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Task team to explore university funding in South Africa

first_img7 October 2015A task team had been established to explore solutions to short-term student funding challenges, President Jacob Zuma said yesterday following a “fruitful and historical” meeting with vice-chancellors and the leadership of universities in South Africa at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.The meeting between the leadership of the country and its tertiary education institutions ties into one of the outcomes of the National Development Plan, namely, Africa’s place in the world. This is an effort to create a better South Africa, a better Africa and a better world.Meeting with university leadershipThe meeting was held at the request of Universities of South Africa and the University Council Chairs Forum – South Africa. Among other things, the request was necessitated by the recent violence on campuses countrywide.South Africa recognised and supported the right of university students to protest and to voice their opinions and grievances, Zuma said. However, he strongly condemned the violence and destruction of property that had taken place at some universities in the name of student protests over the past year or so. The most recent violent protests have been at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.“This right to protest should be exercised with utmost responsibility, ensuring that the rights of other South Africans are not violated in the process,” he said.While violent student responses had been condemned, university management must open up legitimate channels for discussion and dialogue over matters concerning students, with a view to resolving whatever issues they raised.“We believe that university management must be more proactive and not allow matters to deteriorate to such an extent that students go on a rampage, often due to lack of understanding and knowledge of the situation and spurred by poor communication,” Zuma said.TransformationIssues relating to the transformation of the higher education sector were also discussed, ahead of the second Higher Education Summit, which will take place in Durban from 15 to 17 October.“It was further noted that the current activity on many historically white university campuses by new student movements were related to concerns around the slow pace of university transformation and the demand to open access more effectively and thus change entrenched institutional cultures.“We also discussed some of the real gains in transforming the higher education sector, while acknowledging that there is still much more to be done.”Students protesting for the transformation of institutions, the president stressed, must focus on dialogue and legitimate means of negotiation and protest to bring about change.AfrikaansThe use of Afrikaans as the main medium of instruction on some campuses has been an issue leading to student protests:#SAVarsities: Zuma “the current issues in former Afrikaans Universities are pushed by the snail pace in transformation” @ANN7tv— Neria Hlakotsa (@neriahlakotsa) October 6, 2015#SAVarsities #Zuma says Afrikaans must not be used as a tool of exclusion, if you do so, you problematize it. @KayaNews— KhayelihleKhumalo (@KhayaJames) October 6, 2015#SAVarsities Zuma: Afrikaans is an African language, it must not isolate itself— POWER987 News (@POWER987News) October 6, 2015Financial aidThe focus of the meeting were the key challenges facing universities such as student financial aid, the increasing politicisation of university campuses, and transformation of higher education.“We wish to reiterate government’s commitment to funding poor students in higher education in the context of a constrained fiscal climate,” said Zuma.Funding for poor academically capable students, disbursed though the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), has increased from R441-million in 1997 to over R9.5-billion in 2015.“While funding has increased considerably, it is clearly still insufficient to support all poor and academically deserving students,” Zuma admitted. Processes for improving the disbursement of funds and concerted efforts to root out fraud, as well as sourcing additional funding to support students were being implemented.Shortfalls in financial aid, however, should not be used as a justification for hooliganism and vandalism of state property.The task teamThe task team will be made up of officials from the Department of Higher Education and Training, the Presidency, NSFAS, two vice-chancellors representing the leadership of universities, two student representatives, and other higher education stakeholders.It would make recommendations by the end of November.Source: SAnews.govlast_img read more

South Africa opens nanomaterial facility

