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Stokvel Savings Clubs Could Be Bigger than Agriculture, Electricity Sectors in South Africa

"South Africa has 811 830 stokvels [group savings clubs providing for mutual financial assistance, as well as social and entertainment needs] with a total estimated value of R44-billion (US$5.3-billion) according to a survey released on 21November.
“The value of the stokvel market would create a bigger sector than the
agriculture or electricity sectors,” said Mamapudi Nkgadima, managing director of African Response, in a statement.

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New Digital Education Device in South Africa Doesn't Need Broadband, Steady Power Supply

"A South African company, The Content Company, has piloted a device that will help rural scholars bridge the digital divide. The purpose is to connect
underprivileged schools to live online information, without the problems normally associated with using modern computers in these areas. The innovation is called Streetwise and does not require broadband, good access to power, decent infrastructure nor significant technical support to work and keep working. The devices communicate via GPRS enabling them to work everywhere."

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Facebook Therapy in Zambia,

"Social networking sites appear to be growing in appeal beyond their traditional use as platforms to inform people about what’s on and what’s happening. Given the growth of mobile technology in Africa, these platforms offer cheap and easy access to therapy/counselling/advice for many people, especially the rural poor, who often need it (for HIV/AIDS advice, domestic violence issues, etc) but don’t have access to traditional opportunities e.g. face-to-face counselling."

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Minerals and Metals Can Be Extracted From Acid Mine Wastewater

South Africa’s acid mine drainage wastewater is ‘mineable’... According to Dr Anthony Turton, director of Touchstone Resources, consideration should be given to studying the economic feasibility of ‘mining’ South Africa’s problematic acid mine drainage (AMD) and wastewater (mentioned in the December 2010 Scan) for metals, minerals, salt and even hydrogen. Turton is a protagonist not only of ‘mining’ AMD, but also the water in sewage works and obtaining phosphate, which is crucial for food security, as a by product."

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Free mobile chat service helps learners prepare for exams

“The popular South African mobile chat service MXit, often the source of controversy, is now helping learners to prepare for exams. The service has added a tutoring and quiz portal, QuizMax, for maths, physical science and life sciences learners. A group of teachers developed a suite of free mobile learning tools, including exam-level quizzes that are compliant with the National Examination Guidelines for Grade 12s.

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Sources:

South Africa Node of the Millenium Project June 2011, pg. 10
http://newsletters.clearsignals.org/SANode_June2011.pdf#page=10


http://www.mxit.com/

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Economic Negotiations to Redistribute National Wealth in South Africa

“In recent weeks, there has been a growing chorus of voices suggesting that SA needs to hold another Codesa [the all inclusive transformative negotiations that ended Apartheid] — an Economic Codesa — a call that expresses the exasperation at the lack of meaningful action on the part of the government.

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Renting farms an option to stem the failure of land reform projects

“In a research report released 20 July, South Africa s Land Bank argues that the government should consider renting farms for a few years, with an option to buy them, so that it can accelerate transferring land to black farmers and stem the failure of land reform projects. The report found that almost half of South Africa’s small-scale farmers funded by the bank were unable to cultivate their land profitably.

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Turning acid mine drainage into a solution for water and energy shortages

“According to Dr Anthony Turton, director of Touchstone Resources, consideration should be given to studying the economic feasibility of ‘mining’ South Africa’s problematic acid mine drainage (AMD) and wastewater (mentioned in the December 2010 Scan) for metals, minerals, salt and even hydrogen. Turton is a protagonist not only of ‘mining’ AMD, but also the water in sewage works and obtaining phosphate, which is crucial for food security, as a by product. Turton favours consideration being given to the use of ion-exchange technology to remove the metals and minerals.

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Sources:

South Africa Node, April 2011, Pgs. 8 – 9
http://newsletters.clearsignals.org/SANode_April2011.pdf#page=8

http://www.miningweekly.com/article/south-africas-acid-mine-drainagewaste-water-is-mineable-turton-2011-01-20

TouchStone website:
http://www.touchstoneresources.co.za/ .

See the January / February 2011 edition of Water Wheel magazine for a comprehensive overview and background of AMD.
http://www.wrc.org.za/Pages/KH_WaterWheel.aspx?dt=4&ms=55;

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education not enough for employment, students seek internships and relevant work experience

“Every year, South Africa’s higher education and training sector produces 3 000 graduates that cannot find jobs, a third of who are trained in the engineering and science fields, a skills expert revealed recently. South Africa’s National Skills Development Handbook editor Mike Stuart said that this was mainly owing to a gap between the supply of skills and the demand of the occupational dispensation in the country.

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Wal-Mart making its way into Africa.

Wal-Mart is in the processes of acquiring a majority stake in African retailer Massmart. The 14 countries in Africa that Massmart is present in have different policies regarding competition and local procurement. South Africa appears to be posing the largest struggle for Wal-Mart through its competition hearing and strong unions.

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