democracy

Dlamini-Zuma Hopes to Change the AU

Home Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, says that change in the leadership of the African Union (AU) could create an opportunity to make the AU more efficient.

Dlamini-Zuma, who is seeking election as chair of the AU, says it will not be difficult to unite the union despite differences between Anglophone and Francophone countries.

"You are implementing programmes that have been agreed upon by everybody, so you are not going to be consulting the Anglophone and the Francophone," she explains.

Patience Needed for Social Cohesion

Former director-general in the presidency, Rev Frank Chikane, says that much patience is needed for South Africa to develop social cohesion.

Speaking during a report back from commissions at the national social cohesion summit, Chikane, pointed out that to build social cohesion and a common nation, a national identity is needed.

Chikane, who described the commission as difficult, stated that high levels of sensitivity and humility were needed.

South Africans Urged to Respect Each Other

The Minister of Arts and Culture, Paul Mashatile, says that South Africa’s unequal living conditions could undermine the government's efforts to build a non-racial society.

Speaking at a two-day summit on social cohesion at the Walter Sisulu Square in Soweto, Mashatile points out that the event, which is hosted by his department, is aimed at assessing the progress the country has made in building a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society.

Govt to Consider e-Tolling Ideas

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) says the government has begun to understand the problems South Africans face because of e-tolling but that does not mean it has changed its mind on the matter.

OUTA chairperson, Wayne Duvenhage, argues that, “They are beginning to understand the issue, but it does not mean they have come over to our side.”

NGO Urges People to Drive the NDP

The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) has urged South Africans to play more active role in accomplishing the goals set out in the National Development Plan (NDP).

In a press statement, CASAC points out that, "People need to be integrally involved in engaging with all the priorities identified in the NDP, particularly [regarding] improving education and health."

NEHAWU Slams De Klerk’s CNN Comments

The National Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) has demanded that former president FW de Klerk’s Nobel Peace Prize be retracted over comments he made in an interview with United State broadcaster CNN.

In a press statement, NEHAWU spokesperson, Sizwe Pamla, points out that, “De Klerk exposed himself to be an unapologetic proponent of a racist, facist system that oppressed the majority.”

CASAC Criticises De Klerk’s CNN Comments

The Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution (CASAC) says that former president, FW de Klerk, must retract comments he made in a CNN interview.

CASAC says it condemns in the strongest terms what it calls the ‘reckless attempts’ by former president FW de Klerk to justify and defend the apartheid system.

CASAC chairperson, Sipho Pityana, points out that De Klerk's comments made a ‘mockery’ of his claims of being committed to fostering a democratic South Africa.

Foundation Defends De Klerk’s Comments

The FW de Klerk Foundation says that former president FW de Klerk's comments about the homeland system during a CNN interview were taken unfairly out of context.

In a press statement, the foundation states that, "The interview dealt with De Klerk’s views as a young man. He tried, as frankly as he could, to explain what motivated him at the time.”

World Press Freedom Day Commemorated

South Africa commemorated the World Press Freedom Day and 18 years of democracy.

However, the proposed Protection of State Information Bill (Secrecy Bill), which is widely criticised for its failure to protect whistle-blowers, means that freedom of the press remains a talking point.

The South African National Editors Forum’s (SANEF) Nick Dawes, points out that the role of a free press is crucial for our democracy, adding that there are some warning lights flashing that the quality for that environment and the room in which operate, may diminish if we are not careful.

Get up, stand up South Africa!

Our democracy is on the verge of adulthood. We’re still teenagers, but we’re also fully grown. We could either become responsible, even defiant citizens, or we can imitate many of our leaders and settle for a life of crime. The choice is ours.

This is our 18th birthday. Like a teenager our social fabric has to deal with the wild fluctuations of our hormones. We are cradled by the generosity of the human spirit and shocked at the mindless brutality of violent crimes, especially against women and children. Corruption corrodes our national psyche.

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