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  • SA Legally Bound to Educational Reforms

    Activists have urged the government to be legally bound to extensive education reforms.

    The application due to be heard in the Western Cape High Court will determine whether the government will have to submit regular reports to the public protector, the South African Human Rights Commission or the Auditor-General detailing how it is remedying its alleged failures to comply with the Constitution’s requirements on the right to basic education.

    Applicants Jean Pease, educationist and civil society activist, and the Progressive Principals Association, a 200-member Western Cape-based organisation, specify age-appropriate early childhood development programmes, mother tongue-medium education, timeous supply and delivery of adequate quantities of textbooks and relevant teaching materials and  professionalising teachers as the four areas in which they contend that the government’s systemically dysfunctional implementation violates constitutional rights.

    To read the article titled, “Education’s legal fires ‘need dousing’,” click here.

    Source: 
    Mail and Guardian
  • Limited Access to Contraceptives Increases Abortion

    According to the Department of National Health, two-thirds of sexually active women in South Africa use contraceptives to prevent unplanned pregnancy, yet almost 90 000 abortions were performed in government clinics and hospitals in the 2012-2013 financial year, almost 20 000 more than the previous year.

    Andrea Thompson from Marie Stopes South Africa, a non-governmental organisation that offers reproductive health services at reduced rates, points out that the organisation has experienced ‘a slight decline in women seeking abortions’.

    Thompson further adds that, “We have provided one percent fewer abortion services since January this year compared to the same period last year.”  

    To read the article titled, “Contraceptives: South Africans are still out of the loop,” click here.

    Source: 
    Mail and Guardian
  • NGO Slams Hotel for Mocking the Poor

    The United Kingdom-based Winnie Mabaso Foundation, which works with impoverished children in South Africa, has joined a growing chorus of international disdain against Emoya Luxury Hotel and Spa in Bloemfontein, which has been luring wealthy guests with the promise of an ‘experience of a lifetime’.

    In an open letter this week, Lisa Ashton, who founded the Foundation with late Johannesburg charity worker, Winnie Mabaso, lambasted Emoya for the ‘obscene experience’ it offers.

    Meanwhile, the hotel owner, Buks Westraad, who the Foundation accuses of making a total mockery of people living under utter poverty, says that like other South African entrepreneurs in tourism, he is trying to make something positive from a negative perception.

    To read the article titled, “Charity accuses luxury Bloem 'squatter camp' of spitting in the faces of the poor,” click here.

    Source: 
    Times Live
  • NGO Condemns Death Threats Against its Staff

    The World Wildlife Fund has condemned ‘death threats’ against two of its staff fighting oil exploration in a Democratic Republic of Congo nature park just weeks after the park's director was shot.
     
    In a press statement, the organisation points out that, “Unidentified callers have threatened the personal safety of two employees working in the city of Goma."
     
    It says the staff have been involved in efforts to block oil exploration by a United Kingdom company, Soco International PLC, in nearby Virunga National Park, an 800 000-hectare nature reserve that is among the oldest in Africa and home to rare and endangered mountain gorillas.
     
    To read the article titled, “Death threats' for WWF staff opposing UK oil firm in DR Congo park,” click here.

    Source: 
    Times Live
  • ANC Lost Support Due to e-Tolls: OUTA

    The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) says the decline in support for the African National Congress (ANC) in Gauteng is due to e-tolls being forced on an unwilling public, despite the ruling party's claims to the contrary.
     
    OUTA spokesperson, John Clarke, points out that, “As much as the ANC executive tries to downplay the decline, it is massive and is largely attributed to the decision to force e-tolls on an unwilling and angry public who won't pay for something they were not adequately consulted on or that they didn't ask for.”
     
    Clarke says that when the new Gauteng provincial legislature convenes, the ANC will have seven less MPLs than before, with their 40 MPLs facing a combined total of 33 opposition members from both the left and the right, all of whom were opposed to e-tolls.
     
    To read the article titled, “ANC lost support due to e-tolls: OUTA,” click here.

    Source: 
    IOL News
  • OUTA Warns People Against SANRAL

    The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) has warned Gauteng e-toll road users to think before being ‘seduced’ by roads agency SANRAL’s latest offer to register for e-tags.
     
    In a press statement, OUTA spokesperson, John Clarke, points out that, “SANRAL is desperate to get the over 1.3 million non-compliant freeways users to play on their turf by signing their terms and conditions.”
     
    OUTA’s comments follow SANRAL’s announcement that the grace period for e-toll road users to settle their accounts and benefit from the discount had been extended.
     
    To read the article titled, “Don't let SANRAL seduce you: OUTA,” click here.

    Source: 
    IOL News
  • Zuma Tops As Election Loudmouth

    President Jacob Zuma tops a list of the top 20 ‘loudmouths’ in the run-up to the elections, with Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Malema, coming in a close second.

    According to an interim report released by the Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), Zuma received the most media coverage in the months leading up to the elections.

    EFF leader Julius Malema is in second place, followed by the Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, Helen Zille, DA Gauteng premier candidate, Mmusi Maimane, and Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela.

    To read the article titled, “Zumabeats Malema as election loudmouth – survey,” click here.

    Source: 
    News 24
  • Call for Political Parties to Keep Voters Interested

    The Institute of Security Studies (ISS) says it is critical for political parties at this stage of the election season to maximise the number of voters that they get to the polls.

    ISS consultant, Jonathan Faull, says to do this political parties need functional apparatus across the provinces and on a national level.

    Faull further says that if political parties hope to compete on a national stage they will need machinery, volunteers and they also need the momentum to carry out their campaign. 

    To read the article titled, “Political parties need to keep their supporters interested: ISS,” click here.

    Source: 
    SABC News
  • Citizens Forgotten in Election Coverage: MMA

    The Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) says the media has allowed political parties to set the agenda for coverage of the election campaign and neglected issues affecting ordinary citizens.

    In an interim report on the media's handling of the elections, the watchdog says 52 percent of all stories 7 May 2014 polls concern ‘party campaigning’ and ‘party politics’.

    The organisation explains that a break-down of election coverage show that corruption was the third-ranking topic, followed by election logistics. These stories however mostly focused on the Nkandla controversy and the legal woes of the Independent Electoral Commission chairperson, Pansy Tlakula.

    To read the article titled, “Ordinary citizens forgotten in election coverage: monitor,” click here.

    Source: 
    Times Live
  • Civil Society Criticises the SABC

    Civil society groups have joined the list of political parties criticising the South African Broadcasting Commission (SABC) recently by protesting outside its Auckland Park head offices.

    Right2Know, Save Our SABC, the Independent Producers’ Organisation, the Democratic Left Front and members of the National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (NUMSA) accuse the public broadcaster of favouring the ruling African National Congress (ANC), intimidating its journalists and failing to air quality, local content.

    NUMSA national education coordinator, Dinga Sikwebu, warned that, “If you want to speak to the ANC, go to Luthuli House,” adding that the nation needs to hear the truth about issues like Nkandla.

    To read the article titled, “Civil society vs Hlaudification of the SABC,” click here.

    Source: 
    Daily Maverick
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