first_img7 December 2015A state-of-the-art facility to produce nano-structured materials for industrial testing was opened at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria on 3 December.The Nanomaterials Industrial Development Facility was opened by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in partnership with the council. The new establishment will benefit the plastics and cosmetics industries, among others, to develop new nanotechnologies and processes. Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said it would provide the capabilities for the industrial-scale production of nano-structured materials.“All the facilities supported under the Industry Innovation Programme, including the Nano-materials Industrial Development Facility, have the potential to play a role in the development of high-technology small, medium and micro enterprises,” she said. “This facility could enable such enterprises to take advantage of the rapidly growing international market in nano-structured materials and nano-composites.”Some of the activities of the nanomaterials centre at the @CSIR @dstgovza #ncnsm pic.twitter.com/B9QVWlLKMx— Veronica Mohapeloa (@MaVeroza) December 3, 2015About nanomaterialsNanomaterials are chemical substances or materials that are manufactured and used at a very small scale – they can be scaled down to 10 000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair.They are developed to display new characteristics, such as increased strength, chemical reactivity or conductivity, compared to the same material without the nanoscale feature.How the centre will helpThe newly launched centre will assist to increase overall industry competitiveness.The plastics industry is one sector that will reap rewards from the facility. “The addition of nanomaterials in the manufacturing of plastics can significantly enhance the mechanical properties of plastics,” said the CSIR. “Plastics can, for example, be made stronger, lighter and more fire and ultraviolet resistant.”Min Pandor gets an explanation of how this machine works with nanoclays at the Nanomaterial centre @csir @dstgovza pic.twitter.com/UyiuxQM3ZI— Veronica Mohapeloa (@MaVeroza) December 3, 2015“Addressing the technological development of the plastics industry will enable the industry to keep up with international trends, both in the level of advanced materials used, and in the machines and processes used to produce plastic components and systems,” it added./p>The CSIR performed research to stimulate and improve the competitiveness of industry and thereby contribute to the economy of the country, explained the council’s chief executive officer, Dr Sibusiso Sibisi.“We need to think differently,” he said. “We need to explore new ways and mechanisms to enter areas of activities such as the beneficiation of our natural resources to create jobs, manufacture high-end components and export them.”The facility houses infrastructure processing and testing and it will play a crucial role in developing skills and transferring technologies to industry.Rising fieldThe international market in nano-structured materials and nanocomposites was growing rapidly, said the CSIR. Nanoclay composites are expected to increase from a 2011 volume of 24 million to 74 million metric tonnes and a global value of $3-billion by 2016.In South Africa, the total plastic consumption is in the order of 1.3 million metric tonnes or R35-billion a year, and accounts for an estimated 3.2% of the manufacturing sector.Source: CSIRlast_img read more

South African shopping mall development shows strong growth

first_img17 October 2014 The new Mall of Africa is set to change the face of Johannesburg. (Photo: Atterbury) Despite the sluggish economic growth in South Africa, new shopping malls are rising in many parts of the country, with the latest addition being Newtown Junction in Johannesburg.The growth of shopping centres is on the upsurge and current figures show that there are 1 785 malls in South Africa, with 44% of the shopping centre space being in Gauteng, reports the Mail & Guardian.Located in the Newtown precinct (where the Market Theatre is located) the R1.4- billion Newtown Junction opened on 25 September and boasts 82 000m² of retail space. The mall was six years in the making and aims to play a major role in the rejuvenation of inner-city Johannesburg.The mall is targeted at the lower income groups and features retailers like Truworths, Foschini, Jet and Mr Price, and a Pick n Pay. It is expected that the mixed use character of the mall, which includes 39 000m² of office space, will later attract people in the higher income groups.Growth of South African mallsA report by Dirk Prinsloo, the managing director of Urban Studies, which conducts feasibility studies for shopping centres, shows that the number of malls in South Africa is far higher than its emerging market peers, some of which have four times its population, and even outdoes that of some developed economies. The report, Benchmarking the South African Shopping Centre Industry: International and Local Trends, was commissioned by the South African Council of Shopping Centres in 2013 reveals the following:In Brazil, with a population of 200-million, the number of shopping centres is near the 400 mark and, in Mexico (population 122-million), it is closer to 500.Portugal (population 10.5-million), New Zealand (population 4.5-million) and Argentina (population 41.5-million) have fewer than 200 centres each.Germany (population 80-million) has 600 and Australia (population 23-million) come closest to South Africa (population 54-million) by having slightly more than 1? 