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Social Grants Dispute Resolved – Skweyiya

All social grants will be paid in April after a dispute between the South Africa Social Security Agency (SASSA) and service providers has been resolved. This is according to the Social Development Minister, Zola Skweyiya.

In a press statement, Skweyiya points out that, "[SASSA] has concluded negotiations and agreed on 12-month contract extensions with the three service providers contracted to pay social grants - Cash Paymaster Services, All Pay and Empilweni."

Support for Hogan’s Stance on the Dalai Lama

The Helen Suzman Foundation has expressed its support for Health Minister Barbara Hogan’s “principled stance” on the Dalai Lama.

In a press statement, the foundation points out that, “The notion of a minister having a different view from Cabinet on a matter is not unprecedented nor is it unacceptable for that opinion to be voiced publicly.”

“Any censure or other steps that may be taken against Hogan will be deeply unfortunate,” says the foundation.

Public Consultative Workshop on Proposed Definitions of Universal Access and Service

The Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA) will host a Consultative Public Workshop on 2&3 April 2009 in Johannesburg.

The main objective of the workshop is to solicit public input from interested and affected parties and organisations on the definitions of universal access and universal service, needy persons and under-serviced areas.

Sexual Violence in SA Alarming - MSF

Only countries at war suffer as much sexual violence as South Africa. This is according to a Doctors Without Borders’s (MSF) global report that highlights the problem of rape.

The organisation’s operational director, Meinie Nicolai, says, “The figures we have are alarming, but they are just a tip of the iceberg as most cases go unreported."

Although sexual violence is exacerbated in war, MSF says it also affects millions of people living in post-conflict countries or even in stable environments.

SWEAT Criticises Police Over Sexual Favours

The Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) has criticised Cape Town police sometimes ask sex workers for sexual favours in exchange for not arresting them.

In an affidavit filed in the Cape High Court, SWEAT is asking the court to order the South African Police Services and the municipal police to stop what it says are ongoing arbitrary arrests and harassment.

Minister Warns Land Reform Beneficiaries

The Department of Agriculture has warned that its top officials will enforce a “use it or lose it” policy to ensure land-reform beneficiaries run productive farms.

Agriculture minister, Lulu Xingwana, has also warned that the government will take back farms allocated to blacks under its redistribution programme if they do not farm productively.

She states that the government does not have enough money for land reform in its current budget. Xingwana also blamed white farmers for charging the state inflated prices for land-reform farms.

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