• 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farmers have declared that they will not return home and the strike will not cease until the agriculture laws are repealed entirely.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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  • 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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  • Cheap rent for the rich? Object to the Rondebosch Golf Course lease
    Cape Town is the most spatially divided city in the country - it is still separated along race and class lines. The City has consistently blamed this spatial injustice on the lack of well-located land that could be used for affordable housing. But the City often misses the most obvious solution: It already owns massive pieces of land in well-located areas. Land that is unused or not being used to its full potential, that could provide ample space for affordable housing and reverse the City’s apartheid legacy. Last year, Ndifuna Ukwazi released a research report exposing how the City is disposing of the public land it owns by leasing it to private organisations at massively discounted rentals [3]. This land includes parking lots that are empty for up to 18 hours a day, bowling greens with very few members, and massive golf courses that provide enjoyment to only a few wealthy residents on the weekends. This is an inefficient, exclusive and unsustainable way to deal with well-located public land. Surely this land should be put to better use? If we are serious about addressing Cape Town’s apartheid legacy, we need to make our voices heard. Object to the lease renewal of 45,99 hectares of prime public land that should be used for affordable housing before 9 March 2020. The experts at Ndifuna Ukwazi have put together this progressive submission you can use when sending in your own objection. If enough of us send in our objections we can stop the City of Cape Town from renewing the Rondebosch Golf Club lease. [1] Cape Town’s course of injustice: Subsidising the rich to exclude the poor, Michael Clark for the Daily Maverick January 28 2020 [2] https://rondeboschgolfclub.com/membership [3] Ndifuna Ukwazi: Cape Town’s failure to redistribute land https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Pxly1G47qbC79l58Oss4vKvvK4AO71M-/view
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  • We demand the department of mineral resource to rehabilitate the tailing dump of snake park soweto
    The tailing dump contains highly radioactive chemicals like uranium, which can break down into radon gas. This can cause lung cancer , miscarriage and organ failure. our community is exposed to this radioactivity everyday giving us a short life span. Mbali Zulu a 35 year old woman she is a mother who gave birth to a child with cerebral palsy, her child was born with deformities and mental disorder. Her child cannot talk or take her self to the toilet ,she has to buy nappies for the rest of her life. She took her child for adoption because she only survives with grant money and it was not enough for her and the baby.[2] They are many children with cerebral palsy in our community .This is because if a pregnant woman swallows or breathes in radioactive materials , these may be absorbed into her blood stream. from the blood they may pass to the umbilical cord or near the womb and expose the fetus to radiation.[3] Many children are inclined to show symptoms of asthma like having a wheezing chest along with a running nose. The is a higher prevalence of asthma symptoms ( 21,9% and 32,9%) compared to the studies of Vusimuzi (south african national medical research council) [4] Durban roodepoort deep mine began operations more than a century ago in 1895. DRD gold mine sold the tailing dump to mintails limited mine in 2007. Mintails limited assumed full responsibility for its environmental management and rehabilitation. At that time the dump infrastructure was sound and fully contained it did not cause any pollution. In 2010 mintails limited did not maintain the dump, its infrastructure began to fail. Dust and water effluent began to occur. Because mintails limited is now liquidated. It is now within the powers of the department of mineral resource to allow and direct for the rehabilitation of the tailing dump in snake park soweto. [1] water research commission report no 100/02/03 (guidance for rehabilitation of contamination of gold tailing dam foot print) [2]https://youtu.be/0xIVCeIFmLw [3] bench-marks.org [4]www.theconversation.com [5]james duncan/adviser james [email protected]
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  • 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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  • Tell the City of Cape Town that we reject the budget and privatization of water
    Cape Town is being used as an international social experiment. Yes there is a drought but 'day zero' is a deliberate lie to justify the rapid privatization of water. The City used a formula that assumed it would not rain; it assumed that it would be windy and hot every day; they failed to consider that large agriculture was abusing water; day zero was flawed from the beginning. Now the international banks are using Cape Town to threaten other cities in SA and the rest of the world, to privatize water. That is why we need to join hands to stop the privatization of water in Cape Town * over 260 000 families (almost half of Cape Town) has already had water management devices forced onto us. * these limit the amount of water that households can use per day * the city aims to change to pre-paid water; in other words, no money, no water; they have already introduced this in parts of Grabouw *currently the real cost of water provision is R6 per kl; the City has increased this by 500% and want to increase it by a further 27-87 %. They want to charge high tariffs for water so the large banks can make pots of money. *the City wants to borrow from international banks for large scale projects such as desalination; the major part of the water budget will go to desalination, about R7.4 bn. In other words, the international banks will make profits out of water. Desalination puts our water into private hands, for profits; desalinated water has caused the death rate from heart attacks to double; it also makes fruit less nutritious. * just as the national govt increased electricity prices by 20% per year, the City wants to do the same with water. * many of the water management devices (over 16%) are defective; they are leaking and shut off, leaving thousands without water for basic needs; * many