• Stop Facebook forcing us to give up our personal info to use WhatsApp
    When Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014, their CEO Mark Zuckerberg said: “We are absolutely not going to change plans around WhatsApp and the way it uses user data. WhatsApp is going to operate completely autonomously.” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg lied. They went ahead and updated WhatsApp’s terms and conditions in 2016, Facebook gave itself access to a wide range of our personal data without our permission. Now, we only have until 15th May until Whatsapp goes back on their word and forces users to opt-in to their terms and conditions. This cannot be allowed. The South African law protects us as users and places emphasis on our protection against companies and corporates that infringe on our privacy laws. “The POPI Act broadly requires businesses to limit their use of personal data, get consent before using it, and let users withdraw their consent later on [1].” Whatsapp completely disregards this act and leaves users with no form of consent before or after signing into the terms and conditions. Mzansi recently introduced new laws to protect people's personal information. “The POPI Act broadly requires businesses to limit their use of personal data, get consent before using it, and let users withdraw their consent later on [1].” Many aspects of POPI are similar to European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which has helped protect people in Europe from companies using their personal information without their consent. Billions of people around the world use Facebook services - Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram - in order to connect with friends and family. WhatsApp is the main company world wide with over 2 billion users. This gives Facebook the power to coerce people to share their personal information so they can profit even more than they have. [1] South Africa's POPI Act: https://www.freeprivacypolicy.com/blog/popi/#:~:text=The%20POPI%20Act%20broadly%20requires,done%20in%20a%20Privacy%20Policy.
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  • #ThePeopleSay #WakeUpSA: Raising our voices against state capture and corruption
    We have elected leaders and bestowed on them the responsibility to govern, to enable us to achieve a better life for all – not themselves. We, as people of South Africa, have a right to know in whose interests’ decisions – supposedly in "our” name – were and continue to be made. The culture of secrecy and impunity must come to an end if our democracy is to thrive. Transparency and accountability are non-negotiable, as too are the requirements for transformative actions to address the injustices that remain embedded in our social, economic and political systems. Our constitution is revolutionary in its design, but the values and vision that it prescribes can only materialise if embraced by the state through which it is enacted. As people of this country, we all support the value and vision in the Constitution which protects the rights of the people in our country, it is the bedrock of our democracy and foundation of the rule of law. We, the undersigned, support/endorse this open letter to raise our voices in solidarity against state capture and impunity, and to say now is the time for us to be heard. The realities of the current moment cannot be met with silence and complacency. #ThePeopleSay #Wake-Up SA! Civil Society endorsements: Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC) Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) Corruption Watch (CW) Dullah Omar Institute (DOI) Equal Education (EE) Freedom Under Law (FUL) Legal Resources Centre (LRC) My Vote Counts (MVC) Open Secrets Organisation for Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI) Section27 (S27) Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) Right2Know (R2K)
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  • Stop Johannesburg's R50 recycling fee that threatens reclaimers' livelihood
    Starting from 1 July, residents living in houses worth more than R350 000 could potentially pay a R50 “recycling fee” if the City of Johannesburg’s proposed waste management tariff is approved. The City said that the R50 additional levy will go to Pikitup to extend a separation at source ([email protected]) programme which has already been piloted in a few suburbs in Johannesburg. The City places the bill at the feet of “affluent” residents to extend the [email protected] pilot programme yet provides no research or statistics to support it. Residents are expected to buy into a system they know nothing about despite having very little trust in the government to provide services and use the money for its intended purpose. Not only does this recycling fee raise more questions and concerns for residents, it is a grave threat to the livelihood of reclaimers who depend on the collection of recyclables for their daily living. The extension of this project will decrease reclaimers’ access to bins which will significantly decrease their income. Reclaimers collect between 80 - 90 % of used packaging collected for recycling, saving municipalities millions of rands per year. The contribution of reclaimers cannot be overlooked or underestimated. There are alternatives to the City's proposal. As African Reclaimers Organisation (ARO), we have been piloting our own [email protected] programme, where we work directly with residents in Brixton and Auckland Park who separate materials for us. Instead of destroying our jobs, Pikitup should expand our pilot across the city. We call on residents to: 1. Sign this petition to stop the recycling fee and protect reclaimers’ jobs 2. Object to the recycling fee by completing this IDP comment form: https://share.hsforms.com/1xa2Cg-qnRxajkHAoDwsivw469tl 3. Get in contact with ARO on Facebook/ Instagram or email to see how we can develop a resident-reclaimer [email protected] programme in your area No recycling without reclaimers! Social media: @africanreclaimers Email: [email protected]
