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria.

Mr Dodia said Zambia is an ideal place for foreign investors to do business because it has numerous business advantages including abundant natural resources, a qualified workforce and eight neighbours.

Forum for Leadership Search Executive Director, Edwin Lifwekelo says Chongwe Member of parliament; Sylvia Masebo is planning to defect to the opposition Patriotic Front.

Mr. Lifwekelo says his organization has information that Ms Masebo is likely to cross over to the PF on Saturday or Sunday.

Ms Masebo is currently Movement for Multi-party Democracy Chairperson for women.

He told ZNBC News in an interview that Ms Masebo has betrayed MMD members who voted for her as chairperson at the MMD convention.

Efforts to get a comment from Ms Masebo failed as her mobile phone went unanswered.

By Zumani Katasefa

All rebel PF parliamentarians who attended the NCC are not going to contest their parliamentary seats on the PF ticket during the forthcoming general elections, PF sources have told the UKZAMBIANS.

The sources said today that the parliamentarians are considering recontesting their seats on the MMD ticket or going on their own as independent candidates.

“They feel they have been marginalised by Mr Sata that is why they contemplating to either contest their seats on the MMD or go on their own. The other reason is that they think the MMD has performed extremely well under the leadership of President Banda,” he said.

The PF parliamentarians are also not happy with the dictatorial tendencies of the PF leader Michael Sata who they said was in favour of certain people to contest certain seats.

Meanwhile PF members in Masaiti have threatened to resign if the suspension of their district chairperson Steady Mwale and PF Copperbelt chairperson who is also Nkana Member of Parliament Mwenya Musenge is not lifted.

“We want the suspensions to be lifted before we go for the polls, this type of politics if not checked will affect the party in the area,” said one of the members Ken Katongo.
He also said that the PF leader Michael Sata has proven to be undemocratic in the sense that he is allegedly favouring certain individuals to contest local government and parliamentarians seats while he was against others. /ENDS

By CYNTHIA MWALE

ZAMBIA is poised for a significant economic boost following its hosting of the 10th African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum, with the Immigration Department raking in US$41,290 (about K200 million) in visa fees from June 1 to 6, 2011.

Most stakeholders have indicated that there will be a multiplier effect in the economy because of the magnitude of delegates expected to come and spend their money during their stay.

Zambia is hosting the on-going AGOA Forum under the theme Enhanced Trade Through Increased Competitiveness, Value Added and Deeper Regional Integration.

The Immigration Department, hoteliers and business community, say Zambia will experience a boost in various sectors of the economy.

Immigration Department spokesperson Justin Siame said in an interview yesterday that the AGOA Forum has significantly increased revenue in visa fees.

“As at June 1 – 6, we have ploughed in US$41,290 plus and another K26 million from the (Lusaka) International Airport,” he said.

Mr Siame said the department collected US$34,020 from May 25-31, attributing majority of the collections to delegates attending the AGOA forum, which officially opens today.

This represents an increase of US$7,270 in the first week of June.

He, however, could not estimate the expected revenue, but indicated that the amount is expected to rise.

“We hope by the end of the forum, there will be significant increase, (as some delegates arrived before the figures were compiled),”he said.

Tourism Council of Zambia (TCZ) chairperson Mark O’Donnell said the hospitality sector and other support industries will benefit from the hosting of the forum which has attracted about 2,000 delegates.

Mr O’Donnell said, in a separate interview, that the hospitality industry is eagerly anticipating increased revenue and new investment opportunities.

“TCZ is delighted. If we have to get prosperity, we need to integrate with the rest of the world. It is a major boost,” he said.

And Hotel and Catering Association of Zambia (HCAZ) president Felix Mulenga agreed that such a big event will definitely boost the industry and place Zambia on the world map.

Mr Mulenga said the industry should maximise on the opportunity of the large number of high-profile people coming into the country, especially that the tourism flow has been recently threatened by the persistent political turmoil in the Middle East and the recent natural calamities in Japan.

He, however, could not give estimates of how much will be recouped from the event.

Former MMD Chairperson for Elections Mike Mulongoti has said that even if the MMD government delays in announcing the elections date, that will not change the people’s resolve for the change of government.
Mr. Mulongoti says Zambians have been waiting to vote out the current regime, and that a few months delay will not change anything.

He says it is not an advantage to President Rupiah Banda’s administration to delay the announcement of the polls date because the people of Zambia are eager to vote out the MMD.

Mr Mulongoti has also noted that the elections will not be held in September as parliament would have been dissolved then.

The former works and supply minister adds that there is nothing wrong for Zambians to know the date for the elections.

MMD chairperson for agriculture Eustarckio Kazonga has urged the people of Katuba Constituency to support the party in this year’s elections because its government has demonstrated strong political will to uplift the living standards in rural communities.

Speaking when he addressed a meeting in Katuba’s Muchenje ward on Tuesday, Mr Kazonga said the Constituency Development Funds (CDF), quantity of farming inputs under the Farmer Input Support Programme and grading of feeder roads are some of the projects intended to give people in rural areas a source of livelihood.

Dr Kazonga, who is Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives, said the grading of feeder roads will go on because Government wants to give rural communities access to the markets for their farm produce.

