Vodacom multimillion –Rand Limpopo expansion

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from BAATSHEBA RAMASHALA in Polokwane
Limpopo Bureau
POLOKWANE, (CAJ News) – VODACOM is spending R300 million (over US$16,9 million) towards expanding broadband coverage in remote areas of Limpopo province this financial year.

The investment is targeted at regions without access to internet services.

Vodacom anticipates the network expansion to drive inclusion.

“Expanding access to connectivity forms part of our commitment to building an inclusive digital future while assisting with stimulating socio-economic growth in the province,” said Ridwaan Soomra, Managing Executive of Vodacom Limpopo.

The bulk of the capex will be used to modernise the existing radio network, construct new deep rural towers, and enhance transmission, including increasing fibre rollout and improving backup power.

The investment will also help to provide additional capacity to support the region’s data traffic growth, which rose by 17,4 percent year-on-year.

Limpopo now has more than 1 557 network sites, of which 97 percent provide 3G and 92 percent provide 4G, which is a 10,8 percent increase in broadband coverage year-on-year.

Vodacom plans to double 5G coverage in the region by the end of the 2023 financial year.

“By expanding our 5G footprint, we are supporting the government’s 4IR objectives and accelerating the transition to more digital-based services to take the country forward,” Soomra added.

– CAJ News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LGBTQI practice further divides Zambia

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from ARNOLD MULENGA in Lusaka, Zambia
Zambia Bureau
LUSAKA, (CAJ News) – THE Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Life (LGBTQI) practice is deepening tensions in Zambia.

It is further dividing political rivals, raising differences in the church and threatens to culminate in a government crackdown against these members of the community.

Friction heightened this week amid criticism that the ruling United Party for National Development (UPND) and President Haikande Hichilema were “downplaying” the issue.

Critics believe this is in contrast to the hardline stance by the previous Patriotic Front (PF) administration of Edgar Lungu.

On Monday, the government however broke its silence on the issue through a statement by Chushi Kasanda, the Minister of Information and Media, who is also the chief government spokesperson.

“Government wishes to reaffirm that LGBT practice is illegal in Zambia. The law is clear on this matter,” the minister stated.

“Government, therefore, warns that anyone found practising or promoting any of the said acts is liable to prosecution in the Courts of Law,” Kasanda said.

Kasanda dismissed allegations by critics and the opposition that the government supports homosexuality.

“The accusations are unfair and unfounded,” she stated.

“Government has been consistent, before and now, in office, that it does not support LGBT,” she said.

Kasanda said police and other law enforcement agencies were active and engaged in pursuing cases of LGBT “whenever and wherever” they are reported.

“I wish to stress that this government has a duty to promote, protect and defend the interest of the Zambian people,” she insisted.

Hichilema, in a social media post this week, made similar sentiments.

“Our position on this issue has been very clear and consistent from our days in opposition. We must focus our energy in addressing pressing issues affecting our people and not be detracted,” the president stated.

PF however differs.

It was in power until 2021 when UPND won elections.

Antonio Mwanza, PF spokesperson, raised qualms in a radio interview.

“The President says the issue of sodomy; homosexuality is not a pertinent national issue,” Mwanza was quoted.

“It is in that statement. He (Hichilema) says he will not be distracted from pertinent national issues,” the opposition spokesman said.

LGBT has divided the church.

Bishop John Mambo of the Chikondi Foundation, argued homosexuality and sodomy were not urgent matters.

This is in stark contrast to the position by other religious leaders, among them Archbishop Alick Banda of the Lusaka Archdiocese.

“The law enforcement agents and the President, who took oath to protect the Constitution seem to be paying a blind eye (to LGBT incidents),” Banda stated.

Banda denounced last Friday’s reported arrest of some citizens during a protest against homosexuality and sodomy in the country.

He has come under criticism.

“It is visibly clear that Archbishop Alick Banda is using the church as a tool to discredit the current government,” alleged Mwiba Mwiba, good governance and disability rights activist.

