The staff at South Africa’s Financial Intelligence Centre in Centurion outside Tshwane celebrate Football Friday with Bafana Bafana gear, vuvuzela blowing and diski dancing competitions, and some serious office Foosball action!The FIC’s undisputed vuvuzela champion blows her stuff. (Photo: Lesego Madumo, Brand South Africa)FIC staff members work their moves on the Foosball table. (Photo: Lesego Madumo, Brand South Africa) View the full FIC photoset on FlickrShare your own Football Friday thoughts, photos and videos Posted on SouthAfrica.info on 2 February 2010.
The South African wine industry showed incredible growth in 2012, exporting 417-million litres of wine and breaking the previous record of 407-million litres, set in 2008. The Vinum African Chenin Blanc was named one of eight “most delicious” wines by the Wall Street Journal in 2008.(Images: Painted Wolf Wines)MEDIA CONTACTS • Andre Morgenthal Communications manager, WoSA+27 21 883 3860RELATED ARTICLES• SA wine tourism, best in the world• SA wine consumers on the rise• SA winery scoops Chinese deal• SA’s first wine tourism exhibition• Hermanus wine route re-launchedCadine PillayConfidence in South Africa as a top wine-producing country is growing among high-profile international critics, and the country’s wine-making industry is breaking export records and winning global accolades.In the past few weeks, South Africa has been praised by the likes of Neal Martin, who reviews for Robert E Parker’s world-famous The Wine Advocate and who has singled it out as the most exciting New World wine country at the moment, as well as from Stephen Tanzer of the International Wine Cellar. Last year, South Africa’s wine tourism was rated the best-developed in the world by International Wine Review, one of the world’s most influential opinion formers on wine.In a recent article on Erobertparker.com, Martin praised renegades such as Eben Sadie, Adi Badenhorst and Chris Mullineux, all winemakers who are shaking things up and injecting a healthy dose of innovation into the South African wine industry.He also highlighted the increasing success of white varieties, such as chenin blanc, and the discernible shift towards purer, more elegant wines.New World winesNew World wines refer to those from countries like South Africa, the US, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. They are called this to differentiate them from the wine from traditional sources in Europe, like France.Although South Africa has been producing wine for more than 350 years, it was only after the end of apartheid that its wine industry was able to reconnect with the global sector.South Africa’s main concern for the past two decades has been to reinvent its reputation in the world market. Right now, some in the international community are unaware of the changes that have taken place, and many wine buyers are still under the impression that South African wines were the same as they were in the 1990s. At that time, its wine was unattractively packaged, suffered in quality, and did not stand up well against other New World wines.But now, South Africa’s wines have been recognised as the “best quality budget wines in the world”. It has won awards and high praise, such as the Vinum African Chenin Blanc being named one of eight “most delicious” wines by the Wall Street Journal in 2008.New export recordThe South African wine industry showed incredible growth in 2012, exporting 417-million litres of wine, breaking the previous record of 407-million litres in 2008.The main factors for this were revealed to be favourable exchange rates, a global wine shortage and small harvests in Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. Together, these led to the 2012 figures showing an optimistic 17% increase over 2011.The top five countries to which South Africa exports wine are the UK, Germany, Russia, Sweden, and the US.According to Wines of South Africa chief executive Su Birch, bulk wines accounted for 59% of the 2012 volumes, something which she said was part of a “growing global trend”.Birch explained that over the past decade, bulk wine exports from the major New World wine-producing countries had risen from around 20% to over half of wine volumes traded, against the background of prolonged recessionary market conditions.While packaged wines generally offered higher returns, local producers had been forced to accept that, to compete globally, they had to provide what the mainstream markets wanted.Although the industry has been under duress caused by the current labour unrest in Western Cape, the country’s wine-producing region, huge steps were taken in 2012 to ensure decent working conditions on all wine-producing farms.Meanwhile, South Africa is expecting its third biggest wine grape harvest ever in 2013.Yvette van der Merwe of the South Africa Wine Industry and Information Systems said the 2013 wine grape crop was likely to amount to over 1.38-million tons, a decrease of 0.8% relative to the 2012 crop, but still potentially South Africa’s third biggest crop ever recorded. read more
