Friday, 31 August 2012

Marikana murder charged with Murder

The National Prosecution Authority has charged 259 arrested  Miners  at South Africa's Marikana mine  with the murder of 34 of their colleagues shot by police.

However law experts have described the charge as "shameful" saying it flouts the Constitutional.

 The decision to charge the miners comes under "common purpose law" used under the former apartheid regime, and it suggests President Jacob Zuma's government wants to shift blame for the killings from police to the striking miners.

 The decision to charge the miners comes under "common purpose law" used under the former apartheid regime, and it suggests President Jacob Zuma's government wants to shift blame for the killings from police to the striking miners.

However Law expert Pierre de Vos said the NPA Act requires every member of the authority to act without fear, favor or prejudice.

"Instead they acted with fear, favor and prejudice to advance some or another political agenda, further eroding the little trust South Africans might still have left in them." Vos wrote on Thursday night 

The  former ruling ANC party youth leader Julius Malema also described  the decision as "madness".

"The whole world saw the policemen kill those people," said Malema, who was expelled from the governing
African National Congress in April.

According to NPA spokesman Frank Lesenyengo The killing of the 34 was the most deadly police action since South Africa became a democracy in 1994.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Muslim groups to protest against Blair's visit to South Africa

South African Muslims groups  have welcomes Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu move to pull out of the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit because of  fellow speaker Tony Blair.

According to reports protests have been planned for Thursday a day Blair is set to address the Summit at the Sandton Convention Center in the commercial city Johannesburg.

Since the former British Prime Minister  was picked as one of the speakers at the Summit he has been at the center of controversy among Muslim groups who have for a citizen's arrest against him.

Recently Tutu the Noble Prize winner  announced that he could not appear alongside Blair because of  his "morally indefensible" decision to lead British force into Iraq in 2003

Speaking to local press Boycott Divestment and Sanction Movement of South Africa (BDSSA) a body which supports Tutu  said "Those that are protesting Blair"s presents in South Africa are celebrating the fact that Desmond Tutu has taken this principled decision not to be associated with someone who has been, in many ways , one of the prime people behind several of our modern day wars"

Apart from the Muslim groups South Africa's Congress of  Trade Unions (Cosatu) also added its voice to support Tutu's decision.

Address by His Excellency, President Jacob G Zuma on the occasion of the Businesswoman of the Year Awards 2012, Sandton Convention Centre

29 August 2012
Programme director,
President of Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa, Ms Maphisa,
Leadership of women’s associations, including representatives of the African Businesswomen’s Network from various African countries,
All finalists and winners of the 2012 Businesswoman of the Year Awards,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening to you all.

Thank you for providing us an opportunity to conclude women’s month on a high note, by celebrating the achievements of women in the South African economy.

I am truly honoured to share this occasion with you.

The 2012 Annual Businesswoman of the Year Awards ceremony takes place as we celebrate a number of achievements on the political front.

We are marking 100 years of selfless struggle by many distinguished men and women in our country, including thousands of ordinary people in the townships and villages of our country, and our friends in Africa and abroad.

The year 2012 also marks the third year of the African Women’s Decade as declared by the African Union. 

In this context, we are pleased with the progress made in the continent on advancing women leadership at high levels.

We take special pride in the election of Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as the first female Chairperson of the African Union Commission. Her election is not only a victory for South Africa. It is a victory for all Africans, and especially the African Union, which has in essence implemented its own decision to declare this a decade of women.

At a regional level, we welcome the appointment of Her Excellency Joyce Banda, as the President of Malawi and as the second woman Head of State in Africa.

We are pleased today to be adding the achievements of women in the economic sphere to our country’s 2012 achievements list.

The Business Women’s Association has been very consistent in highlighting women’s achievements in business and in promoting women’s advancement. Since 1980, you have produced a distinguished list of winners who have challenged stereotypes and proved women’s capabilities as leaders in the private sector.

We can count Ms Marina Maponya, and other leading women enterpreneurs including Ms Dawn Mokgobo, Ms Pam Golding, Dr Anna Mokgokong, Ms Chichi Maponya, and Ms Santie Botha.

We also recognize last year’s winners Ms Philisiwe Buthelezi, the 2011 corporate category winner and Dr Nondumiso Mzizana the 2011 entrepreneur category winner.

There are many other exceptional women who have been honoured over the years. The significance of the awards is that they promote positive images of women as achievers in general, but more especially in the male-dominated the business sector. 

Our youth, both male and female, need to be provided with role models to look up to, so that we can succeed in creating a winning nation of achievers in all fields. 

