South Africa

Some Kyoto Agreement Crucial: Molewa

The Department of Water and Environmental Affairs says that some agreement to extend the Kyoto Protocol has to come out of the COP17 climate change talks in Durban.

Environment Minister, Edna Molewa, has been quoted in the media as saying that, "We do believe that... we will have to have some form of an agreement on the second period of the Kyoto Protocol."

Molewa added that, "Even if we don't have a legally-binding agreement in [Durban] now, or next year, or the next, actions must be taken. In other words, we can't mark time."

Social Grants Not Sustainable – Zuma

President Jacob Zuma has warned that government cannot afford to ‘indefinitely’ pay social grants to people who are not elderly and who have no physical defects.

Speaking at a business question-and-answer session in Cape Town this week, Zuma also urged the South African taxpayers to focus on developing the country rather than on feeding the poor.

He argued that South Africa had to develop programmes to reach a stage where it reduced the number of people who received social grants and balanced it with those who were taxpayers.

Call for More Talks on the Info Bill

Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe, has urged political parties to continue seeking common ground on the Protection of State Information Bill (Secrecy Bill).

During question time in the National Assembly, Motlanthe was asked for an assurance that, given the adoption of the Bill, the process of procuring proposed new nuclear power stations would be open and transparent.

TAC Faces Closure Over Lack of Funds

AIDS lobby group, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), faces possible closure in January 2012 because of a lack of funds.

In a press statement, the TAC points out that as a grant-funded NGO, it cannot afford to run a deficit.

It says that, “...besides the fact that over 230 activist organisers will lose their income, the closure of TAC would be a setback for South African democracy."

Turok’s ‘Secrecy Bill’ Stance Explained

African National Congress (ANC) MP, Ben Turok, one of the ruling party's members who did not vote for the Protection of State Information Bill (Secrecy Bill), has explained his stand.

Turok says there have been many amendments to the Bill and that many MPs do not understand the latest version.

"What alarms me is that different people are placing different interpretations on this legislation. I think we should go forward and take more time and ensure that we all have the same understanding of the purpose of the Bill,” he argues.

Tech Partnership Means pMailer Free to NGOs

Prefix Technologies will make its industry-leading bulk email communication software, pMailer, available to South African NGOs via SANGOTeCH, a technology donation and discount portal created by TechSoup Global and the Southern African NGO Network (SANGONeT).

Prefix Technologies managing director, Walter Penfold, points out that by participating in the SANGOTeCH programme, the company aims to give NGOs a tool that will help them overcome serious communication challenges faced by many of these cash-strapped organisations.

Top SA Award for Veteran Academic

Professor Leon de Kock, from the English Department at Stellenbosch University, has scooped a South African literary award in the category of literary translation.

De Kock will receive a trophy and certificate at the official South African Literary Awards ceremony to be held on 8 December 2011 as well as a cash prize of R30 000.

Motlanthe Defends SA Labour Laws

Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe, has defended the country's labour laws, saying they are not the main stumbling block to job creation.

Motlanthe, who is being touted as a possible successor to President Jacob Zuma in 2014, was addressing academics and business executives at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS).

Poverty Blamed for Children’s Death

Research by the Chronic Poverty Research Centre has described poverty as the single most important issue facing South Africa more than 15 years into democracy.

In its 2010 research document, the centre points out that there is a consensus among most economic and political analysts that approximately 40 percent of South Africans are living in poverty.

The organisation, argues that the poorest 15 percent in a desperate struggle to survive, adds that, “Job creation should be put at the centre of global efforts to halve extreme poverty by 2015.”

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.

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