CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH 29 AUGUST — 2 SEPTEMBER
This week – Auditor-General report on use of flood relief funds and Electoral Reform Indaba
The Stop Stockouts Project will be hosting the launch of a report about access to contraceptives in South African public health clinics, and Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke will table her office’s first real-time audit report on the use of relief funds meant for flood-affected communities in KwaZulu-Natal and the A-G, Tsakani Maluleke will table her office’s first real-time audit report on the use of relief funds meant for flood-affected communities in Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Eastern Cape.
Monday 29 August is the International Day against Nuclear Tests. Over 2,000 nuclear weapons tests have taken place since 16 July 1945, according to the United Nations (UN) information page on the observance.
“In the early days of nuclear testing little consideration was given to its devastating effects on human life, let alone the dangers of nuclear fallout from atmospheric tests. Hindsight and history have shown us the terrifying and tragic effects of nuclear weapons testing, especially when controlled conditions go awry, and in light of the far more powerful and destructive nuclear weapons that exist today,” stated the UN.
Since the establishment of the International Day against Nuclear Tests, many bilateral and multilateral governmental developments, as well as broad movements in civil society, have advanced the cause of banning nuclear tests.
On Monday, 29 August, at 9am, the final day of the Treatment Action Campaign’s (TAC) 7th National Congress kicked off. The National Congress is the organisation’s highest decision-making body.
During this year’s congress, voting delegates from TAC branches are electing the organisation’s next national leadership and making resolutions on the TAC’s strategic focus going forward.
“Important policy discussions will take place on the crisis in the public healthcare system, the state of the HIV and TB responses, advanced HIV and cryptococcal meningitis, the state of healthcare for LGBTQIA+ community members, people who use drugs, and sex workers, the impact of patents on medicine access, strategies to hold duty bearers accountable, and much more,” according to the event description.
On Monday at 5.30pm, the Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit will be marking its 30th anniversary with a talk titled, “From transition to transformation: Restoring the dream of ‘health for all’ using community-oriented evidence”.
The lecture will be presented by Professor Stephen Tollman and Professor Kathleen Kahn.
“Adding years to life is not the same as adding life to years. Fulfilling the aspirations of democratic South Africa’s founders requires that all are valued, in life and in death,” according to the event description.
“With evidence from one of Africa’s pre-eminent research platforms, Tollman and Kahn will detail profound changes in the health and wellbeing of South Africans since the demise of apartheid, challenging preconceptions and crystalising an emerging reality. In so doing, they will paint a compelling picture to inform a South African and African century now approaching the quarter-way mark.”
The lecture will take place at the Marie Curie Lecture Theatre in the Wits Health Sciences Building. There is parking at 7 York Road, Parktown, Johannesburg. Those wishing to attend in person should RSVP to Antonia Appel at [email protected] or 071 673 0477.
The talk can also be attended virtually. Register here.
On Tuesday, 3o August, at 10am, Africa Criminal Justice Reform (ACJR) and the Center for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) are hosting a webinar titled “Covid-19 restrictions and the impact on criminal justice and human rights — Malawi”.
The webinar follows a stakeholder engagement hosted by ACJR and CHREAA in December 2021. The engagement, which took place in Blantyre, Malawi, focused on the socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the criminal justice system.
The webinar will involve a discussion on the findings from the stakeholder engagement in Malawi. Speakers will deliberate on recommendations for handling similar public health crises in the future.
On Tuesday at 11am, the Stop Stockouts Project (SSP) will be hosting the launch of a report about access to contraceptives in South African public health clinics between April and June 2022.
“While the stockouts situation in South Africa has improved over the years, key findings indicate that contraceptives now represent the most significant share of medicines stockouts in the public healthcare system. Moreover, the impact of these contraceptive stockouts falls squarely on women and girls,” according to the event description.
Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations
“This Women’s Month, the SSP draws attention to the ongoing problem of contraceptive stockouts across the country and calls on government to ensure a reliable supply of preferred contraceptives.”
Those wishing to attend the launch in person should RSVP here. The event will be held in the Section27 boardroom on the first floor of South Point Corner, 87 De Korte Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
Register for virtual attendance here.
Wednesday 31 August is the International Day for People of African Descent. This day was first celebrated on 31 August 2021 with the intention of promoting the “extraordinary contributions of the African diaspora around the world”, according to the UN information page on the event.
he observance is further intended to eliminate all forms of discrimination against people of African descent.
“The United Nations strongly condemns the continuing violent practices and excessive use of force by law enforcement agencies against Africans and people of African descent and condemns structural racism in criminal justice systems around the world.
“The organisation further acknowledges the Transatlantic Slave Trade as one of the darkest chapters in our human history and upholds human dignity and equality for the victims of slavery, the slave trade and colonialism, in particular people of African descent in the African diaspora,” stated the UN.
