South Africa

Govt to Study Qwelane’s Hate Speech Judgement

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation says that it will study the Johannesburg Equality Court judgment in the hate speech case against High Commissioner to Uganda, Jon Qwelane.

The court held that statements made by Qwelane in 2008 in his ‘JQ’ column in the Sunday Sun newspaper, propagate hatred and harm against homosexuals.

The court said the contents of the article amounted to hate speech and ordered Qwelane to pay R100 000 to the South African Human Rights Commission, to be used to raise awareness on gay and lesbian rights.

Call to Establish Inspectorate for Social Assistance

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says the establishment of an Inspectorate for Social Assistance will enable the South African Social Security Agency to better assist impoverished South Africans.

DA social development spokesperson, Patricia Kopane, points out that, "The DA believes that the introduction of a robust Inspectorate is of the utmost priority if the mismanagement and corruption that is rampant in [South African Social Security Agency] SASSA is to be abated."

Kassrils Warns Against Rushing Information Bill

Former Intelligence Minister, Ronnie Kassrils, says the rush to complete the Protection of Information Bill by the parliamentary committee is worrying and will lead to huge problems and unnecessary tensions in the future.

Kasrils warns that the Bill will undermine the public trust in the intelligence and security services at a time when confidence needs to be built.

COSATU Warns ANC Over Information Bill

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has written to the African National Congress (ANC) warning that if changes are not made to the Protection of Information Bill, it will take the matter to the Constitutional Court.

In a press statement, COSATU says that in its present form, the draft legislation is a threat to South Africans’ democratic right to be fully informed on matters of public interest.

SA Has 1.3 Maternal Orphans, Says Motsoaledi

Health Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, says South Africa has about 1.3 million maternal orphans.

Delivering his Budget Vote in Parliament, where he focused on maternal and child mortality, Motsoaledi said most mothers lost their lives while giving birth and with a high number being HIV positive.

"Remember that maternal mortality is not just death of a woman; it is death of a woman, because she dare fell pregnant! She becomes vulnerable to death because she is trying to bring new life to earth," he explained.

Information Bill Will Lead to ‘Super Ministry’

The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) says that the protection of information bill will make the state security ministry a ‘super ministry’ with the power to overlord all other organs of state.

In a press statement, HSF argues that if the Bill is to become law, State Security Minister, Siyabonga Cwele, would be able to lord over the normal functioning of the economy and its participants.

Donor Cuts to Hurt Africa’s Growth Plan - NGO

Sub-Saharan Africa has received nearly US$20 billion more in aid over the past decade, according to a new report from a United Kingdom-based NGO.

The report states that a rise in donors failing to honour their commitments looks set to hurt projects on the continent.

The anti-poverty group, set up by pop stars Bob Geldof and Bono, says aid had risen to US$19.628 billion, compared with a decrease of US$1.8 billion between 1990 and 2000.

IEC Sticks to its Confusing Tabulation of Results

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) sticking to its confusing tabulation of the results, which grants the African National Congress (ANC) 63.65 percent of the vote and 1.6 percentage points more than it got in the municipal elections.

At the same time, in official results presentations, the IEC used the figure of 62 percent support for the ANC, which political parties generally accept as the correct one.

The IEC has granted there is ‘confusion’ but has denied it helped to create the confusion, and continues to do so by highlighting the false 63,65 percent figure.

MSM Overlooked in HIV/AIDS Programming

The Desmond Tutu HIV Centre says South African men who have sex with men (MSM) are twice as likely to be HIV-positive as heterosexual men, but spending on research, prevention and treatment for this group remains low.

Addressing delegates at a conference on MSM and HIV in Cape Town, Desmond Tutu HIV Centre, deputy director, Linda-Gail Bekker said, “We see HIV incidence rates for MSM continue to increase in all studied countries; we must advocate for more research."

Call for Nuclear-Free Power Mix, Big Renewable Scale-Up

Environmental NGO, Greenpeace International, has called on the South African government to make ‘bold and courageous’ energy choices, to ensure a cleaner energy future without any additional nuclear and coal-fired power, after construction of the Medupi power station.

In its report titled ‘The advanced energy [R]evolution – A Sustainable Energy Outlook for South Africa’, the organisation warns that this would require a much more ambitious renewable-energy policy.

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