South African women marine pilots make history

first_imgRay Maota Precious Dube and Pinky Zungu aretwo of the marine pilots who recentlyreceived their open licences.(Image: TNPA) Marine pilots guide ships throughdangerous or congested waters, suchas harbours. However, they still only actas advisors to the captain, who retainslegal, overriding command of the vessel.(Image: Bongani Nkosi)MEDIA CONTACTS• Jozi DonjeanyMeropa Communications: Senior consultant+27 31 201 0550 or +27 79 898 2211RELATED ARTICLES• SA opera diva’s big win in Moscow• SA maritime industry set to grow• Maritime sector a major job spinner• New DHL service to boost US-SA trade• Aviation, matirime careers for youthThree South African women have set the standard in Africa by becoming the first black female marine pilots on the continent to gain open licences, enabling them to navigate ships of all sizes and types into local waters.Precious Dube, Bongiwe Mbambo and Pinky Zungu, who are three of only five female marine pilots in South Africa, are tasked with guiding ships through dangerous or congested waters, such as harbours.The marine pilot acts as an advisor to the captain, who maintains legal, overriding command of the vessel.Tau Morwe, chief executive of Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), said: “The maritime sector used to be one that was closed off to the historically disadvantaged, including women, but this is changing and we are geared for even greater success stories than this.”The three women are products of the TNPA’s development scheme, which has been encouraging more equitable participation in the maritime sector since the 1990s.Transnet offers aspirant students bursaries to complete a national diploma in maritime studies – specialising in navigation, and a national diploma in marine mechanical engineering.These courses can be taken at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and the Durban University of Technology.Rufus Lekala, chief harbour master in South Africa and the youngest in the world, said: “These women have put us on the map once more and should be very proud of their achievements.”Winning the trust of sceptical captainsDube, from Inanda in KwaZulu-Natal, was the first in the group to gain an open licence.“The captains of foreign ships can be very sceptical when you’re a woman because it’s not common for them to see a female marine pilot; although I’ve heard there are a few in the US and possibly Australia,” she said.Dube said she had to demonstrate her knowledge of the port to the male ship captains before they were confident of her ability to steer their vessels into and out of the harbour.The two other women to qualify with an open licence have also shattered preconceptions and – in one case – even become somewhat of a spectacle.Mbambo, originally from Esikhawini on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal and now living in Glenwood in Durban, recalled how a ship captain actually video-recorded and photographed her while doing her job.Zungu added: “Being at sea was difficult at first. I was the only cadet and the only female on a Russian cruise ship where only the captain spoke English well.”Luckily, she eventually met another South African woman on board to whom she could relate.“Today I love my job and can imagine myself still doing this at the age of 65,” she said.Climbing the ranksThe group’s journey from cadet to master pilot was a lengthy one, involving many assessments and exams.The women were part of Transnet’s one-year maritime programme and did practical at-sea training on shipping lines such as Safmarine and the Unicorn.Training at sea was followed by an oral exam. Once they passed this, they became junior deck officers who auto-piloted vessels and managed safety equipment.The next step was becoming tug masters and then, after another year’s course, junior pilots.Becoming junior pilots enabled the trio to move up the ranks and through different grades until they reached their open-licence milestone.last_img read more

