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Salem land claim ruling sparks mixed views
13 December 2017, 11:09 AM

There have been mixed reactions from the parties involved in the ruling handed down by the Constitutional Court over the land claim of Salem Community.

On Monday, the Constitutional Court ruled that all parties involved, the landowners, descendants of 1820 settlers and the claimants, who are descendants of the AmaXhosa group that stayed in Salem, should share the land, and the landowners do not have exclusive rights to the land.

The claimants own five farms from the 38 farms in Salem but wanted to claim all of them. The matter has been referred back to the Land Claim Court to determine a remedy on what the landowners are entitled to.

Chairperson of the Salem Community Committee, Misile Nondzube says “I feel so good and happy for the community of Salem. But I’m not happy about the fact that we should divide because to me that land belongs to our forefathers.”

Attorney of the Salem Party Club of settlers, Bertus Van Der Merwe says although there are no winners in this ruling, it has given both parties a direction to take.

“The constitutional court has now expressly held that the claimants have never occupied the land under claim to the exclusion of the landowners who are primarily the descents of the 1820 Settlers. The court now has given written submission to the rights of 1820 settlers and the current landowners,” Van Der Merwe.

Suspension of train services prompts call for intervention
13 December 2017, 7:04 AM

The ANC in the Western Cape says it will ask the Minister of Transport to intervene following the suspension of the Metrorail train line.

The party has expressed concern over the impact the disruption will have on passengers’ jobs and income.

Thousands of commuters were left stranded on the Central line and parts of the Northern line on Monday, with scores using alternative transport yesterday.

Metrorail says continued vandalism of critical infrastructure can be partly blamed on organised gang syndicates.

Areas such as Khayelitsha and Bishop Lavis have been affected. ANC Western Cape Secretary, Faiez Jacobs, says: “It can be that our people on the Cape Flats must continue suffering like this. We are tired of excuses and we want answers. We going to call the National Minister to account and also intervene,” says Jacob.

Universal equal human rights not yet achieved: UN
12 December 2017, 1:08 PM

The recognition of the inherent dignity and equal rights of human beings is still far from universal.

That was the message from the United Nations Secretary General at an event to mark the 70th anniversary since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Antonio Guterres called it one of the most profound and far-reaching international agreements that proclaimed the inalienable rights of every human being regardless of race, colour, religion language or other status.

“We stand today at the threshold of a great event, both in the life of the UN and in the light of mankind. This universal declaration of human rights may well become the international magna carta of all men everywhere.”

This was part the submission to the General Assembly by the former first lady of the United States Eleanor Roosevelt who played a pivotal role in the Declaration’s adoption.

Seventy years later much has been achieved but its universality remains in question, at least according to the UN Chief, Antonio Guterres.

In practice, recognition of the inherent dignity and equal rights of human beings is still far from universal.

Millions of people continue to suffer human rights violations and abuses around the world.

And human rights defenders still face persecution, reprisals are rising and the space for civil society action is shrinking in very many nations. But the founders of the United Nations were right.

Lasting peace and security can never be achieved in any country without respect for human rights.

While the declaration has had a direct impact on people in many parts of the world – be that in terms of greater freedoms and equality – there are concerns that human rights are being eroded elsewhere.

General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak says, “Our celebrations must be short-lived because there are still people in the dark, who have not yet felt any of these benefits. And, that is why I welcome the initiative of the UN Office for Human Rights to launch a year-long campaign, which rallies us all to Stand Up for Human Rights. If we follow the news; if we talk to people from different backgrounds and countries; if we attend events in this building – then we know that a campaign like this is needed now more than ever.”

Former High Commissioner for Human Rights, South Africa’s Navi Pillay warned that rights were even being undermined in some of the oldest and most powerful democracies in the world.

“Since retiring I have addressed many universities particularly in the South and it’s a matter of great concern that these young people said to me, don’t come and talk to us about human rights, go and speak about human rights in the United States, so there is a great deal of disappoint, fear and anxiety about anti human rights statements coming from very powerful leaders, including in this country. So leaders must be very careful on what they say,” says Pillay.

As part of a year-long programme, several events are planned globally to reflect on the continued importance of the Declaration.

SABC unions demand improved offer
12 December 2017, 10:38 AM

Trade Union Bemawu says if the SABC tables an improved offer, it is prepared to call off Thursday’s strike.

Bemawu and CWU have rejected the SABC’s 4.5% salary increase, backdated to October this year.

The increase would be paid next year. Both unions say they are now forging ahead with their strike at the public broadcaster.

CWU says the salary increase should instead be back dated by nine months. Bemawu on the other hand wants a 10% salary increase.

Bemawu president Hannes du Buisson says, “If a reasonable offer is being put on the table then of course that is something the employees will accept, however, there’s evidence of a lot of money that is currently been spent. The state of the art access control systems at the SABC that has just been put must have cost the SABC millions of rand and of course the payment to the Interim Board of R3.9 million.”

Scopa to summon Steinhoff executives next year
12 December 2017, 8:12 AM

Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) now says it will only call the executives of retail giant Steinhoff early in the new year.

Parliament is currently on recess.

Scopa chairperson Themba Godi has also called on the South African Revenue Service, the Reserve Bank, and the Independent Regulatory Body for Auditors and the Financial Services Board to urgently investigate Steinhoff.

Shares in Steinhoff fell by as much as 80% after the company reveal accounting irregularities.

The share price started to recover Monday after R200-billion was wiped off the company’s market value.

Steinhoff is the parent company of retailers such as Ackermans, Shoprite, Incredible Connections and PEP.

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