South Africa

Implementing UN Resolutions Key to Fight HIV/AIDS

Health Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, says the country needs to implement all of the resolution taken by the United Nations in relation to HIV/AIDS if it is to win the fight against the pandemic.
Motsoaledi, who was in the rural village of Mafefe, Limpopo, during the launch of a rural counselling and testing campaign, announced that his department has partnered with traditional leaders to try and get rural communities to test for HIV/AIDS.

SACC: Not All Citizens Are Equal

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) says the protection of members of authority in South Africa is creating the impression that not all citizens are equal.
SACC general secretary, Mautji Pataki, points out that, "[We] are deeply concerned about the apparently high-handed manner in which the highest authorities in the land behave, for example ... the appointment and protection of certain public officials such as the Chief Justice, certain Cabinet ministers ..."

NMF Hosts Talks on Secrecy Bill

The Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) has hosted talks between government officials, civil society, intelligence agents and academics on the Protection of Information Bill.
NMF spokesperson, Sello Hatang, points out that, "We felt that there has not been enough talking and listening when it comes to this issue."
Hatang states that, “I think there is broad consensus that we need an act of Parliament to protect state information, but we also need to look at what kind of state we want."

SANAC Under Spotlight at AIDS Conference

9 June 2011 marks the third day of the fifth South African AIDS Conference, taking place in Durban.

During the second day of the conference, it emerged that the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), an organisation representing about 18 civil society sectors on HIV/AIDS, is dysfunctional and needs to be reconstituted.

SANAC deputy chairperson, Mark Heywood, says at its current state, the council will not do justice to the work it has been tasked with, that of formulating the new National Strategic Plan for the next five years.

11m South Africans Tested for HIV

Health Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, says that since the launch of government's HIV, counselling and testing campaign in 2010, 11.9 million people have tested, with the figure growing every month.

Presenting the department's R25 731 554 billion budget for the year 2011/12 to Parliament, Motsoaledi said in taking the campaign further, the department, together with the House of Traditional Leaders and CONTRALESA, will on 12 June 2011, launch the massive HCT campaign at Mafefe village in Limpopo.

Johannesburg’s Only Refugee Centre Closes

The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CORMSA) says that Johannesburg's only centre for asylum seekers and refugees will be closed after local businesses won a court application against the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).

CORMSA director, Sicel'mpilo Shange-Buthane, points out that, "The outcome of the court case is ... disappointing because we feel DHA could have more strongly made out a case which argued for the rights of asylum seekers to receive services in proximity to the areas in which they reside."

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.


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