24 May 2014Humbled but determined to lead the country for another five years, President Jacob Zuma says he will need the backing of a united and cohesive nation to move South Africa forward.Delivering his first address to the nation after being sworn in as President at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Saturday, Zuma said the new administration would promote nation building programmes to help “rebuild the soul of our nation”.This, he said, was because many South Africans still bore the emotional scars caused by decades of apartheid divisions and hatred.“Therefore, the national healing and reconciliation process has to continue. We will work together to promote unity, understanding and tolerance across race and colour lines, as we build a South Africa that truly belongs to all,” he said after taking the oath of the highest office in the land.He said South Africa was a nation that had produced generations of selfless freedom fighters, who had made untold sacrifices so that everyone could live in a country that was free of racial discrimination and oppression.“Today we wish to acknowledge the contribution of every South African to the process of renewal, reconstruction and development of this country in the past 20 years of freedom. It is through your hard work, that we are able to count so many achievements in only 20 years of freedom.”The President opened his inauguration speech by expressing his gratitude.“I am greatly honoured to stand before you today, to accept the mandate bestowed upon us by millions of our people … I accept this responsibility and privilege with great humility, given the history of our country and where we come from as a nation.”He reminded the nation that this year marked 20 years of freedom and 20 years since Nelson Mandela had taken the same oath in the same amphitheatre – since renamed after Mandela, who died in December last year.Zuma said a lot of progress had been made in the country since democracy, although challenges remained. “We will strive to build a caring society and to be an administration that will serve our people with courtesy, ubuntu and efficiency.”After the formal ceremony at the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre, Zuma proceeded to the Southern Lawns to greet those who had gathered to witness the occasion.He thanked the more than 20 000-strong crowd for casting their votes during the general elections two weeks ago, and assured them that the government would work hard to deliver on its promises over the next five years.“As government we are determined to do what we have promised to do. This is your government, and we urge everybody to work with us. If we are together, we are stronger to deliver on what we have promised,” he said.Source: SAnews.gov.za
zoom Greek shipowner and operator Navios Maritime Partners has continued its shopping spree as the company signed an agreement to purchase a Capesize bulk carrier.Featuring 178,132 dwt, the vessel was bought from Italy-s shipping firm Rizzo Bottiglieri for a price of USD 27.5 million, according to data provided by VesselsValue.The ship in question is reportedly the 2010-built Cavaliere Grazia Bottiglieri, which is expected to join its new owner during the third quarter of 2017. Following this acquisition, the company will control a fleet of 34 vessels.Navios Partners said that the Capesize is expected to generate some USD 3.7 million of annual EBITDA based on current rate environment, assuming operating expenses approximating current operating costs and 360 revenue days.The company will finance the acquisition with cash on its balance sheet and bank debt on terms consistent with its existing credit facilities.Just last week, the Greek owner reached an agreement to acquire the entire container fleet consisting of fourteen ships from Rickmers Maritime for about USD 113 million.“We anticipate acquiring five 4,250 TEU vessels on May 15, 2017. These vessels are employed on charters that have staggered expirations in 2018 and early 2019 at a net daily charter rate of USD 26,850,” Angeliki Frangou, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Navios Partners, said.The average age of the fleet, which consists of eleven 4,250 TEU containerships and three 3,450 TEU vessels, is 9.5 years.
TORONTO – A two-month rent strike at a west Toronto highrise is expected to end after a landlord abandoned a bid to raise tenants’ rents by more than double the amount recommended by the government.Property management firm Nuspor Investments issued a letter to tenants of a 189-unit building in Toronto’s rapidly gentrifying Parkdale neighbourhood on Monday, saying it had decided to withdraw its application to Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board for the special increase.“I’m over the moon,” said Kerry Riordan, one of around 55 tenants who have refused to pay their rent since Feb. 1. “This is obviously what we’ve been working towards, and we were totally prepared to go into month three, so this is definitely much better.”Last year the government of Ontario extended rent control — which previously had applied only to units that came into use prior to November 1991 — to all residential properties in the province, setting an annual cap, or “guideline” for rent increases tied to the Consumer Price Index. The cap for 2018 is 1.8 per cent.But a long-standing policy in the Residential Tenancies Act allows property owners and managers to apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for the right to raise rent beyond the guideline in order to recoup costs of certain capital expenditures or “extraordinary” increases in tax.Nuspor applied to raise rents on around 130 units at the Parkdale building by 3.4 per cent, claiming that it spent more than $300,000 in 2015 and 2016 on improvements to the building’s lobby, lighting, heating and garbage compactor.Affordable housing advocates said the provision essentially lets landlords pass off the costs of major work onto tenants, often driving them out of their homes.“(We were) going up against people who have a lot of money and a lot of power and it’s nice that the little guy won,” said Riordan, who added that she’d like to continue advocating for fair rents. “A lot of other people involved who are going through exact same thing in other buildings.”Tenants will meet on Wednesday to discuss ending the strike, Riordan said. They will likely pay their April rent once they know Nuspor is definitely dropping its application, she said.“After that (meeting) we’ll figure out next steps and we’ll probably all pay our rent first and foremost,” Riordan said.Rents will still be 1.8 per cent higher than last year, in accordance with Ontario guidelines, but tenants will not have to pay the additional 1.6 per cent Nuspor applied for.David Wills, a PR representative hired by Nuspor, said the company dropped its rent increase application because of the acrimony it was causing amongst tenants.“We were getting complaints from tenants about (an advocacy group) doing door-knocking campaigns in the building and people didn’t like that,” he said. “They were feeling pressured to join.”Police were called on three separate occasions when family members related to building staff said they felt they were being harassed or intimidated by those opposed to the rent increase, Wills said.The property managers are still confident, however, that they would have had their increase application approved, Wills said.“We believe that the work we did met the criteria that is laid out by the province,” he said. “It’s pretty formulaic.”To be eligible for a higher-than-permitted rent increase, a landlord must show that their capital expenses were made to keep the property “in a good state of repair,” protect the “physical integrity” of the building, improve energy or water conservation, or maintain or increase security or provide access to people with disabilities.