• Tell Panyaza Lesufi to remove any hair policies in Gauteng schools that are discriminatory
    Schools are institutions of learning and not only learning about modules placed in curriculum's but also raising and emphasizing the importance of self-discovery and identity. Students need to learn more about themselves as well as their cultures and then teach others about it. When we teach young black girls that their hair has to be changed so they can suit a certain school culture what are we teaching them about themselves and how they were born? Schools should embrace the black culture and not try to change it. Most of these schools implemented their hair policies way before African black children were allowed into the then-White-only schools so they are not very inclusive of the black culture and the way African hair grows.Were the hair policies of schools reviewed after Apartheid and changed to suit everyone's hair needs? Each school can have different policies and school cultures as long as black pupils do not feel like they are being prejudiced against how they look as Africans. Schools need to also enforce educating themselves on African black cultures and how the African hair grows if they continue to enforce hair policies. [1] Pretoria Girls High pupils were victims of racism-MEC, Lizeka Tandwa for News24, 2016/12/03 [2] Gauteng High School embroiled in natural hair scandal, Silindelo Masikane for the eNCA, Monday 11, March, 2019 [3] Several State & Private Schools have bans on Dreadlocks. Afros and braids, Prega Govender for Mail & Gaurdian, 02, September, 2016 [4]School Governing Bodies: Play your part, Department of basic education 2019 [5] Lesufi gives Kempton Park school deadline to change hair policy, Nation Nyoka for News24, 25/07/2017
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  • Implement proper measures to monitor and run efficient scholar transport in KwaZulu-Natal
    1. Many children in rural KZN even in our current times still walk for more than 5km to school. KZN has the highest proportion of children walking to school. Scholars are incorrectly classified at the department of education as attending the school of choice and not that that is closest to home. Learners have difficulty concentrating and staying awake in class due to waking up early and walking long distances on an empty stomach. Children walk on gravel and curvy mountainous area making it dangerous for the children walking especially girl children. Children rely on minibus taxis and bakkies for transport. In 2017 alone 10 pupils died and more than 90 were injured using these modes of transport. It is important that children are given access to safe transportation from home to school to allow them their right to education and safety. 1. The Long walk to school. Nkululeko Nene for IOL. 17 September 2017
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  • 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 MEC Nkakareng Rakgoale to build a center for the Gogogetters in Musina
    Building a center for the Gogogetters is part of the Department of Social Development’s mandate to deepen social assistance and enhancing the capabilities of communities to achieve sustainable livelihoods and household food security[2]. It is important because old people are seen as a liability, while in actual fact they can have a big impact on social and economic prosperity locally and globally. Gogogetters are lacking recognition because of the pervasive negative perception of ageing hence, they are finding it hard to build a center for themselves. The Musina Local Municipality has since given the Gogogetters land to build a center but because of financial difficulties, they are unable to utilize the land. Gogogetters are ready to venture into entrepreneurship because it is an important role in the country’s development. The center will boost the economy of Musina and attract more tourists as it is one of South Africa’s special economic zones. Looking at the 2019 Statistics South Africa’s Quarterly announcement of unemployment rate in the country, it has increased to 27,6% hence such an initiative is for a good cause as it will help deal with unemployment challenges [3]. The budget from Social Development is not enough and this campaign is calling upon the newly elected MEC for Social Development in Limpopo,Nkakareng Rakgoale to make sure the budget allocated for Gogogetters is increased to enable the building of the center that the Gogogetters have been longing for the past 3 years. Let’s come together and signing to join this campaign to ensure MEC Nkakareng Rakgoale builds a center to better the lives of Gogogetters. Namadzavho Mukona is a 69 year old Gogogetter whose life has been positively changed by this organization. She says because of Gogogetters, “I no longer get sick by always sleeping at home doing nothing. The activities we do at the Gogogetters are keeping me active and healthy”. References [1] South African Year Book, Social Development 2016/2017 [2] Investigative Hearing into Systematic Complaints Relating to the Treatment of Older Persons, South African Human Rights 09 June 2015 [3] SA’s Unemployment rate spikes, Sarah Smith of Mail &Guardian 14 May 2019
