South Africa

Secrecy Bill May be Delayed – Mantashe

The African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, says the tabling of the Protection of Information Bill may be delayed.

Mantashe could not confirm news reports that the Bill will be withdrawn as a result of a decision taken at the ANC's weekend national executive committee meeting.

He says it is a ‘difficult bill’ and that the media and the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) are exaggerating it by calling it a ‘media bill’, adding that it is actually a ‘security bill’.

Right2Know Warns Against Secrecy Bill

With Parliament expected to pass the ‘Secrecy’ Bill into law this week, the Right2Know campaign has warned against a loophole that could see cabinet ministers getting wide powers to classify information.

Right2Know coordinator, Murray Hunter, describes the wide classification powers given to ministers under the Minimum Information Security Standards (MISS) as an abuse of power.

Hunter argues that, "Unfortunately, the new opt-in clause means these abuses of power are likely to continue once the new secrecy law is in place."

Renewable Energy to Create Jobs - Magubane

The Department of Energy says the procurement of renewable Independent Power Producers (IPP) will create jobs in rural areas.

The department’s director-general, Nelisiwe Magubane, points out that most of the renewable independent power producers will be in rural areas, where there is limited economic activity.

Magubane states that the IPP procurement programme is intended to promote sustainable growth, job creation and the renewable energy industry.

NGO Criticises UN-Sponsored Climate Talks

Earthlife Africa has labelled the United Nations-sponsored climate talks in Durban a failure as world leaders struggle to reach consensus on a binding climate treaty.

Cape Town branch coordinator for Earthlife Africa, Muna Lakhani, points out that, "We're of the opinion that COP17 has already failed.”

Lakhani argues that the most that is going to come out of COP17 is some global environmental fund or facility which is generally going to be a bad idea.

Municipalities Wasted R27bn, Says Report

Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, says that municipalities could have saved R27 billion in the previous financial year - that is R74 million per day by cutting down on unnecessary expenses.

Gordhan urged new council members to, “Cut down on non-essentials and get your planning, budgets, service delivery and bureaucracy right.”

Speaking at the launch of the Treasury’s latest financial municipal oversight report, Gordhan said that new council members have to “forget about fancy extras like brand new Mercedes-Benzes.”

NGO Denounces Sexist Advert

Mozambican women's and human rights organisations have denounced a sexist advertising campaign launched by the brewing company, Cervejas de Mocambique, and demanded that the offending adverts be removed.

The advertisements launch a new bottle for the company's dark beer, ‘Laurentina Preta’, and depict the image of the body of a woman, apparently dancing, but without head, arms or legs.

Census 2011 to Count Everyone

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) has made assurances that this year’s census will be the most comprehensive yet, and will offer unprecedented amounts of data to implement government policies.

Deputy director-general of population and social statistics, Kefiloe Masiteng, says Stats SA is ‘very confident’ the census will be successful in offering a clear measure of social deprivation in the country by reaching ‘almost every person’ this year.

Turnaround at SABC Still Needs Help

Communications Minister, Roy Padayachie, says he is not convinced that the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) turnaround strategy will solve its problems.

Padayachie points out that, "There is never a day when I wake up in the morning that there is not an SABC problem.”

He says that his department is determined to get the organisational structure and revenue streams right, while dealing with leadership issues and governance practice.

Call for Equitable Climate Deal

President Jacob Zuma says a climate change deal excluding finance, technology and capacity-building, will not be equitable.

Addressing 21 environment ministers, accompanied by negotiators and delegates from 43 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change member states in Pretoria, Zuma argued that the principle of equity must be addressed in the context of sustainable development.

Zuma said climate change is the most pressing sustainable development challenge, adding that COP17 presents an opportunity to shape the future global response to climate change.

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.


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