Newsflashes

9 March, 2009
The Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) has criticised Cape Town police sometimes ask sex workers for sexual favours in exchange for not arresting them. In an affidavit filed in the Cape High Court, SWEAT is asking the court to order the South African Police Services and the municipal police to stop what it says are ongoing arbitrary arrests and harassment.
9 March, 2009
According to a Synovate global survey, nearly seventy percent of South African woman consider themselves financially independent. The survey found that South African women emerged as one of the most emphatically independent, (69 percent), together with French women (80 percent) and British women (76 percent) who consider themselves financially autonomous.
9 March, 2009
Zimbabwe's Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, says that cases of infections and deaths from the country's worst cholera epidemic are far higher than those reported. “This is most likely a dramatic underestimate of the real figures given the unreported cases and deaths in communities," he says. According to the World Health Organisation, more than 80 000 people have been infected since the outbreak six months ago with nearly 4 000 killed.
9 March, 2009
The Department of Agriculture has warned that its top officials will enforce a “use it or lose it” policy to ensure land-reform beneficiaries run productive farms. Agriculture minister, Lulu Xingwana, has also warned that the government will take back farms allocated to blacks under its redistribution programme if they do not farm productively. She states that the government does not have enough money for land reform in its current budget. Xingwana also blamed white farmers for charging the state inflated prices for land-reform farms.
9 March, 2009
The Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) is taking the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) to court over the tender for the payment of R80 billion a year of social grants in all nine the provinces. The company, which claims that it was all set to win the tender, lost out when SASSA cancelled the tender last year. CPS is owned by Nasdaq-listed Net1. Net1 chief executive, Serge Belamant said: “We know categorically we won all nine provinces on technical, financial and black empowerment criteria: we deserve it, and I want all nine.”
9 March, 2009
The World Bank has warned that developing countries could face a financing gap of US$270-billion to US$700-billion this year as trade income dwindles and rich nations vie for capital to deal with a global slump. The banks says that even at the lower end of that estimate, resources of international institutions will not be sufficient to meet the financing needs as more and more emerging and developing countries are hit.
9 March, 2009
The national director of the Media Institute of Southern Africa in Malawi (NAMISA), Innocent Chitosi, is joining politics. “People in my constituency sent some village heads to speak to me so that I take part contesting in the general elections in May so that I represent them in Parliament,” says Chitosi.
4 March, 2009
The global financial crisis may lead lead developed countries to withhold funding for climate change, undermining investment in carbon trade in African countries. This is according to delegates at a US climate change conference in December 2008.   Carbon markets are regarded as a cheap and possibly profitable measure to fight climate change while helping poor communities with tools to solve poverty without destroying forests.
4 March, 2009
The collapsed  health, water and sanitation systems in Zimbabwe is compounding the raging cholera epidemic in the country, which according to medical experts could see the number of cholera cases double to 123 000 and go beyond May. According to aid agencies, the number of people dying at home, with no access to healthcare and little money for basic dehydration products such as sugar and salt, is now at 60 percent. The outbreak is continuing to make inroads into rural areas and threatening neighbouring countries.
4 March, 2009
The United States (US) is boycotting the upcoming UN Conference on Racism scheduled to take place from 20-24 April. At the inaugural racism conference held in Durban in 2001 Israel and US delegate walked out in protest against a bid by Arab nations to adopt a resolution that equated Zionism with racism.
4 March, 2009
The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has come under the spotlight over the Media Practitioners Act, which it is argued, undermines media freedom and allows the government to regulate the media. "In the last few months there seems to be increasing indicators of growing intolerance of free speech, such as political parties clamping down on free-speaking members and government coming down hard on critical press," says Mogopodi Lekorwe, a senior lecturer in the department of political and administrative studies at the University of Botswana.
4 March, 2009
A month after the Sunday Independent reported that the SABC had run up a deficit of R500m, the Mail & Guardian reports that the deficit now stands at R700m. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is appalled, as this report, if correct, indicates that the public broadcaster has lost R200m in one month.
4 March, 2009
CAF Southern Africa is asking South Africans to “volunteer for change” during the Employee Volunteer Week which runs from 9-15 March 2009. The 2009 Employee Volunteer Week has a specific emphasis on skills transfer i.e. the empowerment of local people and communities to improve their well-being through the transfer of appropriate knowledge and skills. CAF Southern Africa will connect volunteers with a wide range of activities aimed at matching the skills and interests of volunteers with the critical needs of communities.
4 March, 2009
Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica, says South Africa must brace themselves for a dark winter, as electricity blackouts are expected. “The country cannot afford any delays to this important transformation process. The delay on electricity distribution restructuring has been too costly to the country and the economy,” Sonjica said in Johannesburg yesterday. A target to centralise the distribution of electricity through the state-owned EDI Holdings last year has already lapsed. The deadline has since been extended by another three years.
4 March, 2009
South Africa has become a net importer of food as much of its land remains fallow. Food security is now also threatened  as once-productive farms lie abandoned causing shortages of staple foods. In the midst of rising food prices, at least 50% of land reform projects have failed, meaning that for many people involved, their circumstances have not improved. South Africa now imports more food than it exports and local production of grain, fruit and vegetables can no longer keep pace with the growing population.

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