The pessimist in us all waited with baited breath to criticise the Finance Minister and point fingers at the lack of response towards social and economic drivers stifling the growth of South Africa and its future aka our young people. However, the 2010 budget speech by Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, presented what seems like a good balance between economic development imperatives and social services. This not only made the pessimist take a backseat as we listened in anticipation, but caught the attention of at least every NGO, NPO and company striving to uplift the country.
By all accounts, the first fully-fledged budget presentation by the new Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, was a balanced affair – meaning that it was sufficiently pleasing to a sufficient number of organised interest groups, especially those groups with the capacity and potential to undermine the ability of the government to pursue its programmes.
The debate on Corporate Social Investment (CSI) continues to raise the issue of where the line is between the responsibilities of government and the role business can play through voluntary social contributions in socio-economic development.
12 February 2010
Should the World Bank grant a US$3.75 billion (R28.125 bn) loan to Eskom when the Bank Board meets on March 24? No. We South African and African organisations which for years have advocated social and environmental justice here and abroad, oppose Eskom’s proposed Bank loan – and indeed its new construction programme more generally, for several reasons.
The Department of Social Development in the Western Cape will fund fewer NGOs in the coming financial year. This was announced by MEC Ivan Meyer.
Meyer says one-thousand-eight-hundred NGOs and NPOs have been audited to determine which of them have provided the best quality service to people in the province.
"Given that our current economic circumstances force us to do more with less, this government intends to empower the best NGO and NPO bodies to further improve and expand their services to the people of this province," says Meyer.
This past year has been a tough one for all in South Africa but we have survived albeit battered and bruised. The 2010 Soccer World Cup is only a few months away and there are signs that the economy is picking up and a positive spirit is responding to this stimulus.
CSI will stay flat
Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria have declared that they reject the perpetration of lawlessness by a clique and decried suggestions of take-over of power by the armed forces following the continued absence of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua on medical grounds.
They point out that, "We note the vacuum created in the day-to-day running of government due to the president's failure to transmit powers to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan as constitutionally stipulated.
The Network on Population and Development Issues (NPDI) has described as worrisome the erroneous impression of some people about the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the use of population to address some critical issues on women’s health in the African continent.
In a recent press statement, NPDI expressed regrets that some writers do not understand the role played by UNFPA in the use of population to address the poor state of maternal health, stressing that it can no longer continue to fold its arms while most people hold on to such misconception.
The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) has called on Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders to send a monitoring force into Zimbabwe, until a free and fair election to be held in 2011.
OSISA director, Ozias Tungwarara, says the call was motivated by the surge of reports of violent crackdowns against Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) opponents.
The Rwandan NGO, Assist Rwanda, says human rights need regular enforcement if societies are to embrace sustainable peace.
Addressing a group of youth trained to monitor and evaluate mediators, prisons and Travaux performances across the country, Assist Rwanda national director, Emmanuel Shamakokera, urged the youth to visit the rural areas and make residents understand their rights and how to fight for and safeguard them.