More Teachers for Poor Schools

South Africa's poorest pupils could soon enjoy the luxury of smaller classes if a plan by minister of basic education, Angie Motshekga, is implemented.

Motshekga is considering an alternative staffing model for schools, which involves allocating proportionally more teaching posts to schools serving the most impoverished pupils.

She confirmed that she is studying a model that will distribute teaching posts according to the actual class size per grade, the size of the school and its curriculum requirements.

South Africa Urged to Cuts Emissions

The World Wild Fund (WWF) has urged South Africa to begin cutting carbon emissions today in order to avoid steeper and more disruptive reductions later.

In its proposal for a strict global carbon budget between now and 2050, the WWF says that the country cannot afford to wait until 2030 before cutting emissions.

"The cheapest way of cutting emissions would be to not make certain investment choices, such as building a smelter," says WWF trade and investment adviser, Peet du Plooy.

SA Drops in International Rating

South Africa has dropped four places in the global index of African governance due to concerns about the rule of law, transparency, corruption and human rights.

Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government’s 2009 Index of African Governance puts Mauritius tops the list as the best governed country in Africa, a position the island state has held since the index was started two years ago.

South Africa ranks 9th, dropping from 5th place last year, while its neighbouring state, Botswana, remains in fourth position.

NPC Not A Gatekeeper – Manuel

The National Planning Commission will not be “the gatekeeper of policy”, nor will it take over setting budgets. This is according to Minister Trevor Manuel.

Manuel, who is reported to be at the centre of a bitter fight between Cabinet members and trade unions over control of the country’s economy, says that the ministry’s task is to create a coherent vision on the outcomes of policies.

Manuel says that a single budgeting process is needed and this is not something the ministry wishes to become involved with.

HIV Prevalence Stabilises Amongst Pregnant Women

HIV prevalence among pregnant women has stabilised at about 29 percent. This is according to health minister, Aaron Motsoaledi.

Releasing the 2008 results of survey antenatal HIV in Pretoria, Motsoaledi points out that, “The prevalence among women aged 25 and above has stabilised at high and unacceptable levels."

He states that the report is a useful tool to observe trends and increase commitment to the implementation of government policies, as well as to provide feedback to healthcare workers.

SABC Denies Suspension Reports

The interim board of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has denied rumours that four executives had been suspended in connection with fraud and mismanagement highlighted in an auditor-general’s report.

The board was reacting to reports emanating from within the SABC that Robin Nicholson (chief financial officer), Mvuzo Mbebe (group executive: content enterprises), Mabela Satekge (head: procurement) and Anton Heunis (head: audience services) have been suspended.

Clothing Workers Strike Continues

Over 50000 clothing workers downed tools Monday after wage negotiations between the South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union (Sactwu) and Appelo Manufactures of Southern Africa deadlocked.

Sactwu general secretary André Kriel said the strike had been suspended a week ago after the intervention of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) .

“Section 150 of the Labour Relations Act allows the CCMA to intervene if it feels the resolution of the dispute would be in the public interest,” Kriel said.

COPE Youth Oppose Leader's Suspension

Some COPE youth structures are rebelling against the decision by the party's national leadership to suspend the party's controversial youth leader, Anele Mda.

Several provinces, including Limpopo, North West, Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape, have written to COPE's general secretary, Charlotte Lobe, questioning the decision by the party's central working committee to suspend Mda from the leadership structures of the organisation.

Supercomputer Hits South African Shores

South Africa's newest supercomputer, a Sun Microsystems hybrid, went online in Cape Town earlier this month, providing the local and regional research community with a powerful tool for tackling problems of climate change, energy security and human health.

With a peak performance of 31-trillion calculations per second, the hybrid supercomputer is the fastest in Africa and ranks among the top 500 in the world.


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