• SABC, stop airing alcohol ads that associate alcohol consumption with success.
    We live in an era where the digital world influences the lives of many people, especially young black communities from poor backgrounds. We see something, we digest it, we want to duplicate it. Institutions such as the SABC should not have a negative impact, or allow negative airing. As the national broadcasting company, content that is of harmful nature or influence should not be aired, if not controlled. It is no secret that alcohol ads are flooding television. What is more saddening is that these ads glamourise alcohol consumption, and associate it with being successful. In the ads, you will see young people in an environment ‘where successful people belong’ consuming the alcohol, and promoting and encouraging those who are watching to go buy and drink it. According to a special issue on alcohol advertising by the Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance (SAAPA), research has linked exposure to portrayals of alcohol use in the mass media with the development of positive drinking expectancies by children and adolescents. Young people with more positive affective responses to alcohol advertising hold more favourable drinking expectancies, perceive greater social approval for drinking, believe drinking is more common among peers and adults, and intend to drink more as adults. [3] Another research conducted by the Soul City Institute of Social Justice indicate that young people’s views on alcohol advertising, marketing and availability have a direct influence on their drinking patterns and sexual behaviour. Conducted in a rural village in Mpumalanga and an urban township, where young people were encouraged to capture their experiences through photographs and captions, including participating in focus-group discussions, young males believed that drinking a particular brand would lead to them being successful and young women said flavoured drinks were targeted at them. [4] While there are a number of regulations against alcohol adverting that have passed, such as airing alcohol ads between 2pm - 5 pm on weekday and before 12pm on weekends on TV; and 6am - 9am and 2pm - 5pm on weekdays and no advertising before 12pm on weekends on radio, the laws need revisiting. In 2010, the World Health Assembly of the World Health Organisation endorsed a Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol that countries needed to adopt. Ten policy options were identified, one of them being to reduce the impact of marketing, especially on young people and adolescents. While not explicitly calling for a complete ban of alcohol advertising the Global Strategy calls for strong regulation of the various forms of advertising and marketing and for a “precautionary approach to protecting young people against these marketing techniques”[5] If alcohol ads are never going to be banned, we strongly believe that not only the SABC, but other broadcasting channels as well, need to adopt the above strategy; • Do not use settings that associate alcohol products with status and success. • Avoid using young people in the advertisements, or implement a law that only adults from the age of 40 and so, can be in alcohol ads. • Refrain from using influential words such as “Boss, The Man, Good Life, etc. Why we should act now We are what we consume! South Africa has a peculiar drinking profile, and is currently dealing with a large community from the age 15, who are struggling with alcohol abuse. Even though there are hundreds of organisations and campaigns raising awareness about the dangers of alcohol abuse, it does not make it right to have such ads, which are promoting the very same thing that our young black women, men and non gender conforming society are struggling with. We know that advertising causes younger people to drink sooner and in greater quantities. It also creates an environment that normalises drinking and it typically only portrays positive sides of drinking and not any negatives.[6] If we act now, we can have the power to control what we consume on TV, and by doing that, we will be saving ourselves, and the lives of young people. #WeDontNeedAlcoholToBeSuccessful [1] SABC Could Lose Half a Billion Rand If Alcohol Ads Are Banned. Zodidi Dano for IOL. 16 April 2018 [2] Banning Advertising Alcohol Can Save SA R1.9 Billion. Zeenat Vallie for IOL. 2 March 2018. [3] Impact of Alcohol Advertising and Media Exposure on Adolescent Alcohol Use. Peter Anderson, Avalon de Bruijn, Kathryn Angus, Ross Gordon & Gerard Hastings. SAAPA. 14 January 2009. [4] Alcohol Ads Luring SA Youth to Drink. Noni Mokati for IOL and Soul City Institute For Social Justice. 24 February 2017. [5] Alcohol Advertising In South Africa: A Trend And Comparative Analysis. Corne van Walbeek & Michael Daly for School of Economics, University of Cape Town. January 2014. [6]Proposed New Liquor Law Needs Revisiting. Marvin Charles for IOL. 16 August 2017. Image: Pexels
