Solidarity, representing the majority of Mango airline pilots, warns that it may not be flying in Nov/Dec ‘if its pilots don’t get paid better’ ; farmers work with AGRI-AIDS ngo to combat AIDS; TLU warns the ANC-regime that it’s plunging its citizens into long-term health risks with the plans to build antiquated, unsafe French nuclear-reactors instead of the safer pebblebed mini-plants developed in SA…
‘Mango airline must negotiate in earnest or we will stop them from flying in November and December ‘
Solidarity trade union has threatened to bring the low-cost SA airline Mango's flights to a halt ‘if it does not immediately set about wage negotiations in earnest.’ The union – which represents the ‘vast majority’ of the airline pilots, was issued with a strike certificate at a reconciliation meeting yesterday. It now will approach its members for a mandate for a possible strike. Their next ‘negotiation’ meeting is on 2 November 2011 in Benoni, says Ilze Nieuwoudt, Solidarity spokeswoman. “Negotiations with Mango have not gained momentum since August, after the company had initially indicated to our trade union that it was not prepared to listen to any wage demands. Solidarity subsequently declared a dispute with Mango and referred it to the CCMA to force the company into negotiations. “Mango initially undertook to implement an interim wage increase of 5,6% until a wage agreement was reached, at which time the difference would be implemented retroactively up to the agreed increase. However, this offer was withdrawn unilaterally earlier this week, which was the last straw for Solidarity’s members at the company,” explained Nieuwoudt.
“Mango employees are tired of waiting for the company to deal with issues that have been outstanding for months. Apart from the wage negotiations that are being delayed by Mango, a dispute regarding the employees’ contracts has been dragging on since March,” said Nieuwoudt. “All Mango employees work on a contractual basis and therefore do not receive medical and pension benefits. Mango employees are therefore not remunerated on nearly the same level as employees elsewhere in the industry.” The trade union warns that passengers and booking agents “should bear the possibility of a strike by pilots in mind when booking flights for November and December.” “Solidarity is, however, still set on reaching a wage agreement and will again meet with the employer on Wednesday, 2 November in order to seek a resolution to the dispute.”
Is the R500-million fresh produce market industry becoming extinct in South Africa?
Pretoria. Oct 28 2011 - Agri-journalist Alani Janeke writes of the widespread worry amongst marketers of fresh produce that the industry is becoming extinct in South Africa. André Young, chairman of the SA association for food-markets, said ‘worries were expressed at the 2011 AllFresh conference.” that fresh-produce markets were increasingly difficult to find:
"Many producers (farmers) have lost trust in (municipal) produce markets and exclusively deal with wholesalers. The municipalities face challenges to maintain their produce markets: for instance the producers (farmers) have to pay for exhibition spaces there'. “There's also the issue of 'commissions' and, he pointed out, 'much more must be done to try and solve such problems at municipal levels. A solution must be found in which the farmer no longer has to carry all those risks,' he warned.
“Fresh-produce markets are far too valuable to disappear…’ -
RSA Holdings' (Santam Ltd) ceo Jaco Oosthuizen pointed out that a 'stable' supply of fresh produce was being traded between 1991 and 2010 at the fresh-produce markets, but that the industry 'now is becoming more competitive - and that is not a good sign." The fresh-produce industry is far too valuable disappear from the SA economy, he warned. "Annually it provides a combined income of R500-million to municipalities - and by the end of this book-year South Africa could well have traded R11,3-billion's worth of fresh-produce (since 1991."He urges 'far better cooperation and -communication between the agents, the markets and producers (farmers) to try and solve the present problems."
