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In Cuba healthcare is a human right

7 May 2020

Health workers the world over have been at the forefront of figuring out this new pandemic that has overwhelmed all of our lives. With no clear treatment, no vaccine and no way of completely stopping the spread of Covid-19, lockdown has been the course of action for many countries including South Africa.

In many press conferences by politicians and medics alike, the reason for the lockdown in South Africa was explained as a measure to flatten the curve so as not to overwhelm our fragile healthcare system. In the interim South Africa has received large donations of personal protective equipment that is vital for medical staff treating Covid-19 patients and hospitals have been visited and assessed for their readiness to receive the many patients that are expected at the pandemic’s peak.


NAM creates Covid19 Task Force

4 May 2020

The online NAM Contact Group Summit on the theme "United against COVID-19” was hosted by the current Chairman of NAM, President of Republic of Azerbaijan HE Ilham Aliyev. The objective of the Summit was to promote international solidarity in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and to mobilise efforts of States and international organisations to address the pandemic. The event also commemorated the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace.

Photo: President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa participating in the NAM Contact Group online Summit (Elmond Jiyane/GCIS)

Heads of State and Government and other leaders, including from member States in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe participated in the Summit.


A Look at Sri Lankan Minister Athulathmudali’s Legacy

By Srimal Fernando

7 May 2020

The Western Provincial Council (WPC) elections of May 1993  was expected to produce an outright  majority for Lalith Athulathmudali, led Democratic United National Front (DUNF) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) led opposition alliance. On 23rd April 1993 one month before the Western Provincial Council polls in Sri Lanka the Former Minister for National Security and the  Leader of the Sri Lankan opposition Democratic United National Front (DUNF) Athulathmudali, was assassinated  for political reasons while campaigning  in Colombo. However, within one year of his demise, the United National Party (UNP) lost power at the 1994 general election after 17 years.

Photo: Minister Lalith Athulathmudali

Minister for National Security


Indonesian Embassy help stranded Indonesians to celebrate Muslim’s holy day in their homeland

7 May 2020

The Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Pretoria, South Africa has facilitated the repatriation of 27 Indonesian citizens on May 6th 2020, with South African Airways flight departing from OR Tambo International Airport Johannesburg, to Denpasar and Jakarta.

The related Indonesian citizens were unable to return home after the South African government imposed a national lockdown policy on March 26th 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those citizens are now heading home and will be able to celebrate the upcoming Eid Mubarak holiday with their families after coordination from both governments to arrange their safe return.  


Celebrate Hand Washing

5 May 2020

World Hand Hygiene Day is celebrated every year on 5th May. The clear message is to encourage people to keep their hands clean to prevent and control viral infections. The global campaign launched by the World Health Organisation – WHO in 2009  has found global relevance as humanity is in the grips of a corona virus pandemic known as Covid 19.

In  Lwandlolubomvu Traditional Council in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province which has recently recorded an increase in the number of people testing positive for the virus, Head of the Council iNkosi eNkulu Jongilanga Sigcau, Chaiperson of the Alfred Nzo Local House of Traditional Leaders set about educating the youth on the importance of sanitization as it coincided with celebrating World Hand Hygiene Day.


Politics, Covid-19 and the Lockdown

by Greg Mills and Ray Hartley

29 April 2020
“War,” wrote the strategist Carl von Clausewitz, is “the continuation of politics by different means.”

The Prussian general was arguing for the subordination of war as an instrument of policy to a political objective. He was arguing that war is not thus an irrational, nationalistic urge, but rather a rational action – “a continuation of politics” in which decisions are constrained or encouraged by an assessment of political benefits against military costs and losses.

Economic policy, too, is politics by other means. The relationship between the two -- the ‘political-economy’ – is about who gets what, when and how.

To understand the battle over the direction of South Africa’s political economy, it is vital to get a grip on the fault lines within the ANC, which has dominated the political stage.

These have often been characterised as a battle between “left” and “right” approaches to the economy, with the trade unions, the SACP and the left within the ANC pitted against what has been characterised as a conservative “right-wing”.


Traditional Leadership and the fight against Covid-19

by Stella Sigcau

29 April 2020

The traditional leaders have an important role to play in particular in the rural areas working with various stakeholders including government to contribute in the fight against Covid-19. This to also ensure that safety and health measures are put in place in the villages and that rural people adhere to the lockdown measures and regulations. They command respect as customary heads in these areas and preside over vast communities. These communities even though subscribe for example to diverse religions, political affiliations, interests and so forth live a communal lifestyle guided by customs and traditional leaders serve as unitary figures. This means they are able to reach out and communicate with their communities, understand the traditional way of communication in the languages of their constituencies. This also ensures that there is no ambiguity in getting the message across.

South African government has played a commendable role in addressing this pandemic. Government representatives also held meetings with various stakeholders including Traditional Leaders. According to the Presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko, “the engagement with traditional leaders forms part of a series of consultations the President held with various stakeholder constituencies to ensure that the national effort to combat and contain the virus is inclusive and enjoys the support of all stakeholder groups.


United Nations: The South Asian Story

By Srimal Fernando and Abhishekh Ganesh

29 April 2020

Every nation in South Asia has its unique policy choices which ensures to improve the lives of 1.6 billion people. Looking back at the region, numerous policy measures and mass up-liftment programs set the building blocks to achieve reasonable levels of human development despite slow economic growth.

Furthermore, revising the decades of underperformance, the countries in South Asia rose several notches in the United Nations Development Programme‘s (UNDPs) Human Development Index (HDI) ranking to finish above medium human development group category ( 2019).

Though the poverty ratio in the region has declined significantly since the onset of development aid from the United Nations (UN’s), the rising inequalities in these countries threatens to interrupt the plan of human development well-being. Over the course of subsequent years further complementary aspects of the pragmatic strategy chosen by the UN facilitated the stabilization efforts in the region. 


The impact of social isolation on traditional and cultural practices, can technology play a role

By Stella Sigcau

23 April 2020

The world at large has been hit by an unprecedented pandemic, Covid-19 which knows no borders, class or race, affecting various countries of the world, disrupting lives and economies. It has affected both urban and rural areas, impacting also on the traditional and customary ways of living and practices, in particular, in rural areas.

Photo: Traditional Basotho men (Pixabay)

Since we are living in a globalising village where technology is imperative, it is a proven fact that rural areas are lagging behind when it comes to technology access including the skills, benefits and opportunities that come with this technology. How then can technology assist these communities and what role can it play during the social isolation as a result of Covid-19, including also on creating more awareness and prevention.


Three-phased economic response to COVID-19 pandemic

22 April 2020

Government has announced a massive social relief and economic support package of R500 billion which amounts to around 10% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to mitigate against the blow of COVID-19 in the country.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the intervention as the country saw a rise of COVID-19 cases to 3465 with 58 deaths recorded as of Tuesday.

Photo: President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the nation (Kopano Tlape, GCIS​)

The newly announced support package forms part of the second tier of the country’s three phase economic response to stabilise the economy, address the extreme decline in supply and demand and protect jobs.

The social relief and economic support package that stands at the centre of the second phase will cater for an extraordinary health budget to respond to Coronavirus, the relief of hunger and social distress, support for companies and workers and the phased re-opening of the economy.

“The impact of the Coronavirus requires an extraordinary coronavirus budget – of around R500 billion – to direct resources towards fighting the pandemic. This will include the reprioritisation of around R130 billion within the current budget,” said the President.


UN chief Antonio Guterres salutes India for helping others in fight against Covid 19

20 April 2020

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres salutes countries like India in helping others in the global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, his spokesman has said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres salutes countries helping others in the global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, his spokesman has said, days after India sent supplies of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to several nations, including the US.

Hydroxychloroquine has been identified by the US Food and Drug Administration as a possible treatment for the Covid-19 and it is being tested on more than 1,500 coronavirus patients in New York.

The demand for the drug has swelled rapidly in the last few days after India decided to lift a ban on its export.


A Year after Easter Sunday Attacks in Sri Lanka

20 April 2020

By Srimal Fernando

The answer to the sophisticated, coordinated terrorist suicide bombings on Easter Sunday last year was complex.  On the morning of 21st April 2019 nine suicide bombers belonging to National Thawheeth Jama'ath (JTJ) a local jihadist group carried out a series of coordinated bombings targeting catholic churches and luxury hotels killing 275 people and injuring more than 590.

The preliminary investigations showed that Sri Lankan radical Islamic Imam Zahran Hashim, founder of an Islamic organization called the National Thawheed Jamath (NTJ) from a small Muslim coastal town of Kattankudy in the eastern province of Sri Lanka masterminded the plots.


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February/March 2020


















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