CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH — 30 OCTOBER TO 4 NOVEMBER
This week – the mighty Boks, the budget and a big Daily Maverick birthday
This week all eyes will be on the finance minister when he presents the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement, while the Springboks go on a victory tour and Johannesburg residents protest over the water crisis
The International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists is on Thursday, 2 November 2023.
“Ending impunity for crimes against journalists is one of the most important and complex challenges of recent times. It is an essential precondition to guarantee freedom of expression and access to information for all citizens,” says the United Nations’ website.
“The 2023 observance seeks to raise awareness of the main challenges faced by journalists and communicators in the exercise of their profession, and to warn of the escalation of violence and repression against them. These include attacks and restrictions on the press in the context of coverage of social protests; the use of judicial mechanisms against journalists for reasons related to their journalistic work on matters of public interest; and the increase of forced exile of journalists in some countries.
“This year’s theme also seeks to give visibility to the role of a safe and free press in ensuring the integrity of elections and our democratic systems.”
Monday is Daily Maverick’s 14th birthday. Since its inception in 2009, the proliferation of social networks and online content has brought never-before-seen public participation into the information universe.
However, this internet-fuelled revolution also brought a change in the flow and quality of information. As a result of this explosion of digital content, what constitutes facts, trust and accuracy have all suffered. It is often said that lies travel halfway around the world before the truth has even managed to get out of bed.
Misinformation, lies and disinformation campaigns are now part of our everyday digital worlds. And one of the most effective ways to fight this onslaught is with high-impact, independent public service journalism
For us, journalism needs to do two things. First, our Constitution specifically asks that we help to protect our fledgling democracy. And we do that with a huge investment in accountability journalism. Read more about Daily Maverick here.
On Monday, 30 October at the Life Esidimeni Inquest, legal counsel for Daphne Ndlovu, Takalani, Mosego, Ubuhle Benkosi NGOs, Life Esidimeni and Hanna Jacobus will present oral arguments.
Watch on YouTube.
Also today, Cissie Gool House will host a Co-design Exhibition:
On Tuesday, 31 October at 11am, the Springboks will arrive at OR Tambo International Airport, following their Rugby World Cup triumph. Fans can welcome them at the airport home, or catch them on their victory tour next week. It will start in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Soweto – concluding at FNB Stadium – on Thursday, 2 November, and take in Cape Town (Friday, 3 November) and Durban (Saturday, 4 November) before concluding in the Eastern Cape (East London) on Sunday, 5 November.
On Tuesday at 8.30am, the Water Crisis Committee will stage a peaceful protest against the crisis in Johannesburg. It will be held at the Brixton Multipurpose Centre. The committee says:
“We have written to the President, Minister of Water and Sanitation, Rand Water and COJ, demanding:
- Clear reasons that we do not have water;
- Plan and timelines to fix the problem;
- Interim relief beyond spotting and chasing the water trucks – boreholes at parks, schools, clinics and other government facilities;
- Coherent plan to report to residents.
“We have written letters of complaint to the Human Rights Commission and Public Protector. For more information contact 065 5999 898 or 079 8259 284. Join the WhatsApp group.
On Wednesday, 1 November at 2pm, Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana will present the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS). The President’s oral question session on Thursday is the other high point in the parliamentary week.
The MTBPS sets government policy goals and priorities, forecasts macroeconomy trajectory and projects the fiscal framework over the next three years by outlining spending and revenue estimates, among other things.
On the day, from 9.30am to 12.30pm, social movements, as well as labour and grassroots organisations from across the country, will gather outside Parliament to urge the government to re-evaluate its austerity agenda and prioritise policies that prioritise the well-being and prosperity of all citizens.
On Thursday, 2 November from 4pm to 5pm, The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Civil Society will host a webinar with speaker Danford Chibvongodze, a postdoctoral research fellow at the centre with more than 10 years’ combined experience in research, community development, programme management, public service and teaching at university level. Danford has coordinated and managed community projects and conducted participatory research in climate change adaptation, health promotion, poverty mitigation in rural South Africa.
The link is here.
On Friday, 3 November, from 2pm to 4.30pm, an “Unpoison Our Water” public webinar will be facilitated by Maverick Citizen editor Mark Heywood and Anna Shevel of UnPoison.The details are here.
The topics will include: Pesticide and agrochemical contamination; waste water with toxic heavy metals from mines; antimicrobial chemicals and medication in sewage; the politics of water management; how water catchments are managed and how different catchments have different risks; the problems with our legal framework and using the law as a lever for positive change; and solutions for clean water and water availability in the future.
The Global Days of Action To Power Up Renewables are on 3 and 4 November, and the following events pertain:
In Sasolburg, on Friday, 3 November at 11am, the Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance will host a festival on the doorstep of the Sasol plant, demanding that the company give urgent attention to the pressing call to accelerate the transition to renewable energy. Central to this event will be an art exhibition, focusing on the stark contrast between the consequences of fossil fuels and the real promise of a brighter future powered by renewables.
Contact Thandi Ngcanca at [email protected] or on 083 8850 625.
In Cape Town, on Friday from 9am to 12pm, Green Connection, together with 350.org and partners and supporters, will stage a picket at Parliament to take a stand against TotalEnergies’s continuing fossil fuel exploration and exploitation in South Africa. The demand is that the government must take strict action against TotalEnergies and other fossil fuel companies operating in the country to hold them financially accountable for the environmental harm and devastation caused by their activities.
In Limpopo, on Friday at 9am, EnviroVito, an environmental justice organisation based in Polokwane,will host a street parade in the city following a march to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, to call on the government to impose financial responsibility on the fossil fuel companies recording excessive profits, redirecting money towards advancing renewable energy solutions for South African communities. EnviroVito’s demands also include an increased tax for these companies and an end to subsidies enjoyed by them that boost their profits.
Contact Moleboheng Mathafeng on 027 67 192 6961 or Tshepo Peele on 027 79 512 8594.
On Saturday, 4 November at 10am, Defend Our Democracy will host a webinar on “Is South Africa a Developmental State? Why The National Development Plan Failed To Meet Its Targets.”
South African journalist, author and policy consultant John Matisonn will lead all nine webinar lectures and political researcher Ebrahim Fakir will facilitate the sessions.
National Children’s Day on Saturday highlights the progress being made towards the realisation and promotion of children’s rights. See a statement by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, and if you are under the age of 18 the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund wants you to help then create a Children’s Manifesto. DM