28 Oktober 2011 http://www.landbou.com/node/57964
Other problems also need to be solved however. Such as the following:
Farmers hampered by ANC-regime’s excessive obsession with historic water-irrigation rights:
One of the biggest problems facing fruit- vegetable and grain- farmers in (semi-arid) South Africa is water or rather – the government’s greedy attitude towaters the country’s scarce water-resources; more specifically the fact that the Marxist-orientated regime has become overly-obsessed with suing commercial farmers who traditionally have always had legal irrigation-rights from rivers and streams in the growing season and used this water very sparingly and carefully; whereas the ANC-run municipalities view fresh-water as a highly lucrative source of income to squeeze the ratepayers with .Many commercial farmers consequently now end up facing high court-costs just to fight for their traditionally-established irrigation rights. They face constant streams of unfounded allegations by ANC-municipalities that farmers 'use most of the country’s water.’ The fact is that farmers irrigate their land with water wihich then drains back into the eco-system again, returned downstream – in pristine condition.
AIDS: 3,300 (one-third) of 10,000 tested farm-workers in 4 provinces were HIV-plus: http://www.agriaids.org.za
- - Another major problem facing commercial farmers is the still expanding AIDS-epidemic. The non-government organisation AgriAids.org.za director Gretha Kostwinder – a former agricultural advisor at the Dutch embassy -- also warned at the AllFresh Conference that farmers have to keep a close eye on the health of their workers.
"One-third (3,300) of the 10,000 farm-workers aged from 15 to 40 we tested in North West, Mpumalanga, KZN and Limpopo were HIV-positive,' she warned. Kostwinder also praised the farmers: 'since I started Agri-Aids I have not met one farmer who did not want to become involved in the project, and they consistently show a high level of concern about the health of their workers. We are very grateful for the feedback we get from the farmers.' The farmer plays a leading role in 'removing the stigma of AIDS'. Farmers also can sign cooperation agreements with AgriAids in which the worker is given more time off, whenever necessary, for workers to visit clinics and go for medical testing - and traditionally, commercial farmers in South Africa have always transported their workers for medical appointments anyway. Gretha Kostwinder has a very positive approach towards trying to solve the hiv-aids problem in agriculture. During her posting as agricultural counsellor at the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Pretoria from 2001-2006, she was first confronted with the problem. After retiring from her diplomatic career in 2006, she decided to start the non-profit organisation AgriAids together with other women such as Marianne van der Laarse. AgriAids: 795 Park Street, 0083 Arcadia, Pretoria, tel. +27(0) 12- 343 5117; Fax: 086-56 50 298 (inside SA only) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Guide to growing vegetables: book and digital: published by Farming SA $95 book:
order tel. 021 406 4962 email email@example.com AND: digital Apple iPad: R3.99 to download, including two short videos on how to market your produce at Cape Town municipal markets.The 96-page easy-to-carry pocket sized book provides useful information about growing vegetables, biological pest control, seeding, harvesting and similar information.
Specific guidelines concentrate on growing tomatoes, spinach, cabbage, potatoes, onions, beetroot, carrots and sweet potatoes. It was compiled by the Agricultural Research Council.
South African citizens face massive, long-term health-threats from greedy ANC-plans to install antiquated French nuclear-plants instead of safe pebblebed technology: Oct 28 2011 -- The Transvaal Agricultural Union has been an avid supporter over the years of the country's unique, South-African developed and very safe Pebble Bed Nuclear Reactor programme: which needs no cooling water. And its sonamed ‘pebble-sized fuel’ are encased in graphite – 9mm pebbles safe enough to handle by hand. The Transvaal Agricultural Union today is livid about the ANC-regime announcement that they were opting to install a series of antiquated, French-built water-cooled nuclear plants instead. The TLU today slammed this ‘greedy’ decision by the ANC regime, saying its officials were only looking to line their own pockets – and could care less about the proven dangers posed by water-cooled nuclear power plants...
--- Background on pebble-bed nuclear technology: Zuma scraps safe R20billion pebblebed mini-nuclear reactors for unsafe water-cooled French nuclear-reactors costing R1,6-trillion...http://bit.ly/w1VsIa
TLU pointed out that the Pebble Bed Nuclear Reactor programme was a wholly-South African venture, using local nuclear-scientists with many years of experience – creating a unique programme which 'grew into one of the largest nuclear reactor design and engineering companies in the world. " "At the time more than 1,000 South African scientists and engineers were involved in the project, which also embraced universities, private companies and research institutes."
