• Mugabe Urged to Set Human Rights Agenda

    Human Rights Watch has expressed its concerns about the human rights situation in Zimbabwe and to request that President Robert Mugabe give priority to improving human rights during his presidency.

    The organisation urges Mugabe and the incoming administration to take clear, decisive measures to honour the country's human rights obligations and ensure the protection and promotion of fundamental freedoms for the benefit of all Zimbabweans.
    The organisation says it believes that this is an important opportunity for the government to help nurture and develop a culture of respect for human rights in Zimbabwe that should not be missed.
    To read the article titled, “Setting the human rights agenda for Mugabe government,” click here.

  • Transgenders to Finally Get Their Own Cells

    The Department of Police says that transgender people will now be locked up in their own cells when arrested, this will ensure that transgender people are not victimised by other inmates while in police custody.
    Deputy Police Minister, Maggie Sotyu, points out that, “…there are identified police stations where they will be kept away from other people. This is a challenge across all provinces."

    Furthermore, the Women's Legal Centre has established a protocol on how police officers should deal with sex workers and transgender people.

    To read the article titled, “Transgender people will get own cells,” click here.

    Times Live
  • SAOPF Criticises ANN7’s Advert

    The South African Older Persons Forum (SAOPF) has laid a formal complaint against Africa News Network 7 (ANN7), saying a billboard along the N1 near Sandton discriminated against the elderly.

    The forum lodged separate complaints with the South African Human Rights Commission and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), saying the television channel’s advertisement humiliated people and violated the law.

    On the giant billboard is a picture of an elderly man with the words: “We are not old farts... Nah, not even our presenters.”

    To read the article titled, “ANN7 billboard is discriminatory – group,” click here.

    IOL News
  • Corporal Punishment on the Rise in SA

    According to the Statistics South Africa’s latest General Household Survey, corporal punishment of school pupils is on the rise in the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga.

    The 2012 report, finds that nationally, 15.8 percent of pupils experienced corporal punishment at school during that year.

    The survey also points out that the practice was most common in the Eastern Cape (30.3 percent), KwaZulu-Natal (21.4 percent), and Free State (18.4 percent).

    To read the article titled, “Caning on the rise - expert,” click here.

    The Citizen
  • DENOSA Urges the NCOP to Consider Amending the LRA Amendment Bill

    The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) would like to support the union federation Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in urging the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to amend subsection 69(12) (c) of the Labour Relations Amendment Bill, which was passed by the National Assembly on Tuesday, 20 August 2013, as it grants the powers to the Labour Court to suspend a protected strike or picket entirely instead of interdicting the specific unlawful actions within a strike or picket.

    DENOSA believes this clause serves as a punitive measure and equates to clipping the wings of the labour unions from exercising their rights, given that the resort to strike is often as a result of the failure to implement the collective bargaining agreements. 

    Also, what is of huge concern to DENOSA about this Bill is the amendment of Section 69(1) of the current Act, which provides that a trade union may authorise a picket by its members and supporters. The Bill has scrapped ‘supporters’, which basically disintegrates the essence of solidarity among unions during a strike or picket.

    This amendment is a stab at the heart of unions, and further minimises the powers and importance of labour representation, and which makes us to believe that government is heeding the call by big business fraternity to relax labour laws. This does not auger well for the workers.

    There are a number of collective bargaining agreements that have not been implemented within the agreed timeframes at the chambers, which have become a main source of frustration to both unions and workers (in our case, these includes Uniform Allowance, Pay Progression and translation as per the OSD for nurses).

    By granting the Labour Court the carte blanche to suspend a protected strike or picket, as opposed to the interdiction of a specific act within a strike or picket as enshrined in the current Act, the Bill eliminates the option for labour unions to express their unhappiness over non-implementation of collective bargaining agreements.   

    The Bill will now go through to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), where if it is approved as it is, it will then be signed by the President to become an Act. DENOSA hopes the NCOP will find it in its consciousness to amend this disturbing subsection, which reverses the rights that the millions of workers have worked so hard for over the years.  


    For more information contact:
    Sibongiseni Delihlazo
    Communications Manager
    Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa
    Mobile: 079 875 2663
    E-mail: sibongisenid@denosa.org.za

    For more about the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa, refer to www.denosa.org.za

    To view other NGO press releases, refer to www.ngopulse.org/group/home-page/pressreleases.

    Date published: 
    Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa
  • Cry, the Beloved Country; Cry, the Beloved Federation

    As the anniversary of the Marikana massacre dawns, this week has also seen the anniversary of one of the watershed moments in the resistance movement during the 1980s – also led by the workers. One can only hope that this latest watershed can be managed by extraordinary leadership that can guide us to much-needed development in our country, without further bloodshed.