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  • Tell British American Tobacco to pay the tax they owe us
    The big cigarette company British American Tobacco (BAT) have been fighting hard against new anti-smoking laws and taxes by shifting focus onto the illicit cigarette trade and tax evasion. They are funding a misleading campaign to convince government not to increase taxes on cigarettes so they can protect their profits [1]. Even companies like PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) are repeating industry claims that increasing taxes drives the illicit trade [2], even though industry has been caught over estimating and funding research into illicit trade [3]. Now Sars say BAT themselves are guilty of tax fraud and evasion and owe R143 million [4]. Clearly, they have been dishonest and shady in their tactics. But big companies like BAT rely on their brand and public image so they are vulnerable to us exposing their hypocrisy. If enough of us come together and shine a spotlight on their shady business and demand they pay what they owe- they will have no choice but to pay the R143 million. Join the campaign to demand BAT stop tax evading and pay what they owe. Each year South Africa spends more than R59 billion to address tobacco related illnesses like lung cancer, emphysema, asthma and bronchitis [5]. At the same time the country only collects between R11 billion and R13 billion from tobacco taxes [6]. This means the South African taxpayer is paying for the healthcare bill of tobacco-related harm while the tobacco industry collects the profits. Our queues at clinics and hospitals keep getting longer and government keeps cutting the healthcare budget while cigarette companies make billions. But, if enough of us come together and demand they pay what they owe, they will have no choice but to pay the R143 million. Government can use this money to help our struggling healthcare system. References [1] Did Big Tobacco buy Twitter? Joan van Dyk for Mail & Guardian 7 Sept 2018 [2] What to expect from the budget: Small tax increases, lower tax collection. Muhammad Hussain for City Press 13 Feb 2019 [3] Are the tobacco industry's claims about the size of the illicit cigarette market credible? The case of South Africa. 2014 Corné van Walbeek, Lerato Shai [4] Sars faces off with British American Tobacco over R143m tax bill, Graeme Hosken for Sunday Times April 2019 [5] The Tobacco Atlas - South Africa [6] BAT revenue rises but profit and market share fall, Robert Laing for Bizcommunity July 2017
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  • Tell the 3 major political parties to support increasing sexual and reproductive health budget
    YOUR CALL TO REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE: WE ARE WATCHING AND LISTENING Reproductive Justice [1] is defined by three principles: The right to have a child; the right not to have a child; the right to parent children in safe and healthy environments. In 1997 South Africa enacted a globally renowned law on abortion. The Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act (CTOPA) aimed to address the imbalances of the past where 429 black women died each year from lack of access to these basic health services [2]. The political act of passing this legislation was historical in laying the framework for Reproductive Justice in South Africa. Having an act such as CTOPA in place meant that women and pregnant people would be free to make their own decisions about their bodies and their futures. 22 years later, many people still struggle to access these basic services. But with national elections coming up, we have a chance now to ensure the 5 major political parties commit to lobbying for an increase in the sexual and reproductive health services budget. There is limited information on how people can access abortion services, decreases in the amount of contraceptives available and currently only 7% of healthcare facilities provide abortion services [3]. Because of this, many pregnant people are either forced to turn to unsafe and illegal abortion practices or suffer the physical, emotional and mental harm that comes with bearing an unwanted pregnancy. Leading up to elections, political parties will be running election campaigns focused on winning votes. If they want our votes, they will need to prove to us that they care about the lives of all people seeking access to Sexual & Reproductive Health services. We have a chance now to pressure the 5 major political parties into using their power as members of Parliament to address these issues by ensuring the budget for sexual and reproductive health services is increased. This money will be used to create sexual reproductive justices and access to these services for ALL. This will ensure greater access to public information on safe abortion procedures, fully stocked healthcare facilities with affordable and free contraceptives and more healthcare