South Africa

SA’s Population Passes 50 Million Mark

The Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) says that South Africa's population has passed the 50 million mark.

In its latest mid-year population estimates released this week, Stats SA estimates that the country's population has now reached 50.59 million people, based on the 2001 census.

The agency further states that the figures show a net growth rate of 1.1 percent, worked out using the birth rate, immigration, emigration, and the death rate.

Over 3m Test for HIV in Gauteng

The Gauteng Department of Health says that over three million people have tested for HIV in the province’s health facilities since the launch of the HIV counselling and testing (HCT) campaign in April 2010.

The department spokesperson, Simon Zwane, points out that, "As of 30 June 2011, 301 544 people tested for HIV in both public and private health institutions."

In the same vein, Zwane says the department had allocated R1.9 billion to the HIV/AIDS programme to increase the number of people on antiretroviral treatment to 520 000 by March 2012.

Govt Warned Over Informal Settlements

The Development Action Group (DAG) says that informal settlements in the country will never be completely eradicated.

The organisation believes that upgrading informal settlements is vital as government battles with its growing housing backlog.

The comments follow Western Cape human settlement MEC, Bonginkosi Madikizela’s announcement that all informal settlements in the province will be serviced with water, electricity and refuse removal by 2014.

Vodacom Slashes Broadband Prices

Mobile operator, Vodacom, has slashed its broadband standard data prices by up to 43 percent, a move that will see customers pay as little as 14c a megabyte.

Vodacom CEO, Pieter Uys, points out that, "We hope these price reductions will contribute to making the internet more affordable and give our customers an enhanced connected experience."

The company further says that in addition to the savings, all existing and new Vodacom contract customers will be given another allocation of the same size as the subscribed data bundle to use anytime between midnight and 5am.

New Broadband Packages for Cell C

Cell C is introducing new 10 gigabytes and 20 gigabytes broadband packages at rates as low as 3c/megabyte as South Africa’s broadband price war gathers in intensity.

From 1 August, the company will introduce a 10GB/month package, including a 7.2Mbit/s MyZone router or 21.6Mbit/s USB modem, for R499/month on contract for 12 months or R4 999 once-off on prepaid.

The new products come just weeks after 8ta, Telkom’s mobile operator, introduced a special offer of 10 gigabytes of data for R199/month, excluding modem.

SA Has 2.1m Housing Backlog - Sexwale

Human Settlements Minister, Tokyo Sexwale, says that South Africa has 12.5 million people who need shelter due to the housing backlog.

Speaking during the first day of the two-day human settlements youth summit at Durban, Sexwale points out that three million housing units have been given to mainly poor South Africans since 1994.

Human Settlements Vision 2030, said Sexwale, is aimed at creating integrated community settlements encompassing facilities and amenities like schools and hospitals.

Mandela Foundation Mourns Bregman’s Death

The Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) extended condolences to the next of kin of Nat Bregman, a attorney whom the former President Nelson Mandela, once described as his first ‘white friend’.

The NMF says that in a recent interview with the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, Bregman recalled how at the time he was a member of the Communist Party of South Africa and invited Mandela to attend ‘mixed parties’ with him, something which impressed Mandela.

Strike Action: Young People Could Lose Jobs

The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) young adults who have just entered the job market will suffer from the recent wave of strikes.

The NYDA fears that strikes over salary increase in the engineering, metal and fuel sectors may lead to job losses in the near future.

NYDA's Stieneke Samuel, who argues that young people are the core for the economy, states that businesses are currently counting their losses.

Samuel explains that revenue losses translate into job losses, adding that when job losses come, they start with the young people.

SA NGO Distributes Food to Starving Somalians

South African aid NGO, Gift of the Givers, has started distributing high energy nutrition packages to starving Somalians.

Gift of the Givers doctor, Imtiaz Sooliman, describes the situation in Somalia as dire, adding that, “What I saw there is extremely horrifying, children that are two-years-old are looking tender and smaller than kids that are three-months-old.”

The United Nations has also declared a famine in Southern Somalia, the region’s worst drought in 60 years.

Sooliman is appealing South African citizens for help through donations.

Govt Urged to Fast Tract Torture Bill

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has urged the justice department to fast track the combating of torture bill to comply with its international obligations and prohibit acts of torture.
 
In a press statement, SAHRC Vincent Moaga, points out that, "Currently, the act of torture is not a recognised statutory crime in South Africa."
 
Moaga maintains that torture legislation is needed for the criminal justice system to be able deal more effectively with acts of torture.
 

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