South Africa

SARCS Disaster Relief Gets Boost

The Taipei Liaison office has donated more than R500 000 to the South African Red Cross Society (SARCS) in aid of disaster relief.

SARCS acting secretary-general, Winnie Ndebele, says that the money will go to good use in their disaster relief initiative.

Ndebele points that, “When the floods took place in December last year, we made an appeal for financial assistance which would benefit the many affected by the floods,” she explains.

Fund for NGOs Participating in COP17

Government will establish a Participation Fund to substantially contribute to the costs incurred by civil society and NGOs in their preparations for COP17.

Environmental Affairs Minister, Edna Molewa, says the fund will help South African youth, women, rural communities, media and NGOs with preparations for the remaining pre-COP negotiations meetings taking place over the next two months.

NGOs and representatives of civil society have been vocal about declining donor support for technical and financial contributions in their efforts to deal with climate change.

Credit Police for Drop in Crime: ISS

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) says police and communities deserve credit for a decrease in the country's crime rate.

In a press statement, head of the ISS Crime and Justice Programme, Gareth Newham, points out that, "But what the statistics don't reveal is the grim reality of many serious and often hidden crimes such as domestic violence, child abuse, hate crimes and corruption."

Zuma 'Applying His Mind' on Mogoeng

President Jacob Zuma is ‘applying his mind’ on the possible appointment of Judge Mogoeng Mogoeng as South Africa's next chief justice, according to his spokesperson, Mac Maharaj.

However, Maharaj says that there is no timeframe for a public announcement on Zuma’s decision, as some NGOs kept up their campaign to not have Mogoeng appointed.

Secrecy Bill Closer to Becoming Law

The Protection of Information Bill came a step closer to becoming law as MPs adopted a final draft, despite opposition objections and threats of legal challenge.

The African National Congress (ANC) prevailed in the final vote on the contentious state Secrecy Bill with a comfortable majority, as it had in clause by clause deliberations.

NGO Criticises Secrecy Bill Changes

The Right2Know Campaign says that changes made to the Protection of Information Bill by lawmakers fail to deliver legislation befitting a democracy and called for drafting to resume from scratch.

The organisation points out that despite ‘emergency surgery’ by MPs over the past month, the bill still offered only scant protection for whistleblowers and none whatsoever for ordinary citizens or journalists who expose state secrets that reveal government wrongdoing.

SAHRC Concerned About Social Media

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has expressed concern about the unregulated nature of communication activity on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and others.

In a press statement, SAHRC chairperson, Lawrence Mushwana, points out that the current environment where there are no regulatory mechanisms to fully subject, among others, user-registration to the relevant legislative provisions, has resulted in users of these sites engaging in acts of hate speech or other human rights violations.

Call for Law to Deal With Hate Crimes

South Africa should urgently promulgate legislation to deal specifically with hate crimes, although the fight against hate crime should be a multifaceted one that should also strive to change the mind-set of perpetrators.

In his report after visiting South Africa earlier this year, Jorge Bustamante, United Nations special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, encouraged the government to introduce a hate crime bill urgently.

SA’s Digital TV Plan on Track

Parliament heard that most of South Africa’s population should have digital terrestrial television by March.

Presenting Sentech’s quarterly report, Parliament’s communications portfolio committee CEO Setumo Mohapi said projections showed that by March, "We will have reached 74 percent population coverage".

He said the estimated period to cover the remaining 14 percent had been affected by the need to ensure the supply chain functions worked at all levels of the government.


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