- The Diakonia Centre is a project of a church organisation called Diakonia Council of Churches. We are based at 20 Diakonia Avenue (previously known as St. Andrews Street). For the first time this year, the Diakonia Centre will have an exhibition Stand No. 76 at the eThekwini Municipality’s 2010 SMME Fair which will run from the 3 – 5 September 2010 at the Exhibition Centre in Durban. Entry to the exhibition is free.
Diakonia Conference Centre
Exhibition Stand No. 76
Exhibition Centre, 11 Walnut Grove (Durban) opp. ICC
Time: 8 – 6pm for the duration of the Exhibition
Date: 3 – 5 September 2010
Contact Person: Ms Philile Mkhize, Conference Co-ordinator (031) 310 3523
The Diakonia Centre offers Conference facilities, catering and office accommodation.
Please bring along your business cards to the Diakonia Centre stand, so that you can be part of a daily draw and stand a chance to win discount vouchers on your next booking.
Please also visit our website at http://www.diakonia.org.zaEvent start date:03/09/2010Event end date:05/09/2010Event venue:Durban Exhibition Centre, Exhibition Centre, 11 Walnut Grove (Durban) opp. ICC
- Former South African President, Nelson Mandela, reminded us in 1994 that: “A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy.” 16 years into democracy, opposition parties, civil society, activists and other stakeholders are facing new realities associated with our democracy - the proposed Protection of Information Bill and Media Appeals Tribunal (MAT).
The Alternative Information Development Centre (AIDC) has criticised the African National Congress (ANC) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) for tabling plans to censor and punish the media for reporting on corruption, when they are unable to maintain organisational discipline.
The AIDC is of the view that instead of striving to extend freedoms and access to information to all South Africans, the ANC-led government is targeting a series of freedoms that will further curtail media freedom.
“The ‘people shall not govern’ if they are not informed and cannot express their views. There can be no meaningful development or service delivery responsive to the needs of the people without the freedom of expression and information,” states the AIDC.
Contrary to the ANC's claim that the idea of the statutory MAT will strengthen media accountability, there is a feeling that it will constitute a step towards official media censorship. South Africa already has a self regulatory body in the form of a Press Ombudsman to oversee complaints of violations of the media code of conduct adopted by the Press Council.
In a recent press statement, 19 civil society organisations (CSOs) called on government to caution relevant authorities against misuse of the power of arrest against those who exercise democratic dissent and to also withdraw the Bill in its present form as it is severely obstructive of people’s right to information. They also want government to take adequate measures to ensure that the right to express freely is protected from encroachments.
Apart from promoting censorship, activists fear that the proposed Bill and the MAT could also be used to target citizens in the long run. Speaking during the Mail&Guardian Critical Thinking Forum in Johannesburg, Anton Harber, Caxton Professor of journalism and media studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, warned that people and even CSOs will no longer feel free to write news stories denouncing corrupt officials.
"The minute you give that power to the state or government to make those decisions, it will in the long run have the potential to be used, not only against journalists, but also against other citizens," warned Harber.
Harber’s view is somehow reiterated by former University of Cape Town chancellor, Dr Mamphele Ramphele, who warned that if enacted, the Protection of Information Bill could well be used to make the society less open and less accountable. Speaking at the recent launch of the Open Society Foundation’s Open Society Monitoring Index, Mamphele maintained that, “Citizens could be deprived of information and, ultimately, freedom of expression would be inhibited, if not choked altogether, for fear of the punitive measures the Bill contains.”
Botswana and Zimbabwe
In Botswana, government introduced the controversial Media Practitioners Act. According to CSOs the Act’s right to reply clause threatens the independence of the media in that country. Under the Act, media practitioners are required to register and accredit with the Media Council and allows for stringent fines and imprisonment’ of journalists.
In Zimbabwe, the imprisonment of journalists and human rights activists after the introduction of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act tells a story of a country with no media freedom. Despite a constitutional provision guaranteeing freedom of the press, the country had deported many foreign journalists.
We have been reliably informed that journalists are now forced to address President Robert Mugabe as: Head of State and Government, the commander-in-chief of the Zimbabwe defence forces and first secretary of ZANU-PF, Robert Mugabe, when writing news.
Outside our country, the International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, publishers and journalists, has come to the defence of media freedom in South Africa. In an open letter to President Jacob Zuma, the IPI calls on the country to halt the establishment of a mooted MAT and withdraw or amend the Protection of Information Bill.
IPI interim director, Alison Bethel-McKenzie, argues that, “...any Media Appeals Tribunal will not be independent. If the MAT is appointed by parliament, it will face an inherent conflict of interest that will skew its rulings in favour of public and party officials and essentially amount to government oversight of the media - which is unacceptable.”
In conclusion, Reporters Without Borders’ Worldwide Press Freedom Index ranked South Africa in 26th position in 2002 of the countries said to have ‘genuine press freedom’. South Africa was ranked 33rd in 2009, an indication that the country risks reversing the gains it made since the inception of democracy in terms of media freedom.
- Butjwana Seokoma is information coordinator at SANGONeT.