facilities nationwide providing safe, legal abortions. Sign and join our campaign to ensure sexual reproductive justice for all. If enough of us come together and flood the email inboxes of the 3 major political party leaders, they will have no choice but to support increasing the sexual and reproductive health budget. We have written an email that you can send to one, or all, of the political parties. Here is the email and each political party's email address: ANC- presidentrsa@presidency.gov.za EFF- jmalema@parliament.gov.za DA- mmaimane@parliament.gov.za "Dear Political Party Leader (Mmusi Maimane, President Cyril Ramaphosa and Julius Malema) I am joining other South Africans in calling on you provide leadership on reproductive justice. Reproductive Justice is defined by three principles: The right to have a child; the right not to have a child; the right to parent children in safe and healthy environments. We need you to support an increase in the sexual and reproductive health budget for 2020 and use your power as a member of parliament and political party leader to lobby for an increase before voting day on 8 May. Currently there are decreases in the amount of contraceptives available, there is limited information on how people can access abortion services and currently only 7% of healthcare facilities provide abortion services. Because of this, many pregnant people are either forced to turn to unsafe abortion practices or suffer the physical, emotional and mental harm that comes with bearing an unsupported pregnancy. A budget increase will ensure that there is sexual reproductive justice and access to these services for ALL. We need health managers to lead and to not obstruct access to reproductive justice services. The money should be spent on ensuring that public healthcare facilities are always fully stocked with contraceptives, health professionals are trained in the provision of sexual and reproductive health services and greater access to information on safe abortion procedures and increased delivery of public services of abortion provision. It is time you took sexual and reproductive health seriously. If you want my vote, you must prove to me that you truly care about the people most affected by the lack of sexual and reproductive health services. The Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act (CTOPA) aimed to address the imbalances of the past where 429 black women died each year from lack of access to these basic health services. 25 years have passed and to get our vote we want to hear your political commitment to real implementation. I trust you will hear our voices." [1] https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520288201/reproductive-justice [2] https://www.ajol.info/index.php/samj/article/view/157185 [3] https://amnesty.org.za/research/barriers-to-safe-and-legal-abortion-in-south-africa
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  • Save Msunduzi City
    The Msunduzi Local Municipality is dysfunctional and is on the brink of collapse and as residents and ratepayers of Msunduzi, hereby unanimously voice our strong and serious concern at the continued lack of effective and efficient delivery of basic services. We demand that the Msunduzi address and improve the service delivery issues and implement the auditor-general report recommendations of (2017-2018) by the 15 April 2019 failing which we, the long suffering residents and ratepayers of Msunduzi, will have no alternative but, in terms of Section 139 of our National Constitution, to motivate for National and Provincial intervention in the local government and management of Msunduzi, including that the Council be dissolved and the municipality placed under administration.
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  • Tell Joanmariae Fubbs #HandsOffTheSugaryDrinksTax
    We all know Mzansi’s health system is under a lot of pressure, and globally experts have warned that sugary drinks are increasing rates of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes [1]. Researchers from Wits University [2] and the World Health Organisation back policies like the Sugary Drinks Tax as measures to improve people’s health. The introduction of the Sugary Drinks Tax is an important first step towards lifting the pressure on our health system and keeping South Africans healthy. So far the tax has raised R2.3 billion which will be used for health promotion and go back into our healthcare system. But the Department of Trade and Industry committee has called on the Minister of Trade and Industry to intervene in what they call ‘a crisis in the sugar industry’. Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, Joanmariae Fubbs, has called for a moratorium on the Sugary Drinks Tax [3]. Big business are trying to maximize profits by getting the Sugary Drinks Tax repealed. We know their greed has put our nation's health at risk. But we have a chance now to stop this. Let’s send a message to Joanmariae Fubbs and the rest of Parliament, we the people stand behind the Sugary Drinks Tax. If enough of us come together, our voices will be so loud that Joanmariae Fubbs will have to listen. Tackling obesity-related diseases needs to be a national priority, and the tax on sugary drinks is a first step in addressing this national epidemic. One in four people in South Africa are obese [4]. Excess sugar consumption is a major cause of obesity and its related diseases, as excessive sugar intake causes increased risk of diabetes, liver and kidney damage, heart disease, and some cancers. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Cancer Research Fund recommend that people should consume no more than 10% of total calories from sugar. The South African government has been under pressure from beverage companies and retail groups who have been flooding Parliament and Treasury with comments to stop this life-saving policy or weaken it with exemptions and loopholes—and they are having an impact. The South African government MUST put the health of South Africans before special interests who target the most vulnerable populations with their unhealthy products. Please make your voice heard today! [1] Sugar-sweetened beverages and risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis, Malik VS, Popkin BM, Bray GA, Després JP, Willett WC, Hu FB. Sugary Drinks and Obesity Fact Sheet, Harvard School of Public Health. [2] Sugar tax could save South Africa billions by James Thabo Molelekwa for Health- E News. April 21, 2016. [3] MPs call for intervention in embattled sugar industry by Linda Ensor for Business Day, February 2019 [4] Is SA the ‘fattest nation’ in sub-Saharan Africa, with a third of people obese Kate Wilkinson for Africa Check July 2015
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  • Tell John Steenhuisen #HandsOffTheSugaryDrinksTax
    We all know Mzansi’s health system is under a lot of pressure, and globally experts have warned that sugary drinks are increasing rates of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes [1]. Researchers from Wits University [2] and the World Health Organisation back policies like the Sugary Drinks Tax as measures to improve people’s health. The introduction of the Sugary Drinks Tax is an important first step towards lifting the pressure on our health system and keeping South Africans healthy. So far the tax has raised R2.3 billion which will be used for health promotion and go back into our healthcare system. But the Department of Trade and Industry committee has called on the Minister of Trade and Industry to intervene in what they call ‘a crisis in the sugar industry’. Chief Whip of the DA, John Steenhuisen, has called for a moratorium on the Sugary Drinks Tax [3]. Big business are trying to maximize profits by getting the Sugary Drinks Tax repealed. We know their greed has put our nation's health at risk. But we have a chance now to stop this. Let’s send a message to John Steenhuisen and the rest of Parliament, we the people stand behind the Sugary Drinks Tax. If enough of us come together, our voices will be so loud that John Steenhuisen will have to listen. Tackling obesity-related diseases needs to be a national priority, and the tax on sugary drinks is a first step in addressing this national epidemic. One in four people in South Africa are obese [4]. Excess sugar consumption is a major cause of obesity and its related diseases, as excessive sugar intake causes increased risk of diabetes, liver and kidney damage, heart disease, and some cancers. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Cancer Research Fund recommend that people should consume no more than 10% of total calories from sugar. The South African government has been under pressure from beverage companies and retail groups who have been flooding Parliament and Treasury with comments to stop this life-saving policy or weaken it with exemptions and loopholes—and they are having an impact. The South African government MUST put the health of South Africans before special interests who target the most vulnerable populations with their unhealthy products. Please make your voice heard today! [1] Sugar-sweetened beverages and risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis, Malik VS, Popkin BM, Bray GA, Després JP, Willett WC, Hu FB. Sugary Drinks and Obesity Fact Sheet, Harvard School of Public Health. [2] Sugar tax could save South Africa billions by James Thabo Molelekwa for Health- E News. April 21, 2016. [3] MPs call for intervention in embattled sugar industry by Linda Ensor for Business Day, February 2019 [4] Is SA the ‘fattest nation’ in sub-Saharan Africa, with a third of people obese Kate Wilkinson for Africa Check July 2015
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  • Help fight type 2 diabetes, demand the Sugary Drinks Tax is increased to 20%
