Ivory-Related Cases a Concern - IFAW

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) says that the number of illegal ivory possession cases in Cape Town is worrying.

IFAW elephant programme director, Jason Bell, points out that this is fuelling concerns that Cape Town may be a fast-developing cog for ivory transit in the wheel of wildlife crime.

Bell argues that, "Ivory trafficking, like drugs and arms, enriches international criminal syndicates and requires authorities to exercise the same sort of vigilance if it is to be controlled."

Environmental Group Urges Molewa to Resign

Outraged South African Citizens Against Poaching has called on the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, to resign for failing to tackle the issue of rhino poaching.

The organisation’s director, Allison Thomson, says that animal activists feel Molewa should resign because rhino poaching had increased.

Thomson, who calls for an independent inquiry into the department, is of the view that poaching is rampant not because there are no funds to curb it, but because of corruption within the system.

Activists Demand Justice for the Rhino

Several animal rights activists crammed into the Pretoria North Regional Court where two veterinarians and a professional hunter appeared this week.

Pretoria-based animal rights group, Outraged SA Citizens Against Poaching (OSCAP), says that government has to urgently improve awareness of poaching.

OSCAP director, Allison Thomson, points out that, "Much of the awareness has now been left up to the NPOs [non-profit organisations] at the moment. We expect government to hold constant, massive awareness campaigns to communicate the problem."

UNHCR Chief Arrives in Zimbabwe

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR), Navi Pillay, has arrived in Zimbabwe on the first mission to the troubled Southern African nation by the world human rights chief.

The country’s Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, says that Pillay will meet with President Robert Mugabe, political leaders and rights groups.

Chinamasa has told the reporters that, the country, which denied the UN torture investigator entry at the Harare airport in 2009 after claims the visit was not officially cleared, has ‘nothing to hide’.

Role of Civil Society Highlighted

According to an editorial on the Mail&Guardian, the deepening crisis surrounding the reinstatement of crime intelligence head, Richard Mdluli, and the withdrawal of the murder and corruption charges against him has one positive dimension - it highlights the growing role of civil society activists in shaping South Africa’s governance agenda.

Swazi Pro-Democracy Church Goers Arrested

One of the Swazi activists say riot police detained at least seven activists while on their way to a pro-democracy church service in the central city of Manzini.

The activist says that seven people, who were on their way to attend a scheduled national prayer for democracy, have been detained.

He states that police had set up road blocks to stop people from attending the service.

Pro-Democracy Protests in Swaziland

Swaziland labour and student activists have pushed on with pro-democracy protests in Africa's last absolute monarchy despite a court blocking planned demonstrations.

Anti-government protests have mushroomed over the past year amid deepening frustration among impoverished Swazis, over a crippling financial crisis under the reign of King Mswati III.

“Nothing has changed, we are going ahead with this week’s protests,” explains Vincent Dlamini, secretary general of the National Public Service and Allied Workers Union.

Swaziland Plans to Ban Social Media

Swaziland is planning a censorship law that will ban Facebook and Twitter users from criticising its ruler, King Mswati III.

Justice Minister, Mgwagwa Gamedze, points out that, "We will be tough on those who write bad things about the king on Twitter and Facebook. We want to set an example."

Gamedze states that once Swazi people cross the border to neighbouring countries, they begin to go on a campaign to disrespect their own country and king.

Activists Against Nguema’s UN Prize

Human rights groups are urging the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to abandon a prize named after Africa's longest-ruling dictator, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, of Equatorial Guinea.

UNESCO board meets on 5 March 2012 to discuss the prize, which it accepted in 2008.

A chorus of outrage from around the world so far has delayed a decision on the prize that activists say should be quashed definitively.


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