activism

Activist Criticises SA Education System

Anti-apartheid activist, Mamphela Ramphele, has compared the state of education in South Africa to a sinking ship.

Speaking at the third congress of teacher's union, the National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA) in Johannesburg, Ramphele, the founder of the Citizens Movement, an organisation that lobbies for social change, pointed out that, "I'm not just talking about the textbooks. Vacant teacher's posts must be filled, and not just filled for the sake of being filled - we need experts and specialists," she explains.

Police Questioned Over Marikana Shooting

Veteran human rights lawyer, Advocate George Bizos, has asked in his opening statement to the Marikana Commission of Inquiry for an explanation as to why a vast majority of striking Lonmin miners were shot in the back by police on 16 August 2012.

Speaking in relation to forensic evidence received in regard to the 34 miners who were killed by police in a dispersal attempt, Bizos asked how are the police are going to explain that the vast majority of wounds were in the back.

Political Intolerance Ahead of Zim Referendum

According to an article on IRIN News, an attack on a political rally by uniformed soldiers is stoking fears of a reprise of state-sponsored violence against NGOs, human rights activists and parties opposed to ZANU-PF in the lead-up to a referendum on a draft constitution and scheduled parliamentary and presidential elections in 2013.

Welshman Ncube, the leader of the smaller Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), addressed a gathering of about 1 000 people in the Mashonaland East Province last week before the assault occurred.

Court Ruling a Minor Setback - OUTA

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) says that this week’s Constitutional Court hearing is a minor set-back.

OUTA chairperson, Wayne Duvenage, points out that, "We were expecting that it might not go our way, it doesn't necessarily scupper our case at all in the review in November 2012.”

His comments come after the Constitutional Court overturned the High Court interdict which stalled the roll out of e-tolls in Gauteng.

People’s Charter for Swaziland

According to an article titled, ‘Peoples Charter Drafted in Swaziland’, by Richard Lee, the Swaziland Week of Action might be over but the campaign to transform Africa's last absolute monarchy into a more open and democratic society clearly is not.

Lee is of the view that with momentum - and international awareness about the abuses of the ruling regime - growing, pro-democracy activists will continue to press for change.

SACC Saddened by Mgojo’s Death

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) has described the death of Reverend Elliot Khoza Mgojo, as a great loss.

In a statement, SACC general secretary, Mautji Pataki, says that Mgojo, who is one of the organisation’s former presidents, made a valuable contribution to the fight against apartheid and poverty.

“It was a delicate period in the life of our nation and yet Rev Dr Mgojo provided solid leadership and allowed God's voice to lead him as he tirelessly worked against violence and the destruction of human life," explains Mgojo.

Uganda Making Life Tough for Rights Activists

Maria Burnett, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, says she interviewed hundreds of victims and witnesses of human rights abuses in Uganda, but was surprised at the fear she heard recently when she met with activists in that country.

Writing in her personal capacity, Burnett, points out that if you preach human rights, you are labelled ‘anti-development’, ‘an economic saboteur’ and so on.          

Addressing the Politics of Sexuality

This month, civil society representatives from Southern Africa converged in Maputo, Mozambique for the annual Southern African Development Community (SADC) Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (CNGO). Held under the banner ‘The SADC We Want’, the meeting discussed various issues including regional integration, environment, climate change, elections, children's rights and the rights of sexual minorities. The striking issue from the Maputo discussion is the fact that most human rights defenders will not fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights.

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