SA, Germany to improve water

A diagram of the workings of the communal water house, which is being piloted in the small Karoo town of Jansenville, Eastern Cape. Dignitaries at the sod-turning ceremony held in July 2008 in Jansenville. The commemorative plaque unveiled by The Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Derek Hanekom, and HisExcellency the German Ambassador to South Africa, Dieter Haller. The community will benefit from access to better quality water. (All images: Communal Water House.)Janine ErasmusIn a partnership to boost access to safe drinking water in Africa, South Africa and Germany have developed a unit that promotes water-use efficiency in rural communities.The communal water house (CWH) is being piloted in the small Karoo town of Jansenville in one of South Africa’s most impoverished provinces, the Eastern Cape. It was unveiled in July 2008 by the national Department of Science and Technology (DST).Speaking to an audience of jubilant residents at the sod-turning ceremony, Derek Hanekom, deputy minister of science and technology, said, “Today we celebrate the power of innovative thinking and partnership.“It is hoped that such initiatives will be rolled out to other municipalities in South Africa in the future. This project clearly demonstrates how, through science and technology, we can meet the needs of the poor.”The DST’s key partners in this project are the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, which has invested R21-million ($2.7-million), the South African Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, the Ikwezi Municipality and the University of Potsdam in Germany.Other partners include the University of Tshwane, the National Research Foundation in South Africa, the German Society for Solar Energy, and German Water and Energy GmbH.First for SAThe pilot project is the first such facility in South Africa and encompasses the use of advanced water treatment, water recycling and improved sanitation technologies, enabling residents to access potable water within a short walking distance. The CWH is designed to service between 200 and 800 people at a time.In the CWH, run-off from cooking and bathing, or grey water, is treated and re-used for laundry, sanitation and irrigation. Solar panels are provided to heat the water, boosting standards of hygiene and making the washing process more efficient. Other community benefits include a reduced need to transport large volumes of water over great distances and the creation of jobs for the construction and maintenance of CWHs.After being drawn from its source, which may be a rainwater tank, borehole or tap, the water is put through a water treatment station and undergoes filtration, biological cleaning methods and UV irradiation, before being diverted to the community water outlet.The DST plans to expand the technology to people in other municipalities. “We are confident that this cutting-edge technology will enable us to reach the last 12% of our people who currently have no access to safe drinking water,” said Hanekom.The water savings from this innovative project are estimated at 10 m3 or 3 500 m3 per year, which is the equivalent of free public services for 150 000 people. The CWH website claims that water is used two to three times more efficiently; therefore more people can be serviced by the same amount of water. Some 50% to 70% of the community’s water is recycled.In addition, energy demand is 100 000 kWh lower per year – as solar energy is used instead of fossil fuels. Access to electricity is not required, reducing the pressure on the environment.“Our partnering with the DST and its project team aims to benefit the poor and contribute jointly to better livelihoods in South Africa,” commented German ambassador to South Africa Dieter Haller, adding that he was proud of the results of the science and technology partnership.Germany and South Africa have collaborated extensively over the years in fields such as economy, biodiversity, defence, geoscience, environment, culture, development cooperation, and science and technology. The two countries have bilateral agreements in place in a number of areas and are currently involved in some 80 active projects with a total investment value of R951-million ($125-million).Access to clean water a global problemThe World Health Organisation states that as of 2002 only 58% of the entire global population had access to improved water, while access to proper sanitation stood at 36%. Many people have to travel long distances to get water from rivers and wells, while drinking from these unreliable sources increases the risk of contracting water-borne diseases such as cholera, hepatitis E, typhoid and dysentery.Part of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals drive is to improve water supply across the world. The World Health Organisation reports that in order to meet the goal of halving the number of people without sustainable access to drinkable water and basic sanitation by 2015, an additional 260 000 and 370 000 people every day from now until 2015 must gain access to improved water and sanitation respectively.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at janinee@mediaclubsouthafrica.com. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view Useful linksCommunal Water House project websiteDepartment of Science and TechnologyDepartment of Water Affairs and ForestryGerman Federal Ministry of Education and ResearchWorld Health OrganisationUnited Nations Millennium Development GoalsIkwezi Municipality (Jansenville) read more

