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04 Apr 2019 18:33
Going in deep: The CSIR is involved in a variety of projects relating to the environment. (Massimo Rumi / Barcroft Media/Getty Images)
The article “Job losses threaten the CSIR’s reputation” (March 22) contains some inaccurate information that, if not corrected, has the potential to mislead the general public about the intention of the restructuring processes at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
First and foremost, the CSIR is not retreating from its environmental and climate change research as alluded to by Professor Bob Scholes and other unnamed sources in the article.
The organisation acknowledges the importance and value of research into environmental sciences and climate change, especially the application of knowledge from this research and development to support industry preparedness for extreme weather events and the reduction of the environmental impact of its operations.
Just last month we launched a state-of-the-art online climate risk-profiling and adaptation tool called the Green Book to assist municipalities across South Africa to address climate change impacts and vulnerabilities in human settlements.
Any claim that the CSIR is retreating from environmental research or climate change is devoid of any truth.
As the CSIR we want to reiterate that the work of researchers at the natural resources and environment unit will not cease to exist. This work will grow in a new cluster called Smart Places which will explore the synergy between issues of sustainability, the natural resources and environment, smart infrastructure and energy provision.
The climate change impact area will continue its research under this cluster.In fact, the content of work in the former natural resources and environment unit has not been lost, but is rather repositioned in the reconfigured CSIR.
It is critical to note that this exercise is happening in other areas of the CSIR as well, such as the defence, peace, safety and security, material science and manufacturing and built environment business units.
The intention is not to let go of skilled researchers but rather to retain as many as possible.Out of the 273 employees who were part of this restructuring, 127 have already been placed within the organisation, 46 opted to apply for voluntary separation packages.
Lastly, in the last financial year, the CSIR received a baseline parliamentary grant of about R846-million from the department of science and technology. Tendani Tsedu, group manager: marketing and communication, CSIR
I read Mathew Blatchford’s letter “Vote for power change”(March 29), witha mixture of incredulity and scorn. I can only surmise that as an academic, Blatchford has remained cocooned in academia, and thus not been exposed to the real world. I also find it amazing that the Mail & Guardian would publish such drivel. I am not going to respond to his comments about “white monopoly capital” because it does not exist. It has been found to be an invention of discredited United Kingdom public relations company Bell-Pottinger.
Blatchford gets it right about not voting for the ANC which, as an organisation, has visited upon us the plague of Jacob Zuma and, as a consequence, the Guptas, and all his greedy yes-men that have brought South Africa to the brink of disaster.
Blatchford seems to believe that that racist and would-be African Hitler, Julius Malema, and the Economic Freedom Fighters will deliver us from “the current impending catastrophe”? Hello. Surely Blatchford must be aware that comrade Julius’s heroes are the late Hugo Chavez and Robert Mugabe? Does he really want us to end up like Venezuela or Zimbabwe? Blatchford seems to feel that EFF rule would be fun “while it lasted”.
No, Mathew, the way forward, I aver, is a vote nationally for Cyril [Ramaphosa] and for the Democratic Alliance (DA) provincially. Cyril needs to be strong to do what is necessary to right the ship without having to resort to coalition government. The DA is the only party that has a proven track record, in which everyone can find a home, and that has policies that can get us out of the hole dugby the incumbent government, and I firmly believe that their time will come. — Gavin Hillyard, Somerset West
■ The elephant in the Eskom boardroom — and the ANC — is the fact that with debts of half a trillion rands Eskom will never, ever recover to its pre-plundered state. Sad that there is no political party even attempting to address this central issue — the Democratic Alliance, just a little? Mathew Blatchford offered us no solutions at all other than a vote for the Economic Freedom Fighters, a party redolent with populist drivel and as devoid of ideas as a fake Breitling watch. Don’t imagine, Mathew, that Julius is going to keep your Fort Hare lights on any more than any of them. — Peter Slingsby, Lakeside
Had it been anyone else other than Ace Magashule that investigative journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh had written about in his book, Gangster State, they would have left in shame into self-imposed exile — but not the Teflon-coated ANC secretary general, former premier of the Free State and ally of former president Jacob Zuma.
This important figure in the ANC’s NEC, now known as Mr 10%, carries on like the allegations in the book are a pack of lies to discredit him, in spite of all the evidence presented to implicate him.
In an election year, ANC members in the party have once more displayed their gall at the South African public by springing to his defence, like they did with Zuma.
When Ramaphosa took over the reins of power, South Africans wanted to see an ANC that was deeply committed to fighting corruption.
It seems that if the ANC cannot clean up its act — they need South Africans to clean them out of power.
The tragedy is that we might be in for another decade of a Zuma-style corrupt government.
Ramaphosa, will be recalled by the corrupt ANC to ensure the return of the Zuma faction, with Ace very firmly in place, unless the Hawks can act swiftly. — Ellapen Rapiti, Cape Town
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