Bring these elections back to basics - MERCURY 16 May 2011

By Manouk Kroon and Nkosikhulule Nyembezi. Services that are supposed to be guaranteed constitutional rights simply aren't available to poor people, and politicians need to explain how they'll change this, write Nkosikhulule Nyembezi and Manouk Kroon We must ask politicians to be specific about their commitment to socio-economic rights in order to hold them accountable in years to come. In this way, we can all ensure that our vote does really make a difference, say the writers.

0n Wednesday, we once again get the chance to make our mark and decide who we want to run our municipalities and manage the services we use and depend upon daily But when we look at the election manifestos of our major political parties, we see alarmingly little on how they intend maintaining and developing the infrastructure that supports and provides these critical basic services.

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Shun token support, vote for change - DAILY NEWS (Deadline) 22 Mar 2011

POLITICIANS clearly believe in magic. They seem to think that their incantations at election time will mesmerise voters into magically forgetting that they have failed to deliver on the promises they made the last time. But as we approach the local government elections in May, I believe South Africans may finally be growing weary of these ritual recitations. I get a strong sense that people really are sick of waiting in the very long queue to realise the promised "better life for all". Election victories in the past have depended largely on voters buying into messages of hope and change. So far, some sections of the voting population have received an abundance of hope but little change. Read the full article in the Daily News

EC battles 48% poverty levels - DAILY DISPATCH 22 Mar 2011

HIGH food prices, floods and droughts have dealt a severe blow to our national and household food security, particularly maize production which just last year exceeded demand. How could such a dramatic reversal happen so suddenly and in a wellresourced country like ours? And why is there so much confusion about the necessary legislative interventions needed to address the problems?

Increasingly, the international appetite for biofuels along with the impact of climate change is exposing the very real food security challenges facing our country. Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, told Parliament recently that government has once again turned down a request by farmers to turn the 2010 surplus harvest of maize into biofuel. Read the full article in the Daily Dispatch

Kiviet must confront fact that EC skidding wildly off course - DAILY DISPATCH 17 Feb 2011

PREMIER Noxolo Kiviet has the unenviable task of delivering the Eastern Cape "State of the Province" address tomorrow. It is unenviable, because the province she leads is in a dire state of disrepair. According to the fifth annual scorecard of development indicators released recently by the National Planning Commission, the Eastern Cape has the highest levels of poverty in South Africa. Nearly half of the population 48 percent live in poverty compared to the national average of 33 percent. The province also "boasts" the lowest access to electricity and piped water in the country. And government spending on health is rock bottom on the scorecard at under R1 500 per person per year. As if this all isn't bad enough, the Eastern Cape also tragically lays claim to the second highest death rate in children under five years (after KwaZuluNatal), with 65 out of every 1 000 babies born in the province dying before they even reach their first birthday.

Read the full article in the Daily Dispatch

Gordhan's challenge to fill in Zuma's gaps - DAILY DISPATCH 23 Feb 2011

BALL IN GORDHAN'S COURT: President Jacob Zuma failed to provide the details on a promise for five million jobs in his State of the Nation address. All eyes will now be on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan when he delivers the Budget today. Picture: File the poor be cushioned and measures be taken to protect lowerincome households. After all, as taxpayers we are responsible for servicing the World Bank loan the terms and conditions of which we know little about, except being told unconvincingly that our government acted for the common good by committing the country to such a contractual obligation last year. Indeed, when the focus of the country is on getting the economy back to life again, the stability and dignity of the work force _ IF TODAY'S Budget speech is meant to serve as a launch pad for the five million jobs promised by our government, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan must provide more details than President Jacob Zuma offered the nation in his State of the Nation address.

Read the full article in the Daily Dispatch