• 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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  • Call on ANC to support reversing the VAT hike in 2019
    Earlier in the year amandla.mobi ran a campaign against the VAT hike and submitted a petition with 55,000 signatures to all 400 members of parliament (MP). Not one MP responded. Even the biggest political parties have said they are against the VAT hike [1], and many have said the VAT hike would hit the poor the hardest, yet it was passed on their watch. But in the next few weeks, starting from Wednesday 7 November, Parliament will be discussing our budget and taxes. It doesn’t matter which political party you voted for, or if you voted, MPs are our elected representatives and work for us. We have an opportunity now to remind them they work for us and can’t ignore the voice of the people. If enough of us come together and flood the inboxes of the key leaders of the 6 largest political parties, almost every MP will hear our voices and the conversation could be shifted towards reversing the VAT hike in 2019, and forcing wealthy companies and individuals to pay their fair share. We welcome Treasury including sanitary pads, white bread and flour in the list of tax-free items but the poor are still in economic crisis and the VAT hike lays the burden of fixing the economy on the shoulders of the poor. The gap between the rich and poor in Mzansi is one of the largest in the world. It is unjust that Treasury keeps proposing solutions to the economy by increasing the tax burden on the majority, especially poor Black women when 89% of companies in SA are not tax compliant in 2018 [2] and R965 billion leaves the continent in illicit financial flows every year. [3] Mzansi is dominated by greedy companies. We the people essentially subsidize corporates. Government and Treasury should tax the mega-rich instead. amandla.mobi is an independent, non-partisan community organisation that fights for economic and social justice. We are targeting all 6 major political parties’ key leaders. You can call on the other 5 to support reversing the VAT hike in 2019 and call for treasury to tax the mega-rich instead here: DA: https://awethu.amandla.mobi/petitions/call-on-the-da-to-support-reversing-the-vat-hike-in-2019 EFF: https://awethu.amandla.mobi/petitions/call-on-the-eff-to-support-reversing-the-vat-hike-in-2019 IFP: https://awethu.amandla.mobi/petitions/call-on-the-ifp-to-support-reversing-the-vat-hike-in-2019-1 NFP: https://awethu.amandla.mobi/petitions/call-on-the-nfp-to-support-reversing-the-vat-hike-in-2019 UDM: https://awethu.amandla.mobi/petitions/call-on-the-udm-to-support-reversing-the-vat-hike-in-2019 We are also flooding the inboxes of the remaining 377 members of parliament with a clear message, support reversing the VAT hike in 2019 and call for treasury to tax the mega-rich instead. If you have time, contact us at hola@amandla.mobi and we will get back to you with more information on how you can take action. Between the tens of thousands who are part of this campaign, if each of us send messages they will have no choice but to respond to our demands. [1] OUTA, ANC Gauteng and civil society groups march to Union Buildings, Canny Maphanga and Alex Mitchley News24 October 2018 (ANC) Yunus Carrim: ANC didn’t want VAT hike, Masego Rahlaga EWN February 2018 (ANC) DA plans march against VAT increase, Brenda Sinenhlanhla Masilela ANA February 2018 (DA) EFF'S Malema Calls On SA To Unite Against VAT Increase, Koketšo Motau EWN March 2018 (EFF) [2] Corporates not ‘tax compliant’. Baldwin Ndaba and African News Agency for The Mercury 22 Aug 2018 [3] Parliament: Illicit financial flows and the history of disappointment. Greg Nicolson for the Daily Maverick. August 2017
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  • Gold miners are dying of silicosis and TB while waiting for compensation, demand action
    South Africa’s wealthy and privileged owe a direct debt to those whose lives paid for the gold industry on which the South African economy was built. For 120 years, mining companies and the South African State have failed to protect miners from across southern Africa from harmful conditions resulting in lung disease. Although protective laws have been in place since 1903, mining companies have not been held accountable for breaking these laws. The gold industry also failed to provide adequate medical care for miners who have become sick. Sick miners have been sent home to die in their rural communities and costs are shouldered by wives and families. Current laws governing compensation make it very difficult for ex-miners living in South Africa and outside the borders of South Africa to access compensation. The Medical Bureau of Occupational Diseases (MBOD) and the Compensation Commission who are tasked with certifying and compensating sick miners are in a shameful state of dysfunctionality with huge backlogs of unprocessed applications and unpaid compensation awards. The majority of gold miners suffering from lung diseases have not been compensated from the beginnings of gold mining up to the present. To demand just compensation, miners initiated a class action court case against the gold mining companies in 2004. In the 2018 out of court settlement of this class action gold mining companies agreed to set aside R5 billion for compensation claims over the next 12 years. However, the dismal track record of actual payments made by similar out of court settlements in the past requires that society demands that this money be paid quickly and fairly. While the out-of-court settlement may be considered a victory, it is only the beginning of a struggle for justice which demands YOUR support.
