- President Jacob Zuma has unveiled a new National Planning Commission (NPC), tasked with charting a long-term and cohesive development strategy for the economy.
The NPC, whose 25 members are drawn from as broad a spectrum as possible of industry and society, will be chaired by National Planning Minister, Trevor Manuel.
Zuma points out that, "While each of these areas of work relate to an aspect of government's work, the commission is asked to take an independent, cross-cutting, critical and long-term view."
Meanwhile, the NPC, which will have its own full-time secretariat, is expected to produce a ‘national vision’ document for cabinet consumption in 18 months.
To read the article titled, “Zuma unveils planning body,” click here.Source:Sunday Times
- The Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) says the unemployment rate for the first quarter of 2010 increased 0.9 of a percentage point to 25.2 percent.
Stats SA, which released the Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the first quarter of 2010, found that the total number of unemployed is 4.3 million for the first quarter of 2010.
Employment declined by 171 000 between the fourth quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010, with the formal sector losing 140 000 jobs and the informal sector shedding 100 000.
To read the article titled, “Stats SA: unemployment rate increases,” click here.Source:Mail&Guardian
- Cape Town Tourism, CEO, Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold, has thrown down the gauntlet to human traffickers in the final countdown to the FIFA World Cup next month.
In a hard-hitting press statement, Du Toit-Helmbold, whose organisation is a member of Fair Trade in Tourism SA (FTTSA), points out that this week the Cape Town Tourism welcomes visitors from all over the world, but not those who come with the intention to exploit women and children.
She says the protection of women and children, through tourism is essential, adding that, “When people travel with the intention to exploit women and children, it becomes a matter of interest for tourism.”
To read the article titled, “Cape Town Tourism tackles human trafficking,” click here.Source:ForImmediateRelease.Net
- Press Release
28 April 2010
‘Informal township planned without following laws and regulations’
The Ithemba Farmers Association consists of 300 black households who have made a living through farming on a piece of land in Eersteriver for as long as 25 years. Now a web of deception and greed are being spun around them by the provincial department of Human Settlements and the City of Cape Town acting in concert with a mining company called MaccSand who have been long under investigation for illegal mining.
After a march to the city of Cape Town with a memorandum of demands, MEC of Housing Mr. Madikizela agreed not to evict the farmers. The government, the farmers, and an NGO called the Surplus People Project formed a task force to find a more suitable piece of land for the establishment of a temporary relocation area (TRA) which the government planned to build. As negotiations were moving forward, the government revoked its promise and issued a notice today that they will commence with the construction of the TRA on a mining area directly adjacent to the farmers plot, within the next 5 days. While the government insists the mining area is vacant, it has actually been occupied by farmers for as long 10 years. The farmers were moved temporarily by the mining company Maccsands, but were promised that their land would be rehabilitated for agriculture and they could move back. The farmers have documentation as proof of this promise, yet the government still plans to build the TRA on this plot and essentially wipe out the farmers’ livelihoods.
The government has not properly consulted with the farmers and surrounding community, nor has the competent authority complied with the basic requirements for the establishment of a township on this land. In addition, by suspending environmental laws, the City and the Province have invited serious environmental degradation and health and safety risks. The proposed TRA would be in close proximity to sand-mining operations, electricity pylons, and the land itself is a flood plain which becomes seriously flooded during winter months.
“The government wants to move people from Khayelitsha because it is a flood plain, to a TRA on our land, which is also a flood plain. Who do they think they’re fooling?”
“This land is not suitable for housing. They want to build shacks on good agricultural land that we have worked on for years. They lied to us. We’re going to stay on the land starting tonight with our animals; we’re not moving without a fight,” says farmer Nombeko Nonti
Please contact Craig Jonkers 078 153 6783 or Nombeko Nonti 074 513 4711 for more information.Date published:28/04/2010Organisation:Ithemba Farmers Association
- Press Release
4 May 2010
It is with deep regret and sadness that the Black Sash wishes to inform you of the death of its patron and veteran human rights activist Sheena Duncan. Sheena died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Johannesburg in the early hours of this morning. She was 78 and had been battling illness for some time. She was born in Johannesburg in November 1932, the eldest of five children. She was married to Neil Duncan, who predeceased her, and they leave two daughters, Lindsay and Carey, and two grandchildren.
