Daily Archives: March 27, 2015

#NigeriaDecides

Africa’s largest democracy holds elections tomorrow. President Goodluck Jonathan is facing a tough re-election battle with longtime rival Muhammadu Buhari. With the Boko Haram insurgency raging, these elections are exceedingly consequential. Here are some resources to keep you informed about the elections and their significance.

A Good Think tank Policy Brief  (Council on Foreign Relations http://on.cfr.org/1FOoWkR)

A Good 14 minute podcast explainer: Global Dispatches Podcast: http://bit.ly/1ycCvCO

A Good explainer on the nuts and bolts of how the election will work. (BBC http://bbc.in/1FOpBmp)

More Nigeria News

Nigeria holds journalist…The Al Jazeera news organization says Nigerian forces have held two of its journalists in custody since Tuesday, as the country tightens security ahead of Saturday’s national election. (VOA http://bit.ly/1GZtwtA)

United Nations refugee chief António Guterres said masses of people fleeing the terrorist group Boko Haram have created a crisis comparable to the refugee situation caused by Syria’s civil war. A shortfall of international funding is hampering the UN’s ability to alleviate the situation. (VOA http://bit.ly/1GZtBxw)

Sat of the day: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that widespread violence and turmoil in the past year have taken a toll on United Nations worker with 33 detained and one missing. Two contractors have also been abducted. (AP http://yhoo.it/1BsOf5x)

Africa

An international court has denied a request from former Liberian president Charles Taylor to serve the rest of his 50-year prison sentence in Rwanda. (VOA http://bit.ly/1GZtmmb)

Dozens of senior officials in Burundi’s ruling party have urged President Pierre Nkurunziza to abandon a quest for a third term this June to avoid renewed violence in the landlocked central African nation. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1FWLhem)

South Sudanese opposition officials and civil society activists have condemned as self-serving and unconstitutional a move by parliament to extend the terms of the country’s elected officials, including themselves and President Salva Kiir. (VOA http://bit.ly/1FWLm1N)

Sierra Leone is preparing for another lockdown to fight the Ebola epidemic. It is believed that against all medical advice, some people continue to bury the dead themselves, bringing them into contact with the virus. (VOA http://bit.ly/1FWLlLl)

A former child soldier from Democratic Republic of Congo told the United Nations Security Council he was sorry for the harm he caused after he was forcefully recruited from his school by an armed group at age 12. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1GZteDc)

A Somali businessman is betting on a biometric fingerprint system to keep alive vital money transfer firms which face closure after Western banks cut ties due to fears remittance cash may be channelled to militant groups. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1FWLgXP)

Sierra Leone authorities have again delayed the reopening of schools shut down for months to combat the spread of Ebola. (VOA http://bit.ly/1FWLmyL)

The three nations hardest hit by West Africa’s Ebola epidemic recorded the lowest weekly total of new cases so far this year in the week leading up to March 22, the WHO said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1GZtiTt)

Liberian health ministry officials say a woman, the country’s first Ebola patient in more than a month, has been quarantined and stabilized and is responding to “supportive” treatment. (VOA http://bit.ly/1GZttOk)

Nigeria’s main presidential candidates signed a second peace accord ahead of general elections on Saturday, the government said on Thursday, promising to hold peaceful polls and not incite religious or ethnic tensions. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1FWLhuQ)

MENA

The global chemical weapons watchdog will investigate allegations of chlorine gas attacks in Syrian villages that killed six and wounded dozens this month, a source said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1BsOJZj)

The long-running conflict with Israel claimed the lives of more Palestinian civilians in 2014 than any year since 1967, the United Nations said Thursday, in a damning report on the humanitarian situation. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1HLaf2D

The United Nations accused the Islamic State of committing shockingly widespread and extremely severe human rights violations against the people of Iraq. (VOA http://bit.ly/1FWLmij)

