South Africans Happy With Democracy - Poll

An independent African think tank, Afrobarometer research group, says that six of every 10 South Africans are satisfied with their nation's style of democracy, but belief in an unrestricted media has dropped.

In its latest poll, the Afrobarometer states that ‘personal satisfaction’ on the country's democracy rose from 49 percent in 2008 to 60 percent in 2011.

Ahead of proposed media curbs two decades after the end of apartheid era rule, 61 percent of people believed the media should publish without government control, compared to almost 80 percent in 2008.

Call for Skills in the Public Service

Some academics believe large sections of the government that are institutionally ineffective or dysfunctional are the result of what they call ‘value-driven system’ of government.

Professor Karl von Holdt, an academic from the University of the Witwatersrand and a commissioner on the National Planning Commission, states that many South Africans’ lives remain largely untouched by the dismantling of apartheid.

Botswana’s ‘Freedom of Press’ Ranking Improves

Botswana's 'Freedom of the Press' ranking has gone up, according to the French NGO, Reporters Without Borders (RWB), which places the country at 42, 20 places up from the country’s 2010 ranking.

In its 2011-2012 Press Freedom Index, which ranks Namibia at 20th, the RWB has declared the Southern African nation, the only African state whose press operates in a ‘good situation’.

The organisation states media independence can only be maintained in strong democracies and that democracy needs media freedom.

South Africa’s 2012 National Budget Blind to Women's Economic Empowerment

A gender perspective of South Africa's New Growth Path (NGP), 2012 State of National Address (SONA) and the 2012 National Budget presented last week reveals a common threat they are gender blind. These three economic mirrors of SA's short and long term strategies do not reflect the different experiences, let alone the needs of women and men.

Political Party Funding: Legislation Should Regulate Donations

When President Jacob Zuma announced the massive infrastructure push in his State of the Nation Address, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) secretary-general, Zwelinzima Vavi, was quick with both praise and caution. The caution concerned what he termed the ‘hyenas’. Here Vavi was referring to the predatory nature of many of the recent tender processes run by government, often plagued by corruption, nepotism and cronyism.

AU Vote a Setback for South Africa

The 18th Summit of the African Union (AU) that took place in Addis Ababa last week has led to a sudden surge of interest into the workings of the organisation. This is due to the intense battle for chairperson that was fought between the incumbent former Gabonese Foreign Minister, Jean Ping, and South African Home Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

South African Democracy Slipping – SAIRR

The South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) says that key indicators of democracy in South Africa have slipped since 2008.

SAIRR researcher, Georgina Alexander, points out that the survey, which is based on assessment of three international indexes, found that civil liberties have decreased.

Alexander says the falling scores could be attributed to issues such as media freedom and accountability of public officials.

NGO Urges Committee to Take Hearings ‘Seriously’

The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) says that given the dire straits in which the Gender Commission finds itself, the parliamentary portfolio committee responsible for the selection of new commissioners has a duty to take the process of public hearings seriously.

OSISA executive director, Sisonke Msimang, points out that the hearings that took place at the end of last week did little to inspire the confidence the commission so badly needs.

Sata’s Constitutional Court Hailed

The Operation Young Vote (OYV) has commended Zambian President, Michael Sata, for assuring the nation that his administration is committed to delivering a new Constitution within ninety days.

OYV executive director, Guess Nyirenda, points out that, “The agenda to have the new Constitution within such a short period of time is not only the answer expected by the citizens but also inspiring to Zambians.”

Call to Create Whistle-Blowing Culture

The Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC) says there is a desperate need to create a culture of whistle-blowing in South Africa.

ODAC’s Alison Tilley says that, "Corruption and fraud costs South Africans in excess of R100 billion each year. It is eating at the very fabric of our society."

Tilley, whose organisation is concerned that the number of whistle-blowers is dropping, also called on the country to encourage them to keep coming forward.


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