43612E MOZAMBIQUE AND SOUTH AFRICA TO TACKLE OVERCROWDING ON MINIBUSES
Maputo, 12 Jun (AIM) - Mozambican and South African authorities on Tuesday began checking the number of passengers inside licensed minibuses at the Ressano Garcia border, as part of an initiative to bring down the number of road accidents and fatalities.
The spokesperson for Maputo provincial police command, Joao Machava, told the daily newspaper "Noticias" that a number of recent road traffic accidents with a high number of fatalities have been caused by both speeding and overcrowding in minibuses operating the Maputo - South Africa route.
As a result, Mozambique and South Africa have designed a framework for exchanging information on road safety, as part of a joint strategy for the prevention of road accidents on the motorway linking the Mozambican capital Maputo to the South African city of Witbank (EN4).
High level delegations from the provinces of Maputo and Mpumalanga met recently in the Mozambican city of Matola to review bilateral relations, particularly relating to the transport sector and road safety.
According Machava, at the meeting the South Africans delegation asked the Mozambican authorities and public transport associations to help prevent overcrowding.
"During the meeting both parties agreed to establish a more flexible framework for information exchange, as we understand that only through coordinated action will we be able to make a difference", stressed Machava.
One of the decisions taken at the meeting was that the authorities should verify the number of passengers at the checkpoint Km4 just before the border at Ressano Garcia, with the same procedure being applied just inside South African.
Recently, eight people died and ten others were seriously injured in a road accident at Machadodorp, South African, involving a minibus which at the time was carrying 24 passengers despite being designed to carry a maximum of 16.
Joao Machava said the South African authorities mentioned this incident as an example of the malpractices that often take place involving licensed passenger minibuses registered in Mozambique.
42612E PRESIDENT VISITS INHACA
KaNyaka, 12 Jun (AIM) - The irregular running of ferries, the degraded state of the jetty and the high cost of transport by air and sea continues to isolate KaNyaka, an outlying district of Maputo city also known as Inhaca, according to a report received by President Armando Guebuza.
President Guebuza was given the report by the district administrator Sarmento Saul on Tuesday when he visited the island as part of his "open and inclusive presidency" tour of Maputo city.
The report focussed on links between the island and Maputo city. Currently a public ferry "The Nyeleti" links the island with Maputo city four times a week. Otherwise, people have to rely on private boats to make the 32 kilometre journey. The cost of travelling to Maputo by the ferry is between 150 and 200 meticais, which represents a high cost for a population that mainly relies upon small scale fishing.
There used to be a light airplane service from the island to the capital. But now flights are only available by charter, costing 3,700 meticais per person (about 133 US dollars).
The report also lamented that KaNyaka suffers from poor water supplies and a lack of access roads. Residents also come into conflict with wildlife, particularly crows and wild pigs.
The report stated that the local authorities have taken steps to reduce the island's dependence on the capital. Among the improvements over recent years are the opening of health units, building housing for public servants, drilling more waterholes, and extending the electricity network. A campaign has also been launched to encourage the use of the most fertile soil for agriculture.
Saul's report to the President pointed out that at least 52,260 tourists of various nationalities visited the island in 2011, which represents a growth of 15 per cent.
According to Saul, this growth was accompanied by an increase in the number of tourist facilities as a result of investment through the District Development Fund (FDD).
The island now has lodges, restaurants and a three star hotel. Since 2008 there have been 14 tourism projects approved, which have created 20 jobs. However, this is just a fraction of the jobs created by FDD projects in the fishing and trade sectors.
In the same period a total of 420 jobs have been created, of which 207 were in fishing and 143 in commerce. The district authorities approved 164 projects, of which 79 were in fishing and 50 in trade. The remaining projects were in transport, livestock, agro-processing and water supply.
Shortly after his arrival on the island, President Guebuza visited the new Registry Office.
According to the President, this office will solve some of the problems faced by local people, who will no longer need to travel to the capital to register births, deaths or obtain identity documents.
On Wednesday the President is due to continue his tour of Maputo city with a visit to KaMaxakeni.
41612E LABOUR MINISTRY INSPECTING TOURIST RESORTS IN PONTA DO OURO
Maputo, 12 Jun (AIM) - Mozambican Labour Minister Helena Taipo on Monday announced that a team has been dispatched to the southern town of Ponta do Ouro to inspect tourist resorts whose owners have been accused of breaking the country's Labour Law.
The inspection will cover 34 resorts in the region, reports Tuesday's issue of the daily newspaper "Noticias".
In Ponta do Ouro some foreign investors have been accused of abusing Mozambicans and sacking workers without just cause. The residents claim that this often ends up degenerating into poorly handled labour disputes due to the lack of regular labour inspections.
According to the district secretary of the Hotel Workers Union, Armando Xerinda, there are also complaints about the failure of employers to fulfil promises, a lack of overtime payments, late wage payments and massive layoffs.