Amnesty International says Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes by firing rockets and other crudely built, indiscriminate projectiles into Israel during last year’s conflict in the Gaza Strip. (VOA http://bit.ly/1GZtyll)

The human rights group Amnesty International said in a report Thursday that Palestinian militants committed war crimes during the 2014 Gaza conflict by killing both Israeli and Palestinian civilians using indiscriminate projectiles. (AP http://yhoo.it/1HL9KFF)

The flag of once-independent South Yemen is visible everywhere around this port city, once the country’s capital. The banner — red, white, black and blue with a red star — is painted on walls, flown from homes, and flutters from the vehicles and checkpoints of militiamen in the streets. (AP http://yhoo.it/1HLadrz)

The International Committee of the Red Cross has called on all sides in a widening conflict in Yemen to obey the rules of war, voicing concern at reports of civilian casualties following Saudi-led air strikes. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1BsOKwb)

Asia

The U.S. government and major business leaders are renewing their call on the Thai government to crack down on slavery in its fishing fleets, and to punish people who force migrant workers to catch seafood that can end up in the United States. (AP http://yhoo.it/1HL9d6T)

Myanmar is increasing the salaries of its government employees — doubling some of them — as of next month. (AP http://yhoo.it/1BsOH3t)

Humanitarian agencies are struggling to cope with a growing number of people displaced by fighting in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1bxuun5)

The Americas

The death toll in Chile rose to four after rains battered the north and caused flooding, the government said on Thursday, while 22 others were unaccounted for as the military rescued stranded villagers. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1BsOL3b)

A delegation of U.S. telecommunication officials is in Havana to meet with their Cuban counterparts as part of talks to restore full diplomatic relations between the countries. (AP http://yhoo.it/1BsOAVy)

The heaviest rains to hit Chile’s northern desert regions in 20 year have left at least two people dead and 24 missing as the torrential downpours caused mudslides and rivers to breach their banks, leaving thousands of residents stranded. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1BsODB0)

There’s an HIV outbreak in rural Indiana, tied to widespread injectible drug. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1IBb9fG)

…and the rest

Mass abductions of children by groups like Boko Haram and the Islamic State are on the rise, with the practice now becoming a tactic of war, a UN envoy warned. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1HLa8Eh)

Opinion/Blogs

Why gender equality by numbers will never measure up (Guardian http://bit.ly/1bxuljx)

Hollywood made a zombie movie but replaced the zombies with Asians (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/1BsN59Z)

Record-breaking year for asylum claims: 8 key trends (IRIN http://bit.ly/1BsPYI3)

How dealing with climate change is like playing cricket (Guardian http://bit.ly/1BsQIg1)

Is social media fuelling a Mexican Spring? (BBC http://bbc.in/1EHkZc9

Education as a Cornerstone for Women’s Empowerment (Inter Press Service http://bit.ly/1EHl13y)

What’s Up With Parents Who Don’t Vaccinate Their Children? (Goats and Soda http://n.pr/1bxuC5Z)

Discussion

comments…

Cosatu Northern Cape PEC Statement [document]

The Congress of South African Trade Unions in the Northern Cape held a meeting of the Provincial Executive Committee from 24 to 25 March 2015 at the Horseshoe Motel in Kimberley. The meeting, which was attended by the leadership of affiliates and delegates from the different locals across the length and breadth of the province, took the following resolutions:

1. ON POLITICAL ISSUES

The PEC noted that this year marks the 21st Anniversary of our democratic government, the commitments made by the ANC in the January 8 Statement in recognition of the 60th Anniversary of the Freedom Charter and the 30th Anniversary of out giant federation. We therefore resolved as follows:

– We congratulate the ANC on hosting successful 103rd Anniversary Celebrations both nationally and in the province

– The PEC calls on our government to intensify and accelerate service delivery. We reject any attempts to centralise procurement to the national government as we view this as having a potential of further delaying service delivery and centralising corruption

– Government must intensify service delivery through the intensification of the fight against corruption

