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  • Namibia’s SWAPO Leads Preliminary Poll Results

    According to a second round of preliminary results, Namibia's ruling party looks set for a sixth straight election victory.
    With slightly more than half of votes counted, the South-West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) party - in power since 1990 - was leading the polls with 77 percent.
    The Electoral Commission of Namibia has released the first round of preliminary data putting SWAPO in the lead with slightly more than 66 percent of the vote.
    To read the article titled, “Namibia’s Swapo leads preliminary poll results,” click here.

    News 24
  • Underperforming MPs Overwork Madonsela

    Former planning minister, Trevor Manuel, says public protector, Thuli Madonsela’s office is so busy because public representatives are not doing their jobs.
    Delivering the Helen Suzman Memorial Lecture at the Gordon Institute for Business Science in Johannesburg, Manuel said members of parliament and legislatures receive almost R1 million each to do constituency work.
    He says if they were more in touch with the people they represent, Madonsela will not get so many complaint, adding that, it is up to civil society to keep democracy in check and energise it.
    To read the article titled, “Deadbeat public reps overwork Madonsela – Manuel,” click here.

    City Press
  • ANC, Ses’khona to Thrash Out Problems

    The African National Congress’ (ANC) provincial executive committee in the Western Cape has given the green light for high-level talks with the Ses’khona People’s Movement, following an attack on controversial poo-throwing activist, Andile Lili.
    The ANC and Ses’khona have been at loggerheads recently over what the people’s movement dubbed ‘political meddling in a job-creation project it had with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA).”
    And after Ses’khona publicly blamed the ANC for the attack on Lili, the provincial leadership resolved to meet Ses’khona to smooth over the troubles and thrash out a common approach to the challenges of housing, sanitation and jobs.
    To read the article titled, “ANC, Ses’khona to thrash out problems,” click here.

    IOL News
  • SANEF Welcomes Review of Practices

    The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) has welcomed the decision by to review its editorial management practices.

    In a press statement, SANEF chairperson, Mpumelelo Mkhabela, points out that, "Council has noted developments regarding allegations of editorial interference at eNCA implicating politicians, shareholders and senior executives."

    Mkhabela says SANEF welcomes the decision to launch the review of the channel’s editorial management practices to safeguard editorial independence and credibility of news coverage.  

    To read the article titled, “Editors' forum welcomes review of practices,” click here.

    Fin 24
  • Zim Takes EU to Task Over Sanctions

    The Zimbabwean government has taken the European Union (EU) to task over its piecemeal removal of illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe while expecting the latter to celebrate the bloc's ridiculing of President Mugabe and his wife by keeping them under the embargo.

    Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo, and his deputy, Supa Mandiwanzira, say the EU states and the international media are unjustifiably attacking President Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe.

    Moyo and r Mandiwanzira reportedly told the EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Philipe Van Damme, that there is nothing to celebrate in last week's lifting of trade sanctions against Zimbabwe as long as Mugabe and his wife remain under sanctions.

    To read the article titled, “Govt takes EU to task over sanctions,” click here.

    All Africa
  • Ses’khona Demonstrates in Cape Town

    Now the group of African National Congress (ANC) members, who also run a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Ses’ khona, have turned on the ANC and will be marching on the party’s provincial headquarters in the Cape Town central business district on Thursday, 6 November 2014.

    ANC leaders have voiced their concern with the behaviour and conduct of Ses’khona, a NGO that is led by former ANC councillors, Loyiso Nkohla and Andile Lili.

    The ANC’s provincial secretary in the Western Cape, Songezo Mjongile, characterised the Ses’ khona leadership as ‘thugs’ who are trying to intimidate the party’s provincial leadership, which had raised concerns about their conduct and tactics.

    To read the article titled, “W Cape poo-flingers turn on ANC,” click here

    Mail and Guardian
  • Zim Urged to Guarantee Safety of Journos

    The Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ), a global media watchdog, urges Zimbabwe to guarantee the safety of journalists after a reporter was beaten up and detained by the police.
    Tapiwa Zivira, a journalist with the privately-owned NewsDay newspaper was attacked days after President Robert Mugabe's wife, Grace, accused reporters at independent newspapers of writing lies about her.
    The CPJ states that, Zivira was attacked with batons after filming police beating street vendors and others.
    To read the article titled, “Zimbabwe urged to guarantee safety of journalists,” click here.