Sheena’s mother, June Sinclair, was a founding member of the Black Sash and Sheena herself joined the organisation in 1963. She served two terms as National President before becoming the founding Chair of the Black Sash Trust and later, the organisation’s first patron. She was a leading member of the South African Council of Churches, becoming its honorary life President, and chair and patron of Gun-Free South Africa.
Black Sash Trustee Mary Burton says Sheena was a person of enormous integrity and commitment. “I remember her as a dedicated and meticulous worker at the Black Sash’s Johannesburg Advice Office, where people came to seek her counsel, where she learned daily of the sufferings of African citizens under the repressive laws of apartheid, and where journalists, diplomats, political analysts and lawyers came for first-hand experience of the results of that injustice. Her leadership of the organisation came not only from her wide knowledge and understanding, but also from the warmth and humour of her involvement,” says Burton.
In 1986, Sheena received the Liberal International Prize for Freedom for her outstanding contribution to human rights and political freedom. She was awarded the Order of Simon of Cyrene by the Anglican Church in 1988, and in 2006 she was made Grand Counsellor of the Order of the Baobab (in silver) for “her excellent contribution to the struggle for a non-sexist, just and democratic South Africa”. She has received honorary doctorates in Law from the University of the Witwatersrand (1990), the University of Cape Town (1991) and the University of Natal (1995).
Black Sash National Director, Marcella Naidoo, says Sheena was the leading expert in understanding the impact of the pass laws, analysing their effect and exposing their cruelty and absurdity. “Equally important was her commitment to finding peaceful ways of opposing oppression and injustice. Indeed, this will be her legacy: an enduring commitment to work for justice, an unshaken faith in peaceful ways of doing so, a warm and courageous heart for supporting those who suffer. Black Sash members and co-workers are united in remembering her incredible spirit and great humour. She will certainly not be forgotten,” insists Naidoo.
For interview requests, please contact:
Black Sash Trustee
Cell: 082-685 2665
Home: 021-685 2665
Black Sash National Director
Cell: 082-462 1003
Office: 021-686 6952
You can also contact former Sash members, Ethel Walt and Jillian Nicholson.
Cell: 083 268 0500
Home: 011 646 2664
Cell: 083 4415124
Home: 031 5631707
For more information, please contact:
Black Sash Media Officer
Cell: 073-150 9525
MAKING HUMAN RIGHTS REAL!Date published:04/05/2010Organisation:Black Sash
- V-Day Johannesburg Campaign 2010
Until the Violence Stops – The Vagina Monologues Continue
The Vagina Monologues is an award-winning play by author, playwright and founder of the V-Day movement, Eve Ensler. It is a celebration of women’s sexuality and strength in a graceful and humorous manner through the liberation of the one word - “Vagina”.
The participants of the V-Day movement stage benefit performances of the show globally and host other related events in their communities. The aim of the Vagina Monologues is to raise funding for activist organisations by making use of art as a tool for inspiring action and change in society against the abuse of women and children.
Join us at The Bassline in Newtown, Johannesburg from Monday 17 May to Wednesday 19 May 2010 for the V-Day 2010 Campaign. Opening night will showcase a thought-provoking evening of words featuring a live poetry performance from South Africa’s most accomplished poets, Kabomo Vilakazi, Kojo Baffoe, Rite2Speak and Antonio Lyons. The following two nights will feature a performance of the Vagina Monologues boasting some of the best up-and-coming talent in South Africa.
All proceeds from The Vagina Monologues Johannesburg will go to the Tswaranang Legal Advocacy Centre to create awareness about violence against women and children.
V-Day Johannesburg Campaign 2010 - Until the Violence Stops.Tickets are available at Computicket for R80 for pensioners and Students, R100
- (General Admission). The poetry evening is a free show. Doors open at 18h30 and the show starts at 19h30
- The Venue: The Bassline, 10 Henry Nxumalo Street, Newtown, Johannesburg.
For more information, visit www.vday.org/home
Event start date:17/05/2010Event end date:19/05/2010Event venue:The Bassline in Newtown, Johannesburg
- Press Release
26 April 2010
Sikhula Sonke shop stewards from Citrusdal, Barry Dale, Rawsonville, Stellenbosch, Ceres, Grabouw, Villiersdorp, Wellington, Paarl and Franschhoek are celebrating freedom day by discussing the importance of centralised bargaining and social dialogue in achieving maximum benefits for farm workers and dwellers.
