From The Desk of the President

19 October 2020, 8:14 PM
We are undertaking a far-reaching and ambitious public investment in human capital, with the state as both a creator and an enabler of jobs, writes President Cyril Ramaphosa in his weekly letter to the nation.
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How pooled testing can increase access to essential laboratory tests in Africa 4 September 2020, 2:39 PM

The COVID-19 pandemic tends to conceal other important health issues. One of these is the global target for reducing HIV infections and increasing access to treatment. Progress is well under way. In 2019, 67% of those living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART), and 85% of pregnant women with HIV were receiving medication to prevent transmission to their babies.

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Paul Rusesabagina’s arrest shows there’s no space for critical voices in Rwanda 3 September 2020, 3:16 PM

Paul Rusesabagina, who saved hundreds of Rwandans during the genocide by sheltering them in the hotel he managed - and saw his story made into the Hollywood film, ‘Hotel Rwanda’ - has been arrested by Rwandan authorities who allege “terror related offences”.

Stop or suspend West Bank annexation? Devil in the detail for Israel-UAE deal 2 September 2020, 8:11 PM

A difference between English and Arabic versions of a trilateral statement after an historic flight from Israel to the UAE has been seized upon by Palestinians to suggest the Gulf state has overstated Israeli readiness to drop West Bank annexation plans.

What’s triggered new conflict between farmers and herders in Nigeria 2 September 2020, 2:45 PM

Previous studies have established land resource struggles and weather among the factors fuelling clashes between farming and herding communities in Nigeria. While these factors remain relevant to understanding the relationship between these two communities, contemporary triggers show the dynamic nature of the conflict and the unique nature of the crisis in different locations.

Alexei Navalny saga reveals a world of shocking double-standards 2 September 2020, 8:23 AM

The evidence is ubiquitous: We live in a constant and continuously jittery world order. It is visibly imbalanced and in typical Orwellian fashion – some nation-states are more equal than others.

ANC stance against corruption will be tested in implementation of resolutions: Analyst 1 September 2020, 7:55 AM

Political Analyst Sanusha Naidu says the African National Congress' (ANC) real test to seriously fight corruption will be in the implementation of the resolutions of resolutions of the party's National Executive Committee (NEC) special meeting that took place at the weekend.

Why Kenya’s urban poor are exploited by informal water markets 31 August 2020, 2:16 PM

Informal urban water markets – as opposed to piped water – have long supported many of Kenya’s urban areas. Those that use them are either unserved or inadequately served, by public utilities.

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Transparent tenders will cut COVID-related corruption 30 August 2020, 4:05 PM

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on 23 July 2020 a variety of measures to deal with Covid-related corruption. Mere days later the media exposed that Madzikane II Thandisizwe Diko – the husband of presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko – had received contracts worth R125-million for Covid-19 personal protection equipment (PPE) from the Gauteng Department of Health.

Ethiopia’s political crisis plays out in the regions. Why it’s a federal problem 30 August 2020, 6:29 AM

The political crisis in Ethiopia is not showing sings of abating. Ongoing riots in Oromia and Wolayta; state fragmentation in the Amhara region, and the standoff between the federal government and the Tigray region have put the survival of the government in question.

Creating a great polio legacy in the African Region 25 August 2020, 5:00 PM

The poliovirus, which once killed or maimed hundreds of thousands of children every year and led to summer time lockdowns for children, is a step closer to being consigned to the history books, writes Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO.

Let this be a turning point in our fight against corruption: ANC president 23 August 2020, 6:31 PM

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa says the governing party and its leaders who are in government must intensify efforts to root out corruption. In a letter to all party members, Ramaphosa called for an immediate end to corruption in the party ranks, government and society as a whole.

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Darfur: how historical patterns of conflict are haunting current violence 20 August 2020, 3:12 PM

After relative peace, violence has returned to Darfur. In July alone, more than 60 people were killed, according to the United Nations.

Africa’s presidents have been wrongly stereotyped: what we can learn from Kenya 19 August 2020, 6:28 PM

All-powerful presidents are an essential part of a stereotypical representation of African politics controlled by a few individuals, rather than by institutions. This view has been reinforced by a literary tradition sanctifying the biographies of “great men” while demonising more troubled political figures.