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  • Ramaphosa, appoint Arts Minister from civil society
    Dear President Ramaphosa We are active participants in South African public life who nurture and cherish Arts and Culture. It is our belief that arts and culture is the lifeblood and soul of our country and should play a pivotal role in building unity and cohesion in our diverse society. We are painfully aware that over the past few years the arts and culture portfolio has not been managed by competent and passionate champions of the arts, but rather used to appease political factions and balance constituency interests in the ANC. This has, regrettably, rendered arts and culture to the ‘fringe’ of political life and public interest. It worries us, when looking at the strong delinquent elements in the ANC list of candidates, that, once again, the Minister of Arts and Culture will likely be a compromised ANC member, to the detriment of our people and our country. This is often complemented by an equally poor choice of Director General in the Department. The frustration in the arts community is palpable. Our once celebrated arts and culture have been plagued by inadequate support, inaction and lack of a clear vision on how to take this important community, at the heart and soul of our country, into the new dawn you speak about. South African artists, musicians, cultural activists, arts institutions, NGOs, Foundations and many ordinary citizens call on you, Mr President, to appoint a credible new arts and culture minister from civil society who is respected by the arts community. The Constitution allows the President to appoint at least two cabinet ministers from outside the political party framework. Thus, an opportunity presents itself to signal to the public that your new cabinet will go beyond narrow party interests, but focusses on national unity, nurturing the arts and celebrating our deep well of heritage. Arts and culture offers the opportunity to be the ‘ties that bind’ us in a society that has seen the fragile unity of our people severely eroded. Please hear our plea for the appointment of a non-party cabinet minister, drawn from civil society and from among the many sterling champions of arts and culture in South Africa. We are solely motivated by our commitment to strengthen our rich heritage and build the ‘unity in diversity’ that our Constitution and national ‘Coat of Arms’ demands of all our people. Supported by: Zolani Mahola, Zelda Holtzman, Zapiro, Wouter Gildenhuys, Vusi Mahlasela, Vinette Ebrahim, Vicky Sampson, Tina Schouw, Thami Mbongo, Sifiso Kweyama, Shihaam Domingo, Ronnie Govender, Riaad Moosa, Renee Roux, SabaZahara HoneyBush, Patric Taric Mellet, Neeran Naidoo, Ncebakazi Mnukwana, Nadia Mason, Mike van Graan, Michelle Robertson, Michael Weeder, Merle Grace O'Brien, Marilyn Martin, Melanie Steyn, Mansoor Jaffer, Mamphela Ramphele, Malika Ndlovu, Maishe Maponya, Kurt Egelhof, Kevin Patel, Koketso Sachane, Kay Jaffer, James Dryja, Ivan Lucas, Hilton van Niekerk, Heinrich Gerwel, Hanief Tiseker, Greg Schaik, Glenn Robertson, Gavin Younge, Frank Meintjies, Flamenco Maestro, Eunice Basson, Ernestine Deane, Enver Larney, Elinor Sisulu, Denise Newman, David Max Brown, Clive Newman, Clarence Ford, Bongiwe Dhlomo-Mautloa, Bienyameen Camroodien, Annemi Conradie, African Musicians Trust.
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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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  • Letter to the Editorial Board of Aging, Neuropsychology and Cognition
    The issue is important because the article is published as scientific research but draws on colonial stereotypes of African women, and 'Coloured' South African women specifically, as intellectually deficient. The article relies on flawed methodology and science, perpetuating harmful, racist stereotypes.
