• Universities should not withhold certificates of impoverished graduates
    The vice-like grip on graduate certificates by universities frustrates not only the graduates but also their entire families. These certificates, to black families, represent a symbolic break with generational poverty. The documents are an inspiration to their siblings, hence they are hung on the walls in our homes as a reminder and motivation that hard work pays off. Our universities are still mercilessly holding on to certificates of many graduates who cannot afford to settle their tuition fees due to unaffordability as South Africa is suffering from high levels of unemployment hence many graduates are still unemployed to this day. The manner in which institutions are behaving towards their alumni is no different from loan sharks who would hold on to identity documents and bank cards of their victims - so that they are condemned to perpetual poverty and debt.There is no valid reason why universities are holding on to certificates when they can resort to debt collectors and other means to get debts settled. Remove this unnecessary hurdle by giving all graduates their certificates and use other means to get the debts settled.#ReleaseGraduatesCertificates
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  • Mweli, Make Gender and Sexuality Studies Compulsory in teacher training programs
    Karabo Mafolo of the Daily Maverick reports that “In a 2016 report, the LGBTI organisation OUT LGBT Well-being, reported that 51% of transgender people had experienced discrimination in their education life.” This year, there was an mass hysteria about the new curriculum introducing “masturbation” as part of the new Life Orientation curriculum for grade 4 according to a misleading article by Prega Govender in The Sunday Times, 12 May 2019. This sparked the conversation on social media platforms where the concern wasn’t necessarily the introduction of sex and gender education but the level of engagement. More concerning however, is that there is currently no steps being taken to ensure that the very educators of the current and new Life Orientation curriculum are being trained to formally and professionally Gender and Sexuality Studies. The Department has previously displayed a strong capacity to retrain teachers when the CAPS curriculum was introduced in 2011. Met with great reluctance from teachers, Bongani Nkosi of The Star reported that the CAPS curriculum was implemented, reviewed and monitored - meaning the Department of Education is able to introduce gender and sexuality as part of current and future training for firstly Life Orientation teachers, and gradually, a compulsory training program for any teaching qaulification. It is the responsibility of the Department of Education to prioritize Gender and Sexuality to create inclusive, intersectional and informative learning environments starting with the teachers and filtering it down to scholars and the wider community Sources 1. Department of Education (www.education.gov.za) - Director General of Basic Education 2. Bongani Nkosi, The Star, 7 September 2018 3. Prega Govender, The Sunday Times, 12 May 2019 4. Karabo Mafolo, The Daily Maverick, 4 June 2019
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  • Improper infrastructure is affecting the quality of ECD education in the Gauteng Province
    I have had the opportunity of working with an Early Childhood Development (EDC) centre situated in Freedom Park. The owner was a dedicated strong woman who exhausted all her resources to ensure a safe haven for the children regardless of how poor her facility was. Her distress was that she had been operating an unregistered crèche for three years and her one need was to find someone to meet her half way in order for her to fix the infrastructure to qualify for certification. As this was an urgent matter and the children were at risk; we worked tirelessly to secure sponsorship by approaching different corporates. At the end of six months, we had succeeded and the ECD facility was child friendly, complied with the requirements and they were successful in registering. This ECD centre , was like the many others which are currently operating without proper infrastructure. Fortunately for this one funding was awarded; other ECD centres take years to receive funds or to even raise enough finances for important resources. In fact; within the Gauteng province alone, the Department of Social Development has identified 1100 ECD centres that are unregistered [1]. It has almost become a way of life that individuals within the community will establish a business of an unviable ECD facility with good intentions of servicing the community. This however doesn’t move away the fact that the facility still endangers the lives of children and that there's high risks. It is unfortunate that; even with the President’s promise of quality early childhood education during the 2019 State of Nation Address [2]. These promises will never be realised if there’s