• 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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    Created by Save the Athlone Cultural Hub
  • 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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  • Tell government to #StopTheAppeal and #FixOurSchools
    The Norms and Standards law compels the government to fix sanitation in schools. Last month, in the Bhisho High Court, Acting Judge Nomawabo Msizi fixed the unconstitutional loopholes in this law, which allowed Basic Education Minister Motshekga to indefinitely delay fulfilling this obligation. The judgment meant that government would be fully bound to meet the deadlines set in the law. Instead of immediately beginning to improve school infrastructure, Cyril Ramaphosa’s government is now wasting desperately needed State resources and time to appeal the judgment. They are joined in this farce by the nine Education MECs. In the wake of Judge Msizi’s positive judgment, on 31 July EE leaders wrote to President Ramaphosa about the need to move forward in efforts to decisively address the ongoing backlog of dangerous and inadequate infrastructure in South Africa’s schools. Critically, we explained to him that we tried to avoid recourse to the courts, and had reached out to Minister Motshekga as early as February 2014 to raise issues about the unconstitutional wording of the Norms and Standards. In addition to our letter to the President, we wrote directly to the DBE. Both letters were not responded to. But yet again, government chooses to dodge its constitutional, legal and moral duties to #FixOurSchools. The decision to appeal the school infrastructure judgment jeopardises the fight for quality teaching and learning, and the immediate safety of learners. It is an incomprehensible and unconscionable collective dereliction of duty. Government is unwilling to release school infrastructure improvement plans timeously, forcing us to lodge a Promotion of Access to Information (PAIA) application. The State missed its date to file with the Polokwane High Court, a plan to eliminate pit latrines in Limpopo, as required in the Komape case judgment, - instead it filed a last minute application to extend the deadline set by the High Court. The time for debating the lives of South Africa's children in court must end!
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    Created by Equal Education
  • Stop taxing my period
    Thousands of amandla. mobi members have fought hard to make free sanitary products a reality for millions of girls. Unfortunately, for the households that could put a few rands together to buy a pack, the VAT hike announced earlier this year has made it even more expensive, meaning more people who need sanitary towels could go without. But right now, we have an opportunity to change that. Public submissions to the expert panel investigating the expansion of zero rating to more items was extended. But it ends on June 4, 2018. Send the panel a direct message telling them to recommend that sanitary products are included in the list of essential zero-rated products. People who get periods will buy up to 17 000 sanitary pads or tampons in their lifetime [1]. This basically means that the average person could spend up to almost R40 000 on sanitary pads in that time [2]. This in a country in which over 50% of the population live in poverty. The VAT hike has had an impact on the cost of living in Mzansi. People are spending much more on essential food items, reducing how much they have for other needs. And living a decent, dignified life requires so much more than food. Our community exists to primarily protect us, Black women. You, and over two hundred thousand others have taken action to make this real. And we need you to once again stand with us and make sure the panel recommends dropping the tax on our periods. [1] A guide to 'alternative menstruation': Save money and the world during your period, Pontsho Pilane for Bhekisisa. 31 Oct 2016. [2] Why treasury won't support a fall in the tampon tax, Pontsho Pilane for Bhekisisa. 5 Dec 2016.
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    Created by Amandla.mobi Member
  • Life Orientation must not be scrapped in Grades 10-12
    Learners need LO in Gr 10-12 and many benefit a great deal from this vital subject. The Minister made the promise in 2015 that LO will not be scrapped, but strengthened. So don''t break this promise! The implications of taking out LO will mean that teachers will not specialise in LO at universities if it is a small subject that only goes to grade 9. It will mean the end of the subject. There are many great LO teachers who are devastated. Learners only take career ed seriously in Grades 11-12. LO teachers are heartbroken at the sad news of history usurping LO. This was not a democratic decision not were LO experts consulted. To pit one subject against the other is unwise. Instead, the Department can create a subject called which can include African history and herstory, African role models and Governance, Constitution, Voting, Human Rights, etc. LO topics are vital to learners in Grades 10-12, they give in-depth career education, sexuality education, create awareness on gender issues, improve study and exam writing skills, stress management, substance abuse, environmental protection and relationships, diversity and self-esteem enhancement. They also promote Indigenous Games. [1] Motshekga defends life orientation, The New Age. 15 Feb 2017.
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  • Stop the city of Cape Town from closing the hero's backyard library.
