• Tell Netcare, Life Healthcare Group and Mediclinic to protect healthcare workers and save lives
    From 2016 to 2019, Netcare, Life Group, and Mediclinic paid out more to shareholders than they made in profits. They paid out R 19 billion in payouts to shareholders (dividends and share buybacks) in the same period they only made R11 billion in profits. This means that even when these companies were making losses, the shareholders continued to gain millions in wealth. Over the years the pay-outs to shareholders have come at the cost of better healthcare outcomes and better working conditions for healthcare workers. These companies need to step up and show they care about more than shareholder profits. In this time of crisis, we must prioritise the health and wellbeing of all South Africans not just those who are wealthy. Tell Netcare, Mediclinic, and Life that they need to stop shareholder payouts (dividends and share buybacks) till 2022 to ensure that all available resources are prioritized for free regular testing for all healthcare workers, and free medical attention for healthcare workers who contract Covid-19 and adequate (PPEs) for all healthcare workers working in South Africa in public and private facilities. This petition is co-signed by: Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union(YNITU); Oxfam SA; Public Services International (PSI); National Union of Care Workers of South Africa (NUCWOSA); Treatment Action Campaign (TAC); South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU), and Amandla.mobi. Reference: A survey was conducted by Oxfam South Africa. Oxfam South Africa surveyed 166 healthcare workers for a month during the period of the 27 July 2020 to 27 August 2020 using two trade union’s databases: The Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union (YNITU) and National Union of Community Healthcare Workers of South Africa (NUCWOSA). The survey was sent via Whatsapp messages directly to the healthcare workers on the database. The survey was sent to healthcare workers in Gauteng, Western Cape, and the Eastern Cape. The survey respondents were mostly nurses (90%), permanent workers (88 %), 86 % in the public sector, and 10 percent in the private sector. A note on the low response rate from private-sector employees is that some respondents that they and their colleagues feared intimidation for participating in the survey. Figures from Department of Health South Africa 13 August 2020 and correct as of 21 August 2020. https://bhekisisa.org/resources/2020-08-14-health-workers-make-up-one-in-20-of-covid-19-cases-in-south-africa-new-data-shows/ Oxfam South Africa. (2020). The Right to Dignified Care Work is a Right to Dignified Health Care For All. https://www.oxfam.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Oxfam_Care4Carers-Report_Final_20200701.pdf
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  • #ApartheidBanks: Justice for Apartheid Economic crime
    An important component of accountability is combating impunity and dismantling the networks and institutions responsible for corporate crime, as there is a link between the institutions that perpetrated these crimes in the past and those responsible for state capture today. Holding these instrumental actors to account, including through prosecution, is a critical step to restoring the Rule of Law in our country today. The Commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) have issued a separate letter to Adv. Shamila Batohi calling for the NPA to act on this evidence. We recognise that the TRC, in its final report in 2003, called on the NPA to pursue perpetrators not awarded amnesty through a process of ‘bold prosecutions’ of apartheid crimes. This has not happened, in large part because of political interference in the NPA’s work under previous administrations. It is for this reason that prosecutions against these economic criminals and other apartheid-era human rights violators would send a clear signal that the NPA stands firm against impunity. South Africa faces many pressing problems today, including the profiteers of Covid-19 relief and the legacy of recent state capture networks. The corrupt corporations and politicians who profit from these deals have caused pain and suffering to the South African people. They have made us poorer, more unequal and taken away jobs. The legacy of apartheid-era economic criminals is no less severe and important and we demand that the NPA prosecutes these actors without fear or favour. This is a necessary and urgent step towards social justice. The South African Coalition for Transitional Justice (SACTJ) - endorsed by friends of SACTJ and the following organisations: 1. Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) 2. Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) 3. Foundation for Human Rights (FHR) 4. Human Rights Media Centre (HRMC) 5. Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) 6. Khulumani Support Group (KSG) 7. (Open Secrets) 8. South African History Archives (SAHA) 9. Violence Prevention Agency (VPA) 
Additional civil society endorsements: 10. Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC) 11. Corruption Watch (CW) 12. International Labour Research and Information Group (ILRIG) 13. Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) 14. Legal Resources Centre (LRC) 15. My Vote Counts (MVC) 16. Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) 17. Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI) 18. Section27 (S27) 19. Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) 20. Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) 21. Shadow World Investigations (SWI) 22. Unpaid Benefits Campaign (UBC) [1] https://www.opensecrets.org.za/site/wp-content/uploads/Apartheid-Banks.-NPA-Docket.-Annexures-1-26.pdf [2] https://www.opensecrets.org.za/apartheidbanksdocket/
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  • UNIVERSITIES TO ISSUE OWING STUDENTS GRADUATE CERTIFICATES
    1. This will help many students enter the job market. 2. Universities' financial sustainability will improve as more graduates get jobs and start paying-off their debts. 3. This will also reduce the social burden on the government of giving out grants as more people are employed. 4. This will contribute to the NDP and the GDP of South Africa.