infrastructural problems hindering the realisation of quality education services. At the forefront of the Department of Social development’s plan to register ECD centres lies the requirement that an ECD centre, in order to be eligible for educator training, funding and benefits; must meet infrastructural requirements on the time of its registration. Yes, the government does provide an operational subsidy of R15 a day per pupil but the subsidy is restricted to facilities that comply with the norms and standards on its infrastructure [3]. Which means that those children in the most disadvantaged communities do not even benefit from this. Barbara Stemment head of Early childhood development at Ikamva Labantu states that “it is not that people don’t want to register but they don’t because they cannot afford to meet the infrastructural requirements set by the department [4].” She further explains that if the ECD centre shuts down; then where will those children go? Therefore, it is unfair to expect informal ECD facilities to meet infrastructure requirements when there is no identifiable government programme/subsidies for financing the construction or upgrading of facilities. It is key to note that the government has abdicated itself from financing the infrastructure that serves as a basis for accessing the operational subsidy and this proposes a problem. With the new changes on early childhood development education having had migrated to the Department of Basis Education; the question is: how will quality education be realised if there are infrastructure challenges already crippling the basic education system? And how will unregistered ECD centres due to infrastructure challenges be incorporated into the government’s current infrastructure improvement plans? This year marks the 20th celebration of National Child Protection week in South Africa. An annual campaign of the South African government to promote a culture of respect for children’s rights and an awareness of child safety [5]. However, if early childhood development programmes are performed in poor facilities then the safety, stimulative and quality learning is not achieved. Can we then say that as citizens we’ve made it our duty to protect and create a safe and secure environment for children in informal crèches? While the commitments of the government to introduce a two years compulsory ECD programme were welcomed as great improvements at the 2019 State of Nation Address; seriousness will only be realised if at the heart of the Department of Basic Education ‘s budget allocation is a share dedicated to a body that will specifically be targeted at early childhood development and tackling the infrastructure dilemma costing the success of the quality of education. Therefore, the department’s interventions should include Infrastructure challenges of unregistered ECD centres and helping these facilities be compliant. The first six years of a child's life are of paramount importance and in order to realise quality education for any child requires quality facilities and we ought to always remember this. Words to remember : "There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children."- Nelson Mandela. • ECD Centres – Early Childhood Development Centres. • DSD- Department of Social Development • DBE- Department of Basic Education • MEC – Member of Executive Council • Joburg Metro- City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality References: [1] “Over 1,000 unregistered crèches in Gauteng,eNCA, 5 April 2019 https://www.enca.com/news/over-1000-unregistered-creches-gauteng [2] SONA gives hope for early childhood development, David Harrison, 11 February 2019, https://www.iol.co.za/pretoria-news/sona-gives-hope-for-early-childhood-development-19237438 [3] Obstacles for ECDs , Jess Drewett, 30 April 2018, http://livelihoods.org.za/2018/04/30/obstacles-for-ecds/ [5] Barbara Stemment , ikamva labantu, 18 December 2019, https://ikamva.org.za/ [4] Child Protection Week 2019, South African Government, https://www.gov.za/ChildProtectionWeek2019 Picture: https://www.groundup.org.za/article/raising-south-africa-informal-creches-are-desperate-aid/
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  • We demand trained staff members at UNISA - Durban main campus
    This is important because; • Durban is very diverse, students who come from deep rural areas need to be catered for in a manner that levels up with their current knowledge. • Students must be given valid and significant information that does not mislead them on their academic choices. • .To avoid students from travelling all the way to Gauteng, in order to get their queries attended to, and fixed. • To ward-off the confusion students have and put them at ease with their studies which will also improve their academic performances. • To avoid students from wasting time and money by taking modules which are not required for their qualifications. •Qualified and well-trained staff members can make UNISA one of the best universities in Africa.