South African women benefit from entrepreneurial programme

first_imgThe Department Of Water and Sanitation recently launched a three-year entrepreneurship programme which gives women the opportunity to mentor each other and learn about business.Water and sanitation minister, Nomvula Mokonyane, was in Johannesburg on Friday 14 October to launch the Women in Water Empowerment Programme that will support 90 female-owned companies.Besides offering knowledge and support, the initiative will also help the entrepreneurs become more effective and efficient in delivering water and sanitation related services to the public, said the department.Mokonyane said they are especially targeting rural development initiatives. She added that the goal is to create jobs, empower women and invest in skills.Watch the minister talk about the benefits for the youth:The programmeThe Women in Water Empowerment Programme has three divisions: the Mentorship Project, the Entrepreneurship Incubator Project, and the Women’s Forum.The Mentorship Project aims to:Build a network of partners.Provide knowledge in dealing with partners, networks and clients.Refine the product or service offering.Provide introduction workshops, interactive follow-up sessions, and training where there are gaps.The Entrepreneurship Incubator Project focuses on growing and transforming the economy, creating jobs and attracting investment.The project will cover:Skills development, assessment and support.Business and entrepreneurship analysis.Clear achievable short term (three to six months) and longer term (one year) milestones for beginners and intermediates.A clear mechanism for preferential procurement.Listen to a few of the women talk about their companies:Money already spent on small business ownersAccording to Mokonyane, the spending on past initiatives didn’t support entrepreneurs well enough.She said the department spent R13.5-billion on procurement between 2015 and 2016, of which R2.2-billion was spent on small business. That is 16% of the total procurement for the period.Of that portion, just R1.1-billion was spent on black-owned companies. Of the amount dedicated to black business, R102-million was spent on women-owned companies and R738 000 spent on youth. Persons with disabilities received nothing, said Mokonyane.The other R1.1-billion of the small business expenditure went to procurement of goods and services from white-owned businesses.Mokonyane said there has been a 12% improvement in spending on SMMEs over the last two years. “It is, therefore, against the backdrop of this poor showing that we go over our commitment for transformation. [We] have made it a point to focus on tangible procurement transformation by ensuring that women, youth and persons with disabilities are specifically targeted in the current procurement processes,” she said.Mokonyane said the incubator forms part of government’s year long programme in celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the 1956 Women’s March.She said the project options being considered are:Full scale dam projects (small and large) and large upgrades.Sanitation projects.River rehabilitation projects.The Rehabilitation of Canals programme.Sources: The South African Government, Department: Water and Sanitation, Facebook, and SouthAfrica.info reporter.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using SouthAfrica.info materiallast_img read more

