Over 25 000 people, draped in the brightest of colours, gathered in Tshwane to take part in this year’s Gauteng Social Cohesion Carnival.
The carnival, which coincided with Heritage Day celebrations, saw people dressed in their traditional attire, fancy dress costumes, choir outfits and uniforms. They mingled with brass bands, drum majorettes and colourful floats measuring up to five meters in height as they paraded the streets of the capital city.
There was also a procession of stilt walkers and Samba dancers who gave carnival-goers a glimpse into the country’s rich and diverse cultures.
Several countries’ embassies such China and Argentina also represented their cultures.
Held under the theme “Celebrating Our Living Heritage: Treasure, The Year of O.R. Tambo”, the carnival is an important vehicle which takes forward the provincial government’s commitment towards nation building and social cohesion, Premier David Makhura who led the celebrations said.
The premier said the province wants to grow the carnival to the size of the Rio carnival.
“Next year we want to attract over 50 000 participants. We want to make sure that schools in the province also become part of the carnival because when young people are involved the celebration will continue for coming generations,” said premier Makhura.
The carnival also created economic opportunities in both tourism and entrepreneurship.
This year’s carnival created more than 3500 work opportunities and benefited 270 000 entrepreneurs who were providing services to the carnival.
The premier said the majority of those who benefited are township business.
“There is an economic impact, increase in tourism, and more entrepreneurs who emerge from such an occasion.”
The premier announced that the provincial government was considering introduction Swahili to schools in the province as more than half of the people in the continent speak it.
“People in the province must know all the 11 African languages. You must also know Swahili because this is Africa. We want to make sure in all our schools in Gauteng one of the things we introduce is Swahili … so that we can talk amongst ourselves.”
The premier also used his address to call for tolerance among the people of Gauteng.
“Let us unite as Africans. Let us make it easy for us to live together.”
Jovial citizens, especially those from other African countries, could not hide their excitement.
“Today is beautiful. We are eating from one plate … I don’t feel like a foreign national,” Orji Adoti told SAnews.
Poet Jessica Mbagana said that Heritage Day is an important reminder of black consciousness.
“Today is one of those days where we need to remind ourselves of who and what we are. We need to have conversations about us and our culture so that we can embrace our diversity to achieve socio-economic transformation.
The day will end with a festival of food, live cultural music, cultural dances and performances from different genres of DJ’s performing on four different stages at the Tshwane Events Centre.
Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi is on Thursday expected to listen to the day-to-day challenges faced by Limpopo public servants.
The meeting is aimed at promoting an innovative, selfless and inspired public service in honour of liberation struggle hero, Oliver Reginald (OR) Tambo.
The South African government declared September as Public Service Month (PSM). Minister Muthambi said September is about celebrating the value and virtue of service to the community.
“For the public service to prosper, we need to create and instil a culture of efficient and effective labour relations between the employer and labour. PSM is an integrated strategic national event in the calendar of the Department of Public Service and Administration.
“This year’s PSM is significant in that it seeks to provide feedback and progress made on the 2016 public service-wide consultative meetings and engagements by the [Minister of Public Service and Administration],” Minister Muthambi said.
The country is marking Public Service Month under the theme ‘Together Moving the Public Service Forward: We Belong, We care, We serve’.
The focus of this year’s PSM will be on creating an enabling policy environment for the rest of the public service and to support the effective implementation of these policies through monitoring, training and the promotion of innovation.
September also marks 20 years since the adoption of the Batho Pele (Putting People first) Principles and the White Paper on Transforming Public Service Delivery.
The principles of Batho Pele were developed with the intention of improving service delivery within government sectors by supporting the transformation of the public service into a citizen-orientated institution.
Batho Pele is also about moving the public service from a rules-bound approach that hinders the delivery of services to an approach that encourages innovation and is results driven.
Sandton City and Mandela Square visitors can now ditch ticketed parking vouchers for automated payment, which recognises number plates and automatically opens boom gates.
Shoppers and visitors who want to use the new parking payment system can download an app or sign up to the Admyt system, which will require login credentials and credit card or debit card details.
The Admyt app is free and charges are the same as for normal paper tickets, or occasionally better – good deals are sometimes negotiated and are available for download on iOS and Android.
Once information is inputted, the shopper can simply drive up to the boom gate of his choice. Booms will open automatically through number plate recognition, by means of a camera at the boom gates. The same occurs on departure. The parking fee will be charged to the driver’s credit or debit card, and admit will send on the parking receipt afterwards.
The company behind the technology told Fin24 that all card details are securely stored using encryption technology.
Payment tokens are sent to parking management, with no one able to view the user’s information. Preston Gaddy, general manager of the Sandton Precinct, said: “With the rise of technological innovation in the world, today’s public have come to know and appreciate technology for making almost everything in life a lot easier.”
Admyt recently launched similar parking options in shopping centres in Benmore Gardens, Rivonia Village and Cradlestone Mall.