Newsflashes

23 February, 2009
An inquiry has blamed charges that the UNHCR South African office mishandled the humanitarian crisis that resulted from last year’s wave of xenophobic violence, on misunderstandings over the role of UNHCR. The UN says many of the concerns listed in a 25-page formal complaint by SA civil society organisations resulted from misconceptions of both the scope of the UNHCR’s mandate as well as its failure to address the misunderstandings.
23 February, 2009
African National Congress (ANC) president, Jacob Zuma, has blasted the Nelson Mandela Foundation in the wake of criticism that the 90-year-old's health and security were put at risk when he attended a party rally in the Eastern Cape. Zuma told about 20 000 supporters at a rally in Khayelitsha that the Foundation does not own former president, Nelson Mandela. He further told the supporters that he [Zuma] was shocked to read reports insinuating that Mandela had been forced to attend the rally.
23 February, 2009
Senior United Nations (UN) officials are preparing for a series of meetings with Zimbabwe's political leaders and UN colleagues dealing with the country's cholera epidemic and food crisis. The five-strong delegation will meet both President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai during their five-day visit. Delegation spokes person John Nyaga says the team, led by the UN assistant secretary general for humanitarian affairs, Catherine Bragg, will hold an internal meeting with UN officials working on the ground in Zimbabwe.
20 February, 2009
Gauteng Housing MEC Nomvula Mokonyane, says her department will eradicate all informal settlements in the province by 2014. "So far, 12 informal settlements have been eradicated. A further 24 informal settlements are in the process of being eradicated... This will bring the provincial total of eradicated informal settlements to 36 in 2009", says Mokonyane. "We are, therefore, confident that our plan to eradicate informal settlements by 2014 is moving forward and more will be done to speed up delivery in remaining areas."
20 February, 2009
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says the upcoming national and provincial elections are unlikely to be delayed by the outcome of a Constitutional Court hearing on the right of South Africans living overseas to vote. IEC commissioner Fanie van der Merwe, told Parliament’s home affairs portfolio that the five court cases brought by South Africans living overseas, who are seeking the right to vote in the coming elections, cannot result in the postponement of the elections.
20 February, 2009
According to Statistics South Africa, the gross income earned by the farming sector during the financial year ending 28 February 2007 was R79,5 billion. Stats SA project manager, Moses Mnyaka, who released the key findings of the census of commercial agriculture 2007, says that there is a comparable increase of 49,2 percent from the R53,3 billion gross income recorded in the 2002 survey.
20 February, 2009
The Eastern Cape Housing Department says it will spend about R100 million on repairing over 1 000 defective RDP houses. Department spokesperson, Lwandile Sicwetsha, points out that work has resumed on fixing the defective houses in the Alfred Nzo and OR Tambo district municipalities, which were built after 1994. Sicwetsha says that the money came from the R552 million remaining in the department's budget for flagship projects, existing projects and new projects.
20 February, 2009
The Department of Health and Social Development in Limpopo has admitted that it is losing the war on cholera. It says the number of new cholera cases is still rising despite efforts to curb the spread of the disease. Department spokesperson, Phuti Seloba, says that there were 30 new cases recorded this week, bringngs to 4538 the total number of cases that have been seen since the outbreak of the disease in November last year.
20 February, 2009
AgriSA says genetically modified (GM) maize crops grew by 10 000 hectares and South Africa remains the eighth biggest producer of GM foods in the world.
20 February, 2009
The International Land Coalition has warned that big purchases of African land by richer countries in a drive for food security could fuel unrest if the rights of local farmers are not taken into consideration. The director of the Coalition, Madiodio Niasse, says there is a general lack of transparency in international land transactions that need to be addressed. "Since the middle of 2008, there has been this huge international trend of purchasing land abroad", he says.
18 February, 2009
Jordan is considering revisiting a controversial civil society law that local and international rights groups have criticised for taking too much control over the funding, registration and monitoring activities of NGOs. The country’s parliament hastily endorsed the law last year, drawing the ire of the NGOs, which said they were not even consulted when the law was drafted.
18 February, 2009
Research undertaken by the International Organisation on Migration (IOM) has found that 50 percent of undocumented migrants have experienced rape and robbery in Musina. “Migrants, particularly undocumented ones, are vulnerable to various kinds of abuse, and the majority of the victims do not report the cases to the police, either because of fear of arrest or they simply do not know where to seek assistance”, says IOM’s Yuki Kushimiro.
18 February, 2009
The South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) has warned that fraud and corruption in the African National Congress (ANC) could compromise the rule of law in the country.
17 February, 2009
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) says the Zimbabwean cholera epidemic, which has now claimed about 3 400 lives, is part of the country's public health crisis. MSF international president, Christophe Fournier points out that, "It is only the most visible manifestation of a much broader problem in the whole country."
17 February, 2009
The GSMA mobile phone industry association has announced an agreement among 17 mobile phone operators and major handset makers to standardise chargers by 2012.  The move means no matter what brand of phone you buy, the chargers should be interchangeable, making it possible to charge a phone from any available charger even if you leave yours at home.

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