Newsflashes

29 April, 2009
The 46664 and Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) have urged people to support the creation of a day on which former president Nelson Mandela is honoured around the world every year. In a press statement, the organisations state that, “We would be honoured if such a day can serve to bring together people around the world to fight poverty and promote peace and reconciliation.” The organisations points out that Mandela’s July 18 birthday is the date set aside.
28 April, 2009
World Bank president Robert Zoellick has announced that the bank will boost its lending by US$100 billion during the next three years and noted that the economic crisis has forced as many as 90 million more people into extreme poverty. "There is a widespread recognition that the world faces an unprecedented economic crisis. ... Poor people will suffer the most. And we must continue to act in real time to prevent a human catastrophe," says Zoellick.
28 April, 2009
The United Nations envoy tasked with protecting the rights of children in armed conflict has warned of the dire security situation in some parts of strife-torn eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Special representative of the UN secretary-general, Radhika Coomaraswamy, points out that, most of the schools in the area have been attacked and destroyed by the Lords Resistance Army.
28 April, 2009
Gender activists are calling on the new South African government to improve the country’s gender legislation. The say the current gender policies focus on women, ignoring the rights, roles and responsibility of men and boys. “Not a single political party has made gender equality part of their manifesto, let alone focused on how they might involve men and boys in achieving this," says Sonke Gender Justice Network co-director, Bafana Khumalo.
28 April, 2009
The United Kingdom has announced a R200 million package to help the people of Zimbabwe. UK’s International Development Secretary, Douglas Alexander, points out that this critical humanitarian aid will mean increased support for the country’s health system, greater access to clean water and more support for its struggling farmers. The package will help address a number of urgent priorities identified by Zimbabwe’s new inclusive government and builds on existing UK support, which amount to GBP49 million last year.
28 April, 2009
Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) says the South African media was fair to all parties while covering the elections. However, it notes that the coverage tended to lack depth and concentrated on personalities rather than policies.
28 April, 2009
The African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have declared South Africa’s fourth democratic elections “free and fair”. SADC observer mission leader, Balefi Tsie, says the elections were conducted in compliance with guidelines adopted by all SADC countries. However, Tsie says the SADC is concerned about campaigning during election day.
23 April, 2009
The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has taken Zimbabwe's government to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal in Namibia, for breaching the SADC Treaty. The forum is accusing Zimbabwe for the lack of effective domestic remedies for victims of violence and torture, and therefore breaching the obligations the government is bound to respect as signatories of that treaty.
21 April, 2009
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is investigating how thousands of ballot papers were found strewn across a road in Mpumalanga. IEC chief electoral officer, Pansy Tlakula, points out that an investigation was underway to discover how the papers were waylaid. Tlakula states that, “We have an established protocol for transporting ballot papers so we don’t know how this happened."
20 April, 2009
The United Nations (UN) secretary-general, Ban Ki-Moon, says he is "profoundly disappointed" at the decision by some Western countries to boycott the UN review conference while all forms of racism persist. Ban points out that, "We speak of finding a new unity as times demand. Yet we remain weak and divided and stuck in old ways.
20 April, 2009
The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Board has passed a vote of no confidence against its chairperson, Kanyisiwe Mkhonza. Some board members have asked Mkhonza to resign after she was accused of being at the centre of the controversies that have pushed the SABC to the brink of collapse. "Board members met two weeks ago to tell her that they think she should go, in the interests of ensuring (that) the organisation is able to rise from the crisis," says one board member.
17 April, 2009
Amid a furore over the news of a decline in South Africa's unemployment rate to 21.9 percent, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) says that the lower rate is statistically correct. Executive manager of Household Labour Market Statistics at Stats SA, Yandiswa Mpetsheni, points out that it is only construction growth of eight percent, 0.9 and 0.4 percent across the Quarterly Employment Statistics, Gross Domestic Product and quarter labour force survey that is statistically significant.
17 April, 2009
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says government is responsible for the failures in South Africa’s public healthcare system, and needs to address them so that every citizen’s right to access healthcare services is realised. A report published by the SAHRC entitled “Public Inquiry: Access to Health Care Services”, found that  inefficient management, lack of infrastructure and human resources, and poor staff attitudes were infringing on citizens’constitutional right to access healthcare.
17 April, 2009
A leading rights group in Zimbabwe has vowed to campaign against the way the country's new constitution is being drafted under a recent power-sharing deal. The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), an umbrella group of rights bodies, churches and other activists, says that the new basic law should not be written by parliamentarians, but be based on public consultations. The group’s chairperson, Lovemore Madhuku says he will lead a campaign against the constitution, which should go to a referendum next year.
17 April, 2009
The South African government says it is satisfied that aid to Zimbabwe has been delivered properly and will help alleviate food shortages in that country. Spokesperson Themba Maseko points out that all land and farm owners who benefited from that country's "fast tracked land reform programme", the 2008 champion farmers programme and the 2008 presidential programme, were excluded from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) id package.

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