CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH 24-28 APRIL
This week – inquest into death of anti-apartheid activist Imam Haron, Freedom Day and protest outside UAE Embassy
An inquest into the death of Imam Abdullah Haron – an anti-apartheid activist who died in police custody in 1969 – begins in the Western Cape High Court; Freedom Day will mark the 29th anniversary of South Africa’s first democratic elections; and the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation will lead a demonstration outside the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Pretoria against the country’s decision to let the Guptas go free.
Monday, 24 April is the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace
‘[Multilateralism] is not simply a practice or a question of the number of actors involved. It involves adherence to a common political project based on the respect of a shared system of norms and values. In particular, multilateralism is based on founding principles such as consultation, inclusion and solidarity,” according to the United Nations information page on the event.
“Multilateralism is therefore both a method of cooperation and a form of organisation of the international system.”
On Monday, 24 April, the inquest into the death of Imam Abdullah Haron – an anti-apartheid activist and religious leader who died in police custody in 1969 – began in the Western Cape High Court. The matter will be heard in court 20.
This comes after the judge president of the Western Cape Division appointed Judge Daniel Thulare to preside over the reopening of the inquest on 1 June 2022.
Read more about the inquest here.
Also on Monday, the SA Mental Health Conference began at Emperors Palace in Gauteng, where 700 delegates from 14 countries gathered to discuss mental health. It will run until Tuesday.
The opening keynote address was delivered by Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla.
“South Africa faces a mental health pandemic that can no longer be ignored. The time has come for South Africa to convene a national conference to share experiences and research that will assist the country in assessing the state of mental health in our country,” said Professor Olive Shisana, co-chair of the conference.
On Tuesday, 25 April, at 10am, Abahlali Base Freedom Park is hosting a “Social Audit Consolidation and Southern Farms Mega Housing Development Community Planning Meeting”.
It will take place at the containers next to Freedom Primary School in Freedom Park, Johannesburg.
The questions that will be addressed include:
- What are the findings of the social audit on water and sanitation in the new and old informal settlements surrounding Freedom Park and in Eikenhof?
- What’s in the progress report on the “Rapid Land Release Programme and Southern Farms Mega Housing Development”? and
- How do our relationships to the lands we visit or call home directly impact our physical, psychological and spiritual well-being?
For more information contact Peter Monethe on 064 924 0514.
Also at 10am, the World Alliance for Citizen Participation (Civicus), the Human Rights Institute of South Africa, the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation and the Mail & Guardian will host a dialogue on the “State of Civic Space and Human Rights in South Africa and Globally”.
The venue is the Holiday Inn in Sunnyside Park, Johannesburg.
“Civicus has just released two flagship reports on the state of civic space and civil society globally. The objective of the dialogue is to highlight the findings of the two global reports in the context of civic space restrictions in South Africa,” according to the organisers.
On Tuesday at 11am, the Dullah Omar Institute and Africa Criminal Justice Reform will host a webinar on “The Numbers Gang in South African Correctional Facilities: Reflections on Structures, Functions and Culture”.
“The presence of an elaborate network of members of the so-called Numbers Gang is a well-known phenomenon in South African correctional facilities, or prisons in short… Whilst engaging the ‘problems’ associated with the Numbers Gang is central, rather than peripheral, to managing South African prisons according to constitutional guidelines, the Department of Correctional Services is yet to rise to the policy challenges,” according to the event description.
The research that will be presented at the webinar sets out to investigate key facets of the Numbers Gang in South African prisons. The speaker will be Heinrich Veloen, who has 26 years’ experience as a warden at Pollsmoor Prison.
This experience, supported by the academic literature, as well as face-to-face interviews with 20 former Pollsmoor inmates, presents “an up-to-date account of the legends, the structure and operation of these gangs”.
On Tuesday at 1pm, the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies will host an academic seminar on “The Violence of Conservation in Africa: Seeking non-violent alternatives”.
The presentation will be based on the recent book, The Violence of Conservation in Africa. Presenter Frank Matose, associate professor in the department of sociology and deputy director of the Environmental Humanities South Centre at the University of Cape Town, will critique conservation as an ideology, referencing African landscapes without people leading to conservation violence authorised by states against their citizens.
On Tuesday at 5.30pm, the Helen Suzman Foundation will host a roundtable discussion on “Reimagining local government”.
Speakers include Dr Tracy Ledger of the Public Affairs Research Institute; Lance Joel, COO of the South African Local Government Association; Lukhona Mnguni, political analyst; and Philile Ntuli of the South African Human Rights Commission.
