Governance and democracy
Governance and democracy
- The Eastern Cape department of education says school children must be supported in their right to a preferred sexual orientation.
The department’s superintendent general, Modidima Mannya, points out that, "There is an urgent need to advance a transformation agenda that addresses all matters of common social and cultural understanding.”
The comments by Mannya, who argues that the Constitution is the supreme guiding document, follows a newspaper report of a transgender pupil at Cambridge High School in East London, who was forced to leave the school because he was not allowed to wear trousers.
To read the article titled, “Support for transgender pupil,” click here.Source:News24
- According to the United Nations (UN), recent elections in East and Southern Africa have left fewer women in politics, placing countries at risk of not meeting equality targets.
Speaking at a women conference in Johannesburg, UN Development Programme director, Bo Asplund, pointed out that, "Elections in the region have shown regression with regard to women's representation in parliament."
Asplund said research has shown that when you have progress on the millennium development goal (MDG) of gender equity, there is automatic progress on two of the other MDGs -- poverty and maternal health.
To read the article titled, “African elections put fewer women in Parliament,” click here.Source:Mail&Guardian
- Three Egyptian NGOs have called President Hosny Mubarak, to dissolve the newly- elected parliament because of ‘alleged election fraud’.
The Independent Coalition for Elections' Observation released video footage of what it says was bribery, ballot cards being forged and violence at different polling stations across the country.
One of the videos, taken by members of the NGOs, purports to show a 12-year-old boy casting a ballot, while another shows a five-year- old who was allegedly shot in his feet near a polling station in southern Egypt.
To read the article titled, “NGOs want new Egypt parliament dissolved,” click here.Source:Times Live
- Gay rights activists in Kenya have condemned Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, for saying that anyone engaging in homosexual activities should be arrested.
Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya’s Solomon Wambua has been quoted as saying that, "We are shocked and in fear."
Wambua argues that arresting homosexuals will further cause stigmatisation, which will stop people attending clinics, getting health check-ups and accessing antiretroviral drugs if they need them.
To read the article titled, “Call to arrest shocks gay activists,” click here.Source:Mail&Guardian
- The Peoples Organisation For Transparency Agency (POTA) has proposed for an immediate formulation of a parallel election manifesto which would reflect desires of majority of Tanzanians.
POTA maintains that it is high time for the civil society to come up with own manifesto which would incorporate the interests of many Tanzanians.
POTA president, Idrissa Masalu, argues that unlike the political parties which come up with own manifestos when the election approaches, the civil society should hold community consultation to develop issues Tanzanians think are of their paramount significance and priority.
To read the article titled, “NGO calls on civil societies to develop own manifestos,” click here.Source:All Africa
- Rights NGOs say some of the Human Settlements Minister, Tokyo Sexwale’s recent statements point to a lack of understanding of the reasons for the emergence and existence of informal settlements and illegally occupied inner city buildings.
In a press statement, the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa, Section27, the Legal Resources Centre, Lawyers for Human Rights, the Community Law Centre, and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, point out that They also argue that demolishing shacks in informal settlements and confiscating building materials is not the answer, adding that the migration of people to cities is a world-wide phenomenon that cannot be rolled back by denying them access to housing.
The further say that, "What the minister apparently fails to recognise is that for millions of poor citizens (and non-citizens), informal settlements and inner city buildings are the only forms of accommodation available in the city or close to it."
To read the article titled, “Sexwale doesn't grasp Constitution – NGOs,” click here.Source:News24
- The government’s integrated resource plan (IRP) for this year has been heavily criticised, largely by civil society, which say it would be disastrous for the economy and the environment.
A number of NGOs and community groups, which participated in the Department of Energy public hearings recently, called on the state to scrap the plan and to start the process again.
They are not happy with the IRP, a 20-year electricity plan, because it includes coal and nuclear an d the majority of these organisations prefer the plan to rely mainly on renewable energy.
To read the article titled, “NGOs slam government’s proposed electricity mix,” click here.Source:Independent Online
- More than 4.6 million South Africans took an HIV test since April, according to Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe.
Speaking at a World AIDS Day event in Mkhondo, Mpumalanga, Motlanthe pointed out that of this number, 800 000 (17 percent) tested positive for HIV.
He explains: "It means that friends, colleagues and families should talk about HIV in their workplaces, homes and communities, and take appropriate action to care for those infected and affected."
To read the article titled, “Motlanthe commemorates World AIDS Day,” click here.Source:Mail&Guardian
- By IPS Correspondents
South Africa is Africa’s largest economy and the continent’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. The country’s emissions per capita are on par with those of the United Kingdom, and more than twice as high as China’s emissions by the same measure.