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  • Government must ensure there are Sexual Offences Units at all institutions of higher learning
    A Sexual Offences Unit will ensure that survivors of gender based violence receive specialised and sensitive support and resources that will help towards their healing journey. Campuses that have an already existing ‘gender office’ need to change their systems so that they serve the concerns of everyone on campus, and are in line with the proposed Sexual Offences Unit. The Black Womxn Caucus, an intersectional women’s organisation at Wits University have called for a ‘rapid response rape team’ for gender based violence to be established on the campus. The movement advocates for a thorough understanding of gender violence as it occurs in many forms and in many spaces, and reinforces the violences that womxn and gender non-comfornimg bodies are subjected to in this country. As the number of rape, sexual abuse and killing of womxn and children in this country continues to increase so does the call from those most affected by violence in our society to organise ourselves to fight gender based violence. The Black Womxn Caucus insists that if their Vice Chancellor at the time, Adam Habib, among others, were able to establish a rapid response team [4] to clamp down on student protest action following the #FeesMustFall movement, there is no reason the university should also prioritise the establishment of a ‘rapid response team’ to address gender violence on campus. The Sexual Offences Units should include: support staff who encourage everyone on campus to go for prosecution through reporting their cases; this includes a 24 hour psychologists available at all times for emergencies, and a space for activists to assist in sharing insights to developing better models aimed at reducing all forms of violence on campus. This unit must also represent the different socio-economic backgrounds of members of the institutions community, and be able to cater to survivors of all backgrounds.
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  • 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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  • Stop another VAT hike, tell Pres Ramaphosa to commit
    In the last few days a conservative economist has been suggesting to the media that there could be another VAT hike in 2019 [1]. It’s suspicious that some economists, with connections to the private sector, suggest a VAT hike rather than a corporate income tax hike. This could be the private sector's agenda or national government testing how angry people would be with another VAT hike. Right now, with a new Finance Minister and the mid-term budget announcement just one week away, we have an opportunity to immediately push back against the idea of a VAT hike. If enough of us come together, we can flood the inbox of the Presidency with a clear message: we the people will not pay the bill. If we act quickly President Ramaphosa may have no choice but to commit to not increasing the VAT in 2019. The gap between the rich and poor in Mzansi is one of the largest in the world. It is unjust that Treasury keeps proposing solutions to the ongoing economic crisis by increase the tax burden on the majority, especially poor Black women. 89% of companies in SA are not tax compliant [2] and R965 billion leaves the continent in illicit financial flows every year. [3] Mzansi is dominated by greedy multinational companies. We the people essentially subsidize corporates. Tell government and Treasury to tax the mega-rich instead. [1] SA could face another VAT increase, say experts. Citizen Reporter for The Citizen October 2018 [2] Corporates not ‘tax compliant’. Baldwin Ndaba and African News Agency for The Mercury 22 Aug 2018 [3] Parliament: Illicit financial flows and the history of disappointment. Greg Nicolson for the Daily Maverick. August 2017
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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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  • Stop Heineken and others using labour brokers to bypass labour laws
    Heineken, Kellogg’s, Ferrero and PepsiCo (Simba Chips) are massively rich multinational companies based in the Netherlands, Italy and the USA respectively. They have clearly bought into the neoliberal idea that the corporations of the 1 percent of the wealthiest people in the world are free to break the law when it comes to the rights of labour broker workers. They have all resisted the rights that parliament enacted for labour broker workers in 2015 with all the power their wealth gives them. They have victimised and dismissed worker leaders who organised to claim these rights. When workers persisted and forced them to concede these rights, they have responded by taking revenge by retrenching hundreds of these workers. South Africa’s precarious workers cannot afford the behaviour of these giant corporations. We call on you to call them to order. When Shoprite made themselves guilty of similar behaviour in Zambia in 2013, the Zambian government called them to order. The Zambian government told Shoprite to respect workers’ rights or lose their trading licence. We call on you to follow the example of the Zambian government. TELL THESE COMPANIES OF SHAME TO RECOGNISE THEIR PERMANENT EMPLOYEES AND TO GIVE THEM EQUAL TREATMENT TELL THESE COMPANIES OF SHAME TO REINSTATE ALL DISMISSED AND RETRENCHED WORKERS TELL THESE COMPANIES OF SHAME YOU WILL CANCEL THEIR TRADING LICENCES IF THEY CONTINUE TO VIOLATE THE RIGHTS OF LABOUR BROKER WORKERS [i] 80% of labour broker workers should be deemed permanent – report, by Dewald van Rensburg for fin24.com, 16 August 2018
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  • President Ramaphosa, sign the Political Party Funding Bill
    The Political Party Funding Bill has the potential to curb the instances of corruption that plagues our political and electoral systems. We have seen it with the State Capture Inquiry and through the instances of maladministration in local government structures. All of this because we don't have access to the crucial information of who provides funding to political parties. It is our democratic right to not just vote but to make an informed vote. The information of political parties’ private donor information is required to make an informed vote at the elections. The longer the President delays signing the Bill into law, the longer we will have this democratic right denied. After twenty-four years of South Africa’s democratic dispensation, political parties remain unwilling to provide the public with information on their private funding. For many years, we have been campaigning for Parliament to regulate the transparency of political parties private funding information. Although long overdue, in 2017 Parliament finally drafted the Political Party Funding Bill. This Bill is the only law that will place an obligation on political parties to disclose information on their private funding. Earlier this year the Bill was adopted in Parliament, however the Bill cannot be implemented until President Cyril Ramaphosa signs the Bill into law. Sign this petition and help put measures in place that could effectively prevent more dubious dealings on all levels of government that affects all South Africans.