While celebrating this evening, we also know that the advancement of women in the country, especially in the economic sphere, still needs a lot of attention given the backlogs.

The 2012 Women in Leadership census report of the Business Women’s Association paints a disturbing picture of female representation in the private sector, but there are some slight improvements from the 2011 figures in some categories.

The survey indicates that women hold only 3.6% of CEO or managing director positions, 5.5% of board chair positions, 17.1 of directorships and 21.4 of executive managers positions.

The directorships had dropped to 15.8 percent in 2011, so the increase to 17.1 percent this year is most welcome. 

However, of concern is the increase in the number of companies with no women at all in their boards of directors and executive manager positions. The number grew from 8.0% in 2011 to 10.6% this year. 
The situation in the public service is not better. With regard to the public sector, the 2012 Business Women’s Association census data reveals that women constitute 58.9% of the total workforce in government. However, as the 2011 Employment Equity report indicates, women account for only 0.8 percent at top management and Senior Management level.

To address the slow pace of gender transformation, Government’s programme of action includes the promotion of gender equality and the advancement of women in all sectors. 

We have introduced the Gender Equality Bill. It will provide the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities with the necessary authority to monitor, review and promote gender equality in all programmes of government and other sectors. 

This new law will encourage all of us to comply with this imperative in the Constitution.
In addition, as government we are trying our best to provide support mechanisms for women in the economy.

We continue to support women-owned enterprises to overcome barriers such as lack of access to finance and technology. 

Programmes such as Isivande Women’s Fund, Bavumile Skills Development Initiative and Technology for Women in Business are tailor made to address to common challenges that women-owned enterprises encounter.

These programmes complement the objectives set out in the National Growth Path. The empowerment of women and women-owned enterprises as laid out in the National Growth Path is integral to that success. 

We will also continue to encourage the development and growth of more women owned enterprises that will take on the opportunities brought about by the localization initiatives of our Industrial Policy Action Plan.

The plan advocates the participation of women-owned enterprises in key industrial sectors. These include chemicals, advanced manufacturing, green energy, agro-processing, metals, and automotive sectors.  

At a more long-term level, the economic empowerment of women is included in the National Development Plan released on the 15th of August in parliament by the National Planning Commission.

The Plan proposes that the transformation of the economy should involve the active participation and empowerment of women. 

In addition, the Plan proposes that public employment programmes such as the Community Works Programme should be expanded, with a specific focus on youth and women.

Esteemed guests,

Government remains awake to the need for transformation in other spheres as well, including those in which patriarchy is regarded as still being entrenched. For example, we have noted comments and concerns about the Traditional Courts Bill by many stakeholders, including women’s groupings. The aim of the Bill is to provide for the structure and functioning of traditional courts, in line with constitutional imperatives and values.

This law will affect 18 million citizens who reside within the ambit of the traditional justice system, who depend on this system to resolve disputes. It is therefore an important piece of legislation.

The Bill was first introduced in the National Assembly in 2008, was later withdrawn, and has been re-introduced. Public hearings have been held around the country during which a number of concerns were raised. 

Firstly, the argument raised is that the Bill is unconstitutional in that it prohibits legal representation in traditional courts.

Secondly, concerns were raised that it does not contain provisions to ensure that women form part of the courts, nor does it go far enough to ensure that women can participate actively in the deliberations of the courts.

Thirdly, the Bill is said to entrench the balkanisation of traditional communities in accordance with the boundaries of the old tribal authorities of the defunct Bantustans.

Fourthly, we have been informed of concerns that it restricts access to justice by denying the right of persons to “opt out” of the traditional justice system and pursue redress of their matters in courts of law.

For example, women raised concerns that this Bill will deprive them of their democratic rights to choose to go to Magistrates Courts for recourse in the event of domestic or other disputes. 
We have found the comments of the public as well as non-governmental and women’s organisations very informative and useful.

The Ministries and Departments affected by the Bill will discuss these concerns and also engage on policy options and possible amendments to the Bill, which is now before the NCOP.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Before concluding, let me take this opportunity, to thank you and all South Africans for observing with dignity and respect, the week of mourning for the 44 people who died in Marikana and other South Africans who died violently.

Our people, especially the bereaved families responded with dignity, calm and fortitude under immense pain and difficulty. We will now allow the Judicial Commission of Inquiry to establish the facts about what exactly transpired in Marikana. 

This tragedy has caused enormous pain to all of us. It must unite us behind the resolve to promote peaceful resolution of disputes as provided for in the constitution and the laws of the land.

