30 June 2009In the unlikely event of an injury to a referee during the 2010 Fifa World Cup, South Africa has a ready replacement – in President Jacob Zuma, who’s just been given a special award by Fifa for refereeing on Robben Island during his years as a political prisoner.Zuma refereed for the Makana Football Association, which ran a soccer league for political prisoners on Robben Island, between 1965 and 1973.Fifa president Sepp Blatter conferred the special award on Zuma on Sunday, the final day of the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup.“It is a historical moment for Fifa to have a former referee of Robben Island in Mr Jacob Zuma,” Blatter said. “As such, we have decided that you are an International Referee, and that is why we have prepared a special certificate for you.”“Thank you so much, I appreciate it,” Zuma replied. “This brings back memories of my young days, when I could still play and referee!”For years on Robben Island, political prisoners had to fight for the right to play football, with men secretly playing the game in their cells with balls made of pieces of paper, cardboard and rags tied together with string.The island’s authorities finally gave in, granting inmates the right to play football in 1965. The prisoners then built their own goals, and would swap their drab prison garb to play in the colours of their teams on Saturdays.The Makana FA was formed in 1966. It was a football association which adhered strictly to Fifa’s statutes and laws of the game. On 18 July 2007, Makana FA became the first Fifa honorary member association.Among the best players on the island were the likes of Kgalema Motlanthe, currently Deputy President of South Africa. Dikgang Moseneke, now a Constitutional Court judge, was on Makana FA’s disciplinary committee.SAinfo reporter and Fifa.com
20 June 2014South Africa will put improved performance by the state, particularly the public service, at the core of how the government conducts business over the next five years, President Jacob Zuma said in Cape Town on Friday.Responding to the debate on his State of the Nation address in Parliament, Zuma said: “We want government to deliver services faster and more efficiently. More importantly, we want members of the public seeking services to be treated with respect, patience, understanding and courtesy.“The Batho Pele People First programme will thus be revitalised this term, accompanied by the promotion of the new Public Service Charter, under the leadership of the Public Service and Administration Department.”In his State of the Nation address on Tuesday, Zuma said the government aimed to ensure “that all levels of this administration treat complaints management as a priority issue, so that we can achieve the goal of being a government that is accessible and responsive to citizens”.He noted that more than 190 000 citizens had logged complaints and queries through the Presidential Hotline that was introduced in 2009, helping the government to understanding how important it was to have a well-functioning and responsive complaint systems.To added that the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency would continue to conduct unannounced visits to service delivery sites around the country in order to monitor things such as queue management and waiting times, dignified treatment, cleanliness and comfort.The focus will be on facilities where the public is directly served, such as Home Affairs offices, South African Social Security Agency offices, police stations, hospitals and clinics, drivers’ licence centres, municipal customer care centres, schools and courts.Zuma told Parliament on Friday that while a lot of good work was being done by public servants, some improvements were needed.“There is a need to enhance skills development in areas such as financial management. Shortcomings become glaring each time the Auditor-General releases his annual report.“We agree with Honourable Members that part of improving the performance of the state is to get government to pay small businesses and other suppliers promptly within 30 days.”During the previous administration, the National Treasury and the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation put in place a system to monitor the payment of suppliers by national and provincial departments within 30 days.There will now be more emphasis on assisting departments with large numbers of invoices that are paid late. This will draw on case studies of the best performing departments.Source: SAnews.gov.za
The Uttar Pradesh government has proposed to increase security on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway, the longest six-lane highway in the country.As part of the plan, the government has decided to set up 24 police chowkis or outposts along the 302-km stretch. The focus on highway security comes in the backdrop of an alleged gangrape-murder on the Jewar-Bulandshar highway near the Yamuna Expressway recently.Nine districts coveredThe Lucknow-Agra highway cuts through the heart of Uttar Pradesh, touching nine districts. One outpost each will come up in Lucknow and Auraiya, two in Mainpuri, three each in Unnao, Kanpur, Etawah and Firozabad, while Kannauj and Agra will be provided with four each.The Project Implementation Units (PIUs) of the Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority will work in coordination with district teams of the police force to identify land for the outposts, a government spokesperson said.The decision was taken after a meeting of police officers and UPEIDA officials chaired by Director-General of Police Sulkhan Singh.Avanish Awasthi, CEO of UPEIDA, the authority set up to develop highways in the State, said the body had also “accepted” the police department’s “request” for deploying 20 patrolling vehicles on the Expressway.Work not over yetThe Expressway was inaugurated last year by then Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav but parts of it are still under the works. The highway will not only reduce the distance from Lucknow to Agra to three-and-a-half hours, but also bring the U.P. capital closer to New Delhi, cutting the time travelled between the two major cities from 8-9 hours to 5-6 hours. It will join the Yamuna Expressway at Agra to connect Lucknow to Delhi.
Union Minister of Railways and Commerce Piyush Goyal on Thursday termed the current economic slowdown as just a passing phase and said that efforts being taken by the government only showed that it cared.Reacting to former prime minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh’s views on the economic slow down the country is facing, the Union Minister said that he was surprised to know that Dr. Singh was saying that the BJP government was failing in handling the economy. “The country gave Dr. Singh, an eminent economist, the opportunity to run the country for 10 years. But they [UPA government] damaged the entire economic system. It was during their tenure that reckless bank loans messed up the banking sector, prices of commodities soared up, Mumbai faced a major terrorist attack and the government could not face the public,” he said addressing chartered accountants, industrialists and traders at an Assembly election-related event in Bhayandar. “Before the Modi government came to power people had lost hope and so did not demand anything from the government. But in last five years public has been demanding better facilities because they have immense hope in this government. Even a beggar will beg only in front of someone whom he knows will give him something,” Mr. Goyal said. The last five years have seen 75-78% rise in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and it will continue to grow with the efforts the Prime Minister is taking, Mr. Goyal added. “I hope you all remember the double digits inflation we faced during the United Progessive Alliance government. Fiscal deficit was as high as 6-6.5% and current account deficit was 4.5%. The country was handed to us with a damaged economy and we have brought about development across sectors,” he said. Talking of the steps by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to revive the economy, Mr. Goyal said, “ours is a responsible government. The efforts being taken show that the government cares about the economy.”