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  • Basic Income Support for people aged 18 to 59 NOW!
    The COVID-19 pandemic is a global economic and humanitarian crisis. South Africa’s already dire economic situation, with the triple challenges of systemic poverty, unemployment and inequality, has become bleaker. The national lockdown has exacerbated structural unemployment, led to increased food prices and placed an immense strain on household resources. The pandemic has compounded food insecurity and hunger is widespread. Almost half of the population is chronically poor. For the foreseeable future, the economy in its current configuration will not absorb all the unemployed. Section 27 of the Bill of Rights in the South African Constitution makes provision for Social Security, “including appropriate social assistance if they are unable to support themselves” [2]. Income support in the form of social grants is provided to approximately 18 million of the most vulnerable: the elderly, children and people with disabilities. However, able-bodied people aged 18 to 59 with no or little income are excluded from the social assistance grants. The South African government must uphold the United Nations, International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights [3], which it ratified. The Covenant forms the cornerstone of international human rights law. Key recommendations made are that the South African government “ensure that those between the ages of 18 and 59 with little or no income have access to social assistance; consider the possibility of introducing a universal basic income grant”; and “raise the level of government social assistance benefits to a level ensure an adequate standard of living for recipients and their families”. The government’s Social Relief of Distress package introduced a monthly R350 COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant for six-months for the unemployed, and CSG increase of R500 to be given per caregiver monthly for five months until October 2020. While most grants benefitted from a monthly top-up of R250 for six months, the Child Support Grant was increased by R300 for the month of May only, and then only given per caregiver. Both new social grants are inadequate to cover basic food, energy sources and transport, as well as the additional cost of complying with hygiene protocols during the pandemic. The cost of the monthly basket of staple foods has increased by 6% to R3 413,14 for the period March to July 2020 for the average household. Furthermore, the online platform for applications and dated verifying databases continue to result in serious access challenges for those eligible for the COVID-19 SRD grant. Income support for those aged 18 to 59 with no or little income is a critical step towards the government’s implementation of a universal basic income grant to ensure that all who live in South Africa have an adequate standard of living. The following organisations endorse this campaign: Act Ubumbano, Albert Luthuli Human Rights Advice Centre, Alternative Information and Development Centre, Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Graduate School of Business, Botshabelo Unemployment Movement, Cancer Alliance, Cash Transfers Working Group of the C19 Peoples Coalition, Centre for Applied Legal Studies, Children in Distress (CINDI), Community Advice Offices South Africa (CAOSA), Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA), Congress of South African Trade Unions, Democracy Development Program, Dullah Omar Institute, Environmental Monitoring Group, Equal Education, Institute for Economic Justice, Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape, Open Secrets, Organised for Work, Kgothatsanang organisation, Mariann Coordinating Committee (MCC), Probono.org, People's Health Movement Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM), Right2Know, Scalabrini, Riversdale Advice and Community Development Agency, Section 27, Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition (SRJC), Shayisfuba Feminist Collective, Sisterhood Movement, Social Change Assistance Trust (SCAT), Social Justics Coalition, Social Work Action Network South Africa, South African Domestic Services and Allied Workers Union (SADSAWU), South African NGO Coalition (SANGOCO), Southern African Social Policy Research Institute, Standerton Victim Empowerment and Advice Office, Ubuntu Rural Women and Youth Movement, Triangle Project, Women on Farms Project, amandla.mobi, Women's Legal Centre, Workers World Media Productions (WWMP), Zenzeleni Project [1] Cost of household food basket rising, ENCA June 2020 [2] https://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/constitution/SAConstitution-web-eng-02.pdf [3] https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/cescr.aspx
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  • Pledge Solidarity with Eastern Cape Community Health Workers
    We can no longer tolerate a situation where our state, far from being an example of good labour practice, is responsible for the casualisation of work and the exploitation of the mainly women workers who are leading grassroots healthcare provision in our communities. CHW’s demands, in the Eastern Cape and in the rest of the country, for secure employment and a living wage must be met, with immediate effect. We note the recent permanent employment of CHW in Gauteng as a step in the right direction and hereby demand an end to regional disparities in the pay, recognition and integration of CHW into the workforce of the National Department of Health.
