South Africa

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.

New Malemas Will Emerge - SAIRR

The South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) says that it would be a mistake to see the suspension of African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema as the end of political radicalism.

SAIRR spokesperson, Catherine Schulze, points out that, "Inevitably, if the country is not able to sustain significantly higher levels of economic growth, new Malemas will come to the fore either inside or outside the ANC."

Zuma Welcomes National Development Plan

President Jacob Zuma has applauded the country's first National Development Plan, which is aimed at making better life for all by eliminating poverty and reducing inequality by 2030.

In receiving the plan, Zuma commended the National Planning Commission for putting the elimination of poverty and reduction of inequality at the heart of their plan.

US$250m Renewable Energy Loan for SA

Power utility Eskom has signed a US$250 million (about R1.9 billion) loan that will finance the building of South Africa's largest solar energy and wind power generation projects.

Signing the guarantee, Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, said South Africa has a huge comparative advantage when it comes to solar power generation.

The 40-year loan, signed in Pretoria, will help finance the building of a 100 megawatt solar power plant near Upington and the 100 megawatt Sere wind farm near Vredendal in the Western Cape.

SA Ecosystems Threatened: Mabudafhasi

The Department of Water and Environmental Affairs has warned that over half of South Africa's river and wetlands ecosystems are threatened.

Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi points out that, "Deterioration in the health of ecosystems negatively impacts on their ability to continue providing these beneficial ecosystem services."

In a speech prepared for delivery at the launch of the Atlas of Freshwater Ecosystem Priority Areas in Pretoria, Mabudafhasi stated that there is no doubt that South Africa's freshwater ecosystems are under increasing pressure.

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