This Mandela Month, we profile the late Lord Joel Joffe, who defended Nelson Mandela and his co-accused at the Rivonia Trial. Joffe died on 18 June.Lord Joel Joffe, who was in the defence team during the Rivonia Trial, died on 18 June 2017 in London. (Image: Dignity in Dying, via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)Priya PitamberSouth African-born philanthropist and human rights lawyer Lord Joel Joffe once said the work he had done on the Rivonia Trial, “was perhaps my most important and most invaluable I have ever done”.Joffe died on Sunday, 18 June 2017 in the United Kingdom. He was 85 years old.“We have learned with sadness of the passing of one of our most respected legal minds, Lord Joel Joffe, who played a critical role during the liberation struggle for our freedom and democracy [when he] represented political prisoners, including the late father of our nation, president Nelson Mandela and other liberation icons,” the Presidency said.“On behalf of the government and the people of the Republic of South Africa, we wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to the Joffe family, relatives and all in the legal fraternity across the globe.”Cabinet extends its condolences on the passing on of defence attorney in the Rivonia and Little Rivonia trials, Lord Joel Joffe #PostCabinet— South African Gov (@GovernmentZA) June 22, 2017The Nelson Mandela Foundation also sent its condolences: “Our condolences go out to his family and friends, his comrades and all the many people he helped in his life as an attorney.”Watch:The trialJoffe worked alongside Vernon Berrange, George Bizos and Arthur Chaskalson, led by Bram Fischer, in the defence team of Mandela and his comrades.The trial began on 9 October 1963, with the 11 accused – Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Denis Goldberg, Ahmed Kathrada, Raymond Mhlaba, Rusty Bernstein, Andrew Mlangeni, Elias Motsoaledi, Bob Hepple and James Cantor – appearing on charges of, among others, conspiracy and sabotage.“For me it was about saving the lives of these wonderful people,” Joffe recalled on BBC radio show Desert Island Discs. “But that was not the main objective of Nelson Mandela and his colleagues… They wanted to put the government [of South Africa] in the dock.“The nine members of the ANC were the finest people I had ever met – such courage, such integrity, so committed… They were in it for the people. It was a great privilege to defend them.”In his book, Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela described Joffe as “the General behind the scenes in our defence”.Watch Joffe’s recollection of Mandela:Early life and careerJoffe was born in South Africa on 12 May 1932. He studied at the University of the Witwatersrand, getting a BCom in 1952 and an LLB in 1955. In 2001, he received an Honorary LLD.After becoming a lawyer, Joffe went into partnership with James Kantor, whose brother-in-law, Harold Wolpe, represented the African National Congress. When Kantor and Wolpe were arrested, Joffe delayed his emigration to step in.Once the Rivonia Trial ended, Joffe remained in South Africa and continued to defend others who were accused of political offences.Because of his work, his passport was confiscated and he was harassed by the South African police. Eventually, he and his family were forced to leave via a one-way exit permit. They settled in London.Life in LondonJoffe continued his charitable work in his adopted country, becoming involved with the NGO, Oxfam.“Colleagues report that his greatest contribution to Oxfam was made during his period as chair from 1995,” reads the organisation’s website. “He used his exceptional mix of acute intelligence and great personal warmth to challenge Oxfam’s work and organisation, often only reaching conclusions after intense questioning and debate.”In 1999, he was awarded the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE).In January 2016, Joffe was awarded the Freedom of the City of London alongside the last three remaining Rivonia Trial accused: Kathrada, Goldberg and Mlangeni, and former colleague, Bizos.“But while he always remained steadfastly loyal to the country and continent of his birth, Joffe also felt deeply patriotic towards his adopted country, Britain – valuing in particular its tranquil countryside, democracy, tolerance and his favourite pastime, tennis,” said Oxfam.Sources: The Nelson Mandela Foundation, Oxfam, The Presidency, Wits UniversityWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
Less expensive than new transmission linesThe pilot project is being run by GridSolar LLC in Portland, Maine, for the Maine Public Utilities Commission. It was developed in a partnership led by Convergent Energy + Power of New York City.Convergent didn’t disclose the price of the battery system, but GridSolar said in a filing that the energy costs three times as much as the net price of solar and five times as costly as conservation measures, the newspaper said. Even so, the cost to ratepayers is only a third of the $18 million it would cost to build a new transmission line to the community. Boothbay Harbor is at the end of a peninsula, 10 miles from the major coastal highway, Route 1.GridSolar points to a variety of advantages for Maine from what it calls the “smart grid platform.” They include a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, enhanced business opportunities, and lower electric rates.“Technologies like this are fairly small, but they respond very fast,” Steve Rourke, vice president of planning at New England’s grid operator, told the newspaper.New England saw 900 megawatts of PV installed last year, which could double by 2023. Wind energy is expected to match that.“The more solar we see, the more wind we get, it could become more important to use batteries to ride through the variability, minute to minute,” Rourke told the Press Herald. Three shipping containers parked in the industrial park of this midcoast Maine community contain 600 batteries that collectively have enough capacity to power 100 houses for a day. The batteries are part of a comprehensive pilot program designed to prevent transmission lines in the area from overloading in summer.According to an article in the Portland Press Herald, the battery array is the first utility-scale storage system for electricity in New England.Batteries and other storage and generation devices can help even out the load on the grid by feeding in electricity at times when solar or wind output drops and demand is high.In Boothbay, the sealed glass-mat batteries are charged at night when demand for electricity is fairly low. In the morning, the batteries are ready to provide electricity when and if they are needed, the Press Herald reported.The batteries are part of a pilot program called GridSolar that’s designed to keep power lines from being overloaded on hot summer days when the Boothbay peninsula is packed with tourists, and hotels, restaurants, and shops are drawing a lot of power. In addition to the batteries, the pilot program has seen the installation of thousands of LED lights, the deployment of photovoltaic panels with a total rated capacity of 250 kW, and a thermal storage system in which electricity is used to make ice at night to supplement air conditioning during the day.In all, the newspaper said, these measures can produce and/or conserve 1.8 megawatts of electricity.
zoom Athens-based drybulk shipping firm DryShips has received two firm commitments for senior secured credit facilities of up to an aggregate of USD 125 million.The facilities will be secured by the company’s four tanker vessels and two Kasmarmax and one Panamax drybulk vessels and will have a tenor of five and six years, respectively.Both facilities, received from two commercial lenders, will bear an interest rate of LIBOR plus margin, will be repayable in quarterly installments and will have customary financial covenants.The facilities remain subject to definitive documentation.Additionally, the company infromed that it reached an agreement to dispose of its 2001-built Panamax vessel, the Ecola, to an unaffiliated buyer.Sold for total gross proceeds of USD 8.5 million, the bulker is scheduled for prompt delivery to the buyer.“This year has been transformational for DryShips. We continue to execute on our business plan with the support of our lenders, which is a testament to the strength of the company’s balance sheet,” George Economou, DryShips’ Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said.