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Thu, 17 Aug 2017
Oscar Pistorius granted timeout from jail to attend family funeral...

Former Paralympian athlete Oscar Pistorius was released from prison for a few hours on Wednesday to attend the funeral of his late maternal grandmother, Joyce Bekker. This was confirmed by the Department of Correctional Services’ Singabakho Nxumalo.

“I just received an update from the head of centre that he received an application (from inmate Oscar Pistorius) to attend the funeral and they granted him permission to attend the funeral. He was back in the facility at about 13h20 to continue with his sentence‚” said Nxumalo.

Earlier on Wednesday‚ Pistorius’ brother‚ Carl‚ confirmed to TimesLIVE that a service would be held for their grandmother‚ who died last week at the age of 93. At the time‚ he said the family wasn’t sure whether their brother would be attending the funeral.

However‚ he later confirmed to TimesLIVE that Oscar had been granted permission and was present to pay his last respects to their grandmother. “The funeral service went well. It was a really beautiful service as it was a great celebration of her life well lived [and] I was really happy to see my brother‚” said Carl.

Carl said that the family had asked for privacy as it was a private funeral service In October last year‚ Oscar attended the funeral of his paternal grandmother‚ Gerti Pistorius‚ who was 92. Pistorius got permission from the Departmental Policy on Amenities of Inmates which grants privileges to offenders.

This policy was introduced primarily to encourage offenders to exercise good behaviour‚ to instil a sense of responsibility and to ensure their interest and co-operation in the integration into detention and treatment programmes.

Compassionate leave can also be granted to low risk prisoners to attend funerals or if a direct family member is suffering from a serious sickness where it is suspected that they might be dying.

“When applying for compassionate leave‚ there are a number of factors that are considered before a decision is taken by the Head of Centre. This will include the inmate’s behaviour or conduct‚ and risk factor. A high risk offender wouldn’t ordinarily be granted compassionate leave‚” added Nxumalo.

Pistorius‚ who is serving six years in jail for the murder of his girlfriend‚ Reeva Steenkamp‚ in 2013‚ is currently imprisoned at the Atteridgeville Correctional Centre‚ west of Pretoria‚ which has facilities suitable for disabled offenders‚ including bath tubs.

The funeral will take place at the St Michael’s Anglican Church in Bryanston‚ Johannesburg.




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Thu, 17 Aug 2017
Department evolves to improve housing delivery

The Department of Human Settlements is changing the way it does things to deliver houses more efficiently to communities in need.  The department has put together a “3C protocol”, which will see better coordination, cooperation and collaboration in human settlement projects.

Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu on Tuesday said the 3C model will be used in the development of mega projects of no less than 15 000 rental, subsidised and mortgaged housing units.

“These projects will each provide housing for an estimated 45 000 to 60 000 individuals,” the Minister said at the UNISA Human Settlements Seminar held in Tshwane on Tuesday.

Held under the theme ‘How the human settlements sector is responding to the rapid increase of urbanisation in South Africa’, the seminar provided a platform for sharing information between government officials, academics and various practitioners in the human settlements sector.

It is aimed at seeking solutions to current challenges such as rapid urbanisation and transformation of cities.  Minister Sisulu said the successful delivery of mega projects requires integrated development planning, radical spatial transformation, mixed housing, security of tenure and urban renewal as a means of serving burgeoning urban populations.

Strengthened partnerships with the financial sector, developers, the built environment professions and communities were also necessary to mega project success, the Minister said.

Job creation

Minister Sisulu acknowledged the human settlement development as being good for job creation during and post development.

“Based on the Expanded Public Works Formula, it is estimated that in Gauteng alone, we will over the next 15 years directly create 250 000 jobs in construction of housing and infrastructure.”

The Minister said focus will be on the provision of basic services and infrastructure, community participation and skills development, livelihood creation, incremental housing development and support, social facilities such as clinics, schools and playgrounds, as well as safety and security.

Township regeneration and mining towns

The department will also revitalise old townships and support mining towns by improving infrastructure and housing, and supporting the development of businesses and recreational facilities.

“We will strive to change these settlements from ‘desperate and desolate’ to ‘positive and participating’. This will also include the rejuvenation of our inner cities and will be done by tracking down absent landlords or expropriating unused buildings where landlords cannot be traced, and assigning them for the purpose of building social housing next to places of work and student accommodation close to places of higher learning,” the Minister said.

Housing social compact

Minister Sisulu said the department has formed a social compact with all stakeholders, including development professions and academia.  She said that they have recognised that the existing development professions, including planners, architects and engineers, have very specialised knowledge in their own fields.

“In order to augment our implementation capacity, I have, however, become convinced that there is a need for a new class of trained professional to draw together all the strands of sustainable human settlement development. Hence, we have entered into a special relationship with a number of academic institutions, of which UNISA is one, to develop a curriculum and institute a study programme [...]

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Mon, 14 Aug 2017
Portfolio Committee to visit Free State SMMEs

Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development will from Monday visit small, macro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) in the Free State.

The small businesses had received support from the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa) and Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda).

The aim of the visit to five districts in the Free State is to look into the SMMEs’ existence, their level of development, challenges encountered and possible interventions required. Sefa and Seda are both agencies of the Department of Small Business Development, and they provide financial and non-financial support respectively.

“One of the outcomes of the committee’s strategic plan is to conduct oversight visits in all the nine provinces wherein the department has financially supported enterprises. It is against this backdrop that the committee resolved to conduct an oversight in enterprises supported in the Free State, located in five district municipalities,” committee chairperson Ruth Bengu said on Saturday.

On Monday, the committee will start in Xhariep District Municipality, visiting Ekasi Kitchen Primary Cooperative, SA Gaba Civils (PTY) LTD in Jagersfontein; Xhariep Leather, Ke Nako Water and Processing Cooperative in Trompsburg and Hareketseng Cooperative in Edenburg.

The weeklong visits to SMMEs will conclude on Friday.


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