Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, says her department is yet to receive notifications about textbook shortages in Limpopo.
This after the South African Democratic Teachers Union, SECTION27, including the Democratic Alliance, say they have received reports from various schools in the recent weeks, indicating they have yet to receive textbooks, two months is into the new academic year.
Another challenge that had been raised by SECTION27 was that of infrastructure in the province, which Motshekga admitted that it is a widespread challenge.
To read the article titled, “Limpopo quiet on textbooks,” click here.Source:The Citizen
South Africa says it is ready to host the fifth BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] Summit from 26-27 March 2013 in Durban.
Meanwhile according to Petrus de Kock, senior researcher at the South African Institute of International Affairs, there has been a significant increase in the amount of tourists from especially India and China.
Earlier in the month, International Relations Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said expectations were high for the summit to adopt a resolution on the establishment of a BRICS Development Bank.
To read the article titled, “SA gears up for Africa's first BRICS Summit,” click here.Source:SABC News
The Right to Education, School Governing Bodies and Official Languages: What is in the Best Interest of Our Children?Two matters currently serving before our Courts will be pivotal for South African education, school governing bodies (SGBs) as well as public single-medium schools. Both matters rest upon the question of who has the final say in determining language and admissions policy in South Africa’s public schools: schools and their SGB’s or provincial departments of education?
The first case is that of Rivonia Primary School, an English-medium former model-C school in Johannesburg. The current situation is that, last year, the Supreme Court of Appeal overturned an earlier High Court judgment by ruling that the SGB was within its rights to refuse admission to a grade one pupil on the grounds that the school was full to capacity. The judgment is of core importance to former model-C schools, since their ability to continue to provide excellent non-racial education may depend directly on their power to determine whether their schools are full. On the other hand, the MEC for education in Gauteng, Barbara Creecy, contends that such decisions should not rest with SGBs because provincial education authorities must ensure that all children enjoy their right to education. The MEC has been given leave to appeal against the SCA judgment in the Constitutional Court.
The second case is that of Fochville high school, an Afrikaans-medium high school in Gauteng, where the school was ordered to accept 37 black, English-speaking pupils by the department. After being forced to accept the pupils, the school applied for an urgent interdict against the department, arguing that its SGB had lawfully determined both its language policy - Afrikaans - and the school’s capacity, and on those grounds could not accept the pupils. The department is arguing that the school is trying to preserve ’racial privilege‘despite the fact that the school would have been happy to accept the 37 pupils had they accepted that their tuition would be in Afrikaans.
The legal point of departure is section 29(2) of the Constitution, which states that everyone has the right to receive education in the official language of their choice in public educational institutions, where that education is reasonably practicable. Section 29(2) also makes provision – expressly - for single-medium education institutions, but taking into account equity, practicability and the need to redress the past.
S 29(2) of the Constitution must be read in conjunction with section 5(5) of the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996 (SASA) which states that the admissions policy of a public school is determined by the governing body of that school (subject to the SASA and any applicable provincial law).
The SASA is also unambiguous about language policy in schools: sections 6(2) and 6(3) state that the governing body of a public school may determine the language policy of the school subject to the Constitution, the SASA and any applicable provincial law - but that no form of racial discrimination may be practised in implementinga language policy determined under section 6(2).
This considered, it is clear that SGBs have the final say in determining admission of students at a particular school, as well as the language of instruction at such a school provided that, in so doing, they are not practising any form or racial discrimination. In terms of the SASA SGBs are fully within their legislative mandate to regulate language and admissions policy at their respective schools autonomously, although this must occur within the ambit of the Constitution, as well as relevant legislation.
It is not the first time that such matters have had to be weighed in our courts. In the case of Seodin Primary School v MEC Education, Northern Cape, the High Court ruled that the SGBs of three Afrikaans-medium public schools could not use language preference alone to exclude black, English learners from admittance where the provision of English language instruction was ’reasonably practicable’.Of note in the Seodin-matter, was that all three schools were undersubscribed.In the matter of Hoërskool Ermelo & ‘n Ander v Departement van Onderwys & Andere the school was ordered to accommodate 113 English speaking Grade 8 learners as this was ’reasonably practicable‘because the school was operating at half capacity.
