Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference
We regret that the “Protection of State Information Bill” was passed by the National Assembly yesterday. While improvements have been made to the Bill there are still flaws which are a cause for concern.
President Zuma has the power to refer the Bill to the Constitutional Court before he signs it into law. We call upon him to do so in order to avoid the risk of a prolonged and expensive court battle and the possibility of more parliamentary time being spent on amendments.
As a result of sustained pressure by civil society and opposition MPs, together with a receptive attitude from many ANC MPs who have dealt with the Bill in both Houses, there are improvements in the Bill which has been passed by Parliament. Even though we are unhappy with the latest version, its journey has been an object lesson in co-operation and engagement between civil society and parliament. We welcome the fact that:
Protests against the secrecy bill in Cape Town in November 2011, when the national assembly first approved it. The bill has been passed by 189 votes to 74, with one absention. Photograph: Mike Hutchings/Reuters
Freedom of speech campaigners warn that bill could have ‘chilling effect’ on those seeking to expose official corruption
Campaigners in South Africa have vowed “this fight is not over” after MPs passed widely condemned secrecy laws that could threaten whistleblowers and journalists with jail terms of up to 25 years. The protection of state information bill, dubbed the “secrecy bill” by its opponents, was passed by 189 votes to 74, with one abstension, in a parliament dominated by the African National Congress (ANC). It is now a formality for President Jacob Zuma to sign it into law.
Sent by Biddy Rose Tiernan, SNDdeN
Communists in South Africa must be popping the corks of their champagne as they witness the dream of a state-run economy coming true. Socialists must be wearing a wry smile as, despite their belief in a mixed economy, they do have reservations about the profit motive. Why all this celebration? Because the big picture suggests that, with some illustrious exceptions, the decline and fall of the private sector is happening before our eyes.
The flags are going up everywhere:
- South Africa is no longer seen as the premier investment destination in Africa. The World Bank’s list of faster growing economies over the next five years has seven African countries in the top ten. They are embracing free enterprise while we continue to be dogged by policy uncertainty and increasing bureaucracy; Continue reading
Sent by Biddy Rose Tiernan, SND
By Clem Sunter 2013-01-04 09:15
Now that we are entering the fourteenth year of the current century, some of the megatrends shaping this century have become evident. As a 21st century fox, here is my top 10 list bearing in mind that these megatrends will apply for all global economic and political scenarios. In other words, they are universal rules of the game, not variables that may or may not come into play depending on which scenario you choose. I have also run them by my fellow fox, Chantell Ilbury.
1. Populations are aging. One of the problems making the budget deficit of the US so difficult to solve is the extraordinary number of elderly people who over the next 50 years will qualify for state-funded medical care and social security. Europe and Japan are in even more difficult situations given that population is declining in numbers in countries like Italy and now Japan. China faces a demographic cliff in about 20 years time because of the one-child policy introduced in 1978 and, at this stage, the nation has very little in the way of pensions and medical cover for the elderly. Of course, India, Africa, South America and Indonesia still have relatively young, growing populations where the challenge is to raise general living standards. Nevertheless, depending on the degree of success in achieving the latter objective, they too will one day face the same ageing problem as increasing longevity goes hand in hand with rising income levels. The number of people over 100 years old living on this planet is set to explode and somehow will have to be catered for. Continue reading
Mail and Guardian
Mamphela Ramphele has warned unrest in the mining and agricultural sectors would continue if efforts were not made to change the industries’ dynamics.
Speaking at the mining indaba in Cape Town on Wednesday, the Gold Fields chair and struggle stalwart said: “It’s time to think differently … the mining industry has no option but to make a fresh start [if it hopes to survive].”
Ramphele said it was important for business government and labour to heed the wake-up call of the unrest and the “bombs in South Africa waiting to go off”. Continue reading
By Milton Nkosi BBC News, Johannesburg
Will Kgalema Motlanthe (r) challenge President Jacob Zuma?
South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) is preparing for a leadership contest which could decide whether it will reinforce the cliche of Africa’s well-documented post-colonial failures or break away from a dark past into a bright future for Africa’s largest economy. Continue reading
4 Sep 2012
“Government violence can only breed counter-violence. Ultimately, if there is no dawning of sanity on the part of the government, the dispute between the government and my people will be settled by force,” said Nelson Mandela. And his words still apply today. Continue reading
The Marikana massacre shocked South Africans and unnerved the markets but President Zuma tells the trades unions that he needs another term
A rousing welcome at a national trades union conference and a belated wage deal at the Marikana platinum mines are the first signs that President Jacob Zuma is fighting back. He has been under fire over his handling of the crisis at Lonmin’s platinum mine at Marikana, North-West Province, where police shot 34 striking miners dead on 16 August (AC Vol 53 No 17,The Marikana massacre). The worst state violence since the end of apartheid looked as if it might cost Zuma his chances of re-election as President of the governing African National Congress (ANC) at its December conference. Continue reading
Independent Catholic News
Following the killing of 34 striking platinum miners in Marikana by police on 16 August, a South African bishop has expressed his concern that a court has indicted 270 of their comrades over the deaths but not charged the police officers who fired on the crowds. Continue reading
Mail and Guardian
A leaked report shows that the appalling living conditions of Marikana miners are nothing new to Lonmin, despite its social responsibility efforts. Prepared for Lonmin and dating back to 2006, the report and its follow-ups detail the abject poverty in Marikana and other communities where miners who work in Lonmin’s platinum mines live. Continue reading