• The CCMA must open and stop failing workers #OPENCCMACAMPAIGN
    Right now, workers are more vulnerable than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in job losses, rising cost of living and workers who have been unfairly dismissed and treated need the services of the CCMA to help them get justice. The CCMA must be functioning well so that workers can depend on the institution to fight labour issues. But the CCMA has closed its doors on vulnerable workers and expects workers to refer their case online, which is inaccessible to those who need the most support. The Casual Workers Advice Office (CWAO) has reported that the CCMA is outsourcing things like printing forms to internet cafes around their offices, where there have been incidents of people being charged R40 to refer their case [2]. This is a service the CCMA is supposed to provide for free [3]. The #OpenCCMACampaign is an initiative of 40 organisations. Our aim is to fight to transform the CCMA into an organisation that respects workers and is guided by social justice. The #OpenCCMACampaign will embark on a series of planned actions to challenge planned budget cuts to the CCMA, among other demands. Various actions have taken place throughout the year. We have protested at various CCMA offices [4] and will continue to do so. The CCMA has also threatened the CWAO with legal action for exposing these dodgy operations. We take this action against our partner organisation seriously. But this will not stop us from challenging budget cuts to the CCMA and their own anti-worker actions. Many workers depend on the CCMA to leave the institution’s future in the hands of the bosses and the leaders of the NEDLAC federations. On 30 March, a CCMA statement noted that although R90.1 million has already been deducted from its 2020/21 budget, the projected cuts over three years have been reduced from over R600 million to R301 million. It also confirmed that part-time commissioners would begin to hear cases again, starting from 1 April. None of these changes addresses our core demands for an immediate reversal of the budget cut; for a significant expansion of the CCMA budget; for the full-reopening of the CCMA’s walk-in facilities; for the permanent employment of all part-time commissioners, and for a total transformation of the culture and practices of the institution which have become explicitly anti-worker. We note that the crisis engulfing the CCMA will not be resolved through ‘stakeholder’ meetings and press briefings. We call on all progressive worker organisations to abandon the politics that drives them to look for a ‘seat at the negotiating table’ instead of joining forces with other worker organisations on the ground. [1] http://www.labour.gov.za/employment-and-labour-welcomes-siu-probe [2] https://twitter.com/CWAO_ZA/status/1369599779781611523?s=20 [3] Workers pay for CCMA services that were once free, Masego Mafata and Liezl Human for GroundUp, April 2021 [4] https://twitter.com/CcmaOpen/status/1374674101915283457?s=20
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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 (deadline is 8 May 2021) 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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  • Bring back + increase R350 SRD grant until it's turned into Basic Income Support
    Time has run out for the R350 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 and have ignored our urgent plea to extend the R350 SRD Grant. 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 R350 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 R350 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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  • 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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  • Tell Netcare, Life Healthcare Group and Mediclinic to protect healthcare workers and save lives
    From 2016 to 2019, Netcare, Life Group, and Mediclinic paid out more to shareholders than they made in profits. They paid out R 19 billion in payouts to shareholders (dividends and share buybacks) in the same period they only made R11 billion in profits. This means that even when these companies were making losses, the shareholders continued to gain millions in wealth. Over the years the pay-outs to shareholders have come at the cost of better healthcare outcomes and better working conditions for healthcare workers. These companies need to step up and show they care about more than shareholder profits. In this time of crisis, we must prioritise the health and wellbeing of all South Africans not just those who are wealthy. Tell Netcare, Mediclinic, and Life that they need to stop shareholder payouts (dividends and share buybacks) till 2022 to ensure that all available resources are prioritized for free regular testing for all healthcare workers, and free medical attention for healthcare workers who contract Covid-19 and adequate (PPEs) for all healthcare workers working in South Africa in public and private facilities. This petition is co-signed