In the case ofThe Western Cape Minister of Education & Others v The Governing Body of Mikro Primary School, the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that SGBs of public schools have the power to determine language policy and that this power is subject only to the Constitution, the SASA and any applicable provincial legislation. This decision is important as it affirms on the one hand the right of learners to instruction in their preferred language of choice but simultaneously on the other hand, that some schools are entitled to offer single-medium instruction.
Numerous questions arise from the above, which the Courts will have to consider when the Rivonia and Fochville-matters come to bear:
- Is it reasonably practicable for an Afrikaans-medium public school, operating within its legal and constitutional mandate and at full capacity, to be forced by an education department to accept a small number of pupils who demand English instruction, where alternative English or parallel-medium schools in the surrounding area exist that can accommodate the learners and this on the basis that it (the department) is merely doing its duty to give effect to the children’s right to education?
- Why are only Afrikaans-medium schools being targeted? Why have no English-medium schools been required to accommodate small numbers of Afrikaans learners?
- Why are only Afrikaans-medium schools increasingly being forced to change their language policies to become parallel-medium schools?
- Why do education departments - instead of fulfilling their constitutional mandate regarding education by building more and quality schools with proper infrastructure and staffing such with properly qualified teachers to accommodate learners with different language needs - increasingly target Afrikaans-medium schools, and when the schools resist language and policy changes, they are blamed of trying to preserve "racial privilege" where that is clearly not the case?
- Section 1 which establishes South Africa as a state based on the values of equality, non-racism, human dignity and the advancement of freedom and human rights;
- Section 6(1) & 6(4) pertaining to the official languages and their use;
- Section 9(4) & 9(5) regarding equality;
- Section 28(2) and the best interests of children;
- Section 29(2) regarding the right to receive education in the language of one’s choice as well as single medium education institutions; and
- Section 30 relating to language and culture in South Africa.
- Adv Jacques du Preez is an operational officer within the Centre for Constitutional Rights at the FW De Klerk Foundation.
A non-governmental organisation dealing in land issues on Zambia’s Copperbelt has accused Kitwe City Council of advertising already sold plots.
Copperbelt Indigenous Land Rights Network executive director, Archie Mulunda, says the Kitwe City Council recently advertised to sale residential plots which had already been sold to some corporate institutions and a few elites at the expense of poor people who also needed to acquire plots.
Mulunda further says the council has also continued to secretly sale plots in Ndeke despite the temporal suspension of the sale following its failure to properly administer the sale to residents who turned up in large numbers to buy the plots.
To read the article titled, “Kitwe City Council sold plots before advertising - NGO,” click here.Source:Lusaka Times
- Anene Booysen's rape and brutal murder became a tipping point in South Africa, a society where the rape of women and children continues unabated on a daily basis rendering this country the rape capital of the world.
The tragedy not only made international headlines but for once there was an apparent unity among government, civil society, non-governmental and faith-based organisations, that enough is enough. Even some local mainstream media institutions took a tough stance by side lining regular content to campaign against rape and pledge solidarity with victims of gender-based violence (GBV).
It seems very bittersweet and all too pertinent that on Thursday, 14 February 2013, in unity with the One Billion Rising Campaign (OBR), people from 172 countries across the world, including South Africa will rise up and say, ‘Enough is Enough! The violence has to end now!’
Eve Ensler, a well-renowned gender activist and founder of V-Day and the Vagina Monologues, started OBR in September 2012. The campaign hoped to garner at least one billion supporters across the globe to rise up in collective strength to highlight the plight of women and to help end violence against women and girls.However, unless such strategies are sustained and cemented in all spheres of society to effectively address the plight of women, we shall live in perpetual fear of the monsters that inhumanly persist in peddling the cycle of rape and murder.
The onus is on all of us to realise that the time for talking is long over. It is time to act in solidarity and remembrance of all women, children and men that have been victims of rape, sodomy and murder. It is time to enact our promises, pledges and programmes.
This country's history is testimony to our capacity to rise above adversary; our willpower and unity made us a marvel to the entire world. Our society was inspired and propelled into action as we watched young Nkosi Johnson take the centre stage in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Soon after, we saw South Africa's HIV statistics decline according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS(UNAIDS). South Africans need to rise up again to ensure that Booysen's rape and murder, and that of so many others that plunge into a spiral of silence are not in vain.
