Today's Big Stories

Effects of xenophobia on SA tourism, SABC COO suspended, fire fighting robot

Threats posed by xenophobic attacks on local tourism industry

In light of the recent violence targeted at foreign nationals in South Africa, a number of embassies have recently issued tourism advisories on South Africa.

CEO of Tourism SA Thulani Nzima says that some of the travel warnings are a little bit exaggerated. He says, however, that they don’t necessarily say that other tourists must not travel to the country; rather the warnings advise tourists to travel with caution. Nzima says that the country as a brand and destination has responded very effectively in showing solidarity to the people of Africa.

We have seen the marched that have been taking place. They are a very clear demonstration that we condemn xenophobia, and do not condone it. We must not take them for granted. It is always difficult to sell the country, at the best of times. If we want to market South Africa there must continue to demonstrate very openly a message of condemnation. We need to embrace the diaspora that is in the country. We don’t need to speak for them, let them speak.

Courts rule for Motsoeneng's suspension

The Western Cape High Court on Thursday ruled that SABC Chief Operating Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng be suspended for 60 days pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing. Kate Skinner, Member, SOS Support Public Broadcasting Campaign told 702's John Robbie that this ruling would affect the public broadcaster in terms of it's operations. She says the judge's ruling was in line with the recommendations in the Public Protector's report on the broadcaster.

What the SABC has done so far is to disregard those recommendations. I think the SABC hasn’t engaged with thee Public Protectors report in anyway. Motsoeneng is going to appeal his suspension and he is saying he doesn’t want to be suspended. He is doing absolutely everything he can to be at his desk. In a bigger issue, he is questioning how powerful the Public Protector recommendations are. If Motsoeneng is in fact suspended for 60 days, it will be difficult for them because they have concentrated so much power around him. But we have got to get to the bottom of the allegations in the Public Protector’s report.

Unmanned firefighting vehicle

A Dutch engineering firm has developed an unmanned firefighting unit, which can get much closer to the fires than firefighters are able to. These developments may be useful to South Africa, in light of the massive fires recently experienced in several parts of the country.

Folmer Kamminga, Managing Director at the inventing company, Geoborn says that the robot will be able to do firefighting on its own, powered by unconventional means. He says the robot uses turbines and a compressor and works using water and air. He says the robot extinguishes fires with water mist, and thus uses less water.

A few years ago we had a massive fire in Netherlands. It was too risky for our regular firefighters. We thought of what could be alternatives to fighting the fire. The result is the second prototype of what we call the Micro Turbine CAFS Robot (MTCR). It has several advantages over a firefighting engine. It is mounted on small claws, so it can go nearly everywhere.

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