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Thursday, 7 July, 2016
Quote of the week
"It [the Fragile States Index] also abstains from self-critical soul searching as regards the fragility of Western democracies."
- Henning Melber, Extraordinary Professor, Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria.
Comment of the week
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Fragile States, Mining, Economy…
In this week's edition of NGO Pulse, Henning Melber, an extraordinary professor at the Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria, takes a closer look at the Fragile States Index, which ranks countries according 12 social, economic, political and military indicators.
Melber states that the index, which was published by the Fund for Peace, came with the usual alarming findings from developing world and brought back into memory the criticism that such surveys tend to be ‘fatally flawed’ in their approaches. He argues that while at best of dubious value - if not outright dangerous for the consequences in policy spheres - the index should also be no substitute for common sense. “It reinforces stereotypical Eurocentric perceptions and is at best another sign of patronising and paternalist worldviews,” he maintains.
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Many families in Southern Africa continue to lose their loved ones due to silicosis and tuberculosis (TB). The latter is an infectious disease caused by bacteria and the former is a disease caused by inhaling silica dust from gold-bearing rocks in the mines.
In another article, Sarika Doodnath, a research intern at the Helen Suzman Foundation, writes that the miners who are suffering from silicosis and TB are now getting a chance to fight for what they deserve in terms of compensation. Doodnath states that the affected miners want to be able to claim up to half a million rand each from gold mining companies if they contracted these diseases underground. She emphasises that miners and their dependents want justice, adding that, “They also need some compensation in order for them to run their lives.” She explains that: “The miners are unable to continue working because their employers did not protect their health.”
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Lastly, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) calls for a single-minded commitment to revitalise the economy is key if South Africa hopes to reduce inequality and stem the increase in violence. In its latest analysis of economics, politics and instability in South Africa, the ISS stresses that as the African National Congress beltless what it calls ‘a crisis of credibility’, “…how likely we are to see the political changes needed to enable this kind of economic growth? The organisations warns that: “Key state institutions have been unable to deliver, and international and domestic confidence in the country’s potential is low. With continued weak economic growth, a downgrade to sub-investment status in 2017 is likely.”
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