Newsflashes

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.
17 April, 2009
Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) says it will challenge the eviction  of a tenant farmer from Yzervarkfontein farm in Bronkhorspruit by government in court. Attorney and LHR consultant, Louise du Plessisat, points out that an urgent application will be filed for Veronica Moos to be allowed to reoccupy the farm. Voos was allocated the farm through the government Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAS) programme, However, the Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs maintains that that Moos did not effectively use the farm.
17 April, 2009
The South African National Broadband Forum is calling for affordable broadband access to the Internet for all South Africans.  The forum, which is an initiative of four organisations including SANGONeT, developed a draft framework with input from multiple stakeholders at a workshop held on 24 March 2009 in Johannesburg. The framework will be presented to the new government elected on 22 April 2009 with a proposal that it be used as a basis for building consensus between all stakeholders on a comprehensive national broadband strategy for South Africa.
17 April, 2009
Political analyst and director at the Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Johannesburg, Steven Friedman, says the lack of regulation in political party funding is the biggest threat to democracy in South Africa. Friedman points out that the lack of regulation of political party funding left "a big gaping loophole" in the fight against corruption and held the potential for criminalising politics.
17 April, 2009
The Land Claims Commission has accused Umlimi, a strategic partner in the government’s R10 billion Tenbosch land-restitution project, of non-performance. The commission says Umlimi's non-performance led to disgruntled land-reform beneficiaries invading the project in Mpumalanga. Mpumalanga’s acting regional land claims commissioner, Tumi Seboka, said Umlimi failed to develop the farms to acceptable levels.
17 April, 2009
Human Rights Watch (HRW) says Eritrea is becoming a "giant prison" due to its government's policies of mass detention, torture and prolonged military conscription. HRW points out that state repression had made the tiny Red Sea state one of the highest producers of refugees in the world, with those fleeing risking death or collective punishment against their families.
15 April, 2009
South Africans living in the United Kingdom eager to cast their ballots in the national election have formed a long queue outside the High Commission on Trafalgar Square today. The polling station at South Africa House opened promptly at 7am and the queue of about 1 000 people stretching down the block and onto Trafalgar Square flowed smoothly, with many of the voters expressing surprise at how quickly the process went.
14 April, 2009
Minister in the Presidency, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang says that significant progress has been made in the drafting of legislation on human trafficking and it should be gazetted soon for public comment. Tshabalala-Msimang told the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) that poverty and unemployment are contributing to the increase in the number of trafficked women.
14 April, 2009
A French aid group is leading talks to free two of its foreign workers snatched in Sudan's Darfur region more than a week ago, after kidnappers told the government to stay out. The workers, one Canadian and the other French, from Aid Medicale International (AMI) were seized from their compound in the south Darfur settlement of Ed el Fursan on 4 April 2009.

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