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This week: River Club protest, World Population Day, ta...

Maverick Citizen

CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH 11-16 JULY

This week – protest outside Cape Town’s River Club, World Population Day and a talk on July unrest

Construction on the development River Club which has been stopped on 8 June 2022 in Cape Town, South Africa. It is reported that developers of the project are appealing against the decision to halt construction. (Photo: Gallo Images / Die Burger / Jaco Marais)

The Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education is hosting a public seminar on the July unrest, one year on; the Zero Dropout Campaign is holding a Twitter Space on creating a culture of care in schools; and Ndifuna Ukwazi and Reclaim the City are leading a commemoration walking tour of 11 sites that the City of Cape Town promised to use for affordable housing in July 2017.

Monday, 11 July is World Population Day. In 2011, the world reached a population of seven billion and will hit eight billion in 2022.

While there have been advances in health that extended lifespans and reduced maternal and child mortality, as well as technological innovations, this progress is not universal. Inequality remains starkly evident, according to the United Nations: “The same concerns and challenges raised 11 years ago remain or have worsened: climate change, violence, discrimination.

“Let no alarmist headline distract from the work at hand: investing in human and physical capital for inclusive, productive societies that uphold human and reproductive rights. Only then can we tackle the enormous challenges facing our planet and forge a world where health, dignity and education are rights and realities, not privileges and empty promises. In a world of eight billion, there must always be space for possibility.”

On Monday, 11 July, at 6.45am, a protest will take place outside the River Club site in Cape Town. Participants will meet at the TRUP Mound opposite Hartleyvale, on the corner of Liesbeek Parkway and Observatory Road.

On Friday, 8 July, the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council and the Observatory Civic Association served the Liesbeek Leisure Property Trust (LLPT) and its five trustees with contempt-of-court papers as a result of the trust’s defiance of a court interdict issued on 18 March 2022. 

“[The] groundbreaking order, which noted that economic benefits can never override the fundamental rights of First Nations Peoples, expressly interdicted the LLPT ‘from undertaking any further construction, earthworks or other works on erf 151832, Observatory, Western Cape to implement the River Club development’ until the High Court reviews the relevant approval decisions,” according to a press release from the indigenous traditional council and the civic association.

“We have asked that the case be heard as a matter of urgency given the LLPT’s determination to get as much concrete onto the site as possible before they have to answer to the High Court.”

On Tuesday, 12 July, at 6.45am, protesters will gather again at the site, at the same meeting point.

On Tuesday at 5.30pm, the Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education will host a public seminar on “‘July Unrest’: A year after the eruption”, following a preparatory session between 2pm and 5pm.

“More than 350 people lost their lives in stampedes, clashes with police and attacks by military and vigilante groups in response to mass looting and the targeted burning of property,” according to the event description. 

“The conditions that helped produce these events remain the norm everywhere in South Africa. People are becoming increasingly desperate, with young people in particular facing futures that carry little hope. Join us in engaging activists and journalists who were there in understanding this moment in our recent past and what these ongoing conditions mean going forward, as well as remembering the lives that were lost.”

Speakers at the event include Sinenhlanhla Mncanyana and Kaveel Singh.

The event will take place at Bertha House, 67 Main Road, Mowbray. It will also be live-streamed on Tshisimani’s social media platforms.

On Wednesday, 13 July, at 9am, the Tax Justice Network Africa, Oxfam, and the Centre for Trade Policy and Development, in partnership with the Africa Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council, will host a dialogue on “Leveraging Africa’s extractive sector for nutrition and food security financing” at the Radisson Blu in Lusaka, Zambia, as well as virtually.

The dialogue “specifically addresses goals three and 20 of Agenda 2063 and will focus on tackling Africa’s challenges on domestic resource mobilisation”.

“This convention is premised on the fact that the Agenda 2063 aspirations and goals cannot be achieved without adequate financing and domestic resource mobilisation mechanisms in Africa. One key sector that could potentially provide adequate financing through optimal tax revenue collection is the extractive sector.”

Register here.

On Wednesday at 5.30pm, there will be a community meeting on debt and credit in the Revival Family Church Hall, 1717 Mangope Avenue, Pampierstad, Northern Cape.

The information session will be hosted by the Thuso Advice and Development Centre along with the Stellenbosch University Law Clinic, the Black Sash, the Credit Ombudsman and the National Credit Regulator.

Those from Pampierstad and the surrounding communities will be able to ask questions on issues related to court orders, debt counselling, credit agreements and being indebted.

On Wednesday at 6.30pm, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) will host a webinar on “Pint-sized Panic: Panic Disorder and Children”.

The event is being held in light of Panic Awareness Day on 10 July. The guest speakers include Dr Alicia Porter, psychiatrist; Candice Cowen, clinical psychologist; Jessie Anne Bird, educational psychologist; and Olwethu Leshabane, doula and maternal health advocate.

The webinar will be live-streamed on Sadag’s Facebook page.

Also at 6.30pm, the Zero Dropout Campaign will host a Twitter Space on “Creating a culture of care in schools: How can this be achieved?”

“To tackle dropout, we must create an environment that nurtures caring relationships, while also building learners’ self-esteem, character and resilience,” according to the event description.

Speakers include Nolithando Moqoma, a teacher at Bronkhorstspruit Primary School, and Dwaine Fish, Youth Capital campaigner and activist.

Set a reminder for the Twitter Space here.

On Thursday, 14 July, at 8am, the Democracy Development Program will be holding its 2022 political summit, with a focus on the crisis in political participation, at the Elangeni Hotel in Durban, as well as online.

“This conference seeks to explore this concept [of political participation] deeper while examining what can be done to mend the trust deficit in the country, especially as it pertains to voting, engagement within local government and Chapter 9 institutions,” says the event description.

“More importantly, it seeks to explore mechanisms for greater political accountability so as to prevent further decline in political participation.”

Register here.

Friday, 15 July is World Youth Skills Day, which celebrates the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship, according to the UN.

In 2022, the observance takes place amid socioeconomic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as climate change, conflict, persistent poverty and rising inequality.

“Young women and girls, young persons with disabilities, youth from poorer households, rural communities, indigenous peoples and minority groups, as well as those who suffer the consequences of violent conflict and political instability, continue to be excluded due to a combination of factors.

“In addition, the [Covid-19] crisis has accelerated several transitions the world of work was already undergoing, which add layers of uncertainty regarding the skills and competencies that will be in demand after the pandemic is overcome.”

On Saturday, 16 July, at 9.30am, Ndifuna Ukwazi and Reclaim the City will hold a commemoration walking tour called “Empty Plots and Promises”, starting from 36 Mountain Road, Woodstock.

The march relates to a July 2017 promise of affordable housing at 11 sites in Woodstock, Salt River and the Cape Town inner city. This promise remains unfulfilled, according to the event description.

To attend, RSVP here.

On Saturday at 6pm, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation (AKF) and the US Friends of the AKF will hold a virtual conversation on “Democracies Under Threat: Lessons from South Africa and the USA in these perilous times”.

The speakers include former Constitutional Court Justice Albie Sachs; Mandla Nkomfe, deputy chairperson of the AKF; and Sharon Gelman, member of the steering committee of the US Friends of the AKF.

Register here. DM/MC

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