23 January 2006South Africa’s courtrooms are set to go the hi-tech route, with the accused taking part in proceedings from prison via video-conferencing facilities, in a system successfully pioneered at the Durban and Pinetown magistrate’s courts in KwaZulu-Natal.The Mercury newspaper reports that the technology is already being used for half the cases – about 30 a day – heard at Court 10 in Durban, where those accused of serious and violent crimes make pre-trial court appearances.The prisoners do not leave Westville Prison. Instead, they appear before the magistrate on a television set in the courtroom, the newspaper reports.The hi-tech system allows for a two-way interaction, with the camera panning to whoever is speaking at the time. It also provides for private telephone conversations with attorneys and the exchange of documents via fax.If implemented countrywide, the technology will save the government millions of rands in prisoner transportation costs – and end the risk of escapes, prisoner violence in vans and attacks on court orderlies.Deon Boardman, the national manager of the project, told the Mercury that the aim was to simplify court procedures and improve efficiency.“We are in the proof of concept stage,” he said. “It is an impact study and we aim to roll it out to other courts with high case volumes.“The test period is six months. So far, it has gone so well. It is a joint venture between the Departments of Justice and of Correctional Services, the National Prosecuting Authority and the police. In April, a joint decision will be made regarding roll-out.”Some 500 prisoners are transported every day from Westville Prison to various courts.“It is an administrative nightmare,” Boardman told the Mercury. “They have to be checked out of the prison, transported to the courts, checked into the grill, handed over to the police, escorted to and from the courts, fed, and taken back to prison. All of this for a two-minute court appearance.“The costs are enormous and the risk of escape is huge . this project is the way to go.”The project began in October 2005, initially with only a few cases a day to allow the court staff to become used to the system and make the necessary mental adjustment.“It was important for both court staff and prisoners to feel comfortable,” said Boardman. “All prisoners make their first appearance in the court itself so they know what the courtroom looks like.“They are then informed that their next appearances will be via video.“But if they want to come to court, they can. They simply make the request and they are requisitioned either the same day or the next day. But … most prisoners seem happy to appear on camera,” Boardman told the Mercury.The idea for the system came from Peter Benson of Durban-based Digital Voice Processing, which now runs the project, who first saw the technology at work in the US state of Florida, and suggested it to the Justice Department. He said it was inexpensive, with the pilot project only costing about R230 000 so far.“We worked out that if the department equipped every prison and one court in each courthouse with these video remand systems, the total cost of the technology would be recovered within nine months,” he told the Mercury.“I am passionate about this project,” he said. “It will save millions and it will save lives . I want to see this thing happen even if I don’t get the final tender.”SouthAfrica.info reporter
17 October 2014Electricity utility Eskom has plugged its first wind farm into the national grid. The Sere wind farm, 350km north of Cape Town, is the utility’s first large-scale renewable energy project.The farm is a major step towards reducing South Africa’s reliance on coal-powered energy and is in accordance with the National Development Pan which makes allowance for renewable energy projects.While the farm has been plugged in, it will only be fully operational in March next year, when it will contribute an additional 100MW to the country’s electricity supply. At the moment it can generate 16MW of power, enough to light up 30 000 homes. Along with generating power, the project has created almost 400 direct jobs to the Matzikama community during construction. The project will also need skilled maintenance technicians over it estimated 20-year lifespan. In this same period it is expected to reduce carbon emissions by up to six million tons.Eskom is collaborating with Agence Française de Developpement, African Development Bank and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and technology company Siemens to build the farm, which upon completion will comprise 46 type SWT-2.3-108 wind turbines. Each turbine will be able to generate 2.3MW of electricity. Siemens will also assist with servicing and maintenance for five years after total completion on the farm.SAinfo reporter
Using orange and avocado peels, a 16-year-old South African could hold the solution to the country’s water woes.Kiara Nirghin, who is from Johannesburg, has won the Google Science Fair Community Impact Award in the Africa/Middle East region with her entry, “No More Thirsty Crops”. She is also one of the 16 global finalists for the annual awards, to be held at the Google headquarters in the US in September.Kiara, a St Martin’s High School pupil, admitted she had a natural curiosity and questioning nature which had led her down the path of science.“I have always had a great love for chemistry since I was young,” she told the Google Science Fair. “I vividly remember at the age of seven experimenting with vinegar and baking soda solutions in plastic cups.”Food and chemistry were linked in the intertwined science web, she added. “I love molecular gastronomy and the application of scientific principles in food creation.”It seemed natural then that she could have found a possible solution to South Africa’s drought in, what else, but food.Kiara created an absorbent polymer from orange and avocado peels that was able to act as a water retainer in soil.According to the Google Science Fair website, it should be able to “to retain large amounts of water and combat the effects of drought on crops by retaining soil moisture, whilst still recycling waste products of the juice manufacturing industry”.See more:She hopes because it is low cost, it will be able to help farmers save both money and crops.If she won the competition, Kiara said she would be wonderfully elated. “With the prize I will hope to continue my studies in science, but also further the scientific development and application of my idea, and in addition extend scientific progress in elevating the problems that South Africa faces in food security and sustainable agricultural development,” she said.Source: Google Science FairWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using SouthAfrica.info material
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Jannayak Janta Party leader Dushyant Chautala on Wednesday said that his party was in the process of forging an alliance with “like-minded outfits” to contest the Lok Sabha poll and an announcement in this regard will be made within four days. The Hisar MP said a three-member panel of the JJP, that includes K.C Bangar, S.S. Kadian and State unit chief Nishan Singh, has prepared a report which will be discussed with party patron Ajay Chautala, who will take a final call on the tie-up issue. He indicated that the Aam Aadmi Party could be on board among the like-minded parties, while some smaller outfits, which may not put up candidates to fight the election, could also be among those who extend support to the JJP.Mr. Dushyant Chautala said only one member from his family will be contesting the general election. “Within four days, we will come out with details and make an announcement,” he said.