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  • Tell Panyaza Lesufi to remove any hair policies in Gauteng schools that are discriminatory
    Schools are institutions of learning and not only learning about modules placed in curriculum's but also raising and emphasizing the importance of self-discovery and identity. Students need to learn more about themselves as well as their cultures and then teach others about it. When we teach young black girls that their hair has to be changed so they can suit a certain school culture what are we teaching them about themselves and how they were born? Schools should embrace the black culture and not try to change it. Most of these schools implemented their hair policies way before African black children were allowed into the then-White-only schools so they are not very inclusive of the black culture and the way African hair grows.Were the hair policies of schools reviewed after Apartheid and changed to suit everyone's hair needs? Each school can have different policies and school cultures as long as black pupils do not feel like they are being prejudiced against how they look as Africans. Schools need to also enforce educating themselves on African black cultures and how the African hair grows if they continue to enforce hair policies. [1] Pretoria Girls High pupils were victims of racism-MEC, Lizeka Tandwa for News24, 2016/12/03 [2] Gauteng High School embroiled in natural hair scandal, Silindelo Masikane for the eNCA, Monday 11, March, 2019 [3] Several State & Private Schools have bans on Dreadlocks. Afros and braids, Prega Govender for Mail & Gaurdian, 02, September, 2016 [4]School Governing Bodies: Play your part, Department of basic education 2019 [5] Lesufi gives Kempton Park school deadline to change hair policy, Nation Nyoka for News24, 25/07/2017
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  • Implement proper measures to monitor and run efficient scholar transport in KwaZulu-Natal
    1. Many children in rural KZN even in our current times still walk for more than 5km to school. KZN has the highest proportion of children walking to school. Scholars are incorrectly classified at the department of education as attending the school of choice and not that that is closest to home. Learners have difficulty concentrating and staying awake in class due to waking up early and walking long distances on an empty stomach. Children walk on gravel and curvy mountainous area making it dangerous for the children walking especially girl children. Children rely on minibus taxis and bakkies for transport. In 2017 alone 10 pupils died and more than 90 were injured using these modes of transport. It is important that children are given access to safe transportation from home to school to allow them their right to education and safety. 1. The Long walk to school. Nkululeko Nene for IOL. 17 September 2017
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  • Tell MEC Nkakareng Rakgoale to build a center for the Gogogetters in Musina
    Building a center for the Gogogetters is part of the Department of Social Development’s mandate to deepen social assistance and enhancing the capabilities of communities to achieve sustainable livelihoods and household food security[2]. It is important because old people are seen as a liability, while in actual fact they can have a big impact on social and economic prosperity locally and globally. Gogogetters are lacking recognition because of the pervasive negative perception of ageing hence, they are finding it hard to build a center for themselves. The Musina Local Municipality has since given the Gogogetters land to build a center but because of financial difficulties, they are unable to utilize the land. Gogogetters are ready to venture into entrepreneurship because it is an important role in the country’s development. The center will boost the economy of Musina and attract more tourists as it is one of South Africa’s special economic zones. Looking at the 2019 Statistics South Africa’s Quarterly announcement of unemployment rate in the country, it has increased to 27,6% hence such an initiative is for a good cause as it will help deal with unemployment challenges [3]. The budget from Social Development is not enough and this campaign is calling upon the newly elected MEC for Social Development in Limpopo,Nkakareng Rakgoale to make sure the budget allocated for Gogogetters is increased to enable the building of the center that the Gogogetters have been longing for the past 3 years. Let’s come together and signing to join this campaign to ensure MEC Nkakareng Rakgoale builds a center to better the lives of Gogogetters. Namadzavho Mukona is a 69 year old Gogogetter whose life has been positively changed by this organization. She says because of Gogogetters, “I no longer get sick by always sleeping at home doing nothing. The activities we do at the Gogogetters are keeping me active and healthy”. References [1] South African Year Book, Social Development 2016/2017 [2] Investigative Hearing into Systematic Complaints Relating to the Treatment of Older Persons, South African Human Rights 09 June 2015 [3] SA’s Unemployment rate spikes, Sarah Smith of Mail &Guardian 14 May 2019
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  • Save the Athlone Cultural Hub and the CWD building at 146 Lawrence rd, Athlone
    In the days of apartheid, when many turned their backs on activists, the Catholic Church provided refuge, provided a source of comfort to the families of Coline Williams and Robert Waterwich. The youth from UDF's Wesco (Western Cape Student Congress) met regularly at the CWD premises, as did YCW (Young Christian Workers) and several other youth and community organizations. Activists on the run from the apartheid state were given refuge. It is now a space for the working class to engage in cultural activities such as music, art, yoga, the study of history and the history of Table Mountain. The CWD Executive wants to close the building. It is already a community that has few spaces for Culture. It should remain a living cultural space and heritage site. Please sign and share this petition. In addition, for over 50 years the CWD projects operated from this centre and elsewhere. Tens of thousands of people were assisted. There were social workers; there was training for Early Childhood Development. There was a sewing project that brought together refugees with local workers. It housed the science laboratory of the legendary St Columba's school. The residence for the teachers was housed upstairs on site. Over the past three years the then Arts and Culture manager, Andre Marais has managed to build up the Athlone Cultural Hub. Under his stewardship the Western Province Mountain Club is now housed in the building. They take youth of the area up Table Mountain and give talks about the history of the mountain. The Academy of Music has their administrative office on the premises. A jazz band, with local artist Trudy Rushin, have their practice sessions on site. The Revolutionary Yoga group operates at the Hub. There is also a dance club. There is a library of 30 000 classics and 10 000 movies. There have been several cultural activities held. There have been several education schools run by UCT Summer School. There is a corner for volunteers to read children stories. A memory garden has been started for Coline Williams and Robert Waterwich, who were killed in the struggle against apartheid. Robert was a former student of St Columba's and he would have used the laboratory. On the 13th February 2019 three rooms were renamed after the Trojan Horse 3. The library has been named after Shaun Magmoed. The section where the social workers used to operate, in front, has been named after Michael Miranda, while the upstairs section which used to be the dormitory of the teachers and lately was the section that housed the ECD, was named after Jonathan Claasen. Retired teachers are prepared to run free maths and science classes on site. A local resident is prepared to offer free carpentry classes. There is a strong case for the building to be declared a living heritage site, especially now that a funder has stepped forward that has offered to cover running costs, including that of Cultural Hub manager. Help us keep the building open.
