Freedom! There is still little to match Mel Gibson on his pony in phoney war paint trying to coax a bunch of underwear-less Scots to freedom from English tyranny…Martin Luther King comes close with his visionary dreams, but Mel has got his number with the flowing locks and big sword – not to mention the adoration of the lovely princess of France, played in that movie by Sophie Marceau…ahh, indeed, that is maybe a blog for another day. Today, I must remain serious for what is our freedom if it is not serious?
Civil society, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the Democratic Alliance are pulling out all the stops in last minute attempts to have the controversial e-tolling system scrapped.
On one hand, court applications have been filed by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) and Afrikaner lobby group AfriForum. On the other hand, the Democratic Alliance and the COSATU plan to protest in the streets.
Cabinet spokesperson, Jimmy Manyi, says that the controversial e-tolling system is an example of government ‘rolling out democracy’.
Manyi points out that, “While Cabinet is concerned about the opposition towards the system, the whole process is quite simply a roll out of democracy."
Meanwhile, On Monday, Cosatu threatened to stage the "mother of all protests" against the e-tolls before its planned implementation on April 30, and is "looking for a legal angle" to challenge the system.
The QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA) says concerns have been raised that the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) is not taking the needs of disabled people into account.
QASA national director, Ari Seirlis, says that people with mobility impairment have not been consulted about the e-toll system.
“We had made submissions for concession on a number of occasions with no response and had also written to the department of women, children, and people with disabilities for help,” explains Seirlis.
One of the Swazi activists say riot police detained at least seven activists while on their way to a pro-democracy church service in the central city of Manzini.
The activist says that seven people, who were on their way to attend a scheduled national prayer for democracy, have been detained.
He states that police had set up road blocks to stop people from attending the service.
The South African Communist Party secretary-general, Blade Nzimande, has accused the mainstream ‘liberal media’, some ‘liberal NGOs’ and business leaders like Nedbank chairperson, Reuel Khoza, of being part of an ‘ideological third force’ that fear black rule.
In an opinion article on the ANC Today website, Nzimande argues that an ‘anti-majoritarian liberal offensive’ is trying to assemble elite voices that appear to be either neutral or authoritative to try and discredit the African National Congress (ANC).
Swaziland labour and student activists have pushed on with pro-democracy protests in Africa's last absolute monarchy despite a court blocking planned demonstrations.
Anti-government protests have mushroomed over the past year amid deepening frustration among impoverished Swazis, over a crippling financial crisis under the reign of King Mswati III.
“Nothing has changed, we are going ahead with this week’s protests,” explains Vincent Dlamini, secretary general of the National Public Service and Allied Workers Union.
The debate around the future of provinces in South Africa (SA) is an old one that tends to gain momentum at certain points within the political calendar and die down again. In the run-up to the Polokwane African National Congress (ANC) conference in 2009 and during the review process of the White Paper on Local Governance, the debate was at its most intense stages. As usual, the debate is usually emotionalised and is full of party-political diatribes.
Students in Swaziland demanding democracy and scholarships have marched to Mbabane against the country’s decision to cut spending on tuition subsidies and school supplies.
At one point, president of the Swaziland National Union of Students, Maxwell Dlamini, tried to address the crowd but police immediately moved toward, apparently to arrest him, but other students gathered to prevent him being taken away.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says that almost 90 000 people are expected to cast their ballot for councillors of their choice in 14 wards in six provinces in next week's local government by-elections.
IEC CEO, Mosotho Moepya, points out that the by elections come in the wake of most councillors having resigned from their posts while others have passed on leaving their positions vacant.