The Deccan Chargers have lost their place as an Indian Premier League franchise after it failed to meet an extended deadline to furnish a Rs.100 crore bank guarantee.The beleaguered owners of Deccan Chargers failed to produce the bank guarantee before the Bombay High Court, a condition that had been set for the struggling team’s survival in the league.Claim to fameThe Hyderabad-based company has won the second season of the IPL in 2009 held in South Africa under the captainship of Adam Gilchrist. Media group Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd had bought the franchise for an amount of USD 107 million on 24 January 2008.Why in newsReports quoting sources say banks and financial institutions that have lent money to Deccan Chronicle Holdings are being investigated for alleged irregularities in their dealings with the Hyderabad-based media house.The finance ministry has asked a two-member panel to conduct the probe, which is expected to take two months. A Mumbai based real estate company, Kamla Landmarc has bought the Deccan Chargers IPL franchise. Owned by Mr Ramesh Jain, the company undertakes construction of residential/commercial projects.
Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netMANILA, Philippines—San Miguel’s loss to Columbian Dyip wasn’t just treated as an ordinary defeat back in the Beermen’s camp.The defending Philippine Cup champions saw it as a challenge, and nearly almost an insult, and they promptly vowed to change their ways before they faced Barangay Ginebra.ADVERTISEMENT Grace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusations Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town MOST READ Christian Standhardinger happy for Andray Blatche, questionable for 6th Fiba window PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss LATEST STORIES ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes View comments Marcio Lassiter, who came up big in the clutch for the Beermen against Ginebra, said it was their fault why they lost since he knew they didn’t play at their best when they lost to the Dyip.“It definitely hurts you know, we just expect to play better,” said Lassiter who had 16 points, five rebounds, six assists, and two steals against Ginebra. “We knew what was wrong. We figured it out and we just have to get going at it, keep on working to be better.”“Pretty much that loss was not us, that’s very uncharacteristic of us and tonight was a better showing of how we’re capable of playing.”San Miguel held a big lead at the start of the fourth quarter against Ginebra, 78-57, but nearly lost it in the end after the Gin Kings went on a frenzied 32-16 run to trim the margin to five, 94-89, after LA Tenorio’s triple with 1:29 left in the game.That was when Lassiter went to work his magic when he caught Von Pessumal’s errant pass and calmly drained a big three-pointer for the Beermen’s 97-89 lead 1:15 remaining.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Lassiter’s dagger, however, wouldn’t have happened if not for the quick thinking of Pessumal and the backup shooting guard’s late stay on the floor was even unlikelier.Pessumal played around 10.6 minutes a game in the past season usually serving as backup to Lassiter, Chris Ross, and Alex Cabagnot but with San Miguel missing key players including new acquisition Terrence Romeo the substitute winger had to step in.“I just stay ready to play every game,” said Pessumal, who 13 points, three rebounds, and two assists in 26 minutes of play. “I’m thankful to coach Leo [Austria] because he trusted me to be in the starting 5 so it means a lot to me. I have to repay him also.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Lacson backs proposal to elect president and vice president in tandem Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town US judge bars Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrants San Miguel has built a dynasty having won six of the possible 12 titles including four straight Philippine Cups and the team was expected to run away with an easy victory against the Dyip, who only has one playoff series in their existence, but the opposite happened as humble Columbian stunned the Beermen 124-118.The mighty Beermen, who regained their form, promptly recovered and dumped the Gin Kings on Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum as if reminding the rest of the league of their powerhouse status.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine football chiefSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars“We we’re truly hurt because that was our first game and we lost,” said 2013 MVP Arwind Santos in Filipino. “Everyone expected that we would win the game [against Columbian] but we failed. And since we failed that we saw how we were beaten and we saw our errors on defense.”Santos, who tied his career-high of 34 points in the loss to the Dyip, was quieter in the win against Ginebra putting up just six points but had one steal and two blocks on the other end of the floor.