Bua Briefs 141

30 July 2009

National Women's Day and Month 2009

Together empowering women for development and gender equality

On 9 August, we celebrate and commemorate the struggle of women for a free, non-racial and non-sexist South Africa. The day marks the 53rd anniversary of the march by women of all races to the Union Buildings in Pretoria in protest against the oppressive apartheid laws.

We have made big strides in advancing the course of developing women in our country

  • The establishment of the Ministry of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities consolidates our programme to continue the development of women in our country.
  • The Women’s Empowerment Fund and the Employment Equity Act, 1998 continue to ensure the appointment and support for women in top leadership positions in government and the private sector.
  • Through interventions such as the rural and local economic development programmes and social safety systems we continue to reduce the burden of women-headed households who bare the brunt of poverty.
  • The Kha ri Gude literacy campaign will build functional literacy among marginalised adults, including women.   

During Women’s Month we will strengthen our partnerships in the 365 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign

  • A new coordinating and management structure for the criminal justice system is set to heighten interventions that protect women and children from abuse.
  • The re-establishment of the sexual offences and child protection units in the South African Police Service will reinforce efforts to prevent and respond to crimes against women and children.

Our programmes are central in addressing abject poverty among women

  • Much has been achieved but women still bare the brunt of poverty and deprivation.

Our Expanded Public Works Programme Phase Two is set to increase the number of female beneficiaries in various areas.




  • Africa’s undersea cable goes live
    A 13 700-kilometre (8 500-mile) undersea fibre-optic cable to provide high-speed Internet access on Africa’s Indian Ocean coast is now operational. Connections linking Johannesburg, Nairobi and Kampala with the coastal landing stations have already been established. “Today is a historic day for Africa and marks the dawn of a new era for communications between the continent and the rest of the world”, chief executive of SEA Cable System, Brian Herlihy, said.



  • South Africa tests AIDS vaccine
    South Africa is launching clinical trials of the first AIDS vaccines created by a developing country. Trials to test the safety in humans of the vaccines started in July on 36 healthy volunteers. The trials will be conducted by the South African AIDS Vaccine Initiative (SAAVI) at Crossroads and Soweto, Johannesburg. These tests aim to determine the immune response of HIV-negative people to the vaccines, SAAVI MVA-C (MVA) and SAAVI DNA-C2 (DNA). The vaccines were designed to represent HIV subtype C, the virus circulating in South Africa.
  • South Africa well placed to be top health tourism destination
    Cawe Mahlati, the organiser of the inaugural Health Tourism Congress, has confirmed South Africa as a cost-effective, quality provider of medical services, making it a destination of choice for medical and cosmetic surgery. The country has long established itself as a popular destination for health tourists, with thousands of foreign patients choosing to have cosmetic or medical procedures in local hospitals. The congress has received the support of the departments of health and of tourism.
  • Branson, government to launch disease-control hub
    Businessman Sir Richard Branson and the South African Government are planning to establish a disease-control centre in South Africa by early 2010. The aim is to help fight priority diseases, such as AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), diabetes and other emergent health priorities in South Africa and regionally.


Water and environmental affairs

  • Environ courts in early 2010
    The Ministry of Water and Environmental Affairs has confirmed that specialised courts to deal specifically with environmental crimes will come into effect early in 2010. Other initiatives by the ministry include the greening of townships, environmental impact management, air quality and public education.

Science and technology

  • South African scientists earn global honours
    A number of South African academics have earned recognition from international organisations in recent months for their outstanding work in their respective fields. Professor Beric Skews of Wits University's engineering faculty has been awarded an honorary fellowship of the London-based Royal Aeronautical Society.

    Leading tuberculosis researcher Dr Hulda Swai of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has been elected to an international advisory committee of African professionals drawn from the fields of HIV and AIDS, malaria and TB. Two other CSIR researchers were awarded research grants to the value of R1,2 million by Google Research.

  • New wonder drug began life in South African lab
    Another scientist, Peter Jones, has received the United States of America’s (USA) highest cancer research award for pioneering an entire new field of science. Jones was appointed head of a US cancer dream team, and awarded a grant of R72 million. This week, Dr Carl Albrecht, Head of Research of the Cancer Association of South Africa, said Jones’ work represented “the great new hope” in the war on cancer. Jones said “epigenetic” drugs based on aza-c had been approved in the US and Europe last year, and had since doubled the life expectancy of “tens of thousands” of mostly elderly people with certain blood cancers. Lancet reported that 358 patients in 15 countries were involved in the international trial, which found that those receiving aza-c survived an average of 9,4 months longer than those on conventional treatment, with a two-year survival rate that was nearly doubled.


Arts and culture

  • Young South Africa artists shine at performing arts contest in Los Angeles
    A group of 65 young South Africans have put the country on the world map by participating in the Performing Arts World Contest, bringing home over 180 medals and breaking two world records. The Director of National Arts SA, Dr Ellen Roux, says: ”the children have become a force to be reckoned with in the music, dance, modeling and acting fields”. Two of the team’s members also received scholarships which will see them training in the US.