Rajesh Latchman's blog
In the past few weeks, there has been yet another huge public outcry on the functioning of the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) and this has provoked a range of talk (and a lot of hot air too) about how we can go about fixing things to make one of the larger national development funders in South Africa, work better.
So if you are wondering why the long silence since the post last week, well…I am in Durban after all, where things tend to move a little slower than Joburg and about as fast as Cape Town. And it has been busy: the ‘People’s Space’ at University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), mostly at the initiative of Patrick Bond, has taken off and is always buzzing with energy, people and a whole herd of news crews from local and international media.
Notes from the seaside
Daybreak in Durban was the usual muggy warmth that seems to seep into every pore of your skin just as perspiration is trying to seep out, leaving you feeling grubby and damp and taking three showers before 10am…but that is a waste of water (which is thankfully being recycled) so let’s not dwell here in this damp spot and rather move on to occupying Durban and more specifically occupying the climate change talks…
I have been battling with putting this post together and that battle with understanding my own feelings about throwing together about 500 people into a space with a hashtag #moneypowersex has not been resolved - my first impression that it was at least a big step up from the more institutional gatherings like the CIVICUS World Assembly (and by no small measure, it blows the INGO heavy World Social Forum out of the water) in fact - #moneypowersex blew many things out of the water - so good thing it was not held near Bruma Lake in Jozi Town - we can only guess at what would have land
May you live in interesting times[i] is an often-misquoted proverb (or curse) allegedly of Chinese origin. It is rather strange that Chinese proverbs, quotes and curses are so enduring, yet the biggest criticism of Chinese made goods is their poor quality, even if the Mac Book Pro I am putting this together on is in fact made in China, but maybe that is a blog for another day.
Day two of the seminar started on time at 9h00 with a wonderfully concise and accurate account of the proceedings of day one, the key points raised and the ways to meet the challenges. But before I get to the summary of the day, I want to reflect briefly on the presentations of the afternoon from civil society which got me thinking again about what can only be described as a level of mediocrity that has seeped into the nature and content of civil society engagements.
When I received the call from my colleague Gladys Mirugi-Mukundi, at the Socio-Economic Rights Project based at the Community Law Centre (CLC) asking me to attend the ‘Consultative Seminar on the Role of Parliament & Provincial Legislatures in the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)', I balked at the idea. For starters, seminars in Parliament are not particularly enjoyable; they are pretty stuffy affairs with protocols and lots of dull PowerPoint presentations and even less engaging speakers.
22 June 2010