Sello S Alcock

Xenophobia: Why the police blew it

Police capacity to handle riots was virtually destroyed in a restructuring exercise in 2006, leaving officers ill-equipped to handle the wave of xenophobic violence that has swept the country in the past two weeks, researchers say. As the violence in Gauteng worsened this week, the police scrambled to bring in extra capacity from around the country.

The fear factors

The past decade has been torrid for South African farmers, with a nexus of factors conspiring to scare them away from their ''way of life''. The first of these, say most farmers quizzed by the Mail & Guardian, is the uncertainty created by South Africa's land restitution and reform process.

Keep it in SA’s borders

The South African government is not opposed to civil action by victims against companies which operated in the country under apartheid -- as long as the litigation takes place within South Africa's borders, chief state law adviser Enver Daniels said this week.

In the wake of the Scorpions

The Scorpions' successful model of investigation will be destroyed by legislation tabled in Parliament this week which absorbs the unit's investigators into the police. The government previously indicated that the unit's model of prosecution-led investigations would be incorporated into the new “super” unit set up to tackle organised crime.

Pikoli lays bare state’s blatant lies

The government's astonishing bid to protect police National Commissioner Jackie Selebi from being arrested was laid bare this week in minute detail by suspended prosecutions boss Vusi Pikoli. Compelling evidence produced by Pikoli at the Ginwala inquiry in Johannesburg indicates President Thabo Mbeki and several other senior government officials colluded to save Selebi.

Probe into dodgy ‘immune booster’

Cosatu and the ANC Women's League have climbed into bed with business people punting an untested ''booster pack'' for people living with HIV/Aids.

SA won’t ban cluster bombs

South Africa considers controversial cluster bombs to be legitimate weapons of war that should not be banned, but rather be regulated to prevent “unacceptable harm” to civilians. South Africa and Egypt were the only two countries to object to a total ban on the munitions at a continent-wide summit a few weeks ago.

What the youth wants

The African National Congress working committee this week approved the election of the top five leaders of the youth league after a bruising electoral battle at the youth conference in Bloemfontein. This is what newly elected president Julius Malema shared in a recent interview.

The sectors most at risk

The first national master scarce skills list -- released by the Labour Department recently -- logs a comprehensive number of skills that are needed by the country if it is to overcome obstacles that hamper economic growth and, in so doing, undermine job creation.

‘Powerless in death as in life’

''In a bid to help me trace my ancestry, my father took me to the Free State town of Qwa-Qwa on the Lesotho border. It was part of the process of welcoming me into his family. It began about a week earlier at sunset on a Friday. My old man spilled the blood of a few beasts and performed several rituals to appease his ancestors.''

We need to protect intellectual thought

Academic freedom should go beyond creative teaching and dynamic research. It must include contributions to public discussions and debates. It was in this spirit, arguably, that the vice-chancellor of the University of South Africa, Barney Pityana, addressed the annual general meeting of the Law Society of South Africa.

Mother tongues in a twist

Introduced as part of Curriculum 2005 in 1997 and revised in 2006, the education department's schools language policy sets out to encourage the promotion of African languages by empowering learners to choose the language in which they want to be taught.

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