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Thursday, 12 May, 2016
Quote of the week
"Years of work towards realising quality basic education for pupils, who were already playing catch-up, went up in smoke in an instant."
- Ngqabutho Mpofu, Communications Officer, SECTION27.
Comment of the week
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Vuwani, Governance, SABC…
The burning of more than 20 schools in Vuwani during violent service delivery protests has reversed some of the gains that the province has made in improving basic education. While the Limpopo Department of Education investigates to determine how the affected pupils could be assisted, all the relevant stakeholders should consider working with the law enforcement agencies to ensure that the arsonists and/or those who vandalised public property are brought to justice.
In this week’s edition of NGO Pulse, Ngqabutho Mpofu, communications officer at SECTION27, a legal advocacy non-governmental organisation, writes that while the school buildings, textbooks and furniture can be replaced (using large amount of money), “…most critically the (immediate) futures of children and their families have been placed on hold and possibly damaged. Mpofu states that as the dominant media narrative about Vuwani focus on the destruction of state property, it is important to emphasise that the community is not homogenous, adding that the Basic Education for All/SECTION27 teams in the province came across many concerned parents, teachers and community members that guarded their schools day and night, determined to protect pupils’ right to quality education. He explains: “What is clear is that after the dust has settled and the media vans have left, the community of Vuwani and surrounding areas, the State and other stakeholders will have to work together to find sustainable solutions by doing the heavy lifting to get back to zero.”
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Shanelle van der Berg, a Mellon Early Research Career Fellow, Socioeconomic Rights and Administrative Justice Research Project, Department of Public Law, Stellenbosch University, writes that the South African Constitution makes it imperative for government to act ‘reasonably’ in ensuring that the socio-economic rights are progressively realised. Van der Berg, who admits that government has limited resources to achieve this, states that the judiciary has emerged as a significant player in addressing whether these resources are being allocated in a fair and just manner that redresses South Africa’s inherited inequalities. She favours a theory called ‘capability approach’, which she believes could theoretically justify and practically help courts to strike a balance between the need to realise socioeconomic rights and to recognise the importance of other areas to which government may need to allocate money.
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The SOS Support Public Broadcasting Campaign and Media Monitoring Africa have noted with concern that the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has finalised and is implementing its revised editorial policies without having completed the public participation process it had set out. The two organisations call on the SABC Board to report on the public participation process undertaken and whether it complied with both the commitments it made, as well as all relevant statutory and policy requirements. They further call on Parliament to take necessary remedial action against the SABC for failing to discharge its responsibility, in this regard, in good faith.
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