GroundUp: Deductions from social grants – Reserve Bank enters the fray. Health-E: The Hidden Violence – women and attempted suicide. Sandile* is admitted to hospital over the weekend and I meet her on her third day there.
Op-Ed: Why Human Rights Day matters now more than ever. In South Africa there is a public holiday on 21 March each year.
Theconversation. Twenty years ago South Africa embarked on a bold strategy to renew its welfare system.
This was part of a larger project to transform South African society to achieve peace and social justice and overcome the social divisions of the past. Significant policy and legislative achievements have been made, and a rights-based approach to social welfare has been promoted. Formal racial discrimination in access to services has been abolished. And a nationally integrated single welfare system has been created for all South Africans. South Africa is acknowledged as the leader and an innovator on social development in the global South.
Grants as a political tool Social grants have had a major effect on poverty reduction and some effects on reducing inequality. Left in the Dark: Spotlighting visual impairment. For most people, imagining visual loss feels like a nightmare.
This, however, does not need to be the case. With proper aids and appliances, an autonomous and independent life is still possible, in spite of visual impairment. The Department of Basic Education’s “White Paper 6”, written to outline the building of an inclusive education and training system, is exactly that: a white paper, which still seeks clarification on its own legal status, as it has not been promulgated into an Act. Angie Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education, issued a directive that roundtable discussions be held on disabilities, planned for 23 November last year. The theme of this roundtable was to be “No Child Left Behind”. Looking at statistics, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) will have to put their word to action, as nigh on 600,000 learners with disabilities have no access to education.
Another issue that needs to be addressed is waiting lists. “You feel bad. The impact of gender-based violence on the economy. In the wake of the 16 Days of Activism, which recently drew to a close, it’s worth looking at what gender-based violence is costing us - not just socially and morally, but also economically and politically.
Last month, the World Economic Forum released its annual Gender Gap Report. South Africa is faring well in the measures in this particular report: it ranks 17th out of 145 countries, in fact. Where one represents perfect equality and 0 represents total inequality, South Africa achieved an overall score of 0.759. Particularly encouraging is political representation. South Africa scored was ranked 14th for political empowerment and seventh for the number of women in parliament. Internationally, the picture is similar to that in South Africa where economic versus political inequality is concerned. Crime and punishment: Is lawlessness pushing South Africans beyond jurisprudence? When the police force in a constitutional democracy publicly executes a suspected criminal, without trying to apprehend him, it is acting way beyond and outside the law.
The same applies to desperate citizens who band together to hunt down suspects, and setting them alight, or bludgeoning them to death. Almost a daily occurrence, this extrajudicial police conduct, and citizens’ response to crime in their communities, are often carried out in full view of young children. We have entered the realms of Judge Dredd and Dirty Harry. When a government or state, including some of its own leaders, disregard the laws of the country, for whatever reasons, and resort to violence against their own people, and when citizens emulate the criminal conduct of their leaders, that country has reached a critical threshold.
Digital payments: Transforming the lives of millions. Nearly 70% of remittances sent from South Africa are in cash, carried by friends or bus drivers across hundreds of miles.
Those who do use formal channels like banks and established vendors have to pay fees ranging from 5% to 20% of the total amount they’re sending. The immense flow and importance of remittance payments, combined with the costs and inconvenience of transacting them in the current system, make a robust, secure system supporting cross-border payments absolutely necessary.
The good news is that such a system is already taking shape in southern Africa. Imagine this scenario: A young woman from a small town outside Johannesburg, moves to the city and begins working as the manager of a local hotel. Children’s Amendment Bills: Ubuntu and the ongoing child protection debate. Recent public comment days for the Children’s Amendment Bills brought a stark reminder that many sectors of government still believe that ubuntu is the panacea for all of our orphans’ ills.
Ubuntu, by definition, is about our humanity to others. In the context of child protection, it is epitomised by community-based care and the principle that no child is left behind. Spotlight on social grants: Sassa's bid to stop illegal deductions. The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) is working to get this money refunded.
Desperation, Inc: Eastern Cape pensioners looking for justice outside Parliament. “The apartheid government killed our people, but the ANC government chooses to bury us alive.”
Clement Bacela, 64, doesn’t look bitter when he says these words. He appears entirely matter-of-fact. His voice doesn’t rise.