NGO: Toll Fees Will Punish Workers

The National Consumer Forum (NCF) says the controversial new toll road fees for Gauteng, set to take effect in June, effectively punish people who drive to work.
In a press statement, NCF chairperson, Thami Bolani, points out that, "In effect, the new toll charges being sprung on commuters are penalising those people who faithfully report to work each day to keep our economy going.”

Legal Resources Centre's WC Director Dies

The Legal Resources Centre (LRC) says its regional director in the Western Cape, Kobus Pienaar, fell to his death in Johannesburg.

According to the organisation, Pienaar plunged from the roof garden of the Bram Fischer Towers in Marshalltown, which houses its headquarters.

The LRC further says it is ‘deeply saddened’ by Pienaar's death, but will not release any further information until the situation has been clarified with the relevant authorities.

Women Don’t Need Sanitary Pads, But Freedom From Gender-Based Violence

As we roll out 2011 and we ready ourselves again for new struggles, battles left unfinished in past and opportunities ahead, I am afraid that this is the same pattern as of last year and the many years past. In 2010 the announcing of the next 10 years as the decade of the women left a lot to be desired. The calls and numerous statements made to stop gender-based violence, raping of women and children, killing of lesbians and decriminalising same sex coupling, decriminalising of sex work and HIV/AIDS have gone unheard with no response from our leadership in Africa.

South Africa Behind on Migrant Matters: UN

The United Nation Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, Jorge Bustamante, has told members of Parliament's home affairs portfolio committee there is a ‘general lack of data’ when it came to the human rights of migrants.

Bustamante points out that, “The fact that there are so many undocumented immigrants in South Africa already, makes South Africa behind the realities of international migration.”

Immigration Bill Unconstitutional – FIPSA

The Forum of Immigration Practitioners of South Africa (FIPSA) has warned that the proposed changes to the Immigration Amendment Bill are ‘impractical’, will violate the Constitution and destroy thousands of jobs.

FIPSA chairperson, Leon Isaacson, says the proposed amendments did not take into account the Department of Home Affairs’ huge capacity problems and backlogs.

African Women’s Long Walk to Equality

Some gains, but an uphill climb still looms

Africa's political independence was accompanied by a clarion call to eradicate poverty, illiteracy and disease. Fifty years after the end of colonialism, the question is: To what extent has the promise of that call been realised for African women? There is no doubt that African women's long walk to freedom has yielded some results, however painfully and slowly.

SAHRC Concerned About Police Torture

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has expressed concern about reports of police torture.

SAHRC spokesperson, Vincent Moaga, points out that, “The commission is urging the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development to fast-track the combating of torture bill.”

Moaga states that the act of torture is not a recognised statutory crime in South Africa, adding that the torture legislation is needed so that the criminal justice system can deal more effectively with acts of torture.

UNHCR Accuses Kenya Over Refugees

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is accusing the Kenyan government of breaking international refugee laws after it ordered around 8 000 Somali refugees to return home.

The UNHCR's Fatoumata Lejeune Kaba, points out that, "Our call to the Kenyan government is to stop this and to re-admit those who are in the no-mans land right now. We are in talks with the government to stop this and to find a solution.”

Groups Protest Al-Bashir’s Visit to Kenya

23 pressure groups from different African countries have sent a protesting letter to the Kenyan President, Mwai Kibaki, against a possible visit by Sudan's President Omar Al-Bashir, to Nairobi at the end of this month to attend a regional summit on south Sudan.

The groups 23 pressure groups say Al-Bashir’s visit would be an ‘insult’ to the victims of Darfur conflict and make a mockery of Kenya's commitment to the International Criminal Court (ICC).


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