– Workers in the Northern Cape mourn the untimely passing away of the former Provincial Treasurer of the ANC, Cde Yolanda Botha and other leaders of the alliance such as Cde David Kgware, Obakeng Kgoronyane, Comrade Sammy Ntidisang, Cde Collins Chabane and others

– We welcome the recent repatriation of the mortal remains of the martyrs of our revolution Uncle JB Marks and Malume Moses Kotane

– We call on the ANC to take harsher measures against councillors who allow municipal officials to plunge municipalities into crises as a result of corrupt activities

– We support workers, especially SAMWU members and members of our communities who rise and protest against failing municipalities in demand of service delivery however we condemn all acts of destruction of government property as counterproductive actions that seek to set our communities back

– The federation is concerned at the absence of political programmes, especially in Frances Baardt Region in the wake of a concerted counter revolutionary onslaught by the DA and EFF

– We congratulate the provincial government on hosting successful Human Rights Day, Celebrations in all 5 districts and call for programmes to educate communities about all significant historical days over and above celebrations

– The PEC supports demands for the removal of the statues of colonial masters like Cecil John Rhodes and call on Sol Plaatjie Municipality to act voluntarily before they are forced to

– We congratulate SANCO and the SACP on hosting successful Provincial Congresses in September 2014 and March 2015 respectively. We welcome the newly elected leaders and commit to work together with them in building a ger alliance

– The PEC wishes the ANC well in their forthcoming PGC in June and call on all the delegates to use that PCG as a platform to build further on the unity and cohesion of the organisation.

2. ON ORGANISATIONAL ISSUES

– The PEC of the Northern Cape does not doubt the ability of our leadership to resolve the current challenges facing the federation

– All affiliates are called upon to focus fully or membership service and recruitment in the province

– We will convene an urgent meeting with the workers and community members who are alleged to be occupying the land belonging to Kumba in Sishen

– The PEC recommits itself to the strategic vision of the 2015 Plan in building a g, vibrant and campaigning federation

– We congratulate the former Provincial Chairperson of SADTU on his appointment as a manager in the office of the Major at John Taolo Gaetsewe Municipality

– The federation is committed to fight tirelessly in defence of the exploited workers especially in the solar energy projects and security industry

– The federation supports all the workers who are facing retrenchments, especially in the mines and will intensify out fight against labour brokers

– COSATU Northern Cape will host out Provincial Congress on 10-12 July 2015 in Kuruman

3. ON SOCIO-ECONOMIC ISSUES

– The PEC condemns the recent announcement by Eskom to increase electricity prices and call on all municipalities especially Sol Plaatjie, whose tariffs are already ridiculously high, to ignore this call in the interest of service delivery

– We demand a moratorium on the sale of land by municipalities until a thorough land audit in the province is conducted

– COSATU condemns the developing trend of outsourcing by municipalities and call for the intervention of COGHSTA to stop this as it is a threat to decent jobs

– We condemn the usage of police force against peaceful and unarmed municipal workers protesting for their money which is stolen by the municipality officials in Magareng Municipality

– We demand the removal of that municipal manager for he has failed to give strategic leadership and guide the municipality into financial viability

– The MEC of COGHSTA must set up a team to investigate all municipalities in the province for similar acts of corruption where money for benefits is deducted from the workers but not paid over to the institutions concerned as we believe that it exists in many other municipalities

– We condemn the emerging trend of municipal officials outsourcing cleaning services to themselves and their friends and call on the department of COGHSTA to instruct them to stop

– COSATU is concerned at the chronic shortage of staff in the public service, especially in health. We are making a call for the second time to the Director General of the province to provide us with data on the vacant and funded posts

– We will convene an urgent meeting of the Provincial JMC to discuss a strategy to force the provincial government to fill all vacant and funded posts

– The PEC noted the recent attacks by the Freedom Front on the Department of Health in their campaigns to rubbish out public health system in favour of the private health. We condemn that behaviour and call on the people of the province especially in Kuruman to ignore their racist stunts

