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Meeting Discusses Interconnection Rates

The Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) will meet with representatives of telecoms companies to discuss the lowering of interconnection rates after reports that the Department of Communications (DoC) is on a quest to fast-track the process.

ICASA spokesman, Jubie Matlou, points out that at the previous meeting last month to discuss the same issue, representatives from Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Telkom, Neotel and Internet services provider associations had already committed themselves to reducing interconnection costs.

Stats SA Gears for Census 2011

Statistics South Africa has set in motion the operational plans and processes that will culminate in Census 2011, a national priority and the third under the democratic administration.

Statistician-general, Pali Lehohla, says that this is a massive logistical exercise that dwarfs all other nationwide mobilisation.

Lehohla argues that a census is deemed the largest mobilisation in times of peace, adding that even war is dwarfed by a census.

Review for Free State Nonprofit Funding Model

Most of Free State government’s contracts with NGOs are coming to an end due to a change in administration.

The Provincial Department of Social Welfare is using this opportunity to re-evaluate its funding model and to crack down on the prevalence of bogus organisations who are misappropriating tax-payers money.

The department met with NGOs and told them it wants to increase the number of beneficiaries of its NGO and NPO grants from its current estimate of 1 300. However, the make-up of who gets funding has to change.

District AIDS Council Launched

KwaZulu-Natal Finance MEC, Ina Cronje, says that the uMgungundlovu district has the highest prevalence (45.7 percent) of HIV infections among pregnant women countrywide. This means that almost every second pregnant woman in the district is HIV positive.

Cronje, who describes the launch of the uMgungundlovu AIDS Council is timely and part of the coordinated effort acres the different tiers of government, says that, “It is high time we face the HIV/Aids monster head on”.

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.

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