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  • Stand with struggling farm workers. Reopen Labour Centres + class them as essential services
    With the harvest season on most grape and wine farms having ended in March, thousands of seasonal farm workers, the majority of whom are women, urgently need to apply for their unemployment benefits. However, because Labour Centres have been closed due to the Covid-19 lockdown, workers are unable to process their UIF applications. Online applications are not feasible for most farm workers who do not have access to computers, smartphones and data.
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  • Tell Government we urgently need a Child Support Grant increase of R500 for the next 6 months
    The lockdown is important to contain the virus, but it will increase poverty and food insecurity: International experience suggests that a lockdown is the best response to the virus from a public health perspective, but the economic impacts are devastating for South African households. South Africa already has very high rates of poverty, unemployment and inequality, and the effects of lockdown on work and earnings threaten to exacerbate all these dynamics. A team of experts commissioned to work on an economic response to Covid-19 has been modelling the possible effects of the lockdown on the informal sector specifically, and the spin-off effects for poverty levels. They estimate that, for households that rely on income from the informal labour market, food poverty rates could more than double over the three weeks of the lock-down period. As the depth of poverty increases, more people will go hungry, including millions of children. Other forms of support have been withdrawn. Before the lockdown, over 10 million children were receiving nutritious meals through the school nutrition programme and early childhood development programmes. The closure of schools and early childhood development facilities means families with children will need to provide more nutritious meals. Pre-regulation food price increases have swallowed families’ budgets and forced shoppers to buy less nutritious food: A project that monitors food prices found that the cost of a low-income household food basket increased substantially over the first three weeks of March, as the pandemic unfolded in the country. Over the whole month, the cost of the food basket increased by 7% or R220. This increase alone is equivalent to half the value of the monthly child support grant. The same report notes shifts in purchasing patterns to less nutritious food. Social grants are an extremely effective mechanism for protecting children and families against the effects of poverty: By the end of March 2020, 84 countries had introduced or adapted social protection and jobs programmes in response to Covid-19. The most widely used intervention was social assistance (non-contributory cash transfers). SASSA cannot enrol new beneficiaries into the social grant system during lockdown because the required verification and biometric requirements cannot be completed. Even after lock-down, the need for social distancing will remain, making the full functioning of SASSA offices for new applications unlikely. Therefore the quickest and simplest way to channel much-needed cash into poor households is via existing beneficiaries. The child support grant (CSG) is well established. It is by far the biggest grant in terms of numbers, reaching 12.8 million children – nearly two-thirds of all children in South Africa. It is received every month by over 7 million adult beneficiaries and contributes to the income of nearly 5.7 million households. Although child support grants are meant to be spent directly on the children to whom they are allocated, they effectively become part of household budgets and help to support entire households. Therefore, increasing this grant is likely to benefit other members of the household. Now that lock-down regulations have been amended to allow informal traders of food to continue to trade, extra cash in the hands of CSG beneficiaries will not only increase the ability of poor households to buy nutritious fresh produce but will also help to reduce the congestion in taxis and at big retailers; and stimulate the local economies of townships and rural areas. The economic insecurity and poverty-related stresses and anxiety caused by the pandemic directly contribute to increases in violence against women and children. In addition to reducing hunger, economic strengthening will be protective of women and children. In addition to increasing the CSG amount, the following measures should also be taken: 1. Vulnerable households not already receiving grants, including unemployed adults in households without social grants also need access to income support. Innovative mechanisms to reach these individuals and households need urgent attention. 