History of SA nuclear plants versus coal-fire plants:
They also pointed out that 'most of South Africa’s coal-fired electricity is generated by large-scale plants built near the pit-heads of two coal-producing areas, both of them far inland on the eastern side of the country. "This requires long power lines from the coal-rich areas to load centers away from the pit-heads, which in turn implies high capital costs and transmission losses.
"These and other factors prompted the state-owned electricity utility Eskom to investigate small electricity-generating nuclear plants that could be placed near the points of demand rather than near water: the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) concept has a short construction time, a low operating cost and fast-load-following characteristics, and was considered to be the ideal option.
"This unique process developed by SA’s scientists caught the interest of overseas governments.
Westinghouse company in USA snapped up the South African nuclear scientists who developed the Pebble-Bed Nuclear Reactor technology:
"The Tsinghua University and Chinenergy Co. Ltd. of China entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with PBMR in March 2009.
"Korea and Japan also expressed interest, as did Canadian oil sands producers, while the USA’s Westinghouse took up a partnership in PBMR because of PBMR’s advanced technology.
"This advanced technology eliminates the need for cooling by water and the plants can thus be situated anywhere in a country.
"It is High Temperature Reactor (HTR) technology and South Africa is acknowledged as the world leader in the development of this process.
"The Senior Vice President and chief technology officer of the US’s Westinghouse Dr. Regis Matzie said that “the South African PBMR technology will become the world’s first successful commercial generation IV reactor”.
South African government has stopped the PBMR in its tracks in favour of old-fashioned French-built nuclear reactors:
"Fast forward to the South Africa government’s baffling reaction to this enterprise – last year, funding for the PBMR was stopped. Top South African engineer and nuclear scientist Phillip Lloyd found it “extraordinary that the government has pulled the plug on PBMR”. At the International Atomic Energy Agency meeting in Vienna in 2009, SA’s PBMR technology attracted universal praise. As a result of the funding stoppage, hundreds of SA scientists were made redundant and many were offered lucrative posts in the American nuclear energy industry. “Westinghouse has a scoop”, declared Lloyd. “They are picking this up for a song. PBMR is being promoted in North America as the next generation of nuclear technology”.
"Why would the South African government make such a bizarre move, destroying a home-grown technology as it mulls over extensive and long-term energy plans for the country?
It’s all a matter of graft, corruption and money: for instance, former president Thabo Mbeki’s ANC government spent more than R60-billion of the taxpayers' money on armaments the country didn’t need. Millions found their way into crony-bank accounts, cover-ups were quick and those whose pockets were lined were never brought to book.
"The ANC nailed its corruption-DNA to the masthead, so it was not difficult to predict the change of heart with regard to South Africa’s nuclear power options," TLU points out in its latest report on the issue.
IT’S THE MONEY...
In our May 2010 Bulletin, we predicted that the French company Areva was on the cards to tender for a nuclear-powered reactor which would cost billions and is not as advanced as the PBMR process. This has come to pass! The French reactors are water-cooled, so their power stations must be built on SA’s coasts. Selected articles referring to Areva as a possible nuclear provider were already appearing in the press last year, and France’s Electricite de France (EDF) declared that “South Africa is ready for nuclear power”.
Why the ditching of PBMR and the seduction by the French?
“It’s all about the money, of course. As with the arms deal, here is a lucrative opportunity for the South African powers that be to cream off considerable pickings in a deal which could cost one trillion rand. It is worth more than ten times the arms deal. France has been courting the responsive South African politicians since 2007, according to leaked diplomatic cables from the US embassy in Pretoria. Competition at the time was between the US and France, but France knows how to lobby. Mr. Jacob Zuma has been on two state visits to France since becoming president: French President Sarkozy laid on lavish dinners, functions, tours and receptions designed to dazzle and flatter the gentleman from Nkandhla. In February 2008, Sarkozy made a state visit to South Africa, praising the country’s new democracy and promising undying “cooperation” between the two countries.
