Category: News

SA has progressed since the first vote



In 1994 millions of South Africans voted for the first time, their vote ensured that Nelson Mandela became the first democratically elected President of the country. That same year millions of taxpayers also contributed their fair share to the coffers of our new government.

Since 1994, government has continually strived to deliver services to ensure a better life for all. The tax paid by individuals has contributed to make this vision a reality for more people with each passing year.

Life for the majority in 1994 was a far cry from what we know today; basic services such as electricity, sanitation and water were non-existent for many.  People were forced to live in degrading conditions and the dream of owning a home seemed impossible to all but the very fortunate.

The newly elected government was confronted with a failing and bankrupt state. At his inaugural State of the Nation Address in 1994, former President Mandela announced that an ambitious Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) would be put in place to roll back the ills of apartheid.

The RDP aimed to meet basic needs; develop our human resources; build the economy and democratise the state and society.

It was an ambitious plan to address the many historic social and economic problems which faced our new democracy, in particular the lack of housing and jobs; inadequate education and healthcare, and a failing economy.

Human Rights Day, 21 March 1998 former President Mandela highlighted the significance of the RDP in addressing the legacy of the past.

“Our experience, and the experience of all humanity, also tells us that our rights will remain without their real substance unless there are real improvement in the lives of our people.  That lesson is also written in our constitution and it is at the heart of our nation’s programme of reconstruction and development.”

This ambitious plan needed to be financed by a consistent revenue stream which would mean the transformation of the tax system. The government under Former President Mandela oversaw the creation of The South African Revenue Service (SARS) and a number of policy initiatives that boosted the legitimacy of the tax system and the collection processes.

The next two administrations have continued supporting the continuing transformation of SARS to ensure efficient and effective tax collection.

Almost twenty years later we still reap the socio-economic benefits from the solid foundations former President Mandela’s administration laid to deal with post-apartheid challenges.

Society has been totally transformed in every sphere since 1994. The Census 2011 results bear testimony to this:

  • Households with access to piped water increased from 80.3 per cent in 1996 to 91.2 per cent in 2011.
  • The number of households that use electricity for lighting increased from 58.2 per cent in 1996 to 84.7 per cent in 2011; and households that use electricity for cooking increased from 47.5 per cent to 73.9 per cent over the same period.
  • The proportion of households living in formal dwellings increased from 65.1 per cent in 1996 to 77.6 per cent in 2011.
  • School enrolment for six-year-olds increased from 49.1 per cent in 1996 to 92.7 per cent in 2011, while the enrolment of seven-year-olds up from 73.1 per cent in 1996 to 96.1 per cent in 2011.

In 1994 there was a massive housing backlog and the new government prioritised the building of houses. The 2012 Midterm Review Report reflects the massive strides made; between 1994 and 2011 approximately 2.8 million subsidised housing opportunities were created.

Since 1994, the taxes that you and I pay continue to change lives.  The payment of income tax is a contract between citizens and the state, where citizens pay their fair share and the state in turn provides and maintains infrastructure, implements social services and creates structures necessary for the proper functioning of the country.

A quick glance at last year’s returns from individual taxpayers reveals that South Africans have taken to heart the notion of actively contributing to our democracy. More than 12 million individual taxpayers together contributed a total of R276.8 billion through personal income tax out of total revenue of R814.1 billion.

The Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan has announced that SARS has set its sights on a revenue collection target of R898 billion for the 2013 tax season.

“The more tax we can collect, the less we have to borrow, and the more we will get to build houses and invest in infrastructure,” he said.

The money that you and I contribute in personal income tax is changing lives and contributes directly to building a more prosperous country. Earlier this year during his budget speech, Minister Gordhan announced that over the next three years, R827 billion will be spent by the fiscus and state-owned companies for infrastructure development.

“The fiscus has allocated just under R430 billion for schools, hospitals, clinics, dams, water and electricity distribution networks, electrification of over a million new homes, sanitation schemes, building more courtrooms and prisons, and improved bus, commuter rail and road links,” he said.

With Tax Season now in full swing most people are likely to log onto their computers or smartphones over the coming months to complete their tax returns, others may choose to visit a SARS branch, or choose the traditional option of submitting their returns manually. Whichever way you choose to file this year, know that you are making a difference and contributing to our country.

Government is encouraged that by the morning of 4 July, just three days after Tax Season began; over 264,448 South Africans had already filed their tax returns. In turn government is committed to spending this money wisely, and to the benefit of all.