400 shopping centres.South Africa has about one million square metres of shopping centre space currently under planning. On the rest of the continent it is 900 000m².Prinsloo’s research shows that, last year, shopping centre sales per capita in South Africa amounted to R8 900 (up from R5 255 in 2007) with sales amounting to R392-billion (up from R245-billion in 2007).According to Statistics South Africa, total retail trade sales last year amounted to almost R698-billion, compared with R577-billion in 2008.The South African retail space market is so developed that, according to an AT Kearney 2012 Global Retail Development Index, it can no longer be listed as one of “the 30 developing countries’ – the report concluded that the window of growth had closed.Mall development continues to riseConcerns about shopping centre space reaching saturation have abounded for decades but the growth continues.“We are seeing more and more shopping centres in rural areas and towns – and in Johannesburg it is not stopping,’ said Elaine Wilson, the divisional director of research at the commercial property management company Broll.Urban Studies is conducting new feasibility studies on shopping centres. “We are busy here and that is indicating two things,’ Prinsloo said. “People are dusting off old plans that were put on the shelves in 2008 when the recession started . and there are other new opportunities where people move into the rural areas.’The driver of retail space growth, experts agree, is the emerging middle class and urbanisation.Growth in urbanisationAccording to his research, South Africa is experiencing “unprecedented growth in urbanisation’, and is now 63% urbanised. That is expected to reach 68% by 2030, warranting up to two million square metres of additional retail floor space by 2025.“As far as your convenience and neighbourhood centres are concerned, in some areas there is a certain level of saturation,’ Prinsloo said. “But where you see most of your growth is in your regional centres and super-regional centres.’Liberty Properties manages a handful of major malls, including Eastgate in Johannesburg, the Midlands Mall in KwaZulu-Natal, the Promenade in Cape Town and one of the largest shopping centres on the continent, Sandton City.Liberty Properties managing director, Maurice Mdlolo, said: “Most international retailers who want to come to the continent have identified South Africa as the gateway and Sandton as the first port of call.“There is growth which is happening. In our observation, this growth is very much driven by the retailers. It’s very much a retailers’ market at the moment and they can dictate better rentals and expand into some of the spaces,’ said Mdlolo.New Mall of Africa MallMall development in Johannesburg continues. Property development company Atterbury is currently developing a 120 000m² Mall of Africa for R3.5 billion – South Africa’s largest single-phase shopping mall development to date – financed by Nedbank Corporate Property Finance. The new super-regional Mall of Africa will be the heart of the ambitious Waterfall, a city superbly situated between Johannesburg and Pretoria.The two-level mall forms the hub of Waterfall Business Estate, a 1.6 million square metre mixed-use commercial development. Commercial property commentators punt the development as the most ambitious commercial development yet undertaken in southern Africa.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Weekly Wrapup: The ReadWrite Real-Time Web Summit

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Structured DataThe Real-Time WebPersonalizationMobile Web & Augmented RealityInternet of ThingsWorld’s Largest Paid Blogging Platform Goes Real-TimeTypepad, the SixApart-owned paid blogging service believed to be larger than any other online, announced this week that every one of its blogs will now make updates available in real time. A fast-growing number of sites around the web are now flying the real-time banner, so blogging could steal a little thunder back from immediacy-rich social networks like Facebook and Twitter. The Dirty Little Secret About the “Wisdom of the Crowds” – There is No Crowd Recent research by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) professor Vassilis Kostakos pokes a big hole in the prevailing wisdom that the “wisdom of crowds” is a trustworthy force on today’s web. The