    Companies like Coca-Cola have been allowed to sell a product that drives type 2 diabetes [1] and they have specifically targeted poor communities who have the least access to quality health services [2]. We all know that many of our schools and spaza shops are covered with Coca-Cola adverts, and for decades many of us didn’t know the truth about sugar in cold drinks, and now many people have family members who are too sick to work. While Coca-Cola makes millions, the queues at our clinics grow longer. In 2017 there were over 100,000 new diabetes cases in the public sector alone [3]. There’s hope though. Thanks to public pressure a Sugary Drinks Tax was introduced in 2018, but our work isn’t done yet. Because of companies like Coca-Cola, the tax was watered down to almost half of what Wits academics have said it needs to be: 20% [4]. 89% of private companies were found not to be paying taxes properly in 2017 [5], yet every day we have to bear the high costs of the VAT hike, and yet there isn’t enough for government funding for health and education. Because of private companies not paying taxes properly, Treasury has cut R350 million from our health budget since the February 2019 budget and now [6] [7]. We need much more money for our health budget, not less. Between now and February 2020, Treasury may make big decisions about our budget and taxes. We know that wealthy companies and individuals will be fighting against taxes on themselves and their products, but if enough of us come together, we could send a clear message to Treasury that we want a strong sugary drinks tax of 20% announced in February 2020 budget speech. We stopped Coca-Cola’s attempts to scrap the Sugary Drinks Tax last year, and now more than ever, we need a strong taxes on products that can be deadly to our health, products like sugary drinks, cigarettes and alcohol. A 20% sugary drinks tax could fill the R350 million hole in our health budget, and prevent more people from consuming sugary drinks which drive diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver and kidney damage, and some cancers. [1] Decreasing the Burden of Type 2 Diabetes in South Africa: The Impact of Taxing Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Mercy Manyema, J. Lennert Veerman, Lumbwe Chola, Aviva Tugendhaft, Demetre Labadarios, Karen Hofman Published: November 17, 2015 [2] Big business - and people - grow fat on sweetened drinks. Lynley Donnelly for Mail & Guardian 1 June 2016 [3] Junk food, junk status cause skyrocketing medical costs. Amy Green for Health-e News 24 April 2017 [4] Sugar tax could save South Africa billions in diabetes costs. Thabo Molelekwa 29 April 2016 Health24 [5] Corporates ‘not tax compliant’. Baldwin Ndaba for The Mercury, 22 Aug 2018. [6] http://www.treasury.gov.za/documents/national%20budget/2018/review/FullBR.pdf [7] http://www.treasury.gov.za/documents/mtbps/2018/mtbps/FullMTBPS.pdf
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  • Life Esidimeni families still waiting for payment
    While other Life Esidimeni families have been paid [1], there are still remaining families yet to receive payment. Why split the families? [2]. The Life Esidimeni families share a collective pain, why prioritise payment for others and not all? The remaining families also need closure and the payment is necessary for this. The Premier made a public commitment to honour the payments [3], now his office is giving the remaining families the run around and it's not right, haven't they suffered enough! All the families ask for is a firm commitment of the 10th December 2018 as a previously agreed deadline for everyone to receive payment and for the Premier's office to stop postponing and commit. References [1] https://www.enca.com/south-africa/life-esidimeni-families-have-received-their-payment [2] https://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/south-africa/2018-10-16-esidimeni-families-have-to--wait-for-payment/ [3]https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/makhura-vows-life-esidimeni-families-will-get-compensation-before-deadline-20180611
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  • Gold miners are dying of silicosis and TB while waiting for compensation, demand action!
    Government institutions tasked with compensating sick miners have become dysfunctional with backlogs of 200 000+ unpaid certified claims and an even larger number of unprocessed claims. Stringent requirements and processing centralised in Johannesburg makes it very difficult for sick and repatriated miners to access compensation. Many are unaware of their rights to compensation and thousands have already died without being compensated. Without serious reform of the compensation system, and a concrete plan of action from the TSHIAMISO TRUST, most of the 500 000 miners will die without receiving anything, unless we make this our business and do something. THE COMPENSATION SYSTEM IS BROKEN and if the R5 billion is not paid out within 12 years, it will remain with the mining companies.
