Daily Archives: October 24, 2017

MEC Fikile Xasa visits traditional leaders in Maluti Region

Government will continue to execute the customary male initiation practice act without exception

Co-operative Governance and Traditional MEC Fikile Xasa has told members of the Matatiele and Mount Fletcher Initiation Practitioners (MMIP) that government will continue to execute the Customary Male Initiation Practice Act throughout the Province including in Matatiele.

Speaking in a briefing session during his visit to the traditional leaders in the Maluti Region MEC Xasa said Ulwaluko (traditional initiation) is an issue for the country and the nation. For this reason, government gets involved in the practice of the customs only to save lives off abakhwetha.

The MEC was responding to a request by members of the MMIP to suspend the Act in the Matatiele and Mount Fletcher areas until 2019. Chief argued that their plan for the initiation seasons are well in place and intensive by the time the act was passed in November last year.

We have noted the concerns raised by members of the Initiation Practitioners. The Act has led to the reduction of the number of deaths and injuries of abakhwetha in the last winter season hence we cannot suspend it anywhere in the Province including in Matatiele, said MEC Xasa.

Government encourages members of the MMIP to work hand in glove with Traditional Initiation Forums towards finding a solution to their current challenges.

Government is ready to be advised and be guided on matters pertaining to safe initiation, he said.

Meanwhile, MEC Xasa encouraged royal families to work hard to strengthen and stabilise traditional leadership institutions in the Province to resolve the existing and remaining traditional leadership disputes.

Traditional leaders must protect their institution from being a money making institution. The claims and disputes continue to tarnish the image and undermine the dignity of the institution, said MEC Xasa.

MEC Xasa also called on traditional leaders to work for an end to tribalism to build one South African nation based on the values of a united, non-racial, democratic and non-sexist South Africa.

He said South Africa is a unitary state and the boundaries that divide Provinces are just soft boundaries. MEC Xasa said government is busy building the new South Africa nation and quality services should be provided equitably to all communities, regardless of the Province they reside in. The issue of boundaries has the potential to destabilise communities hence it must be handled with care, said MEC Xasa.

Source: Government of South Africa

Minister Angie Motshekga visits Diepdale High School Exam Centre, 25 Oct

Minister Motshekga to Visit Soweto Grade 12 learners as NSC exams gain momentum

The Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga, will tomorrow, Wednesday 25 October 2017, visit the Diepdale High School Exam Centre to provide words of encouragement and support to Grade 12 learners.

Source: Government of South Africa

BLF TO BE GIVEN OPPORTUNITY FOR ORAL PRESENTATION ON DRAFT POLITICAL PARTY FUNDING BILL

A political party, Black First Land First (BLF), which lacks representation in the national and provincial legislatures as well as municipal councils, will be allowed to cover all aspects of the Draft Political Party Funding Bill of 2017 during the public hearings on 7-8 November 2017.

This came out in the meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Funding of Political Parties on Tuesday morning. The Chairperson of the Committee, Mr Vincent Smith, explained that BLF was not invited in the first round of the public hearings in light of the fact that the party’s written submission did not reach the Committee on time. The Committee had received 12 written submissions from organisations and individuals across different sectors. This time around it has received 21 submissions including that of the BLF.

Having realised that most of the 21 written submissions came from the same organisations and individuals who participated in the first round of public hearings, the Committee thus resolved to invite all of them on condition that they will only be allowed to cover new aspects in relation to the Bill which were not covered in the first round.

We should avoid to come across as though we are reinventing the wheel in allowing the participants to repeat what they said in the first round of public hearings. Only those that did not participate in the first round like BLF will have an opportunity to address the Committee on various aspects of the draft Bill, said Mr Smith.

The Committee was also briefed by the Parliamentary Legal Services Unit on the impact of the My Vote Counts (MVC) court judgement on its work, and accordingly agreed that the judgement did not affect the work of the Committee. On 27 September 2017 the Western Cape High Court has ruled in favour of the MVC that information about private funding of political parties and independent ward candidates should be made public for the reasonable exercise of the right to vote.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

All set for OR Tambo centenary celebrations

It’s all systems go for OR Tambo centenary national celebrations in his hometown of Mbizana in the Eastern Cape province.

President Jacob Zuma will on Friday officiate the celebrations to honour the legacy and life of the liberation struggle icon, African humanist and the longest serving President of the governing party, Oliver Reginald Tambo.

The year 2017 was declared the ‘Year of OR Tambo’ by government to mark the centenary birthday of Tambo and to remember his principled leadership and ideals, which inspired many liberation struggle and anti-colonialism activists not only in South Africa but across the continent and the world.

The national centenary celebrations will be held under the theme, ‘Life and Legacy of Mr OR Tambo’.

