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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Water-saving campaign helps drought-hit
Cape Town push back “Day Zero”   

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South Africa’s Cape Town city has managed to push back “Day Zero,” the day when water taps would turn off in 2018, authorities said Wednesday.

Thanks to steady drop in water consumption, the city was able to push back Day Zero by days, and then weeks, and then months, said Mmusi Maimane, leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) that administers the city.

“I am therefore happy to announce today that provided we continue consuming water at current levels, and we receive decent winter rainfall this year, Day Zero will not occur in 2018,” Maimane told a press briefing in Cape Town.

The city previously announced April 21 as Day Zero and later changed the date to April 12.

With a population of about 6 million, Cape Town has been hit by the worst drought in history. If Day Zero arrives, the city would be the world’s first metropolis to run out of water.

Water consumption now sits at between 510 and 520 million litres per day, down from almost 1.2 billion litres in February 2015, according to Maimane.

Individuals, families, communities, businesses, private dam owners and many others have joined in the water-saving campaign, Maimane said.

However, he cautioned that while it is now unlikely to occur in 2018, Day Zero is still a very real possibility during the 2019 summer months if there is no significant rainfall this winter.

“I want to reiterate, and can not stress enough, that we need to keep at current consumptions levels until at least after the winter rainfall,” he said.

Capetonians must continue to use less than 50 litres of water per day in line with Level 6B water restrictions so that Day Zero can be defeated in its entirety, Maimane said.

Maimane also announced that through augmentation projects, the city will be adding an additional 190 million liters of water per day to the supply system by the end of this year, growing to 220 million liters in 2019 and eventually reaching 300 million liters in 2020.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

Trade ambassador pleads with WTO members
to heed Mandela’s words on “just rules”

GENEVA (Xinhua) -- The outgoing chairman of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) General Council Xavier Carim of South Africa on Wednesday quoted a Nelson Mandela speech made 20 years ago when Mandela said rules must be just.

Carim handed his baton to the newly-elected chairman Junichi Ihara of Japan after new members were elected to the body that oversees the regular work of the WTO.

The South African WTO ambassador noted that many of the issues raised by Mandela at the time of his speech continue to resonate now regarding global trade issues.

His speech came in the same week that WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo called on the 164 members of the organization to avoid triggering an escalation in trade barriers after threats made by U.S. President Donald Trump and his derision of the world trade body’s adjudicating body.

Carim noted Mandela had said: “Rules must be applied...but if they contain prescriptions that cannot be complied with by all, or if the results benefit too few, then injustice will emerge.”

“Then it is prudent to remember that no amount of rules, or their enforcement, will defeat those who struggle with justice on their side.”

Carim noted late President Mandela was of course drawing on his own experience of South Africa’s struggle for freedom, but that elements of the speech have a bearing on the WTO’s work.

He said the WTO’s work is not immune to the growing concerns about the impact of globalization, trade, and trade agreements on job security, inequality, and development.

He noted that such concerns had been raised by many developing countries in the past, “but the fact that similar concerns are now more strongly voiced by citizens across developed countries is a significant new development and manifests in ways that deeply affect our work.”

“In our organization, where decisions are taken by consensus, ongoing and practical expressions of the principles of transparency and inclusivity are a baseline for a fairer, more inclusive and developmental multilateralism,” said Carim.

At a minimum, he said inclusivity requires that WTO processes and decisions fully consider the views of members from the different geographic regions, at different levels of development, but the decisions and processes should also fully engage with the competing policy perspectives and priorities of WTO members.

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Zambian and South African provinces sign cooperation agreement

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- Zambia’s Luapula Province and South Africa’s NorthWest Province on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen working partnership and collaboration.

The agreement follows a four-day visit by a delegation from the Zambian province led by provincial minister Nixon Chilangwa, which toured various projects in the South African province and held talks with the leadership of the province.

The agreement was signed by Chilangwa and South Africa’s NorthWest Premier Supra Mahumapelo, said a statement released by the Zambian embassy in South Africa.

According to Chilangwa, the agreement will promote collaboration in investment and exchange programs related to agriculture, livestock and fisheries, forestry, tourism and mining.

He added that the agreement will cement the existing cooperation between the two countries.

Mahumapelo said the province was excited about the relationship between the two provinces and that his team was impressed with the resource endowment of the Zambian province during a visit last year.

The two provinces, he said, are eager to explore possibilities of improving and diversifying bilateral relationship in various sectors for mutual benefit.

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