– We condemn all forms of discriminations, especially racism in schools and call on Department of Education and SAPS to act decisively against such

– COSATU commends and congratulates all workers who have been elected in the recent SGB elections and call on all other workers to follow suit in the remaining elections

– The federation will host May Day rallies in all five regions and the details will be communicated soon

4. ON INTERNATIONAL ISSUES

– The PEC recommits ourselves to international worker solidarity

– We congratulate all newly elected presidents in the SDC region

– COSATU Northern Cape is deeply disappointed at the stinking attitude of SAFA ignoring our calls for the isolation of Swaziland by continuing to organise friendly games between South Africa and repressive Swaziland

– We call on the South African Government to put pressure on Mswati to democratise Swaziland through total sanctions

Source : Congress of South African Trade Unions

Professionalising Social Work

Managers in the social work sector must have the relevant social work qualifications and be registered professionals.

This was the call made on the last day of the National Social Work Indaba held at Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban.

The three-day Indaba, which started on 24 March, was called by Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini to better understand the challenges faced by social work practitioners and to find ways to improve the delivery of social services in communities.

During the indaba, the practitioners participated in six commissions, where they identified issues to be addressed in the sector and make recommendations.

Most of the recommendations presented from the commissions were included in the resolutions presented on the last day of the indaba.

The indaba resolved that non-social work managers should be redeployed to other areas where their skills will be relevant in order to create space for appropriately qualified and registered social workers.

A standardised programme will be put in place to develop supervision, mentoring, coaching and management competencies and skills within social work nationally.

A national audit of the current supervision and management capacity will be carried out and a plan of action will be developed to address capacity deficiencies.

Retaining competent social workers

To improve the working conditions of social workers and to retain qualified individuals, the current salary, benefit structure and incentive schemes for practitioners will be reviewed.

The indaba also undertook to ensure that social workers are given access to the infrastructure they need to do their work effectively.

Fully resourced employee health and wellness programmes, including debriefing programmes at sub-district level, will also be offered to social workers to help them cope with the stress of their work.

The indaba resolved to market the profession robustly so that it can be seen as a career of choice by young people.

The South African Council for Social Service Professions was given a task to develop and implement a transformation agenda to ensure demographic representation, regulation of the social service workforce and to improve relations with its members.

The indaba resolved to review the current student social work placement practice for improved training outcomes.

It said a social development services academy must be established to ensure continuous skills and professional development of social service professionals.

– SAnews.gov.za

Source : SAnews.gov.za

Summary of the Decisions of the Cosatu Nw Provincial Executive Committee Meeting Held On 25th March 2015 At the Matlosana Mayor’s Hall [press release]

The provincial executive committee met on the 25th March 2015, received a report and deliberated on the following:

Organisational:

The PEC received the 2015 provincial program and the year planner as approved by the CEC and agreed that it will inform all the activities of the federation for the year moving on.

The PEC approved the congress preparatory teams as presented by the POBs and also adopted the congress theme which is “Deepen national democratic revolution unite amp aance the working class struggle for socialism.”

Re-launching of locals

The PEC received the report on the update on the launching of the locals and agreed that the program must continue and to be completed before the coming provincial congress.

State of the affiliates

The PEC received a detailed report on the state of the affiliates and note that there are challenges which are still facing affiliates which amongst other include:

bull There are rival unions in the mining area and some workers continue to attack members of NUM in the area of Rustenburg.

bull Workers continue to rejoin NUM whiles there is a challenge of intimidation from the rival unions.

bull There are still challenges of the employers who fail to comply with the sectoral determinations, in particular in the security sector.

bull There was confusion created by the statement made during the setsokotsane and the processes of the department on the full-time employment of the EPWP workers that almost all the municipalities are not complying

bull The Department of Health is ill treating workers

The PEC resolved that:

bull There is a need to engage with the unions with regard to the challenges which they are facing in the area in which they are organised.

bull There is a need for affiliates which are organised in one sector to develop a common campaign program and to work together to take the matters of the workers against the employers to the street

bull We must also have a march to government against the exploitation of workers.

bull We must convene an urgent meeting with ANC to discuss the challenges that municipal workers are facing and we condemn the non-payment of workers’ salaries by those municipalities.

bull We must go back to the joint meetings with the MECs and the Premier with the ANC leadership.

bull We must convene meeting of unions clustered on their sectors.

bull We must continue with the completion of the launching of the locals and give those which have passed a new date.

