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Joburg Zoo Hospital gets a R4.8-million makeover

 

The City of Johannesburg’s Member of the Mayoral Committee for Community Development, Cllr Nonhlanhla Sifumba, on Wednesday March 15 officially unveiled the new-look Johannesburg Zoo’s animal hospital, which has been revamped at a cost of R4.8-million.

The refurbished hospital, which has enhanced the zoo’s service offerings, has a much larger operating theatre and a public observation area.

The facility will also serve as a valuable educational asset for medical students, zoo keepers and members of the public without compromising the sterility of the environment.

The makeover is part of a R50-million City investment in the Johannesburg Zoo that includes the construction of a multi-storey parkade, maintenance and upgrading of existing enclosures and the acquisition of new animals to enhance visitor experience.

“Not only does the revamp of the zoo hospital enhance the scope of the services offered at the facility, but it also further entrenches it as a leader in conservation research and education,” said Cllr Sifumba.

The revamp has also enhanced the aesthetics of the once bleak-looking hospital. It now also includes a new specialised doorway to reduce the risk of sick animals escaping.

Cllr Sifumba said the extension of the facility was also necessitated by the increased demand on the hospital as the zoo grew over the years.

The zoo currently accommodates 365 animal species, including the big five, a phenomenal increase compared with just 10 animals, including two lions and a leopard, it had when it was established in 1904.

“The acquisition of new animals, coupled with the successful reproduction rates at the zoo and the need for increased conservation and animal welfare of endangered species, has accelerated the need for rapid medical response. However, the space to operate from became a major challenge,” said the MMC.

She said while the revamp had enhanced the hospital’s service offerings, there was a growing need to replace and upgrade aging medical equipment to make it a truly state-of-the-art facility.

“The upgrading of the zoo hospital is a vital step in ensuring that the animals in our care are afforded the necessary medical services in a safe, healthy and caring environment.

“To ensure we deliver and strive to provide our animals with the best veterinary care and treatment available, I appeal to members of the public and business within the medical fraternity to please donate specialised equipment to further enhance operations at the Joburg Zoo Hospital,” said Cllr Sifumba.

 

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Are you teaching your kids bad money habits?

 

Teaching kids of all ages about the world around them isn’t an easy task, and when it comes to finances, the habits that children learn will most probably follow them through to adulthood. 

“In my interaction with children of different ages and backgrounds all around the country, it is clear that some parents may unintentionally be teaching them bad money habits,” says Eunice Sibiya head of consumer education at FNB. “While we all want what’s best for our children by ‘protecting’ them from the world of money, this can also be detrimental to the way they handle their finances later on in life.”

Are you unintentionally teaching your kids bad money habits by making the following common mistakes?  

Creating a money shield 

“By shielding your child from how finances work you are unintentionally putting them on the back foot,” says Sibiya. “Introduce them to simple money concepts as soon as you can.” 

If they are fairly young you can get your child to pay for something in the queue and also help them identify the difference between a want and a need. 

“Older children may even have the ability to grasp more complex concepts such as compound interest or credit,” says Sibiya. 

You don’t need to go into detail but can simply show them that they will be paying more for the same item if they buy it on credit. And, conversely, this is a good time to teach them how interest can work in their favour, because if they put the money in a savings account not only will they be able to pay for the item in a few months, but they will also have a bit more money to spend on something else that they like.

Not giving them control 

“By giving your child some measure of control over their own money you will be empowering them to make important financial decisions,” adds Sibiya. “Set up a bank account and, under your watchful eye, let them make their own transactions such as airtime purchases or swipes.” 

They will soon learn about fees, and how some transactions, such as electronic transactions, are better for their bank balance than say, withdrawing cash.  

Not allowing them to make their own purchases  

This falls into the same category as not giving your child control; it is easy to simply buy something for your child outright, or tell them you can’t afford it and move on if you are in the store. But, stopping and making your child think carefully about their purchase will put them in good stead for the future. 

“If your child points to something they really want, make them weigh up the options of purchasing it by asking if they can afford it,” says Sibiya. They will have to consider how much money they have put away and whether the cost of the item is worth it. 