He said Government will buy all the maize from this year’s harvest, as it did last year when it spent K1.3 trillion to encourage farmers to be more productive.

“This year, we are going to buy all the maize that you would like to sell like we did last year. As Government, we are proud to be associated with high food production,” DrKazonga said.

He said the government will, through the Food Reserve Agency (FRA), provide grain bags and ensure satellite depots are as close to the people as possible.

“President Banda has given me clear instructions that all these things should be done,” Dr Kazonga said.

The meeting, held at Mupeso Basis School grounds, was attended by hundreds of people, including village headmen.

The minister urged people in Katuba to form co-operatives and ensure participation fees are affordable so as many people as possible benefit from farming subsidies.

Dr Kazonga urged the people of Katuba not to listen to the lies of their expelled member of Parliament Jonas Shakafuswa, who has been their representative for close to 10 years, but has not done anything for them.

MMD chairperson for health LumbaKalumba told the people of Katuba that President Banda is an all-embracing President.

She urged the people of Katuba to vote for President Banda because his government has done well in the construction of schools, hospitals and roads

Katuba MMD district secretary Harold Chandalala dismissed lies that President Banda hates Lenjes.

Mr Chandalala, who hails from Katuba in Chieftainess Mungule’s area, said there are 73 tribes in Zambia. Therefore, no single tribe can monopolise Government appointments.

He urged the people of Katuba to dismiss Mr Shakafuswa’s lies that President Banda hates them.

By EMELDA MWITWA

Deputy Minister of Justice Todd Chilembo says the enactment of the gender-based violence (GBV) Act into law has proved government’s commitment to the protection of women’s rights in the country.

Mr Chilembo said in Lusaka yesterday that President Banda and government attach a lot of importance to women’s rights in Zambia, hence his decision to assent to the bill.

President Banda signed the new Gender-Based Violence Amendment Act on April 12, 2011.

He said government is aware of the various injustices women have experienced at the hands of men but that with the enactment of the law, much of the abuse will be addressed by law enforcement agencies in the country.

“The President attaches great importance to women’s rights in the country and Government is aware of the violence some women continue to experience at the hands of men,” Mr Chilembo said.

Mr Chilembo said there should be no misunderstanding that the law is only meant to protect women. It also covers men who are abused by women.

He said law enforcement agencies will not hesitate to bring to book anyone abrogating the law by abusing women and children, who are the most vulnerable.

“This law is not only meant to protect women. Every offender will feel the wrath of the law, including women who abuse their husbands or partners,” Mr Chilembo said.

He said the law also provides for the formation of a committee on gender-based violence.

And Non-Governmental Organisation Co-ordinating Council (NGOCC) chairperson Beatrice Grillo has commended President Banda for assenting to the gender-based violence bill.

Mrs Grillo expressed gratitude and pleasure that the bill has been enacted into law as this will address a number of challenges that have been experienced by law enforcement agencies in dealing with gender-based violence in the country.

“The police have in the past failed to deal with gender-based violence and this law will allow for proper protection,” Mrs Grillo said.

She said law enforcement agencies are now better equipped to adequately protect victims of gender-based violence and they should execute this task with utmost efficiency.

Mrs Grillo also urged Government to provide all the necessary resources to ensure proper implementation of the law in the country.

“Law enforcement agencies have been empowered with a powerful tool with which to adequately deal with gender-based violence and we do not expect any excuses from them,” MrsGrillo said.

She said the law should be backed by adequate financial resources for greater effectiveness.

By CAROLINE KALOMBE

MORE than 300 marketeers of Chingola’s Lulamba Township have stopped paying market levy to the council demanding that the local authority provides basic services.

The irate marketeers who chanted anti-council slogans soon after the Times staffer went to the market, blamed the council for failingto provide basic services such as water and toilets.

Lulamba Market chairperson Lidoh Makaliki said the market did not have any shelter, toilet and that the council was failing to collect refuse from the market.

Ms Makaliki said the only work the council was doing at the market was collecting market levy, the money she alleged was aimed at enriching their pockets.

She said on two occasions the council had allocated K20 million ward funds for the development of the market and the building of the new shelter.

She said the market levy which was at K1, 000 per marketeer by more than 300 marketeers was indicating that the council was collecting more than K300, 000 per day from Lulamba Market.

She said the marketeers after seeing that the council was not ready to deliver the services to the market, the marketeers started contributing K10, 000 per month and by yesterday the money was amounting to K800, 000.

She said the council had in April 2010 taken less quantity of sand and crushed stones to the market with the view to start the project and kept the rest of the money suggesting that the marketeers could not be trusted with money.

Ms Makaliki said even the bars in the township were not controlled as evidenced from drunken children from as early as 08:00 hours, moreoverall the toilets did not have water and proper sanitation services.

And the incoming Chingola Town Clerk George Mulenga said he would prefer to visit the market to be conversant with the concerns of the residents.

But he said the marketeers had every right to complain for the lack of shelter, water, non-refuse collection and poor sanitation at the market where people were conducting business.

He said lack of such basic services at any council designated market could be the source of health hazard.