Newsflashes

5 May, 2009
Home Affairs minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, says that Zimbabweans are welcome to enter the country without visas, a change expected to slow the flow of thousands of asylum seekers from the troubled northern neighbour. Mapisa-Nqakula points out that Zimbabweans no longer need to apply and pay for visas before travelling to South Africa. Instead, they can apply for a free 90-day visitor's permit at the border. She states that Zimbabwe citizens can also apply to do casual work while in South Africa.
5 May, 2009
Zimbabwe's central bank took hundreds of millions of euros from private bank accounts, including €300 000 from a bank account belonging to Hivos, a Dutch development organisation. Director of Hivos’ regional office in Harare, Corina Straatsma, points out that €90 000 is still missing although the rest has been paid back.
5 May, 2009
The Institute for Democracy in South Africa (Idasa) says the results of the national election show that the African National Congress (ANC) has lost support among minority groups and could be alienating the country’s middle class. In its latest report on the elections, the think tanks points out that “The ANC has continued to attract the support of voters in predominantly lower-income earning black African areas.”
4 May, 2009
The Botswana government has rejected about 100 Somali refugees who entered the country from South Africa, forcing them back to the country they left from. They were detained at the border between Botswana and South Africa for at least 11 days before returning to South Africa.
4 May, 2009
The new Children’s Act set to come to effect later this year coupled with the economic downturn which is increasing social problems, means that South Africa needs all the social workers it can train, and more. This is according to the Johannesburg Child Welfare Society (JCWS). “There are currently only about 13 000 registered social workers in South Africa. Of these only half work in government and welfare services - others are registered private practitioners,” says JCWS assistant director, Aileen Langley. 
4 May, 2009
Frustrated South Africans are up in arms and hurling abuse at their cellular providers, after a countrywide triple network meltdown. Flooding of the networks, or “chat attack”, reportedly caused countrywide problems for mobile operators, MTN, CellC and Vodacom. As a result of this problem, mystified callers have since been phoning up to complain about dropped calls, bad connections, weak signal strength and problems with their 3G and Internet access.
4 May, 2009
Constitutional Court Chief Justice Pius Langa has congratulated the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on conducting the 2009 national and provincial elections. At a ceremony in which IEC chairperson Brigalia Bam handed over the political parties’ candidate list for Parliament, Langa pointed out that the country was “held spellbound” by the way the IEC handled the elections. “It was a mammoth task and we were all so proud of you and your work,” he said.
4 May, 2009
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has released the official list of members of parliament (MPs) and of provincial legislatures (MPLs) due to take up their seats in the national and provincial legislatures after the April 22 elections. There are few surprises, given that the party lists are largely those published before the election. However, but many who expected to return to the National Assembly have missed the cut.
4 May, 2009
The Centre for the Constitutional Rights (CCR) has complained to the Public Protector and the Public Service Commission about the African National Congress’ (ANC) policy of deploying cadres. CCR’S advocate, Nikki de Havilland says that the practice is illegal and points out that the constitution requires a clear separation between the ruling political party and institutions of the state. The CCR complaint comes as the country waits for president-elect Jacob Zuma to announce his new cabinet and other top positions in government.
4 May, 2009
A United States judge has extended for four months the deadline for authors to opt out of a settlement related to a lawsuit over Google's plan to build the world's largest digital library. The original deadline is 5 May 2009, but Judge Denny Chin has ruled that authors and their heirs or publishers have until 4 September 2009 to decide whether they want their works to be included in the settlement.
29 April, 2009
A new United Nations study has found that the global financial crisis is impacting the ability of people with HIV and AIDS to obtain life-saving drugs. A survey conducted last month by the World Bank, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Joint UN Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) found that 8 out of 69 countries already face shortages of antiretroviral drugs or other disruptions to AIDS treatment.
29 April, 2009
South Africa celebrated Freedom Day under the theme “Together celebrating our democracy and building a better life for all” on 27 April 2009. Speaking during the a commemoration in KwaZulu-Natal, President Kgalema Motlanthe, said: “The struggle against apartheid and the struggle for freedom are meaningless outside the context of improving the human condition.”
29 April, 2009
The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is not renewing the contract of its news chief Snuki Zikalala, when it expires this week. SABC board chairperson Kanyi Mkhonza points out that the corporation felt it is time to hand over the baton (to someone other than Zikalala) who can bring fresh ideas to the broadcaster. The public broadcaster’s parting of ways with Zikalala comes in the wake of calls by the African National Congress and its youth wing for the SABC to look for a new news boss.
29 April, 2009
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) says the elite soldiers in junta-ruled Guinea are taking advantage of an anti-corruption drive to rob, extort and beat intimidated civilians in the West African nation with impunity. HRW points out that it is unclear whether the abuses were ordered or sanctioned by senior military officials, and the junta did not immediately comment.
29 April, 2009
The 46664 and Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) have urged people to support the creation of a day on which former president Nelson Mandela is honoured around the world every year. In a press statement, the organisations state that, “We would be honoured if such a day can serve to bring together people around the world to fight poverty and promote peace and reconciliation.” The organisations points out that Mandela’s July 18 birthday is the date set aside.

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