    This backyard library has been one of a a few places our young brothers and sisters get a chance to complete their school assignments and also equip themselves with knowledge by reading. The library is used mostly by children from Hillview, Capricon, and Overcome Heights who otherwise would be loittering the streets with no one to help them with their studies and homework [1]. Recently, the community where this library is based, has seen ongoing violence. Community leader in this area told a local newspaper how shootings in Lavender Hill, Seawinds, St Montague Village, Hill View, Capricorn, Steenberg and Retreat have traumatic impacts on children and vulnerable adults and hpw it affects the education of the children there as it puts a lot of stress on parents going to work, and being worried about their children and their own safety [2] We must stop the dark days from falling on the children of Cape Town. Let's be their light and ask the Mayor to not shut this place of hope down. [1] https://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/western-cape/city-of-cape-town-shuts-down-heros-backyard-library-14258873 [2] https://www.iol.co.za/capetimes/news/lavender-hill-residents-demand-action-over-ongoing-violence-13906152
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  • Raise standards, don't lower pass marks
    Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga proposed to lower the school pass mark for Grades 7,8 and 9 in public schools to help review the entire General Educations and Training Band (GET) phase [1]. Currently, learners who get below 50% in their home language are not allowed to progress to the next grade. A minimum pass rate of 40% means that learners will be promoted while not knowing 60% of their work content. This proposal promotes mediocrity lowers expectations for learners to progress and sets them up for failure in the future when they have to enter tertiary education and standards are higher. Government should look at improving the environment of teaching and address failing infrastructure. This is a quick-fix solution that will merely increase the number of learners who progress through school. It is common knowledge across Mzansi that classes are overcrowded. On top of that, there is an increasing expectation on parents to help their children with homework. [1] https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/Local/Hillcrest-Fever/are-we-setting-the-bar-too-low-20180313
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  • Tell DUT to pay workers decent living wages and end the strike
    DUT staff moral is at its lowest because of the failure by management and the council to resolve this matter in a timely and respectful manner. Staff also deserve a decent salary for their living, it is a violation of their rights when they are ignored by the Vice Chancellor, management and the Council as well. This frustrates staff, and as a result they are withholding their labour and the whole university is badly affected. We want our kids to study and we want staff that will attend to our student needs in a manner that truly affirms that DUT is a student centred university of which right now is not the case. The strike is affecting students in so many ways. One of the students, Sphamandla Gumede, when interviewed by Independent News said, "it makes me very angry. At home they don’t understand why we haven’t started studying. They are thinking I am coming to university to just waste money." https://www.iol.co.za/dailynews/dut-strike-leaves-students-despondent-13300671
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  • Provide transport to former Mhlwazi Primary School learners now!
    As part of its rationalisation of schools in the province, the Eastern Cape Department of Education closed down 136 schools[1]. Mhlwazi Primary School was on of the schools that were affected by the mergers during the rationalisation of schools in the Eastern Cape and was formally closed down in February 2017. Learners from this school were sent to Ryno Secondary School, a school 40 kms away from where they live [2]. The Department of Education promised to provide transport for the learners. This was done sporadically so much so that some learners missed some of their final exams [3]. Nokhanyo, a mother to 2 of the pupils says that only 3 pages have been used in all their books. It came as a shock, that all their children passed. This sabotages the learners’ education grossly. Parents cannot even go to school to enquire about their children's progress because its far. This year again none of these learners have been to school because there hasn’t been any scholar transport provided. On the 6th February, 15 parents went to the District office in Engcobo to enquire. They were told to find their own transport for February and March because the department could only provide transport from April [3]. Nolindile Deku said her five children are stuck at home instead of being at school. "This is very sad for us parents. Everyday my children ask me the same question – when are they going to go back to school - and I don't have answers." Another parent, Nokhanyo Sombo, said, "Since January we have been in and out of department offices seeking help but no one is willing to help us. They are not feeling our pain because their children are at school." Those that do attend have to wake up at 3am everyday to start their journey to Ryno Secondary School,a journey that takes almost 2hrs as parents cannot afford to pay for transport [4]. [1] http://www.heraldlive.co.za/news/2017/06/01/136-schools-province-close-soon/ [2], [3] https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/no-school-for-eastern-cape-village-children-20180207 [4] https://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/daily-dispatch/20180208/281633895691384
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