South Africa

Orphans Left In Lurch

The Emndeni Skills Development and Orphan Drop-in Centre, which offers activities such as food schemes, farming, business and computer skills to 550 Soweto residents, faces financial crisis.

The Centre’s programme manager, Nomaswazi Mhlaba, who says that they have applied for Lotto funds in January last year, states that, "Normally, it takes up to six months for the whole application and funding process to be completed."

Charities Lose Funding Due to Infighting

Three nonprofit organisations in the skills, social and environmental sectors could have received R58 million had it not been for the infighting between two Lotto bodies.

However, the tensions between the National Lotteries Board (NLB) and the distributing agencies have led to a situation where several NGOs have been unable to access funds.

An internal document also reveals how the NLB reversed a decision by one of the distribution agencies to fund three of the many dependent organisations last year.

NGO Urges Committee to Take Hearings ‘Seriously’

The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) says that given the dire straits in which the Gender Commission finds itself, the parliamentary portfolio committee responsible for the selection of new commissioners has a duty to take the process of public hearings seriously.

OSISA executive director, Sisonke Msimang, points out that the hearings that took place at the end of last week did little to inspire the confidence the commission so badly needs.

Idasa, Black Sash, Face Funding Crisis

Two long-standing organisations, Idasa and the Black Sash, say they are losing millions in funding, forcing them to close down crucial projects and retrench staff.

The two organisations say part of the problem in terms of securing international funding is that South Africa is no longer seen as being among the poorer countries.

Black Sash national director, Marcella Naidoo, points out that, “It’s a pity and a tragedy that we won’t be able to do the substantive work that we’re used to. We have always been resilient but this time, it’s particularly sad.”

Mokonyane Launches Service Delivery Hotline

Gauteng Premier, Nomvula Mokonyane, has launched a service delivery hotline in Pimville, Soweto.

Mokonyane, who described the hotline as an effort to improve communication with residents, stated that, “This platform will enable residents to escalate matters easily.”

She assured residents that agencies, who will operate the hotline from 07h00 to 22h00 each day, are trained to conduct work effectively. In addition, she maintained that a feedback will be issued within a period of three days.

Ntuli-Zuma Criticised Over Grants Comments

Presidential spokesperson, Mac Maharaj, has come to the defence of one of the president’s wives, Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma, who had suggested that child support grants be scrapped and the money used instead for old-age pensions.

Ntuli-Zuma was quoted by the New Age as saying that, “Most young teen mothers dump their babies with their grandmothers, while gallivanting around and abusing the grants money” on luxury items, including cellphone airtime.

Court Sentences Lesbian Killers

Activists have welcomed the sentencing of the killers of Zoliswa Nkonyana, a 19-year old who was brutally stoned, beaten and kicked to death almost six years ago.

Activists were particularly satisfied that the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court magistrate, Raadiyah Wathen, took into account the accused’s reasoning for the murder, chiefly that they were intolerant of Nkonyana’s choice to live openly as a lesbian.

Madonsela, Tlakula Support Media Self-Regulation

Public protector, Thuli Madonsela, and Adv Pansy Tlakula, have told the Press Freedom Commission hearings on media regulation that there is no other effective way to ensure freedom of the press and expression.

Madonsela and Tlakula, however, were unequivocal in their support for a free, self-regulated press, stating that, "The need for a free and independent but accountable and responsible media, is not negotiable."

Officials Warned Over Land Grants

Rural Development and Land Reform Minister, Gugile Nkwinti, has warned officials responsible for identifying land reform beneficiaries that the government will not tolerate nepotism and the exclusion of poor rural communities in favour of influential city dwellers.

Nkwinti points out that, "My department will fight this scourge of creating weekend farmers who only come during weekends to braai and often do little or no farming, which exacerbates the problem of agricultural land lying fallow.”

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