Newsflashes

3 February, 2009
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has launched its first journal, described as a barometer of human rights post-apartheid. The Human Rights Journal  is aimed at reviewing the impact of human rights practices in the country with the advent of democracy. The journal includes a review of last year’s electricity crisis, HIVand  AIDS, equality and national security. Emphasis is placed on how these issues affect the poor.
3 February, 2009
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) has expressed concern over shortages of antiretrovirals and other medicines in the Free State.
3 February, 2009
Judge President Justice Vuka Tshabalala, has dismissed an application by Abahlali Basejondolo in a case concerning the constitutionality of the Slums Act in the Durban High Court last week. Abahlali Basejondolo argued that the Slums Act is in conflict with the provisions of the Housing Act and the Prevention of the Illegal Eviction Act. It argued that the Slums Act is unconstitutional as it purports to regulate eviction, land tenure and access to land matters, which fall outside the legislative competence of the provincial government.
3 February, 2009
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has appealed for US$1 billion to respond to overlooked emergencies that it said are causing worsening hunger, disease and poverty for women and children, especially in Africa. UNICEF’s Ann Veneman points out that the agency needs 17 percent more money in 2009 than last year because of increased needs in eastern and southern Africa. Veneman states this money will also help the organisation in its efforts to deal with cholera and flood fears, which compound an economic crisis.
3 February, 2009
The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) is investigating African National Congress national executive committee member Tokyo Sexwale, for his alleged derogatory statements. CGE chairperson, Nomboniso Gasa says, “If Mr Sexwale indeed said that, we call on him to retract or apologise for the statements.” Gasa has described the statements as “irresponsible and regrettable”.
3 February, 2009
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) says food aid is now being distributed to 900 000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of Israel's devastating military offensive in the territory. UNRWA’s John Ging, points out, "We have increased the numbers on our food distribution to 900 000 of the one million refugees here."  "We are also distributing millions of dollars of cash assistance to those who have had their house damaged and need temporary shelters," Ging told a press conference.
3 February, 2009
AfriForum has accused the African National Congress (ANC) in the Free State of forcing the University of the Free State (UFS) into appointing a party loyalist as new Rector. AfriForum CEO, Kallie Kriel, has also criticised the disapproval voiced by the ANC spokesperson in that province, Teboho Sikisi, about the shortlist of five candidates and his demand that the so-called "progressive black academic" should be appointed.
3 February, 2009
The World Health Organisation (WHO) puts the number of deaths from the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe at 3 000. WHO spokesperson Fadela Chaib, points out that the cholera situationis not under control, but out of control, and it will remain so for the near future. Chaib states that "We're seeing the worst-case scenario of 60 000 [cases] within reach."
3 February, 2009
Sex workers from all around Africa are planning to gather this week at an African Sex Worker Conference, which is aimed at exploring ways to enhance their capacity to defend their human rights. Organisers say the conference will deal with issues of law and law enforcement including how to decrease the number of arbitrary arrests; how to get legal recourse for police brutality and state-sanctioned violence; and how to advocate for the decriminalisation of sex work.
2 February, 2009
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has called for calm following the shooting of three people inNongoma. IEC chief electoral officer, Pansy Tlakula says, “We are obviously concerned because it is going to be very difficult for us to conduct free and fair elections in an atmosphere where there is violence and a lack of political tolerance.” The electoral code of conduct only comes into effect after the president has announced the election date.
27 January, 2009
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has warned all sides involved in fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) that they are legally bound to spare civilians, especially children and women. In a press statement on the ongoing military operation in the eastern province of Nord-Kivu, the ICRC reminded all parties that they are obliged by international humanitarian law to preserve the lives of civilians and the wounded.
27 January, 2009
The South African Department of Foreign Affairs has announced the release of Dr Feroz Abukaker Ganchi, a South African charity aid worker who was detained by the Egyptian authorities. Department spokesperson, Ronnie Mamoepa, says the release follows a series of consultations between the South African government and the government of Egypt. Ganchi, a medical practitioner at an Upington hospital, was en-route to Gaza along with a humanitarian expedition when Egyptian authorities took him in for questioning last Friday.
27 January, 2009
Economists have warned that nonprofit organisations that rely on corporate funding will need to brace themselves for a reduction in cash over the next two years at least. Economist, Tony Twine, points out that this is because larger companies usually donate a percentage of their after-tax profit to corporate social investment which assists in development in the country.
27 January, 2009
Eight representatives of the Save Zimbabwe Now campaign have been forcefully removed from the grounds of the presidential guest house in Pretoria. They were protesting outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria and then moved to the presidential guest house in an attempt to hand over a memorandum of demands to President Kgalema Motlanthe. The incident occurred just hundreds of metres away from where the Southern African Development Community (SADC) representatives were locked in talks to find a solution to the political impasse in Zimbabwe.
26 January, 2009
Sentech, the state-owned company that carries radio and television signals for South Africa’s terrestrial broadcasters, is likely to miss its first looming deadline for switching from analogue to digital. Sentech spokesperson, Polly Modiko, points out that by the end of the financial year, Sentech will only achieve population coverage of 40 percent - 12 percent less than it promised Parliament last year.

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