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  • Parliament wants feedback on the mini-budget, tell them to increase the sugary drinks tax to 20%
    Our country is facing a health crises with 10,000 new cases of diabetes reported each month [1], type 2 diabetes has been linked to sugary drinks, and so has heart disease, liver and kidney damage, But thankfully we stopped Coca-cola’s greed and Parliament passed a Sugary Drinks Tax late last year. Now, the new Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is walking a tightrope, and right now there is a good chance industry could be fighting anything that threatens their profits. In his first budget speech, Minister Mboweni missed an opportunity to mention anything on the sugary drinks tax. But right now Parliament has opened public comment on the Mboweni’s ‘mini- budget’ (also known as the Mid-Term Budget Policy Statement). If enough of us come together and make submissions calling for the Sugary Drinks Tax to be increased from 11% to 20%, we could counter industries greed and have a stronger Sugary Drinks Tax. We already know that the WHO and Wits researchers recommend a minimum tax of 20% on sugary drinks to start reducing diseases like type 2 diabetes. We know the private sector doesn’t want a Corporate Income Tax increase, We know the Finance Minister is under pressure to increase tax especially, and may even consider increasing VAT again [2]. But if we make enough noise, we can show Treasury and Parliament, that increasing taxes on sugary drinks, tobacco and alcohol, are better for our nation's health and budget than another VAT hike. References [1] Diabetes risk because of status. Amy Greene. News24. 04 May 2017 [2] What to know before #MTBPS is presented. Staff reporter. 24 October 2018
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  • Thank Treasury for putting health over profits
    The beverage industry is furious that our people powered campaign beat their attempts to stop the sugary drinks tax. But with a recession and a new Finance Minister, greedy companies will be fighting to pay less tax.This week, as we observe World Obesity Week, we have an opportunity to send Treasury a message they may not be expecting. A thank you.If we come together and send enough thank you messages, we could counter any attempts by the beverage industry to pressure Treasury to not increase the sugary drinks tax, and instead remind them that they are accountable to us, the people, not corporations. Together we ensured a 11% sugary drinks tax as a start. However we need to keep working towards a 20% tax if we are to have a real impact [1]. We are reaching crisis point with obesity and type 2 diabetes on the rise especially amongst young people. Studies show that obesity among young people has doubled in the last six years and obese children have a 70% chance of being obese adults [3].The risks of obesity include diabetes, hypertension, heart and kidney diseases [3]. [1] Sugar tax could save South Africa billions by James Thabo Molelekwa for Health-E News. April 21, 2016 [2] Mexico’s sugar tax leads to fall in consumption for second year running, The Guardian. February 22, 2017 [3] Obesity in young South Africans doubles in six years by Nico Gous, Sunday Times. 03 January 2018
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  • Increasing access to safe abortions in South Africa
    The right to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) is an essential component of the right to life, the right to health, the right to education, and the right to equality and non-discrimination. Many women, young women, adolescent girls, and gender non-conforming people in South Africa are vulnerable to ill-health due to several economic and social barriers that prevent them from accessing timely and life-saving SRH services, including safe abortion and contraception. Better access to these services can prevent unsupported pregnancies and reduce unsafe abortions. When a woman is denied unencumbered access to these services, her agency and the right to make decisions about her body are limited. More than two decades have passed since the progressive Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act (CTOPA), 1996, liberalised abortion in South Africa. However, women in South Africa continue to face barriers in accessing safe abortion services. This is due to severe stigma, refusal by healthcare providers to provide services due to their religious or moral beliefs, lack of information on the legally safeguarded rights under the CTOPA, and poor infrastructure and limited availability of safe abortion services. Due to these barriers, women and adolescent girls often resort to illegal and unsafe abortion services, which put their health and lives at risk. Unchecked advertising of ‘quick and pain free abortions’ by illegal providers perpetuates the stigma and misinformation about abortion among the population. According to a 2009 study, two illegal abortion procedures took place in South Africa for every safe legal procedure. Globally, unsafe abortion is one of the top five causes of maternal mortality, along with post-partum haemorrhage, sepsis, complications from delivery, and hypertensive disorder. In our country, many women die every year, or sustain injuries and disabilities due to unsafe abortions. For example, the 2014 Saving Mothers report, covering the period from 2011 to 2013, reveals that pregnancy-related sepsis accounted for 9.5% of maternal deaths during the said period.
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