2. More cash without addressing congestion at big retailers, in taxis and social grant payment queues is not effective. We, therefore, recommend that SASSA re-structure its payment system to ensure that grants are transferred into the accounts of beneficiaries in a staggered manner. 3. Selected highly nutritious foods should be subsidised. This measure is urgent and we the undersigned call on you to address this critical issue at the next meeting of the Cabinet or National Command Council. This campaign/letter is endorsed by: Children’s Institute (UCT), United Nations Fund for Children South Africa, South African Medical Research Council, DST-NRF Centre for Excellence in Food Security, Centre for Child Law (UP), Black Sash, Children in Distress (CINDI), Equal Education, Equal Education Law Centre, Rural Health Advocacy Project, Institute for Security Studies, National Association for Child Care Work, Section27, Public Service Accountability Monitor, Institute for Economic Justice, Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health, Bulungula Incubator, South African Civil Society for Women’s, Adolescents and Children’s Health, Umduduzi Hospice Care for Children, Amandla .mobi, Give a Child a Family, Teddy Bear Foundation, Jelly Beanz Inc, Child Health Priorities Association, Preschools 4 Africa, Association for the Education & Care of Young Children, OXFAM South Africa, Ilifa Labantwana, National Early Childhood Development Alliance, Child Welfare South Africa, Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS UWC), Nal’ibali Trust, Protective Behaviours Southern African, Cotlands, Africa Reggio Emilia Alliance.
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  • Demand Corona Relief Fund be set up for precarious workers during the Lockdown
    Precarious workers make use of mass transport systems (taxis and buses) to get to and from work, areas the WHO and National Department of Health have deemed as high risk for infection. Furthermore, domestic workers and health care workers work in intimate spaces with people who are at high risk of COVID-19 infection, such as the elderly and people who have travelled to and from high-risk countries. However, due to the legacy of inequality, we continue to live in, these are the very same workers who will not be paid – and cannot afford – to self-quarantine. Without income, they also cannot afford healthy food or medication, making them even more vulnerable. We commend the Government for communicating around COVID-19, however, gaps remain in addressing the anxiety, fear and stigma related to infection. On top of the fear of dying, vulnerable workers reside in communities where the potential is high for stigmatisation and discrimination in the event of self-quarantine or being identified as having the virus. We believe that a successful response to COVID-19 requires unity among all who live in South Africa, and we aim to be part of a unified solution. That unified response, however, requires Government to take bold and deliberate steps to ensure that the most vulnerable members of society are cared for and have their dignity and livelihoods secured. COVID-19 will exacerbate inequality among the working class of this country as they do not have the choice to ‘work from home’ and they are subject to ‘no work no pay’ labour conditions. This is compounded by the fact that domestic workers and informal workers particularly still do not have access to the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) that other COVID-19 affected formal workers have. This means that domestic workers and informal workers cannot claim compensation in the event that they contract COVID-19 while at work. Given that we are officially under a national state of disaster, Mr President, we call for expedited access to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) for domestic workers and informal workers.
