South Africa

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.

Call for Policy Framework on Energy

Tongaat Hulett says small-scale farmers would have a better chance of succeeding if the government finalised the regulatory framework enabling independent players to get into the generation of energy, including electricity and biofuels.

Tongaat Hulett chief executive officer, Peter Staude, has warned that the slow pace of consolidating the policy framework for electricity co-generation as well as the biofuels sector is frustrating the industry.

Presidency Uses Social Media Ahead of SoNA

The Presidency says that President Jacob Zuma will use social media to find out what is troubling South Africans ahead of his State of the Nation address on 9 February 2012.

In a press statement, it says that this year, his social networking has expanded to include Facebook, Twitter and e-mail.

Last year, Zuma used Facebook to encourage ordinary citizens to speak directly to him and to highlight the needs of communities.

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.

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