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Sexwale Visits Diepsloot

Human Settlements Minister, Tokyo Sexwale, has visited the Diepsloot informal settlement, where he stood in a pool of sewage when addressing residents.

Sexwale noted that, “What is at issue here is that people are living in inhuman conditions.” He described his visit to the informal settlement as “a genuine attempt to hear the problems of the people”.

We are standing on human waste. We are in Diepsloot. This is where we start our journey. We are starting a meaningful conversation with the people,” explained Sexwale.

MEC Warns Residents Over RDP Houses

Gauteng local government and housing MEC, Kgaugelo Lekgoro, has warned people to stop manipulating the housing process by taking illegal occupation of Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) homes.

In a press statement, the MEC says that, “Residents will never jump the housing queue process by embarking on acts of illegally occupying RDP houses in the province.”

“We cannot tolerate a situation where people just break the law with impunity,” warns Lekgoro.

ICASA to Look Into Cellphone Rates

The Independent Democrats (ID) says the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has agreed that there is a need to look into high cellphone rates.

In a press statement after talks with ICASA, De Lille pointed out that the regulator will engage with cellphone operators in this regard.

De Lille said that the ICASA has also offered to cooperate with the Competition Commission in its investigation into possible collusion and anti-competitive behaviour by cellphone operators.

Unemployment Blamed for Increase in Street Trading

As South Africa's unemployment lines keep growing in its first post-apartheid recession, Johannesburg's downtown sidewalks are increasingly crowded with street vendors hawking their wares. This is according to spokesperson for the Ecumenical Service for Socioeconomic Transformation, Thabo Koole.

Koole points out that, "Informal trading is seen as a sign of underdevelopment and primitive -- a sign of weakness."

NGOs to March for Better Wages

Social welfare bodies are to march countrywide to the Gauteng Department of Social Services to protest against discrepancies in salaries between the state and NGOs next month.

Jackie Loffell of the Gauteng Welfare, Social Service and Development Forum, which represents NGOs in the province, points out that on average, social service workers employed by NGOs earn 37 percent less than their counterparts in government departments because of inadequate state subsidies to NGOs.

Diamond Mining Companies Criticised Over CSR

The findings of research into the diamond mining industry published by the Bench Marks Foundation, has painted a gloomy picture of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance of the industry in the west coast region.

John Capel, CEO of the Bench Marks Foundation, a church-backed organisation monitoring corporate performance, says the findings contradict mining companies’ claims of success in CSR.

SASSA Chief Suspended Over Alleged Mismanagement

The chief executive officer of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), Fezile Makiwane, has been placed on special leave pending investigation into alleged misuse of funds.

In a press statement, the Department of Social Development points out that the decision follow a probe by the Special Investigations Unit into alleged mismanagement of funds managed by SASSA service providers.

The departmental spokesperson, Zanele Mngadi, said Makiwane’s suspension was mutually agreed upon with Social Development Minister Edna Molewa.

Malema Criticised for 'Race Card' Comments

Gender activist Mbuyiselo Botha - whom Julius Malema branded as a puppet of white racists - has slammed the ANC Youth League president's accusations as "pathetic".

Botha, Sonke's advocacy head, was responding to Malema's claims that the hate speech complaint against him - which centres on his comments that President Jacob Zuma's rape accuser enjoyed herself with him - was driven by "whites opposed to black rule".

SABC Interim Board Examining Finances

The newly appointed South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) interim board is examining the costs of each of the beleaguered broadcaster's departments "line by line", chairperson Irene Charnley said on Tuesday.

"We need to stabilise the SABC at all levels. The situation is not normal. Financially the organisation is in dire straits."

The SABC reported a financial loss of R839-million for the 2008/09 financial year. The broadcaster had asked the government for a R2-billion bailout.

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