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  • Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni include 100% fruit juices in Sugary Drinks Tax
    100% fruit juice is not 100% good for us. But this is not what fruit juice companies want us to know. They want us to continue buying their unhealthy products, thinking they’re healthy when they’re really not. Just one 250ml glass of 100% fruit juice is equal to 6.5 teaspoons of sugar [1]. This is more sugar than what the World Health Organisation (WHO) says we should have everyday [2]. It’s important these unhealthy beverages are treated the same as cold-drinks by including 100% fruit juices in the Sugary Drinks Tax. Add your name and join the call on Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni to help save lives. Minister Mboweni must announce during his 2020 Budget Speech that 100% fruit juices will be included in the Sugary Drinks Tax. If enough of us come together now and join this campaign, Minister Mboweni may have no choice but to listen and protect public health. Together with our friends at Heala we have been campaigning for the Sugary Drinks Tax since 2016 and thanks to our people power and the public pressure we have put on the Minister of Finance, we have secured a Sugary Drinks Tax of 11%. The Sugar Cane Growers Association is fighting back by saying a higher Sugary Drinks Tax is irresponsible [3], but really the truth is Treasury is not doing enough to fight the crisis of NCDs that is damaging so many South African families. This is irresponsible. Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize when talking about this crisis said, “Every South African has been affected by diabetes- whether directly or indirectly. For those who have experienced or witnessed the complications of this deadly disease, it can be devastating and disruptive for families and communities.” [4] It’s time for 100% fruit juices to be seen as the unhealthy, potentially dangerous beverage they are by giving them the same treatment as cold-drinks. Add your name to join the campaign. Let’s come together and force Minister Mboweni to put the health of the public before the greed and profits of sugary drinks companies. [1] Is Fruit Juice as Unhealthy as Sugary Soda?, Alina Petre, MS, RD for Healthline December 2019 [2] World Health Organization lowers sugar intake recommendations, Ryan Jaslow for CBSNEWS March 2014 [3] LETTER: Sugar tax is killing jobs, Rex Talmage for Business Day February 2020 [4] World Diabetes Day: There’s no winning without family, Dr Zweli Mkhize for Health E November 2019
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  • Help recruit Minister Mkhize as an ally in our fight for 20% sugary drinks tax
    Last year, when Dr Zweli Mkhize was appointed as our new Minister of Health, we ran a welcome campaign to help ensure the fight against non-communicable diseases (NCDs) was high on his agenda. Late last year Minister Mkhize attended a Diabetes awareness event where he was asked if he supports the World Health Organisation’s recommended 20% sugary drinks tax. His spokesperson Dr Lwazi Manzi responded stating that Minister Mkhize supports the principle of the sugary drinks tax. Dr Manzi said that: “The minister cannot proclaim on the actual number as that is the business of Treasury [but] he supports the principle of the sugar tax,” [1]. So what does this mean for our campaign? The good news is that the minister has not only acknowledged that diabetes needs to be priority, but he has also stated that reducing sugar in drinks and consumable foods is important. This sends a message that the minister of health could be an ally. We need all the allies we can find because we are up against greedy companies like Coca Cola who want to protect their profits and are fighting against the sugary drinks tax. Minister Mkhize may do more to support a stronger sugary drinks tax if we show him that there is enough public support. If enough of us come together and send messages of support, it could help convince him to use his position as a member of Cabinet to call on Treasury to increase the sugary drinks tax to 20%. With Finance Minister Tito Mboweni preparing to deliver his Budget Speech on the 26th of February, we have a window of opportunity to recruit Health Minister Mkhize to convince Treasury to put our nation's health first. In the words of the Health Minister, “Every South African has been affected by diabetes- whether directly or indirectly. For those who have experienced or witnessed the complications of this deadly disease, it can be devastating and disruptive for families and communities.” [2] Let’s make sure Minister Mkhize knows that if he’s serious about fighting NCDs, he will have to implement a stronger sugary drinks tax. [1] https://health-e.org.za/2019/11/19/health-minister-supports-the-reduction-of-sugar-in-sweetened-beverages/ [2] https://health-e.org.za/2019/11/14/world-diabetes-day-2019/
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  • Call Gauteng MEC of Education to place social workers in rural schools in Hammanskraal