“You can help them come to a decision or gently steer them if they look like they will blow all their money on a plastic action figure,” says Sibiya. “But the point is that if they have blown all their cash on something the previous week, they won’t have money for something they really want and that is how real life works.” 

Too much pocket money 

Giving children too much pocket money can be detrimental to future good financial behaviour. 

“In some of the schools I have spoken at, children are given R50 every single day,” says Sibiya. “They aren’t in the habit of saving it so they feel that they must finish the money every day as they will be getting the next cash injection tomorrow.”  

This is not how the world works.

“Discuss with your partner about how much is a reasonable amount for pocket money. Most importantly, encourage your child to save a portion of it,” says Sibiya. 

Teaching bad habits through your own actions 

Finally, children often learn bad financial habits through the actions of their parents. “If we as parents demonstrate good savings habits and even better spending habits on a daily basis, our children will be educated through our actions,” concludes Sibiya. “It is not only about what we teach, but also about what we do, that will mould their behaviour.” 

 

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Educate elevate and spray paint

Learners from CityKidz Pre and Primary School in the inner-city of Johannesburg explored the concept of using art as a tool for positive social change among children. 

  The workshop took place at the school CityKidz that has 607 children from grade RR – grade 7 and is in the heart of the inner-city. Internationally renowned professional graffiti artists from France, Spain, Portugal and the US conducted the workshop

The workshop, was aimed at grade 7 pupils it demonstrated spray-painting techniques to the learners. 

After the workshop discussions on topics related to peace, unity and community building — the pupils were given a canvas on which they experimented with — turning their ideas into images.  

These Healing Art Kits, designed by psychiatrists, art therapists and mental health experts, are a psychological, emergency first aid tool to help children regain a sense of peace and security by drawing on the therapeutic power of creativity. 

 The artists were the guests of  South African FRIENDS OF ISRAEL (SAFI ) and Artists 4Israel, an NGO that unites avant-garde artists in under represented art forms to create social change through arts and culture projects.  Artists from around the world join with each other to uplift struggling communities through the arts. 

 the Artists Fabio Lopez aka Dourone is a Spanish multi-disciplinary artist from Madrid. His partner, Elodie Arshak aka Elodie Loll was born and raised in Paris.  

Together they form part of Dourone, Pariz-one began doing graffiti in 1999. He collaborates and perform works of graffiti on a professional level and Fernando Romero aka Ski and Mike Baka aka 2Esae (The URNY Art Collective) have a mission to create surreal environments which individuals can relate to in one way or another. 

They aim to inspire creativity amongst people specifically the youth so they can pick up where they leave off. 

 

 CityKidz Pre and Primary School of Johannesburg was established in 2008, the school  is a social initiative by Africa Housing Company (AFHCO), a leading investor and developer of affordable housing and commercial property & SA Corporate Real Estate Fund to raise the standard of education of young children in their formative years through excellent education.  

 

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Contactless ‘tap’ payments soar

FNB Credit Card has seen a sharp increase of 270% over the last six months in ‘tap’ payment transactions as users and merchants adapt to contactless payment technology.

 While the number of contactless transactions by customers averaged 1.5 ‘taps’ per month in May 2015, they climbed to an average of 2.5 per customer by January 2017. Significantly, the number of customers using the technology has risen sharply by 227% in the last six months.

 “Contactless payments create a convenient and secure payment environment for both customer and merchant,” says Gareth Rimmington, head of operations at FNB Credit Card. 

 “The current perception is that contactless payments are for small ‘on-the-go’ amounts, but in reality the tap functionality is available for high value amounts and the customer would merely have to enter their card pin to verify larger amounts. However, some retailers may have their own limits.  The adoption of new payment technology is almost always accompanied by a degree of scepticism but this is where customer education plays an important role to ensure there is a level of comfort,” adds Rimmington.  All credit and debit cards issued by FNB are now contactless ‘tap’ enabled, meaning that customers are able to securely pay for their goods at merchants without the card leaving their hands. The bank started issuing contactless enabled cards in May 2015 and already has over 1 million in the market. 

Security features include encryption technology which protects the card’s contactless data from reproduction as well as the fact that customers are required to input their PIN after a number of ‘taps’. For merchants, contactless ‘tap’ payments make a big difference in terms of queuing time as payments are faster. 