At the launch of Tax Season Minister Gordhan reiterated that government has to spend public funds prudently.

“We must get better outcomes, we must have higher productivity, we must have better delivery and above all: South African citizens must be able to visibly and palpably feel the change in their lives as a result of this expenditure.”

The legacy that Madiba began in 1994 lives on in our prudent economic policies, our infrastructure and social spending, and our commitment to building a better life for all.

Phumla Williams is acting CEO of the Government Communication and Information System

Mandela responding to treatment



Pretoria – After spending more than a month in a critical condition in hospital, former President Nelson Mandela is now responding to treatment, the Presidency says.

President Jacob Zuma visited Mandela on Wednesday night and found him still critical but stable, and was informed by doctors that he was responding to treatment.

“We are encouraged that Madiba is responding to treatment and urge the public to continue providing support and showering him with love, which gives him and the family strength,” said Zuma.

Well-wishers continued to visit the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria where Mandela has been kept since suffering a recurring lung infection early in June.

Meanwhile, South Africans and the world are gearing up for the Nelson Mandela International Day to be celebrated on 18 July.

Government has called on people to make Madiba’s 95th birthday special, in light of his stay in hospital. On the day, Home Affairs officials will also be unveiling the country’s new Smart ID Cards. –

2013 Standard Bank Ovation Awards announced at NAF

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The 2013 edition of the National Arts Festival draws to a close with Festival award winners being announced on the final day.

Convenor of the Standard Bank Ovation Awards Panel, Adrienne Sichel, described the work presented on the Fringe at this year’s Festival as “courageous and inventive”, explaining that themes of renegotiation of history and heritage, and remapping identity, featured as a strong thread through this year’s productions.

The only Gold Ovation awarded this year was to musician Dan Patlansky. Patlansky’s acoustic performances at the Festival played to both critical and audience acclaim while his collaboration with Karen Zoid left the sold-out crowd mesmerized.

Silver Ovations were awarded to comedian Rob van Vuuren for pushing the boundaries of stand-up comedy in his show “What What”; musician Julian Redpath; “The Bram Fischer Waltz”; and “The Things You Left Behind”, directed by Kim Kerfoot and starring Jason Potgieter and Alicia McCormick. Joanna Evans won a Silver Ovation for her production of “The Year of the Bicycle” – supported on the Fringe this year as part of her prize as Best Up and Coming Director of last year’s Student Festival.

A Special Silver Ovation Award presented to Steven van Wyk and Thalia Laric for the creation of Skoonveld, in the production “Plastic”.

Encore Awards were made to “A Day in the Desert” and “Skierlik”, recognising their potential for professional development.

Following the recognition of their production “Wintersweet“ in 2012, an AHA Award was made to Horses Heads productions for “Scrape”, as a production that surprised and delighted the judges.

In recognition of their long standing and varied contributions to the industry, two Standing Ovation Awards were announced this year – to consumate performer and educator Andrew Buckland; and actress/director Nomhle Nkonyeni, both of whom have made invaluable contributions to industry internationally, nationally and though reinvestment in the Eastern Cape.

The Festival’s inaugural Short Sharp Stories competition has seen the publication of some of the best submissions in a crime anthology entitled “Bloody Satisfied”. The winner of this year’s competition for the best story was awarded to Dawn Garish.

The SA Post Office reaffirmed their investment in the culture and heritage of the country through their support of the Student Theatre Awards, through which winners receive various levels of support to present productions at next year’s Festival. A panel of advisors comprising Gez Casey, Smal Ndaba, Christina Kennedy and Peter Terry recognised enormous potential in the next generation of professionals with two institutions featuring prominently on the awards front. The Market Theatre Lab received kudos for the poster design and overall marketing campaign of their production of “Milk and Honey”, and UCT taking the honours for Most Promising Student Director (Mira Sydow), Most Promising Student Writer (Mathew Baldwin, Wynne Bredenkamp and Taryn Wyngaardt), Best Student Theatre Production, and the floating Cape Triangular Trophy, for their production entitled “Behind Every Yawn There is a Silent Shout”.

Merit Awards were presented to Jess Harrison from Rhodes University, recognising promise in directorial conceptualisation and design; to The Market Theatre Lab’s production of “Milk & Honey” as the production with the greatest viability for a professional run; and to Oakfields College’s “Journey“, the SA Post Office choice for showcasing creativity and innovation.

