South African Airways (SAA) has cancelled nearly all its domestic and international flights scheduled for Friday and Saturday ahead of a labour strike.
The cancellations follow an announcement by the South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) that their members will embark on strike from Friday morning, the airline said.
The flight cancellations were meant to minimise the impact of disruptions for its customers,’’ the airline said in a statement.
Flights operated by SAA partner airlines SA Express, Mango, SA Airlink will not be affected, according to the airline.
During labour negotiations with unions, SAA had offered employees a 5.9 per cent salary increase, subject to the availability of funds from lenders, while employees demand an eight per cent increase, SAA spokesman, Tlali Tlali, said.
SAA has long faced financial difficulties.
In June, its board of directors announced the national carrier needs an additional four billion Rand ($268 million) in immediate funds to survive the current financial year.
Edited by Halima Sheji/Abdulfatah Babatunde
African children remain under siege from COVID-19: UNICEF
The direct and secondary impacts of the virus threaten to unravel the gains made for the poorest children across Africa, UNICEF said in a statement emailed to Xinhua.
While wealthier children are able to continue learning online, barely one in five households in Eastern and Southern Africa have internet access, according to UNICEF.
Eighty-four percent of the rural population – where the bulk of African learners reside – have no electricity, meaning online learning is not an option, said UNICEF.
Up to 16 million children in Africa are no longer accessing critical daily meals at school while violence is increasing, and more African children will fall into poverty, UNICEF said.
Prior to COVID-19, it was estimated that around three out of every four children in Africa are affected by multi-dimensional poverty. These children are deprived of the most basic things in life, like access to sufficient food and clean drinking water, going to school, being able to get medical help, sleeping in adequate shelter, going to the bathroom in a safe place, or living in an environment free of physical and emotional abuse.
The economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic could push up to 86 million more children into household poverty by the end of 2020, two thirds of these in Africa, according to analysis released by Save the Children and UNICEF.
Only 16 percent of children in Africa are covered by social protection programs, making it impossible for families to withstand financial shocks caused by COVID-19 and furthering the cycle of intergenerational poverty, said UNICEF.
While the challenges are immense, UNICEF said it is collectively achieving significant regional results, including 71 million people reached with messaging on COVID-19 prevention and how to access services, 10.8 million children supported with distance/home-based learning, more than two million people reached with hand-wash supplies and two million children and women reached with essential healthcare services in UNICEF-supported facilities.
African Child Day: CBAAC canvasses for implementation of child-friendly justice system
The Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC) has called for the implementation of child-friendly justice system in Africa as cases of child-rape,labour and sexual violence increased across the continent.
The Director overseeing the office of the Director-General of CBAAC, Mrs. Osaro Osayande made the call in a statement, in commemoration of the Day of African Child (DAC) on Tuesday.
The theme for the 2020 edition of DAC is: “Access to a Child Friendly Justice System in Africa”.
Osayande also appealed to stakeholders at all levels to put effective measures in place to curb the rising cases of sexual violence in the country.
She said it was time for African leaders to work unanimously in implementing a child-friendly justice system to restore hope and confidence in every African child.
” CBAAC lends its voice against all forms of sexual violence, including rape, the centre is in support of the implementation of a Child-friendly justice system across the continent.
” Rape is a traumatic experience which causes psychological, emotional and physical pains to its victims, together with its adverse effect.
” We appeal to stakeholders at all levels to put in place effective measures to curb the rising cases of sexual violence in Nigeria,” she said.
Osayande said that as a cultural agency, CBAAC had in the past raised its voice against societal ills that negate the good tenets of African cultural values, through its numerous children programmes.
She urged parents and stakeholders to provide children with appropriate education as education was a human right and children deserved good education to be successful in life.
” We say No to Rape for a Better Africa!
” Indeed, this year’s DAC celebration calls for serious introspection and commitment towards addressing the numerous challenges facing children across the continent.
” We felicitate with African children on a special day like this,” she said.
She said that the centre will participate in the webinar meeting organised by the African Union Commission seeking to examine the elements of a child-friendly justice system in Africa.
Thousands of black school children took to the streets in Soweto, South Africa on June 16, 1976, to protest discriminatory educational policies by the South African government and to demand their right to be taught in their own language.
