South Africa

Social Grants Recipients to Increase – Gordhan

Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, says the number of South Africans receiving social grants will swell to 16.7 million over the next three years.

Tabling the 2012/13 Budget in Parliament, Gordhan stated that by the end of 2011, nearly 15.3 million people were eligible for social grants, compared to 2.5 million in 1998.

He said despite the rapid growth in the number of beneficiaries, however, spending on social grants will decline as a percentage of GDP -- from 3.5 percent in 2011/12, to 3.2 percent by 2014/15.

Government to Train Farmers

The government will train more than 2 000 small farmers over the next year in cost-effective farming methods.

According to documents tabled with the 2012/13 Budget in Parliament, the Estimates of the National Expenditure says that the farmers will also be advised, by the department of rural development and land reform on which crops to plant.

Police Violence on the Rise – NGO

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) says that police violence appears to be on the rise.

ISS senior researcher, Johan Burger, points out that, “There are on average 100 police officers killed in this country every year and so these are things that go on in the minds of police officials,” he explains.

He adds that this still does not excuse the police from acting outside the law themselves and says that he thinks that this is something that the public would want to have much more assurances on.

Master Plan on Digital Migration

Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications has called on Sentech, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and the Independent Communication Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to develop a master plan to ensure the country gets ready to migrate to digital broadcasting.

In the same vein, ICASA councillor, Mickey Ndlovu, speaking at a recent workshop in Durban, said the digital migration will improve not only the public broadcaster, but also community and commercial broadcasters, leading to stronger competition.

SA Warned on Land Reform

Minister in the Presidency, Trevor Manuel, says that the sensitivity of land reform compelled the government to address the issue.

Delivering the keynote address during Agri South Africa’s annual conference in Stellenbosch, Manuel urged farmers needed to significantly increase agricultural output to meet the growing demand for food as the country’s population continued to rise.

Manuel, who also chairs the National Planning Commission, further said that land reform and inclusive agriculture are constitutional imperatives.

Gauteng to Accelerate Service Delivery

Gauteng Premier, Nomvula Mokonyane, delivered the state of the nation address in which she focused on the need to accelerate delivery with strong emphasis on concrete deliverable, in Mamelodi, Pretoria.

Mokonyane addressed some of the controversial issues, including the state of the health department, the renaming of Pretoria and the contentious Gauteng toll roads.

Mokonyane promised to implement a ‘comprehensive turnaround strategy’ for the provincial health department to make the delivery of public health services more efficient.

Women March Against Harassment

Bree street taxi rank in Johannesburg’s central business district was bustling with people gathering for a march organised by the African National Congress Women’s League today.

Wearing miniskirts in bright colours and singing ‘the leadership is greeting’ and ‘mini skirt we love you’, women and several men marched to protest against the harassment experienced by two young women when they went shopping in the Noord Street taxi rank last December.

Acid Water Threatens Mining in Six Provinces

The Chamber of Mines has warned that if acid mine drainage is not treated to remove the salts from the water, mining activities in six provinces could be affected.

In its document, Chamber of Mines, states that at the moment, desalination is not part of the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority’s short-term plan to rectify the Witwatersrand’s acid mine drainage problem.

UNICEF Urges Mothers to Breastfeed

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says that child malnutrition would decrease by 25 percent if babies were fed only breast milk in the first six months.

Speaking at the launch of Save the Children’s report, ‘A life free of hunger: Tackling Child Nutrition’, UNICEF nutrition specialist, Chantell Witten, said that about 70 percent of babies are being fed solids at two months old.

NGO Urges the World to Tackle Malnutrition

Save the Children has warned that half-a-billion children will be stunted over the next 15 years, if child malnutrition is tackled head-on.

Save the Children’s regional health and HIV advisor, David Sanders, points out that, “The rising of food prices is the main cause of malnutrition.”

Sanders maintains that the government must prioritise nutrition and outline the clear lines of responsibility.

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