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  • Publish the Moerane Commission hearing transcripts
    Independent analysts put the number of people killed in what has been dubbed as political killings in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) as high as 104 [1]. These killings have made residents feel unsafe. Despite this, KZN Premier, Willies Mchunu, refuses to release the Moerane Commission report and hearing transcripts. Even when a Public Access to Information (PAIA) request was made on 16th August, giving him 30 days in which to act, the Premier has failed to comply. Premier Willies Mchunu appointed the Moerane Commission of Inquiry to investigate the underlying causes of the killings and to come up with recommendations based on the evidence from the security forces, victims, families, political parties and local government. The Commission completed its work in May and tabled the Moearane Commission to the Premier. Following that, the report was tabled at the KZN provincial legislature [2], but it still has not been published on all government websites. The public deserves to know. The hearings were funded by the public, the majority of them open to the public, and relates to issues of great importance to the public. The people of Umlazi and surrounding areas, and where the bulk of the killings have a vested interest to know what happened.
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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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  • Cigarette companies make billions while our lines get longer. Increase the tobacco tax
    Each year South Africa spends more than R59 billion [1] to address tobacco related illnesses like lung cancer, emphysema, asthma and bronchitis. At the same time the country only collects between R11 billion and R13 billion from tobacco taxes. Last year South Africa’s largest tobacco company British American Tobacco alone took a profit of R2.3billion, after tax [2]. This means the South African taxpayer is paying for the healthcare bill of tobacco-related harm while the tobacco industry collects the profits. The only way to change this scenario is to substantially increase excise taxes on tobacco. In 2018, the finance minister increased the tobacco excise tax by just R1.22 for a pack of 20 cigarettes [3]– this translated to an increase of a mere R2.50 for someone who smokes two packets a week. Although this increase was in line with the CPI, it did little to reduce the affordability of cigarettes. And this small increase will not encourage a drop in consumption. The tobacco industry has constantly exaggerated the size of the illicit trade to put false pressure on tobacco tax policy. But 2014 research by UCT’s Professor Corne van Walbeek shows that the tobacco industry has been adjusting its estimates of the illicit trade to create the illusion that it has been rapidly growing [4]. Although he agrees that illicit trade exists, he says that if previous estimates by the tobacco industry were incorrect, the credibility of current estimates should be questioned. Illicit trade in South Africa can only be tackled through enforcement. This primarily comes from the criminal justice sector. But the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority have been in disarray and the South African Revenue Service has deliberately been undermined. As a result, enforcement has not taken place, particularly in the last six years. The long-term solution for South Africa is to implement the World Health Organisation’s Illicit Trade Protocol [5]. This calls for the use of an independent and effective system that regulates cigarette production, import, export and sale. South Africa signed the Protocol in 2013 [6] but has still not ratified or taken steps to implement it. What can be done? Prevention costs less than treatment. Prevention means reducing the number of smoker- and one of the most effective ways to do this is to increase the price of tobacco. This is how we can take back the tax that is spent on tobacco-related health harm. We call on the National Treasury to increase the excise tobacco tax to 70% of the current price of cigarettes and other tobacco products. This has been recommended by both the World Health Organisation and the World Bank [7]. It would make cigarettes more expensive and reduce consumption. And it will send a clear message to the tobacco industry that their attempts to undermine evidence-based healthy public policy are not successful. Tobacco taxes are a win-win for public health and public finances. References [1] The Tobacco Atlas - South Africa [2] BAT revenue rises but profit and market share fall. Robert Laing for Bizcommunity 28 JUL 2017 | [3] 2018 Budget Speech by Malusi GigabaMinister of Finance 21 February 2018 [4] 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 [5] WHO Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products [6] SA signs tobacco smuggling treaty. IOL, 11 JANUARY 2013 [7] TAXING TO PROMOTE PUBLIC GOODS: TOBACCO TAXES. World Bank
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