The agriculture sector is the least organised sector in the country. It literally means workers earn no living wage, have no social protection or job security. We will only be free if land is redistributed to us who work the land, when evictions are no longer taking place, when our contribution to the economy of the country is acknowledge, when our right to dignity is respected and when we earn enough to feed ourselves and our families.
Collective bargaining is the essence of trade unionism and is key to achieving gains that is not provided for in current legislation. Sikhula Sonke leaders will develop a plan of action at the workshop in terms of engaging Departments such as the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, Department of Labour, retailers and producers to establish a bargaining council for the agriculture sector.
Please join us for this important event which is the birth of a whole new journey for farm workers. A journey of exploring one of the most important pillars of decent work as enshrined in the International Labour Organisation convention. This is what transformation means when changing the power relations between those owning the means of production and the working class.
The event will take place in Worcester Town Hall from 10h00 to 16h00.
"We can only loose our chains"
For more information contact:
Sikhula Sonke General Secretary Wendy Pekeur on 082 451 5235, President of Sikhula Sonke Sara Claasen on 083 566 1459Date published:26/04/2010Organisation:Sikhula Sonke
- Independent political analyst, Somadoda Fikeni, says poverty and the high rate of unemployment in the country still poses a huge challenge to South African citizens, 16-years into the country's democracy.
Fikeni points out that while some work has been achieved, unemployment, HIV and education are still the biggest problems the government must work hard to improve.
Meanwhile, the South African Student Congress (SASCO) president, Mbulelo Mandlana, says the democracy attained in 1994 allowed ‘entrepreneurs’ to accumulate while failing to deliver even the goods and services they are contracted to deliver. Mandlana argues that this trend resulted in the collapse RDP houses, roads and bridges.
To read the article titled, “Poverty, unemployment mars SA’s democracy: analyst,” click here.Source:SABC News
- The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) could face legal action if it does not reconsider its decision to give companies just three weeks to apply for the new digital mobile television service licence.
The latest comes after black-owned Mobile TV Consortium wrote to ICASA chairperson, Paris Mashile, objecting to the 7 May deadline.
The letter said it was not reasonable to expect companies to meet the requirements of the mobile television regulations in the time given, and that the deadline is not only anticompetitive but unconstitutional as it is biased towards existing operators.
To read the article titled, “ICASA legal threat risks mobile TV promise to FIFA,” click here.Source:Business Day
- The first fully democratic local elections in South Africa were held on 5 December 2000. This was preceded by the drawing of new municipal boundaries in every part of the country and the dismantling of the previous apartheid divisions. The new democratic government had a vision to “Work with citizens and groups within the community to find sustainable ways to meet their social, economic and material needs and improve the quality of their lives." Particularly those members and groups within communities that are most often marginalised or excluded, such as women, disabled people and very poor people (White Paper, 1998).
However, many have argued that local government in the country is still in the process of transformation. One of the critical constitutional features of local government in South Africa after 1994 is its developmental orientation. For example, due to a range of structural disadvantages created by apartheid, rural areas still require a high level of government intervention to promote development, and if these interventions are to be successful and sustainable they must be guided by a clear vision.
Rise of Local Government
In response to South Africa’s legacy of apartheid, the newly elected democratic government launched its Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) following the elections in 1994. The African National Congress government stated that, “The RDP is an integrated, coherent socio-economic policy framework. It seeks to mobilise all our people and our country’s resources towards the final eradication of apartheid and the building of a democratic, non-racial and non-sexist future,” (ANC, 1994:1).
Within the urban context specifically, the 1996 National Constitution defined a new developmental mandate for local government, namely that it should become a key catalyst for locally-led social and economic development (ANC, 1996). This concept was taken up further in the 1998 Local Government White Paper and supporting legislation, which recognised that “Municipalities face great challenges in promoting human rights and meeting human needs, addressing past backlogs and spatial distortions, and planning for a sustainable future,” (RSA, 1998:36).