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  • Extend + increase R350 SRD grant until it's turned into Basic Income Support
    Time is running out for the SRD grant, but our leaders are feeling the pressure. Finance Minister Mboweni and National Treasury are already under fire for delivering an anti-poor austerity* budget. We can’t let them cut the SRD grant too. There is already some support for our demands. One of Parliament's Appropriations Committee members, Mr Qayiso, said the “Rate of unemployment is so high...it has reached an alarming crisis. It [Extending the SRD] is a fair request and must be considered” [1]. Other Members of Parliament also voiced their support [2] after we ensured that members of the committees on finance and appropriations heard directly from those who will be hit hardest by the decision to cut the SRD grant; low-income Black women [3]. Theresa Linden, one of the campaign supporters, told Members of Parliament that “We are struggling, we are still sitting in a lockdown and not getting full salaries...hope Treasury can see that and help the people in South Africa to alleviate the poverty”. Small jobs here and there are not enough to put enough food on the table, and many jobs don’t pay enough. Our leaders can not guarantee good jobs for everyone, but they can guarantee Basic Income Support so our people can live with dignity. It’s been nearly 20 years since the Taylor Commissions report recommended a Basic Income Grant [4]. We are sick of our leaders being all talk and no action. The SRD grant is a stepping stone to implementing the decades’ overdue Basic Income Support for those aged 18 to 59. Over a quarter of a million people have added their names demanding Basic Income Support is urgently implemented [5]. [1] Standing Committee on Appropriations Public Hearings 12 March 2021 via Parliament of the Republic of South Africa Youtube Channel. [2] Joint Meeting: Standing Committee on Finance and Select Committee on Finance, 3 March 2021 via Parliament of the Republic of South Africa Youtube Channel. [3] https://fb.watch/4j7AZtEtI5/ [4] Basic Income Grant: Briefing and Economic Feasibility - Social Development, 13 November 2002 [5] https://awethu.amandla.mobi/petitions/basic-income-support-for-aged-18-to-59-now *Austerity refers to strict and harsh decisions and policies that cut social spending that a government can put in place to deal with debt
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  • Call on the North West Provincial Government to release the Mafereka Commission Report
    Help us strengthen the voices of the Bapo Ba Mogale community in their quest to make the findings of the Mafereka Commission report public. We need your support today! Our demand: We call upon the North West premier to release the Mafereka Commission Report. A report that will assist the Bapo Ba Mogale community in establishing a proper governance structure. The Mafareka Commission is one of many commissions of inquiry established by the North West Province to fact-find the existence of a rightful traditional leadership. Commissions of inquiry should advance values of accountability and participatory democracy. In the absence of transparency, affected communities and interested parties are unable to engage the findings of the commission and the purpose of the commission becomes compromised. [1] https://www.corruptionwatch.org.za/nw-silence-on-mafereka-report-infuriates-mining-communities-2/ [2] https://www.corruptionwatch.org.za/mining-communities-lack-proper-governance-and-support/
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    Created by Corruption Watch
  • Tell Minister Mboweni a 20% sugary drinks tax is long overdue
    Liquid forms of sugar, such as those found in sugary drinks, are absorbed more quickly by the body and increase our risk of diseases like type-2 diabetes, heart disease and different kinds of cancers [1]. Research also suggests that non-communicable diseases like type-2 diabetes increase the risk of death from COVID-19 [2]. It’s clear that increasing the Sugary Drinks Tax to 20% could help improve our people's health. We have an opportunity to help achieve this goal. This month, Minister Mboweni will be delivering the 2021 Budget Speech. If enough of us come together, we can remind the Minister that he has the public support necessary to increase the Sugary Drinks Tax. In October 2019, together with the Healthy Living Alliance (HEALA), we delivered over 11,000 signatures calling on Tito Mboweni to increase the Sugary Drinks Tax from 11% to 20%. If we can keep up the pressure, the Minister may have no choice but to prioritise our peoples’ health, rather than profits of the Food and Beverage Industry. [1] Malik VS, Popkin BM, Bray GA, Després J-P, Hu FB. Sugar-sweetened beverages, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular disease risk. Circulation 2010;121(11):1356-64 [2] Prevention and control of non-communicable diseases in the COVID-19 response, Kluge HHP, Wickramasinghe K, Rippin HL, et al for The Lancet 2020 (epub 8 May 2020).
