Newsflashes

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.
18 August, 2009
The University of the Free State vice-chancellor, Jonathan Jansen, says South Africa will be able to solve its problems only when it has sorted out its educational stumbling blocks. Speaking at the first of a series of discussions called ‘Education Conversations’ in Bloemfontein, Jansen noted that, “If we are not going to get students from schools who understand democracy, we are not going to get the country right."
18 August, 2009
Poor schooling, television, video games and the use of "SMS language" have all played a part in producing the poor state of literacy displayed by South Africa's university entrants. This is according to the University of the North West Chancellor and chairperson of the Higher Education South Africa, Theunis Elloff. Eloff, who presented a report on the issue to the parliamentary portfolio committee, says the literacy standards of more than half of university entrants are too low for them to succeed without help.
17 August, 2009
Long treks, hard living and poor pay - the life of a migrant farm worker is not easy, and can even be downright risky. But a new programme aims to reduce that risk, at least when it comes to HIV. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have launched Ripfumelo ("believe" in xiTsonga), a project aimed at expanding access to HIV-related services among an estimated 20 000 migrant workers in northern Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces.
17 August, 2009
Statistics has an important role to play in the evolution of democratic societies all over the world. This is what delegates heard at this year’s International Statistical Institute’s conference, which took place in Durban. The institute’s president, Denise Lievesley, pointed out that, “Policies for economic and social progress and for the protection of human rights have to be based on solid evidence, which statisticians are uniquely qualified to provide.”
17 August, 2009
The interim chairwoman of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), Irene Charnley, has defended her plan to stabilise the public broadcaster within the next five months. Charnley says that the plan will not affect the SABC’s ability to meet legislated requirements. She also hit back at allegations that the public broadcaster, which is not commissioning any new content, is in danger of falling short of its local content requirements.
17 August, 2009
The OneLove Campaign march held by student activists from the University of Venda and celebrities was well-supported, with more than 350 people attending the event. This is according to Peter Mudimeli of the Soul City Institute. Mudimeli says that, “The aim and objectives of the march were archived. The OneLove Campaign in South Africa created a solid partnership with major stakeholders in the region and a has laid the foundation to work with other NGOs working towards the same objectives to network and support each other’s events.”
17 August, 2009
The Zimbabwean government and NGOs have embarked on an assessment of the food security situation, after initial studies showed that most households will require assistance from around December this year. Provincial administrator, Felix Chikovo, says that the assessment will give government and its development partners sufficient time to plan for the projected shortages.

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