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  • Government must ensure there are Sexual Offences Units at all institutions of higher learning
    A Sexual Offences Unit will ensure that survivors of gender based violence receive specialised and sensitive support and resources that will help towards their healing journey. Campuses that have an already existing ‘gender office’ need to change their systems so that they serve the concerns of everyone on campus, and are in line with the proposed Sexual Offences Unit. The Black Womxn Caucus, an intersectional women’s organisation at Wits University have called for a ‘rapid response rape team’ for gender based violence to be established on the campus. The movement advocates for a thorough understanding of gender violence as it occurs in many forms and in many spaces, and reinforces the violences that womxn and gender non-comfornimg bodies are subjected to in this country. As the number of rape, sexual abuse and killing of womxn and children in this country continues to increase so does the call from those most affected by violence in our society to organise ourselves to fight gender based violence. The Black Womxn Caucus insists that if their Vice Chancellor at the time, Adam Habib, among others, were able to establish a rapid response team [4] to clamp down on student protest action following the #FeesMustFall movement, there is no reason the university should also prioritise the establishment of a ‘rapid response team’ to address gender violence on campus. The Sexual Offences Units should include: support staff who encourage everyone on campus to go for prosecution through reporting their cases; this includes a 24 hour psychologists available at all times for emergencies, and a space for activists to assist in sharing insights to developing better models aimed at reducing all forms of violence on campus. This unit must also represent the different socio-economic backgrounds of members of the institutions community, and be able to cater to survivors of all backgrounds.
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  • We demand a Sexual Offences Unit at Rhodes University!
    Two years ago, with what sparked an international conversation on the issue of rape and rape culture, commonly known as the #RUReferenceList protests, women and non-binary individuals set precedent for other institutions across the country to participate in a national discussion on problematizing how unsafe campuses are. In 2016 women, from all walks of life across the country demonstrated in solidarity with those at Rhodes University – highlighting not only the prevalence of GBV in our society, but also the failure of institutions in protecting its students. Since the advent of democracy, our institutions pride themselves in being leaders of transformation in society. They have prided themselves in being vehicles providing a vast range of knowledge to individuals entering their spaces. Yet, when it comes to issues of gendered discrimination and the effects it has on individuals – particularly women and minority groups – our cries seem to be invalid, and our experiences erased. We are tired of saying “enough is enough!” when it only suits the institution’s agenda. Your ‘enough’ does not suffice as every day we continue to live in fear of when our bodies will become another statistic to the vast crimes we experience on a daily basis. A Sexual Offences Unit will ensure that survivors of gendered and sexual orientation violence are met with the utmost sensitivity, specialized support and resources that will help towards their healing processes. The Sexual Offences Unit should include: support staff who encourage students to go for prosecution through reporting their cases; this consists of 24 hour psychologists available at all times of emergencies, and a space for student activists to assist in sharing insights to developing better models aimed at reducing all forms of violence on campus. This unit needs to be cognizant of all socio-economic demographics of the student body, and thus be able to cater to survivors of all backgrounds. The unit will provide sensitized support to student survivors who might not want to go through reporting their cases at the SAPS where they face further victimization due to a lack of training, resources and subsequently compassion. Rhodes University needs to cultivate a space that will ensure a prioritization of justice to survivors of sexual violence. In conjunction to this, the unit will have to implement the recommendations that were presented by the Sexual Violence Task Team at the end of 2016 in response to the demands of the student led protest #RUReferenceList. This unit will be very important as students leave college and university environments to enter the working space where issues of harassment are also prone. Socialization plays a huge part in curbing violence in our country, and it should start at home, in this case, at school. Rhodes University, much like society at large, needs to tackle gendered discrimination systemically through acknowledging and institutionalizing a culture of accountability in relation to the violence students experience. We need to push for our spaces of higher learning, the communities that we occupy every day, to internalize on a personal level policies and practices that speak to dismantling this culture of protecting perpetrators and stigmatizing survivors.
