Maverick Citizen

CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH 16-20 JANUARY

This week – protest against poor management of rolling blackouts, petition against fossil fuels and talk on school dropouts

This week – protest against poor management of rolling blackouts, petition against fossil fuels and talk on school dropouts
On Friday, 20 January, civil rights organisation #NotInMyName, in partnership with the Mamelodi, Nellmapius and Eersterust stakeholders forum, will march to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa and then to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, to protest the handling of rolling blackouts in South Africa. (Photo: Ihsaan Haffejee)

Civil rights movement #NotInMyName, in partnership with the Mamelodi, Nellmapius and Eersterust stakeholders forum, will march to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) and then to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, to protest against the way rolling blackouts have been managed in South Africa. The Zero Dropout Campaign will be hosting a Twitter space unpacking why so many pupils drop out and how the matric results often obscure this reality.

On Wednesday, 18 January, at 10am, Wits University’s REAL (Researching Education and Labour) Centre, together with Public Service Sector Education and Training Authority (PSETA), is hosting a seminar on “Professionalisation framework for the Public Service: Implications for skills”.

It is being held “in view of Cabinet’s decision to approve the National Framework for the Professionalisation of the Public Service”. Key speakers include Professor Mashupye H Maserumule, chief editor of the Journal of Public Administration, professor of public affairs and the executive dean of the Faculty of Humanities at the Tshwane University of Technology; and Dr Mbongiseni Buthelezi, executive director of the Public Affairs Institute and associate professor in the Department of Anthropology and Development Studies at the University of Johannesburg.

Register here.

 

On Thursday, 19 January, at 5.30pm, the South African Political Economy Series (Sapes) Trust is hosting a webinar on “Delimitation and the Voters’ Roll: How is the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Performing?”

The convener of the webinar is Ibbo Mandaza of the Sapes Trust. Speakers include Pansy Tlakula, chairperson of the Information Regulator of South Africa; Phillan Zamchiya, senior researcher at the Institution for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (Plaas); and Barbra Bhebe, executive director of the Election Resource Centre.

The webinar can be watched live on the Sapes Trust Facebook page, and accessed on Zoom with meeting ID 87872795686 and passcode 054131.

On Thursday at 6.30pm, the Zero Dropout Campaign will host a Twitter Space unpacking why so many pupils drop out and how the matric results often obscure this reality. 

“We will be engaging with the Department of Basic Education, a school principal, community activists [and] individuals who themselves have struggled to maintain their grip on schooling,” says the event description.

The event will also serve as the launch of new research by the Zero Dropout Campaign on “the role that context plays in shaping a learner’s complex journey through school”. The report is titled “School Dropout: Context Counts”.

Set a reminder for the Twitter Space here.

On Friday, 20 January, at 8.30am, civil rights organisation #NotInMyName, in partnership with the Mamelodi, Nellmapius and Eersterust stakeholders forum, will march to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) and then to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the way rolling blackouts have been handled in South Africa.

“Following the announcement of the tariff hike authorised by Nersa, South Africans have expressed how crestfallen they are at the mismanagement of state resources, particularly where load shedding is concerned,” according to the event description.

“The unfortunate pattern identified by #NotInMyName is that of the bystander effect where some South Africans’ stance is to not act because of the assumption that silence yields similar results. We caution them against this self-fulfilling prophecy, which fuels the injustices perpetrated by the oppressor.”

Protesters will meet at Church Square in Pretoria. Their demands include:

  • The declaration of a National State of Disaster;
  • The issuing of a moratorium on coal exports and salary increases until rolling blackouts are resolved;
  • The provision of weekly “family meeting” updates for the South African public; and
  • A staving off of Nersa’s recent tariff hike.

“What is significant to remember is that if South Africans silently agree to pay more to receive less electricity, it is like funding load shedding itself; like being an advocate of their own misfortune,” says the event description.

For more information contact Mo Senne, head of communications, on 073 197 2242, or Khutso Semetjane, spokesperson and convener, on 071 673 9611.

Petition against fossil fuels

The Avaaz platform has shared a petition, backed by climate change activists from across the world, demanding that fossil fuel CEOs stop opening new oil, gas or coal extraction sites, and stop blocking the clean energy transition.

Among the activists behind the petition are Greta Thunberg and Luisa Neubauer.

“You must end these activities as they are in direct violation of our human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, as well as the rights of indigenous people,” reads the petition.

“If you fail to act immediately, be advised that citizens around the world will consider taking any and all legal action to hold you accountable. And we will keep protesting in the streets in huge numbers.”

The petition can be found here.

Strength & Solidarity podcast

The Strength & Solidarity podcast features the “people and ideas that are driving and disrupting human rights around the world”, according to its description.

The 29th and most recent episode explored the role of the United Nations (UN) in international diplomacy and conflict, and where it has failed to protect people in need. It featured Akila Radhakrishnan, director of the Global Justice Centre.

“States are at the heart of the UN and a question we discuss is whether exasperation with the UN’s shortcomings even makes sense. The UN is not greater than the sum of its parts,” said Akwe Amosu, podcast host and programme director at the Symposium on Strength and Solidarity for Human Rights, in a newsletter entry on the episode.

“When you want a single government to act, you build a strategy for multiple types of pressure and dig in for the long haul. If it responds it is because it has to, not because a statute or sense of moral responsibility says it should. The same is true of the UN.”

Those interested in listening to episode 29 of Strength & Solidarity can do so here. DM/MC

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