Maverick Citizen

CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH: 26 FEBRUARY-1 MARCH

This week — Corporal punishment, evictions into homelessness and the Yoliswa Dwane Public Lecture

This week — Corporal punishment, evictions into homelessness and the Yoliswa Dwane Public Lecture
SECTION27, representing the Centre for Child Law and the parents of two pupils who were assaulted by their teachers, will partially appeal the high court’s judgment on corporal punishment. (Photo: nea.org / Unsplash)

SECTION27 is partially appealing the corporal punishment matter in the Supreme Court of Appeal, World NGO Day recognises and celebrates nonprofit and non-governmental organisations, and Equal Education hosts the second Yoliswa Dwane Public Lecture.

On Monday, 26 February, SECTION27, representing the Centre for Child Law and the parents of two pupils who were assaulted by their teachers, will partially appeal the high court’s judgment on corporal punishment, in the Supreme Court of Appeal on 26 February 2024.

The punishment resulted in a 10-year-old bleeding from her ears, while a seven-year-old suffered head injuries after being hit with a PVC pipe.

The teachers were found guilty of contravening Section 10 of the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996 which prohibits corporal punishment. Both were sentenced to removal from the role of educators, wholly suspended for 10 years, and fined R15,000, with R5,000 suspended, which means they will continue to teach and will incur a fine of R10,000 payable over a year.

SECTION27 is appealing the high court’s judgment to ensure the teachers are subjected to fresh hearings, while the South African Council for Educators (SACE) is cross-appealing the court’s decision that its Mandatory Sanctions Policy be revised. In its heads of argument, SECTION27 argues that, among other things, SACE has the discretion to impose sanctions on teachers, and it incorrectly treats its internal policy as law, which leads to it imposing prescribed sanctions without considering the facts of each case or the severity of the charges. 

“While it is important to ensure discipline in the classroom, the law relating to administering the corporal punishment ban must be respected. We encourage that teachers must be trained in alternative methods of discipline, and acts of serious violence by learners against teachers must also be dealt with according to the proper criminal (if necessary) and disciplinary process. We are striving to build a society based on respect for our underlying constitutional principles of respect and freedom from bodily harm,” read the statement from SECTION27.

Also on Monday, at 4pm, the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research will host an online seminar centred on a paper titled “Cosmologies of Breath”. It will be presented by the paper’s author, Uhuru Phalafala.

Those wishing to join the seminar should first read the paper here. Register here.

Tuesday, 27 February is World NGO Day, which is 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.

Also on Tuesday, the Constitutional Court will hear the Bromwell Street matter. At the heart of the case lies the constitutionality of the City of Cape Town’s housing programme and its actions in responding to the emergency housing needs of people evicted into homelessness.

“The Bromwell families, who have lived in their homes for generations, face eviction into homelessness. Prior to the eviction order, residents of Bromwell rented their homes for amounts ranging from R300 to R2,000 per month before the property was sold to the Woodstock Hub in 2014. The Woodstock Hub sought to evict the families and redevelop the property to achieve higher rental incomes of R5,000 to R9,000 per month,” according to Ndifuna Ukwazi.

The City’s constitutional duty to provide emergency housing in a location as close as possible is of paramount importance in such instances. However, it initially denied this duty, triggering legal proceedings that have culminated in the current appeal.

Read the heads of argument here.

civil society

On Thursday, 29 February at 10am, the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection will launch its latest research publication, Why Innovations Live or Die: South Africa’s Innovation System

The publication, edited by Zamanzima Mazibuko-Makena and Thomas Pogue, describes a range of successful and unsuccessful journeys in pursuit of the commercialisation for technologies and the co-evolution of these technologies with the economy.

“Contributing authors argue that the fundamental question is about the relevance of innovations to the country’s citizens, and whether the system promotes economic growth, social inclusion and initiative across all sectors of the population,” according to the event description.

Register here.

civil society

On Friday, 1 March at 2.30pm, Equal Education and the Centre for Law and Society will host the second Yoliswa Dwane Public Lecture in the Kramer Law Building at the University of Cape Town.

The topic is “The Local and Global: Connecting Struggles for Justice and Equality”. Delivered by Fatima Hassan, director of the Health Justice Initiative, the lecture will pay tribute to the work and contribution of Equal Education’s late co-founder, Yoliswa Dwane, to education justice in South Africa.

The event will be live-streamed on Equal Education’s Facebook page.

March 1 is also International Waste Pickers’ Day, which “commemorates waste pickers who lost their lives on this day in the Universidad Libre De Barranquilla Colombia in 1992. Waste pickers were invited to the university under the pretext of receiving recyclable materials. Once inside the campus they were beaten and shot to death, and their bodies were to be used for research and organ trafficking,” according to the International Alliance of Waste Pickers.

The aim is to memorialise the struggle of waste pickers around the world for recognition and dignity, and to mark the achievements of the alliance as well as waste picker associations, organisations and unions. DM

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