Art Bank Joburg: helping local artists

first_imgYvonne Mamothusi Harvey – Three women.(Image: Art Bank Joburg) Art Bank Joburg, the only initiative of its kind in South Africa, is providing a much-needed platform for emerging local artists to showcase their work.Art Bank Joburg owns some of South Africa’s best art by upcoming and established local artists, proving that the country can be proud of its outstanding artistic talent.The initiative is now in its fourth year, and in spite of a tough economic climate, and declining corporate budgets for art, it continues to provide exposure for South African artists.“We have such a diversity of talent in South Africa – there are people from so many walks of life and this situation produces great variety in South African art,” says Vishnu Singh, GM of Creative Industries for the City of Joburg.The initiative was the brainchild of Ben Ngubane, the former minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology. Ngubane was introduced to the Canadian Art Bank concept on a visit to Ottawa in Canada, and decided that a similar project in South Africa could support local artists.Art Bank Joburg was established by the City of Joburg to buy art from emerging and established artists in the city, and then lease it to public and private sector clients. The art finds a temporary home in corporate reception areas, offices, and government departments in the city, such as the Johannesburg High Court, the Department of Arts, Culture and Heritage, Metro Police and the Office of the Speaker. Monash University leases one of the largest collections.The bank was established in Newtown, Johannesburg’s arts and culture hub, but has since also opened a satellite branch just off Nelson Mandela Square in the business district of Sandton, north of the city centre.Real benefits for emerging artistsOne of the biggest difficulties for local artists is earning a sustainable income from their art. However, through the Art Bank initiative, artists benefit directly.Prospective works are assessed by a committee of respected members of the art community, who then decide if the Art Bank should purchase the piece. If the committee agrees that it is a valuable addition to the collection, Art Bank Joburg buys the art at its current market value and the artist receives payment immediately.Artworks are leased to clients at a fee of 20% of market value, and are reevaluated annually.Singh says that the bank’s main focus is sourcing art from emerging artists. “We want to take their work and give them exposure and access to the market,” he says.The team has never struggled to find good art, either. “The artists usually find us,” he says.On Wednesdays, Art Bank Joburg hosts an open day where artists can present their works. This gives them the confidence of knowing that there is a place where they can take their art for consideration.If a particular piece has potential, Art Bank Joburg takes a photo of it and registers it on its database for later evaluation. Some of the art also comes to them through workshops and incubator projects in and around Johannesburg.If an artist can’t make it to the open day they may make an appointment to visit at a more convenient time.Emerging and established artistsThe bank houses art from both emerging and established artists, in a variety of media including paint, sculpture, photography, wire art, mosaics, print-making, mixed media and craft. Singh says just about any art medium is welcome, as long as the work is not created from biodegradable materials.Work by well-known artists such as William Kentridge (a donation to Art Bank Joburg), Robert Hodgins, Sam Nhlengethwa, David Koloane, Penny Siopis and Pat Mautloa is also available.Leasing art can be a form of corporate social investment. It also contributes to cultural development in Johannesburg and provides good market exposure for local artists.Some of the leased art has led to private sales – if a client likes the art, Art Bank Joburg puts them in contact with the artist for further commissions. Singh says that artists such as John Vusi Mfupi, who specialises in collage art, first received exposure through the Art Bank Joburg and went on to receive international recognition for his work.According to African Colours, a website that promotes contemporary African art, most of Mfupi’s work has been purchased by corporate companies and the South African high court. He has also exhibited abroad in Scotland, Malaysia, Germany, Portugal, Brussels and in the Netherlands at The Hague.For many people, the arts remain a highbrow affair but as more art is leased from Art Bank Joburg, it becomes more accessible. In a corporate or public space, people who would usually not show an interest in art, or do not have access to it, have the opportunity to engage with high quality artwork.“As people are exposed to art, they learn to appreciate it,” Singh says.last_img read more

New Jersey Issues Opportunity Zone Guidance

first_imgNew Jersey follows IRC Sec. 1400Z-2 for both corporation and gross income taxpayers.What is the Federal Law?The Opportunity Zone Program was enacted as part of the 2017 federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The program is designed to encourage long-term capital investments into low-income rural and urban communities. The program offers incentives with regard to the taxation of capital gains for investment in Opportunity Zones. The US Department of the Treasury approved 169 census tracts in 75 New Jersey municipalities as Opportunity Zones.What is New Jersey Following?For corporation business taxpayers, New Jersey follows the same method of accounting as for federal purposes. New Jersey’s starting point is the entity’s federal taxable income, before federal net operating losses and other special deductions, subject to certain modifications.For gross income taxpayers, New Jersey follows the method of accounting and the basis of property must be the same as for federal income tax. New Jersey also follows the special rule for investments held for at least 10 years if the taxpayer makes that election federally. The gains are subject to tax when the gain is recognized for federal purposes. This treatment applies to both individuals and pass-through entities.Notice: Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) – Opportunity Zones, New Jersey Division of Taxation, February 5, 2019Login to read more on CCHAnswerConnect.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more