findings showed that a small group of users accounted for a large number of ratings. In other words, small but powerful groups can easily distort what the “crowd” really thinks. VC Series A Web Tech Deals in August This week was the anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse, which triggered the financial meltdown. That was when ReadWriteWeb started tracking Series A deals in Web technology. Executive summary for August: down from July, with seed deals very weak. Analysis: decadent Europeans are not the only ones who take holidays in August. Read on for details.SEE MORE WEB TRENDS COVERAGE IN OUR TRENDS CATEGORYA Word from Our SponsorsWe’d like to thank ReadWriteWeb’s sponsors, without whom we couldn’t bring you all these stories every week!Mashery is the leading provider of API management services.Domain.ME, the official registry for all .ME Domains.Codero, Dedicated Hosting with Backup & Managed Services.Groupsite.com, How Groups Make Things Happen.Crowd Science gives you detailed visitor demographics.hakia is a semantic search engine.Rackspace provides dedicated server hosting.Aplus provides web hosting services for small business hosting needs.MediaTemple provides hosting for RWW.SixApart provides our publishing software MT4. Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… In this edition of the Weekly Wrapup – our newsletter summarizing the top stories of the week – we announce our first event: The ReadWrite Real-Time Web Summit on October 15th in Mountain View, California. It’s a 1-day event that will bring together some of the smartest minds doing real-time work for an industry-changing, face-to-face conversation. Also this week we look at which ‘light blogging’ service is the most popular, tell you how to fix your Facebook privacy settings, analyze web tech VC trends in August, and more. We also check in on our two new channels: ReadWriteEnterprise (devoted to ‘enterprise 2.0’ trends and products) and ReadWriteStart (dedicated to profiling startups and entrepreneurs). Subscribe to Weekly WrapupYou can subscribe to the Weekly Wrapup by RSS or by email (form below).RWW Weekly Wrap-up Email Subscription form: 5 Easy Steps to Stay Safe (and Private!) on Facebook When the President of the United States warns schoolchildren to watch what they say and do on Facebook, you know that we’ve got a problem. People everywhere are mindlessly over-sharing on the world’s largest social network, without a second thought as to who’s reading their posts or what effect it could have on them further down the road. But what can be done? It’s not like you can just quit Facebook, right? No – and you don’t have to either. You just need to take a few precautions. Google Acquires reCAPTCHA to Fight Spam and Improve Google Books OCR Google announced this week that it has acquired reCAPTCHA, one of the leading providers of CPATCHAs, the hard-to-read puzzles you often have to solve before you can sign up for a new web service. Google is looking at reCAPTCHA as a way to improve the optical character recognition (OCR) software it uses for large scale text scanning projects like Google Books and the Google News Archive Search.Making Search Prettier: Bing Launches Visual Search Since Microsoft launched Bing, the company has been trying to position it as a ‘decision engine’ and not just as another search engine. This week, Microsoft took another step in this direction with the launch of Visual Search in Bing. For a growing number of searches, instead of giving users a list of 10 blue links, Bing will now give users the option to visualize the search results on a 3D grid with icons or photos.SEE MORE WEB PRODUCTS COVERAGE IN OUR PRODUCTS CATEGORYThat’s a wrap for another week! Enjoy your weekend everyone. richard macmanus Announcing the ReadWrite Real-Time Web Summit Tags:#web#Weekly Wrap-ups A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… ReadWriteWeb is pleased to announce our very first event, The ReadWrite Real-Time Web Summit on October 15th in Mountain View, California. It’s a 1-day event that will bring together some of the smartest minds doing real-time work for an industry-changing, face-to-face conversation. In conjunction with the Summit, we’ll be releasing our second original premium research report in October. Registration is now open for the The ReadWrite Real-Time Web Summit, we hope to see you there!Web TrendsReadWriteWeb’s Top 5 Web Trends of 2009 Last week we ran a series of posts outlining the 5 biggest Internet trends of this year: Structured Data, Real-Time Web, Personalization, Mobile Web / Augmented Reality, Internet of Things. Effectively this was ReadWriteWeb’s State of the Web 2009. We’ve now compiled the main points into a single presentation, available on Slideshare and embedded below. You can view the presentation in full screen by clicking the “full” button at the bottom of the presentation. You can also download the presentation as a Powerpoint file. All of the links in the presentation are clickable, should you wish to explore a certain topic more. