As the spotlight falls on the adoption of South Africa’s landmark Constitution, 20 years ago this year, one of its striking features -- the inclusion of the first-ever constitutional guarantee of non-discrimination based on sexual orientation -- is also under global scrutiny.
Governance and democracy
The United Nations Refugee Agency says a stateless child is born every 10 minutes around the world.
The agency says there are about 10 million stateless people in the world and that 30 percent of them are children.
It says this is mainly due to discriminatory citizenship laws which are exacerbated by the fact that most countries grant citizenship based on descent.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA), which started as a reaction to urban tolling but has now expanded its scope, launched a petition related to the controversial upgrades made to President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home.
OUTA wants Zuma to repay 100 percent of the money spent, not the R7.8 million that Treasury determined he is liable for.
OUTA’s petition has already generated massive interest and the organisation states that, “Our last petition caused waves, created awareness and brought about change in the country through numbers.”
Mandeep Tiwana, head of policy and analysis at CIVICUS, an international organisation representing civil society organisations, points out that, "Civil society freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly have been under serious attack in 109 countries around the world in 2015 alone."
Tiwana is of the view that, "One of the main tests of the justness of any society is how it treats its minorities whether there is equality of opportunity for all particularly for disadvantaged populations."
Former Dean of Law Faculty and former Director of the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria, Professor Christof Heyns, has been elected as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
Heyns, who previously served as United Nations Special Rapporteur, was nominated by the South African government.
Meanwhile, Heyns states that he appreciates and values the support that the university has given him while serving as the UN Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial summary and arbitrary executions over the past six years.
The Social Justice Coalition (SJC) has criticised the numerous postponements of a case related to the murder of a Khayelitsha young woman.
The coalition's spokesperson, Chumile Sali, says the delays are demoralising for the family and victims of gender-gender violence.
Most civil society organisations are probably unaware that the ‘draft NPO Bill of 2016’ was presented at a May conference hosted by the South African Accounting Academy. Possibly the reason for this unusual choice of presentation forum was that, as a representative from the Department of Social Development (DSD) had previously told a small group of civil society leaders, although the department is interested in holding consultations on the Bill, it does not have the budget to do so.
According a report by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), in the midst of staggeringly high unemployment figures, South Africa hosted more asylum seekers than any other country in the world at the end of 2015.
In the first quarter of 2016, unemployment rose to 26.7 percent from 24.5 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.
This translates to more than five million people in South Africa who are actively seeking employment, the figure excludes millions of job seekers who have given up looking for work.
Parliamentarians have been urged to be wary of non-governmental-organisations who in their bid to discredit local polls, will never appreciate the country's electoral system.
Legislators noted that some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like the Election Resource Centre would ‘perpetually’ condemn Zimbabwe's electoral system despite improvements that would have been registered.
Eleven Mozambican civil society organisations have announced their intention to hold a peaceful march through the streets of central Maputo on 18 June 2016, in protest against the current political and military situation in the country.
The organisers say that the march, under the theme ‘For the Right to Hope’ is being held because of “the situation the country is going through, particularly in the politico-military sphere, with a generalised impact on the circulation of people and goods throughout our territory, damaging the living conditions of the population.”