Esteemed guests,

As said earlier, while touching on some policy issues, we bear in mind that today is primarily an evening of celebration!

I would like to once again applaud the Business Women’s Association for continuing to champion women’s excellence and meaningful participation in the economy. 

We congratulate all the distinguished winners today. We are all proud of your achievers.

I wish you all success in all your future endeavours.

I thank you.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Tanzania will not go to war with Malawi - President Kikwete

Malawi  and Tanzania will not go to war  with each other President Jakaya Kikwete and his Malawian counterpart, Ms Joyce Banda, stated

 Meanwhile   the two leaders  have called for patience as a joint committee works to find a lasting solution to the Lake Nyasa border dispute.

In a joint press conference convened at the Mozambican capital, Maputo, on Friday night, the two presidents reaffirmed their commitment to pursue diplomatic channels to ensure the wrangle was resolved amicably.

"There has been so much hype in the media and various blogs about military action between Tanzania and Malawi. But all this is misleading. We have never on our part considered that option," said President Kikwete, noting that such talks were creating unnecessary fear and tension among the people of the two countries.

"I am the Commander-in-chief and have not given any order for military action. I therefore would like to reassure our people that we have no plans to go to war with our neighbours over this or any other issue that can be resolved diplomatically," stated President Kikwete.

Kikwete said the committee comprising officials from Malawi and Tanzania are set to meet in Mzuzu and Lilongwe between August 20 and 25, and ought to be given time to come up with a workable solution to the saga.
He insisted that there were numerous ways to resolve the crisis, but war was not one of them. Ms Banda said she was grateful for the opportunity to meet her Tanzanian counterpart and quell rumours that the latter was contemplating military action.

"Malawians have been uneasy following these rumors and war reports. That is why we needed to talk. We know that Tanzanians and Malawians are peace loving people, hence no need for us to fight," said Ms Banda, noting that many Malawians had Tanzanian relatives; hence they were one people and family.

She added that she was returning home happy and satisfied following her Tanzanian counterpart's assurances that the dispute would be resolved without a bullet having to be fired. The conflict between the two countries followed move by Malawi to award an oil exploration licence to UK-based Surestream Petroleum last October to search for oil and gas in Lake Nyasa.

Tanzania has since asked the Malawi government to put on hold the exploration exercise until the border dispute, in which it claims portion of the lake, is resolved, a stand Malawi disputes claiming total sovereignty of the whole lake.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Kofi Annan quit as special envoy to Syria

It is with deep regret that I have to announce the resignation of the UN-League of Arab States Joint Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Kofi Annan, Ban Ki - Moon said in a statement

 In a statement  Moon said that Annan informed him together with  the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Mr. Nabil El Araby, of his intention not to renew his mandate when it expires on 31 August 2012. 

"I wish to express my deepest gratitude to Mr. Annan for the determined and courageous efforts he has made as the Joint Special Envoy for Syria."

However Moon said that Kofi Annan deserves United Nations  profound admiration for the selfless way in which he has put his formidable skills and prestige to this most difficult and potentially thankless of assignments

'He has worked within the mandate provided to him by the General Assembly and with the cooperation of various Member States. We have worked closely together these past months, and I am indebted to him and his team for all they have tried to achieve. I will continue to draw on his wisdom and counsel, and on the work of the Office of the Joint Special Envoy." Said Moon

  He therefore disclosed that his consultations with the League of Arab States Secretary-General are under way with a view to the prompt appointment of a successor who can carry on the peacemaking effort.

"I remain convinced that yet more bloodshed is not the answer; each day of it will only make the solution more difficult while bringing deeper suffering to the country and greater peril to the region."  Said the UN chief

"Tragically, the spiral of violence in Syria is continuing. The hand extended to turn away from violence in favour of dialogue and diplomacy - as spelled out in the Six-Point Plan - has not been not taken, even though it still remains the best hope for the people of Syria. Both the Government and the opposition forces continue to demonstrate their determination to rely on ever-increasing violence. In addition, the persistent divisions within the Security Council have themselves become an obstacle to diplomacy, making the work of any mediator vastly more difficult." read the statement

  Moon however made it clear that  the UN remains committed to pursue through diplomacy an end to the violence and a Syrian-led solution that meets the legitimate democratic aspirations of its people.

 "This can only succeed – indeed any peacemaking effort can only prosper – when the parties to the violence make a firm commitment to dialogue, and when the international community is strongly united in support." Moon said