    Two events, separated by two-and-a-half decades, define our journey to democracy.

    One year ago I wrote: “The headlines scream, 'Marikana Massacre'; 'Killing Fields of Rustenburg'. Radio and television talk shows and social media all display the anger and expose the psyche of a nation badly wounded. The bloodiest security operation since the end of Apartheid has left us shocked and asking what went wrong. The reality is, many things went wrong. Way too many things went wrong, for way too long now.”

    I journey back to 1987, the year of worker discontent. It had been less than a decade since black workers had a legal right to join trade unions. Starting from small beginnings the various strands had come together into a fighting force united by the repression of a brutal regime and the exploding anger against an arbitrary and exploitative cheap labour system, ruled by an authoritarian management system.

    The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), barely two years old, the product of painstaking discussions, did not have the luxury of birth pangs. Its launch prophecy, to ‘rise like a giant to confront all that stood in its way’, had become a magnet for workers. It plunged into battle.

    The country was on fire. Tens of thousands of retail and railway workers had launched rolling mass action that year, fuelled by the COSATU Living Wage campaign. Seeing COSATU as the most serious internal threat to its power, the Apartheid state, masterminded by its Minister of Police, imploded our headquarters in one of the most powerful explosive blasts, hoping to permanently disrupt our logistics and organisational capacity. But we were undeterred. We would not be cowed.

    Years of organisation building, education training had built an army of tens of thousands of COSATU shop stewards connected by an umbilical cord to needs, aspirations and hopes of workers on the shop floor. We were ready. We stood fist to fist ready to slug it out in spite of many leaders being victimised, detained and offices bombed. Our survival was driven from the ground. We did not run our organisation through press conferences. There was no twitter or Facebook.

    9 August 1987 was a cold morning. The frost hung in the air like a second skin. We were tense. It was our moment of storming the Bastille of Apartheid. A total of 360 000 mine workers marched over the shaft floor in disciplined regiments. What followed in the next 21 days shook the foundations of Apartheid. Close to 50 000 workers were dismissed and shipped back to the homelands and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, their leaders blacklisted forever. This was our life. Going on strike often meant that or death. It was a conscious choice.

    While we lost the battle, it was a watershed that would define the war and the eventual negotiations process. The system was ready to implode. A political stalemate had been reached, on the shop floor and in the country. Our choice was a descent into a full-scale racial civil war of a scorched earth or a political negotiation.
    Thankfully, guided by the extraordinary leadership of Nelson Mandela on our side, we chose the latter.

    Turn the clock 25 years to 16 August 2012, and what we have is Marikana. It is the pinnacle of a growing ferment in our land. The people in our workplaces, townships, rural areas and squatter camps are bitter that democracy has not delivered the fruits that they see a tiny elite enjoying. Our leaders across the spectrum are not talking to our people, they are not working with them systematically to solve their problems, in providing the hope that one day, even in their children’s lives, things will be better. It is a debilitating threat not from enemies outside, but those who lurk within our bosom.

    Thousands of workers are deserting our COSATU unions. They have lost trust in their branch leaders. I have been in many places where I am personally told: ‘Comrade, we do not see union organisers. We do not know what is happening in our union. Our leaders are too involved in politics and we do not get the services and education we did in the past.’

    It is true. Union leadership is more engaged in looking up to the political jockeying than down to the base of its members where its real strength on the shop floor gives it voice. We cannot hide the disunity and divisions that cripple COSATU today.

    Alongside millions of South Africans I feel bitterly disappointed. There is a deep-seated anger growing in the country. And yet the leaders are not at the coal face. People feel robbed of their voices and powerless.

    In the absence of strong, legitimate political organisation in the communities, they see violence as the only language their leaders will listen to. It is a vicious cycle that sees our people burning down any institution representing the state, whether a school, a library or a public building.

    Marikana is but a festering sore on the body politic of our country. These are not issues that a judicial commission will resolve. It requires political action first and foremost from our political and union leaders. There are some tough choices to make.

    Like we had in the 1990s, to set up a National Peace Accord to deal with a torrent of violence as covert forces sought to destabilise the transition. It was a roadmap based on a set of political principles that established freedom of speech and assembly. But it had the structures that brought together the contesting parties and the state especially the security forces. We had a roadmap that instilled confidence in our communities, compelled us to work together in structures that brought the key protagonists together and created a battalion of peace monitors drawn from all parties that ensured we isolated those who sought to deepen the divisions amongst our people.