“These types of payments are finding wide adoption both nationally and internationally, so we can expect the payment space to continue to evolve rapidly as new technologies are developed,” concludes Rimmington.

 

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City in drive to protect girls against cervical cancer

The health departments of the City of Johannesburg and the Gauteng Provincial Government have embarked on a joint month-long campaign to vaccinate nine-year-old girls in Grade 4 at both public and special schools against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

The vaccination campaign, which includes a deworming intervention, started on Tuesday February 21 and will be wound up on March 28. It is the first of a two-part annual drive to prevent cervical cancer among learners and to protect them against worm infestations. The second dose, HPV2, will take place from August 22 to September 27. Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women worldwide.

The campaign, which is undertaken annually under the theme “Protecting South African Girls against Cancer of the Cervix”, started in 2014. Almost 80% of cervical cancers are caused by the HPV. The virus can infect the genital area and cause a genital wart or cervical and other cancers.

The vaccination prevents the virus from developing on the cervix. Though there is no cure for HPV infection, some of the problems it causes can be treated.

“The City of Johannesburg’s Department of Health officials will visit public and special education schools during the campaign to administer free HPV vaccination to girls that are nine years old and are in Grade 4 in 2017,” says Cllr Mpho Phalatse.

 

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City embarks on TB awareness

Recent figures released by Statistics South Africa confirm that tuberculosis is still the country’s number one killer, responsible for almost 40 000 mortalities a year.

According to the World Health Organisation’s 2016 Global TB Report, South Africa reported 454 000 new TB cases in 2015, making it the country with sixth-highest prevalence of TB in the world after India, Indonesia, China, Nigeria and Pakistan.

It is against this background that the City has embarked on a massive campaign to create awareness of the health threats of both TB and HIV-Aids.

During the campaign, patients will be screened for the disease at all public clinics across the city. The campaign is expected to reach its climax on Friday March 24 when the City will join the global community to mark the annual World Stop TB Day.

The campaign will continue into April. This year’s drive will place emphasis on “missing patients”. These are patients who were diagnosed with TB and HIV but did not commence or continue with their treatment.

The City’s health practitioners will give special attention to hostel dwellers, residents of informal settlements and other groups such as miners, senior citizens, children and healthcare workers.

The City’s Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development, Cllr Mpho Phalatse, says people must be aware that TB could be completely cured if patients followed their treatment programme for the prescribed period, depending on the type of infection.

“Testing and treatment for TB and HIV are available for free at all City clinics. We urge communities to encourage families and friends to visit the clinics if they notice the tell-tale TB symptoms. It is equally important to provide ongoing support to TB patients and to assist them to continue with the treatment until they are cured,” said Cllr Phalatse.

TB is an infectious disease that spreads from person to person through the air. It affects mostly lungs but can also have an impact on other parts of the body. Its symptoms include a persistent cough that continues for more than two weeks, a fever that lasts for more than 14 days, unexplained weight loss and drenching night sweats.

Cllr Phalatse has appealed to residents to get tested as soon as possible to prevent the spread of the disease.

 

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Expert in Sports at AfrikaTikkun

 

An Interview with Boston’s Sports Star – Thomas Taole

Q. What made you choose sports as a career?  

Ans - “I grew up playing soccer, my dream was to be a pro soccer player but I broke my leg, and sadly, that was the end of Thomas the player. Luckily, I could still follow my passion using a different path. In addition, this was the beginning of Thomas the coach. My passion for sports was the reason I chose this career”.

Q What formal qualification did you attain to enter this field?  

Ans - “At the beginning I had a love of and passion for sports, and I completed little sports workshops at the age of 18, in Sports Administration and Soccer coaching.  I did it with SASA-South Africa Soccer Association. Today they called it SAFA. These workshops helped me get started during my foundation years.  But what made the big difference to my status was the Sports Management Diploma that I did in 1995 at Boston Campus   - this did kick start my career as a professional in the field.”

Q What does your job entail?

Ans - “My job entails developing the sports programs in accordance with the AfrikaTikkun strategy. Train the trainer in Sports, Life skills for players, fundraising for the programs and developing partnerships with the Federations of the sports that we complete in”. 

