South Africa

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.”

NLB Urges NGOs to Produce Proof

The National Lotteries Board (NLB) has challenged NGOs and other organisations which protested at its offices to produce evidence of any corruption or irregularities at the board.

NLB chairperson, Alfred Nevhutanda, points out that, “We must be clear what the audit report they are calling for means, because we are a public entity and we are audited internally and by the Auditor-General (A-G).

Nevhutanda says that the A-G report highlighted many of factors but it never called for any forensic audit to be undertaken.

Minister Also to Blame for NLB Failure

The march by NGOs against the National Lotteries Board (NLB) showed the growing national anger over the way the NLB distributes our public funds, according to Shelagh Gastrow, one of the founders of Inyathelo, the South African Institute for Advancement.

Gastrow states that the lack of accountability and transparency over the way the lottery operates and its random decision making, poor management and inefficient administration is devastating the essential work of many wonderful NGOs in the country.

NLB to Act on Alleged Irregularities

The National Lotteries Board (NLB) has promised to investigate allegations of irregularities against it.

NLB Board chairperson, Alfred Nevhuthanda, promised corrective action after receiving a memorandum from hundreds of protesters against the NLB in Pretoria.

"We take allegations made in the media seriously -- claims of request(s) for bribes, losing information (about applicants), and irregular grants. Remedial action will be taken where needed," he explained.

NLB Blamed for NGO Closure

The National Lotteries Board (NLB) has inflicted a grave injustice on deserving organisations that are at the coalface of alleviating poverty and providing succour to the destitute, according to an article by Redi Thalbi.

Tlhabi states that various branches of Child Welfare, which provides assistance to 65 000 orphans and vulnerable children, have had applications denied owing to an ‘administrative error’.

World Economic Forum Gets Underway

President Jacob Zuma will use his first day at the World Economic Forum (WEF)'s annual meeting to push Africa's agenda, in Davos, Switzerland.

Zuma leads a powerful business and government delegation in need of new investment that can bolster growth, even as the International Monetary Fund downgraded South Africa's outlook to 2.5 percent.

Meanwhile, WEF founder, Klaus Schwab, has called for a new vision for the world economy.

Govt Pushes for Environmental Compliance

The Department of Environmental Affairs is amending the National Environmental Management Act so that it could take the same enforcement action against state-owned enterprises as it did against private companies.

The department states that the amendment will enable criminal prosecutions to be brought against organs of state, in line with the constitutional principle that all people and entities are equal before the law.

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