South Africa

NGO Criticises Govt Over Dalai Lama

The Desmond Tutu Peace Centre says the way the South African government has responded to the Dalai Lama’s visa application is ‘disrespectful’.

The Centre has quoted Tutu as saying in an interview this is “reminiscent of the way authorities dealt with applications by black South Africans for travel documents under apartheid.”

Social Workers Urged to Put ‘People First’

The Department of Social Development says a shortage of social workers should not hamper the delivery of services.

Social Development Minister, Bathabile Dlamini, points out that in the light of shortage of social workers in South Africa, government must find creative ways of reaching out to people with the human resources that it currently has at its disposal.

Dlamini also called on social workers to embrace child and youth community workers, adding that there is no need to feel threatened by them because they make the jobs of social workers easier.

Govt Fails to Inform the People: SAHRC

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says that fewer than half of government departments comply with the constitutional right of citizens to access information.

SAHRC deputy CEO, Naledzani Mukwevho, points out that local governments and municipalities in particular are erring by not being transparent.

Mukwevho states that under 50 percent of all government departments are not complying with the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA).

Call for a Unified Climate Change Policy

Greenpeace Africa says that the implementation of a unified climate change policy across all of South Africa's government departments will not be easy as the divisions currently work largely as separate entities.

Climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace Africa, Ferrial Adam, argues that currently South Africa's government departments are pursuing their own goals and any shared policy will have to bridge the divide between them.

WWF Urges Action on Climate Change

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) says that climate change is affecting society and actions we take now could have an effect on the severity of global warming.

WWF climate change programme manager, Richard Worthington, points out that, "The actions we take now will have a profound effect on the climate system going forward."

Worthington states that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will cause continued global warming which will lead extreme weather events.

Loan Agreements for Wind Project

Eskom has signed two loan agreements totalling US$365 million with the African Development Bank, which will enable it to implement a renewable wind and solar generator.

In a press statement, Eskom CEO, Brian Dames, points out that, "We are committed to a cleaner energy future and we now have the capability to implement our large-scale wind and solar generation projects.”

The loan will go towards financing Eskom's 100MW Sere Wind Project in Vredendal, Western Cape.

NMF Mourns the Passing of Maathai

The Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) says Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, left a lasting legacy in raising environmental awareness.

NMF CEO, Achmat Dangor, points out that, "She [Maathai] has left a lasting legacy in greater awareness and work in protecting our environment and the world."

Dangor states that he was honoured to have Maathai, then Deputy Minister of Environment in Kenya, deliver the annual Nelson Mandela lecture in 2005.

NHI to Reduce Spending, Says HSRC

The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) says that once National Health Insurance is in place it will help reduce health spending from 8.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to 6.2 percent as the overall population will become healthier and more productive.

HSRC chief executive officer, Olive Shisana, said the bulk of the money, about R120 billion, needed to establish the National Health Insurance (NHI) is already in place and that it is only the next R5 billion that is required.

Informal Settlements Growing – HSRC Report

A report by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) shows that one in four households in South Africa are located in informal settlements.

The 2011 State of South African Cities Report revealed that local government are struggling with an increased number of people moving into informal homes.

The report shows 25 percent of South African households can be classified as informal housing, adding that a fifth to a quarter of the urban population live in townships.

Urbanisation Difficult to Manage, Says SACN

The South African Cities Network (SACN) has warned that urbanisation is becoming increasingly difficult to manage as municipalities restrict new informal settlements.

SACN senior researcher, Ivan Turok, says that populations around cities are becoming increasingly dense.

Turok maintains that, "The effect of the restriction is that you squeeze people into the existing settlements and then you have the backyard shack phenomenon. The effect has created some very difficult environments for people to live in."

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