South Africa

NSFAS to Refund Overcharged Students

About 34 000 students who have been overcharged interest on study loans by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in previous years are to be refunded.

This was revealed by Higher Education and Training Minister, Blade Nzimande, during the announcement of the outcomes of the turnaround strategy implemented to address challenges experienced by the NSFAS.

Nzimande says when the NSFAS recalculated every student loan in its books, it confirmed that it had overcharged interest on some student loans in previous years.

Transformed NSFAS to Benefit Students

The Higher Education and Training Department and National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) board have recommitted to ensuring full compliance with all legislative and regulatory requirements in order to receive clean audits in future.

Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande says the department and NSFAS board are jointly committed to achieving the rest of its turnaround goals.

Sasol Must Quit South Africa's COP17 Delegation

Following on from last month's march against Eskom, Earthlife Africa Johannesburg will be holding a demonstration at Sasol's Headquarters in Rosebank (1 Sturdee Avenue) on Wednesday, 12 October at 11h00. Sasol continues to be on South Africa's official negotiating team for COP17 and we are extremely disappointed in both Sasol and the Department of Environmental Affairs for continuing this blatant conflict of interest.

Dept Employs 728 Graduates in One Year

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture says that more than 700 jobless youths have been hired this year to work as agricultural assistant officers.

The department spokesperson, Ncumisa Mafunda, points out that these graduates have diplomas and degrees in agriculture and environmental services.

Mafunda says that, “We have created 728 jobs for the unemployed youth this year to work as agricultural extension officers."

Census 2011 Gets Underway

South Africa's 2011 census has started, with the homeless and babies born after midnight being the first to be counted.

In a press statement, Statistics South Africa points out that school children and teachers will help ensure every household in South Africa is counted.

It says as part of the learner ambassador programme, pupils will report whether their families have been counted to their teachers. The Stats SA states that enumerators will check with the schools whether any households have been missed.

SAHRC Fights Discrimination on Handicaps

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says that people with mental disabilities should not be discriminated against and government should reinforce their human rights.

SAHRC spokesperson, Vincent Moaga, says the commission has observed that people with disabilities are often subjected to abuse by their families, forced into labour institutions and deprived of basic health care.

Sirleaf a Worthy Nobel Recipient: Zuma

President Jacob Zuma has congratulated Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011.

In a press statement, Zuma points out that, "President Sirleaf is a worthy recipient given her dedication and commitment not only to women's emancipation, but also to peace, stability and prosperity in Liberia."

Sirleaf was awarded a share of the Nobel Peace Prize, together with fellow Liberian Leymah Gbowee and Yemen's Arab Spring activist Tawakkul Karman.

NGO Urges Gays to be Cautious

Gay rights activists have called on the gay and lesbian communities to be extra cautious when using Internet dating services.

OUT director, Dawid Nel, admitted there is a ‘pattern’ emerging where perpetrators are using the Internet to prey on homosexual men.

He explains: “SA is still a violent society. It’s crucial that gays and lesbians take extra precaution when using Internet dating services. For the first few dates, make sure you meet the person in a public place.”

COP17 Won’t Be Easy Meeting: Nkoana-Mashabane

International Relations Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, says the upcoming United Nations Climate Change conference (COP17) will not be an easy meeting.

Nkoana-Mashabane points out that, “Ordinary people that suffer daily from the impacts of climate change...have high expectations from their leaders."

She describes the conference as a complicated ‘party-driven’ process where 194 member states are expected to engage and reach a consensus.

395 000 Jobs Lost in 2010 - Stats SA

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) says that about 395 000 jobs were lost in 2010 compared to the previous year.

Stats SA deputy director general for population and social statistics, Kefiloe Masiteng, points out that, “This indicates the country has not yet fully recovered from the economic downturn in 2009."

It says jobs in the formal sector shrunk by 3.5 percent in 2010 compared to the previous year, adding that employment in the informal sector grew by 1.4 percent.

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