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  • Tell the government to provide adequate information on free safe, legal abortion.
    In 2017 Akhona Matyeni* a matric learner from rural Umthatha, lost her life to an illegal abortion. Akhona bled to death after taking what she knew to be abortion pills, purchased for R200 from an unknown man who's phone number she had found on a poster on the streets of Umthatha. Akhona did not know that she could access a safe, legal abortion for free at a government hospital or clinic she was just desperate to ensure that nothing came between her and obtaining an education. According to the World Health Organization up to 13% of deaths among pregnant women can be attributed to unsafe abortions. Despite the fact that abortion is legal in South Africa, it is estimated that between 52% and 58% of the estimated 260 000 abortions that take place in the country every year are illegal [1]. By South African law a legal abortion can only be performed by a midwife, a registered nurse trained for the procedure, a general practitioner or a gynecologist. Many South African women and girls remain unaware of the law and the services they are entitled to. A 2005 study published in the International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics reveals that, in a sample of 50 South African women who had terminated pregnancies illegally/outside of designated facilities. Over 50% admitted they had done so because they "did not know the law". A further 15% said they knew their rights but they did not know where to access safe, legal abortions [2]. Access to safe abortions saves women's lives everyday. A lack of information shouldn't stand in the way of that. In South Africa poor provision of adequate information remains one of the main barriers for women who seek safe, legal abortions. As things stand it is much easier for women to access information on unsafe, illegal abortions than it is to access information on the free safe, legal abortions that our government is constitutionally obligated to provide. In 2017 Amnesty International reported that less than 7% of South Africa's 3 880 public health facilities perform termination of pregnancy. This is a figure that is far less than the 505 medical facilities that the Department of Health claims to have designated to perform termination of pregnancy across South Africa [3]. This indicates that beyond the issue of the lack of available information on safe, legal abortion facilities, there is the issue of the Department of Health itself not having accurate information on the functionality of its own facilities. An investigation into the functionality of existing facilities is imperative for us to ascertain exactly how many facilities are available and what their capacity is. A national online abortion database will ensure that every woman has direct access to information on where and how they can access a free safe, legal abortion. These interventions will save lives by drastically decreasing the number of illegal abortions taking place in our country and putting an end to the desperation that forces women to undergo unsafe, illegal abortions. We call on the public to take a stand and put pressure on our government to make these important interventions in order to save the lives of women who are turning to unsafe, illegal abortions everyday because of a lack of information. We call on you to stand with us as we demand reproductive justice for all! *Not her real name SOURCES [1] SAnews. (2018). SA's illegal abortion rate alarmingly high. [online] Available at: https://www.sanews.gov.za/south-africa/sas-illegal-abortion-rate-alarmingly-high [Accessed 6 Sep. 2018]. [2] Tshangela, L. (2018). Only 40% of public clinics provide abortions: Study - [online] SABC News - Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader. Available at: http://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/only-40-of-public-clinics-provide-abortions-study/ [Accessed 5 Sep. 2018]. [3] Dyk, J. (2018). When there was no list of free abortion clinics, we made our own. Here's how.. [online] Bhekisisa. Available at: https://bhekisisa.org/article/2017-11-10-00-mind-the-gap-only-5-of-health-facilities-offer-abortions-heres-how-to-find-them [Accessed 6 Sep. 2018].
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  • Title deeds for the deserving residents of Pennyville flats
    The majority of people living in Pennyville are currently either unemployed or the families are child run or elderly run with most receiving grants. Most of them cannot afford the rentals and therefore in arrears amounting to thousands of rands. Attempts to address this matter with the relevant authorities have been unsuccessful.
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