Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 16, 2006
Author: P&S


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  • UN chief praises 'tolerant' SA for its positive role in Africa

  • Nacala railway out for a month

  • Transport MEC reports good progress with provincial transport

  • Mozambique – South Africa relations on the up

  • Madagascar: Mosquito-borne fevers rampant in biggest port

  • Another earth tremor shakes Mozambique and Zimbabwe

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    UN chief praises ‘tolerant’ SA for its positive role in Africa

    by Shaun Benton (BuaNews)

    Cape Town - The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, lavished praise on South Africa, lauding its rising reputation for tolerance, mutual respect for others and its determined approach to conflict resolution in Africa and the world as a whole.

    Addressing parliament this week after meeting earlier with President Thabo Mbeki while on an official three-day visit, Annan said South Africa was "pointing the way" for Africa, where "a new approach" was required for development.

    South Africa is the first UN member state that Annan visited after his inauguration as UN secretary-general in 1997 and he has come with his wife, Nane, and a delegation of UN officials on a visit that also took him to meet former president Nelson Mandela.

    Himself an African, born in Ghana, Annan told a parliament crowded with spectators and diplomats that "much remains to be done" as African countries embarked on journeys to unity, peace and development that were "no less arduous" than their struggles for independence and against apartheid.

    Meeting in New York last September at the United Nations World Summit, "leaders of the whole world" acknowledged that Africa "is the only continent not on track to meet any of the goals of the Millennium Declaration by 2015".

    "We all know the mountains of human misery [facing Africans] ... It is easy to blame these ills on the past and on outsiders - the depredations of imperialism and the slave trade, the imbalance of power and wealth in a flagrantly unjust world."

    "But that cannot absolve us, the Africans of today, from our own responsibility, responsibility to ourselves and to our children."

    In dealing with that responsibility and in attempting to shape its own destiny, said Annan, South Africa was pointing the way by what it was doing at home, in its sub-regional neighbourhood, in its leading role in Africa and in the wider world as a whole.

    South Africa "reminds us all of the remarkable African capacity for forgiveness and reconciliation, despite the pain of racial discrimination and oppression", he said.

    On top of this, the "robust economy, stable democracy, support for the rule of law and - perhaps most important - your fully inclusive constitution have made South Africa a beacon of tolerance, peaceful co-existence, and mutual respect between people of different races, languages and traditions", he told members of parliament that included most of the cabinet, as well as the president.

    Through the Southern African Development Community and by the "vitally important" peacemaking and peacekeeping contributions in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa was pointing the way in the sub-regional neighbourhood, he said.

    "This is very important, because no country today can be unaffected by events in its neighbourhood, and it is the responsibility of the stronger countries in each neighbour-hood to lend a hand to the weaker, without seeking to impose their domination."

    Mr Annan also added: "When any country gets caught in a downward spiral of poverty, misgovernment and conflict, this is bound to be a problem for its neighbours."

    "And the best neighbours are those who play a constructive part in helping to halt and reverse the spiral before it leads to a complete meltdown."

    In terms of pointing the way through its "leading role" in Africa as a whole, Annan cited South Africa's role as the biggest foreign investor in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, its leading role in forming the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad), South Africa's lead role in transforming the Organisation of African Unity into the African Union and the establishment of the AU's peer review mechanism.

    And in the wider world as a whole, President Mbeki's views on the "gross imbalances of power" that exist - exemplified perhaps by the imbalances represented by the veto-wielding power of the five UN Security Council members - articulated a problem that "must be addressed".

    The UN secretary-general said he agreed with President Mbeki's observation that this imbalance of power - combined with the "disparate conditions" that exist in the world - were "the main reason why we have not yet achieved the security consensus that we must reach, if we are to maintain peace in the world on a basis of agreement and collective action rather than the unilateral application of power".

    South Africa's leadership and example can be very important in this context, said the UN Secretary-General, whose term ends this year.

    "Today, the kind of things South Africa is doing at home, and promoting on the wider African scene, may show us the best way for developing countries in general to respond to today's world."

    "South Africa can teach all of us that, on the contrary, the way to a better balance lies through dialogue, and the establishment of mutual trust."

    Nacala railway out for a month

    Mozambique’s northern railway between the port of Nacala and the Malawi border will take at least a month to repair and return to full service, according to local reports.

    It wasn’t just ballast that washed away on the section between Malema and Nataleia during heavy rains that fell across much of central and northern Mozambique but flood waters created a huge 6-metre deep donga on the same section that will require large amounts of earth to fill it in. And if there are more rains it may take longer before the line can be reopened.

    However, according to the Maputo newspaper Noticias the CDN, the consortium operating the port and railway may be able to prop up the underlined section with concrete pillars, creating a sort of bridge under the suspended lines, which will permit goods trains to negotiate the damaged section.

    Transport MEC reports good progress with provincial transport

    by Dirk Nel (BuaNews)

    Polokwane - Limpopo Transport MEC Stan Motimele has reported good progress with several long-term departmental projects in South Africa’s northernmost province.

    This includes strategic airport and rail freight developments, ongoing road construction work, and measures to ensure greater safety for tourists.

    He made these and other important announcements on Tuesday, when presenting his budget vote in the Provincial Legislature.

    Motimele pointed out that plans to upgrade commercial rail transport in the province were well advanced, with a pre-feasibility report by the provincial department resulting in these plans being placed third on the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative's (ASGI-SA) national priority list.

    An important component of the rail initiative would be the development of the so-called Dilokong Corridor, in partnership with mining companies in the province.

    He said this development would eventually lead to the establishment of a direct rail-freight link between Polokwane and the Richards Bay harbour.

