Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2017 2018 2019 2020
Previous Archive
04 June 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Charl Devenish
Prof Cathryn Tonne
Air pollution not only costs lives, it costs money too. Pictured is Prof Cathryn Tonne presenting a guest lecture on air pollution at the Bloemfontein Campus.

Health effects associated with ambient air pollution (AAP) have been well documented. Subsequently, the relationship between pollution and financial outcomes have also become a focus for case studies globally. An Environmental Research journal article revealed that “low and middle-income countries are disproportionately affected by the global burden of adverse health effects caused by AAP”. 

A high price to pay

In 2012, high concentrations of air pollution caused 7.4% of all deaths, costing South Africa up to 6% of its Gross Domestic Product. According to the recent International Growth Centre study conducted by senior University of Cape Town researchers, this is a direct consequence of the country’s heavy dependence of fossil fuels, a source of health-damaging air pollution and greenhouse pollutants.

Stunted human and economic growth

These South African statistics are attested to by Prof Cathryn Tonne who recently presented a guest lecture on air pollution which was hosted by the University of the Free State (UFS) Business School.

“Air pollution can affect economic development through several pathways, and health is an important one. Air pollution is linked to shorter life expectancy, chronic disease, asthma exacerbation and many other health outcomes that result in absenteeism from work and school. These have large direct costs to the health system.” 

Prof Tonne says that air pollution exposure in children is linked to reduced cognitive development, with important impacts on human capital. As a result, children are not reaching their full potential in terms of neurodevelopment, which has an effect on their income prospects and the economy as a whole. 

Resolving a looming disaster

Technology may be employed to radically clean the air. Cities need to lead in the reduction of air pollution by promoting renewable energy, using active transport such as walking or cycling, and investing in infrastructure to make this safe and attractive. 

With researchers playing a major role in strengthening the case for aggressive air pollution control, the government needs to implement policies in order to control sources of air pollution. This global health and economic issue also requires individuals and communities to play their part to improve air quality.

News Archive

The challenges of local governance highlighted at the JN Boshoff Memorial lecture
2014-08-26

 

Mr Kopung Ralikontsane
Photo: Jerry Mokoroane

The annual JN Boshoff memorial lecture was hosted by the Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences in conjunction with the Department of Public Management on 21 August 2014. Mr Kopung Ralikontsane, Director-general of the Free State Provincial Government, presented the keynote address, ‘Challenges Facing Local Government in Service Delivery’.

In his opening remarks, Mr Ralikontsane gave the background of the South African municipal structures, the legal framework within which they operate and the challenges they are currently facing. He added that “local government is a sphere at the coalface of service delivery and if this sphere fails, South Africa would have failed to be a developmental state.”

He said the Free State provincial government has made great strides in developing local communities, with millions of rands invested in various development projects such as water and sanitation, electrification, roads and storm water structures, community facilities and solid waste disposal.

Local government is still faced with other challenges, though. He pointed out that public employees are subject to greater scrutiny and increased demands from citizens. As a result, they have to provide better services, but within stricter limits on resources. Conflict arises due to changing relationships between public servants and citizens, downsizing, restructuring and contracting out of government services and activities.

Despite the various structures implemented by local government, municipalities are serving an ever-growing population in an economic decline. Regulations have been put into place to devise credible Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) to improve municipal infrastructure, build competent management teams and strong operations and increase technical capacity for effective delivery of services.

Mr Ralikontsane invited students to join local government in crafting innovative solutions. “We know the problem, but we need to encourage you to join forces with your local government and tackle them.”

Mr Kopung Ralikontsane has served in local government for two decades and also serves as Head of Administration of the Free State Government and as Cabinet Secretary.


We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept