National News

National Treasury to unpack 2017 budget at UP

On 23 March, the National Treasury will be unpacking the 2017 budget for students and staff at UP. The speaker of the event will be Deputy Director General for Budget, Michael Sachs. According to Thabisa Whittington, the National Treasury communication officer of the Director General’s Office, “The aim of the programme is to engage with various stakeholders on the budget that includes universities and also encourage the debate necessary on various socioeconomic issues that are budget related.”

The event will be hosted in HB 4-1 at 12:00. 

Safe and legal abortions via SMS


Fem is a new service that assists South Africans with legal and safe abortions. The service was created by the organisation, safe2choose, and launched on 24 February 2017. The project is currently in its pilot phase and being used only in Gauteng. Safe2choose is a social enterprise that offers counselling and information on safe abortions.

In a media statement, Fem’s Associate Programme Officer, Phephisile Mathizerd, said that 21.6 million unsafe abortions occur globally, with 18.5 million of those unsafe abortions occuring in developing countries like South Africa. Mathizerd said, “Unsafe abortions have a massive impact on young women – the members of local society most impacted by poverty and unemployment. Young women have huge potential when it comes to contributing positively to national development. It's imperative that we find a way to make the vision of the constitution real, and that we evolve into a society where all citizens have comprehensive access to sexual health services and information.” Mathizerd added, “Women who determine their pregnancy status within the first 12 weeks have many options, but the longer they wait to test, the fewer choices there are. Therefore, Fem by safe2choose places a strong emphasis on the speedy and efficient delivery of vital information.”

Read more: Safe and legal abortions via SMS

Solly Msimanga speaks on student issues


Solly Msimanga, Executive Mayor of the City of Tshwane and UP graduate, has held office since mid-2016 when the Democratic Alliance, in conjunction with support from the EFF, took over the leadership of the city. Perdeby spoke to the Executive Mayor about numerous issues regarding the city, including issues facing students in Hatfield.


You were recently quoted in mainstream media as saying that the City of Tshwane could no longer afford Tshwane WiFi (TshWiFi). What does this mean? Will TshWiFi services continue as usual? Will it be monetised? Does your administration have a plan to continue this service?
Let me state categorically that we don’t have an intention in stopping the service, and it has been [a] part of our manifesto – it’s [a] part of the DA’s vision to have a connected city. So what has been paddled is just complete lies about us and obviously politics – people are playing politics.

Read more: Solly Msimanga speaks on student issues

Brooklyn SAPS and Namola partner to fight crime


Brooklyn SAPS in collaboration with developers of the Namola app have launched an app to bolster the fight against crime in Tshwane. On 5 February, Station Commander Brigadier Kushie Nair and Chief Ambassador of Namola, Yusuf Abramjee signed a partnership agreement in which they committed to collaborating together in an effort to continue the fight against crime. Abramjee said, “To combat crime in Tshwane and across South Africa, we need all hands on deck. Partnerships like this add support and capacity to our emergency services, like the Brooklyn SAPS.” Abramjee added that embracing innovative technology in fighting crime was the future for safety and security in South Africa.

Read more: Brooklyn SAPS and Namola partner to fight crime

New bill aims to raise legal drinking age


The Department of Trade and Industry has proposed to amend the National Liquor Act by increasing the Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) to 21. Currently, the legal drinking age in South Africa is 18.

Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, gave reasons for this decision in a press briefing at Parliament in October 2016: “The first [reason] is that it is a physiological argument, which is saying there is evidence that the brain does not fully develop until the mid-twenties in fact, and that when the brain is not yet fully developed, the impact on the brain of alcohol abuse is much more severe than it is on the fully developed brain…”. Davies said that the consequences of alcohol abuse have decreased in countries where the drinking age was increased. Davies also said that South Africa has one of the highest incidences of FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) in the world with approximately 1 million people being affected, and that another 5 million people have sustained damage due to excessive alcohol consumption.

Read more: New bill aims to raise legal drinking age

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