Maverick Citizen

CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH 6 — 11 SEPTEMBER

Championing homeless rights, how climate crises impact mental health and improving equitable access to vaccines

Lawyers and clients consult under a tree on Alberts Farm. (Photo: Mark Heywood)

This week in Civil society: the fight for the rights of homeless people continues, land expropriation is discussed, the impact of the climate crisis and mental health are discussed, Covid-19 surveillance is spotlighted and the cost of cancer is measured.

Albert’s Farm update: 

On Tuesday 7 September four homeless people who were evicted from their shelters in Alberts Farm park in Johannesburg, before the structures were demolished, will be back in court. The court is expected to make final an order that their possessions and homes be restored, on the basis that arbitrary evictions without a court order are unlawful and unconstitutional. Homeless people have rights! Maverick Citizen is now working with all the stakeholders in the park to try and find lasting solutions that protect both the park, its users and people who are living within it.

At 10am on Tuesday 7 September the Centre for Environmental Rights, SECTION27 and the African Climate Alliance will be launching Dr Garret Barnwell’s report exploring the impact of the climate crisis on mental health. You can register for the launch here.

From 2pm to 3pm on Tuesday the Socio-Economic Rights Project (Serp) at the Dullah Omar Institute, University of the Western Cape, will be hosting a book launch and dialogue on the book titled Human Rights and Transformation of Property. The discussion will focus on how human rights can be applied to various challenges in relation to the ownership of property, forced evictions, rental housing and mortgages. You can RSVP to Keathélia Sapto at [email protected]

On Tuesday 7 September from 3pm to 4.45pm the Cancer Alliance will be launching their report on the current and projected costs of cancer in monetary and human terms. The launch will feature a discussion with the theme “Cost of Cancer where to from here?” which will be facilitated by Maverick Citizen editor, Mark Heywood with panellists: TAC national chairperson, Sibongile Tshabalala, head of surgical oncology at Groote Schuur Hospital, Linda Greeff — chairperson of Cancer Alliance, Dr Lydia Cairncross — Head of Surgical Oncology Unit at Groote Schuur, and HOD of medical oncology at Steve Biko hospital, Dr Richard Khanyile. You can register to join the discussion here.

Also on Tuesday from 3.30pm to 5pm, the Health Justice Initiative and Mandela Institute for Law at Wits, will be hosting the second instalment of its Trips webinar series titled “Diverging approaches to addressing the Covid-19 pandemic”. The speakers will be Dr Leena Menghaney, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Access Campaign Head for India and Global IP Advisor, Mr Felipe de Carvalho of MSF Brazil, Professor Brook Baker of Northeastern University, and Katie Gallogly-Swan of Boston University Global Development Policy Center and UNCTAD. The webinar will be moderated by Rafia Akram from the Health Justice Initiative.

You can register for the webinar here.

At 2pm on Thursday, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) is launching a new free Support Group for Depression & Anxiety at Masincedane (Helpmekaar Klub), 25 Spruyt Street, Heidelberg. For more info & to RSVP contact Alida 072 562 4427 or Hendrien 063 163 57190.

Later on Thursday from 3pm to 4.30pm, Maverick Citizen editor Mark Heywood will be presenting the Global Health webinar series on the pandemic treaty at Stellenbosch University’s Department of Global Health. The title of the presentation is “Will a treaty or convention improve equitable access to vaccines, diagnostics &  therapeutics?” Former Director-General of the Department of Health, Precious Matsoso will also be presenting an overview on “The need for legal instruments to tackle pandemics”. You can join the webinar here.

Also on Thursday from 3pm to 4.30pm the C19 People’s Coalition Anti-Repression Monitoring group, will launch a report on Covid-19 and surveillance in South Africa.  The report will focus on the use of surveillance technology like face recognition, license plate detection, mobile phones and location data during the Covid-19 crisis and its ongoing impact in South Africa and globally. The speakers include author Heidi Swart, Professor Jane Duncan — Head of Department of Journalism, Film and Television at University of Johannesburg, and Countering Repression Organiser at the Right2Know campaign, Thami Nkosi. You can join the launch here.

On Thursday at 1pm Ndifuna Ukwazi and the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (Plaas) will host a public dialogue on broadening access to land in South Africa. The discussion will focus on access to land on an equitable basis, existing struggles for urban and rural land justice as well as the implications of landmark court judgments that have drawn attention to the failures of post-apartheid land reform. The speakers will be Plaas researcher Katlego Ramantsima, Executive Director and attorney from Ndifuna Ukwazi Mandisa Shandu, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi — high court advocate, author and political activist, and Plaas Senior Researcher Farai Mtero. You can join the discussion here.

Saturday 11 September at 2pm for 2.30pm the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation will be hosting the book launch of former parliamentarian and MEC for Roads and Transport in Gauteng, Ismail Vadi. The book is titled The Political Backbencher. To RSVP to [email protected] or 011-854-0082. DM/MC

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