South Africa

23 November Declared ‘Black Wednesday’

The National Press Club (NPC) has called on South Africans to wear black on 23 November 2011, in protest against the controversial Protection of [State] Information Bill (Secrecy Bill).

The club chairperson, Yusuf Abramjee, points out that the Bill poses serious threat to South Africa’s 17-year democracy, adds that, “...we are again facing censorship.

Abramjee, who argues that the Bill threatens freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of the media, further calls on all South Africans to stand up now and raise their voice.

Shelters Will Not Accept ‘Party Babies’

The Door of Hope, a Johannesburg-based haven for desperate mothers, has issued a stern warning that all children who are left with them during this festive season will be put up for adoption.

The centre manager, Francina Mphago, points out that the centre can only help desperate mothers who do not want to be parents or cannot take care of their babies and not those who ‘just’ want to have fun for a certain period without worrying about a child at home.

16 Days to Focus on Plight of Lesbians

The Department of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities says that this year’s 16 Days of Activism on Violence Against Women and Children will cover challenges faced by lesbian women, including 'corrective rape'.
Minister Lulu Xingwana, who highlighted that this year’s campaign will cover challenges of attacks on lesbian women, pointed out that, “We’ll seek to raise community awareness about the need to address so-called corrective rape and murder of lesbian women.”

Govt, Stakeholders Sign Green Accord

Government, labour, business and civil society have joined forces to foster a low carbon economy.
They co-signed the so-called Green Accord, committing to a range of measures combating climate change, this in preparation for the upcoming COP 17 conference.
Congress of South African Trade Unions general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, says the agreement signed today commits to making a contribution of about 300 000 jobs that will be created in the Green Economy in the country in the next decade.

Climate Change Threatens Rivers – Experts

Experts have warned that climate change is likely to lead to increased average rainfall in the world's major river basins but weather patterns will be fickle and the timing of wet seasons may change, threatening farming and food stocks.

The International Centre for Tropical Agriculture’s Simon Cook, points out that, "In some parts of the Limpopo even widespread adoption of innovations like drip irrigation may not be enough to overcome the negative effects of climate change on water availability."

SA Wage Costs Blamed for Job Losses

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says that high labour costs carried more blame for South Africa's decline in exports than the strong rand.

IMF deputy director for Africa, Abebe Aemro Selassie, points out that on the whole, it is labour cost rather than rand appreciation that has contributed to the loss of competitiveness.

Briefing Parliament's portfolio committee on finance, Selassie argued, "One of the features of the labour market that we think has aggravated the scale of job losses is that you have had wage increases well ahead of productivity increases.”

De Klerk Queries Census Race Question

Former President FW de Klerk has questioned why racial classification is still needed for Census 2011.

De Klerk says that the information gathered should not be misused to reinstitute race in South Africa, adding that the has arrived for South Africans to put aside race and work together irrespective of their race or colour.

He pointed out that unlike fully transformed states, South Africa need to improve the quality of delivery to everyone.

US$4.9m Donation for a University Project

A University of Stellenbosch project in partnership with nine African institutions has received US$4.9 million from the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) to help Africa deal with natural disasters on its own.

As rapid urbanisation and increased exposure to climate change place more people on the continent at risk of disaster, the four-year ‘Partners Enhancing Resilience to People Exposed to Risks’ programme, launched this week, will apply disaster expertise to develop African resources and combat risk.

Possible Secrecy Bill Clause Welcomed

The South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) has welcomed the possible inclusion of a public interest defence in the Protection of State Information Bill.

SANEF chairperson, Mondli Makhanya says that his organisation looks forward to further progress in ensuring that this bill is a democratic instrument for the management of sensitive information, rather than a tool to suppress the free exchange of information and ideas that is central to our constitutional dispensation.

GCSRI Launched in Johannesburg

The University of the Witwatersrand has launched the Wits Global Change and Sustainability Research Institute (GCSRI) in Johannesburg.

The R28-million Institute aims to tackle problems related to global change, climate change and sustainability in a revolutionary, multi-disciplinary manner.


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