South Africa is presently responsible for about half of Africa’s emissions, with 80 percent of its estimated 400 million metric tonnes of CO2 coming from the energy sector alone.
Africa is expected to be disproportionately affected by climate change, with a global rise of two degrees Celsius – the acknowledged worldwide target – resulting in a possible four to five degree rise in many parts of the continent. Changes in temperature, quantity and distribution of rainfall have enormous implications for farming, compounded by weak infrastructure and the vulnerability of impoverished populations.
But going into negotiations at the U.N. Climate Conference in Cancun, it is likely that South Africa will align itself with other big developing economies, advocating an approach that prioritises poverty alleviation over any binding commitment to reducing emissions.
Ahead of the last 15th Conference of Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in Denmark in December 2010, South Africa announced a voluntary commitment to reduce emissions by 34 percent below ‘business as usual’ levels by 2020. This reduction is, however, conditional upon international support that is not certain to materialise.
South Africa’s Minister for Water and Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, will be representing South Africa’s interests at the 16th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in Cancun, Mexico.
“We believe that it is quite important that as developing countries we also get an opportunity to allow development to happen because of poverty,” Molewa says. “We need to allow space for us to actually introduce those emissions [reductions] over time, because developed countries have gone through the processes.”
The country experienced rolling blackouts in 2008, severely impacting the mining and manufacturing sectors, and causing the cancellation of big energy-intensive projects. Securing an energy supply to support economic growth and reduce high levels of poverty remains uppermost for planners.
The government’s second Integrated Resource Plan seeks to map out long-term energy and technology options for the South Africa, taking into consideration sustainability, security of supply, accessibility, affordability, security of supply and environmental impact.
The short-term answers are dirty: the coal-fired Medupi power station is expected to contribute 4,800 megawatts to the national electricity grid from 2012, and to emit around 26 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, despite employing supercritical coal technology, which is less polluting than older coal plants’. The subsequent Kusile station is projected to have similar outputs on both scores.
In its draft energy plan, government expects that by 2030, 48 percent of the total energy demand will be met by coal, 16 percent from renewable sources and 14 from nuclear generation, including the construction of six new nuclear power stations, the first of which would come online in 2023.
The draft plan also considers a “low-carbon scenario” which would involve an energy mix of 36 percent coal-sourced electricity, 32 percent renewables and 12 percent nuclear. But planners found that although this scenario would cut carbon emissions by 20 percent more, it would drive up costs by 50 percent than the “balanced scenario” the draft plan endorses.
Richard Worthington from the Worldwide Fund for Nature says that in South Africa there is a perception that a sustainable pathway forward puts jobs at risk. “But the evidence is clearly out there that a low-carbon economy is a more labour intensive economy,” he says. “The less you rely on the concentrated energy of fossil fuels, the more likely you are to need more people working.”
Greenpeace International and the European Renewable Energy Council have set out a vision for a low-carbon energy future involving increased efficiency, renewable energy sources and expanded reliance on combined heat and power generation. Greenpeace says its Energy [R]evolution scenario would secure power for economic growth while creating an additional 78 000 jobs in the energy sector by 2030. It would also reduce the country’s emissions – 2050 emissions would fall by 60 percent as compared to 2005 levels.
An important challenge to green scenarios like this one is how quickly the cost to consumers per unit of renewable energy can be reduced to match the price of polluting energy: higher energy costs for either industry or the country’s poor are viewed as unacceptable.
Although it is well-endowed with solar and wind energy resources, South Africa has not developed a robust renewable energy industry.
The Copenhagen Summit failed to reach a binding agreement on reducing emissions, primarily because of developed countries were unwilling to sign up to new commitments without matching commitments from the rising developing powers. Little progress has been made on this front during 2010 and few expect the Cancun summit to achieve a breakthrough.
But with South Africa hosting the 2011 round of climate change negotiations in Durban, Africa – and the world – will be looking for it to demonstrate leadership in reconciling development priorities and the drastic reductions in greenhouse emissions that the world needs.
- This article was first published on Inter Press Service (IPS) website. It is republished here with the permission of IPS.
- Electoral Institute for the Sustainability of Democracy in Africa, a NGO striving for excellence in the promotion of credible elections, participatory democracy, human rights culture, and the strengthening of governance institutions for the consolidation of democracy in Africa, has compiled the African Election Calendar 2011. The calendar provides information on dates and country where the elections will be taking place.
To view the African Election Calendar 2011, click here.