• SADC Declares Moz Elections ‘Free and Fair’

    According to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) electoral observer mission (SEOM) deployed to monitor Mozambican elections, that country’s 2014 elections were generally ‘peaceful, transparent, free and fair and credible’.

    SADC observer mission head and South Africa’s International Relations Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane says, “There are some best practices which the SEOM noted during the electoral process.”

    Nkoana-Mashabane further says that it is “Important to underscore that despite concerns raised, their observation is that these concerns were not of such a nature as to affect the overall credibility of the electoral process”.

    To read the Mozambique elections “peaceful, free and fair”: SADC,” click here.

    SABC News
  • School Closed With No Plan - SECTION27

    Legal advocacy group, SECTION27, says that a Northern Cape school that closed over asbestos pollution concerns did so without a plan for the pupils’ continued education.

    According to SECTION27’s Sasha Stevenson, the Khiba Junior Secondary School, serving 220 pupils from mostly poor backgrounds in Ga-Mopedi village in the JT Gaetsewe district, closed on Monday, 13 October 2015.

    Stevenson argues that, “The closure has happened without any consultation with the school governing body (SGB) or the community. Most of the learners have now been sent home.”

    To read the article titled, “School closed with no plan – SECTION27,” click here.

    The Citizen
  • Govt Plans to Upgrade Clinics in SA

    The Department of Health says it is working on a plan to improve the clinics in South Africa.

    The department says a team of experts from various departments, including the private sector, are in the process of designing a model for an ideal clinic which can be replicated across the country.

    This was revealed by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi at the opening of the three-day Hospital Association of South Africa conference in Johannesburg this week.

    To read the article titled, “Government on drive to upgrade clinics,” click here.

    SABC News
  • Africa Adopting Democratic Principles

    Political analyst and commentator, Professor Somadoda Fikeni, says in the past two decades many African countries have willingly adopted and embraced the internationally concept of multi-party democracy.

    Speaking during the opening of the three-day Second Annual Colloquium on Electoral Democracy in Pretoria, Fikeni said the election management adopted by the African Union member states has removed the ‘dark continent characteristic’ which Africa used to be associated with by the world powers.

    Fikeni, who argues that welcoming and adoption of accepted democratic principle has paved the way for the formation of independent election management bodies which against all odds and difficulties performed incredibly, notes that, “This has also assisted the continent to rid itself of dictatorship, personal rule and autocracy." 

    To read the article titled, “Adopting democratic principle paved the way: Fikeni,” click here.

    SABC News
  • Madonsela Lashes Out at Critics

    Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, has accused some people in society of allegedly targeting her office and interfering with her powers, as protected by the South Africa Constitution.

    Addressing about 4 000 students and local community members at the University of Limpopo's Turfloop campus in Mankweng, Madonsela said out of several other Chapter Nine institutions in the country, her office is the only one which people are quick to interfere with, regardless of the constitution which protects it.

    Madonsela, who was delivering a public lecture on ethics, governance of public office bearers and politicians, says everyone including politicians should be held accountable to promote justice and freedom for all.

    To read the article titled, “Public Protector lashes out at her 'detractors',” click here.

    SABC News
  • Teachers Demand More Education Funds

    Teachers in Zambia have urged the government to increase the budgetary allocation to the education sector if Zambia is to achieve the Vision 2030 development agenda.
    Zambia National Union of Teachers deputy general secretary, David Banda, says the education sector continues to face numerous challenges in its efforts to deliver quality education.
    Speaking during the commemoration of the World Teachers Day, Banda asserted that inadequate finances towards the Ministry of Education continue to be a major challenge which has led to poor infrastructure in most schools.
    To read the article titled, “Teachers want more education funds,” click here.

    Times of Zambia
  • 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
  • Neilson: Partnership Key to Housing Delivery

    Ian Neilson has called on residents, businesses and the government to work together to ensure that more progress is made in delivering housing opportunities.
    In his article titled ‘Cape to start big housing push Neilson’, Neilson is of the view that with the effects of urbanisation, housing remains perhaps the single biggest challenge for many governments.
    He further states that in South Africa, this challenge is exacerbated by the effects of apartheid, which removed the majority of people to the outskirts of the city, far away from the economic opportunities at the centre.
    To read the article titled, “Cape to start big housing push,” click here.

    IOL News
  • Blame Bad Teachers for Bad Schools - Motshekga

    Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, says the blame for schools that perform badly should be laid at the door of teachers.
    Motshekga points out that, “Whenever I go to schools that perform well and ask principals what it is that they do to make their schools work, time and again they tell me the same thing: they have a group of dedicated, committed and caring teachers.”
    She is of the view that, “Where things don’t work, teachers are not doing their jobs right. They don’t complete the curriculum, they jump topics, they are not in class and they often don’t understand the content of what they teach.”
    To read the article titled, “Blame bad teachers for bad schools - Angie Motshekga,” click here.

    City Press
  • South Africa Ranks 4th in Index of African Governance

    According to the annual Ibrahim Index of African Governance, South Africa's overall level of governance has improved.

    The country ranked fourth out of 52 African nations, seeing a rise in human development and economic opportunities, but a drop in standards of safety and rule of law.

    The results compiled in an annual index by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation - which also hands out a prize for achievement in African Leadership, ranked Somalia lowest, coming last in safety and rule of law, participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunity and human development.

    To read the article titled, “SA ranks 4th in Index of African Governance,” click here.

    SABC News
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