Hybrid technology at the forefront of motoring innovation


With oil prices skyrocketing in recent years and the concern of greenhouse gas emissions, the need for eco-friendly engines has never been more serious. The introduction of electric motors have been recognised as the likely solution to the greenhouse gas conundrum, with car manufacturers like Tesla, Ford and BMW at the forefront of development in this segment.

Although three times as efficient as a traditional combustion engine, all-electric motors have one common drawback – the limited range a vehicle can travel before battery is depleted. Electric motors require constant charging, which can limit the range of travelling with few plug-in stations available at this stage in the world.

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Alcohol amendment proposes raising the legal drinking age

On 29 September, the National Liquor Amendment Bill was issued. The bill proposes that the legal drinking age should be raised from 18 to 21. The bill is open to public comment for 45 days from the date of issue. It proposes that distributors will be held legally liable should they serve alcohol to someone under the legal drinking age. Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies’s major reasoning behind the age raise is the damaging physiological effects alcohol has on the adolescent brain and the high number of alcohol-related car accidents South Africa experiences per year. Davies said during a media briefing that one “can see that [alcohol abuse] is a significant problem in South Africa”, with the average South African consuming between 3.8 to 6.2 litres more alcohol per year than the global norm. This extreme alcohol consumption is especially concerning for persons younger than 21, as the brain does not fully develop until the mid-twenties. Furthermore, Davies said that 46% of non-natural fatalities and more than 40% of injuries are associated with people who have a higher amount of alcohol in their body than the legal amount for driving.

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The legal side of protesting: know your rights

Many students have been taking part in fees protests across South Africa. It is important for students to understand their rights and how to protest on the right side of the law, as well as which sections of the Constitution they can use to defend themselves. It is also important for students to know when they are breaking the law, and could possibly be arrested.

According to Section 17 of the Constitution everyone has the right to demonstrate, picket and present petitions peacefully and unarmed. Protests themselves fall under the Regulation of Gathering Act No. 205 of 1993, which states that every person has the right to assemble with other persons and to freely express their views on any matter in public and to enjoy the protection of the state while doing so.

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Fees and the foreign student: an international impact

UP has a significant number of international students. According to the international students division page on UP’s website, there are “over 4500 international students at the University of Pretoria”. For any person studying through UP, fees are substantial, however, international students are subject to additional costs.

International students are subject to an international levy that was R2700 in 2016 in addition to the R5000 cost of registration, medical aid, visa expenses and travel costs. In the international students section under the fees and funding page on UP’s website it states, “Non-South African citizens (excluding students who are citizens of Southern African Development Community [SADC] countries) will be charged double the tuition fee of South African students.” However, there are exceptions: the local tuition fees apply for full research-orientated master’s or doctoral studies and “asylum seekers, refugees and diplomats stationed in South Africa, as well as permanent residents of South Africa only, are exempted from paying double tuition fees and are exempted from the international levy”.

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Free education around the world

Free quality tertiary education in South Africa is a top topic among students, politicians and the media. South Africa, like many other countries, offers subsidised tertiary education. Countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden are able to offer free tertiary education to their citizens.

The Brazilian government offers free tertiary education up to a post-graduate level through federal or state universities, where students are required to pay a registration fee. In Brazil, public universities are considered to offer the highest quality education, but are notoriously difficult to get into. According to QS Top Universities, “There are nearly ten candidates for every place in public universities, while in private universities the ratio is less than two-to-one.”

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