A robot’s touch the answer for Bar-Lee Jerseys

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The dairy industry’s constant search for the most cost effective and efficient production options has resulted in some unique technological changes in recent years. Milking a cow with robots, something thought of as near science fiction not long ago, is now being accepted as the way of life on a number of Ohio dairies.Bar-Lee Jerseys, a family dairy farm in Willard, has in the past months put the technology to work. Jason Nuhfer is the fifth generation to milk and breed registered Jersey cattle.“I graduated from Ohio State in 2008. At that time we started doing some facility improvements,” Nuhfer said.A new free stall barn was added his graduation year. The calf barn was brought on in 2011 and the robotic milking system started the first of December this past year. Two Lely Astronaut A4 Robots were installed, each able to handle about 60 cows each.“As we’ve done these facility improvements, kind of our number one goal was cow comfort — to keep that in mind,” he said. “Anytime you can do a better job of taking care of cows, they’re more happy, they’re more productive, and they do a better job of taking care of you. One of our biggest goals was to increase cow comfort and that’s really paid off for us on our bottom line,” Nuhfer said. “The question of whether or not a robot can milk a cow is not really a question any more. I mean the robot can do a very good job of cleaning and prepping the udder, getting the milker attached and doing that. Our numbers have shown that so far with udder health and those kind of things.”The pair of Lely Astronaut A4s are not the only automated systems in use on the farm. A circular shaped piece of machinery, the Lely Juno, can be found sitting in the corner of the feed aisle, only to be awakened at the top of each hour.“The Lely Juno is a feed pusher. So every hour on the hour the Juno makes one pass through the feed alley and pushes the feed back to the bunk. If we’re out in the fields doing fieldwork or at an FFA banquet in the evening, or whatever the situation might be, the feed’s always being pushed up to the cows,” he said. “It enables us to take advantage of the opportunities that the robotic milkers give us and be away from the barn for a few hours and we know the cows still have fresh feed available all the time.”Lely, the company behind Nuhfer’s particular system, boasts more than 10,000 such milkers around the world, adding its ability to improve milk quality and help lower feed costs through proper management.In this day and age, a system such as the robots must offer benefits more than automated work. A hi-tech electronic identification collar each cow wears monitors activity, rumen movement, and more — all of which help in something vital to every modern dairy, heat detection.“The advantages in technology have been very good. Our heat detection system is excellent — helps you find heats much better. The information you can gain from the robot every day is really amazing. The number of things it monitors and sends to the computer for you to monitor, not only on the computer but you can look at it from your smartphone on the beach if you wanted to, just to keep an eye on what’s going on,” he said.Benefits have also been found in the labor department. Finding good workers are a challenge that faces many dairies the size of Bar-Lee Jerseys, big enough to require help but small enough to not fully maintain reliable work across the board.“Labor savings has been one of the major contributors to going robotic. In the past, for a farm our size it was very challenging to keep good help that wanted to milk cows every day,” Nuhfer said. “So the robot has allowed us to eliminate some of those part time, high school type jobs and still do a better job of taking care of cows. We went from two times a day milking to we’re averaging 3.2 at the moment.”A common question is how the transition from a people-based system to that of full automation is made. Nuhfer explains the complete process of introducing his cows to the robots.“About two weeks prior to milking in the robots, we got our pellet made that the cows are fed in the robot,” he said. “We topdressed the feed bunk with that pellet to make sure they liked it and wanted to eat it.“For three days before we started milking, we ran all the cows through just to let them eat a pound, pound and a half of feed. The robot arm would move, the vacuum pump fires up so they get used to the sights and the sounds of robotic milking. Once they knew that pellet was in there and they liked it, that was a big start to get them in. After those three days, we opened it up to any cows that wanted to come in to get a little bit of feed and we had like 45 cows that first two or three days come in. Jerseys are pretty curious — they want to know what’s going on with things.”The transition to the automated milking required quite a initial time investment.“Our first week of actual milking, it’s not a lot of hard work but it’s a lot of man hours — people in the barn all the time and W.G. Dairy was very helpful in having people here to get that accomplished. We were just moving cows to the robot and kind of letting them filter through on their own,” Nuhfer said. “After about the first week, a majority of the cows were coming in on their own and things have gone very smooth. I was very happy with the transition. The cows took to it very well. In fact, I would say most of the time cows probably adjust faster than the humans do. At this point, we don’t have any cows to bring in that don’t get milked on their own.”It all seems fairly easy when explained, but many dairymen have well-reasoned apprehensions about the robots. Nuhfer said, though, in the months the system has been at work, his herd health is improved.“I’ve had questions, ‘Well if you don’t milk the cows, how do you know what’s going on with your cows? Do you spend as much time with the cows?’ And my answer is that you spend more time with the cows doing what you need to be doing. You have more time taking care of the cows, making sure things are right with them, not spending eight hours a day milking and doing that kind of thing,” he said. “In my opinion you do a better job taking care of the animals than you did before just because you have more time to do it.”And no different than other technologies that are top of the line, cost is a major factor in the decision to go robotic. Nuhfer said it can be painful on the wallet, but financial perspective is important.“One of the biggest things is the cost. I mean when you just look at the cost of the robot, it is very expensive so you really need to evaluate what the robot is going to save you and also what it’s going to gain you in the long run and when you do that, things start to look a lot better financially,” he said.Most any farmer will also put a price on the worth of their time — one of the most valuable commodities. The rigid nature of milking has reinforced that down the years, but the new systems propose a big change for both the cows and the humans. Josh Keplar of W.G. Dairy said he has found the farmers often have the harder time adjusting.“They’re so used to milking five and five and were used to being there whereas now it just milks. A lot of the time we have to tell the dairymen just to stay out of the barn and let it do its thing,” Keplar said.Though the setup has changed, the basic process of milking has not.“When the cow comes in, it’s going to identify her from her neck collar. It’s going to know how much feed to dispense that cow, it’s going to know when the last time she milked, is she due to be milked again, and if she is it will go ahead and prep the cow with the brushes and clean the teats and prepare the udder and it will put the unit on and milk that cow,” Keplar said. “When each quarter is done, it will pop that quarter off and that way you’re not over milking that one and milk the rest of them. When she’s done, it will spray her with teat dip and out she goes.”Keplar also noted a misconception of the technology — that it’s just for smaller dairies and that larger farms are not suited for their use.“Some people think they’re just not for me. Robots are for everybody. Even the larger dairies are looking at them, not just the mom and pop dairy farms,” Keplar said. “The larger guys are looking at all the advantages they offer and they really do work everywhere.”Multiple brands have entered the robotic milking market. Lely is an industry-leader while perennial dairy equipment powerhouse DeLaval is now offering their VMC robotic milker.last_img read more

