Newsflashes

26 January, 2009
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has described the Media Practitioners Bill, which will make it compulsory for journalists to register and get accreditation in order for them to carry out their wor
26 January, 2009
The Mozambican government says the number of Zimbabwean women who work as sex workers in that country has increased in the past few years. It says these women cross the boarder to escape the economic crisis and food shortages in their home country. Head doctor at the Manica Provincial Health Department, Marília Pugas, says the women are highly vulnerable to HIV, mainly due to the difference in price between sex with a condom (US$3) and unprotected sex (US$10).
23 January, 2009
South Africa and Denmark have signed an energy cooperation agreement on wind energy. The Department of Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica, points out that the country needs to grow its wind power capacity as this is the world’s fastest-growing energy source and provides more jobs than electric power stations.
23 January, 2009
The South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) has warned that the government’s AIDS programme is heading for a funding crisis. SANAC deputy chairperson, Mark Heywood says that the government had failed to budget in line with the cost estimates laid out in its National Strategic AIDS Plan (NSP).  Heywood states that the five-year plan was launched 18 months ago, and put a R45bn price tag on meeting its targets, which include treating four-fifths of those in need by 2011.
23 January, 2009
South Africa may soon start manufacturing its own antiretroviral drugs to give more people living with HIV a chance to access the life-saving medication. This was announced by Parliament’s deputy speaker, Nozizwe Madlala- Routledge. Speaking at the opening of a training session for parliamentarians from east and southern Africa on improving access to antiretrovirals, Madlala-Routledge, expressed concern that, “The high cost of drugs is making it impossible for people to access the drugs.”
23 January, 2009
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on African leaders to intervene in Zimbabwe's political deadlock, saying Robert Mugabe's government is responsible for the country's humanitarian crisis. HRW wants the African Union (AU), which meets in Ethiopia in next week, to step into regional mediation efforts which it says have failed to solve the political stand-off or act against rights abuses.
23 January, 2009
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has added its voice to a coalition of civil society organisations calling for a revision of the presidential pardon process to address politically motivated crimes. SAHRC chairperson, Jody Kollapen, says that if a special mechanism is set up to complete the unfinished business of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), that mechanism should follow the philosophy and architecture of the TRC.
23 January, 2009
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has assured South Africans that it is prepared for any date for the elections. IEC chairperson, Brigalia Bam, told NGOs and FBOs that the commission has put all the necessary steps in place to ensure that the elections will be free and fair. Bam says that unlike in other elections, 1 648 189 people have registered for the first time, with 77,9 percent of the new registrations falling in the youth category, which is in the 18 to 29 age bracket.
23 January, 2009
Eskom says that while costs for its two new power plants had risen on the back of volatile commodity markets, they will be completed on time. Company spokesperson, Fani Zulu, points out that the costs for the Medupi power station had risen to R100 billion from previous estimates of R84-billion. Costs for Kusile are now estimated at R111 billion, up from previous forecasts of R80 billion.
23 January, 2009
A member of the Elders, Graça Machel, has criticised Southern African leaders for failing to save Zimbabweans from a government which she says has “lost all legitimacy.” Speaking at the launch of the Save Zimbabwe Now campaign, Machel pointed out that like ZANU-PF, other liberation movements in Southern Africa are following the same route. "What has happened in the meantime in Zimbabwe? Those colleagues of mine from yesterday now brutalise their own people simply because the people consciously voted them out”, she said.
21 January, 2009
Eight Israeli human hights organisations are demanding an investigation into the conduct of the army during the war in Gaza. ‘We call on the government's legal adviser to act now to the establishment of an independent investigative expertise that can not be questioned,’ the NGO wrote in a statement. While noting that Israel had been subjected to Palestinian rocket attacks from Ghaza against civilians, which is a serious violation of international law, the NGOs believe that it does not give Israel the right to do the same thing.
21 January, 2009
Three NGOs in Zimbabwe have distributed cholera prevention kits to residents in Harare. Action Aid, Oxfam and the Methodist Development and Relief Agency distributed soap, aqua tablets and information fliers to residents to prevent the disease that has already claimed the lives of more than 2 000 Zimbabweans. Action Aid cholera response coordinator, George Matonhodze, points out that disadvantaged people and those living on the outskirts of the city were receiving less support and lacked knowledge about the disease.
20 January, 2009
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) has condemned the deportation of a Cape Town musician who was kicked out of China due to her HIV-positive status. The woman, who refused to be named, has since returned to Cape Town after she was allegedly ordered by the Chinese authorities to leave that country when her blood tests showed she was HIV-positive. TAC has described the singer's deportation a "gross human rights violation" and a "setback" to the prevention and anti-stigmatisation campaigning doneby AIDS activists.
20 January, 2009
Black Sash, a social and human rights NGO, has urged 14-year-olds who need financial support to apply for grants before the school year gets underway. In a press statement, Black Sash reminded vulnerable youngsters that they could apply for the child support grant even if they did not have an identity document or birth certificate. It says children are also entitled to receive Social Relief of Distress while they wait for their approved application to be processed.
20 January, 2009
Chief Justice Pius Langa has slammed attacks against the judiciary, saying they impugn one of the pillars of our democracy. Addressing the media ahead of this weekend’s inaugural World Conference on Constitutional Justice, Langa pointed out that while he expects people to scrutinise their judgments, this criticism must not "jeopardise or impugn the integrity or dignity of the judgment."

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