    My greatest fear is that the massacre at Marikana has become the watershed of our post-Apartheid journey. It has wrought untold physical, financial and psychological damage on all sides and on our social fabric. But if this is not acknowledged and we continue our drift towards the shrill language of divisive finger pointing and muddled leadership and we will end up where we were in 1990.

    My greatest hope is that in these extraordinary times, we ask that extraordinary leaders rise from our ranks and take those extraordinary actions to put our country back to the path we set to deliver the better life that we promised our people in 1994. As the proverbial Phoenix, we will rise from burning ashes of broken promises and rebuild the trust with our citizens. And to do this with the absence of political arrogance and with a humility and an honesty that compels us to serve not the interests of leaders but the interests of our people.

    - Jay Naidoo is founding General Secretary of Congress of South African Trade Unions, former Minister in the Mandela Government and Chair of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). You can follow him on Twitter, or visit his Facebook Page or www.jaynaidoo.org.
    Jay Naidoo
  • SALRC Appointments Focus on the Poor

    The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development says that the new appointments in the South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) will see more emphasis on the rights of poorer people, women and children.

    The department’s Deputy Minister, John Jeffrey, the appointments will also translate into emphasis on issues around access to justice as the focus of the law has changed since 1994.

    Jeffrey says that the role of the commission continues to be to study research work done by staff and add value to it.

    To read the article titled, “SALRC new appointments to focus on rights of poor, women and children,” click here.

    SABC News
  • Graça Comments on Women Inequality

    Graça Machel, wife of former president Nelson Mandela, says she is ashamed that issues of gender inequality in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have not ceased.

    Machel is of the view that efforts by the United Nations Security Council to see a decrease in rape in the DRC have not yet yielded any success.

    Speaking at the Young Women in Dialogue conference held in Freedom Park, Pretoria, Machel noted that while the country upheld customary laws, some of those laws still perceive women in an inferior manner.

    To read the article titled, “Graça addresses newomen inequality,” click here.

    News 24
  • NGO Tackles FGM, Early Marriages

    Children’s Dignity Forum (CDF) is implementing an ambitious project aimed at saving schoolgirls from the menace of female genital mutilation (FGM), early marriages and HIV/AIDS in Tanzania’s Mara Region.

    The project dubbed ‘Strengthen Girls Network and Clubs in Response to Child Marriage, FGM and HIV Prevention Strategies’, is targeting public schools.
    Project coordinator, Fransisca Silayo, made the revelation during a special function organised by the NGO to provide anti- FGM, early marriages and HIV/AIDS education to female pupils.

    To read the article titled, “NGO steps up fight against FGM, early marriages,” click here.

    All Africa
  • HelpAge International: Regional Director - EWCA

    HelpAge International
    Please note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.
    Opportunity closing date: 
    Tuesday, August 27, 2013
    Opportunity type: 
    HelpAge International is an international NGO that helps older people claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty, so that they can lead dignified, secure, active and healthy lives. With more than 90 affiliates and 300 partners across more than 60 countries the HelpAge International network brings together hundreds of organisations worldwide. HelpAge International has a secretariat with offices in London and Brussels, regional centres in Africa, East Asia/Pacific, South Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Central Asia, twenty national programmes and a number of emergencies programmes.

    HelpAge International in South Africa seeks to appoint a Regional Director, East West and Central Africa (EWCA), based in Nairobi, Kenya with regular travel around the region.

    The EWCA Regional Development Centre works with a range of partners across Africa to deliver programming in a number of key areas including HIV/AIDS & health, income security, emergency response and rights of older people.
    This is an accompanied three-year contract position with possible extension.

    This is an exciting opportunity represent HelpAge International’s interests in the EWCA region and develop and establish a regional programme in line with global strategies.
    • Support members and partners efforts to strengthen the organisational capacity, participation and influence of disadvantaged older people in the region;
    • Lead a diverse team to develop programmes and policy work in the region in line with regional and global targets.
    • Experience of international development and/or humanitarian work, including extensive experience in Africa;
    • Proven leadership skills and the ability to manage a team, across cultures and at a distance;
    • Extensive experience in advocacy and fundraising, as well as experience in strategic planning, budgeting and reporting;
    • Willingness to travel extensively within the region is also essential for this role.
    Salary: £40 000 gross per annum plus a benefits package.
    First stage interviews will be held between 3-5 September 2013.

    Starting date: As soon as possible.

    For full job description and to apply, refer to www.helpage.org/RDewcaaug13.
    Please quote the source of this advertisement in your application - NGO Pulse Portal.

    HelpAge International is an equal opportunities employer.

    For more about HelpAge International, refer to www.helpage.org.

    For other vacancies in the NGO sector, refer to www.ngopulse.org/vacancies.


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