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Act scuppers Shell fracking plans

Government has gazetted regulations restricting activities in areas which will host the multi-billion rand Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project – possibly putting an end to fracking plans in the Northern Cape.

According to the Astronomy Geographic Advantage Act 21 of 2007 no mining or prospecting will be allowed in areas which host the SKA; the Southern African large telescope (SALT) as well as the MeerKAT radio telescope.

While Shell had planned shale gas explorations – also known as fracking - in the Karoo, the announcement that SA would host 70% of the SKA project and the gazetting of the Act are set to affect the plan.

89% cybercrime conviction rate

Government says 155 cybercrime cases were finalised during the past financial year.

Speaking during the justice, crime prevention and security cluster briefing, Justice minister, Jeff Radebe, revealed that the average conviction rate for these cases was 89%.

“It appears that the majority of cases involve unlawful electronic fund transfers / fraud etc, where the password of the complainant was obtained or cloned cards being used,” he revealed.

More talks on e-tolling

Government and the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) say they will continue consultations on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) in an attempt to find a solution on the stalled e-tolling project.

This follows a meeting between the inter-ministerial committee, led by deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe and OUTA – led by Wayne Duvenage.

In a joint statement – both parties said they agreed on the principles that roads would serve the economy and citizens; the need for users to pay for road improvements; and the need to decongest the country’s roads; as well as the necessity for more efficient public transport.

Biometric identification for social grant recipients

The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) says it is in the second phase of re-registering all social grant beneficiaries on a comprehensive biometric identification system.

Between April and May, SASSA says it managed to get all its cash beneficiaries on a limited biometric card swop.

Speaking during the social protection and community development cluster briefing in Parliament, Social Development minister, Bathabile Dlamini, emphasized the focus on fighting fraud.

Pule asks AG to investigate Indaba corruption claims

Communications minister, Dina Pule, says she has requested the office of the Auditor General to investigate reports linking her to the misuse of funds from the ICT Indaba.

This follows reports by the Sunday Times that a man she was romantically linked to, Phosane Mngqibisa, drew millions in sponsorship fees for the recent ICT Indaba from the account of the event organiser.

According to the paper, R25.7 million was paid in sponsorship fees by Vodacom, MTN and Telkom. The paper alleges millions from the fees were irregularly withdrawn by Mngqibisa.

Gauteng ICT Summit: Push for internet access on STBs

The Gauteng provincial government says it will work closely with the Department of Communications (DOC) to influence the design of Set-Top Boxes (STBs).

Speaking at the opening of the 2012 Gauteng ICT Summit at Gallagher Estate today, Gauteng CIO, Lemmy Chappie, said input into the manufacturing of STBs was crucial at boosting broadband and improving internet access in the province.

“What we are saying is that the Set-Top Boxes need to have an in and out path so citizens can use their TV as a device – and this way we will address access to the internet,” Chappie explained.

Gauteng ICT Summit: Broadband for 95% of Gauteng homes

The Gauteng government says its broadband programme will address existing limitations by providing 95% of households in the province with access to affordable broadband services.

Speaking at the opening of the 2012 Gauteng ICT Summit at Gallagher Estate today, Finance MEC, Mandla Nkomfe, said the G-Link project was aimed at 20 priority townships and urban areas and impact 20% of individual customers and businesses within 5 years.

The Gauteng ICT Summit will provide a platform for government and the ICT industry to engage on the broad roadmap for the development, implementation and maintenance of baseline ICT infrastructure and e-government services in Gauteng private sector

20% reduction in e-tolling fees?

The Gauteng provincial government says it welcomes a steering committee report recommending a 20% reduction in e-toll tariffs.

Presenting his budget vote, Gauteng Transport MEC, Ismail Vadi, said the report on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) would be considered as the Transport minister and Gauteng premier prepare to decide on final tariffs.

This comes after former Transport minister Sibusiso Ndebele, officially withdrew the e-toll rates notice in the Government Gazette on May 31.

Sisulu to head up DPSA

President Jacob Zuma has appointed Lindiwe Sisulu as the new Public Service and Administration minister.

This follows the most recent Cabinet reshuffle by Zuma after the death of former Public Service and Administration minister, Roy Padayachie.

Padayachie died while on a working visit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in May. The minister was attending a meeting of the African Peer Review Mechanism in Addis Ababa when he died.

Telkom performance could worsen - Moholi

Telkom says its financial results could get worse, as it carries out a strategy to improve its performance in the long-term.

Presenting Telkom’s annual results, group CEO, Nombulelo Moholi said the operator would focus on carrying out programmes which would set the base for future growth.

“We expect to face continued difficulties and our performance may get worse before it gets better. I and the management team at Telkom believe we are setting the base for future growth at Telkom and we remain committed, focused and determined,” Moholi explained.

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