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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.

Youth Still Vulnerable to Violence

The country's youth continue to be extremely vulnerable to violence and crime.

This is according to a second National Youth Victimisation study conducted by the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention.

More than 4 000 young people between the ages of 12 and 22 were interviewed as part of the study.

The results showed that 27% of young South Africans had fallen prey to crime between February 2007 and February 2008.

A direct link between victimisation at a young age and later becoming an offender was also identified.

AG Report, SABC to Take Legal Action

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board is considering taking criminal action against employees and former staff after a shocking report on the broadcaster by the Auditor General (AG).

The SABC's interim chairperson, Irene Charnley, says that the board agreed to immediately act on all the AG's findings on supply-chain management, human resources, and wasteful expenditure at the broadcaster.

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