• 'Person of Integrity' Award for Madonsela

    The Corruption Watch says Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, will be honoured with Amnesty International's 'Person of Integrity' award for 2014.

    Corruption Watch executive director, David Lewis, points out that, "Given the recent attacks on the public protector and her office, one of the crucial anti-corruption institutions in our constitutional democracy, this award represents a gratifying show of support from the global community."

    Lewis states that this achievement is a clear demonstration of the wide-reaching impact of the exemplary way in which Madonsela has maintained the integrity of her office and fulfilled her role in this country.

    To read the article titled, “Madonsela to get 'Person of Integrity' award: Corruption Watch,” click here.

    Times Live
  • African Governance is Improving too Slowly

    The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has become more famous for the award – or, more usually, the non-award – of its US$5 million annual prize for African leadership than for its Ibrahim Index on African Governance (IIAG).
    It used to announce both at the same time, but the leadership prize inevitably stole the limelight from the governance index, despite the latter being a thorough and painstaking research effort.
    So this year (2014) the foundation decided to separate the two announcements. It announced the IIAG for 2014 and later this year, or early next year, it will announce the leadership prize.
    It must be said – just in passing – that already it is hard to imagine who might get the leadership prize, which is meant to go to an African head of state or government who governed well and left office within the constitutionally prescribed time limits over the last three years. It ought to be a no-brainer and past recipients have shown that the standard is not terribly high. Even so, it is only been awarded half the years it has been in existence. Obviously clinging to power is still very much the fashion on this continent.
    It is easy to see why the leadership prize always stole the show. This year, it would surely have done so again as the IIAG was, superficially at least, rather dull; looking a lot like last year’s except for an incremental improvement in governance across Africa last year.
    The index divides governance into categories of human development, safety and rule of law, human rights and sustainable economic opportunity. Out of a total maximum score of 100, overall governance performance rose just 0.9 points over the last five years. This represented a deceleration of governance improvement, since overall governance had increased by +1.2 score points during the previous five years.
    Even if one started from the benchmark year of 2000, African governance has barely shifted in 14 years, rising from just under 50 points to 51.5 points last year. African governance as a whole has improved in some ways and deteriorated in others, resulting in this slight net improvement.
    And so the index found that some countries near the bottom of the rankings – specifically Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Niger and Zimbabwe – which had dragged the overall performance down in the past, then turned negative trajectories into positive ones, improved by more than five points.
    ‘Over the past five years they have become the biggest improvers on the continent,’ the foundation says. Incidentally, one must bear in mind that Zimbabwe’s improvement covers the period of the government of national unity, which ended in 2013.
    Conversely the top performers failed to make their expected contribution to the continent’s overall performance, the foundation says. The top five countries were, in descending order, Mauritius, Cape Verde, Botswana, South Africa and Seychelles. These rankings have been largely unchanged for some time.
    South Africa, as expected, was once again dragged down by low scores on personal safety because of high crime rates. But the foundation also found South Africa had declined - over the last five years compared to the five years before that - in the categories of participation and human rights and human development.
    The index also makes it obvious that the other huge drags on the continent’s overall performance, though they are not singled out for special commentary, are the major oil producers. Angola ranks 44th out of the 52 countries measured this year (the two Sudans have been temporarily removed while the foundation tries to separate statistics for them). That is three ranks down from where it stood for a few years. Its overall governance points are down three over the past five years.
    Nigeria ranks 37th: more or less constant, with no change in its overall points over the past five years. Equatorial Guinea ranks 45th for the fourth year – down one point over the past five years. The performances of Nigeria - especially now that it is Africa’s largest economy - and Angola are particularly disappointing, as they have so much potential to lift the whole continent.
    From the perspective of categories rather than countries, the foundation interprets this year’s index as illustrating a shift in the drivers of governance improvements, from economic to political. From 2005 to 2009, the overall improvement in governance had largely been driven by improvement in the categories of sustainable economic opportunity and human development. Over the last five years, the progress had instead mainly come from improvements in the categories of participation and human rights, the foundation says. This appeared to be another way of saying the long commodity boom, or super-cycle, was drawing to a close.
    As Lord Cairns, a board member of the foundation, remarked: “Perhaps some of the low-hanging fruit of better economic management have been garnered. The challenge grows for the continent to become a fully competitive force in the global market at a time when commodity price trends are becoming less helpful to many countries on the continent.”
    Ibrahim himself remarked when the index was announced this week that ‘the results of the 2014 IIAG challenge our perceptions about the state of African governance.’ He added, ‘Africa is progressing, but the story is complex and does not fit the stereotypes. Even if the overall picture looks good, we must all remain vigilant and not get complacent.’
    It was not perfectly clear what he meant by the index not reinforcing stereotypes. He might have meant that participation and human rights buoyed the overall index this year, even as the economic indicators declined. Yet the improvement in participation and human rights was not, on the face of it, very dramatic; showing an overall improvement of 2.4 points over the five-year period 2009 to 2013, compared to the previous five-year period.
    But Ibrahim was certainly right to warn that the results gave no cause for complacency. He was also right when he said the correct stance on Africa is not the Afro-pessimism of the past nor the Afro-optimism of the current Africa Rising narrative, but Afro-realism.
    His own index bears that out as objectively as one can. That incremental improvement in governance of just 0.9 points out of 100 in the past five years tells us, among many other things, that the perceptions about the continent have exaggerated the reality, in both directions.
    But more pertinently perhaps, the index suggests that Africa still has a long way to go, and has to move much faster if it is to overcome its chronic problems of poverty, underdevelopment and insecurity.
    If the index is rightly interpreted to mean that improvements in democratic governance just evened out the tailing off of the commodity boom last year, that balance cannot be counted upon to remain positive forever. 