The event will be held at the GIBS Business School and will be live-streamed on the foundation’s YouTube channel.
RSVP to [email protected].
On Wednesday, 26 April, the 2023 Palliative Care Conference will kick off at the Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town. The theme – “Care is Everyone’s Business” – raises awareness of the need for palliative care to be considered essential care and a basic human right for all people diagnosed with a life-threatening or life-limiting illness.
The conference will run until 29 April. It is a collaborative venture between three leading palliative care organisations in South Africa – the Association of Palliative Care Practitioners of South Africa, the Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa and Palliative Care for Children South Africa.
“Palliative care is holistic care that uses a multifaceted approach to improve the quality of life of patients and their families and should begin at the time of the diagnosis. The knowledge of what the palliative care sector can provide is critical information for anyone working within the medical profession, as the support that is available is beneficial to not only the patient and their loved ones, but also to the medical practitioner,” according to the event co-organisers.
For more information, look here.
On Wednesday, 26 April, at 8.30am, Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), in partnership with the Australian Volunteers Programme, will host a training workshop on inclusive and ethical reporting on children for journalists and other media practitioners at the Ford Foundation, One- on-ninth, 1 9th Street, Melrose Estate, Johannesburg.
“Every year since 2003, MMA has conducted research into how the media reports on children and findings reveal that children only feature in news currently at 10% and even when they feature in the news their voices are seldom heard at 7%,” according to the event description.
MMA will also launch the 2022 State of Children in the Media report at the event, which analyses media’s coverage of children.
On Wednesday at 2.30pm, the Nelson Mandela Foundation will launch its first podcast in the series FreedomAfter.
Speakers in the series will include poet and author Maneo Mohale; artist Siyabonga Mthembu; organiser and author Kelly-Eve Koopman; traditional healer Vuyiswa Xekatwane; veteran activist and Daily Maverick editor Mark Heywood; and acclaimed actor Mpume Mthombeni.
“It has been more than two decades since South Africa became a democracy, and many wonder what we have done in the ‘freedomafter’ – what freedom was actually achieved, and what freedom still needs to be achieved?” reads the event description.
“We ask [the speakers] what freedom have they gained since 1994, and what freedoms they and people in South Africa are still fighting for. With FreedomAfter we want to explore the history of freedom in South Africa to understand our current political and ideological fault lines.”
The launch will take place on the lawns of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Thursday, 27 April is Freedom Day.
This day marks the 29th anniversary of South Africa’s first democratic elections. It is being celebrated under the theme “Consolidating and Safeguarding Democratic Gains”.
“Freedom Day is commemorated every year to honour those unsung heroes and heroines who fought for freedom and paved the way for an equal, representative, non-racial society,” according to the Presidency.
“The national day also honours the masses of South Africans who resisted and suffered under apartheid, and faced death, injury and repression from the security forces. Many others battled forced removals, discrimination and other injustices, which the global community classified as a crime against humanity.”
The commemorative event for the 2023 celebration will take place at Manzilpark Stadium in Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality, North West, at 11am.
President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the keynote address and the programme for the day will feature cultural performances and a South African Air Force flypast.
On Thursday, 27 April, at 10am, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation will lead a demonstration outside the United Arab Emirates Embassy at 992 Arcadia Street, Arcadia, Pretoria, to demand “Freedom from Capture and Corruption”.
“The demonstration is a public ‘demarche’ to the UAE Embassy since the SA government won’t issue one to them. The UAE allowed the Guptas to go free and to leave Dubai. They have treated the SA people and its government with contempt,” according to the event description.
For more information contact the foundation office on 011 854 0082. To confirm participation, email [email protected].
The Southern Centre for Inequality Studies (SCIS) at Wits University is taking applications for the Cameron Schrier Inequality Fellowship – a programme for activists from civil society, senior government officials, academics and business leaders from across the Global South.
The SCIS is offering two concurrent, six-month fellowships, based at SCIS headquarters at Wits University in Johannesburg.
“The goal of the fellowship is to develop and advance links between academia, activism and policymakers across the Global South, deepening new areas of research and writing on inequality. This is an incredible opportunity to explore the links between theory and practice,” according to the SCIS.
The deadline for applications is 30 April 2023, and the fellowship will begin in the second half of 2023.
For more information contact David Francis, SCIS deputy director, at [email protected].
Apply here. DM/MC