Q What do you do in an average day? 

Ans - “In an average day I start at my desk either at the Head office where I am based or the Centre where I will be working on that day.  I check emails and answer urgent ones. I plan for my day. Then I meet with the team to go plan their day, as far as coaching the kids in the afternoon.  We like to review the last session - both the good and the bad - and plan forward as we try to do better than the last sessions”.

Taole tells us that what he enjoys the most is travelling – his is not a static job. “It’s also meeting different people, youth, and sports stars. In addition, I have great flexibility in my job – I work 9-5 but in different spaces and each day is different. On top of all of this – I love what I do!” according to Taole he has hit the jackpot –“ Getting paid to do what you love is so awesome – basically this is my hobby, so getting paid to do this is a bonus!”

 We asked Taole if there were any negative aspects to his job. “Well, this is a competitive industry. In addition, not everyone takes sports seriously. The government and professional clubs can treat athletes and managers with no respect- compare this to Europe and the USA and we can see where South Africa is lacking”.  Taole lists highlights of his career as travelling to the UK with a team of triathletes. In addition, “Winning a race in USA with another team was extraordinary moment. My graduation in Sports education as a Higher Education qualification was definitely something to treasure at Boston Campus. The first in the family to achieve that. “

Q What does Taole believe are the three most important attributes that his position requires? 

Ans -  Fitness of body and mind, patience, and subject knowledge.  “You need to know your subjects so knowledge is the key and that is where Sports Education like at Boston College is fundamental”. 

Taole says that his job is to “empower young and old in sports development, and to identify talent in the youth – and above all – to keep them active for life”. What are his life tips?

• You need both experience as well as training in this field.

• You need to be a people’s person with great communication skills.

• Contribute to fundraising activities as well as your day job – I am the Sports Director of the Organisation so I need to ensure my salary!

• As some wise man once said, “Be passionate about what you do and you will never have to work another day”. 

• Sometimes talent alone is not enough – get a diploma or degree in Admin, Coaching and/or Sports. This country has high unemployment; you need to have something more to offer.

Contact Boston on 011 551-2000, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visit www.boston.co.za  for more info.

 

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City allocates R6m to tackle traffic light challenges

Joburg’s executive mayor, Herman Mashaba unveiled  the City plans to tackle the city’s traffic light challenges.

Through the Johannesburg Road Agency (JRA), the city said it will implement interventions combating the challenge of traffic signal downtime at key traffic intersections throughout Joburg.

This has been made possible through the city’s recent budget adjustment – allocating R6 million to replace cabling at traffic intersections as part of the city’s no-join Policy.

“Traffic light outages are among the top frustrations for Joburg residents and visitors to our city,” Mashaba said.

“Up until now, we addressed issues of downed traffic lights by simply joining cables in the event of an electrical fault.

“Each join in the cabling of a traffic light is an electrical weakness in the circuit that makes it vulnerable to rain, electrical surges and lightening. The no-join policy launched today serves to reduce the high number of electrical faults over time for the most critical high volume intersections in the city,” the mayor said.

Starting with key intersections, JRA technicians will no longer join old cables when an electrical fault is reported at a downed traffic light, but replace it with a new one.

The city said its ultimate goal is to progressively roll out this no-join policy on a city-wide scale beginning in its 2017/2018 financial year.

“By doing this, we will make Joburg’s traffic network more resilient to the impact of wet weather conditions, lightning and electrical surges which contribute to signal downtime,” Mashaba said.

The mayor said that Johannesburg’s 2,135 signalised traffic intersections are vital to achieving the city target for 5% economic growth – providing much needed opportunities for residents.

“This said, there are a number of other challenges which need to be addressed to improve traffic signal performance in the city,” he said.

Other challenges faced by the traffic network can vary from highly complex electrical technical issues, poor quality maintenance, or theft of cables, to accidents at intersections where vehicles crash into the poles, knocking poles over and damaging the cables, Mashaba said.