29 May 2014 Newly appointed Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramathlodi has set up a task team to look into ways of resolving the long-running strike in South Africa’s platinum mining sector. The protracted wage dispute, which has lasted for over four months, has slowed productivity and put a serious dent in the country’s economic growth rate. The minister, who was sworn into office on Monday, has hit the ground running and was scheduled to meet with mining bosses on Thursday morning. In a radio interview on Wednesday, Ramatlhodi said he had met with three unions involved in the mining strike – the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), the United Association of South Africa (Uasa) and Solidarity – on Tuesday in a bid to begin a process of mediating the strike, which has now lasted over four months. The minister said the president of Amcu, Joseph Mathunjwa, had given him the assurance that while his members were still on strike, they were doing “everything possible” to reach an agreement with the mining houses. “I have tasked my deputy [Minister Godfrey Oliphant] … to put together an inter-ministerial team, a technical team so that it gives me the capability to begin the process of mediating with the parties,” the minister said. “So that team will be inaugurated [on Thursday] at my office.” Ramatlhodi said the technical team would include officials from the Departments of Mineral Resources, Labour and the Treasury, and would meet at an undisclosed location on Thursday with representatives from the mining companies and Amcu. “The mandate of the technical team is to broaden the approach and explore all possibilities for a resolution to the problem. They will interrogate all the information (including the figures) provided by both parties, and report back by the end of the day on what is possible.” Ramatlhodi said that, while his job was to facilitate talks instead of negotiating with the parties, he decided it was time that the government got involved after the latest mediation talks, facilitated by a labour court judge, appeared to fall through. “All parties are hurting. The workers are hurting. We have no option but to find an amicable solution,” the minister said. Labour Court Judge Hilary Rabkin-Naicker last week persuaded labour and the mining companies to enter into mediation headed by herself. She had been scheduled to hear an urgent application by Amcu to interdict the platinum companies from SMS-ing employees directly regarding their wage offers, but instead held a meeting with both parties behind closed doors. On Tuesday, Statistics SA reported that South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) had contracted 0.6 percent quarter-on-quarter in the first three months of the year – its first contraction since the second quarter of 2009, when the world’s economy dipped as a result of a global recession. Statistician-General Pali Lehohla said mining (-1.3%) and manufacturing (-0.7%) were the main contributors to the contraction. “The economy is almost knocking on the door of recession, and we should not allow that to happen to ourselves,” Lehohla said. “The damage takes many years to repair. So ending the strike will contribute a hundred-fold to the economy.” Source: SAnews.gov.za read more
The life-changing Play Your Part series shares inspiring stories of ordinary South Africans doing extraordinary things.Kabelo Mabalane, Play Your Part ambassador, has been travelling the country meeting South African philanthropists for the PYP TV series. (Image: Brand South Africa)The Play Your Part television series is back! The 26 episode docu-reality series has, since its launch in August 2017, consistently offered viewers an inspirational insight into the world of active citizenship and volunteerism by profiling citizens from across the country who are doing extraordinary things to change people’s lives for the better.Presented by Play Your Part ambassador Kabelo Mabalane, the family show hopes to continue to empower viewers, young and old, to get involved in their individual communities and play their part in uplifting the spirit of South Africa.So far, episodes have featured the likes of Tebogo Ditshego, Mogau Seshoene, Esther Mahlangu, Professor Thabo Msibi, Alan Farber, and Dr Michael Mol, who shared their stories of active citizenship in the areas of literacy, local cuisine, art, education, film production and healthcare.There are still many more stories of inspiration that viewers can look forward to.Be sure to catch Play Your Part every Saturday, at 6pm on SABC 2.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material. read more