Additionally, at local government level the primary focus was essentially to pursue ‘Developmental Local Government’. Local government is required to take a leadership role, and to involve and empower citizens and stakeholder groups in the development process, in order to create social resources and engender a sense of common purpose in finding local solutions for sustainability. Local municipalities therefore have a critical role to play as influential policy makers and as institutions of local democracy. It is in this regard that local municipalities are now being pressurised to become strategic, visionary and vastly influential in the way they operate. The South African government decentralised power in order to create better opportunity for direct participation in service delivery, policy and decision-making processes by civil society. These actions were conducted in an effort to speed up reformation of developmental local government.
10 Years Since
Ten years into the new South African Local Government system, the constitutional and legal framework, established municipalities should ideally be contributing towards building a Developmental State. Therefore, municipalities are obliged to ensure the following:
- Provide a democratic and accountable government for local communities
- Be responsive to the needs of the local community
- Encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations in the matters of local government
- Ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner
- Assign clear responsibilities for the management and co-ordination of these administrative tasks
- Facilitate a culture of public service and accountability amongst its staff
- Promote social and economic development
- Promote a safe and healthy environment
However, diverse challenges have been met that undermine the progress and successes achieved so far. Of paramount importance would be acknowledging that the 283 municipalities in the country have different capacities and are faced with different social and economic challenges. Depending on the different challenges, it will be necessary for each municipality to focus and improve on the responsibilities that they are able to deliver.
Of the many challenges faced by municipalities, one of the major concerns is the serious leadership and governance deficiency in municipalities, including weak responsiveness and accountability to communities. Closely related to these is the high rate of financial mismanagement practice for non-developmental purposes, which includes corruption. Also, municipalities have inadequate human resource capital to ensure professional administrations, and positive relations between labour, management and councils. Lastly, the failure of municipalities to fulfil legal requirements to ensure the active participation of communities in local government processes. These failures have resulted in regular service delivery backlogs and protest throughout the country.
As a result, there is a general negative perception regarding the overall performance of the municipal governments and indeed the entire local government system.
The State of Local Government Report (2009), which conducted municipal assessments, highlights the rapid progress made by many municipalities in extending basic services since 2001. It, however, also acknowledges that challenges have emerged to varying degrees in different municipalities, which may require interventions beyond the scope of the affected municipalities.
On its part, central government has attempted to observe and take into account the various obstacles that have halted the growth of development in many municipalities. This has resulted in the establishment of a framework known as the Local Government Turnaround Strategy (LGTAS), published in November 2009.
The LGTAS includes five strategic objectives that have been identified in order to guide the interventions and support the framework. The overall aim is that of restoring the confidence of the majority of our people in our municipalities as the primary expression of the developmental state at a local level. These identified objectives will act as the key drivers in order to rebuild and improve the basic requirements for a functional, responsive, effective, efficient and accountable developmental local government.
Some of the immediate implementation priorities of the LGTAS (pre-2011 LG Elections) are to:
a) Address the immediate financial and administrative problems in municipalities
b) Promulgate regulations to stem indiscriminate hiring and firing in municipalities
c) Tighten and implement a transparent municipal supply chain management system
d) Ensure that the programmes of national and provincial government and SOEs are reflected in municipal
Integrated Development Plans (IDPs)
e) Overcome the ‘one size fits all’ approach by differentiating responsibilities and simplifying IDPs. (COGTA, 2009,
Local Government Turn Around Strategy, Pretoria)
The South African Government has committed itself to instituting improved implementation of local government development programmes in the country. The attempt to introduce participatory and direct democracy is evident in the planning processes and policy formulation of government structures. In the run up to the 2011 local government elections, a lot more effort needs to be expended in the promotion of public participation in municipal processes as well as in the facilitation of more transparent and accountable governance.
- African National Congress, 1994, The Reconstruction and Development Programme: A Policy Framework, Johannesburg, umanyano Publications, Johannesburg
- COGTA, 2009, Local Government Turn Around strategy, Pretoria
- Republic of South Africa, 1998, White Paper on Local Government, Department of Provincial Affairs and Local Government, Pretoria, Government Printer
- Republic of South Africa, The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996,Constitutional Assembly, Cape Town, Government Printers
- State of Local Government Report, COGTA 2009, Pretoria
- This article, written by Gugu Mgwebi, project coordinator at Afesis-corplan. It first appeared in the Local Government Transformer and republished here with the permission from the Afesis-corplan.