- Sarkozy cannot be blamed for this approach – as a former colonial power, France knows too well how to flatter Africa. Sarkosy’s visit was “impeccably timed”, noted a cable, because it occurred shortly after the closing date for tender submissions but before Eskom’s board was due to make its recommendations on the preferred supplier of nuclear power. (Mail & Guardian 7.10.11) Areva supplied the existing nuclear power facility at Koeberg, and wasn’t going to allow a South African process, no matter how advanced, to thwart its plans to sell its product to the ANC government, well known for its empirically-documented venality. The ANC’s modus vivendi over the past seventeen years has shown it is more important to line one’s pockets than to defer to any other consideration, least of all to acknowledge the advanced nuclear PBMR process developed by South African scientists.
THE COST: SADDLING SOUTH AFRICANS WITH A LONG-TERM, LIFE-THREATENING, ANTIQUATED NUCLEAR-PLANT PROGRAMME:
South Africa is poised to issue the largest tender in its history (M&G 7.10.11). This multi-billion dollar contract could account for as much as 20% of the world’s total nuclear spending over the next twenty years. China appears to be in the process of providing the finance for the Areva tender. This duo appears to be the front-runner. Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe was feted in China on a state visit recently: the partying has started, and South Africans can be assured that “commissions” previously unheard of in this country will be widely distributed as a result of a successful tender.
French track-record on nuclear plants is poor:
Internationally however – the nuclear option is being downgraded because of the Japanese nuclear disaster following a tsunami. Yet France’s Areva needs a big contract to survive. Something clearly not being taken into account by the ANC government is that France’s track record on the construction of new reactors is poor. Its flagship, a new generation of reactors named EPR, under construction in Finland and France, is struggling with thousands of technical and safety problems, delays and billions in cost overruns. Similar issues arise in China. According to Dr. Rianne Teule, an expert on nuclear energy working for Greenpeace Africa, “combining the French and Chinese nuclear failures in a potential joint bid for the R1 trillion tender is a recipe for disaster”.
One-trillion Rand have to be coughed up by a country with a total tax-collection base of only R674-billion…
But who in the SA government is worried about this? There are some lucrative bank account transfers on the cards, so it’s onward with the estimated payment of one trillion rand from a country whose total tax collection for 2010 was R674 billion!
Pebble-bed mini-plants – already tested -- could be ready within two years: French only by 2024…
And it will be 2024 before all of these coastal reactors come on steam, while it is estimated the PBMR process could be ready within two years, if some of our scientists could be persuaded to return to South Africa.
Given the state of corruption, incompetence, nepotism and the government’s cavalier attitude towards the taxpayers of this country, the prognosis doesn’t look good, either for nuclear energy provision or , more insidiously, nuclear safety. The Fukushima nuclear disaster became so much more dangerous when the reactors heated and couldn’t be cooled – the PBMR process eliminates this problem. It doesn’t need water for cooling.
Will there be cadre-deployment at the new nuclear facilities? Perish the thought:
Will there be cadre deployment in these new facilities? Perish the thought, given the current lamentable performances in the country’s civil service.
- While sewage is running in the streets, the state budgets are plundered, the matric-results are dolled up and the many other vagaries of life under ANC rule are lamentable, they are not life-threatening.
A nuclear power programme of water-cooled reactors will be disastrous:
- "A nuclear programme of water-cooled reactors under control of trade unionists who are uneducated on the subject of nuclear-engineering; the government deployment of political friends in such an industry -- and, of course, the inevitable cost overruns, the French/Chinese nuclear projects in South Africa could be a bridge too far!