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest It is the time of year when the thoughts of Ohio’s cattlemen turn from frozen pastures and feeding hay to state policy and an annual celebration of success. The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet is this weekend in Lewis Center at the Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center.“We’re looking forward to our Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet on Saturday. We try to encompass all of the state’s beef industry at the event. It is a day of business through the policy meeting and it is also a celebration of Ohio’s cattlemen through the banquet in the evening,” said Stephanie Sindel, director of member services and youth programs for the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association. “We have some brand new youth programs with a youth quiz bowl in the morning and some quality assurance sessions as well. We have some industry resource speakers for cattlemen coming in including Dr. Alvaro Garcia Guerra with Ohio State talking about pregnancy loss in beef cattle and how to prevent that. We have a live and silent PAC auction too. Saturday evening we look forward to celebrating some of the folks who have done great things with Ohio’s beef industry. It will be a great event and we sure look forward to seeing you there.”There is plenty to discuss in terms of accomplishments in the past and goals for the future.“We are taking a look back at 2017 and what to look for in 2018,” Sindel said. “We are proud of this event and it is important for all of the beef producers in the state to be engaged at a policy making level. We are looking at guiding principles for water quality and protecting nomenclature for beef in the policy meeting. If ever there was a time to be involved in a grassroots organization that represents your hobbies and livelihood, now is the time.”Other featured speakers at the event include Colin Woodall, with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Cathann Kress, dean of the OSU College of Food Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, and John Foltz, chair of the OSU Department of Animal Sciences.Click here for a full schedule and more information about the event. read more
The police in western Assam’s Dhubri town have detained two special verification officers assigned the job of updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) for demanding ‘service charge’ from people summoned to submit documents establishing their citizenship.The detention on Sunday evening follows reports of people offering bribes, submitting forged documents or borrowing legacy data of genuine citizens to be included in the second NRC draft that the Supreme Court wants updated by May.First draftThe first draft, recognising 1.9 crore of the 3.29 applicants who can prove they have been living in Assam before March 24, 1971, was published at the stroke of midnight on December 31.“Special verification officer Fardous Zaman, sectional assistant in PWD Roads, and his deputy Swapan Dutta, a gram panchayat secretary, were detained after a complaint that they had demanded ₹300 to get the documentation of a couple from Tamarhat done on April 19,” said Longnit Terang, Dhubri Superintendent of Police.The duo had allegedly demanded ₹100 from the couple but later increased it to ₹300. The resultant delay forced the couple to stay at the house of a relative who works at the Dhubri Deputy Commissioner’s office. His complaint to the district’s administrative head led to Zaman and Dutta’s detention.“Though the duo are accused of seeking gratification money in NSK2 (NRC Seva Kendra number 2, at the office of inspector of schools, Dhubri), the case is not of manipulation of documents,” Mr. Terang said.Officials handling the NRC exercise did not rule out the possibility of similar cases across the 1,093 verification centres in Assam.Last week, the police in Darrang district’s Sipajhar arrested two people of suspected nationality – San Khan and Nayan Khan – for offering to bribe ₹20,000 to the NRC officials for including their names in the second draft.Officials said at least half a dozen such cases have been reported from central Assam’s Nagaon and Morigaon districts with some offering up to ₹2 lakh to get their names included in the NRC.By the first week of April, the NRC authorities identified more than 4,000 people who submitted forged papers despite having been declared foreigners by 100 Foreigners’ Tribunals across the State. Apart from government employees, the probe revealed several village heads were issuing fake domicile certificates.One such village head, Moijan Ali of Soulmari village in Biswanath district, had been charging ₹500 for each fake document.The NRC authorities received a setback earlier this month when Ali Ahmed, who was declared a foreigner in 2011, filed a review petition in the Gauhati High Court saying he cannot be an illegal immigrant as his name figured in the first draft of the updated NRC. The NRC authorities blamed it on faulty data collection by the State’s border police.Borrowed legacy dataOfficials said there have been several cases of people using legacy data of others to establish their family trees. In Nagaon district, for instance, a person named Fakaruddin, son of Umed Ali, tried to pass off as Suresh Das by using one Robi Das’s legacy data. Verification officials caught Fakaruddin’s bluff when Robi Das – both were called to the NSK concerned – could not recognise him.In another case reported from Barpeta district, one Abdul Salam was caught trying to pass his second wife Kadbanu as his first wife Kanchan Nessa, who died a few years ago. The second wife could not submit papers to establish her citizenship, officials said.Meanwhile, 85 companies of Central armed forces have been deployed in Assam apprehending trouble in certain parts during the process. More than half of these companies were provided before the publication of the first draft on December 31. read more