February 1, 2013.
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I’m Motshabi Hoaeane.
Corruption Watch says the degree of local public school corruption is ‘disturbing’.
Malian President Dioncounda Traore offers Tuareg rebels settlement talks.
And, experts call for the integration of ecological investments into the National Development Plan.
Civil society group Corruption Watch (or CW) said at a briefing in Johannesburg on Thursday that the corruption observed in the South African public schooling system was the most ‘disturbing’ form reported in the past year.
CW executive director Davis Lewis said it was particularly distressing, as it indicated that parents, through their positions on school governing bodies, were involved in the corrupt awarding of tenders.
The corruption also involved the theft of funds, goods and equipment by principals and teachers. School-related corruption was only the third-highest form of corruption reported to the organisation, which stands at 11%. The organisation said it would continue to engage with the provincial departments of education to tackle the schools corruption crisis and would make it a key focus for this year.
Further, the organisation reported that, in total, more than 3 223 incidents of corruption were reported to the CW between January and December 2012. Some 22.6% of the incidents related to municipal corruption and 14.4% related to corruption within the traffic police, which was linked to bribery on the roads and during the licencing of drivers.
Mali's president has offered to speak Tuareg rebels talks in a bid for national reconciliation after a French-led offensive drove their Islamist former allies into mountain hideaways.
Under pressure from Paris, Mali's interim President Dioncounda Traore said he was ready to open talks with the MNLA provided it honoured a pledge to drop its claims of independence for northern Mali.
The MNLA's leaders have offered to join the fight against the Islamists, amid fears that the Malian army would carry out reprisals against Tuaregs in recaptured towns.
France is now expected to gradually transfer the military mission to a UN-mandated African force of some 8 000 soldiers. The African force is tasked with securing northern towns and pursuing militants into their mountain fastnesses near the porous Algerian border.
Studies show that strategic investment into a country's ecological infrastructure could enhance and extend the life of existing built infrastructure and reduce the need for additional human-made infrastructure, while offering considerable job-creation potential.
For this reason, experts are calling for an institutionalised acknowledgment of the services acquired from South Africa’s ecological infrastructure and for this to be included in the National Development Plan and the country’s growth and development policies.
Ecological infrastructure refers to natural ecosystems that deliver tangible services to people and underpins sustainable socioeconomic development.
The Development Bank of South Africa’s strategic operations divisional executive David Jarvis said the organisation challenges the perception that unless something is built on a piece of land, or extracted from it, it holds no value.
Also making headlines:
Struggle stalwart Amina Cachalia and long-time friend of former president Nelson Mandela has passed away.
Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor says South Africa will soon issue only unabridged birth certificates.
And, the waste tyre management plan by government and industry is to go ahead after a court application dismissal.
That’s a roundup of news making headlines today.