Maverick Citizen

CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH 3-7 APRIL

This week – a case for the Basic Income Grant, World Health Day and talk on Thabo Bester’s prison escape

This week – a case for the Basic Income Grant, World Health Day and talk on Thabo Bester’s prison escape
World Health Day on 7 April 2023 coincides with the 75th anniversary of the World Health Organization. (Image: Firstpost / Unsplash)

A talk on the Basic Income Grant, titled ‘Getting unstuck – the role of faith-based agents’, takes place at the University of Pretoria; World Health Day is being celebrated, along with the 75th anniversary of the World Health Organization; and Jacana Media is hosting an event on ‘#ThaboBester and the scourge of privatised prisons’.

On Monday, 3 April, at 4pm, the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research is hosting a webinar on the paper, “An air of legality – legalisation under conditions of rightlessness in Indonesia”, presented by Christian Lund.

Read the paper here.

“Land rights are uneven in Indonesia as they favour government over citizens as rights subjects. Moreover, legal complexity and social inequality make legal knowledge about land rights rather inaccessible to small-scale farmers and the urban rank and file. Finally, the presumption of legality enables government institutions to acquire land and establish land control even if juridical settlements have been made against it,” according to the paper’s abstract.

“Despite these three forms of rightlessness, law and legalisation are important for ordinary people who experiment and improvise to legalise their claims. And, crucially, such manufacture and persuasion of legality can have the effect of law.”

Register here.

On Monday at 6pm, Jacana Media is hosting an event, “#ThaboBester and the scourge of privatised prisons”. 

Award-winning journalists Ruth Hopkins and Mandy Wiener will explore recent revelations that Thabo Bester, the “Facebook rapist”, was not only running a business from his prison cell, but also did not die in a fire in jail, but had escaped from prison in Mangaung.

“The Mangaung Correctional Centre is a privatised prison, run by G4S, the largest security firm in the world. Will they be held accountable for the overall shocking ‘governance’ of the prison? Is an inquiry long overdue? Does G4S represent a new colonialism, deriving profit off incarcerated black bodies?” says the event description.

Register here.

Tuesday, 4 April is International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

The United Nations (UN) Mine Action Service is celebrating the day under the theme “Mine Action Cannot Wait” in 2023.

“The overarching goal will be to bring attention to areas of the world that remain contaminated after many years, and where generations have changed their lives to avoid the threat,” according to the UN.

“Explosive ordnance contamination threatens lives, curtails freedom of movement, limits access to arable land, disenfranchises communities and above all instils fear and insecurity.

“This campaign makes it clear that the eradication of all landmines cannot wait. Whether it is new contamination in Colombia, Myanmar, Ukraine or Yemen, or old contamination in Cambodia, Iraq or Vietnam, clearance must be completed by mine action actors.”

On Tuesday, 4 April, at 10am, Africa Criminal Justice Reform (ACJR) and partners will host a webinar on “Subnational Government and the Criminalisation of Poverty and Status: Defining the problem”.

The webinar aims to bring together representatives and partners of the Campaign to Decriminalise Poverty and Status, while also defining the problem and gaining “continental perspectives based on different contexts regarding problems experienced with subnational governance in terms of law, policy and practice”.

“Subnational governments exist below the national level and are typically provinces, states, municipalities or counties. They manage local affairs on behalf of national governments, although this may frequently be contested terrain,” according to the event description.

“Often, the crimes defined under local government laws may not, at face value, invoke the same sense of gravity as nationally defined crimes. However, the enforcement of local government laws can have dire consequences for individuals. Offences against local government laws are victimless and many such offences target behaviour that is not inherently criminal, but rather a perfectly normal action such as selling or producing something, or being in a particular area.”

A panel discussion will be facilitated by Janelle Mangwanda of ACJR. Panellists include Kristen Petersen of ACJR; Ruth Thokokaima of the Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance; Rommy Mom of Lawyers Alert; Palesa Maloisane of Lawyers for Human Rights; and Julie Matheka of ICJ-Kenya.

Register here.

On Tuesday at 6pm, Jacana Media will host a talk on the book, The Lost Prince of the ANC: The Life and Times of Jabulani Nobleman ‘Mzala’ Nxumalo, by Mandla Radebe, associate professor for strategic communication and director of the Centre for Data and Digital Communications at the University of Johannesburg.

Radebe will be in conversation with former government minister and author Ronnie Kasrils.

“Radebe’s The Lost Prince of the ANC: The Life and Times of Jabulani Nobleman ‘Mzala’ Nxumalo is the first comprehensive biography of the South African revolutionary known as Mzala. In this extraordinary book, Radebe traces Mzala’s story from birth to his untimely death in 1991, at the age of 35, just after his return to South Africa,” according to the event description.

“As Kasrils and Radebe interrogate the life of a critical thinker, writer and questioner who had much to offer the post-apartheid South Africa, they will explore whether insights from Mzala’s life could open a door for the reader to imagine politics and society anew.”

Register here.

On Thursday, 6 April, at 9am, a talk on the Basic Income Grant and the current status of the debate around it – titled “Getting unstuck – the role of faith-based agents” – will be held at the Old College House on the Hatfield Campus of the University of Pretoria.

The event will also be livestreamed.

Hein Marais, author of In the Balance: The Case for a Universal Basic Income in South Africa and Beyond, will be the first presenter.

“Mervyn Abrahams, coordinator of Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity, will offer a theological response to Hein.”

RSVP to [email protected].

Access the Zoom meeting here.

Friday, 7 April is World Health Day, which coincides with the 75th anniversary of the World Health Organization (WHO).

“In 1948, countries of the world came together and founded WHO to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable – so everyone, everywhere can attain the highest level of health and well-being,” according to the WHO’s page on the event.

“WHO’s 75th anniversary year is an opportunity to look back at public health successes that have improved quality of life during the last seven decades. It is also an opportunity to motivate action to tackle the health challenges of today – and tomorrow.” DM/MC

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