South Africa

15.2m South Africans Receive Social Grants

The National Treasury says that social welfare grants now support about 15.2 million South Africans.

Tabling its 2011 medium-term budget policy statement in the National Assembly, the department said that, "Social assistance and welfare services are effective redistributive and poverty-reduction measures that have expanded considerably over the past decade."

The document says the social security system needs to become more efficient, ensuring the effective use of funds and providing better services.

NGOs Call for Municipalities to Fight Corruption

The South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty say corruption and a lack of legislated decision-making powers are the biggest obstacles to improving local government.

The two organisations say corruption, along with municipalities’ lack of legislated decision-making powers, are the largest obstacles to the improvement of local government in the country.

Farmers Urged to Invest in Equipment

Marthinus Loock, senior manager of Agri Business at Standard Bank, has urged farmers to increase focus on buying new equipment to survive the volatility of the agricultural market.

Loock says that the increase in tractor sales this year indicated that farmers are capitalising on what has been an extremely favourable situation triggered by a combination of the strong rand, a low interest environment, and improved commodity prices.

Over 760 000 Tested for HIV at New Start Centres

Reputed to be South Africa's largest NGO HIV counselling and testing (HCT) network, New Start, has continued to make significant strides in the country's HCT efforts, with more than 760 000 having received HCT services at its centres around the country since the programme was launched in 2004.
Scott Billy, the country director of Society for Family Health, which runs the New Start programme, points out that the organisation is proud of the contribution that it has been making in HIV counselling and testing.

COP17 Urged to Decide on Kyoto Follow-Up

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation says the decisions need to be made on a follow-up to the Kyoto Protocol to reduce gas emissions when the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) meets in Durban next month.
Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, points out that, "There is... a need to find a way forward on the 2nd Commitment Period under the Kyoto Protocol and agreeing on concluding a future multilateral rules-based system."

ISS Criticises Zuma Over New Police Commissioner

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has slammed President Jacob Zuma's decision to appoint a relatively junior officer to fill in for National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele pending the outcome of an inquiry.
The criticism comes after Zuma announced the immediate suspension of Cele over after allegations of wrongdoing around the police lease deals and the decision to appoint Major General, Nhlanhla Sibusiso Mkhwanazi, to fill Cele’s shoes in the interim.

NGO Commends Zuma Over Dismissed Ministers

The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) has applauded President Jacob Zuma’s dismissal of Gwen Mahlangu Nkabinde and Sicelo Shiceka from Cabinet

The organisation states that it believes that Zuma has acted appropriately in responding to the reports of the Public Protector regarding the misdemeanours by these two former Ministers.

SA Announces Climate Change Policy

The Department of Water and Environmental Affairs has announced government's ground-breaking National Climate Change Response Policy.

Minister Edna Molewa says that like other countries, the greatest threat to South Africa's sustainable development, economic growth and quality of life hinged largely on the impacts of climate change.

Molewa says that the policy confirms that climate change "is already a measurable reality, and along with other developing countries, South Africa is especially vulnerable to its impacts."

SANEF: Another ‘Black Wednesday’ Unlikely

The South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) says it is unlikely that the media will ever be gagged again as they were by the apartheid regime.

Speaking at a function to commemorate 34 years since the National Party government banned black consciousness organisations and jailed journalists, SANEF chairperson, Mondli Makhanya, pointed out that, "Today we are far, far away from that time and we never want to go back."


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