- Proposed Laws Will Silence Critics – NGO
- Govt Might Target CSOs Over Funding and Activities
- ANC Urged to Remove MAT from its Agenda
- IPI Criticises SA Over Media Freedom
- Zuma: ANC Not Trying to Control the Media
- Civil Society Deeply Concerned About Roll Back in Democratic Freedoms in South Africa
- MISA – SA Favours ‘Self-Regulatory’ Media
- Call to Defend, Advance Freedom of Expression
- MISA-SA Calls for Secrecy Bill and ANC tribunal Plan to be Withdrawn
- Protection of Information Bill and Media Appeals Tribunal are Serious Blows to the Freedom of Expression of the Unemployed
- The latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor shows that in South Africa men are 1.6 times more likely to succeed as business owners than women.
This shocking statistic is reported to be a particularly South African phenomenon. Amongst other things, it appears to be related to low levels in self-belief amongst women that they have the knowledge, skills and experience to start and succeed in business.
As owner of a business that is dedicated to supporting the growth of entrepreneurs, and a single mother of three girls, the reasons for this situation (and more importantly the possible solutions) have special relevance.
The problem of gender inequality and gender violence is well documented in our country – and this in itself is enough to reduce the self-confidence and self-belief of women. However, it is only when travelling outside the main centres that one sees the broader effects of this inequality – where girl children are pulled out of school at a young age to help around the house, and the prevailing attitude seems to be ‘why bother?’, as they will invariably marry young and/ or be pregnant by the age of 16 or 17.
This is certainly not only a South African problem - I recall being shocked at the low levels of schooling amongst girl children in rural Zambia, where girls are removed from school and married off as young as 13! Of course part of this equation is the effect of culture, and cultures which entrench the concept of women as second class citizens incapable of independent thought should not be surprised when these same women fail as entrepreneurs.
But its not just culture, nor education that holds women entrepreneurs back – and for this I am a case in point. I was raised as an equal in a family of boys, and am blessed with a post-graduate education - so from a self-belief, cultural and skills perspective I score tops. Yet despite this I have had to shoulder some burdens from which the average man is shielded.
Firstly, I have no wife at home to care for the children, do the shopping, cleaning, laundry – I do that. Secondly and possibly most significant, I care for everyone else too – often both financially and emotionally – my mother, my staff, my community.
I am by no means the outlier in this statistic – many, if not most women entrepreneurs are wives and mothers who run the business with one hand and the world with the other. The more rural the environment, the harder the task as rural women face challenges of water collection, firewood collection, atrocious health support systems, and often an oppressive cultural environment.
My own experience in running enterprise development programmes assisting emerging entrepreneurs and community projects has provided some wonderfully inspiring examples of successful women in business, proving that with the appropriate opportunities women can certainly compete, if not surpass men as entrepreneurs.
So within this reality, how can we help women rise to find independence, wealth, satisfaction and success as entrepreneurs?
Firstly, women and girls need to be supported in the belief that they can be successful business leaders and entrepreneurs. This begins with exposure to success stories, and by seeing successful women at work in their communities. One such example of a true female role model is Eunice Mlotywa of Iliwa, based in Khayelitsha township in the Western Cape and a beneficiary of the Old Mutual Legends Programme. Eunice has over the years single-handedly built a highly successful sewing and beading business, and as her confidence and success increases she is branching out into other gaps in the market, opening a spaza shop and selling airtime and electricity to the community. In amongst all this, Eunice somehow finds the time to manage a feeding scheme for the aged, be a mentor to young girls in the community, run training workshops and be a mother herself. Hers is a story that needs to be told, to inspire other women to rise up and make an impact.
Secondly girls need to be properly educated – all the way to matric and beyond. And education needs to include subjects such as mathematics, science, computer literacy, communications and public speaking, all vital components of a leadership and business role. I recall an experience in Mpumulanga in 2009, when providing business skills training to a group of rural women and discovering that almost half of them were functionally illiterate. One lady could hardly hold a pen to place a cross where her signature should go, and yet this woman was dynamic, highly intelligent and capable – on the face of it far more capable than her brother sitting on the opposite side of the room, who had been educated to matric level. Given the right education opportunities, who knows what she might achieve?
Thirdly, women need to surround themselves with people who enable them to succeed as women, and as mothers and as business leaders! This means creating support networks, access to peer groups and mentors who support them in their goal to succeed and lead. One of my favourite success stories is the Inina Craft Cooperative from Eshowe near the Valley of a Thousand Hills, KwaZulu-Natal.
This group of 150 Zulu mothers and grandmothers, most of whom are illiterate and have little or no formal education, have created a thriving business using the traditional weaving, beading and handcraft skills within their community. Inina is efficiently managed by suitably skilled local women, for the benefit of local women. In the true spirit of mothering, they even find the time and generosity to create and support an orphanage for HIV-affected children in the community.
Lastly, women and girls need to learn to be more selfish. They need to know that not only is it okay to put themselves first, to ‘say no’, but that unless they do they will endlessly remain the supporter of someone else’s dreams, and never achieve their own. Women need to know that success comes to those who say ‘Yes!’ to opportunity, and step up to reach their dreams.
