South Africa Calls for Peace in Ukraine

Department of International Relations & Cooperation (DIRCO) says that South Africa has called for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Ukraine.

DIRCO spokesperson, Nelson Kgwete, states that, "The South African government would like to express its deep concern about the unfolding political situation in Ukraine."

South Africa's foreign policy favoured and promoted peaceful resolution of conflicts and South Africa therefore urged all parties in the stand-off to settle the crisis through dialogue.

Nigeria’s Homophobic Laws Criticised

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) urges South Africa to add its voice to calls for Nigeria to review its homophobic legislation.

SAHRC spokesperson, Isaac Mangena, states that, "Since 18 January [2014], dozens of people have already been arrested in Nigeria in terms of the new law."

Mangena further adds that, the South African government should seek to exert influence over other African countries to follow good human rights practices.

Malawi Under Pressure From Aid Donors

President of Malawi, Joyce Banda, is under pressure from foreign aid donors and is facing a tough re-election battle.

Banda has promised forensic audit of suspected government corruption over the last decade.

She says the audit, which is backed by Britain and the European Union, will help reveal the extent of corruption in the impoverished southern African state.

Mswati Criticised Over Rights Violations

According to the 2013 Freedom House Report, Swaziland remains the last supreme autocratic monarchy on the continent and this has led to citizens facing various human rights violations under King Mswati III’s government.

The report finds that the parliamentary elections held in September 2013 have had no impact on reforming the escalating human rights and humanitarian crisis facing the country.

Think Tanks Hold Govts Accountable - ISS

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) says that that think tanks are there to research issues such as service delivery.

ISS executive director, Jakkie Cilliers, says the perception that think tanks are there to criticise the government is not true.

Cilliers, who is of the view that think tanks are there to hold the government accountable on behalf of civil society, adds that they have the responsibility to look at how African leaders can invest their countries’ income.

Call to Distribute Condoms in Prisons Rejected

Zambia rejects non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are calling for the distribution of condoms to inmates in prisons, saying the move will promote homosexuality and sodomy, which are against the country’s laws.

Some NGOs have been advocating for the distribution of condoms in prisons as a way of reducing sexually transmitted disease.

Home Affairs minister, Ngosa Simbyakula, states that government is not in support of the calls and asked what the condoms will be used for.

De Klerk Not Pressured to Release Prisoners

The F.W. de Klerk Foundation has denied that former president, F.W. de Klerk, was under pressure to release all political prisoners, including the late former President, Nelson Mandela, from prison.

F.W. de Klerk Foundation, executive director, Dave Steward, who was the director-general in De Klerk's office at the time and government’s spokesperson, says De Klerk’s says the reason why government released political prisoners is because the apartheid policy had failed.

He says there would have been a catastrophe if the prisoners were not released.

NGO Condemns SANRAL Anthrax Scare

The Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) has described biological or chemical attacks, real or feigned, as an act of cowardice and terrorism.

The comment comes after the South African National Roads Agency Limited's (SANRAL) operations centre in Pretoria had to be shut down when white powder was found in an envelope.

Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) says that biological analysis of the powder shows it is not anthrax.

Scott Disappointed With NGOs

Zambian vice president, Guy Scott, says he is disappointed that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are causing commotion over the draft constitution.
Dr. Scott explained that there is no new constitution and that what has been leaked is just a report on recommendations for the document.
The vice president was responding to questions from teachers who wanted to find out what stage the new constitution had reached following the perceived impasse between government and civil society organisations.

Ban on NGOs in Zim Lifted

A ban on aid bodies in Zimbabwe’s Masvingo province has been lifted, and government is appealing to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to resume operations there.

Former provincial governor, Titus Maluleke, ordered the discontinuation of 29 NGOs, which provided food to desperate families in Masvingo, accusing them of engaging in political activity.

However, Minister of Provincial Affairs, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, has announced the cancellation of the ban, arguing that the government cannot feed all the starving people in the province on its own.


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