The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) launched its first dialogue series on constitutional values on 22 August in Johannesburg. Held under the theme “Unity in Diversity: Promoting and Advancing Constitutional Values in South Africa”, representatives from government, human rights organisations and civil society came together to discuss constitutional values in a democratic society.
All states, democratic or authoritarian, exist and govern by exercising political domination and force over citizens. In functioning democracies, however, the state’s political domination and force is ably regulated by strong and inclusive institutional structures and processes, respect for the rule of law, fundamental freedoms and human rights and a vibrant and independent civil society. Constitutionally, Zimbabwe is a democracy.
The 19-page report, "'They Beat Me like a Dog': Political Persecution of Opposition Activists and Supporters in Zimbabwe," describes ongoing abuses, including killings, beatings and arbitrary arrests, by ZANU-PF and its allies against MDC members of parliament, activists and supporters before and after the June 27 presidential runoff election.
NGO leaders face extraordinary challenges which are very distinct from those faced by leaders in government and the private sector. They often function in isolated and unsupported circumstances, and are faced with a set of complex and interrelated challenges relating to NGOs’ social change mission, increased pressure for accountability and transparency, the need for unquestioned integrity and to maximise limited resources, and the ability to network and position their organisations in an uncertain external and political environment.
Taking the Lead: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Stories is a booklet tells the stories of seven people who participated in the Institute for Democracy in South Africa’s (IDASA) Citizen Leadership for Democratic Governance training programme in 2003. The booklet contains articles that are remarkable for the strong sense of hope and democratic energy they convey.
The 8th CIVICUS World Assembly will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, from 18th to 21st June 2008. The theme for the World Assembly is ‘Acting Together for a Just World: People, Participation and Power’.
‘Researching with Communities: Grounded Perspectives on Engaging Communities in Research’ presents a range of personal and grounded perspectives from academics, researchers and practitioners on undertaking research in ways that promote and privilege the voice of the community, out of respect for local or indigenous practices in a culturally safe manner.
A Citizens' Guide to Monitoring Government Expenditures is a guide that reflects the growing focus of civil society organisations on monitoring the results achieved by government expenditures. The guide offers an overview of government budget implementation, including budget execution, procurement, impact measurement, and auditing and legislative oversight processes. It also provides practical, tested tools that can be used by independent organizations interested in monitoring government expenditures.
The budget still failed to address major concerns around job generation and poverty alleviation strategies. The reality in South Africa is that the economy has been unable to absorb labour sufficiently quickly into the economy and as a result, the level of unemployment continues to increase. This in turn affects levels of poverty within the country which in turn impacts negatively on issues such as crime, for example. The assertion that the Government has created 1.5 million jobs over the past five years has to be taken with a pinch of salt.
Is this budget a deficit?
On Thursday, 7 February 2008, came the promise of “Business Unusual”. On budget day, 20 February 2008, we got “business as usual”. Hardly surprising given that this budget comes in the penultimate year of a sitting Government, hardly a time at which to be uncharacteristically unusual - especially with money, and probably a time at which a steady course that tries to please everyone is best. That is an unenviable task even at the best of times, and all the more so during the most extraordinary of them.