Maverick Citizen

CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH 27 FEBRUARY-4 MARCH

This week – Eskom crisis and public ownership, the Expropriation Bill, World NGO Day and escaping the inequality trap

This week – Eskom crisis and public ownership, the Expropriation Bill, World NGO Day and escaping the inequality trap
World NGO Day on 27 February 2023 is an opportunity to recognise, celebrate and honour all non-governmental and nonprofit organisations, and the people behind them. (Photo: Gallo Images / Die Burger / Jaco Marais)

The Centre for Social Justice at Stellenbosch University will host a roundtable discussion on the Expropriation Bill, World NGO Day will provide an opportunity to recognise and celebrate nonprofit and non-governmental organisations, and the DG Murray Trust will hold a virtual discussion on ‘Escaping the Inequality Trap’.

Monday, 27 February is World NGO Day.

It is an international day dedicated to recognising, celebrating and honouring all non-governmental and nonprofit organisations and the people behind them, according to the World NGO Day website.

The day aims to inspire people to become more actively involved in the NGO sector, and to encourage greater collaboration between NGOs and the public and private sectors.

On Monday, 27 February, at 9am, the Fair Finance Coalition held a media briefing on South Africa’s Just Transition Energy Investment Plan at the Women’s Jail, Constitution Hill, Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

“On Wednesday, 1 March, the Presidential Climate Commission will host the Integrated Energy Transition Dialogue for civil society on the implementation of South Africa’s Just Energy Transition Investment Plan (JET-IP),” according to the event description.

“Civil society organisations organised under the Fair Finance Coalition of Southern Africa argue that South Africa’s JETP-IP can only deliver a just transition if all processes are informed by meaningful participation of affected communities. The coalition stresses that justice for those most directly affected by a transition from coal – workers and communities – must underpin the investment plan and that transparency and accountability are crucial to realising just and equitable outcomes.”

Speakers at the event included Leanne Govindsamy, an attorney at the Centre for Environmental Rights; Thabo Sibeko of Earth Life Africa; and Courtney Morgan of the African Climate Reality Project.

Register here.

Also on Monday, at 9am, the Disability Rights Unit in the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria hosted a dialogue on the newly adopted guidelines on deinstitutionalisation.

The event, which took place at the Southern Sun Hotel at OR Tambo International Airport, and on Zoom, sought to introduce stakeholders to the substantive content of the guidelines and interrogate their practical application in African countries.

For more information, contact [email protected].

On Tuesday, 28 February, at 12pm, Daily Maverick will host a webinar on “(De)personalising Power: The appointment of executive officers in key state institutions”.

“​​​​​​​Cabinet has approved a framework for professionalising the public service. We note, however, that the recent State of the Nation Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa in February gave no indication of progress or implementation. A subsequent presentation by Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana in his Budget speech shortly after also proved to be silent on the issue,” according to the event description.

“Now, the New South Institute, a public policy institute based in South Africa, has compiled a report titled ‘Personalising and De-Personalising Power’. The report considers the legislation governing key state institutions and asks what minimum criteria it requires for senior officials.”

Daily Maverick’s Ferial Haffajee will host the discussion. Speakers include Ivor Chipkin, director of the New South Institute, and advocate Michelle le Roux, adjunct professor. They will unpack the role of civil service in detail and outline the separation between politics and administration.

Register here.

On Tuesday at 2pm, the DG Murray Trust (DGMT) will host a virtual discussion on “Escaping the Inequality Trap”. It is part of the organisation’s Perspective Series, a quarterly hybrid event at which representatives of civil society, the private sector and the government share their perspectives on topical issues.

“Our nation is one of the most unequal in the world. The majority of South Africans are stuck in an inequality trap, with wealth concentrated in the hands of a few. Most are stuck in intergenerational loops of exclusion with few chances to escape. Breaking this cycle requires a fundamental change in life trajectories,” say the organisers.

Speakers include David Harrison, CEO of DGMT; Professor Haroon Bhorat, director of the Development Policy Research Unit at the University of Cape Town; Kate Philip, project lead of the Presidential Employment Stimulus; and Lebo Ramafoko, executive director at Oxfam SA.

Register here.

On Tuesday at 4pm, the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (Mistra), in partnership with the Wits School of Governance, will host a media launch for Mistra’s latest research publication, “Protest in South Africa: Rejection, reassertion, reclamation”.

The publication, edited by Heidi Brooks, Rekgotsofetse Chikane and Shauna Mottiar, explores the underpinnings of contemporary protest and its short-term causes and structural drivers.

“Popular protest has become a regular feature of post-1994 South Africa. As a young democracy born out of resistance, we may understand the contemporary manifestations of protest as extensions of this broader history,” according to the launch description.


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“However, it is notably in the context of formal democratic institutions that popular protest has become an increasingly normalised mode of influencing policy, demanding service delivery and forcing change. Protest is constitutive of South Africa’s democratic politics, but also reflective of it.”

For more information, contact Siphokazi Sigenu on 011 518 0267/072 233 1341 or [email protected].

Register here.

On Thursday, 2 March, Good Governance Africa, in collaboration with the Attorney General Alliance – Africa, will host a workshop on transnational organised crime in Africa at the Randpark Golf Resort in Randpark Ridge, Johannesburg. It will continue until Friday, 3 March.

“Transnational organised crime is one of Africa’s most critical security challenges. From human trafficking for sexual exploitation to corruption, fraud and money laundering, and poaching of endangered wildlife, transnational organised crime causes profound social, economic, political and environmental damage,” says the event description.

“The continent experiences an annual loss of$88.6-billion in illicit financial flows linked to criminal activities and studies indicate that countries with high levels of organised crime often experience conflict in the form of insurrection, terrorist activity or civil unrest, making it a direct threat to peace and security.”

On Thursday, 2 March, at 10am, the Centre for Social Justice at Stellenbosch University will host a roundtable discussion on the Expropriation Bill.

The event will take place virtually. For more information, contact [email protected].

Join the discussion here.

On Thursday at 4pm, Ilrig is hosting a webinar on “Eskom crisis: Is there still a place for public ownership?”

The webinar aims to contribute to the ongoing debates and discussions from progressive working-class organisations and movements in the country on the Eskom and general energy crisis.

“Given the rapid moves towards further privatisation and corporatisation on Eskom and other state-owned enterprises, it asks the crucial question as to whether there is still a place for public ownership?”

Speakers include Sandra van Niekerk, project coordinator in South Africa for Public Service International; Sean Sweeney, coordinator of Trade Unions for Energy Democracy in the US; and Lucien van der Walt, coordinator of the Neil Aggett Labour Unit at Rhodes University.

Register here.

On Thursday at 6pm, the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research will host a discussion about the book A Stranger at Home by Noni Jabavu.

Jabavu was the first black South African woman to publish books on her life, according to the event description. In 1977, she returned home from overseas and wrote a weekly column in the Daily Dispatch. The book is a compilation of these columns, aimed at a younger audience of empowered women.

The speakers at the event are Makhosazana Xaba, essayist, poet and writer of short stories, and Nthabiseng Motsemme, associate professor in the sociology department at the University of Johannesburg.

Find more information about the book and its author here and here.

RSVP to [email protected].

Saturday 4 March is World Obesity Day, with the theme “Changing Perspectives: Let’s Talk About Obesity”. The goal is to change perspectives, correct misconceptions and end stigmas around obesity.

“With important conversations and real stories, we can help people acknowledge obesity’s complexities and take effective action. Because when we talk, debate and share, we can shift norms and transform health outcomes,” according to the World Obesity Day website. DM/MC

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