    News 24
  • Mozambique Polls Put SADC to the Test

    As the Southern African Development Community (SADC) ‘election year’ continues to unfold, the region’s ability to handle conflicts related to polls is once again being put to the test.
    Malawi and South Africa in May 2014, Mozambique on 15 October 2014 and Botswana on 24 October 2014.
    Mozambique posed the biggest challenge to SADC, given the country’s violence in 2013 where the poll took place when an uneasy calm had returned to the country after Dhlakama’s party carried out raids on police and military posts and ambushed vehicles along the country’s main north-south highway, threatening two decades of stability after the civil war.
    To read the article titled, “Mozambique polls put SADC to the test,” click here.

    Mail and Guardian
  • Boards, Heads of PF-Affiliated NGOs Suspended

    Zambia’s Patriotic Front (PF) secretary general, Edgar Lungu, has with immediate effect suspended boards and executive directors for the PF-affiliated non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

    In a statement issued, Lungu, who is also acting President, said the measure has been taken to strengthen the decision made by President Michael Sata on 28 August 2014.

    The PF, through the office of the secretary general, formed various NGOs to help with research, capacity and institutional growth.

    To read the article titled, “Boards, heads of PF affiliated NGOs suspended,” click here.

    Daily Mail
  • Getting on with the Business of Parliament

    It is easy, with all the brouhaha taking place in Parliament recently - the expulsion of members of the Economic Freedom Fighters for ‘unparliamentary’ behaviour; their failure to respect the office of the Speaker; the presence of riot police in the parliamentary precinct; the vilification of the Public Protector by some members of parliament (MPs); and the withdrawal of opposition parties from the Ad-hoc Committee on Nkandla – to forget that much of the work of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces takes place in the Portfolio Committees and the Select Committees respectively. Last week saw these Committees being briefed by the Auditor-General and considering the Annual Reports of the various government departments. A glance at one of these meetings provides an encouraging example of how Parliament ought to, and quite often does, work.
    The Portfolio Committee on Social Development was briefed by the Auditor-General on the audit findings of the Annual Report of the Department of Social Development (DSD) and its entities for 2013/14 financial year. This was followed by a briefing by the DSD for 2013/14, as well as consideration of the Annual Report of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) for 2013/14 financial year. The reports had been presented to Parliament on 30 September 2014, and it was clear from the participation of the members of the Committee that they had been studied.
    The Auditor-General focused on outcomes and oversight. No significant findings were made that compromised the audit, which was regarded as clean. However, problems were identified in the supply chain which could be addressed by better use of information technology. SASSA was found to have several vacant posts, which needed to be filled. The various relief funds were also audited.
    The input by the Auditor-General was followed by a presentation from Social Development Minister, Bathabile Dlamini, dealing with the substance of the reports. She noted that there had been a decline in poverty due to the nutrition programmes run by DSD, with a particular focus on the poorest wards in the country. Other achievements highlighted were a call centre for victims of gender-based violence; more bursaries for social work students; an increase in the number of babies adopted; the roll-out of the White Paper on the Family; and the institution of strategies to support fatherhood. It was also reported that the Department had met its targets regarding HIV services and substance abuse intervention programmes.
    In all the Department had achieved 69 percent of its targets, but there remain many challenges: the underspending of monies allocated to social assistance; lack of compliance by non-governmental organisations with legal provisions which would enable them to receive funding; youth programmes and services performing poorly; and the Older Person’s Register not functioning properly.
    The sustained improvement in the Department’s performance is most heartening as is their sensitivity to the gaps in performance. The commitment of the Minister to address these challenges and her engagement with her staff is impressive. As one MP commented, the presentations of both the Auditor-General and the Department ‘were no cut and paste job’!
    But this portfolio committee meeting was about much more than a simple list of achievements and problem areas. It was about ministerial accountability; parliamentary oversight; and independent assessment of a state entity’s fiduciary performance. At the meeting two of the three arms of government - legislature and executive - and a constitutional institution (the Auditor-General), came together in proper relation to each other, each exercising its own duty vis a vis the other and according to the principles of the separation of powers and of constitutional government in general. That is how it should be, and indeed how it is, more often than many people realise. Sadly, media coverage tends to reflect the superficial and immature scenes of what happens in the House; behind them, though, the real business of Parliament continues; and therein lies much hope.
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