* The organisation which awarded Cape Town the honour of hosting World Design Capital 2014 has come out in support of the City of Cape Town, in countering the claim by Minister of Human Settlements, Lindiwe Sisulu, that Cape Town had bought the title! The International Council of Societies of Industrial Design has denied the claim, stating that it is ‘disheartened’ by the allegation. Minister Sisulu claimed that the City of Cape Town ‘paid the judges for the Design Capital award, and will continue to pay these judges for the next three years‘. Sisulu certainly has the incorrect information about paying judges, and doing so into the future, She is correct however that the winning city had to make a payment, paying the International Council € 160000 for the licence fee for the designation.
* Western Cape Premier Helen Zille announced the roll-out of 384 wifi hotspots close to provincial buildings in the province over the next four years, in her State of the Province Address last week. Working with Neotel, broadband internet will be supplied to 2000 provincial buildings, including schools, libraries, and health facilities, in the next two to three years.
* The Chenin Blanc Association is calling for entries for its Standard Bank/Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge, open to all South African Chenin Blanc producers. The judging panel, which consists of British award-winning wine writer Jamie Goode, Woolworths Wine Department head Alan Mullins, Carrie Adams of Norman Goodfellows Fine Wine & Spirit Merchants, sommelier Higgo Jacobs, and Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa sommelier Gregory Mutambe, will be chaired by wine writer and judge Christian Eedes, evaluating the wines blind. The Top 10 winners will receive R20000 each, to be invested into economic and social benefits for their staff. The closing date for entries is 11 July. (received via media release from Waterford Communications)
* Award-winning wine writer Jamie Goode praises South African sparkling wine, with that from the south of England, which ‘can now hold its head up with the best of Épernay‘! Goode selected Villiera Brut Natural Chardonay MCC 2009 and Tungsten Méthode Cap Classique Brut 2011 as the only South African sparkling wines, out of seventeen, in his ‘Top of the pops: The very best of sparkling wine’.
* Department of Home Affairs staff is being trained in the new Immigration Regulations, and in the biometric visa requirements specifically, which include digitalised fingerprinting and facial photography, reports Southern African Tourism Update. The first priority is to train local staff, and those in the South African consulates in China. The Department of Home Affairs does not appear to appreciate the dramatic negative impact its requirements will have on tourism, as travelers will have to appear in person at South African consulates. Tour operators are threatening to take their Chinese tourism group business to other African countries if the visa requirements of our country are not revised.
* South American air travel could be disrupted by the threatened strike by mechanics of LAN and TAM airlines from Thursday 26 June onwards, affecting travel during the Soccer World Cup too.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage