Friday, August 17, 2007

CARE, Utah Mine Deaths, South Africa

CARE. Three cheers for CARE, which reject $45 million worth of food aid from the U.S. government, arguing it does more harm than good.

As the BBC reports,

"CARE criticised the way US food aid is distributed, saying it harms local farmers, especially in Africa. It said wheat donated by the US government and distributed by charities introduced low prices that local farmers are unable to compete with."
Utah Mine Deaths. True to its promise to try to take up where Confined Space left off, The Pump Handle has provided lots of good behind-the-headlines coverage of the mine disaster in Utah that has trapped six miners and now killed three rescuers.

See especially Celeste Monforton's post on the need for tracking systems for trapped miners. Monforton has a masters in public health and was part of a team that investigated the Sago and Aracoma Alma coal mine disasters on behalf of West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin.

South Africa. Meanwhile in South Africa, not even the conviction of apartheid-era security officials has stemmed the anger over the firing of deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge. Thobile Ntola of the South African Democratic Teachers Union criticized President Mbeki's handling of the whole affair at one of the union's branch meetings.
“Tell me what kind of a president would preach gender equality and at the same time fire a woman during Women’s Month?" Ntola was quoted as saying by the Daily Dispatch. “This proves that in this African National Congress that was formed to benefit the poor, you cannot voice what you believe will serve in the interest of one Mambhele on the street.”
While Xolela Mangcu writes in Johannesburg's Business Day that "President Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki has become an albatross around the neck of our political culture."

"At every turn, Mbeki has tried to pass himself off as an interesting intellectual, irrespective of whether his ideas are relevant to the reality of the population," Mangcu writes. "That surely must partly explain the instinctive denial. If it does not emanate from the "private lair of his skull" then it cannot be true. It's the perpetual intellectual quest for originality gone haywire.

I am from Eastern Cape and everyone there knows that you send your relatives to public hospitals only to die," Mangcu continues. "Not long ago, the distinguished writer Phyllis Ntantala described those hospitals as morgues after her harrowing experience there."

Today, President Mbeki responded to continuing criticism of his firing of former deputy minister of health Madlala-Routledge in his weekly "Letter from the President" as follows:

Some in our country and others elsewhere in the world, including the media, have acclaimed Ms Madlala-Routledge as a great heroine, before and after her dismissal, on the basis that she seemed to demonstrate intellectual and personal "courage" by defying the obligation to speak and act as part of a collective. In this regard, in her 10 August press conference, she made a point of emphasising her obligation to be accountable to the media.

Collective responsibility

With regard to all this, I must make the point absolutely clear, without equivocation or qualification, that while the ANC serves as government, in any of the three spheres of government, freely elected by the people, it will ensure that its members respect the principle and practice of collective responsibility.

None of the members of the ANC deployed in government will be treated by our movement as heroes and heroines on the basis of "lone ranger" behaviour, so-called because of their defiance of agreed positions and procedures of our movement and government.

For more posts on Madlala-Routledge, click here.

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