South Africa

Company Repay Govt Over Sub-Standard RDPs

Prominent Limpopo businessman, Tom Boya, says that ‘all is in order’ to repay R125 000 a month to the provincial government after his company built sub-standard RDP houses.

His company, which is no longer appearing on the list of restricted companies issued by the National Treasury, agreed to pay R1.5 million to the provincial department of local government and housing to clear its name.

The department's spokesperson, Dieketseng Diale, points out that, “The department has thus far recovered R750 000 from Legae Consortium.

March Against Harassment at Taxi Ranks

The Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Lulu Xingwana, is expected to join the African National Congress Women’s League-led community education and awareness march against attacks on females wearing miniskirts today in Johannesburg.

The march, which starts from Bree Street taxi rank and end at the Noord Street taxi rank, will culminate in the handing over of a memorandum of grievances to the equality court in the Johannesburg High Court, Pritchard Street.

People Urged to Register for Grants

The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has announced that all of South Africa's 15.3 million social grants recipients will have to register afresh with the government social grant agency, in a bid to curb fraud.

This announcement comes as SASSA recently awarded a R10 billion contract to a new service provider, which will disburse the grant to the beneficiaries.

New MXit CEO Lays Out Strategy

Social networking site, Mxit, plans to focus on its core competencies, and open the platform to third parties to develop content for its users.

In his first briefing with the media since buying Mxit, chief executive officer, Alan Knott-Craig jnr, says that the company will focus on communication, payments and content.

According to Knott-Craig, the company, which has over 50 million registered users and about 35 000 new registrations daily, points “We create the platform, and let people make money. We'll just stick to what we're good at."

SA Environment Deteriorates – Study

South Africa's natural environment has, over the past 20 years, deteriorated nearly the fastest of most countries in the world, according to a report in the Beeld newspaper.

This is the finding of a group of scientists at the universities of Yale and Columbia, in the United States, who measured the state of the environment in 132 countries, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.

SA Universities Train Few Doctors

The shortage of doctors is ham-stringing the health services but medical schools are turning away thousands of aspirant medical practitioners each year.

Ranked among the top 500 universities in the world, the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine rejected 5 290 applications this year because it could accommodate only 210 first-year students.

The universities of – the Witwatersrand, Medical University of South Africa, Stellenbosch, Cape Town, Pretoria, Walter Sisulu and the Free State - have turned down thousands of applications.

Child-Bearing Women Affected by HIV

The South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) says that half of the 5.58 million people living with HIV in South Africa are women of child-bearing age.

In its latest survey, the organisation notes that of the 11 percent of the population infected, five million are adults aged 20 to 64, and 2.93 million are women of child-bearing age between the ages of 15 and 49.

The survey also found that the majority of HIV-infected people live in KwaZulu-Natal (15 percent), followed by the Free State, Mpumalanga, and the North West, with 13 percent each.

New HIV Drugs Partnership Announced

The South African government has announced a joint venture to reduce the cost of anti-retroviral drugs with a Swiss company.

Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, points out that, the joint venture will establish the first pharmaceutical plant to manufacture active pharmaceutical ingredients [APIs] for anti-retroviral medicines in the country.

Pandor says that the purpose of producing the APIs locally is to try and reduce the cost of drugs to combat HIV that causes AIDS.

Govt Explains Delay in Funding NGOs

The Department of Health says that the delay in funding, which has resulted in lay-offs at NGOs fighting HIV/AIDS, are out of its control.

The department spokesperson, Fidel Hadebe, says that they are taking the matter very seriously but much of the blame lies with the Global Fund secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland.

Hadebe maintains that until the Global Fund has been able to deal with process issues on its part, the department will not be able to disperse any funds.

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