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market ReadWriteEnterpriseOur channel devoted to ‘enterprise 2.0’ and using social software inside organizations. Adobe Acquires Omniture: It’s All About the Revenue ModelAdobe is looking to stall falling sales and profit by entering into a new market: analytics. But rather looking to R&D, Adobe is instead coughing up $1.8 billion for analytics leader Omniture. This is the largest acquisition by Adobe since the purchase of Macromedia for $3 billion in 2005.The acquisition has puzzled many, since Adobe and Omniture products really have no natural cooperation. There have been comments about the measurement capabilities that Omniture will give to content built with Adobe products. But in the end the entire deal revolves around two words: recurring revenue.ReadWriteStartOur channel ReadWriteStart, sponsored by Microsoft BizSpark, is dedicated to profiling startups and entrepreneurs.Going Viral in 6 Questions, Part One: Spymaster Many web apps claim virality; very few actually find it. In a new series exploring the anatomy of truly viral apps, our first specimen is Spymaster, the Twitter- and Facebook-based social game that exploded with tens of thousands of users within hours of the creators throwing up a simple page and absolutely no media coverage. From creating addiction to managing site traffic, read on to learn how they did it and what they’re doing next.SEE MORE STARTUPS COVERAGE IN OUR READWRITESTART CHANNELWeb ProductsPoll: Which Light Blogging Service Do You Use? This week we reported that Posterous, a popular minimalist blogging service, had added the ability for its users to import their Tumblr content. Tumblr is a competing ‘light blogging’ service – the market leader in fact. Other similar services include Soup.io, Noovo, Vox, Profilactic and even WordPress.com and Blogger.com are used for this purpose (although they’re more used for long-form blogging).last_img read more

Stowe Attends 2011 Captains’ Forum

first_imgThe leaders came together to consider their role as leaders and highlight how leadership on and off the field can be a factor in making sport inclusive for all Australians, in particular Indigenous Australians. The event included a dinner at Darling Harbour on Wednesday night, before the forum was conducted last Thursday. Stowe says that it was a great opportunity to be involved in the Forum and found it very beneficial.“It was great to experience sharing thoughts on leadership and diversity in sporting groups with other people at the elite level,” Stowe said. “The Australian Sports Commission grabbed 35 of their elite sportspeople and leaders to get together and discuss basically ways that captains and leaders influence their sport and to determine what sort of aspects we can have and influences we have on our sport. It was also used to see which ways we are best off in bridging the gap in getting indigenous kids into our sport and ways to get them in and keep them in.”“The Australian Sports Commission is trying to obviously find the ways we can influence as role models and as leaders to keep these kids in the sport, which they seem to be striving to do through different pathways. It was also an opportunity to get together with all of the leaders to be able to share ideas on leadership qualities and to bounce ideas off each other as to how to improve our skills and attributes.”A long list of sports and their leaders took part in the event, including Swimmer Brenton Rickard, Surfer Sally Fitzgibbons, Rugby Union player Dean Mumm and the Kookaburra’s leadership group. “It was great to have the input of so many different sports, from Snowboarding to Surfing, Tennis, Shooting, there were so many different sports that you could get ideas from and a lot of leadership qualities, from motivation right through to preparation and into handling your teams whilst competing through to training and all of the aspects of their sports. It was very beneficial.”Stowe says that is was ‘exciting’ to see Touch Football represented at the Captains’ Forum, and that it was great to see that many of the people involved at the event had some form of connection to the sport. “We had the chance to interact with some of the indigenous kids there and they were quite excited to see that the sport that they played was there. Out of the 20 kids there, there was probably 10 or a dozen that actually played Touch, it was good to see someone there from Touch, so it was quite amazing.”“Just talking to the other captains, a lot of them do a lot of cross training and it was amazing to see that if they hadn’t played Touch growing up they were playing it at the moment, they all facilitated in Touch which was great to see. It was really important I think that we represented the sport there and continue in doing so.”last_img read more