by: Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union(YNITU); Oxfam SA; Public Services International (PSI); National Union of Care Workers of South Africa (NUCWOSA); Treatment Action Campaign (TAC); South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU), and Amandla.mobi. Reference: A survey was conducted by Oxfam South Africa. Oxfam South Africa surveyed 166 healthcare workers for a month during the period of the 27 July 2020 to 27 August 2020 using two trade union’s databases: The Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union (YNITU) and National Union of Community Healthcare Workers of South Africa (NUCWOSA). The survey was sent via Whatsapp messages directly to the healthcare workers on the database. The survey was sent to healthcare workers in Gauteng, Western Cape, and the Eastern Cape. The survey respondents were mostly nurses (90%), permanent workers (88 %), 86 % in the public sector, and 10 percent in the private sector. A note on the low response rate from private-sector employees is that some respondents that they and their colleagues feared intimidation for participating in the survey. Figures from Department of Health South Africa 13 August 2020 and correct as of 21 August 2020. https://bhekisisa.org/resources/2020-08-14-health-workers-make-up-one-in-20-of-covid-19-cases-in-south-africa-new-data-shows/ Oxfam South Africa. (2020). The Right to Dignified Care Work is a Right to Dignified Health Care For All. https://www.oxfam.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Oxfam_Care4Carers-Report_Final_20200701.pdf
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  • #ApartheidBanks: Justice for Apartheid Economic crime
    An important component of accountability is combating impunity and dismantling the networks and institutions responsible for corporate crime, as there is a link between the institutions that perpetrated these crimes in the past and those responsible for state capture today. Holding these instrumental actors to account, including through prosecution, is a critical step to restoring the Rule of Law in our country today. The Commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) have issued a separate letter to Adv. Shamila Batohi calling for the NPA to act on this evidence. We recognise that the TRC, in its final report in 2003, called on the NPA to pursue perpetrators not awarded amnesty through a process of ‘bold prosecutions’ of apartheid crimes. This has not happened, in large part because of political interference in the NPA’s work under previous administrations. It is for this reason that prosecutions against these economic criminals and other apartheid-era human rights violators would send a clear signal that the NPA stands firm against impunity. South Africa faces many pressing problems today, including the profiteers of Covid-19 relief and the legacy of recent state capture networks. The corrupt corporations and politicians who profit from these deals have caused pain and suffering to the South African people. They have made us poorer, more unequal and taken away jobs. The legacy of apartheid-era economic criminals is no less severe and important and we demand that the NPA prosecutes these actors without fear or favour. This is a necessary and urgent step towards social justice. The South African Coalition for Transitional Justice (SACTJ) - endorsed by friends of SACTJ and the following organisations: 1. Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) 2. Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) 3. Foundation for Human Rights (FHR) 4. Human Rights Media Centre (HRMC) 5. Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) 6. Khulumani Support Group (KSG) 7. (Open Secrets) 8. South African History Archives (SAHA) 9. Violence Prevention Agency (VPA) 
Additional civil society endorsements: 10. Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC) 11. Corruption Watch (CW) 12. International Labour Research and Information Group (ILRIG) 13. Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) 14. Legal Resources Centre (LRC) 15. My Vote Counts (MVC) 16. Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) 17. Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI) 18. Section27 (S27) 19. Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) 20. Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) 21. Shadow World Investigations (SWI) 22. Unpaid Benefits Campaign (UBC) [1] https://www.opensecrets.org.za/site/wp-content/uploads/Apartheid-Banks.-NPA-Docket.-Annexures-1-26.pdf [2] https://www.opensecrets.org.za/apartheidbanksdocket/
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  • UNIVERSITIES TO ISSUE OWING STUDENTS GRADUATE CERTIFICATES
    1. This will help many students enter the job market. 2. Universities' financial sustainability will improve as more graduates get jobs and start paying-off their debts. 3. This will also reduce the social burden on the government of giving out grants as more people are employed. 4. This will contribute to the NDP and the GDP of South Africa.
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  • Basic Income Support for people aged 18 to 59 NOW!