So, while the data may show that men are 1.6 times more likely to be successful entrepreneurs in South Africa, perhaps the real measure of success should be not simply the number of men or women in business, but the impact that their success has? If we look closely at the wider benefits that women in business create – beyond income and job creation to family stability and community support – it may be just as accurate to say that successful female entrepreneurs offer 1.6 times more value to the economy and the country as a whole, than their male counterparts!
- Catherine Wijnberg ( (MBA, M.Agr.Sc. BSc.Agric.(Hons) is recognised as a catalyst for her innovative thinking in the field of small business development. She is the Director of Fetola & Associates, a fast growing enterprise development agency that operates throughout Southern Africa, as well as the Fetola Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation made up of individuals with a desire to make an impact in sustainable community development.
Qualified with a Masters degree in Agriculture and an MBA from Henley UK, Catherine has owned and operated small businesses in five different sectors, including agriculture, tourism & craft development.
Contact: Catherine Wijnberg 084 668 4603 / 021 701 7466 firstname.lastname@example.org
- ‘The South African Child Gauge’ is the only publication in the country that provides an annual snap-shot of the status of South Africa’s children. Published by the Children’s Institute at the University of Cape Town, this publication tracks South Africa’s progress towards realising children’s rights. The latest issue focuses on the theme ‘Healthy children: From survival to optimal development‘.
For more information, click here.
- Minister for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities, Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya, has called on South Africans to reject some traditional customs which she says are patriarchal and only serve to discriminate against women.
Mayende-Sibiya says women should be empowered and their role in nation-building should be appreciated.
Mayende-Sibiya says her department is in the process of ensuring that it gets a full staff complement in order to operate at full capacity and seriously deal with issues that affect women.
To read the article titled, “South Africans urged to reject patriarchal customs,” click here.Source:SABC News
- Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (NMCF) says it did not receive the ‘diamonds’ Naomi Campbell, the British model, testified she gave to its former director, Jeremy Ratcliffe.
NMCF spokesperson, Oupa Ngwenya, says the Fund is unable to locate Ratcliffe, who is no longer its chief executive but a trustee, by phone.
Meanwhile, Campbell, who stated that Ratcliffe intended to use the stones for charity, added that she called him a year ago to ask what he had done with the stones, and he told her he still had them.
To read the article titled, “Mandela charity denies having Taylor diamonds,” click here.Source:The Citizen
- The Centre for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu-Natal has urged government to create more jobs, build more houses and change its foreign policy to end xenophobia.
The Centre’s Patrick Bond points out that, “More and more refugees from Zimbabwe, Somalia and other parts of Africa are pouring into South Africa and are creating havoc in the country.”
“We simply cannot say, because the sparks that create these infernos of anger are unpredictable. We do know, however, that the underlying causes have not changed since 2008, namely unemployment, housing shortages,” argues Bond.
To read the article titled, “Create jobs to stop xenophobia: Prof,” click here.
- The National Lotteries Board has announced new regulations extend the reach of grants from the National Lottery Distribution Fund.
The new regulations mandate that 50 percent of money in the fund be used for specific priority areas to get the proceeds of the National Lottery to reinforce the government's efforts to relieve poverty and build a more equal society.
National Lotteries Board spokesperson, Sershan Naidoo, says that, "This new regulation does not preclude initiatives that don't fall within the remit; it simply guarantees an allocation to the poorest of the poor, as recognised by the minister."
In the same vein, CAF Southern Africa CEO, Colleen du Toit, says that though the areas highlighted are all critical, these are ‘functions that should be the responsibility of the developmental state’. Du Toit acknowledged the intent to make the application process easier, but said that management and administration remain a real problem.
To read the article titled, “Lotto rules to 'extend the reach' of grants,” click here.Source:All Africa
- The days of limited and expensive international bandwidth in South Africa are over as the EASSy cable became the second submarine cable to launch on the East coast of Africa.
MTN's Trevor Martin's, who also serves as the EASSy consortium's chairperson, has announced that the cable has come in ahead of schedule and almost 10 percent under its US$300 million budget.
The 10 000 kilometre cable lands in South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, the Comores, Tanzania, Kenya, Somaliland, Djibouti and Sudan and connects with multiple Asian and European cables in Djibouti and Sudan.
To read the article titled, “EASSy cable open for business,” click here.Source:Mail&Guardian
- Environmentalists have served an application to controversial mining house Coal of Africa, as well as the Minister of Mineral Resources, Susan Shabangu, to stop activities at a proposed coalmine near Mapungubwe immediately.
The application served on Limpopo Coal, the subsidiary of Coal of Africa, is an attempt by the environmentalists to limit what has already been described an irreversible environmental damage.
The Mapungubwe Action Group (MAG), an umbrella group consisting out of the Endangered Wildlife Trust, the Association of Southern African Professional Archaeologists, Peace Parks Foundation, WWF, Birdlife of South Africa and the Wilderness Foundation of South Africa, is driving the court action.
To read the article titled, “Mapungubwe Action Group take aim at mining firm,” click here.Source:Mail&Guardian