• Stop closed door meetings between government and big business
    https://youtu.be/nuVHJT_rhgI Imagine your teacher smoking in the classroom. For some of us, this was the reality until new rules were put in place by government in 1993 [6]. But why had government not acted sooner? In their paper published in 2003, Mia Malan and Rosemary Leaver outline the relationship between the biggest tobacco business and government [7] [8]. Government eventually put public health before profits, thanks to the work of health advocates. But big businesses are still using their power to protect their profits at our expense. Researchers have pointed out that big businesses have worked to delay and delegitimize important health policies by using their associations and different strategies [9]. Researchers and civil society groups are not allowed to attend a standing meeting between the National Department of Health and big food businesses [9]. State capture has shown us we have a lot of work to do. But we are making some progress in improving transparency and accountability. Politicians have to declare financial interests [10], and political parties now must disclose who funds them [11]. We need to keep building on this momentum. We can't afford to have a repeat of 2014 where big businesses that make food like polony did not agree with government's proposed hygiene rules and instead wanted to self-regulate [12] [13]. Government should have stood up to those big businesses in 2014 and put the new rules in place anyway. Government has to stand up to big business bullies. Their job is to serve the people, not private interests. References can be found here: https://amandla.mobi/big-business-bullies-references
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  • Fix R350 grant problems now Mr President
    The R350 SRD grant was mainly introduced to provide relief to the unemployed during the first lockdown in 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. The need for the grant further highlighted the urgent need for the long-overdue BIG which was recommended by the Taylor Committee Report nearly 20 years ago [3]. Unless the problems of the grant are urgently attended to and fixed, they will continue to hinder the progress of implementing the BIG by April 2023. President Cyril Ramaphosa must honour his commitment to leave no one behind and ensure that Treasury, DSD and Sassa work together to fix all R350 issues before it ends in March 2023 and then have it turned into the much-needed Basic Income Grant. [1] https://www.gov.za/speeches/president-cyril-ramaphosa-2022-state-nation-address-10-feb-2022-0000 [2] https://www.groundup.org.za/article/seven-million-people-have-applied-for-r350-grant-since-saturday/ [3] https://ewn.co.za/2022/02/09/a-basic-income-grant-the-nitty-gritty-and-feasibility-of-this-proposed-idea
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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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