Newsflashes

26 August, 2009
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, has announced that his department is finalising an integration strategy encompassing induction training for asylum seekers and refugees. Gigaba, who maintains that South Africa has no provision for the ‘basic induction’ of foreigners, says the proposed training will provide answers to such questions as “what is SA, what is its constitution, human rights, languages, and what type of people do we have?”
26 August, 2009
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) says the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda may lose its credibility unless it indicts and tries Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) officers suspected of having committed war crimes in Rwanda in 1994.
24 August, 2009
Entries are now open for the South African NGO Web Awards 2009. Organised by SANGONeT, and now in its fourth year, the competition aims to raise awareness about the benefits of having a web presence among South African NGOs, stimulate interest in the application of web solutions and applications, and showcase best practices and innovation in website use. The closing date for applications is 21 September 2009.
24 August, 2009
Cellular operators have responded with caution to a new legal finding that may pave the way to a huge cut in the cost of phone calls. Vodacom South Africa managing director, Shameel Joosub, says Vodacom is ‘very open’ to discuss the rates.
24 August, 2009
According to Abubakar Karsan, chairperson of the Mwanza NGOs Network, most Tanzanian CSOs lack negotiation skills required to convince the government to buy their arguments. Karsan, observed that the majority of NGOs and CSOs are good at raising their voices, but failed to constructively present their arguments while negotiating with the government.
24 August, 2009
The Gender Awareness Trust (GAT) has identified gender-based discrimination and violence against women as Achilles' heel for women's participation in public spheres because they limit their participation in democratic experiment. GAT Programme Officer, Linda Sidi, warned that, "Violence against women is a hindrance to every democratic society which aspires social justice and human rights. In virtually all societies and spheres of activity, women are subjects to discriminations or inequality in law."
24 August, 2009
One approach to get more assistance to ward councilors, who have borne the brunt of the frustrations, is to offer them stipends and reshape ward committees to include civil society groups and sectors such as churches, local business and sports bodies. This is according to Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister, Yunus Carrim. Carrim, delivering a public lecture hosted by the Wits Graduate School of Public and Development Management and The Weekender, conceded there is a growing disconnect between government and people.
21 August, 2009
Zambian CSOs are planning to petition President Rupiah Banda not to assent to the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) Bill. The CSOs are also challenging chief government spokesperson, Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha, to tell the nation what consultations were made and the submissions taken into consideration from CSOs when the Bill was amended.
21 August, 2009
Gender activists have welcomed former National Assembly speaker, Frene Ginwala’s comments that the establishment of a women’s ministry effectively disguised continued male domination in South Africa. Delivering the Ruth First Lecture this week, Ginwala argued that the newly-established ministry, which also incorporated protection of children and the disabled, disguise patriarchy and the oppression of women.
21 August, 2009
Cellphone calls could be slashed by a massive R1 a minute almost immediately if the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) agrees with fresh legal opinion declaring that the fees can be forced down with no need for further market research. The hefty R1, 25 a minute that operators charge to switch calls between rival networks makes SA’s calls among the highest in the world.
21 August, 2009
MTN South Africa has renewed its commitment to Project Masiluleke (Project M) which harnesses the power of mobile technology to help reverse the HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis (TB) crises in South Africa. MTN Foundation General Manager, Eunice Maluleke, points out that, “We are using the power of mobile technology to penetrate the communities we serve and offer life-saving, vital healthcare information to millions that need our help.”
19 August, 2009
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition is to issue a damning report, highlighting the shortcomings of the seven-month coalition government. According to the Coalition’s Programmes Manager, Pedzisai Ruhanya, the report, ‘Can Apples be Reaped from a Thorn Tree: The Inclusive, Exclusive and Elusive Government’, criticises the inability of the inclusive government to deal with issues of transitional justice. Ruhanya says victims of last year's political violence are still crying out for justice and yet no attempts are underway to address this.
19 August, 2009
A report entitled ‘Development Cooperation Report 2007-2008,’ published by the Ugandan government with the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme, shows that most donors in that country provide support through civil society despite the government's efforts to persuade them to do so through the budget. According to the report: "The proportion of support to Uganda administered outside the government is significant. In some sectors, it exceeds 90 per cent of the total funding from development partners."
18 August, 2009
President Jacob Zuma says his government is exploring alternative means of acquiring land following complaints about the willing-buyer-willing-seller policy preferred by the state since 1994. “Land is linked to development in rural areas. We have recognised that, in order to move forward decisively with the land redistribution programme, significant changes have to be made to the willing-buyer-willing-seller model of land redistribution,” argues Zuma.
18 August, 2009
The Human Rights Associations Forum (FADH) at the refugee centre of Maratane, in the Mozambican northern Nampula province, has written a letter to the Provincial Police Command reporting alleged cases of abuse by the chief of the local police substation in the centre. Besides the alleged acts of torture, the Maratane branch of the FADH, also denounces alleged misplacing of complaint papers filled by some asylum seekers, victims of ill-treatment.

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