politics

Voters Can Wear Anything on 7 May

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says voters are allowed to go to voting stations donning political party-branded regalia.

Speaking from the national results operations centre in Pretoria, IEC chairperson, Pansy Tlakula, pointed out that, "We have heard in the past that voters are not allowed to wear T-shirts of their political parties. The law doesn't say that."

She explains: "Voters can wear anything. Imagine if a voter turns up with a T-shirt of a political party then we say to them 'go back and dress properly'. How many would we turn back?"

IEC Expects 70 Percent Voter Turnout

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairperson, Pansy Tlakula, says they are expecting a 70 percent voter turnout on 7 May 2014.

Tlakula cast her vote at the Orange Grove Primary School in Sydenham, Johannesburg, on 5 May 2014, where she told the media that the IEC is ready for the and that it is all systems go.

Tlakula says polling stations are open for special votes countrywide from 5-6 May 2014 and that home visits are also being conducted.

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.

No Brand SA Delegation at WEF

Brand South Africa has cancelled its plan to attend this week’s high-level gathering of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Nigeria’s capital Abuja because of security fears after two bombings and the mass abduction of schoolgirls in the country.

In a letter to its stakeholders, South Africa’s key marketing body points out that, "South Africans travelling to Nigeria can expect to be reasonably safe although they should exercise due caution and vigilance.”

SA’s Pivotal Role in Conflict Resolution

President of Namibia, Hifikepunye Pohamba, says South Africa is playing a pivotal role in the attainment and maintenance of peace across the world.

Speaking at South Africa’s annual Freedom Day celebrations at the Union Buildings, Pohamba asserts that, “We recognise the leading role that this great country continues to play in the Southern Africa Development Community region, continental and the international community.”

Swazi Police Abduct Pro-Democracy Leaders

Swaziland police officers have illegally abducted prodemocracy leaders over the weekend, drove them 30 kilometres away, and dumped them to prevent them from taking part in a meeting calling for freedom in the kingdom.

The police officers staged roadblocks on all major roads leading to Swaziland's main commercial city, Manzini, where protests were to be held.

Weaker APRM Bad for Governance

The African Peer Review Mechanism (ARPM) - set up by former President Thabo Mbeki to tackle the continent's problems - is a shambles.

According to a report by former mechanism chairman Akere Muna, the institution lacks backing by African leaders and is being ‘driven into the ground’ by its chief executive officer and its secretariat that can barely function.

The mechanism has in the past served as a reliable indicator of emerging troubles on the continent.

Uganda’s Anti-Gay Law Challenged

Gay rights activists in Uganda filed a legal petition against the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Act, which calls for tougher penalties against gay persons. 
        
The new law strengthens existing punishments for anyone caught having gay sex, imposing jail terms of up to life for ‘aggravated homosexuality’ - including sex with a minor or while HIV-positive.
        
The legislation criminalises lesbianism for the first time and makes it a crime to help individuals engage in homosexual acts. 
         

Call for Transparency Over Party Funding

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) says that a toxic blend of secret money and political influence is creating a ceremonial undermining of South Africa’s democracy.

ISS senior researcher, Judith February, argues that there is no way of know when the corporate and private world are investing in political parties for favours because the country does not regulate private funding of political parties. 

Zambia Speaks Out on NGO Act

The Zambian Ministry of Community Development Mother and Child Health says it is still awaiting correspondence from the Ministry of Justice on the implementation of the Non-Governmental Organisation Act of 2009.

The ministry’s deputy Minister, Jean Kapata, says the response from the Ministry of Justice would determine the fate of all non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that have rejected to register under the Act.

Kapata says the registration has since closed, adding that the NGOs that are not yet registered will have themselves to blame if deregistered.

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