Mauritius oil spill: potential government failures should be investigated – expert 18 August 2020, 9:15 PM

The stranding of the MV Wakashio is one of the biggest environmental disasters in the history of the western Indian Ocean.

Political parties differ on COVID-19 development views because of their mandates: Fikeni 17 August 2020, 7:24 PM

Political Analyst Professor Somadoda Fikeni says it is not surprising that some political parties continue to have different views about the developments surrounding COVID-19 in South Africa.

Bridging the gap: English as a lingua franca in higher education 15 August 2020, 11:14 AM

As part of PanSALB’s new language awareness campaign, the month of August has been chosen for the celebration of English. It’s a time to reflect on its fascinating history as well as on the ways in which the language touches and enriches our lives.

Regional leaders must fix the deteriorating human rights situation across the region: SADC 14 August 2020, 6:01 PM

Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders must urgently take concrete measures to fix the human rights crisis in the region when they meet at their annual summit next week, Amnesty International said on Friday. 

Why Kamala Harris may prove an elusive target for Trump 12 August 2020, 4:02 PM

Joe Biden’s selection of Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate provides a brand-new target for President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign that has struggled to find an effective line of attack against his Democratic rival.

Is Russia’s new “Sputnik V” COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough what the world’s been waiting for? 12 August 2020, 6:43 AM

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has announced that his country has manufactured the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine, which Moscow has named “Sputnik V”.

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Responses to COVID-19 require inputs from every angle of people’s lives 10 August 2020, 3:04 PM

The COVID-19 pandemic is complicated. It is not merely a biomedical problem to be dealt with through medicine and public health. It also has major social implications.

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OPINION: SABC a critical element in the advancement of SA’s language agenda 6 August 2020, 12:52 PM

On 01 August 2020, the South African Broadcasting Cooperation (SABC) celebrated its 84th year anniversary of broadcasting, a commendable feat that the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) could not let pass without due regard to the public broadcaster’s immense contribution to the development of indigenous language in South Africa.

Political analyst Aubery Matshiqi on latest developments within the ANC 4 August 2020, 1:21 PM

Following the political developments that took place in the past week, analyst Aubrey Matshiqi over the weekend wrote an article called, "The ANC and corruption: straightening the shadow of a bent tree".

Lead by example: CEO BLSA 4 August 2020, 8:24 AM

With SA’s COVID-19 infection rate rising sharply, it’s now more important than ever for everyone to take preventative measures to curb the spread. Our political and business leaders need to set an example.

From the Desk of the President 3 August 2020, 1:29 PM

In his weekly letter to the nation, President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned that those found to have broken the law to enrich themselves through the COVID-19 pandemic will not enjoy their spoils, regardless of who they are or to whom they may be connected.

Hawks should not be used at the discretion of politicians: Analyst 2 August 2020, 10:41 AM

Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni says the Hawks should focus on their mandate and not allow the unit to be used at the discretion of prominent politicians.

South Africa needs better food price controls to shield poor people from COVID-19 fallout 1 August 2020, 6:46 AM

Households in countries across the world. In South Africa, more and more people are facing hunger resulting from mass job losses and small, poorly implemented supplementary cash grants.

OPINION: Biological weapons are still a danger to world peace 28 July 2020, 3:26 PM

At the height of apartheid in South Africa there was one Dr Wouter Basson who headed the State’s biological weapons programme aimed particularly at the majority and oppressed African people. So horrendous were stories around this programme that claims were made that it sought to sterilise African women so their child-birth capability would cease.

Why some governments fear even teens on TikTok 24 July 2020, 2:25 PM

A pressing question is whether a “platform for expression” such as TikTok deserves to be regulated.

South Africans aren’t wearing masks or keeping their distance. This needs to change 23 July 2020, 2:45 PM

In countries like South Africa that face severe resource shortages, the burden of fighting COVID-19 falls heavily on citizens to change their behaviour and follow preventative measures. These include avoiding mass gatherings, physical distancing and wearing masks.

Africa’s research capacity is growing. That’s good news for pandemic response efforts 22 July 2020, 11:28 AM

The COVID-19 pandemic has put global emergency preparedness under sharp scrutiny. It’s also placed national health systems’ capacity to predict and respond to major emergencies under the microscope.