South Africa

US$4.9m Donation for a University Project

A University of Stellenbosch project in partnership with nine African institutions has received US$4.9 million from the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) to help Africa deal with natural disasters on its own.

As rapid urbanisation and increased exposure to climate change place more people on the continent at risk of disaster, the four-year ‘Partners Enhancing Resilience to People Exposed to Risks’ programme, launched this week, will apply disaster expertise to develop African resources and combat risk.

Possible Secrecy Bill Clause Welcomed

The South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) has welcomed the possible inclusion of a public interest defence in the Protection of State Information Bill.

SANEF chairperson, Mondli Makhanya says that his organisation looks forward to further progress in ensuring that this bill is a democratic instrument for the management of sensitive information, rather than a tool to suppress the free exchange of information and ideas that is central to our constitutional dispensation.

GCSRI Launched in Johannesburg

The University of the Witwatersrand has launched the Wits Global Change and Sustainability Research Institute (GCSRI) in Johannesburg.

The R28-million Institute aims to tackle problems related to global change, climate change and sustainability in a revolutionary, multi-disciplinary manner.

New Malemas Will Emerge - SAIRR

The South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) says that it would be a mistake to see the suspension of African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema as the end of political radicalism.

SAIRR spokesperson, Catherine Schulze, points out that, "Inevitably, if the country is not able to sustain significantly higher levels of economic growth, new Malemas will come to the fore either inside or outside the ANC."

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.


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