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TAC Disrupts AIDS Conference

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) has disrupted the fourth South African AIDS Conference in Durban.

"We are not happy with what is happening in this conference. Besides the fact that the conference is too academic, our voices as people living with AIDS are not heard," argued Victor Lakey from the TAC.

He says: "What is happening is that the same old declarations are rehashed and nothing gets done after these conferences have been held."

SANEF Welcomes Ruling on Hlophe Hearings

The South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) has welcomed a High Court ruling that Cape Judge President John Hlophe’s hearing before the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) should be open to the media.

“Media groups and the Freedom of Expression Institute made an urgent application to the court that in the interests of 'open justice' and the fact that the issues were of high public interest, the hearings should be conducted in public,” SANEF said in a  press statement.

EMN Concerned About IEC Political Links

The Election Monitoring Network (EMN) is concerned about reports that members of political parties are working for the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in the Northern Cape.

The network is urging the IEC to investigate the allegations and publicise the findings. It says that a failure to do so may lead to some political parties rejecting the election results after the elections.

Gauteng Government Completes Refugee Registration

The Department of Local Government in Gauteng says that the registration of Zimbabwean refugees living at the Central Methodist Church has been completed.

The department’s Lebogang Tladinyane, points out that, “Once we have the profile we can determine their needs."

Tladinyane says  refugees identified in their profiles as the most vulnerable, such as unaccompanied children or people with disabilities, will be the first to be moved to one of six buildings around Johannesburg.

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.

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