Sunday Independent 2021-08-22

The Sunday Independent is a weekly English-language newspaper. The Sunday Independent focuses on daily national, local and international national news and analysis. Its leader and opinion page offers a platform for readers to submit their views on topical news.

South Africa
Independent Media Pty Ltd
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4 Min
inside western cape’s tech plan to upgrade shacks

Wesley Diphoko wesley.diphoko@inl.co.za MILLIONS of South Africans live in poor housing structures that flood when it rains and burn annually. It’s therefore understandable that many were shocked when the Western Cape Government tweeted: “Are you an informal settlement resident looking to improve the building structure of your home? The Western Cape Department of Human Settlements’ Better Living Challenge project provides self-build skills & knowledge. Check out the 13-part video series”. (The video shows an introduction to a tutorial about building a zinc structure commonly seen in Cape townships). The tweet was followed by comments that marvelled at the fact that a provincial government could advocate for upgrading of shacks. This was just a small part of the Western Cape government’s plan to address the informal settlement challenge in the province.…

3 Min
facebook metaverse is here for work from home

Wesley Diphoko wesley.diphoko@inl.co.za THE days of staring at a screen with nothing on a Zoom call are numbered as Facebook adds another layer to how we communicate. This week Facebook launched Horizon Workrooms – its first major step toward chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s imagined metaverse, an all-encompassing alternate reality that blends the real world with digital imaginations and enhancements. This is Zoom personified or even turned around to make human beings cartoons. The basic concept is that instead of video-conferencing with a webcam, participants use virtual reality gear – like Facebook’s own Oculus Quest 2 – to meet up in a VR workspace. Those who tested the app pre- release, report that the real experience is considerably more impressive. Spatial audio processing renders your colleagues’ voices closer or farther away…

1 Min
editor’s choice

TESLA TO BUILD ITS OWN ROBOT Tesla is working on a humanoid robot which it will build as a prototype “sometime next year. The humanoid robot will leverage Tesla’s experience with automated machines in its factories, as well as some of the hardware and software that powers the company’s Autopilot driver assistance software. FACEBOOK BANS TALIBAN Less than 48 hours after the Taliban gained control of Kabul, and with it, control over most of Afghanistan, Facebook announced it would ban — to the extent that it could — content related to the Taliban on all its platforms. The social media giant confirmed both the Taliban group itself and user-posted Taliban content would not be allowed on Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp. CHINA DATA POLICY PASSED…

2 Min
energy northern cape’s grid capacity drying up, eskom warns

Banele Ginindza banele.ginindza@inl.co.za ESKOM this week indicated that Northern Cape (NC), sought after for its wind and photovoltaic (PV) opportunities, has run out of grid capacity. Depleted capacity in the Northern Cape will see developers in South Africa’s budding renewable energy industry now needing to consider grid capacity more than access to resources, the company said. In its recently updated Generation Connection Capacity Assessment (GCCA) report which tracks space available for new connections, Eskom said any new PV or wind projects will need to look at other provinces such as the Western Cape, North West, Free State or even Limpopo. According to the state owned power utility, the only available option would be to install a slightly more transformer capacity which would only add 150 megawatt (MW) in the short term,…

3 Min
qwelane a candidate for guinness world record

Pali Lehohla MUKONI Ratshitanga, the former chief of staff of erstwhile president Thabo Mbeki, called me towards the end of February asking for Gogo Nontsikelelo Qwelane’s contact details as he felt the urge to visit her after I informed him about this jewel of South Africa in December. I shared the numbers and let Qwelane’s daughter know Ratshitanga would be in touch who while concerned with the health of her mother, was excited about the visit. Ratshitanga tried both numbers but could not get through until it was too late and Qwelane’s breath left her body in late July. Ratshitanga was so impressed by what the centenarian had achieved and eagerly wanted to record her story as the basis for future action, particularly in education. This drive was captured by…

2 Min
cannabis industry

Regulatory certainty needed for dope exports to gain momentum Banele Ginindza THE fast-growing cannabis industry in South Africa needs better regulatory clarity with the respective government departments able to talk to each other for it to dominate the potential R56 billion a year potential by 2025. Leading the pack in South Africa is Highlands Investments, which last week successfully exported an 8.5 ton harvest to Europe through Macedonia, where it is to be used for medicinal purposes. Managing director Mark Corbett said the co-ordination between the Departments of Trade and Industry (DTI), Agriculture and Fisheries and the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) was not where it needed to be. “It makes much more sense to extract the product, but growth will be hampered by the regulatory…