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  • Call on SA Government to Back Mass Farmer Strike in India!
    Since the 26th of November 2020, tens of thousands of farmers have camped near the border of New Delhi, the Indian capital. On that day, an alliance of national trade union federations called a nationwide strike which converged with a march on Delhi by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Co-ordination Committee (AIKSCC), a united front of over 250 farmer organisations. Large parts of the country came to a halt as direct action was undertaken. Protesting farmers were met with unacceptable police brutality - blockades, teargas, baton charges and water cannons - in a bid to prevent them from reaching the centre of Delhi. In South Africa we are all too familiar with the use of brutal police tactics to suppress popular protest and we condemn the use of these tactics against our comrades in India. The striking farmers have declared that they will not return home and the strike will not cease until the agriculture laws are repealed entirely. They will not be moved and we salute their resolve. India’s agriculture industry employs more than half of its population of nearly 1.4 billion people. The country is in the middle of an unprecedented economic decline, experiencing the worst recession in nearly 30 years. Socio-economic inequality is staggering. As South Africans we are also aware of how closely-linked unemployment and socio-economic inequality is to hunger. India’s new agriculture laws were passed despite a lack of consultation with agriculture experts and the leaders of farmer organisations. These laws threaten the acquisition of produce by state-run organisations at a fixed Minimum Support Price. What this means is that small producers have little bargaining power in the free market system and fear that large corporations will take advantage of this, forcing farmers to sell their produce at a lower price than the price which had previously been guaranteed to them by the government. The laws come at a time where there is increasing conflict and disagreement between farmers and the state, on account of the government turning a blind eye to farmers’ demands for better crop prices, additional loan waivers and irrigation systems to guarantee water in times of drought. They are also framed by the horrific numbers of Indian farmers who have been driven to suicide by debt. All of this is happening within the context of carbon capitalism which is putting the future of humanity in jeopardy and exposing the most vulnerable among us to the effects of the climate crisis. In South Africa, in India and across the world, corporations are not the solution – they are part of the problem. The methods of small scale farmers across the world will not only feed the people, but will also build resilience in the face of the climate crisis. The protection of the knowledge and practices of indigenous communities at the forefront of this movement is also paramount. In the face of oppression and systems of exploitation that stretch across borders, it is necessary for us to globalize resistance and join hands to push back against oppressive policies which threaten the lives of the most vulnerable. Amandla! Inquilab Zindabad!
