Governance and democracy
Governance and democracy
- The government is looking into a shares scheme for black farmers with the aim of reaching land reform targets and replacing the willing buyer/willing seller principle.
In terms of this scheme, commercial farmers will have to hand over up to about 40 percent of their farm's value to black shareholders.
Minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, says that this new plan may be included in a revised black empowerment charter for the agricultural sector.
To read the article titled, “Land reform share scheme mooted,” click here.Source:News24
- President Jacob Zuma has unveiled a new National Planning Commission (NPC), tasked with charting a long-term and cohesive development strategy for the economy.
The NPC, whose 25 members are drawn from as broad a spectrum as possible of industry and society, will be chaired by National Planning Minister, Trevor Manuel.
Zuma points out that, "While each of these areas of work relate to an aspect of government's work, the commission is asked to take an independent, cross-cutting, critical and long-term view."
Meanwhile, the NPC, which will have its own full-time secretariat, is expected to produce a ‘national vision’ document for cabinet consumption in 18 months.
To read the article titled, “Zuma unveils planning body,” click here.Source:Sunday Times
- This essay in the Africa Development Indicators series aims to shed light on a different type of corruption. It introduces the term ‘quiet corruption’ to indicate various types of malpractice of frontline providers that do not involve monetary exchange. This paper details how such practices are undermining Africa’s development by illuminating devastating malpractice; denied an education because of absentee teachers, children suffer in adulthood with low cognitive skills and weak health and the absence of drugs and doctors means unwanted deaths from malaria and other diseases, etc.
For more information, click here.
- Independent political analyst, Somadoda Fikeni, says poverty and the high rate of unemployment in the country still poses a huge challenge to South African citizens, 16-years into the country's democracy.
Fikeni points out that while some work has been achieved, unemployment, HIV and education are still the biggest problems the government must work hard to improve.
Meanwhile, the South African Student Congress (SASCO) president, Mbulelo Mandlana, says the democracy attained in 1994 allowed ‘entrepreneurs’ to accumulate while failing to deliver even the goods and services they are contracted to deliver. Mandlana argues that this trend resulted in the collapse RDP houses, roads and bridges.
To read the article titled, “Poverty, unemployment mars SA’s democracy: analyst,” click here.Source:SABC News
With the State of the Nation Address by President Zuma and the Budget behind us, and the plethora of state of the province addresses for good measure, South Africa can truly said to be in its Season of Promises.
There are promises of better government from the President, a fight against corruption and a pledge to launch the equivalent of a moral rearmament programme. There is a focus on greater spending in the budget on social grants, health and education, not forgetting the provinces that conscientiously walk in national government’s fiscal shadow. But what does this all mean, specifically for the thousands of NGOs that continue to work tirelessly on the ground?
It is widely accepted that civil society in South Africa provides a substantial number of services that government is unable to fulfil. Thus, while increased spending on socio-economic and educational matters is welcome, the reality remains that countless organisations in civil society are fulfilling socio-economic imperatives because the government is simply unable or unwilling to do so.
As has been noted by some NPOs already, there was no acknowledgement of this role, or relief for CSOs in the budget. To be sure, there are instances in which government gives financial support to NPOs, such as a R12 million grant to 44 NPOs operating in the health care sector in the Northern Cape. This sounds good, but it equates to an average of just less than R273 000 per annum per organisation. That is small beer in the budget of most NPOs and will not go a long way towards enabling those organisations to provide the type of critical service they doubtlessly give.
It is a tragedy that administrations at national and provincial level seemingly live with the delusion that they are meeting the critical needs of people on the ground on the one hand and, on the other, fail to recognise that civil society is providing public services that ordinarily (and sometimes even statutorily, such as in the case of education and health) will be the responsibility of government.
The question is, therefore, why donors should be subsidising the state in the provision of basic services? People are already paying tax for these services and there is, frankly, not such a huge shortage of money. It seems to go astray between the taxpayer and the beneficiary. Besides corruption, there seems to be a huge amount of wastage or the money is simply not used. The government is meant to be the caretaker of these funds but there appears to be little care in ensuring that they are used properly or used at all. The number of departments that did not achieve clear audits, including the Presidency, shows how little concern there is for tracking money, providing paper trails and exposing corruption.
Donor funding is currently focusing on the basic provision of services – in reality the responsibility of the state. This has skewed the view of civil society from one that is vibrant and innovative, producing new ideas, new research, defending human rights, making a contribution to policy, advocating for systemic change and social justice, whether relating to the environment or gender as examples. Instead, philanthropy remains caught in the trap of service delivery, where organisations are seen as the sum total of their projects with indicators, outputs and measurable outcomes such as plates of food provided, rather than as living, thinking, advocating and dynamic structures.
Notwithstanding the fact that the Seasons of Promises have failed to live up to expectations, civil society has worked tirelessly, with many people doing so voluntarily, to address the failure of government service. That civil society organisations are able to make such a major contribution to our country is due to the support of local and foreign donors and philanthropists, and the hard work of ordinary people on the ground. Yet government continues to marginalise our non-profits from the mainstream. Whilst the unions and business are included in Nedlac, where is civil society? When the President travels abroad with his entourage, where is civil society? Is this the forgotten sector that carries the can or is this deliberate marginalisation with civil society viewed as a potential threat? Where will organised criticism of the government come from in future – beyond the realms of opposition parties in what is becoming the stifled institution of parliament.
