Maverick Citizen

CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH 26 — 30 SEPTEMBER

This week — Pan-African conference, International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and talk on sustainable economies

This week — Pan-African conference, International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and talk on sustainable economies
The International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction takes place on Thursday, 29 September. About 17% of total global food production is wasted, of which 11% is wasted in households, 5% in the food service industry and 2% in retail, according to the United Nations. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Nic Bothma)

Small-scale fishers will be holding a demonstration against offshore oil and gas exploration at Pepper Bay, Saldanha; the South African Human Rights Commission is launching its ‘Social Harmony National Effort’ project; and the Alternative Information and Development Centre is hosting a webinar on rolling blackouts and South Africa’s energy crisis.

Monday 26 September is the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

Today, about 12,705 nuclear weapons remain worldwide. Many of the countries that possess such weapons have long-term plans to modernise the weaponry.

“While the number of deployed nuclear weapons has appreciably declined since the height of the Cold War, not one nuclear weapon has been physically destroyed pursuant to a treaty. In addition, no nuclear disarmament negotiations are currently underway,” according to the United Nations (UN) information page on the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

The observance provides the world with an opportunity to reaffirm the commitment to global nuclear disarmament.

“It provides an opportunity to educate the public — and their leaders — about the real benefits of eliminating such weapons, and the social and economic costs of perpetuating them,” stated the UN.

On Monday, 26 September, at 1pm, the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (Plaas), together with the Journal of Peasant Studies, the Transnational Institute and the Collective of Agrarian Scholar-Activists

in the global South, is hosting a “Conference on Climate Change and Agrarian Justice”.

The manner in which the relationship between climate change and capitalism plays out in rural spaces requires deeper analysis. The conference seeks to establish how anti-capitalist, trans-environmental and agrarian approaches to confronting climate change can be built up in rural settings.

The conference sessions will run between 1pm and 3.30pm each day from the 26 September to the 29 September.

Register here.

At 2.30pm on Monday, small-scale fishers will be holding a demonstration at Pepper Bay, Saldanha. 

The group will be protesting against the imminent arrival of Azinam’s oil rig, which is set to start offshore oil and gas exploration activities in the area. Affected communities were not adequately consulted about these activities.

“The group will also call out French oil giant Total for its proposed offshore oil and gas plans,” according to the event description. 

“Driving this protest action is the overarching call for inclusive and just ocean governance. Small-scale fishers, who create their livelihoods and celebrate their heritage through the ocean, deserve a seat at the decision-making table.”

On Tuesday, 27 September, at 9.30am, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is launching its “Social Harmony National Effort” (SHiNE) at Freedom Park Museum and Heritage Site, Pretoria.

“The idea of the National Effort was forged out of lengthy and numerous dialogues and consultations we have held since the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July 2021,” according to the SAHRC. 

“The Commission, in addition to undertaking an investigation into the causes of the unrest, was moved to acknowledge that stressed race relations and social solidarity is deeply lacking in the areas affected by the violence, and this coupled with intense inequality, desperation and poverty were the factors that enabled the instigation of the widespread and devastating unrest.”

The SHiNE project is intended to encourage South Africans to “reflect on issues of individual agency and responsibility, and to promote dialogues to address our differences and develop more understanding and respect in our homes, in the workplace and in our communities”.

Between January and December 2023, the initiative will encourage positive action with the hope that through making small positive changes and encouraging meaningful exchanges, the people of the country will begin to better address the serious social challenges they face.

On Tuesday at 6pm, Jacana Media is hosting a discussion titled, “Are John Cube and Pixley ka Isaka Seme relevant to today’s ANC?”

The discussion will see Heather Hughes, author of The First President: A life of John L Dube, founding president of the ANC, and Bongani Ngqulunga, author of The Man Who Founded the ANC: A biography of Pixley ka Isaka Seme, engaging with one another about whether Hughes’ work on Dube has remained relevant since its first publication. 

“[The authors] will ask how our perceptions of the early ANC have been shaped by other biographical/historical works, and whether figures such as John Dube and Pixley ka Isaka are significant in respect of today’s ANC,” according to the event description.

Register here.

On Tuesday, 28 September, the Tax Justice Network Africa and the African Tax Administration Forum are hosting the 2022 Pan African Conference under the theme ‘Tax Justice Amid Multiple Crises’.

“The main objective of this year’s PAC conference is… to explore ways to mitigate the impact of global external shocks on the continent through tackling illicit financial flows and undertaking progressive domestic resource mobilisation,” according to the event description.

The event will take place at the Taj Pamodzi hotel in Lusaka, Zambia, as well as online. It will run until 29 September.

Register here.


Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations


On Wednesday, 28 September, at 9.30am, the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung South Africa, the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Institute for Global Dialogue are holding a conference on “Developing a Pan-African Agenda Dealing with Global Issues”.

“Pan-Africanism has been a compelling vision for the continent for at least a hundred years. As an ideology and movement, it reflects a commitment towards greater collaboration and unity between African countries in tackling the socio-economic issues of the continent,” according to the event description.

However, African countries remain largely excluded from the global economy. This has resulted in them being among the poorest regions in the world.

