The Zimbabwean police have arrested the country's most prominent rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, and four senior officials from the Movement for Democratic Change, a day after the nation voted in a referendum on a new constitution that calls for more protection against human rights violations.
According to a police official, Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai's chief legal adviser, Thabani Mpofu, is accused of impersonating police by compiling dossiers on unspecified crimes.
On one hand Mtetwa was arrested after she demanded that police produce a search warrant at the suburban house used by Mpofu. On the other hand, officers accuse her of trying to take photographs of a security detail on her mobile phone and she was forced into a police vehicle.
To read the article titled, “Zim police charge lawyer with 'obstructing justice',” click here.Source:Mail & Guardian
Rights groups have reacted with outrage to the comments by the Eastern Cape MEC for Education, Mandla Makapula, that children do not have any rights.
The MEC has been quoted by the Eastern Cape’s Dispatch Online as saying no children under the age of 21 - who are still dependent on their parents for food and shelter - have any rights.
“For you, rights come later in life when you are independent, finished studying and have your own place to stay and your own car. That is when you can start talking about rights,” he explains.
To read the article titled, “E Cape education minister says children have no rights,” click here.Source:Mail & Guardian
Reports say dozens of NGO employees have fled their workplaces amid fears of an increased crack down on civic organisations by state security agents in Zimbabwe.
The development follows a series of raids on NGOs by the police, in which offices of three NGOs were ransacked in the past two weeks and property worth thousands of dollars taken away by suspected state security agents.
A spokesman for the organisations, Zivanai Muzorodzi, is quoted as saying that most workers are too scared to go to work. Muzorodzi adds that, “We have seen a calculated move by the state to silence all NGOs ahead of the elections.”
To read the article titled, “Workers abandon NGOs,” click here.Source:The Zimbabwean
The Department of Agriculture says the lower than expected electricity tariff increase announced last week will help curb household food insecurity.
Agriculture Minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, points out that, "Electricity and fuel increases are among factors that are beyond the control of agriculture but they determine the competitiveness and costs of the sector."
Joemat-Pettersson further states that her department would ensure that it could produce enough food to curb household food insecurity across the country.
To read the article titled, “Minister vows to tackle food insecurity,” click here.Source:Fin24
The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) warns that it will be ‘dangerous’ for e-tolls to be launched before the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill goes to the National Council of Provinces.
OUTA chairperson, Wayne Duvenhage, points out that, “If e-tolls are launched now, even with that Bill, it’s still not an Act and still not law.”
Reacting to the approval of legislation on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project in the National Assembly, Duvenhage says that the fact that they have gone as far as this step does not make it final.
To read the article titled, “OUTA: It would be dangerous to launch e-tolls,” click here.Source:The Citizen
The National Assembly has approved legislation that paves the way for the implementation of electronic tolling of Gauteng's major freeways.
Introducing debate on the transport laws and related matters amendment bill, Transport Minister, Ben Martins, said the bill was essential to enable "the appropriate implementation of the e-tolling system".
Martins rejected calls for e-tolling to be scrapped, saying the non-collection of tolls might impact negatively on the ability of the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) to raise capital for infrastructure development projects.
To read the article titled, “E-toll bill gets the green light,” click here.Source:Finance24
- Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini must wonder what has just hit her. There she is, happily de-registering nonprofit organisations (NPOs) by the tens of thousands, and suggesting innocuous amendments to laws governing their work - and all hell breaks loose. She will find answers in our history, her department’s incompetence, and a view of charity held by many South Africans. Then there is NPO suspicion of politicians even when real danger is coming not from them, but from the private sector.
Ours are a generous people. A 2010 Barclays Wealth report ranks South Africans as second only to Americans in philanthropy. Statistics South Africa counts 1.4 million people volunteering time in anything from community policing to feeding schemes. Despite straightened times, corporate social investment jumped to almost R7 billion in 2012, up from just over R5 billion three years ago, reckons analytical group Trialogue. Dlamini’s own department gets 71 new NPO registration requests a day, and this rises 14 percent a year.