The city will therefore implement the following interventions which it said will significantly reduce traffic signal downtime:

•  The implementation of a “no-join” cable policy at key intersections, to reduce the risk of technical faults resulting from water getting into joints;

• Forging closer working relationships with power supply utilities such as city Power and Eskom, to ensure that power is restored quickly when it goes off at traffic signals;

• Enhancing the use of a Smart Traffic System, including remote monitoring of the traffic signals, to ensure that faults are detected and repaired quickly by the JRA;

• Establish a 24/7 Traffic Operations Centre, to ensure that the condition of the traffic lights can be monitored so that technicians can be dispatched to carry out repairs;

• Increased traffic light security systems in the fight against vandalism and theft; and

• Supplying mobile generators to temporarily power to intersections affected by power supply outages. This will alleviate interruptions to traffic signal which contributes 28% of daily traffic signal outages.

Mashaba said that the technological improvements will not result in any job losses. “In fact they are becoming more labour intensive,” he said.

“To date, weakness in the city transport network and infrastructure is one of the city’s top challenges – strangling our potential for economic growth,” the mayor said. “Under my administration, this will become a thing of the past.”

 

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Johannesburg ‘needs skilled foreigners to boost economy’

For Johannesburg to be a future global city, it would need to attract African foreigners who would bring with them skills to boost the economy.

This was said by Collen Masango, Director in the Office of the Member of the Mayoral Committee for Economic Development, Cllr Sharon Peetz, during a panel discussion on “Future Global Cities” at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) at the Sandton Convention Centre this week.

More than 4 000 entrepreneurs, thought leaders, researchers and policymakers from 160 countries around the globe had gathered in Sandton to chart the way forward for the world's start-ups under the theme: “Digital Disrupt”.

Masango said cities such as Johannesburg were seen as “cities of hope” to many people across the continent. He said Johannesburg, as the second-most economic vibrant city in Africa, received at least 10 000 people every month, most of whom came from various parts of South Africa as well as the rest of the continent.

“We’ve embraced foreign nationals in the City of Johannesburg but as things currently stand, we don’t have much to be proud of as we’re being [wrongly] labelled as a xenophobic city,” said Masango.

He was making reference to a wave of xenophobic attacks that took place in and around Johannesburg recently.

Julius Muia, Director-General of Kenya 2030 Vision, said the initiative was aimed at transforming Kenya. “We’ve identified the need to focus on city development. We want to come up with cities that are planned and that relate to the needs of the people.”

He added that the vision wanted to create cities that provided for the needs of the people. “We don’t have resources to build huge cities in Kenya, hence we’re focusing on developing our cities in a very structured way,” said Muia.

He said future global cities were going to be planned because governments had learnt from the past.

Mayor of Surabaya in Indonesia Tiri Rismaharini said the way to building a future global city was by being honest with challenges such as unemployment and poverty.

“To prepare to be a global city of the future, we need to pay attention to various sectors and build interconnected ecosystems,” said Rismarini.

She said, for example, Surabaya provided healthcare and education services for free and had a programme to provide housewives in poor families with specific skills.

“We’re going to be a global city. That’s why we have worked so hard to decrease the poverty rate to 15%. Young people are trained to be entrepreneurs through a programme called Young Warrior.”

 

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Gauteng’s race against time to place 19 000 extra kids in grade 1 and 8

The Gauteng Department of Education is grappling with an influx of late online and walk-in applications for grades one and eight, leaving 19 000 kids without a school to date.

The department provided an update on the process to place children across schools in the province, a week after schools officially opened last week.

As of yesterday, a total of  7 092 late online applications are yet to be closed, while 12 821 walk-in applications were recorded, despite grade one and eight applications only being accepted through the department’s Admissions website.

Combined, unplaced online and walk-in applications total 19 913.

“To date, 312 088 applications were processed online and 304 996 learners have been placed, of which 175 827 are for Grade one and 136 088 for Grade eight,” Gauteng MEC for Education, PanyazaLesufi said.

The Department is prioritising placement of pupils that applied online, while walk-ins will have to wait until that process is complete before they’re attended to.

“We reiterate our deep sense of empathy with the parents whose children are still not placed and commit to accelerate placement to at least eliminate the backlog of online applications. Unfortunately, for parents that have just walked into our operations centres, this may take a while,” Lesufi said.

 

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