South Africa

TAC Ready to Litigate Against Govt

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) has announced that it is ready to litigate against the Gauteng Health Department should it not clear its outstanding debt to suppliers by the end of this week.

TAC also adds that the closure of health laboratories in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal has severely impacted on people who are HIV-positive and those with tuberculosis (TB).

TAC chairperson, Nonkosi Khumalo, says that the closure of health laboratory services impacts on patients on Anti-retroviral treatment (ARVs) and those who need to be tested for tuberculosis (TB).

South Africa to Host Malaria Conference

Durban will host the 6th Multilateral Initiative Conference on Malaria in 2013.

The conference, which is the world's largest gathering of the malaria community, will be attended by researchers, public health officials and policy makers to discuss developments in the treatment of malaria.

Medical Research Council’s Dr Jayshree Raman, says that the event is going to focus on the issue of elimination and the possible vaccine that is going to be released, hoping sometime soon.

NLB Honours Grant After Court Action

The National Lotteries Board (NLB) has agreed to honour a R20.4 million grant it had previously withdrawn, less than a week after court papers were filed with the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

According to Adams & Adams, the law firm, this week, the NLB ‘acted swiftly’ in responding to proceedings instituted by NGO, Molteno Language and Literacy Institute.

The organisation had its grant withdrawn last year, barely a month after it was awarded.

Parliament Under Press Over CGE Nominations

Pressure is mounting on Parliament to reconsider the selection of commissioners for the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE).

The Democratic Alliance says it will write to the speaker of Parliament, Max Sisulu, to request that the ad hoc committee tasked with filling positions on the commission reconvene and reconsider its nomination of Janine Hicks and Ndileka Loyilane as commissioners.

NGO Approaches Court Over Lotto

The North Gauteng High Court is being asked to force the National Lotteries Board (NLB) to honour a R20.4 million grant that it withdrew barely a month after awarding.

According to a press release by Adams and Adams, papers have been lodged demanding the setting aside of the decision to withdraw the grant made to the Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy.

Learners Prefer English at Schools – NGO

The South Africa Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) says that more than 60 percent of South African pupils choose English for learning and teaching.

SAIRR researcher, Jonathan Snyman, points out that, "The majority of pupils are taught in African languages at the foundation phase, but switch to either English or Afrikaans as their language of learning and teaching from as early as Grade Four."

The Institute states that this is despite the fact that only seven percent of the country's pupils (852 000 out of 12.2 million) spoke English at home.

Fellowship Targets Young Learners

The Allan Gray Orbis Foundation is offering South Africa’s brightest young minds a head-start in life through its Allan Gray Fellowship Programme.

The initiative aims to develop students, known as Allan Gray Fellows, into SA’s future high growth entrepreneurial leaders and includes comprehensive financial support as one of its benefits.

Secrecy Bill Hearings Move to Bloemfontein

Public hearings on the Protection of State Information Bill (Secrecy Bill) are scheduled to continue in Bloemfontein in the Free State.

Organised by a Parliamentary ad hoc committee, the hearings have already taken place in Gugulethu and Thembalethu in the Western Cape and in Mthatha and Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.

In the same vein, committee chairperson, Raseriti Tau, came under fire from opposition parties and activists who said the hearings have been manipulated to mislead the public and manufacture support for the contested draft law.

Staff Memo Rocks Lotto

A memo by National Lotteries Board senior staff claims that former chief executive, Vevek Ram, received pay from a lottery beneficiary with the full knowledge of the board and worked as CEO for 12 years without an employment contract.

The memo from a key national lottery funding committee lifts the lid on new allegations of corruption, incompetence and illegality in the organisation that controls about R3 billion in payouts annually.

South African Democracy Slipping – SAIRR

The South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) says that key indicators of democracy in South Africa have slipped since 2008.

SAIRR researcher, Georgina Alexander, points out that the survey, which is based on assessment of three international indexes, found that civil liberties have decreased.

Alexander says the falling scores could be attributed to issues such as media freedom and accountability of public officials.

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