    The schools located in low-income areas face the challenge of, Vulnerable family structure( skipped generation households and child headed households). This has a negative impact on how the students perform at school and survival is usually prioritized above school work [3]. Therefore there is a need for a social worker to identify students from these households and offer them support so that they can get the best out of their education [2]. Since social workers are social advocates they can connect students/parents with the right stakeholders. They can workshop around issues that make it difficult for students to participate fully in the classroom [1]. They can make the school environment more conducive to learning. They can hold meetings with parents and community members for the overall benefit of the student. Call to action: Sign this campaign now to ensure that the MEC of Education, places social workers at rural schools in hammanskraal. Our main objective is for students to thrive and succeed, but they are weighed down and overburdened by the family structures they find themselves in;causing them to not perform at their best. By signing this petition you will help us get the MEC to place a standing social worker in rural schools in Hammanskraal. The social worker will act as a facilitator between the community and the school, a social advocate to ensure that students get the best out of their education and a support system for teachers,providing them with tools needed to support at risk students. Together we can guarantee that our students maximize their opportunities but we need to remove barriers to their education. Sign now and make a difference. References [1] https://socialworklicensure.org/articles/become-a-school-social-worker/ [2] https://msw.usc.edu/mswusc-blog/what-is-a-school-social-worker/ [3] https://borgenproject.org/what-is-the-relationship-between-poverty-and-learning/ Helpful Statistics and Readings https://mobile.twitter.com/StatsSA/status/1133299234579648513?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fd-96 https://journals.co.za/content/journal/10520/EJC-1399f14fb9
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  • Tell Thembeni Mhlongo to build a public creche in Windsor West
    It is unrealistic to expect that community members in poor and low income areas will be able to provide suitable crèche’s in line with the requirements of the Department. The particular requirements in infrastructure, safety regulations, health standards, teacher qualifications, and high standards of education and as well as capacitated organisations are an unrealistic expectation for these communities. This was echoed by the words of crèche principal, Georginah Hloka in a meeting held on the 29th of October 2019 with the Department of Social Development, Department of Health and the Department of Education in Tembisa Township [1]. How can crèche owners then provide adequate toilets, proper infrastructure, provisions for disabled children, nutritious food, qualified teachers, physical safety features and adequate space for children if community members cannot even afford to pay a R1000?This then means that the whole idea of private crèche’s can never really work in poor and low income communities [2]. Research shows that the improvement of pre-school learning in the country came when grade R learners were incorporated into the public school system and became housed in primary schools [3]. Grade R is however only for five year olds and six year olds. This means that, for poorer communities, provision of pre-school education by the public government is better than that of private providers. The same is not true for affluent neighbourhoods however. This is why we are calling for the Gauteng’s Head of the department of social development to rather build public crèche’s as private crèche’s are not sustainable in poorer areas. What is moreover disturbing about the poor quality of pre-school education for black children is that the children who of the race group that needs the most support in order to reduce rates of inequality in the future as they are shaped by race and gender, are the children whose development is being stunted all the more. Research shows that poor nutrition, poor learning environment and low standards of teaching are the main cause of why children from poor backgrounds generally perform worse than children from upper and middle classes[4]. The DSD MEC needs to stop this plight and push for decision making to rather build public crèche’s as opposed to trying to shift the responsibility of educating the poor to community members who are structurally unable to play this role. [1] Township crèches must now register, says government: https://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/south-africa/2019-10-29-township-crches-must-now-register-says-government/ [2] Raising South Africa: informal crèches are desperate for aid: https://www.groundup.org.za/article/raising-south-africa-informal-creches-are-desperate-aid/ [3] impact of the introduction of grade R on learning outcomes: http://resep.sun.ac.za/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Grade-R-Evaluation-1-3-25-Final-Unpublished-Report-13-06-17.pdf [4] Challenges of the Early Development Sector in South Africa by Michaela Ashley Cooper, Eric Atmore and Lauren Van Niekerk 2012. The Journal of Early Childhood Development Journal. The University of Johannesburg.
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