Legally, it is dead easy to start an NPO, but authority has not always been supportive. The 1972 Schlebusch commission harassed anti-apartheid NPOs and prescribed their foreign funding. A Fundraising Act made collecting money dependant on a state-issued fundraising number; and criticism of government was chilled.
Come 1995, and an NPO with strong ‘struggle’ ties campaigned for even tighter controls. A state tribunal would assess NPOs at will, close down those it did not like, and even appoint members of NPO governing bodies. This writer was part of the resultant outcry, and served on a ministerially-appointed committee to propose changes to the Fundraising Act. The NPO Act of 1997 followed, scrapping altogether the need for fundraising numbers, and even of registration at all.
NPOs can register with minimal reporting requirements, but are not bound to. If they want special tax advantage and Seta payment exemptions, they follow the route of getting the required tax status from South Africans Revenues Services. They are naturally also bound by common law and relevant legislation depending on their being trusts, or nonprofit companies or just voluntary groupings.
Now two things have caused some, such as the formidable head of prominent NPO Inyathelo – The South African Institute for Advancement, Shelagh Gastrow, to imagine we are back to 1995: the recent ‘deregistration’ of perhaps 50 000 NPOs by the state, and government proposals for a mild tightening of NPO law. If the first has occurred to compliant NPOs, then it may be more incompetence than malice, given that those affected include the Jacob Zuma Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
The second involves fairly timid proposals to introduce especially governance advisory services, and to establish a tribunal to mediate NPO-government disputes. It does not take us back to the past, and Gastrow, brave and alert though she is, surely gilds the lily in saying that NPO freedoms are under their greatest threat since apartheid.
A far graver danger lurks in unthinking ‘good governance’ proposals (part of ‘King III’) that all-out and complicated reporting be required of ‘all entities’, right down to community-based voluntary groups – a move beloved of bean counters but that could strangle community innovation and severely restrict free association. Against this, it must be said, Gastrow has also led an increasingly successful fight to stop us going down a private sector-designed road, paved with good intention, straight to compliance hell.
- By Paul Pereira, owner at WHAM! Media. This article was first published in The Citizen. It is republished here with the permission of the author.
On 14 March 2013, Zambia will undergo the second phase of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) review of its fulfilment of international human rights obligations and commitments.
However, given the deteriorating human rights environment in that country, some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have come together to lobby government to fulfill its obligations.
They content that, today Zambia is among the countries that still face numerous challenges in human rights, including; torture, official impunity, life-threatening prison conditions, arbitrary arrests and prolonged pre-trial detention, long trial delays, restrictions on freedom of speech, among others.
To read the article titled, “NGOs worried about situation ahead of Zambia’s human rights review by UN,” click here.Source:Zambian Watchdog
Masvingo Resident Minister and Governor, Titus Maluleke, has summoned over 45 non-governmental organisations to a meeting at his offices during which he announced wide-ranging restrictions on their work.
In a press statement, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, says that, “NGO leaders who attended the meeting were reportedly subjected to a roll call where they were called one after another and coerced to reveal their work plans and partners.”
CiCZ says the NGO representatives were also told to work with government departments and the security sector in all their projects.
To read the article titled, “Governor puts restrictions on 45 NGOs in Masvingo,” click here.Source:The Zimbabwean
In a sign of increasing pressure on NGOs by Zambia’s Patriotic Front government, police have attempted to disrupt a meeting by ActionAid where they were discussing the investigations into Zambia Sugar tax avoidance allegations.
The armed officers who pounced at the venue where the meeting was taking place claimed that the gathering was conducted without proper police authority.
Earlier this month, the international NGO published a scathing report highlighting more than US$27 million dollars of tax avoidance by Zambia Sugar, which is owned by Associated British Foods.
To read the article titled, “Police disrupt ActionAid meeting,” click here.Source:Zambia Reports