It was also announced that some productions had been invited to participate in the Brighton, Prague, and Amsterdam Fringe Festivals, through the World Fringe Alliance network. These include “Crazy in Love”, “Three Little Pigs”, Stuart Lightbody’s “Unreal”, “Thom Pain (based on nothing)” and “The Epicene Butcher and other stories for consenting adults”.

Julian Redpath was chosen as the singer/songwriter to be showcased this year through a new partnership between the National Arts Festival and Oppikoppi.

The Standard Bank Ovation Awards are decided by a panel after nominations are received by visiting critics and the media. The panel included Adrienne Sichel, Lynette Marais, Phyllis Klotz, Smal Ndaba, Bridget van Oerle, Steve Kretzmann, Suzy Bernstein, Estelle Sinkins, Helen Herimbi, Mariana Malan, Debbie Hathway, Anneke Jansen, Julian Caddy, Jay Pather, Steve Gove, Gregory Maqoma, Juanita Finestone-Praeg, Eduard Greyling, Michelle Constant and Tony Lankester.

The 40th edition of the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown will take place from 26 June to 6 July 2014., or the National Arts Festival Grahamstown on Facebook, or @artsfestival on Twitter, for more information.

The National Arts Festival is sponsored by Standard Bank, The National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, Eastern Cape Government, Department of Arts and Culture, National Arts Council, City Press and M Net.

Ndiza Lodge You will find Ndiza Lodge & Cabanas nestled onto the verge of the Wetlands. With easy access to the restaurants, supermarkets and rest of the town yet private and quiet. Contact: Amanda de Gaspary 083 442 1896 Email:

Kurt Darren in Serious Accident

Kurt Darren in Serious Accident

According to news reports Afrikaans singer songwriter was in serious car accidents earlier this morning and was airlifted to Milpark Hospital by helicopter. According to this report his brother says they airlifted him to hospital out of fear for spinal injury.

The accident is believed to have happened somewhere at 01:30 this morning and he is in a stable but painful condition in hospital. Reports has it that the the vehicle Durren was traveling in vered of the road into a ravine in Kameelfontein, Pretoria.

His wife Dunay is enroute to Europe on Holiday which Darren gave to her as her 30th birthday present on 29 June.

Apparently Kurt, Marnus and Nadia was on their way home after watching rugby with friends they were approached head on by a vehicle and after it was evident that they were going to collide with the oncoming vehicle, they swerved left and the vehicle Kurt was traveling in went over the ridge on the Moloto road in Pretoria north.

A resident close by heard the accident and called the rescue services. They also called to air lift Marnus and Kurt to Milpark Hospital. Nadia van Rensburg is being treated in Steve Biko Hospital for leg and thigh injuries.


By Petrus Viviers
083 584 7473

BBM Pin:27826058

Ndiza Lodge You will find Ndiza Lodge & Cabanas nestled onto the verge of the Wetlands. With easy access to the restaurants, supermarkets and rest of the town yet private and quiet. Contact: Amanda de Gaspary 083 442 1896 Email:

Clarification on the health of formerPresident Mandela4 Jul 2013

The Presidency has noted media reports about
the condition of former President Nelson
Mandela and would like to make a clarification.
Former President Mandela has been and
remains under the care of a multi-disciplinary
panel of South African medical experts drawn
from the South Africa Military Health Services,
the public sector, the universities and the
private sector. Under this panel a team of
doctors, nurses, paramedics and other health
professionals attend to Madiba on a 24 hour
We confirm our earlier statement released this
afternoon after President Jacob Zuma visited
Madiba in hospital that Madiba remains in a
critical, but stable condition. The doctors deny
that the former President is in a vegetative
Mac Maharaj
Cell: 079 879 3203
Issued by: The Presidency
4 Jul 2013

Zola/Jabulani Hospital finalises staff recruitment



Pretoria – In an effort to ensure that Zola/Jabulani Hospital is fully equipped when it opens its door to the public, the Gauteng Health Department says it is finalising recruitment of staff as well as procuring and installing medical equipment.

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Limpopo clamps down on illegal initiation schools

By  Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - Limpopo MEC for Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, Clifford Motsepe, has sent a strong warning to bogus traditional surgeons intending to run initiations without permits in the province.

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Home visits increase access to primary healthcare

Pretoria – Gauteng’s clinic outreach teams have conducted over 8 000 home visits in an effort to improve the quality and delivery of primary healthcare across the province.

The Gauteng Health Department on Monday said from March to December 2012, 8 462 households were visited and 7 682 patients were treated.