    The COVID-19 pandemic is a global economic and humanitarian crisis. South Africa’s already dire economic situation, with the triple challenges of systemic poverty, unemployment and inequality, has become bleaker. The national lockdown has exacerbated structural unemployment, led to increased food prices and placed an immense strain on household resources. The pandemic has compounded food insecurity and hunger is widespread. Almost half of the population is chronically poor. For the foreseeable future, the economy in its current configuration will not absorb all the unemployed. Section 27 of the Bill of Rights in the South African Constitution makes provision for Social Security, “including appropriate social assistance if they are unable to support themselves” [2]. Income support in the form of social grants is provided to approximately 18 million of the most vulnerable: the elderly, children and people with disabilities. However, able-bodied people aged 18 to 59 with no or little income are excluded from the social assistance grants. The South African government must uphold the United Nations, International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights [3], which it ratified. The Covenant forms the cornerstone of international human rights law. Key recommendations made are that the South African government “ensure that those between the ages of 18 and 59 with little or no income have access to social assistance; consider the possibility of introducing a universal basic income grant”; and “raise the level of government social assistance benefits to a level ensure an adequate standard of living for recipients and their families”. The government’s Social Relief of Distress package introduced a monthly R350 COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant for six-months for the unemployed, and CSG increase of R500 to be given per caregiver monthly for five months until October 2020. While most grants benefitted from a monthly top-up of R250 for six months, the Child Support Grant was increased by R300 for the month of May only, and then only given per caregiver. Both new social grants are inadequate to cover basic food, energy sources and transport, as well as the additional cost of complying with hygiene protocols during the pandemic. The cost of the monthly basket of staple foods has increased by 6% to R3 413,14 for the period March to July 2020 for the average household. Furthermore, the online platform for applications and dated verifying databases continue to result in serious access challenges for those eligible for the COVID-19 SRD grant. Income support for those aged 18 to 59 with no or little income is a critical step towards the government’s implementation of a universal basic income grant to ensure that all who live in South Africa have an adequate standard of living. The following organisations endorse this campaign: Act Ubumbano, Ahmed Kathrada Foundataion, Albert Luthuli Human Rights Advice Centre, Alternative Information and Development Centre, Archdiocese of Durban Justice and Peace Commission, Beaufort West Advice Office, Bench Marks Foundation, Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Graduate School of Business, Bohlabela Advice Centre, Botshabelo Unemployment Movement, Cancer Alliance, Cash Transfers Working Group of the C19 Peoples Coalition, Centre for Applied Legal Studies, Children in Distress (CINDI), Community Advice Offices South Africa (CAOSA), Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA), Congress of South African Trade Unions, Cooperative and Policy Alternative Centre (COPAC), Democracy Development Program, Dirang Ka Kagiso ( Community Home Based Care), Dirang Ka Kagiso ( Wellness Center), Dullah Omar Institute, Environmental Monitoring Group, Equal Education, Heidelberg Advice Office, Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust, Institute for Economic Justice, Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape, Interchurch Local Development Agency, International Labour Research and Information Group (ILRIG), Jersey Farm Advice and Information Centre, Ketekani Community Project, Kgothatsanang organisation, Khutsong Youth Friendly Services, Advice Center, Kwafene Advice office, Lawyers For Human Rights, Legal Resources Centre, Mariann Coordinating Committee (MCC), Matlosana Development Forum, Middelburg Development and Advice Office, Muslim Judicial Council, Ndifuna Ukwazi, Open Secrets, Organised for Work, Probono.org, People's Health Movement, Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI), Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM), Right2Know, Scalabrini, Riversdale Advice and Community Development Agency, Section 27, Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition (SRJC), Shayisfuba Feminist Collective, Sisterhood Movement, Social Change Assistance Trust (SCAT), Social Justice Coalition, Social Work Action Network South Africa, South African Domestic Services and Allied Workers Union (SADSAWU), South African Food Sovereignty Campaign, South African NGO Coalition (SANGOCO), Southern African Social Policy Research Institute, Standerton Victim Empowerment and Advice Office, Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII), Ubuntu Rural Women and Youth Movement, Triangle Project, Western Cape Forum For Intellectual Disability, Women Hope for the Nation, Women on Farms Project, amandla.mobi, Vianney Child and Youth Care Centre, Women's Legal Centre, Workers World Media Productions (WWMP), Zenzeleni Project [1] Cost of household food basket rising, ENCA June 2020 [2] https://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/constitution/SAConstitution-web-eng-02.pdf [3] https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/cescr.aspx
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  • Stand with struggling farm workers. Reopen Labour Centres + class them as essential services
    With the harvest season on most grape and wine farms having ended in March, thousands of seasonal farm workers, the majority of whom are women, urgently need to apply for their unemployment benefits. However, because Labour Centres have been closed due to the Covid-19 lockdown, workers are unable to process their UIF applications. Online applications are not feasible for most farm workers who do not have access to computers, smartphones and data.
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