On Wednesday, 31 August, at 9am, Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke will table her office’s first real-time audit report on the use of relief funds meant for flood-affected communities in Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Eastern Cape.
The report will be presented to Parliament’s Joint Ad Hoc Committee on Flood Disaster Relief and Recovery at 4 Daventry Street, Lynwood Bridge Office Park, Lynwood Manor, Pretoria. The session will be open to the media.
On Thursday, 1 September, at 2pm, the annual public seminar series that takes place during the African Programme on Rethinking Development Economics (Aporde) will begin.
Aporde is a high-level training programme in development economics targeting policy-makers, researchers, academics and civil society representatives from Africa and other developing countries. It first began in 2007 and represents a joint initiative between the South African Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, and Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS).
The first seminar in the series will focus on “Green industrialisation in Africa: Challenges and opportunities”. Speakers include Lindsay Whitfield and Antonio Andreoni.
The seminar will take place at the Ubuntu Council Chamber in the Madibeng Building on the University of Johannesburg Kingsway Campus, Auckland Park.
On Thursday at 5pm, Daily Maverick will be hosting an Our Burning Planet webinar titled, “Are we eating our way to climate chaos? Transforming the industrialised food system for climate and social justice”.
“In April of this year, Biowatch, an environmental justice NGO that supports small farmers in northern KwaZulu-Natal and undertakes research and advocacy on agroecology and sustainable food systems in southern Africa, published a fact sheet on the industrialised food system in South Africa and climate change,” according to the event description.
“This system is responsible for a third of greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change globally. Without transforming it, therefore, we cannot address the climate and environmental crises. The South African food system is serving social needs poorly, and so there is also an urgent need to discuss how to build a more socially just food system.”
The discussion will be facilitated by Maverick Citizen editor, Mark Heywood. He will be joined by Vanessa Black, advocacy, research and policy coordinator at Biowatch, and Mervyn Abrahams, programme coordinator for Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity.
On Friday, 2 September, at 9am, the Electoral Reform Indaba will take place at Braamfontein Recreational Centre, Johannesburg.
The organisations behind the event include Rivonia Circle, My Vote Counts, Defend Our Democracy and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution.
During the indaba, civil society organisations will convene to discuss the Electoral Amendment Bill and electoral changes that need to happen in order to strengthen accountability in the lead-up to the 2024 elections.
“[The indaba] follows the recent Defend our Democracy Conference for Democratic Renewal and Change, which placed emphasis on the need for meaningful electoral reform to hold elected representatives more directly accountable,” according to the event description.
“Electoral reform has been on the agenda in South Africa for many years and the current approach being adopted through the Electoral Amendment Bill does not address the many electoral and political concerns we face. Civil-society organisations who have been involved in the process to amend the electoral system have raised concerns over the lack of seriousness by Parliament in this matter.”
On Friday at 11am, Corruption Watch is hosting a workshop on how to use the Procurement Watch tool. This follows the release of the organisation’s latest Procurement Watch report at the beginning of August.
“Procurement Watch aggregates National Treasury data on procurement deviations and expansions, as well as information about restricted suppliers, thus simplifying the scrutiny and interpretation of this information,” according to the event description.
“This makes it easier both to discern trends in public procurement spending, and to investigate particular transactions.”
The workshop will provide guidance on how the Procurement Watch tool can be used by journalists, academics, government officials and members of civil society. Access to the tool will be provided upon registration for the event.
On Saturday, 3 September, at 11am, James Findlay Collectable Books will be hosting a book launch for the Illustrated History of Hartbeespoort Dam by author Vincent Carruthers.
“The Illustrated History of Hartbeespoort Dam has been published to mark the centenary of the completion of the dam wall in 1923. It is a story of vision, perseverance, and national pride, but it is also one of shameful racism and environmental ignorance,” according to the event description.
For more information, contact [email protected] or 079 779 4574.
On Sunday, 4 September, a mandatory plebiscite will be held in Chile, in which voters will approve or reject a proposed new constitution.
The proposed constitution “pulls back from the current free market constitution”, and places greater emphasis on social rights, gender equality, indigenous autonomy and the environment, according to Reuters.
Progressive International (Internacional Progresista) is encouraging people to show their support for the new constitution by writing to congratulate Chile’s Constitutional Convention on the completion of the new document, which will “set the country on a strong foundation of egalitarian democracy and inspire peoples around the world”.
“After decades under dictator Augusto Pinochet’s neoliberal constitution, Chile has drafted a new founding document for a feminist, ecologist, and plurinational republic,” according to Progressive International.
“On 4 September, the people of Chile will decide: default to Pinochet’s constitution, or found a new Chile with a constitution that guarantees the rights to health, housing, education, and a habitable planet.” DM/MC