Tambo, who was born in Nkantolo village in Mbizana in the Eastern Cape on 27 October 1917, passed away on 24 April 1993, aged 75, after he suffered a stroke.

President Zuma has defined the centenary celebrations as one of the most significant occasions for the country and the African continent. He has encouraged South Africans to draw lessons from Tambo’s life and leadership, and to understand the qualities that made him one of the most internationally respected leaders and founding father of democratic South Africa.

On this occasion, we should remember and honour the life of a patriot, a solid and principled leader who sacrificed everything and endangered the lives of his family to liberate South Africa and African people from colonialism and imperialism.

As we celebrate the life of this liberation struggle giant, we should also draw lessons from OR Tambo’s exemplary leadership and advance his ideals and his belief in a peaceful, equal, non-racial and non-sexist democratic South Africa.

This occasion should further remind all South Africans of where we come from as a country and also encourage all of us to preserve and advance the progressive ideals of OR Tambo, which were centred on the struggle for justice and equal social and economic rights of all our people.

The ideals of this visionary and freedom fighter should inspire all of us as we advance our struggle for radical socio-economic transformation that will reverse the legacy of apartheid and liberate our people from economic hardships and address the challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality, a struggle that OR Tambo lived and fought for, he said.

A man of vision

President Zuma has characterised Tambo as a visionary and a true African humanist, who was loved by many on the continent and who shaped the foreign policy of the democratic South Africa, as well as laid a foundation as the foremost diplomat and highly respected leader during a difficult time in the country’s history.

Tambo is respected throughout the world as a true internationalist and an embodiment of the highest values.

President Zuma said Tambo is recognised as an eminent leader, who succeeded in mobilising his people and the international community for the national cause of South Africa and the international cause of fighting racism, xenophobia and the consolidation of an international human rights movement.

Through his solution-oriented leadership, which sought to move forward on the basis of building consensus, he also led key processes from the Harare Declaration, to the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, President Zuma said.

Government has hosted a number of activities and build-up events throughout the year to celebrate Tambo’s life and legacy. Earlier this month, President Zuma officially launched the Oliver Tambo National Heritage Site in Lusaka, Zambia, during his State visit to the country.

While exiled from South Africa during the apartheid era, Tambo lived in Zambia from 1965 to 1991, where he was accommodated at various locations, including Chelstone Green in Lusaka in a house that was allocated to him by Zambia’s first democratic President, Dr Kenneth Kaunda.

The house has been renovated by the South African government and declared as a national heritage site by the Zambian government.

Last week, President Zuma unveiled a life-size statue and a bust of Tambo at OR Tambo International Airport, which was named after him in honour of his immense contribution in the liberation struggle.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Ending child marriage in West and Central Africa could take 100 years, warns UNICEF

Unless progress is accelerated, ending child marriage in West and Central Africa will take more than 100 years, with far-reaching, life-altering consequences for millions of child brides and crippling impact on the region’s prosperity, the United Nations children’s agency has said.

A new report released Monday from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Achieving a future without child marriage: Focus on West and Central Africa, reveals that, due to rapid population growth and high prevalence of child marriage, even if the current decline rate was doubled, it would not suffice to reduce the annual number of girls married.

We cannot continue to let so many of our girls miss out on their health, education, and childhood, said Fatoumata Ndiaye, UNICEF’s Deputy Executive Director, in a press release, adding that at current rates, our report shows, it will take over 100 years to eliminate child marriage in the region � how is this acceptable?

The new projections, released during a UN-backed high-level meeting on ending child marriage in Dakar this week, aim to bring the spotlight on the region of the world where girls face the highest risk of marrying in childhood.

While the prevalence of child marriage in West and Central Africa has declined over the past two decades, progress has been uneven, and still four in 10 women are married before the age of 18 and, of these, one in three before the age of 15.

West and Central Africa includes six of the 10 countries with the highest prevalence of child marriage in the world: Niger; the Central African Republic; Chad; Mali; Burkina Faso and Guinea.

The report also highlights that progress is possible when the right mix of strategies is in place, such as empowering girls, mobilizing families and communities to change attitudes and behaviours, providing adequate services to girls at risk and to married girls and putting in place consistent laws and policies to protect and promote the rights of girls.

In five countries in the region � Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Togo, Ghana and Rwanda, declines ranged from 40 to 60 per cent over the past 25 years.

The longer a girl stays in school, the less likely she is to be married before the age of 18 and have children during her teenage years.

Getting girls to schools should be our top priority, said Ms. Ndiaye. Not only because it equips girls for life, but it also helps to lift their families, their communities, their countries out of poverty.

Source: UN News Centre