    - Peter Fabricius, Foreign Editor, Independent Newspapers, South Africa. This article first appeared in the ISS Today
    Peter Fabricius
  • Call for NGOs to be Audited

    Nsanje District Commissioner, Harry Phiri, says that the Kalondolondo Social audit programme should start assessing projects implemented by the country's non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

    Phiri says that most of the NGOs in Malawi receive more funds from donors, adding that the funds are not properly handled and therefore need to be assessed.

    His opinion comes at a time when the district is to have its 25 Local Development Fund (LDF) teacher houses project audited by the Kalondolondo programme.

    To read the article titled, “CSOS' projects should be audited - Nsanje DC,” click here.

    All Africa
  • CASAC Criticises Zuma Over Nkandla

    The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) says that President Jacob Zuma's failure to account properly on the Public Protector's report on his Nkandla homestead shows contempt for Parliament and for the Constitution.

    In a press statement, CASAC points out that, "The president should be allowed to complete his answers to the questions that had been tabled for answer on 21 August 2014, and to respond to any supplementary questions in the National Assembly.”

    Meanwhile, Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, wrote that, "I am concerned that the decision you have made regarding the police minister gives him power he does not have under law, which is to review my decision taken in pursuit of the powers of administrative scrutiny I am given... by the Constitution."
    To read the article titled, “CASAC: Zuma showing contempt for Parliament,” click here.

    News 24
  • SASSA to Act Against CPS

    According to an article by Asha Speckman, it could not get much worse for Net1 UEPS Technologies, which faces the wrath of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) over unlawful charges for airtime and loans that the service provider has been deducting from the monthly payout to beneficiaries under its R10 billion social grant tender.

    Net1 shares went into free-fall following the ruling, dropping 28 percent to R70 during intraday trade on the JSE, before recouping some of the losses to end the session down 12.76 percent at R85.50.

    Meanwhile, SASSA chief executive, Virginia Petersen, says the agency is considering its options and is intending to revise its contracts with the service provider.

    To read the article titled, “Now we can clip the wings of CPS – SASSA,” click here.

    IOL News
  • Weaker APRM Bad for Governance

    The African Peer Review Mechanism (ARPM) - set up by former President Thabo Mbeki to tackle the continent's problems - is a shambles.

    According to a report by former mechanism chairman Akere Muna, the institution lacks backing by African leaders and is being ‘driven into the ground’ by its chief executive officer and its secretariat that can barely function.

    The mechanism has in the past served as a reliable indicator of emerging troubles on the continent.

    In South Africa, an ARPM report alerted the government to tensions between locals and foreigners that culminated in 2008's wave of xenophobic violence.

    To read the article titled, ‘Mbeki brainchild 'now a shambles'’, click here.

    Times Live
  • SACC Calls for Resignations Over Nkandla

    The South African Council of Churches (SACC) has responded to the Public Protector's report by saying those implicated should consider stepping down.

    In a press statement, the SACC points out that, "For the future of the nation and the sustainability of our fledgling democracy, we urge those implicated in the report to consider stepping down."
    The organisation also says that the report on Nkandla "should be interrogated, not on the timing of its release, but the merits of the contents therein and the implications for the country."

    To read the article titled, “Those implicated by Nkandla report should resign: SACC,” click here.

    Times Live
  • SABC Board Backs Motsoeneng

    The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) chairperson, Ellen Zandile Tshabalala, has laughed off public protector, Thuli Madonsela's findings of irregularities in acting chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng's salary.
    Tshabalala states that Hlaudi is diligent and very capable, the members of the board are right behind him.
    A group of opposition parties is laying criminal charges against Motsoeneng following a damning report, titled ‘When Governance and Ethics Fail,’ released by Madonsela on 17 February 2014.
    To read the article titled, “SABC chief: Nevermind Thuli, long may Hlaudi reign,” click here.

    Mail and Guardian
  • IPO Calls for Intervention at SABC

    The Independent Producers Organisation (IPO) has called for an urgent intervention at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) following a damning report by Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela.
    The IPO appeals to all institutions designed to provide oversight - Parliament, the shareholder in the department of communications, and Independent Communications Authority of South Africa - to exercise their mandate and to intervene urgently.
    The organisation, which represents the majority of South Africa's working producers, says it is concerned and distressed by the continuing instability at the SABC.
    To read the article titled, “Urgent intervention needed at SABC: IPO,” click here.

    Times Live
  • Civil Society Calls for Accountability

    Zimbabwean civil society groups have expressed their unrelenting disapproval of the breakdown of public accountability and called on the government to urgently set up a commission of enquiry into corporate corruption.
    In a joint statement, 66 civil society groups states that the commission should investigate 'obscene salaries' and other underhand dealings in the local government and public sector.
    The groups also called on the country’s President, Robert Mugabe, to break his silence on corruption, in which his aides and close allies have been named.
    To read the article titled, “Civil society call for commission of enquiry Into corporate corruption,” click here.

    All Africa
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