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NDA, NLDF Criticised for Failing the Poor

Despite the National Lottery Board accumulating billions of rands every year, the National Lotteries Distribution Fund (NLDF) has been ineffective in providing support to the needy. This is according to Shelagh Gastrow, director of Inyathelo — The South African Institute for Advancement.

Gastrow says the NLDF and the National Development Agency (NDA) have not been meeting their mandates, as defined in law, of addressing South Africa’s development challenges.

Teen Pregnancies on the Decrease – Study

A survey conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) on behalf of the Department of Education, shows that teenage pregnancies are declining though the rate remains ‘unacceptably’ high.

Provinces that currently show high pregnancy rates include Eastern Cape, with 69 pregnant pupils per 1 000 registered, KwaZulu-Natal with 62 and Limpopo with 60 per 1 000 registered.

The report states that the decline can be attributed to increased access to information and improved contraception use.

SA Improving in Protecting Children from HIV

A new scorecard from the Catch network shows that South Africa is making tentative headway in its efforts to protect children from HIV, but much more needs to be done to save lives. The Catch network is an alliance of organisations that work with children and HIV.

The scorecard measures progress towards the government’s targets for preventing infections and caring for children affected by HIV, which are detailed in its HIV/AIDS National Strategic Plan.

Welfare Bodies to March Against Low State Subsidies

Social welfare bodies helping abused women, children, the disabled and the elderly will march to protest against low state subsidies and the gap in salaries between staff in the government and those in NGOs.

Against the background of the government’s insistence that it is focusing on poverty reduction, NGOs in Gauteng say subsidies have not increased since 2004, adding that there is a 37 percent gap in salaries between government social workers and those employed by NGOs.

Call for the Inclusion of CSOs in Ward Committees

One approach to get more assistance to ward councilors, who have borne the brunt of the frustrations, is to offer them stipends and reshape ward committees to include civil society groups and sectors such as churches, local business and sports bodies.

This is according to Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister, Yunus Carrim.

Carrim, delivering a public lecture hosted by the Wits Graduate School of Public and Development Management and The Weekender, conceded there is a growing disconnect between government and people.

Top Lawyer Urges ICASA to Reduce Call Costs

Cellphone calls could be slashed by a massive R1 a minute almost immediately if the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) agrees with fresh legal opinion declaring that the fees can be forced down with no need for further market research.

The hefty R1, 25 a minute that operators charge to switch calls between rival networks makes SA’s calls among the highest in the world.

Johannesburg

The Johannesburg leg of the 2009 SANGONeT "ICTs for Civil Society" Conference ia being held from 15-16 October 2009 at the Turbine Hall in Newtown, Johannesburg.

Conference Programme

Emergency Effort Needed to Solve Western Cape Housing Crisis

It is good news that Tokyo Sexwale and Helen Zille have decided to bury the hatchet on the petty squabbling between the African National Congress (ANC) and Democratic Alliance (DA) (largely, let it be said, initiated by the ANC) over the N2 Gateway project and land allocation in the province.

The spat has hampered housing delivery in the province. We are now told “the three spheres of government are to sit around one table to decide on the future of the project.” (‘Sexwale, Zille and city to decide on N2 Gateway’, August 10).

Call for Alternative to Willing-Buyer-Willing-Seller Policy

President Jacob Zuma says his government is exploring alternative means of acquiring land following complaints about the willing-buyer-willing-seller policy preferred by the state since 1994.

“Land is linked to development in rural areas. We have recognised that, in order to move forward decisively with the land redistribution programme, significant changes have to be made to the willing-buyer-willing-seller model of land redistribution,” argues Zuma.

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