Xerinda was speaking in Ponta Do Ouro on Monday during a meeting addressed by Helena Taipo.
The minister explained that previous routine inspections carried out by the Labour Inspectorate had failed to achieve the desired results.
"The failure of those inspections to enforce the country's laws meant that the same old problems were raised again during the recent visit of President Guebuza", lamented Taipo.
She added that her ministry must acknowledge that previous inspections were seriously flawed. Furthermore, a team of inspectors sent just last week to the region has been relieved of its duties and has had its report rejected.
The minister said that the new team will carry out inspections in the presence of the owners and not their representatives, to enable them to realise the scale of the problems.
"We can no longer allow foreigners to commit excesses or acts of racism against Mozambican nationals out of fear that we could be chasing away investment. Foreign investors also need us for the smooth running of their businesses", Taipo said. She added that "we must not let others take advantage of the prevailing disorganisation to further exploit our country's wealth".
Addressing a rally in Ponta do Ouro in May, as part of his "open and inclusive presidency", President Armando Guebuza warned, "investments in Mozambique are governed by the country's legislation. Therefore, it is unacceptable to break those laws. All investors, irrespective of their origin and identity, are welcome provided they abide by Mozambican legislation and respect people as human beings".
According to the President, this is the only way "we are going to build the society of tolerance and harmony that we all want".
40612E PRESIDENT GUEBUZA BEGINS TOUR OF MAPUTO CITY
Maputo, 12 Jun (AIM) - Mozambican President Armando Guebuza on Monday began a four-day tour of the capital city, Maputo, as part of his "open and inclusive presidency".
Speaking at the opening of an extraordinary session of the Maputo city council, the President lauded the council's decision to house its headquarters in the suburban area of Laulane, in the municipal district of KaMavota.
The President, speaking shortly after the new headquarters was inaugurated, said "this building shows that when we want to improve working conditions, we can. This is an example of our determination".
According to President Guebuza, with the opening of the headquarters in Laulane the area is going to benefit along with the living conditions of the surrounding population.
The new council offices cost 90 million meticais (about 3.24 million US dollars) paid for through the state budget. The work was carried out over two years by the Chinese company Sibersonic.
Moments before he inaugurated the building, President Guebuza planted trees in the grounds to provide shade.
President Guebuza has also received a report from the city's Governor, Lucilia Hama, which includes details of the District Development Fund (FDD).
The fund provides loans to support projects to create jobs or boost food production. It is still commonly referred to as "the seven million", since it began in 2006 as an allocation of seven million meticais from the central state budget to each of the 128 districts in the country.
In most of the country the repayment rate has been very low, wrecking the plan that it would become a rolling fund with beneficiaries repaying the money lent to them, and these repayments replenishing the fund, which would then cease to rely exclusively on the central state budget
However, the report to the President stated that the level of repayments in the districts of KaTembe and KaNyaka has been above average.
Last year in KaTembe the fund lent 2,614,000 meticais, and in the first three months of this year 647,000 meticais has been repaid.
In 2011 in KaNyaka loans equalled 1,351,900 meticais, with 201,000 meticais being repaid in the first quarter of 2012.
According to Lucilia Hama, the funds created 203 jobs.
Turning to the council's activities, Hama stated that four drinking water systems have been built in KaTembe with an equal number constructed in KaNyaka, "both reducing the distances people have to travel to collect water, and increasing the number of people with access to clean drinking water. It has also shortened the distances people have to travel to buy basic goods, with the opening of local shops".
Hama reported that agricultural production has increased in the city. Last year 63,320 tonnes of agricultural produce was harvested, almost meeting the target of 64,709 tonnes. Food was grown over an area of 7,439 hectares.
39612E GOVERNMENT DETERMINED TO IMPROVE SERVICES FOR MENTAL ILLNESS
Maputo, 12 Jun (AIM) - Mozambican Health Minister Alexandre Manguele has said that his government is continuing to prioritise the development of health services for those suffering from mental illnesses.
According to Manguele, taboos and wrong beliefs relating to neuropsychiatric conditions stand in the way of people fully utilising existing services. As a result, current services are not sufficient to meet the needs.
The minister was speaking in Maputo on Monday at the opening of a meeting organised by the International Brain Research Organisation (IBRO) which aims to share experiences, successes and failures and find the best strategies to address mental health problems that are common in Africa.
The meeting is being attended by professionals and students from various specialisms. According to Manguele, it is an opportunity for all the participants to discuss and contribute to brain research.
The Dean of the Order of Doctors, Aurelio Zilhao, said that the event is a chance for health professionals to share their concerns and define intervention strategies.
The week-long meeting is the first of its kind in Mozambique, and is expected to stimulate and promote research in neuroscience and improve the provision of quality services to those with mental illnesses.
The meeting brings together interested parties from the fields of psychiatry, psychology, neurology, obstetrics, general practice, nutrition, paediatrics, occupational therapy and veterinarian science from Africa, Europe and Latin America.
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