Out of these, 1 499 patients were referred to hospitals for specialised treatment and care.

The department has also extended the service hours at some community health centres (CHCs) to make them operational 24 hours a day to help ease the pressure on tertiary institutions.

“All CHCs and clinics now provide services for patients with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma, epilepsy, TB and those on ARV treatment.

“In addition, 300 community health workers (CHWs) were trained during this period. CHWs monitor patients regularly and deliver medication to their homes, helping to reduce waiting times at public health facilities,” said Health MEC Hope Papo.

Five district clinical specialist teams have also been established to address challenges of maternal deaths in the province.

Papo said these teams, which comprise obstetricians, gynaecologists, professional nurses, midwives and anaesthetists, worked closely with regional and tertiary hospitals to improve referrals.

“We are happy that people now have confidence in our primary healthcare system.  We, however, urge more people to use the appropriate levels of care to avoid inconveniences such as long queues,” Papo said. –

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Justin Bieber concert-goers urged to use trains

31 January 2013
At least 300 people have been injured in a collision between two commuter trains in South Africa. The accident, between a moving and a stationary train, happened in a suburb west of the capital Pretoria. The rail authority thinks the theft of signalling cables and human error caused the crash.


Pretoria - The City of Cape Town is urging concert-goers of the Justin Bieber gig in Cape Town stadium, on Wednesday to make use of public transport, especially trains.

The City’s transport plan of making use of the MyCiTi bus service had to be amended following the on-going nationwide bus strike.

Gates at the Cape Town stadium will open at 4pm and the City is urging concert-goers to arrive early, avoid peak hour traffic, but those who will choose to drive into the City Park, should use the Fan Walk to access the stadium.

Members of the public with golden circle standing tickets are advised to enter through the gates at Granger Bay Boulevard into Fort Wynyard (P2) parking.

For seated tickets people are urged to enter through either the Grand Stand on the South side of the stadium or the Podium on the West side of the stadium.

However, the City said children under 14 years must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

“Children between the ages of 14 and 18 who are not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian must have the emergency contact number for their parent or legal guardian saved under the name ICE on their mobile phones, or it must be written on a small piece of paper which is to be kept inside their wallets, so that medical personnel can contact this person in the event of a medical emergency,” said the City’s media manager Kelly Hatton.

There will be a Lost and Found centre at the venue, which is located on the East Side Inner Podium, where youngsters separated from their group, parents or guardians are urged to make their way to the centre.

Hatton said uniformed security personnel are also available at the venue to help provide directions.

Metrorail services to and from Cape Town will run as normal before the concert and passengers will be required to be in possession of a valid train ticket.

Limited special train services will be available after the concert and will be free on presentation of a valid concert stub.

A number of roads in and around the Cape Town Stadium precinct will be closed on the day (either a full or a partial closure) and traffic law enforcement teams will be monitoring the flow of traffic.

Dedicated parking has been allocated on DF Malan Drive for those attendees with disabilities who wish to use the Stadium shuttle.

Only people with an official disability permit from the City will be allowed to park in this dedicated parking area.


CCTV camera to monitor Buttskop railway crossing


Pretoria - Western Cape Metrorail says the second phase of the (closed-circuit television CCTV) level crossing camera enforcement system will be extended to the Buttskop railway crossing in Cape Town, where a horrific crash happened three years ago.

Western Cape Metrorail Regional Manager Mthuthuzeli Swartz said of Wednesday, May 15, the second phase of the project will be fully operational.

The first phase of the CCTV level crossing camera enforcement system was implemented at the White Road level crossing.

The Buttskop level crossing made headlines when taxi driver Jacob Humphreys, who was convicted of murder, ignored safety signals and proceeded over the tracks, while taking children to school on August 25, 2010.

Humphreys overtook a row of cars and a train hit the taxi, killing 10 children, while four others were seriously injured.

Since the initial implementation at White Road in June 2012 (up until December 2012), a total of 1 379 fines were issued for failure to stop at the level crossing.

This year, from January until April, a total of 739 fines were issued.

“We are concerned that at two of our most notorious level crossings, namely Military Road (Steenberg) and Buttskop (Blackheath), incidents of errant motorists flouting life-saving signage have increased, proving just how lax the overwhelming majority of motorists are about their personal safety.

“Trains have their headlights on bright and drivers are obligated to sound sirens when approaching level crossings.

“Motorist must help us by being extra careful and cautious when approaching level crossings,” said Swartz.

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