CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH 28 MARCH — 2 APRIL
World Autism Awareness Day brings discussion on inclusive education and Plaas explores impact of war on food systems
Corruption Watch and Own Ownership will be hosting a webinar on how the Financial Action Task Force’s revisions of its recommendation 24 could benefit the fight against corruption in South Africa; Covid Comms will be celebrating its two-year anniversary by exploring different Covid-19 communication initiatives and approaches to future challenges.
On Monday 28 March at 10am, a petitions public hearing will take place in Tshwane. It will be an opportunity for the Gauteng legislature’s chairperson of the Standing Committee on Petitions, Hon. Ezra Letsoalo, to resolve adopted yet unresolved service-delivery-related petitions.
These petitions will cover a range of issues from housing development projects to land requests to speed control issues. By fast-tracking the resolutions of the petitions, the committee aims to address service delivery challenges in the area while also improving the capacity of the provincial government and municipalities to fulfil their mandates.
“It is important for Gauteng communities to know their right to petition the Provincial Government and municipalities and are thus entitled to having their grievances attended to. Platforms must be created for residents to be involved in matters that concern them and their communities and hold authorities to account — not merely during the electioneering period but also beyond,” said Letsoala on the petitions process.
At 10am in Bisho, Eastern Cape, activists will be gathering at the Bisho Massacre Memorial as part of the Inyanda National Land Movement’s “Water Rights Campaign March”. The march, which will end at the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) offices, serves to launch a campaign to respond to the poor provision of water, unsafe drinking water, lack of water for small-scale farmers and deteriorating water infrastructure in the Eastern Cape.
A list of the activists’ demands will be handed over to Xolile Nqatha, MEC of Cogta.
On Monday at 11am, Media Monitoring Africa in partnership with the Goethe-Institut Johannesburg, the German embassy and the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen will host a masterclass session providing a “Media Freedom, Digital Warfare Deep Dive”. The session will involve the sharing of a range of perspectives and an exploration of the key issues around limitations of freedom of expression and media freedom during times of conflict.
The experts taking part in the session are Markus Beckedahl, founder and editor-in-chief of netzpolitik.org and co-founder of re:publica, and Avani Singh, independent legal consultant and digital rights specialist. Register here.
Later on Monday, at 4pm, the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research will be holding an online seminar on “The Archive Machine: The Truth Commission and the Archaeology of Apartheid”, presented by Jacob Dlamini.
The paper being presented seeks to show that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was an archive machine — a mechanism by which new possible lines of historical inquiry were made. It “set the conditions for the posing of new questions about the past” and helped many gain a better understanding of apartheid while conceptualising new futures, according to the paper’s abstract.
“In what follows, I aim to present the TRC as an archive machine, a device that sought (and succeeded more than its critics are prepared to acknowledge) to make possible new lines of historical inquiry, to set the conditions for the posing of new questions about the past, and to help many gain a better understanding of apartheid while imagining new futures.”
On Tuesday 29 March at 10am, Corruption Watch and Own Ownership will be hosting a webinar titled “A New Global Norm for Beneficial Ownership Transparency: An opportunity to further anti-corruption and transparency in South Africa?”.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recently approved revisions of its recommendation 24, which has resulted in a new global standard on beneficial ownership transparency. This has the potential to allow South Africa, a FATF member, to escalate its efforts against corruption.
Government, the private sector and civil society stakeholders will be able to come together as part of this webinar, to critically discuss the problem of beneficial ownership opacity in South Africa.
The speakers for the event are Maira Martini Cherese Thakur of amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism; Maira Martini of Transparency International; Joy Waruguru Ndubai of the Institute for Austrian and International Tax Law; and Karabo Rajuili of Open Ownership. They will be discussing the FATF amendments in order to explore the various possibilities for moving the anti-corruption and transparency agenda forward. Register here.
At 5pm on Tuesday, Youth Capital in partnership with Youth at Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and Youth Lab will be launching a new Instagram Series, “Youth Advocacy Corner”. Tuesday’s conversation will focus on storytelling for human rights advocacy, with contributions from Rejoyce Makhetha of Amnesty International SA, Sam Flans of Eh!woza and Imani Dlamini of Hashtag Our Stories. More details are available on Instagram.