Perhaps there is a recognition that the organisations really working on the ground may have something to say when there is no change in people’s circumstances despite the Season of Promises.
This current Season of Promises has also introduced a new element for this time of the year - the suggestion by the president of the need for a new moral code for South Africa.
Civil society, in both the apartheid years and in the post-1994 period has never departed from its commitment to the values and norms of a moral society. This is perhaps most obviously illustrated in the work of the faith-based organisations that form part of it, but has also been present in the social, health, educational, human rights, job creation and economic and empowerment programmes run by various civil society organisations. It is appropriate therefore to point out that, in spite of the falls from grace that occur in any organisation because of human behaviour, it is not civil society that stands accused of wide-spread fraud, corruption and graft. Civil society has stood firm on these issues: it is not they who have confused the culturally acceptable practice of polygamy with the damaging and disrespectful practice of promiscuity. It is not civil society that has forgotten that this is the 21st century and that over-population has contributed to global warming – that fathering more than 20 children is a disservice to everyone in this world.
Some form of moral renewal is doubtless necessary in a country in which public figures berate one another with scant regard for human and race relations, and in which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer at an alarming rate. It is critical that civil society participate in this quest and that, of all sectors, they have a leading role as they are the organisations and individuals who keep the institutions of care, education and other social entities operating at the grassroots level.
- Shelagh Gastrow is the Executive Director of Inyathelo – The South African Institute for Advancement. This article was first published on Daily News website and it is republished here with the permission of Inyathelo – The South African Institute for Advancement.
- Ghanaian NGO, the Foundation for Grass Roots Initiatives in Africa (GrassRootsAfrica), has urged the political parties to nominate women as running mates for the 2012 general election.
GrassRootsAfrica policy and advocacy officer, Viola Naawiete Desoberi, argues that political parties should create room for women to become running mates, in order to help bridge the gender disparity in governance and decision making and to facilitate balance development
Desoberi, who is of the view that no nation could develop properly without giving equal opportunities to women in the various sectors of the economy, says statistics revealed that since the advent of the First Republic and the fourth Parliament, women representation had always been fewer than 10 percent of the total number of parliamentarians.
To read the article titled, “Political parties should nominate women as running mates- NGO,” click here.Source:Ghana News Agency
- 'Strengthening Dialogue' suggests a core set of principles and practices, and some specific initiatives that could be undertaken in order to enhance this engagement. It highlights some of the potential benefits of closer engagement, examines the obstacles that need to be addressed, and notes the distinct challenges of cooperation at the country level.
The study focuses on two specific cases: small farmer organisations and indigenous peoples. It looks at concrete examples of interaction at both the global and country levels that can provide valuable lessons for strengthening future engagement.
Strengthening Dialogue aims to heighten awareness and increase debate, both within UN circles and, between the UN system and people’s movements, about the principles and practices of meaningful engagement. It suggests next steps and encourages action on its recommendations.
For more information, click here.
- The NGOs that have planned to hold a public rally in Lusaka have backpedalled, claiming the police have not granted them a notice to go ahead.
According to Citizens Forum executive secretary, Simon Kabanda, the NGOs have, however, threatened to go ahead with the red card campaigns and will remain committed to demanding for good governance and a good Constitution.
In the same vein, the African Institute for Democracy and Good Governance has welcomed the cancellation of the planned rally in support of the red card campaign, saying dialogue should always prevail over unnecessary protests. Spokesperson Thabo Kawana says the police acted wisely in not giving a notice to the NGOs to hold the rally, adding that it was clear that the campaign lacked credibility, and that Zambians would not have supported it.
To read the article titled, “NGOs rally called off,” click here.
- The Zambian government says it is illegal for NGOs to advocate the removal of a democratically-elected government using potentially dangerous means such as the 'red card' campaigns.
Home Affairs Minister, Lameck Mangani, says that NGOs should be sober in their criticism, and should concentrate on civic campaigns instead of agitating violence.
Mangani says the NGOs will not be allowed to hold demonstrations against the Government because that will be a recipe for anarchy.
However, the NGOs spokesperson, Obby Chibuluma, insists that they will go ahead with the rallies and demonstrations but ensure that everything was done in conformity with the laws.
To read the article tilted, “Mangani warns NGOs,” click here.
- Angolan citizens, representatives of the civil society in Cacuaco district, Luanda, were briefed by the members of the National Assembly (Angolan Parliament) on the Constitution, promulgated on 5 February.
The coordinator of the national commission for Cacuaco, Sérgio Joaquim, informed that the document replaces the Constitutional Law used after the independence of Angola, on 11 November 1975.
The act was attended by MPs, the deputy administrator of the district and the provincial directors of agriculture, rural development, fishing and industry in Luanda, Georgina Tavares and Carlos Botelho, respectively.
To read the article titled, “Civil society clarified on constitution,” click here.Source:All Africa