Eskom is rolling out its load limiting project – aimed at optimising electricity consumption – across Gauteng following the project’s successful implementation in Fourways, Johannesburg.
According to the power utility, load limiting aims to better balance the supply and demand of electricity during Stages 1 – 4 of load shedding.
“Through load limiting measures during Stages 1 to 4 of load shedding, customers’ electricity capacity will be reduced from 60/80 Amps to 10 Amps. This will allow customers to continue with the minimal use of electricity for essential appliances such as lights, TVs, Wi-Fi routers, fridges and security systems.
“An hour before the start of load shedding, Eskom will prompt customers to reduce their consumption to 10 Amps by sending a message to their cellphone. The system will provide the customer with four opportunities to reduce their consumption. Thereafter, if the load has not been reduced, the meter will automatically switch off the electricity supply for 30 minutes before supply is restored,” Eskom said.
The next areas where the project is due to be implemented in Johannesburg are Buccleuch, Kelvin, Paulshof, Marlboro, Sunninghill and Waterfall, where customers use smart meters.
“The initiative focuses on select customers with smart meters, as these have the technical functionality to be controlled remotely.
“The power utility urges all its customers with compatible meters, where load limiting will be implemented, to support the initiative, which ensures that they continue to have electricity for the duration of load shedding.
“The success of the project depends on the partnership between Eskom and the cooperation of customers, and their willingness to reduce their electricity consumption to below 10 Amps,” Eskom said.
A multi-disciplinary team consisting of various units within the South African Police Service (SAPS), led by the Anti-Kidnapping Task Team, has arrested six suspects on suspicion of human trafficking and kidnapping in Mayfair, Johannesburg.
The six men are expected to face charges of human trafficking, sex trafficking, kidnapping and extortion. They are expected to appear before court today.
Two Indian women, aged between 20 and 24 years, have since been rescued.
The team, consisting of private security, received intelligence on a Johannesburg-based human trafficking network preying on Indian women.
The women were allegedly enticed to the country with false promises of employment. Upon arrival, they were kept against their will, offered to clients leading to sexual encounters.
On Wednesday, members operationalised information and pounced on an identified address and a commercial site.
The members seized an array of cellphones, numerous documents, including passports and cash, for further investigation. Investigations are continuing.
Out of the 40 522 beds registered on the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) platforms at Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges, 32 272 have been accredited and are available for registered NSFAS-funded students.
NSFAS Acting Board Chairperson, Professor Laurens Van Staden, said about 8 250 registered beds on NSFAS platforms in TVET colleges are in the process of being accredited.
“For universities, out of the total of 72 241 beds registered, 43 581 have been accredited and are available for registered NSFAS-funded students, and about 28 420 are in the process of being accredited,” Van Staden said.
NSFAS is piloting the accreditation of private student accommodation in 17 universities and 23 TVET colleges for the 2024 academic year.
Through the pilot programme, NSFAS aims to ensure that student accommodation service providers provide accommodation that is accessible, decent, safe and academically conducive for all students.
The purpose of the student accommodation programme is to assign students to available accommodation; accredit accommodation providers; pay accommodation fees to accommodation providers through secured platforms, and grade accommodation to create a standard, among others.
From 18 January 2024, NSFAS provided access to a portal for all institutions to view the available beds.
The NSFAS board, led by Van Staden, met with the South African Union of Students (SAUS) Executive, led by President Yandisa Ndzoyiya on Thursday to discuss the entity’s state of readiness for the beginning of the academic year.
“All institutions have been provided with access to the NSFAS accommodation portal in order to view the available beds. Institutions must note that accrediting agents are continuing with the process of accreditation and the list will be updated daily,” said Van Staden.
The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy, has welcomed the declaration of De Berg Nature Reserve as South Africa’s 30th Ramsar site under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance.
The Ramsar Convention encourages the designation of sites containing representative, rare or unique wetlands, or wetlands that are important for conserving biological diversity.
“The conservation and restoration of wetlands is crucial to achieving many of our national and global sustainable development goals. Estuaries, marshes and vleis, rivers and lakes, and the biodiversity that they preserve matter for our health, food supply, tourism and jobs.
“Wetlands are vital for humans, ecosystems and our climate, providing essential ecosystem services such as water regulation, including flood control and water purification,” Creecy said on Friday.
Through the Working for Wetlands Programme, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) has invested over R1.4 billion in the rehabilitation of 1 873 wetlands and created 43 662 jobs.
The programme commenced in the year 2000 and is being implemented in all nine provinces of South Africa by a dedicated team of experts working closely with communities.