On Wednesday 30 March at 8.30am, Covid Comms will hold a national workshop reflecting on two years of communicating the Covid-19 pandemic. The event will also mark the entity’s second anniversary.
The workshop will involve the exploration of the different Covid-19 communication initiatives that took place among social partners, as well as consideration of how to deal with future challenges.
Tessa Dooms, a Covid Comms board member, will be present at the workshop, as well as Chris Vick, Covid Comms chair.
The event will take place at Emoyeni Conference Centre, 15 Jubilee Road, Parktown, Johannesburg.
At 9am on Thursday 31 March, Iranti, in partnership with the Department of Home Affairs, will be offering identity document applications to transgender people at the House of Iranti at 30 Wimbledon Road, Brixton, Johannesburg. The event marks the Transgender Day of Visibility, and will allow transgender people to apply for identity documents in a safe and inclusive space. Those wishing to attend have the option of registering here.
At 11am on Thursday, Sonke Gender Justice will be holding a webinar on “Gender Transformative Advocacy”. The dialogue will explore what gender-transformative advocacy looks like, why it leads to more effective programming and how it can be applied. Register here.
Later on Thursday, at 1pm, a webinar titled “War and food: How will the Russia-Ukraine conflict affect African food systems?” will be hosted by the Institute of Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (Plaas).
“Russia and Ukraine are among the top ten global producers and exporters of wheat and other cereals. The rapidly evolving situation in Ukraine is likely to affect African countries, as exports of wheat, maize, sunflower oil and fertilisers from Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine are interrupted, likely for a prolonged period,” according to the event description.
This situation, in combination with other crises, makes it important to understand African countries’ changing food systems and how to make them resilient.
The speakers for the event include Prof Steve Wiggins, research fellow at Overseas Development Institute in the United Kingdom, and Refiloe Joala, Food Sovereignty Programme Manager at Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung and a PhD candidate at Plaas. Prof Ruth Hall from Plaas at the University of the Western Cape will be chairing the discussion. Register here.
At 6pm on Thursday, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) will be hosting a free support group for healthcare workers. Register here.
On Thursday night at 8pm, Youth Capital’s #SoWhat Twitter Space will focus on the role of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and the National Youth Service. Those involved in the discussion will include Waseem Carrim, the NYDA Chief Executive Officer, and NYDA board members.
This #SoWhat discussion is one of a series of weekly events on topics related to youth unemployment, youth policy participation and youth activism. The series is the result of a partnership between youth advocacy campaign Youth Capital, youth policy think tank Youth Lab, and research hub Open Dialogue. You can set a reminder for this week’s discussion here.
On Friday 1 April at 1pm, Sadag will be hosting a #FacebookFriday event themed “World Bipolar Day: Shining a light on Bipolar Disorder”. The event comes just after Bipolar Awareness Day on 3o March.
Dr Leverne Mountany, a psychiatrist, will be speaking about Bipolar Disorder — its symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and long-term care. You can attend the virtual talk on Facebook.
On Saturday 2 April at 10am, Sadag will be hosting a free, confidential Women’s Support Group dealing with gender-based violence and the effects thereof. The meeting will take place at Hoerskool Florida, 64 Louise Botha Dr, Florida Park, Johannesburg. For more information and to RSVP, contact Jessica on 082 337 9801.
Saturday 2 April is World Autism Awareness Day. While major progress has been made towards increasing access to education for persons with autism over the past decade, the Covid-19 pandemic has reversed years of progress by disrupting learning.
“Many students with autism have been especially hard hit and studies show that they have been disproportionately affected by disruptions to routines, as well as services and supports that they rely on,” stated the United Nations (UN) information page on World Autism Awareness Day.
At 4pm on Saturday, there will be a webinar on “Inclusive Quality Education for All”. The event is organised by the UN Department of Global Communications and UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in partnership with civil society organisations such as Autistic Self Advocacy Network, the Global Autism Project and the Specialisterne Foundation.
The observance of World Autism Awareness Day will therefore involve a panel discussion on inclusive education as the key to the transformative promise of the Sustainable Development Goals to leave no one behind, according to the United Nations. Register here. DM/MC