“…the Pan-African objectives of political and economic independence are yet to be fully realised. The advancement of a Pan-African agenda is a call to action to reclaim, revive and reassert Pan-Africanism in the face of current global challenges such as low GDP growth, inequality, pandemics and climate change.”

Speakers at the event include Professor Anna Hornidge, director of the German Institute of Development and Sustainability; Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba, former director-general of the Department of International Relations and Co-operation in South Africa; Babatunde Fagbayibo, professor in law at the University of South Africa (Unisa); and Kingsley Ofei Nkansah, past general secretary of the General Agricultural Workers Union in Ghana.

The event will take place at the CSIR International Convention Centre at Meiring Naude Road, Brummeria, Pretoria, as well as online.

Register for virtual attendance here.

On Wednesday at 12.30pm, the Stellenbosch University Law Trust Chair in Social Justice is hosting a Social Justice Café on “Sustainable and Just Economies”. 

The keynote speaker will be Professor Anne Kubai, a researcher at the school for Historical and Contemporary Studies in Södertörn University, Sweden. She is also a professor extraordinarius at Unisa and an affiliated research fellow at Stellenbosch University.

For more information, contact Nolwandle Made at [email protected]

Join the event here.

On Wednesday at 3pm, the Alternative Information and Development Centre is hosting one of a series of webinars on rolling blackouts and South Africa’s energy crisis. This session will look at “Load shedding and government’s response to the Energy Crisis”.

“The webinars will provide insights into what is behind load shedding and the multiple problems facing Eskom, offering a historical perspective on the utility’s evolution, tracing the beginnings of its corporatisation, the dimensions of its failures and then examining the inadequate responses offered by the government so far,” according to the event description.

“The dire issue of climate change cannot be ignored, and so the webinar series will also give great focus to the need for a Just Transition towards renewable energy, and the importance of resisting the unjust and impractical neoliberal philosophy that has guided government management of Eskom.”

Speakers at the event will include Gaopalelwe Santswere, deputy president of the Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa; Sandra Van Niekerk, Public Services International’s climate change project coordinator; and Brian Kamanzi, energy policy researcher at the Institute for Economic Justice.

Register here.

Thursday 29 September is International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction.

Around the world, about 14% of food produced is lost between harvest and retail. About 17% of total global food production is wasted, of which 11% is wasted in households, 5% in the food service industry and 2% in retail.

“The International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste is an opportunity to call to action both the public… and the private sector… to prioritise actions and move ahead with innovation to reduce food loss and waste,” according to the UN information page on the event.

“Food loss and waste undermine the sustainability of our food systems. When food is lost or wasted, all the resources that were used to produce this food — including water, land, energy, labour and capital — go to waste.”

On Thursday, 29 September, at 4pm, the Centre for Civil Society is hosting a webinar on the 2022 Civicus “State of Civil Society Report”.

The report draws attention to a time of great upheaval and contestation. It examines:

  • Russia’s illegal war on Ukraine;
  • Soaring global fuel prices;
  • The devastating impacts of Covid-19; and
  • How climate change has further exacerbated global communities’ precariousness.

The keynote speaker at the event is Andrew Firmin, editor-in-chief at Civicus, the global civil society alliance.

Join the webinar here.

At 5.30pm on Thursday, the Southern African Political Economy Series (Sapes) Trust is hosting a webinar on “Irreversibility in Elections: Comparing the Role of the Courts in Kenya and Zimbabwe”.

Speakers at the event include Ibbo Mandaza of Sapes Trust; David Coltart, a legal practitioner involved in election petitions; Tony Reeler of the Research and Advocacy Unit; and Willy Munyoki Mutunga, former chief justice in Kenya.

Join the meeting here. The meeting ID is 851 7234 6120 and the passcode is 922402.

On Friday, 30 September, at 1pm, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group is hosting a Facebook live discussion about starting support groups for those who have lost a loved one to suicide.

“…we will be chatting to amazing support group leaders, sharing their journey,” according to the event description.

On Sunday, 2 October, at 9am, a large cultural festival will take place in the Mtentu village on the Amadiba coast in Mbizana, Eastern Cape.

“The community of Amadiba will celebrate the victories we have had in our struggle to protect the ocean and our land on the Wild Coast. The victories have recognised the connection between the land, the ocean and the rights of the people who are directly dependent on the environment for their livelihood, their food and for their cultural and spiritual wellbeing,” according to the event description.

The event will be a cultural festival of the AmaMpondo, with traditional music, song, dance and food.

Among the things that will be celebrated are:

  • The recent court judgement against Shell Petroleum’s airgun blasting to find oil and gas hidden at the bottom of the ocean outside the Wild Coast;
  • The recent judgement that declared the appointment of late Zanozuko Sigcau as King of AmaMpondo by the President as unlawful; and
  • The “Baleni Judgement” in 2018, declaring that the “Xolobeni Mining” mining application was unlawful. This gave all rural communities the “Right to Say No” to mining.

For more information or directions, contact Nonhle Mbuthuma on 073 426 2955/076 359 2982 or Cromwell Sonjica on 063 052 3090. DM/MC

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