South Africa

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.

Minister Teaches Children About Climate

Government's failure to mitigate climate change could result in children bearing the brunt of global warming in the future.

This came out when Women, Children and People with Disabilities Minister, Lulu Xingwana, was speaking during the annual Children's Day celebration.

Xingwana, who used the day to familiarise children with the effects of climate change, justified why it is important to inculcate a tradition of preserving earth among the young.

NGOs Welcome US Chairmanship of Kimberley Process

The United States will assume the Kimberley chair in January, serving for one year, and South Africa will step into the chair at the beginning of 2013, ensuring certain continuity to leadership of the group.

NGOs involved in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme have hailed the watchdog group's decision late last week to vote the United States into the vacant position of vice chair, a stepping stone to the chair itself in 2012.

Greenpeace Activists Arrested in Kusile Station

Three Greenpeace activists been arrested at the construction site of the Kusile Power Station in Emalahleni, Mpumalanga, after scaling a crane.

Greenpeace spokesperson, Fiona Musana, says that the three have been charged with forced entry.

Six activists gained entry to the site on 7 November 2011 at about 10am and climbed a crane. They were protesting against South Africa’s reliance on the burning of coal to generate electricity, which emits greenhouse gases.

South Africans Urged to Vote for Table Mountain

The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory has urged people to vote for Table Mountain to be one of the world's new seven natural wonders.

The centre’s chief executive, Achmat Dangor, points out that, "The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, supports the call to vote for Table Mountain to become one of the new Seven Wonders of Nature."

Dangor appeals to all South Africans to support this call, which will benefit the country as a whole.

South Africa Urged to Grow Entrepreneurs

The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) says that focus on employment equity and wealth distribution has to shift to entrepreneurship and value creation if the economy is to grow.

The focus on employment equity and wealth distribution had to shift to entrepreneurship and value creation if the economy was to grow and create 500 000 jobs to satisfy the objectives of the New Growth Path.

The bank's comments are an admission that many government initiatives to broaden the economy, improve education and foster entrepreneurship, have failed.

City of Cape Town Honours Anti-Apartheid MP

A Cape Town boulevard has been officially renamed after the late anti-apartheid MP Helen Suzman at a ceremony in the city.

City mayor, Patricia de Lille, who remembered Suzman's contribution to the fight against apartheid, pointed out that, "Today we rename Western Boulevard after one of the greatest stalwarts of the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa, Helen Suzman."

De Lille says Suzman, who was born 94 years ago, stood firm in her fight to end racially oppressive tyranny despite 'intimidation, slights, threats and many other challenges'.

Lungisa Rejects Criticism Against NYDA

The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) has reacted angrily to calls for the organisation to be disbanded.

NYDA chairperson, Andile Lungisa, points out that, "It smacks of mischief to claim that an institution that has existed for just over two years has failed."

The reaction comes after the call by the Inkatha Freedom Party Youth Brigade and the Congress of the People Youth Movement leaders for the NYDA to be replaced by a youth ministry.

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