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  • Say No to Nuclear Energy plans by 5th February
    Nuclear power is dangerous, unhealthy and costly. We should instead move toward a just energy transition, investing in and supporting renewable energy (RE) sources. Not only is RE able to create a more inclusive energy landscape – giving formerly-excluded communities more of a chance to be part of the economy – the risks associated with RE are significantly less. Nuclear plants – big or small – are very expensive to set up, often with cost overruns and construction delays. There are a number of reasons to create a groundswell of opposition against nuclear for South Africa’s energy mix. 1. As history has taught us, new nuclear procurement is where large scale corruption can, and has, taken place. In this instance, little to no information has been provided to the public on the cost and feasibility of new nuclear energy. Transparency is needed to build back public trust after past illegal and unconstitutional nuclear deals. 2. Nuclear power is not needed for our energy grid now or in the future. Especially during the covid crisis, we should not be looking at procurement of one of the most expensive forms of energy, but rather investment in more critical areas of need such as vaccines, education and employment. 3. The most recent Energy plan, IRP 2019, does not show necessity for the procurement of nuclear energy. Also no-one can guarantee 100% safety with nuclear energy. Radiation and radioactive waste created at nuclear power stations are extremely toxic. More nuclear power could put the health of workers – most-likely younger people – and communities at risk. Consider for a moment what Electrical Engineer Hilton Trollip points out, “We absolutely do not need Koeberg to avoid load shedding. There are documented and proven sustainable electric systems that can run very well without nuclear and even without coal.” Why then, is our government not more serious or committed to the #JustEnergyTransition? Nuclear is not the long-term solution South Africa needs to resolve the energy crisis, and it certainly will do much less for the economy than renewable energy. References https://ewn.co.za/2017/04/26/western-cape-high-court-rules-sa-nuclear-deal-unlawful-and-unconstitutional https://theconversation.com/why-decommissioning-south-africas-koeberg-nuclear-plant-wont-be-easy-89888#:~:text=The%20potential%20cost%20of%20decommissioning,UK%20model%20at%20R76%20billion https://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/western-cape/safety-concerns-over-koeberg-nuclear-plant-as-cape-town-tremors-grow-in-intensity-74d7b088-2840-41ee-a8a7-a40fa83451ee
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  • #ShiftTheDate for the matric rewrite registration
    Because of the disruptions to the 2020 school year, these Second Chance opportunities are going to be more important than ever to help young people to achieve the very valuable matric qualification. Learners in the Class of 2020 must be given every chance of successfully registering for these opportunities. It is unacceptable that the registration date for Second Chance mid-year examinations has not been changed to accommodate the later than usual release of the matric results. The Class of 2020 faced an immensely challenging school year. Let us not further disadvantage them. We, therefore, call on the Department of Basic Education to extend the registration deadline for the Second Chance May/June 2021 examinations. This request has precedent. In 2019, when the Class of 2018 received their matric results on 4 January, the Department of Basic Education extended the registration deadline – from 31 January to 18 February [3] – for those who wanted a second chance to write matric exams. We call on the department to do so again in 2021. [1] https://www.education.gov.za/Curriculum/SeniorCertificate/SCRegistration.aspx [2] https://www.eservices.gov.za/ [3]https://www.education.gov.za/Newsroom/MediaReleases/tabid/347/ctl/Details/mid/8128/ItemID/5986/Default.aspx
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  • Stop your alcohol ban court challenges and unite behind government's COVID-19 effort
    Put people before profit South Africans have emerged from the second wave of COVID-19 infections and deaths which started in November 2020 and drew to a close towards the end of January. One of the steps taken to reduce the spread of the virus and to limit unnecessary demand on hospital facilities was to suspend the transportation and sale of alcohol. This, together with other measures, helped to stem the virus, so much so that the infection and death rates are down and the suspension of access to alcohol has been limited. Health workers are exhausted. They are working hard and long hours to treat COVID-19 patients. They themselves are being infected by the virus, with some even losing their lives. They need our support. The temporary ban on the sale of alcohol offered them vital protection. South African Breweries (SAB), Vinpro (representing winemakers) and others have responded by going to court to challenge government’s right to suspend the transportation and sale of alcohol, even though the evidence shows that such suspensions, together with other measures like night-time curfews, have helped to stop the spread of the virus, to keep people in South Africa safe from alcohol-related harm, and to allow hospital workers to focus on COVID-19 cases. Although we support the right to protest and to use the courts to ensure rights are protected, we do not think these court cases are the solution to addressing our collective challenge in dealing with the pandemic. Since 2016, the South African government has had an updated National Liquor Policy and a draft Liquor Amendment Bill which contain new provisions for regulating the distribution and sale of alcohol. The Policy and the Bill are based on