Booysen' s heinous fate became a tipping point for distraught families across the nation and beyond, whose loved ones have suffered the same violence; "Lest we forget our many other children and women in Bredasdorp who have been raped and killed, as we pay our final respect to Anene Booysen", a mourner said at the funeral on Saturday, 9 February 2013. All rape survivors and others who have spoken out since the tragedy need our help and their families need our support.
A Collective Citizens Group in South Africa has coordinated efforts around the OBR campaign throughout the country leading up to Valentine's Day on 14 February to create awareness about the campaign and to invite everyone to be a part of the global movement. On 14 February, Sonke Gender Justice held a dawn ceremony on Table Mountain in Cape Town and in Johannesburg, Sonke together with Rosebank College and other activists, will march to the main event, held at Constitutional Hill to commemorate Booysen.
I call upon all men and boys to unequivocally declare solidarity and boldly denounce rape and GBV. We must stop making excuses and deal with the causes of rape in our society. Fathers need to talk to their sons. These young men need to know that manhood is not borne through violence and oppression of women.
The responsibility lies with all of us as mothers and fathers to be pioneers of gender equality and to encourage a culture of mutual respect starting in the home. Let us ensure that Booysen's memory lives on and serves as a reminder that the violence in our society must be holistically addressed. Let her death be a turning point in the fight against GBV. Together we can build a society free from gender inequality and oppression.
- Javu Baloyi is the Spokesperson of the Commission for Gender Equality. He writes in his personal capacity. This article first appeared on the Gender Links website.
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) has called for an extra-ordinary Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit to adopt an election road-map for Zimbabwe before elections are held.
In a press statement at the end of its week-long Malawi mission, CiZC said as deputy chairperson of SADC - and the regional grouping's in-coming chairperson - Malawi is strategically-placed to deal with issues in Zimbabwe.
“We don’t have an official position of the Malawi government at the moment but they have received our statement and we will evaluate their response in due course. We are glad that our concerns have reached the top level of government,” explains CiZC advocacy committee chairperson, Mfundo Mlilo.
To read the article titled, “NGOs pushes for SADC extra-ordinary summit before elections,” click here.Source:AfriqueJet Actualité Afrique
Zambian President, Michael Sata, is said to be happy with Patriotic Front (PF) aligned NGOs like Transparency International Zambia calling for the removal of former president Rupiah Banda's immunity but are keeping a blind eye to the corruption involving his ministers.
TIZ, which has became ineffective after campaigning for the PF in the last general elections, has seen his top official like executive director become more of the government's advocate that play the watchdog role the donor community funds them for.
Sources tells Zambia Reports that that TIZ used to receive information on alleged corruption in the ruling party from the PF' Post Newspapers. However, since the Post Newspapers started supporting PF, TIZ has failed to investigate any corrupt activities in government and has since been compromised.To read the article titled, “Sata happy with pro-PF NGOs like Tiz,” click here.Source:All Africa
Environmental group, Greenpeace, says South Africans face ‘sharply’ increasing electricity prices and an impending water crisis - something the president seems to have missed in his State of the Nation Address.
The organisation argues that while government’s estimated R47 billion investment in renewable energy projects is a step in the right direction, this amount is insignificant when compared to the well-over R200 billion being spent on new coal-fired power stations - or the estimated R1 trillion for the planned nuclear programme.
It says that investments in coal and nuclear take this country two steps backwards, preventing growth in the renewable energy sector, significant job creation, and water security.
To read the article titled, “State of the nation ignores electricity crisis,” click here.Source:Greenpeace
Amnesty International (AI) says it fears Zimbabwe will resume executions after prison officials were quoted saying they have found a new hangman.
Since the last executioner retired in 2005, 76 prisoners have been held on Death Row and prison officials this month said only that the search for a hangman was over and did not elaborate.
The organisation says that the ‘macabre recruitment’ is a disturbing sign that bucked against world trends to abolish the death penalty.
To read the article titled, “Zimbabwe finds new hangman, Amnesty fears new executions,” click here.Source:Mail & Guardian
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) expects job creation to be one of the top priorities addressed in President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation speech.
COSATU spokesperson, Patrick Craven, points out that the federation expects Zuma to base his speech on jobs, education, health, crime and corruption and rural development.
"On decent work, we hope to hear that progress is being made on the decent work agenda, particularly in the light of last week's grim figures from Statistics SA on employment," he explains.
To read the article titled, “Zuma must focus on 'big five' - COSATU,” click here.Source:Fin24