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The new year was eagerly awaited by many South Africans. 2016 had been a challenging year during which our people and institutions were severely tested. We can be proud of the fact that both our institutions and people have emerged stronger and more resilient than before. Once again, South African citizens have demonstrated that we are able to stand against challenges and equally, to stand together to create the conditions for change.

The opposition and all the doomsayers who still do not understand the value of transparency leadership should now hold their peace with the latest findings. The President of the Republic, President Jacob Zuma, announced the full details of the Seriti Commission of Inquiry into allegations of fraud, corruption, impropriety or irregularity in the Strategic Defence Procurement Package, commonly referred to as the ARMS DEAL.

The eyes of the conservation world and wildlife sectors will be on Johannesburg this month when delegates from 182 countries meet for the 17th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES CoP17).

Sixteen years ago an 11-year-old South African boy, tiny for his age, stood alone on a huge stage. He had a microphone in his hand and a smile on his face. And he spoke truth to power.

For many South Africans living with HIV and AIDS, the country’s free antiretroviral programme is a second chance. These proud South Africans live healthy lives and are productive members of our communities.

The transformation of the country’s R124 billion revenue marketing, advertising and media sector is imperative, given the strong influence it has on the aspirations and values of many South Africans.

In the past few months, South Africans in their numbers have begun to follow the discussions about our economy. The visits of international rating agencies and their decisions have become staple discussions for many.

Every May, Africans celebrate and declare the month as that of the continent. We wear a doek, take pride in our food and treat each other with respect.

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan once spoke about the importance of creating safe environments for children, saying: "There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they grow up in peace."

Hardly a day goes by without South Africans being bombarded by stories dealing with the difficult economic situation. Recently with the petrol price increases, which economists emphasise has implications on consumers, and the pending investment rating agencies announcements.

South Africa has proven itself to be a investment destination which consistently attracts some of the world’s top businesses to its shores. Recently a number of high-profile international brands have announced their expansion into the country.

As we commemorate through a month-long programme that historic day in Addis Ababa when Africa leaders gathered to establish the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) let us not lose sight of the significance of those times.

The announcement by the South African Broadcasting Corporation to play 90% local music has sparked a very interesting debate. Like many other issues in the country, the announcement provoked a diversity of views. The debates varied from whether SA has enough local music, to whether we are capable of competing on the international stage.

Despite the recent wave of racist cases that had sought to divide us, South Africans are still good people committed to building an inclusive society based on human rights, writes Bathandwa Mbola.

In the townships, functions are incomplete without three-legged pots, tent and chairs, meat, veggies and of course scones.

Every year South Africa pays homage to its heroes and heroines who have played a part in making South Africa great. These selfless individuals have helped to create a nation renowned for its freedom and culture of human rights.

When President Jacob Zuma read out the list of recipients for the 2016 National Orders, names were transformed into human stories of heroism and untold sacrifice.

A discussion on artistic freedom of expression is one of the important constitutional guarantees that should be cherished and protected by artists and everyone who subscribes to freedom of expression.

Within the context of the prevailing global economic slowdown it is easy to get sucked into despair. While the global economic outlook remains cloudy, conditions in South Africa are far from the doom and gloom some seek to portray.

The September 2015 report of the International Centre for Prison Studies on women incarceration trends in the world says, over the past 15 years, female inmate populations increased “sharply” and “faster” by about 50%, with the world median women incarceration rates standing at 4.4 per 100 thousand population.

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