are getting huge bills of thousands and sometimes hundreds of thousands of Rands. *pressure is reduced in the pipes during the times that people need water; thousands are without water. *the City and other levels of govt knew more than 10 years ago they had to adopt water saving measures such as using recycled water for sanitation; they knew they had to recycle water for recharging aquifers; they knew they had to fix the infrastructure (the City loses 100 million litres per day through leaks). They failed. If we do not stop the privatization of water, the same high tariffs and poisonous desalination will be forced on more communities in SA and around the globe. The next generations will be paying huge tariffs for water. If you have no money, you will have no water. People will die as a result. The City must be stopped. The Water Crisis Coalition is marching to the City and to parliament on the 25th April 2018 at 10am from Keizergracht , at the end of Darling Street, opposite the castle. We want to hand over all signatures and petitions. We invite you to print copies of our petition and to bring them along on the day. Copies can be obtained via [email protected] Some useful references: Proof that Day zero formula was fake: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2Fo95AHFCN2bGdGWU1uajRHcDMxVFZUdFFObFU4djhuWFg0/view?usp=sharing Here is the downloadable leaflet which can be used as a free train ticket on the 25th April 2018, for the march. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2Fo95AHFCN2aThmWFRrdHZvYUhCNXp0ejFvX3piNHU3eVRZ/view?usp=sharing Joint Saftu-Water Crisis Coalition memorandum handed to the City on our demands on water 12 April 2018 https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xLVvvmRPzUZKJWFBxwGphhGFItJF6W0-/view?usp=sharing Downloadable petition which we will hand over to the Mayor on the 25th April 2018. Why not sign up your community or workplace? https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2Fo95AHFCN2VVQ0OWYtSGNIWkNDeXVBWk9lcDk5ZFU5MVU4/view?usp=sharing Thesis on some of the 70 springs around Table Mountain https://etd.uwc.ac.za/bitstream/handle/11394/2686/Wu_MPHIL_2009.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y Now the City wants to reduce the collection points for water at Newlands from 32 to 16. Let us march against this madness. Open the springs now. https://m.facebook.com/groups/320668791777159?view=permalink&id=355469214963783 Call by Reclaim Camissa on the need to preserve our springs http://thegreentimes.co.za/calling-government-conserve-groundwater-springs/ Reclaim Camissa site www.reclaimcamissa.org www.facebook.com/RECLAIMCAMISSA/ http://twitter.com/ReclaimCamissa There are a number of other petitions against the budget. We are not in competition with any of them but wish to bring our perspective forward. If you are not comfortable with signing our petition, here is a site which you can consider: https://www.dearcapetown.co.za/coct-budget/
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  • Tell Minister of Energy to scrap nuclear from the energy mix and compensate ex-NECSA workers now
    The Minister of Energy Mr Jeff Radebe will be appearing before the Portfolio committee on energy this week to talk about independent power producers (IPP), the nuclear energy programme and the sale of the country’s oil reserves [1]. We must tell him now that we are opposed to having Nuclear as part of the energy mix particualrly because of the health hazards it comes with. We know that many ex-NECSA workers have died and others are living with illnesses associated with exposure to radiation while working for NECSA. These workers and their families were never even compensated [2]. While it’s true that we mine uranium in South Africa, which can be used for creating electricity at nuclear power stations, radiation and radioactive waste is created which is extremely toxic and linked with different cancers and severe health issues. The whole world knows of the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters [3] whose devastation is still being felt years on. No one therefore can guarantee that nuclear power stations will be 100% safe or even that the waste from there will be stored appropriately. If we cannot ensure safety then, how can we even consider including nuclear power into the energy mix? [1] https://www.iol.co.za/sundayindependent/uncertainty-mounts-over-costly-nuclear-deal-14317275 [2] https://www.groundup.org.za/article/apartheide28099s-nuclear-shame_1938/ [3] http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/a-look-at-the-fukushima-and-chernobyl-nuclear-disasters
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  • Provide basic services to informal settlements
    “When we think about using the toilet, we feel dirty. We feel like we don’t have human dignity, but we have nowhere else to live, so we just have to make the best of it. This is why we are building our own toilets.” Margret Mabene, Mzondi resident. Just recently, reports surfaced that people living in Mzondi informal settlement, Ivory Park, had started a crowdfund so that they could build toilets [1]. This desperation exists across many informal settlements that are scattered across South Africa's cities. Despite this, many people living in informal settlements are overlooked in service provision. There is a growing demand for living space around cities, and South Africa has housing backlogs. People living in informal settlements have rights. The need to grant them access to water and sanitation is a human rights issue. South Africa has the laws that force municipalities to provide basic services. Abahlali BaseMjondolo, in their Harry Gwala court case against the City of Ekurhuleni, are a good example of how people living in informal settlements have used the law to defend their rights. In this case, the people successfully argued that Ekurhuleni had a statutory obligation in terms of the Water Services Act, which requires a safe albeit temporary toilet for each stand, including in informal settlements [2]. It is important for ordinary South Africans to stand in solidarity with those who are marginalised. This is important for the advancement of justice and equity, ideals that are enshried in our Constitution. People living in informal settlements deserve dignity, like all human beings, irrespective of their material condition. [1] Community tries crowd funding to get toilets, Zoe Postman for GroundUp News. March 13, 2018. [2] The right to basic services in informal settlements: Notes on Harry Gwala High Court hearing 12 December 2008, Abahlali BaseMjondolo. Dec 15, 2008.