    Mr Motimele also confirmed that phase one of the infrastructure development plan at Polokwane International Airport had been completed, thus making it one of the "safest" airports in the region.

    He pointed out that the responsibilities of the Gateway Airports Authority Limited had been extended to include oversight of the operations of all airports in Limpopo.

    To ensure greater safety on the province's major routes, an imaginative labour intensive fencing programme had been launched, in order to keep stray animals off busy roads, the MEC explained.

    So far, 450 km of fencing had already been erected.

    "This project has created jobs for 569 people, and is also developing practical skills which they can use beyond the confines of this initiative," Motimele pointed out.

    In view of the unprecedented tourism traffic volumes experienced during the last festive season, the province would pursue its road safety programmes, which continually sought to promote professionalism, awareness, visibility and education among road users and traffic officials, the MEC explained.

    Mozambique – South Africa relations on the up

    by Sizwe samaYende (BuaNews)

    Nelspruit - South Africa has become Mozambique's leading investment partner.
    Economic adviser to Mozambique's ministry of industry and commerce, Sergio Carlos Macamo, told delegates at the PriceWaterhouseCoopers South Africa/Mozambique investment seminar in Nelspruit on Tuesday that Mozambique was exporting 50 percent of its products to South Africa.

    Likewise, Mozambique was also importing 50 percent of its products from its neighbour. "We're exporting and importing more from South Africa," Macamo said.

    The partnership between the two countries stem from the R25 billion Maputo Development Corridor that was initiated in 1996 and has already resulted in the massive upgrading of transport infrastructure between the two countries.

    The N4 toll road links Gauteng to Maputo harbour, which is closer to Gauteng than the Durban port.

    Macamo said Mozambique was offering attractive investment packages and had preferential access to European and US markets.

    "We have also made it easy for private businesses to invest in our country through simplifying industrial and commercial licensing," he added.

    Mozambican companies, he said, were looking for partners in glass, textile and rubber ventures.

    He said there were also vast opportunities for South African investors in mega projects such as coal mining, bio-diesel manufacturing, aluminium and the refurbishment of railway lines.

    Chief executive officer of the South Africa/Mozambique chamber of commerce, David Robbetze, said the risk of investing in Mozambique was small.

    Robbetze said Mozambique was politically stable, had a positive relationship with South Africa and was a "sweetheart" internationally. He acknowledged that land ownership and transport were limited, and skilled labour was short.

    According to the head of the linkages division of Mozambique's Investment Promotion Centre, Antonio Macamo, the country's economy had been growing at 8.2 percent since 1998.

    "Our infrastructure is under massive improvement, and there is ample availability of natural resources such as coal, land and natural gas," Macamo said.

    Madagascar: Mosquito-borne fevers rampant in biggest port

    TOAMASINA 15 March 2006 (IRIN): Madagascar is used to fighting mosquitoes, but not the kind responsible for the fever outbreak that is crippling the eastern port town of Toamasina, where experts warn that conventional vector control will not be enough.
    Since the beginning of this year nearly all Toamasina's 200,000 residents have reportedly come down with a fever as a result of either dengue or chikungunya fever. Both diseases are spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

    "We are sending a joint World Health Organisation (WHO) and Ministry of Health team there [Toamasina] on Sunday to better understand the behaviour of the mosquito. It is a different mosquito to the one transmitting malaria, which they are used to," the WHO country representative, Dr Leonard Tapsoba, told IRIN.

    Known locally as 'malaria season', the rainy season with its pools of stagnant water means breeding conditions for mosquitoes are optimal.

    The symptoms and treatment of chikungunya and dengue fever are very similar, making it difficult for health practitioners to distinguish between the two, Tapsoba said. "There is only symptomatic treatment, so the only response is vector control. They [officials] have started fumigation and cleaning, but we also need to better understand the mosquito."

    According to Tapsoba, the malaria mosquito breeds and is active at night and indoors, while "the dengue mosquito is active during the day and outdoors, so traditional measures like impregnated [insecticide-treated] bed nets and normal measures are not enough."
    An awareness campaign has been launched, urging the population to participate in a mass clean-up drive. "This is a fight by the community - they have to remove any potential water reservoir that the mosquito can use as a breeding ground - but because people have jobs, and it breeds during the day, this is very difficult," he said.

    Agence France-Presse quoted Dr Clarette Dinh-Van, a general physician operating a private clinic in Toamasina, as saying, "In the last three months, between 80 and 90 percent of Toamasina residents have had a fever."

    Health officials are still uncertain as to whether the outbreak can be attributed to a mosquito-borne disease called chikungunya, Swahili for 'that which bends up', which has been spreading across the Indian Ocean islands, or dengue, "because surveillance is picking up all types of fever and Madagascar does not have the specific viral lab capacity to identify the cause," Tapsoba noted.

    Tapsoba said blood samples have been sent to France for testing and dengue has been confirmed. One case of chikungunya was also registered.

    (This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations)

    - source http://www.IRINnews.org

    Another earth tremor shakes Mozambique and Zimbabwe

    Another earth tremor was felt across large parts of Mozambique and eastern Zimbabwe yesterday (Wednesday), three weeks after a major earthquake with its epicentre southwest of Beira shook the two countries.

    There are no immediate reports of damage or injury to people from the latest shake but the isolated regions affected means that it takes time for news to filter out. However the first quake, which measured 7.5 on the Richter Scale brought about minor damage and only a few fatalities thanks to the sparsely populated part of the country in which it struck.

    Experts also credited the good building codes introduced in Mozambique’s cities as contributing to the lack of major damage despite the earthquake being on a major scale.

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