the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol . The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that the harmful use of alcohol contributes disproportionately to the number of trauma admissions in hospitals across South Africa, especially over weekends. We are therefore in urgent need of permanent new measures to regulate alcohol in order to save lives, money and jobs. Only 31% of people in South Africa aged 15 and above actually drink alcohol. But, when they do, the majority of them drink heavily and in a way that is harmful to themselves and others. The alcohol industry depends on this binge-drinking to make their substantial profits, hence their resistance to the current ban and to alcohol regulation in general. OUR CALL TO INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANISATIONS IN CIVIL SOCIETY, AS WELL AS PUBLIC HEALTH WORKERS AND RESEARCHERS ** Help us send a message to SA Breweries, Vinpro and others, calling on them to drop their court actions because “our lives are more important than their profits”. ** Join us in assuring government that we all support their efforts to manage alcohol in the interests of protecting us from harm during the pandemic. ** Add your voice to the call for the urgent passing of the Liquor Amendment Bill as a major step forward in the ongoing struggle for a healthy and safe South Africa. The immediate adoption of the Bill will help to bring alcohol-related harm levels down by promoting safer drinking practices; it will also reduce the need for emergency alcohol sale suspensions now and in the future. THIS PETITION IS SUPPORTED BY SAAPA SA ALLIANCE PARTNERS, INCLUDING: Cancer Association of South Africa; Children's Institute; Gateway Health Institute; Gun Free South Africa; Hlanganisa Institute for Development in Southern Africa; Observatory Ratepayers Association; People's Health Movement; Smoking and Alcohol Harms Alleviation and Rehabilitation Association; South Africans Against Drinking and Driving; Teddy Bear Foundation for Abused Children; Yeoville Bellevue Ratepayers Association
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    Created by Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance in SA (SAAPA) Picture
  • Stop another nuclear plant. Send your objection
    No one can guarantee that nuclear power stations are 100% safe. Radiation and radioactive waste created at nuclear power stations are extremely toxic and linked to different cancers and severe health issues [1]. Former workers of the Pelindaba Nuclear Research Facility were exposed to radiation and chemicals. Many have died from cancer while waiting for compensation [2] [3] [4]. More nuclear power could put the health of workers and communities at risk. Eskom’s own study showed that new nuclear power was “both unnecessary and costly” [5]. Electrical Engineer Hilton Trollip has also pointed out that “We absolutely do not need Koeberg to avoid load shedding. There are documented and proven sustainable electric systems that can run very well without nuclear and even without coal” [6]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1L8m5odIxt4&feature=youtu.be In 2017 the Department of Environmental Affairs granted Eskom permission to build a new nuclear power station near Koeberg. But thanks to the work of activists and organisations like Earthlife Africa, the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) and Greenpeace, an appeal was launched to try to reverse this decision by the Department of Environmental Affairs [7]. This slowed down Eskom's nuclear plans. We only have until this Sunday 15 November to submit comments objecting to the departments Environmental Impact Assessment, which gave Eskom permission to build a new nuclear power station. If enough of us send in emails in support of the appeal, the Minister of Environment may have no choice but to listen to us, and put our people's health and safety first. [1] Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation: BEIR VII Phase 2 (2006) National Research Council (US) Committee to Assess Health Risks from Exposure to Low Level of Ionizing Radiation. Washington, D.C. : National Academies Press, c2006 [2] Apartheid’s Nuclear Shame. Mandy de Waal and Jon Pienaar for Ground Up 27 June 2014 [3] Nuclear Energy Impact in South Africa: public hearings https://pmg.org.za/committee-meeting/9013/ [4] When all hope finally fades away. Sheree Bega for Independent Online 23 June 2018 [5] Eskom’s latest work on energy policy plan rejects nuclear. Chris Yelland News 25 November 24 2017 [6] Is the government prepared to prevent a nuclear disaster? Bizcommunity 8 October 2020 [7] The Appeal Authority: The Honourable Minister of Environmental Affairs. Authorisation Registration Number (12/12/20/994) http://safcei.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/5-March-2018-ELA-JHB-Greenpeace-Africa-SAFCEI-Nuclear-1-Appeal-Annexures-A-J.pdf
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  • Justice for the brutal murders of Makoena Mabusela and Tebogo Mphuti #justice4maksandted
    Gender-based violence has become rampant in South Africa. Women and children are brutally murdered daily. We cannot continue to go on like everything is normal. IT IS TIME TO TAKE A STAND AGAINST GBV. The government and private sector have to come together and remove the systemic barriers to gender equality and advocate for behavioural change in order to turn the tide that has made violence against women and children a societal norm. The two women who were brutally murdered had families and children. They were part of a community who were highly dependant on them. We need to build a justice system that women and children will feel confident in. We need a legal framework that will stand firmly against GBV and be in full support of women and children. The deaths of all these extraordinary women will not be in vain.
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