South Africa

Call to Halt Global Warning

The United Nation’s top official on climate change, Christiana Figueres, says that new research and findings are ‘sounding alarm bells’ for urgent action to halt global warming.

Speaking at a curtain-raiser media briefing in Durban, ahead of the official opening of the COP17 conference, Figueres said that there are two very important backdrops to the next fortnight’s negotiations.

“The first has to do with a growing momentum for action… and the other is the new research and the findings that are sounding alarm bells for urgent action,” she explained.

Climate Change Worsen Food Crises

Oxfam says that storms and droughts that have unleashed dangerous surges in food prices could be a ‘grim foretaste’ of what lies ahead when climate change bites more deeply.

In a report issued at the start of United Nations climate talks, the British charity pointed to spikes in wheat, corn and sorghum prices, triggered by extreme weather that had driven tens of millions into poverty over the past 18 months.

CoAL, NGO Coalition, Bury the Hatchet

Emerging coal miner Coal of Africa Limited (CoAL) and the Save Mapungubwe Coalition, which has hitherto been challenging the Vele opencast mine development in Limpopo, have agreed to work together.

The parties signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) agreeing to strengthen cooperation for the sustainable development, preservation and protection of the Mapungubwe cultural landscape.

Mbalula: Green's ‘Will Determine How Economies Are Run'

Sports Minister, Fikile Mbalula, says that the green movement, which advocates the protection of the environment, will soon determine how economies are run.

Speaking at a sport, environment and climate change seminar in KwaZulu-Natal, Mbalula also warned that the movement would also determine how political parties will assent to power.

SABC Criticised Over Anti-Malema Song

The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) has described the decision by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) radio presenters for playing an anti-Malema song as disappointing.

FXI executive director, Elston Seppie, points out that, “The banning of the song by the SABC amounts to the worst form of self-censorship and is a direct infringement on the right to artistic freedom”

SA, Benin to Highlight Africa at COP17

President Jacob Zuma says that South Africa and Benin need to work together during the Cop17 conference to ensure the interests of Africa were highlighted.

Zuma points out that, “There are opportunities for investments in the fields of renewable energy, marine aquaculture development, wildlife management, waste services as well as ecosystems rehabilitation programmes to name a few.”

COSATU Plan Legal Action Over Secrecy Bill

The Congress of Southern African Trade Unions (COSATU) plans to challenge the draconian Protection of Information Bill in the Constitutional Court.

The bill, dubbed the ‘Secrecy Bill’ by the media, was pushed through the National Assembly by an African National Congress (ANC) majority was termed ‘Black Tuesday’, despite widespread condemnation.

COSATU is the latest of many organisations, including the South African National Editors Forum and opposition parties, who have vowed to challenge the proposed law in the ConCourt.

Some Kyoto Agreement Crucial: Molewa

The Department of Water and Environmental Affairs says that some agreement to extend the Kyoto Protocol has to come out of the COP17 climate change talks in Durban.

Environment Minister, Edna Molewa, has been quoted in the media as saying that, "We do believe that... we will have to have some form of an agreement on the second period of the Kyoto Protocol."

Molewa added that, "Even if we don't have a legally-binding agreement in [Durban] now, or next year, or the next, actions must be taken. In other words, we can't mark time."

Social Grants Not Sustainable – Zuma

President Jacob Zuma has warned that government cannot afford to ‘indefinitely’ pay social grants to people who are not elderly and who have no physical defects.

Speaking at a business question-and-answer session in Cape Town this week, Zuma also urged the South African taxpayers to focus on developing the country rather than on feeding the poor.

He argued that South Africa had to develop programmes to reach a stage where it reduced the number of people who received social grants and balanced it with those who were taxpayers.

Call for More Talks on the Info Bill

Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe, has urged political parties to continue seeking common ground on the Protection of State Information Bill (Secrecy Bill).

During question time in the National Assembly, Motlanthe was asked for an assurance that, given the adoption of the Bill, the process of procuring proposed new nuclear power stations would be open and transparent.

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