South Africa

General Motors to Settle Apartheid Claim

Twenty-five South Africans who suffered at the hands of the apartheid security police have claimed a small victory after a United States court ratified a settlement between the claimants and General Motors.

Khulumani Support Group attorney, Charles Abrahams, has been quoted as saying that, "The settlement is a small amount. It was a show of good faith on the part of General Motors, considering that they are bankrupt."

The claimants and the Khulumani Support Group, a lobby group for financial reparations for victims of apartheid, will share an amount of $1.5-million.

Call to Clean-Up Health in SA

A preliminary audit report of South Africa's health facilities shows a majority of institutions to be dirty and also questions patient safety in these services.

Conducted by the Health Systems Trust (HST), the study assessed the state of the country's public health institutions under six priority areas of quality, including the availability of medicine supply, cleanliness, waiting times and infection control.

Rights Groups Lament Marginalisation in SA

Despite South Africa being lauded as having one of the most liberal Constitutions in the world, rights organisations say many groups remain marginalised.

While the Constitution is designed to protect the rights of all persons, Prince Nofemela who has been blind since 1996, believes the visually impaired continue to suffer human rights abuses.

Nofemela further states that, "Government has not been able to fulfill its mandate of providing shelter for the blind. We are kicked out of the mainstream education system and shoved into a corner...”

Number of Public Schools Drop - SAIRR

The South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) says the number of public schools in South Africa has dropped despite a rise in the number of independent schools.

SAIRR head of research, Jonathan Snyman, points out that, "The period between 2000 and 2010 saw a decline of nine percent in the number of public schools from 26 789 to 24 451.”

Snyman states that only the Northern Cape experienced a notable increase of 23 percent in the number of public schools over this period.

South Africans Prefer Cellphones Over TV

South Africans spend more time on their mobile devices than they do watching television or listening to the radio, according to a Mobile Media Consumption survey.

In a press statement, mobile advertising network, InMobi, points out that on any given day, mobile web users spend 30 percent of their media time on mobile devices, 29 percent on television and 20 percent listening to the radio.

Rights Groups Slam Attack on Woman

Gender rights organisations have expressed dismay that another woman has been assaulted at Umlazi’s notorious Unit 17 hostel for wearing trousers.

Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre’s (TLAC) Lisa Vetten, points out that the latest incident suggested women are dealing with a problem of culture at the hostel.

Vetten is of the view that the izinduna (headmen) running Unit 17 need to attend training on gender equality and take a much stronger stand against these incidents.

Call to Reform Political Party Funding

The African National Congress (ANC) says it needs legislation to regulate the funding of political parties to combat what it calls ‘the corrupting influence of money in politics’.

ANC secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, stated that while the ANC is committed to introducing a legislation, it will not give up on its investment vehicle – the 100 percent ANC-owned company, Chancellor House, despite conflict of interest, as the company continues to benefit from government contracts and licenses.

NGOs Plotting My Downfall – Mugabe

Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, has accused NGOs of financing a sustained campaign to get rid of him through unconstitutional means.

The President states that NGOs are burning the midnight oil to ensure he is not elected as the country’s next president in polls he wants held this year.

He is quoted as saying that over a thousand NGOs are working in the country and they come with ‘stupid ideas’ and ‘quite often’ support one party.

NGOs Urged to Re-Apply for Funding

NGOs that have recently applied for funding from the City of Joburg need to re-apply at the end of June 2012 as part of proposed changes to its Social Funding Policy.

The City’s health and social development department says that NGOs that apply for funding under the CBO stream will not be considered in the current financial year.

The Social Funding Policy provides a basket of subsidies for NGOs and funds are disbursed through one of three funding categories – CBOs, partnerships and rates.

Concern Over Grants Registration Plan

NGOs and advocacy groups are concerned about the Department of Social Development’s announcement that more than 15 million people will have to re-register for social grants in the next year.

But Leonie Caroline, the Western Cape provincial director of the Black Sash, says that, “What the department is proposing is a massive bureaucratic undertaking,” she said. “We feel some people could fall through the cracks.”

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