2009 Elections: The People Have Spoken

South Africans withstood low temperatures in some parts of the country to join queues to cast their votes in South Africa’s fourth democratic elections on 22 April 2009. For many, the long queues at many of the approximately 19 000 polling stations brought back memories of 1994 when they participated in the country’s first democratic elections.

Unlike the 1999 and 2004 elections which were characterised by voter apathy, 2009 will be remembered for the interest and participation of young South Africans in both rural and urban areas.

Zimbabwean Govt Taken to SADC Tribunal

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has taken Zimbabwe's government to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal in Namibia, for breaching the SADC Treaty.

The forum is accusing Zimbabwe for the lack of effective domestic remedies for victims of violence and torture, and therefore breaching the obligations the government is bound to respect as signatories of that treaty.

NCA to Protest Zimbabwe Constitutional Reforms

A leading rights group in Zimbabwe has vowed to campaign against the way the country's new constitution is being drafted under a recent power-sharing deal.

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), an umbrella group of rights bodies, churches and other activists, says that the new basic law should not be written by parliamentarians, but be based on public consultations.

The group’s chairperson, Lovemore Madhuku says he will lead a campaign against the constitution, which should go to a referendum next year.

LHR Challenges Farm Eviction

Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) says it will challenge the eviction  of a tenant farmer from Yzervarkfontein farm in Bronkhorspruit by government in court.

Attorney and LHR consultant, Louise du Plessisat, points out that an urgent application will be filed for Veronica Moos to be allowed to reoccupy the farm. Voos was allocated the farm through the government Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAS) programme,

However, the Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs maintains that that Moos did not effectively use the farm.

AMI Leads Talks to Free its Workers

A French aid group is leading talks to free two of its foreign workers snatched in Sudan's Darfur region more than a week ago, after kidnappers told the government to stay out.

The workers, one Canadian and the other French, from Aid Medicale International (AMI) were seized from their compound in the south Darfur settlement of Ed el Fursan on 4 April 2009.

South African NGOs and the Financial Crisis - What is your experience?

Over the past few months local and international news has been dominated by information and analysis on the scope and implications of the global financial crisis. As with all sectors of society, the local NGO sector has not escaped the fall-out of the crisis. Their sources of funding are under increasing pressure as individual donors have less deposable income, corporate bottom lines have shrunk and international grant flows have slowed.

Oxfam Speak Out on the War in the DRC

The British arm of Oxfam says hundreds of thousands of civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are still displaced and suffering abuse and hunger as a result of an operation targeting Hutu militia.

The organisation says that there had been reports of reprisal attacks on civilians, insecurity and widespread looting.

Head of Oxfam in the DRC, Marcel Stoessel, points out that, “Homes and shops are being looted and ransacked, women and girls are being raped, and civilians are being forced to flee, many for the third or fourth time.”

TAC Disrupts AIDS Conference

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) has disrupted the fourth South African AIDS Conference in Durban.

"We are not happy with what is happening in this conference. Besides the fact that the conference is too academic, our voices as people living with AIDS are not heard," argued Victor Lakey from the TAC.

He says: "What is happening is that the same old declarations are rehashed and nothing gets done after these conferences have been held."

Inyathelo: Global economic crisis impacts foundations and donors

South African non-profit organisations (NPOs) need to start working on becoming more sustainable and re-think the way they operate as the global recession begins to bite, according to NPO funding expert, Vincent McGee, senior advisor to The Atlantic Philanthropies.

Speaking at a function in Cape Town yesterday, attended by a cross-section of organisations from the NPO, philanthropy and CSI sectors convened at Inyathelo - The South African Institute of Advancement, McGee said that the resources available to NPOs and other organisations has decreased substantially.

Sudan Urged to Reconsider Decision on Aid Groups

The United Nations (UN) Security Council has appealed to Sudan to reconsider a decision to expel some aid groups in Darfur after an international court issued an arrest warrant for the country's leader.

In a press statement, council  members stressed the importance of continuing the distribution of humanitarian assistance to the needy in Darfur.

They urged Sudan's government to continue cooperating with the UN and humanitarian organisations and appealed to it to reconsider the decision to suspend the activities of some NGOs in that country.


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