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  • Implement a 'time of use' tariff for electricity
    Cellphone operators have peak and off peak tariffs. Eskom does the same, but for big businesses if they spend R500 000 or more on electricity per month. As ordinary citizens, we demand that Eskom extends the same courtesy to us in allowing us the freedom to choose when and how we use electricity. Our government says that electricity is a commodity and its price is constant. But the price is not constant. It changes almost every second of the day. Yet our government suggests that we are stupid and that we won’t be able to work with varying electricity charges, for example a normal rate of R1.50 per kWh, a peak rate of R3 per kWh and an off peak rate of 75 cents per kWh. Off peak time is 10pm to 6am. It is entirely possible for consumers to only use electricity at off peak time and to actually sell electricity at peak time to people who want to buy it at those times, and who can make their own decisions about what they are prepared to pay to have the convenience of electricity at peak time, and during the day. But we are constrained by the government, even though there are many businesses who want to buy more electricity and wealthy people who want to buy more electricity and mines, smelters, and so forth, who want to buy more electricity. The government also blames the fact that a 21st Century grid needs smarter metering, yet it says that we consumers cannot buy our own meters and that the meters must be paid for by government. But government gets its money from the consumer, so the consumer is paying this price regardless of whether government pays for it or the consumer pays for it. This is yet another paradox in electricity pricing.
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  • Protect Customary Land Rights
    The Constitution recognises the informal or customary rights of people living in the former homelands yet the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has failed to legislate a communal land rights law that will strengthen and protect these rights. As a result; * Big cooperates are grabbing land in the communal land without any compensation for loss citing development. * Nature of individuals and family rights within a broader community are not clarified, and overshadowed by majority in the community. * People are not adequately compensated when land is sold or awarded for big developments * Consultation and Consent of land occupiers is not respected because of the weak nature of the rights provided by current law. In 1996, Parliament passed the Interim Protection of Informal Land Rights Act (IPILRA) to provide protection for all people living on communal land in the former Bantustans, people living on trust land, people who previously had Permissions to Occupy (PTOs) and anyone living on land uninterrupted since 1997 “as if they were the owner”. This was a big milestone in the protection and recognition of customary land rights and the empowerment of families to be part of bargaining and negotiations of any socio-economic development happening in their land. Although people are protected by IPILRA, the fact that it is temporary and can be renewed annually, deprives people of their rights to say NO to development that disadvantages them. This makes it easy for "developers" or Government to easily expropriate the land. It is also worth noting that the law also states that the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform can make regulations in terms of IPILRA to provide more detailed processes and procedures.
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  • Stop the Traditional Leadership and Khoisan Bill as it currently stands.
    Any law that seeks to facilitate recognition of previously marginalised group or any development of land belonging to the people must ensure that community consultation and consent is at the centre. The TKLB closes down that space and excludes ordinary people from being consulted and give consent on decisions that will affect their lives. There needs to be meaningful public participation. As it stands, the TKLB only highlights consultations with high profile structures such as the House of Traditional Leaders, royal families and traditional councils and there is no mention of rural citizens who are land buyers and customary land rights users. The TKLB supports rural elites' access to wealth and resources. It does not put in place mechanisms that holds leaders accountable to their people. The discovery of mineral wealth in the land that was once considered dry and not productive has brought about disputes where people’s peace is disrupted by big mining companies, and when people react they are suppressed and criminalized.
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