Sidhu’s TV show puts govt. in a spot

first_imgPunjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has decided to seek legal opinion on whether his Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu can continue to appear as a celebrity judge on a popular television show. “Capt. Amarinder has said he is not sure what the law says regarding a Cabinet minister working on a television programme, and will have to ask the State’s advocate general to give legal advice on the matter,” his media advisor, Raveen Thukral, told The Hindu.Conflict of interest“It’s about whether there’s any conflict of interest if he [Mr. Sidhu] continues to work in television…If there is any, then the Chief Minister will talk to him [Mr. Sidhu] and bring it to his knowledge,” he added.The controversy erupted after Mr. Sidhu recently said that he will continue to appear on a popular TV show as a celebrity judge. “TV shows will not interfere with my Cabinet responsibilities. The public had elected me five times with what I have been doing…If they don’t have a problem, why should anyone else have it,” Mr. Sidhu had said. ‘Not office of profit’He insisted that his TV shows will not interfere with his Cabinet responsibilities. “I have no liquor, sand mining or transport business like former deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. I earn a living through TV shows and I will be in Chandigarh from Monday to Thursday and in Amritsar from Friday to Sunday. What I do at night should not be anyone’s concern. I will take first flight back to Punjab after TV shoots in Mumbai,” he said.Mr. Sidhu, who currently holds the portfolios of local government, tourism and cultural affairs, has been maintaining that doing a TV show does not come under the ambit of “office of profit”.Meanwhile, Navjot Singh Sidhu’s wife Navjot Kaur has come out in support of his husband through a Facebook post, saying that the issue was being over-hyped without any reason.“Such hype has been created about Navjot earning a living from television. He has left 80 per cent of shows, which included IPL, commentary, etc.I think it is a meagre time for a non-socially active God-fearing workaholic,” she wrote on Facebook. (With inputs from PTI)last_img read more

When and Where to watch India vs New Zealand World Cup Semi-Final live

first_imgIndia will take on New Zealand in the first semi-final of ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 at Old Trafford on July 9.India and New Zealand’s group match at Trent Bridge was washed out without a ball being bowled.Table toppers India will not like to take New Zealand lightly as the Kiwis had dismantled Men in Blue and bundled them out for 184, only to win the match by 6 wickets eventually.New Zealand went onto loose games against Pakistan, Australia and England after an unbeaten streak in the in the first half of the tournament, whereas India topped the World Cup points table after 7 wins in 9 matches.What TV channel is the World Cup 2019 semi-final between India vs New Zealand on?All World Cup 2019 matches can be viewed on – Star Sports 1, Star Sports 2, Star Sports 3, Star Sports 1 in Hindi, Star Sports HD and DD Sports.Where will the World Cup 2019 semi-final between India vs New Zealand be played?The World Cup 2019 match India vs New Zealand is being played at Lord’s in Manchester from 3 PM IST on Tuesday, July 9.Where can I watch the World Cup 2019 semi-final between India vs New Zealand live?The match will be shown on the Star Sports TV network and DD Sports.Where can I check the online live updates of the World Cup 2019 semi-final between India vs New Zealand?You can follow our coverage here – www.indiatoday.in/sports/cricket-world-cup-2019What are the squads for the World Cup 2019 match India vs New Zealand?advertisementIndia (IND): Virat Kohli (Captain), Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, Rohit Sharma and Kuldeep Yadav.New Zealand (NZ): Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholls, Kane Williamson(Captain), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Colin de Grandhomme, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult, Tom Blundell, Matt Henry, Colin Munro, Tim Southee.Also Read | World Cup 2019: India not worried about overdependence on Rohit-Virat, says Sanjay BangarAlso Read | India vs New Zealand: Lockie Ferguson happy with ‘underdogs’ tag ahead of CWC semi-finalAlso See:last_img read more