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Thursday, 19 May, 2016
Quote of the week
"At present South Africa has a remarkably free civil society, but it is incumbent on us to be vigilant when we hear a security minister offer opinion that threatens our capacity to organise ourselves."
- Shelagh Gastrow, Director, GastrowBloch Philanthropies.
Comment of the week
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NGOs and Politics, Funding, Silicosis…
The recent remarks by the State Security Minister, David Mahlobo, in which he accuses non-governmental organisations (NGOs) of helping foreign agencies destabilise South Africa, is worrying. In South Africa, civil society organisations (SCOs) played a critical role in the fight against apartheid and continue to working towards improving people’s lives post-1994. In other countries, similar attacks on NGOs have led to the promulgation of laws aimed at limiting the activities of these organisations. Scapegoating NGOs is an outdated trick which should be rejected by all.
In this week’s edition of NGO Pulse, Shelagh Gastrow, director at GastrowBloch Philanthropies, writes that there are disconcerting parallels between Mahlobo’s comments and the laws and habits of other BRICS countries regarding NGOs wishing to operate in those territories. She points out that, “Three of our partner BRICS countries have developed quite draconian legislation relating to the funding of CSOs.” Gastrow notes that Mahlobo, who acknowledge the role played by NGOs in the struggle, accuses these organisations of collaborating with what he calls ‘external forces’ to undermine and destabilise South Africa. She emphasises that this is not the first time that senior government officials have attacked CSOs and those that support them.
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We bring you a blog by the Management Accounting for Non-Governmental Organisations (MANGO), a United Kingdom-based NGO that helps aid agencies, NGOs and nonprofits to work more effectively, focusing on the upcoming United Nations’ World Humanitarian Summit, which takes place from 23-24 May 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey. MANGO, which will be participating in what could be the most important conversation about humanitarian funding yet, cautions that there is still a high risk that the summit could fail to address key drivers for change laid out in the High Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing report ‘Too Important to Fail: Addressing the Humanitarian Financing Gap’. The organisation, which has been calling for greater local and national participation for years, fully supports the aid localisation target carved out by Charter4Change, seeking commitment from the International NGOs (INGOs) to channelling 20 percent of funding to local partners by 2020. It believes that this could pave the way for even higher levels of local funding - but only if donors, INGOs, local NGOs and global standards institutions - work together to address the key drivers behind making that a reality.
MANGO executive director, Tim Boyes-Watson, will attend the summit and wants to hear from other NGOs on this topic. NGOs can tweet to MANGO at @Tim4Mango @Mango4NGOs or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to read the full blog.
Sonke Gender Justice takes a closer look at the historic ruling by the South Gauteng High Court, certifying a class action lawsuit by ex-miners who had contracted silicosis while working underground in South Africa’s gold mines. The organisation holds the view that in the context of this case, class action is the only realistic option through which most mine workers can assert their claims effectively against the mining companies. It further describes the ruling as a massive leap forward in the struggle for socio-economic rights, gender equality and worker justice in the history of our country.
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