South Africa

Call for Nuclear-Free Power Mix, Big Renewable Scale-Up

Environmental NGO, Greenpeace International, has called on the South African government to make ‘bold and courageous’ energy choices, to ensure a cleaner energy future without any additional nuclear and coal-fired power, after construction of the Medupi power station.

In its report titled ‘The advanced energy [R]evolution – A Sustainable Energy Outlook for South Africa’, the organisation warns that this would require a much more ambitious renewable-energy policy.

Court Postpones Qwelane’s SAHRC Case

The Equality Court in Johannesburg has postponed judgment in a case between the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and former Sunday Sun columnist, Jon Qwelane.

SAHRC spokesperson, Vincent Moaga, points out that, "This is due to the unavailability of the presiding officer on 27 May, [the date court was supposed to have handed down judgment].

Moaga states that the SAHRC instituted the court proceedings in terms of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act.

Meanwhile, judgment will now be handed down on 31 May.

Call for Apartheid Victims to be Compensated

Apartheid victims have demanded that the state honour its reparations obligations to everyone and not just those identified by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

In a briefing in Johannesburg, the South African Coalition for Transitional Justice (SACTJ) states that, "We reject regulations which fail to provide the full gambit of reparations needed... as a result of apartheid atrocities."

Activists Launches New Campaign to Counter Secrecy Bill

Rights campaigners have announced that they will mobilise poor communities in a revived campaign to prevent the African National Congress (ANC) from ramming the Protection of Information Bill through Parliament.

In a press statement, Right2Know campaign, points out that the ANC position on the Secrecy Bill has hardened.” As a result, its MPs have reneged on a number of concessions made in recent months to reduce the bill's powers.”

Increase in Calls to SADAG

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) says that there has been a 'massive' increase in calls to its office due to an increase in awareness about mental illness.

SADAG project manager, Roshni Parbhoo-Seetha, states that, "Last year, there were about 100 calls coming into our call centre a day and this year it's about 400 calls coming in a day."

Parbhoo-Seetha attributes this to not only an increase in problems, but to an increase in talking about problems such as job losses, debt and mental disorders.

Petersen: SASSA Revises Systems

Government’s social grants agency, South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) is working on various projects to tighten up their systems in order to deal with potential fraudsters.

SASSA chief executive, Virginia Petersen, told the National Press Club in Pretoria that they are busy with forensic and information technology audits to identify weaknesses in their system.

Meanwhile, thousands of fraudsters who were caught through the Special Investigation Unit’s probe have agreed to pay back the money.

Fracking Opens Deep Divisions

The issue fracking goes down to the public's lack of trust in large corporations and the government, according to Dr Anthony Turton, a professor at the Centre for Environmental Management at the University of the Free State.

Speaking at a debate hosted by the Johannesburg Press Club and EE Publishers this week, Turton pointed out that, "If Shell hadn't engaged the way they did, this wouldn't have happened. It's in a part of the country that is highly water constrained. It may have a small population but it is a population of people not dependent on the government."

Plan to Establish Asylum Reception Centres

The Department of Home Affairs says plans are underway to establish asylum reception centres on the country's borders amid complaints that those close to business areas are a nuisance and irritating.

The department’s director-general, Mkuseli Apleni, states that this would also ensure that fewer foreigners entered the country.

The department was recently ordered to relocate a reception centre in Crown Mines, Johannesburg, after the business community went to court claiming the large presence of refugees rendered conditions intolerable for business.

Municipality’s Plan to Demolish Houses Criticised

Residents of Manini near Thohoyandou have condemned plans by the Thulamela Local Municipality to demolish 28 houses to pave the way for a road that passes through the village.

The residents argue that the municipality refuses to compensate the affected families.

Mulalo Mukondeleli, of one of the 28 affected families, says that she is disappointed by the demolition, adding that, "We are not against the development of a tarred road but we need the municipality to get a site and build our houses as happened during the construction of the Nandoni Dam."

NGO Warns Over Hostility Towards the Media

The South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF) has demanded drastic disciplinary action against an African National Congress (ANC) Eastern Cape regional chairperson who called for burning down a local newspaper office.

In a press statement, SANEF points out that it is deeply shocked and concerned at the reported attempt by ANC’s Nceba Faku to incite the party supporters to attack and burn down the offices of the Herald newspaper in the city.

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