World Cup: PM Modi hails Team India for fifth straight win

first_imgPM Narendra Modi presents a gift to his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott at a reception held in his honour at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne in this file photo. Former Indian cricketers VVS Laxman, Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev are with them. Photo: APPrime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday congratulated the Indian cricket team for registering its fifth straight win in the ongoing cricket World Cup.Shikhar Dhawan cracked a scintillating century as a rampaging India created a record winning ninth consecutive ICC Cricket World Cup match, including four in the previous edition, by demolishing Ireland by eight wickets to seal the top spot in the Group-B table.Superb all-round performance. Congrats Team India! Keep up the momentum.&; Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 10, 2015 In a message, Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said: “Win against Ireland has once again proved that India’s consistently fine performance at the tournament is a matter of pride for all Indians.”He also congratulated Man of the Match Dhawan.Sonowal hailed skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for becoming the most successful captain for India in the history of the World Cup.Chasing a respectable Ireland total of 259, opener Dhawan (100 off 85 balls) sent the Irish bowlers on a leather hunt en route his eighth ODI hundred as the defending champions reached the target in 36.5 overs to record their fifth consecutive win in this tournament.last_img read more

Bid to get DDay beaches added to list of UN World Heritage

first_imgOTTAWA — The beaches of Normandy, where the Allies stormed ashore to begin the eventual liberation of Europe from Nazi rule, are widely regarded by veterans and historians alike as venerated, sacred ground.And yet those beaches — including the one code-named Juno, where thousands of Canadians landed under a fearsome tirade of German fire on June 6, 1944 — have not been designated as culturally or historically significant by the United Nations.It’s not for a lack of trying: France applied to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 2014 to have the beaches designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, much like several other locations linked to the Second World War.But that bid remains in limbo, dashing hopes the application might have been heard in time to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Juno landings, in which 359 Canadians were killed and 574 were wounded.Serge Durflinger is one of those who firmly believes the D-Day invasion beaches are “incontestably important” to the world and meet the very high standards for the UN designation.The University of Ottawa history professor was part of a team of international experts that included archeologists, geologists and all manner of other specialists who were brought together by the French government to help with the D-Day application.“The Normandy campaign and the D-Day invasion involved people from dozens of countries, all engaged in a united purpose, all brought to this small coastal region in France for the beginning of what would become the end of Nazi Germany,” Durflinger said.“And they’re all combining efforts on a global scale in this titanic effort, which was also one of the single greatest, momentous military operations ever mounted that we know about. And that it has scientific achievement, and its remnants are very real.”Getting the beaches added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites conveys a number of benefits, including honouring those who fought and died there and giving D-Day what Durflinger describes as “an international seal of approval.”“The notion of what happened here would not be limited to the Anglo-Saxon countries of Britain and the United States and Canada, basically,” he said, arguing the event was a pinnacle moment in the history of Europe and the world.“Something very, very important happened there, and not just for the countries that landed, but for the greater good of the world, with the beginning of the creation of an international system that lasted half a century.”The designation would also solidify what are already strong protections against development, as well as bring in more tourists, said Mike Bechthold, executive director of the Juno Beach Centre, which commemorates Canada’s role in the Second World War.“It would be huge to designate the landing beaches as a UNESCO World Heritage site,” Bechthold said. “Estimates are anywhere from a 10- to 25-per-cent bump in visitor attendance because of the designation. So it’s not inconsiderable.”However, it remains unclear just when the French application — which proposes including artificial harbours built by the allies to facilitate supplies from England, as well as shipwrecks off the coast and German bunkers — will be reviewed.Instead, the UNESCO committee responsible for reviewing such applications decided last year to take a step back and figure out how to deal with what it calls “sites associated with memories of recent conflicts.” A meeting on the matter is scheduled for next year.Durflinger said the decision follows a rash of applications from different countries in commemorating battlefields and other hallowed military ground, which typically faces an uphill battle in becoming a World Heritage site.Several sites linked to the Second World War have already been granted the status, notably the Genbaku Dome in Hiroshima, Japan, where the first atomic bomb exploded, and the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland.“There were precedents,” Durflinger said. “If you look at the many, many, many designated sites, there’s quite a lot of grey area and there’s precedents for all sorts of things.”The French government did not respond to requests for comment, while a UNESCO official referred questions to the committee’s decision last year. The Canadian government did not respond to questions about whether it supported the bid.For now, the only certainty is that the designation will not come in time for the 75th anniversary of D-Day, which many Canadians — including some of those who landed at Juno — will mark next month.“It would have been terrific if that could have happened for the 75th,” Durflinger said. “It’s a pity.”Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Presslast_img read more