Swazi Govt Clamps Down on Free Speech

The Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) expresses its deepest concern at reports from Swaziland that Vincent Ncongwane, secretary general of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA), was prevented from speaking at a gathering.
Ncongwane, who returned from the United States (US) where he attended a civil society meeting held to coincide with the US-Africa Summit hosted by US President Barack Obama, was due to address the gathering on the outcomes of this visit.

NGOs Urged to Shun Meddling in Politics

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have been challenged to stick to their core business of being vehicles of development and shun meddling in politics.

The Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in Manicaland Province, Chris Mushohwe, says that NGOs should not engage in politics but rather partner the government and become instruments for development.

Mushohwe was speaking at the commissioning of a classroom block in Chindoti village that was renovated by Plan Zimbabwe.

Call to Abolish Death Penalty

The United Nations (UN) has called on member states to abolish the death penalty, saying it has no place in the 21st Century.

Speaking at a special event hosted by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Italian Mission to the UN, secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, described death penalty as a cruel and inhumane practice.

SANEF Slams Egypt Over Journos Case

The South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF) expressed shock at the conviction and sentencing of three Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt.

In a press statement, SANEF points out that, "What started off as the dawn of the Arab Spring has turned into a nightmare where freedoms of Egyptian people are treated with disdain by the ruling military-aligned government."

SANEF, which is part of the African Editors' Forum, is calling on the African Union Commission to ensure that the summit condemned the sentencing of the journalists.

Media Urged to Report the ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’

Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, says the media has a responsibility to report on progress as well as government’s failures.

Ramaphosa told the South African National Editor’s Forum (SANEF) to tell the stories that are good and also those that are difficult, painful and troublesome.

Ramaphosa called on the media to give expression to the struggles and successes of ordinary South Africans and the effects of government policies on their lives.

Makhura to Tackle Development Challenges in GP

Newly-appointed Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, has undertaken to urgently return to communities that embarked on service delivery protests in the run-up to the elections with a plan to address their development challenges.
In his acceptance speech in the provincial legislature after being elected Gauteng premier for the next five years, Makhura thanked the previous Gauteng government under the leadership of Nomvula Mokonyane, for their hard work and promised to build on it.

Malawi Development Bank to Revamp the Economy

Malawi’s ruling party, the People's Party (PP), has disclosed plans to establish a Malawi Development Bank with loan access at low interest rates in an effort to reduce poverty through sound economic management and governance.
In its manifesto, "The PP recognises that economic management and good governance are central to a transformational poverty reduction agenda.”
However, it points out that the main challenge of maintaining macro-economic stability is that Malawi faces significant internal and external imbalances.

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.


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