Today's Big Stories

'Cape-Cairo' trade bloc ratified, Joburg EMS investigation, CPT CBD upliftment

Image: Wikipedia

Historic 'Cape to Cairo' intra-Africa trade bloc ratified

Heard on 702's John Robbie Show: a consolidated 'Cape to Cairo' intra-Africa trade bloc which took five years, has been ratified at a summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. The 26-nation deal on the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) caps negotiations to set up a framework for preferential tariffs easing the movement of goods in an area that will integrate three existing trade blocs — the East African Community (EAC), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) — whose countries reportedly have a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $1-trillion. Political Economist from the Trade Collective, Lebohang Pheko:

Lots of people have been hoping and writing about this for quite a while and there's quite a bit of anticipation because it does a lot of things. It firstly consolidates the African region as a trading bloc amongst ourselves and we've always thought about how we need to be united in trading internally, so we can consolidate our competitive advantage and we can be a much more formidable force against the European Union, the Chinese market, the US. It also gives us an inbuilt market of consumers and producers - if we can much more effectively leverage our own internal market of consumers and a massive growing middle class as well, that would be excellent. Thirdly, it also gives us the obligation to then deal with and have a pool of money and resources including human resources, technical resources, brain resources as well as economic resources which will hopefully help compensate our infrastructural challenges.

EWN investigation shows culture of fear, equipment shortages at Joburg EMS

Image: firefighternation.com

Heard on 702's John Robbie Show: An EWN investigation has revealed that fire fighters at the Johannesburg Emergency Management Services (EMS) are expected to work without vital equipment and sometimes have to spend their own money on materials. EWN's Emily Corke reports that firemen have noted that there is a huge culture of fear at the EMS, preventing reporting on issues that plague the service:

I went to fire stations across Joburg and I managed to get seven firemen to come out and speak to me, five of whom could speak on the record, with recording their voices while others have asked to remain anonymous. They say there is a huge shortage of fire fighting equipment, yet they're expected to go out into fires without that vital equipment, including things like hoses. As a result, they're forced to share equipment, including things like face masks without much time to clean them between shifts and persons and they say this is spreading things like meningitis and TB. EMS say that equipment is regularly tested and updated and the onus is on the Station Commander to do so, but the firemen say that months can go by while they wait for things as basic as cleaning equipment.

Read more on EWN's special report on Joburg EMS here

R3.5 billion public-private partnership over Cape Town CBD

Image: WIkipedia

Heard on CapeTalk's Breakfast with Kieno Kammies: in an update on recent developments, the Central City Improvement District (CCID) said that there are development plans worth R3.5 billion for the CBD. CCID ‎Communications & Marketing Manager, Carola Koblitz:

(The R3,5 billion) is coming in through both public and private development - I wish the Central City Improvement District had that sort of money to spend but we certainly don't. So we've created an environment - together with our partners - that investors are prepared to vote for the area in Rands, and we've seen quite a bit of investment coming in, particularly over the last 2 - 3 years. Quite a bit of that investment has gone to public infrastructure - we've seen things like the extension of the Cape Town (International) Convention Centre happening, we've seen the High Court being refurbished, but primarily in the past two years, it's gone into office development. But what's happening now is there is a huge demand for residential property in the CBD.


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