Hundreds of them were shot down in what became known as the “Sharpeville Massacre”, and in the two weeks of protests that followed, more than a hundred people were killed and more than a thousand injured.
Hence, the DAC is aimed at remembering these children and the brave action they took to claim their right as well as celebrate the entire Children of Africa who have endured one form of challenge or the other in the course of their growth.
Osayande said three decades down the line, children across Africa were still faced with varied forms of societal challenge that have hampered their safe growth and development.
She said among other societal ills, was the uncontrollable spate of sexual violence, manifesting in the form of rape, inflicted on the African child, including women and girls.
” These are sad realities particularly in Nigeria and some parts of the continent and this is the reason African leaders must unanimously implement a child-friendly justice system for the African children,” she said.
Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)
Military intensifies operation against economic sabotage in South-South
The Defence Headquarters says the military is intensifying efforts toward curbing crude oil stealing and economic sabotage in Nigeria’s South-South geo-political zone.
The Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, made the disclosure in a statement on Monday in Abuja.
Enenche said that the Nigerian Navy Ship, `Delta’ on June 10, discovered a newly-constructed illegal refining site around Bennett Island in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.
He explained that the site had five ovens, five coolers and eight surface metal storage tanks cumulatively laden with about 943.3 barrels of product, suspected to be crude oil.
Enenche said that no arrest was made because the perpetrators fled on sighting a patrol team.
“Same day, the team located another illegal refining site around Uwakeno Community in Warri South LGA.
“The site had four ovens, four coolers, six surface metal storage tanks and two dug-out pits cumulatively laden with about 10,000 litres of products, suspected to be illegally refined AGO and 440.2 barrels of stolen crude oil.
“The storage facilities were confiscated and the site has been ear-marked for swamp buggy operation,” he said.
Enenche said that the Navy patrol team also intercepted a large wooden boat laden with about 70,000 litres of product suspected to be illegally refined AGO in six metal storage tanks along Benin River in Warri North on June 13.
He said that efforts were ongoing to convey the boat and content to the Naval Base.
The coordinator said that the Navy Ship, Pathfinder patrol team located an illegal refining site around Isaka and Alakiri general area during the week.
He said the site had reservoirs laden with about 1,257 barrels of crude oil, adding that the site was dismantled.
According to him, Operation Calm Waters and Operation Swift Response made seizure of foreign parboiled rice as well as the arrest of boats involved in smuggling during the week.
Enenche also recalled that on June 8, operatives of the Joint Border Drill, intercepted an abandoned truck at Agbaragba Market in the Ikom LGA of Cross River, loaded with 410 x 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice.
“The rice was suspected to have been smuggled in from Cameroon.
“Accordingly, the bags of rice and vehicle were evacuated to Mfum Border Post for onward movement to Government Warehouse in Calabar.
“Meanwhile, on June 12, the combined teams of OSR and Nigeria Customs Service Strike Force raided a make-shift warehouse at Ishiet in the Uruan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom and confiscated 305 x 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice.
“The bags of rice were evacuated to Nigeria Customs Warehouse in Uyo for further action.
“The Chief of Naval Staff congratulates the troops for their professionalism and efforts in curbing economic sabotage within the maritime environment.
“Equally, the high command of the armed forces of Nigeria congratulates the troops and urges them to remain steadfast and focused as they sustain the fight against economic sabotage,” Enenche said.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Silas Nwoha (NAN)
African Energy Chamber calls for policy support for oil, gas sector
The African Energy Chamber on Monday urged its member countries to take immediate action to ensure that the entire year is not lost for oil and gas operations across the continent.
“Unless African countries engage with operators and investors and let them readjust their work programs, the only solution left for companies will be to declare force majeure or suspend any activity on their block,” said Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.
“Work programs adjustments is a major demand of the industry at the moment and key responsibilities need to be waived so exploratory and development drilling can only be deferred and not suspended or cancelled,” he added.
He called on the member countries to implement the Chamber’s Commonsense Energy Agenda and Guidelines for the Movement and Safety of Oil Workers. The former includes key measures for a short and medium-term recovery of the sector, the latter includes immediate actions and initiatives.
By taking swift action to allow the movement of oil workers and their safety, African countries can ensure that oil and gas operations continue safely and that the impact on exploration and production is minimized, said the Chamber.