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  • Report the DA and ANC's xenophobia to the IEC
    It’s election season and because political parties have tried to blame their failures on others they now have blood on their hands. This is being made worse by our political parties fighting a propaganda war against our fellow Afrikans to win votes for elections. They are making xenophobic comments at press conferences, rallies and on social media. The DA’s spokesperson on immigration Jacques Julius said, “We have to close our borders. The fact that our borders are porous, you know people can just enter the country. Estimates [of how many immigrants enter the country] have ranged from hundreds of thousands to millions.” [1] This comment creates the idea that South Africa is overrun with immigrants but immigrants only make up 4.2% of the population. [2] There is also no evidence that the amount of immigrants have doubled or tripled. [3] But this isn’t the first time politicians have tried to trick us. Last year Minister of Health and ANC member Aaron Motsoaledi said, “[When immigrants] get admitted [into hospitals] in large numbers, they cause overcrowding, infection control starts failing.” But he gave no evidence or proof to back up these claims. Francois Venter from the Reproductive Health and HIV Institute at Wits University said “I’ve worked in the public sector for over 10 years [as a doctor], and the problems we see [at the hospital] are largely due to poor human resource and supply line management, and the disease burden related to the local failure of poverty relief programmes and poor organisation of services — not a handful of foreigners who are here for jobs, not for healthcare.” [4] The mayor of Johannesburg and DA member, Herman Mashaba said on Twitter, “Please assist us to get @HomeAffairsSA to deal with undocumented foreigner national in Alexander. Uncontrolled number of people in Alex is a challenge way beyond the @CityofJoburgZA competency.” [5] Yet the protests in Alexandria are because of poor service delivery. These comments are meant to shift blame from our leaders onto our fellow Afrikans. These lies are inciting violence against immigrants and their children living in Mzansi. People have been extorted [6], attacked [7], driven from their homes [8] and their shops have been looted [9]. But we can bring this xenophobic propaganda war to an end. The IEC electoral code of conduct bans “using language which provokes violence.” If enough of us come together and report the DA and ANC for their problematic comments to the IEC, the IEC will have no choice but to order political parties apologise for their comments and take responsibility for inciting violence and xenophobia. This pressure could also force the IEC to ban using xenophobia to win votes. If we don’t keep holding government, political leaders and political parties accountable they will only double-down on their efforts to divide us and keep us from the truth by scapegoating immigrants for their failures. If we don’t do something now, we could see more attacks on our fellow Afrikans. We have a choice, either we stand by and watch as government wage propaganda war against our fellow Afrikans or we come together and stand with those who, just like us, are looking for better opportunities for themselves and their children. As amandla.mobi members and a greater Afrikan community we can tell this story and ensure our government protects and gives equal opportunities and access to ALL Afrikans. Force the IEC to ban using xenophobia to win votes and make protecting all Afrikans a priority by joining the campaign and sending the IEC a complaint. Dear CEO of the IEC Sy Mamabolo, We the undersigned call on you to ban the use of xenophobia during election season to win votes. Members of the DA and ANC have made xenophobic comments both on social media and in public. These comments have incited xenophobic violence across the country. People have been attacked, their shops have been looted and they’ve been driven from their homes. The IEC electoral code of conduct bans “using language which provokes violence.” We call on you to enforce the electoral code of conduct and order these political parties to apologise for their comments and take responsibility for inciting xenophobic violence. We also call on you to ban the use of xenophobia to win votes. We trust you will hear our voices. [1] https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/national/2018-10-15-sa-needs-closed-borders-tighter-immigration-control-says-da/ [2] https://africacheck.org/reports/do-5-million-immigrants-live-in-s-africa-the-new-york-times-inflates-number/ [3] https://africasacountry.com/2018/10/how-many-immigrants-live-in-south-africa [4] https://bhekisisa.org/article/2018-11-20-00-immigrant-blame-game-motsoaledi-remarks-immigrants-strain-on-health-system [5] https://citizen.co.za/news/south-africa/social-media/2085631/herman-mashabas-tweet-about-alex-and-foreigners-divides-social-media/ [6] https://www.groundup.org.za/article/eastern-cape-immigrant-shop-owners-say-they-pay-protection-xenophobia/ [7] https://www.groundup.org.za/article/immigrants-fear-their-lives-durban/ [8] https://www.groundup.org.za/article/zimbabweans-limpopo-village-fear-their-future/ [9] https://www.groundup.org.za/article/residents-angered-criminals-running-riots-strand/
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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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