De Berg Nature Reserve is located along the headwaters of the Dwars River in the highest part of Mpumalanga approximately, 20 kilometres north of the town of Dullstroom, and lies adjacent to the Verloren Valei Ramsar Site.
At an elevation of just over 2 300 metres above sea level, the Ramsar site contains the highest altitude wetlands in Mpumalanga, consisting of numerous valley bottom, seep wetlands and mountain streams, and represents some of the most pristine and habitat diverse watercourses in the South African grassland biome.
“The Ramsar site, which is a biodiversity hotspot, not only supports numerous pristine headwater wetlands but also supports numerous threatened, critically endangered, and vulnerable species of plants and animals.
“The site falls within the Lydenburg and Sekhukhune centres of plant endemism, and has a total of 878 indigenous plant species, which includes 30 plant species that are threatened and near threatened, and includes a new species of Bulbine, (B decastroi) which can be found in the valleys of the reserve.
“This site also has 18 species of frogs, 71 reptile species, 432 bird species and a 120 mammal species, including Vandam’s girdled lizard (Smaug vandami), various crane species such as blue crane and grey-crowned crane and mountain reedbuck,” the department said.
Many of these species are also rare and vulnerable species. They include flocks of up to 30 of the vulnerable Southern Bald Ibis, which roosts on the cliffs above Ibis Falls, one of 10 iconic waterfalls that can be found at the site.
Although wetlands cover less than 3% of South Africa’s land area, they offer diverse benefits that enrich human well-being.
The department said Wetlands are increasingly regarded in South Africa as socio-ecological systems as opposed to only ecological systems.
Many of the country’s wetlands are in urban areas and are often the last remaining open areas for recreational use by the public.
“The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) – an entity of DFFE – is also actively contributing to wetland conservation through its comprehensive approach to mapping and understanding this critical ecological infrastructure, emphasizing that informed action today can make a significant difference for the future of wetlands, human well-being and biodiversity.
“Strategic Water Source Areas (SWSAs) are crucial to South Africa’s water security, and various SANBI projects provide insight into land use and protection levels in these strategically important national assets,” Creecy said.
The designation of De Berg Nature Reserve as South Africa’s 30th Ramsar Site under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance coincides with World Wetlands Day (2 February) which is commemorated under the theme “wetlands and human wellbeing”.
Once designated, these sites are added to the Convention’s List of Wetlands of International Importance and become known as Ramsar sites. In designating a wetland as a Ramsar site, countries agree to establish and oversee a management framework aimed at conserving the wetland and ensuring its wise use.
“Through the development of partnerships to monitor, protect and rehabilitate wetlands, by ensuring our wetlands are kept free of litter and invasive alien plant species and by ensuring that we follow best practices to ensure that wetlands are sustainably used for their services we show our appreciation for and acknowledge the value of wetlands and ensure that they remain in place to provide future generations with the same services,” the Minister said.
Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services is calling for applications and nominations for the position of Deputy Public Protector (DPP).
This after the former incumbent, Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka, was appointed to the post of Public Protector in November 2023.
The requirements for the person who will take up the mantle are as follows:
- Is admitted as an advocate or an attorney and has, for a cumulative period of at least 10 years after having been so admitted, practiced as an advocate or an attorney; or
- Is qualified to be admitted as an advocate or an attorney and has, for a cumulative period of at least 10 years after having so qualified, lectured in law at a university; or
- Has specialised knowledge of or experience in, for a cumulative period of at least 10 years, the administration of justice, public administration or public finance; or
- Has, for a cumulative period of at least 10 years, been a member of Parliament; or
- Has acquired any combination of experience mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (d), for a cumulative period of at least 10 years.
The committee said: “The DPP is appointed by the President on the recommendation of the National Assembly for such a period as the President may determine at the time of such appointment, but not exceeding seven years. The DPP may at the end of his or her term be reappointed for one additional term.”
The nominations or applications must contain a CV providing the nominee or applicant’s:
- Full name, ID number and gender;
- Contact details, including physical address, telephone/cell phone number and email address;
- Relevant previous work experience (including relevant dates and organisations concerned); and
- Academic qualifications.
The committee explained that when nominating a candidate, the nomination must include “the full name, address/email address and contact details of the person or organisation making the nomination and a signed acceptance of the nomination by the nominee”.
“[A] list of all the nominations/applications received will be published in order to allow members of the public to comment on the suitability of candidates. The shortlisted candidates will be subjected to a screening process,” the committee said.
Nominations or applications can be sent to: Vhonani Ramaano at Dppvacancy@parliament.gov.za by 4pm on 16 February while further enquiries can be addressed to Ramaano on 083 709 8427.