De Klerk Not Pressured to Release Prisoners

The F.W. de Klerk Foundation has denied that former president, F.W. de Klerk, was under pressure to release all political prisoners, including the late former President, Nelson Mandela, from prison.

F.W. de Klerk Foundation, executive director, Dave Steward, who was the director-general in De Klerk's office at the time and government’s spokesperson, says De Klerk’s says the reason why government released political prisoners is because the apartheid policy had failed.

He says there would have been a catastrophe if the prisoners were not released.

NGO Condemns SANRAL Anthrax Scare

The Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) has described biological or chemical attacks, real or feigned, as an act of cowardice and terrorism.

The comment comes after the South African National Roads Agency Limited's (SANRAL) operations centre in Pretoria had to be shut down when white powder was found in an envelope.

Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) says that biological analysis of the powder shows it is not anthrax.

Scott Disappointed With NGOs

Zambian vice president, Guy Scott, says he is disappointed that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are causing commotion over the draft constitution.
Dr. Scott explained that there is no new constitution and that what has been leaked is just a report on recommendations for the document.
The vice president was responding to questions from teachers who wanted to find out what stage the new constitution had reached following the perceived impasse between government and civil society organisations.

Ban on NGOs in Zim Lifted

A ban on aid bodies in Zimbabwe’s Masvingo province has been lifted, and government is appealing to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to resume operations there.

Former provincial governor, Titus Maluleke, ordered the discontinuation of 29 NGOs, which provided food to desperate families in Masvingo, accusing them of engaging in political activity.

However, Minister of Provincial Affairs, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, has announced the cancellation of the ban, arguing that the government cannot feed all the starving people in the province on its own.

World Marks Human Rights Day

Countries around the world marked International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2013.
Chief of the United Nations Human Rights, Navi Pillay, states that the fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place, the focus now is in implementing these standards when there is a gap in political will and financial resources.
Pillay also notes that the past 20 years have seen a number of failures to prevent atrocities and safeguarding human rights.

African Youth Not Interested in Elections - AU

African Union’s (AU) chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, says the union is worried about the growing trend of unconcern towards electoral processes among young people in democracies across Africa.  
Speaking at a gala dinner to mark the 160th anniversary of Adams College, Dlamini-Zuma states that it is essential for young people in Africa to become active in shaping the future they are to inherit.
She has encouraged the youth to participate in elections and policy development initiatives aswell as to hold their governments accountable.

Public Outrage Over e-Tolls Date

Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has expressed anger towards Transport Minister, Dipuo Peter’s announcement of the beginning of e-tolling on Gauteng’s highways on 3 December 2013.

Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) chairperson, Wayne Duvenage, states that the e-tolling system is bound to fail, as it is inefficient, irrational, and would enrich overseas companies at the expense of South African motorists.

Duvenage says that OUTA believes the most equitable way to pay for the maintenance of highways would be through a fuel levy.

SAITF to Take City of Joburg to Court

The South African Informal Trader's Forum (SAITF) has announced plans to take the City of Johannesburg to court over the removal of informal traders in the Johannesburg central business district (CBD).

In a press statement, SAITF states that the court action followed weeks of speaking to the city in order to find solutions to the evictions of traders.

"The City of Johannesburg, in its clean sweep operation, removed illegal and legal traders regardless of whether one was in possession of a permit, lease or not," it states.

NGO Calls for Masondo’s Return

The One Voice Hawkers' organisation has demanded the return of former Johannesburg mayor, Amos Masondo.

One Voice spokesperson, Zakes Ramotolana, states that the current mayor, Parks Tau’s mother used to sell tomatoes for a living, however, the mayor has now turned his back against street hawkers.

“Under former mayor Masondo, the hawkers were treated like proper business people … we demand that Masondo comes back and Tau must resign," argues Ramotolana.


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