He encouraged the Archbishop to “come down the holy altar and join politics.”

“Let him (Bishop Banda) leave the church to play its instrumental role it has always played in the development of this country,” Mwiba said.

Mambo also said he had been “astonished” by Banda’s statement.

“I am further perplexed and don’t know whether to term it theological, doctrinal or political,” Mambo stated.

Mambo argued Banda was championing a doctrine of animosity against Hichilema and divisive theologies that turn citizens against each other.

Brian Chota Sampa, petitioning the police on behalf of “Concerned Citizens” reveled they would march to State House on September 28 against “the rise of unnatural act of homosexuality.”

Zambia criminalises same-sex acts through sections of the Penal Code Act Chapter 87.

These also outlaw “attempts to commit ‘unnatural offences’” and “acts of ‘gross indecency’ between men and between women.”

Zambia has been tense since the Lusaka July festival, held in the capital city earlier in September.

Members of the LGBT community were in full force.

PR Girl Media, organisers of the controversial Lusaka July, are now planning the Beerville festival also in Lusaka.

It mentioned a dress code.

“Please come dressed as your GENDER, we don’t want any trouble,” read a PR Girl Media invitation to the event.

– CAJ News

China, Zambia to deepen mining partnership

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from ARNOLD MULENGA in Lusaka, Zambia
Zambia Bureau
LUSAKA, (CAJ News) – CHINA and Zambia are exploring partnerships to grow the mining industry in the Southern African country.

The discussions were held during a meeting between Ambassador Du Xiaohui and Paul Chanda Kabuswe, Zambian Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources.

Xiaohui said mining was a key area of China-Zambia cooperation.

“China is willing to help Zambia develop the whole value chain of the mining industry,” the envoy stated.

He pledged the deepening of the two countries’ mining sector would be through the platform of the China-Zambia Trade and Investment Forum.

The two leaders mentioned the previous phone call between two heads of state – Xi Jinping and Haikande Hichilema (respectively) – as a milestone for the China-Zambia relations.

Kabuswe said Zambia was willing to carry out more cooperation with China in the mining industry.

He welcomed Chinese enterprises’ expanded investment in Zambia’s mining industry.

Mining contributes over 11 percent of Zambia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs 2 percent of the country’s workforce.

Zambia is among the top ten producers of copper in the world.

In Africa, it is only second behind the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

– CAJ News

 

Umtelebhelo a boost for KZN tourism

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by FUTHI MBHELE
DURBAN, (CAJ News) – THE Umtelebhelo Heritage Cup is hailed as a boost to tourism in the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province.

Scores attended the event held at the Hollywood Racecourse Golden Horse Casino this past weekend.

The event is hosted during September as part of celebrating heritage month.

“This event is very good for tourism,” said former health minister and KZN Premier, Zweli Mkhize.

Dedani Mkhize, the founder of the Umtelebhelo heritage cup event. Photo supplied

Dedani Mkhize, the founder of the Umtelebhelo heritage cup event. Photo supplied

“If different government departments work with this, we will have this on the calendar event,” he added.

“People will know during this week they will be here celebrating rural horse riding,” Mkhize said.

The event saw maidens coming from all over the country to celebrate this hourse racing extravaganza in style.

Members of the public came out in numbers to participate.

The founder of the event, Dedani Mkhize, said they are happy about the growth of the event.

“We started riding horses in the mountain while I

The horse rides at the Umtelebhelo heritage cup event. Photo supplied

The horse rides at the Umtelebhelo heritage cup event. Photo supplied

was still a young boy in Grade 8 and now we are here” Mkhize (jnr) said.

“As it is celebrated during heritage month, we want people coming with their traditional attires from different cultures. Now we have fashion event where people will show case their attires,” Mkhize (jnr) said

Some of the guests in attendance included Ambassador Bridgette Motsepe.

The aim is to grow the event to be like Durban July.

– CAJ News

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