Campaigns

May Day celebration

The PEC received a report that the May Day celebration will be held in Taung sports ground but it will be preceded by the Provincial Shop Stewards Council in Taung which will take place on 17 April 2015. The campaigns committee will take place on 10th April 2015 also in Taung and all workers must be mobilised to attend the May Day as we will be launching our 2016 local government election campaign.

Toll gate

The campaign on the toll gate is continuing and there is progress, as there is support from the alliance which will bring ten cars from each alliance component. The report that the minister has refused to increase the toll fees again in this year was welcomed. The minister will make a final determination in parliament and we have agreed on the reduction to R58, that the discount will be applicable to the areas in which they have been applied for and that there will be no increase for the coming three years. The PEC also welcomed the pronouncement by the premier of the NW and that there must be action on the pronouncement.

Mining recruitment program

We need to revive the campaign on the recruitment in the mines while rival unions are still not active in the province the PEC resolved that the mining program must be back in the next two weeks.

Public hearing for security

The PEC received a report that there were public hearings in the province with regard to the working conditions of the workers in the security sector and it confirms that most of the security companies appointed by government do not comply and workers are exploited the campaigns committee must develop a program that must take all workers in the province on to the street.

Labour brokers

The PEC received the report that Labour brokers are still there in many workplaces and they continue to exploit workers by paying them slave wages a program must be developed for the next two weeks as part of our May Day program to expose those labour brokers including those belonging to the politicians.

National minimum wage

The PEC received a report that the matter of the national minimum wage being discussed at NEDLAC. The challenge is that there was no consolidated approach on the minimum wage as each province has made its own submission. The president is expected to make a determination by the end of April.

The PEC resolved to:

bull Do an assessment on the progress of the toll gate since we started the campaign.

bull Request the taxi owners to join the activity.

bull Be at the forefront of leading the campaigns.

bull Continue to campaign for labour brokers to be banned and not regulated.

bull Change the approach on the campaign in particular the labour broker campaign

bull Revive the listing campaign where we must go to the members after every PEC.

bull Monitor the coming election to avoid what happened in 2011.

bull Develop programs to defend the municipalities which we might lose in the coming local government elections.

bull COSATU must develop a pamphlet which tells a good story on the work done by the ANC-led government.

bull Each affiliate must identify the councillors who come from their ranks and report on them.

bull Develop a program with the Department of Labour to deal with the challenges which are facing the workers. Its inspectors must do inspections with the affected workers.

bull Call area meetings in all areas which are near to Taung as build-up activities towards May Day.

bull Do an assessment on the water and electricity campaign and the strikes which are associated with them.

bull Engage the ANC on the matter of the water provision to the communities before the elections.

Political

Alliance program

The alliance secretariat must drive the alliance program and make sure that there is another ten-a-side.

ANC provincial conference

The PEC received a report that the ANC provincial conference went well and we are waiting for the resolutions from the conference and they will be circulated.

State of the municipalities

There are still challenges in the municipalities which are in ICU and there is a need for the POBs to meet with SAMWU to develop a program on the municipalities. The federation will not allow for the workers to lose their jobs we will not celebrate when workers work for a month and then are not paid.

We support the process of the merger of some municipalities include that of Ventersdorp and Tlokwe and name it J B Marks municipality.

Kagisano Molopo will be merged with Naledi and we must propose a name for the municipality. Moses Kotane municipality must also change the name as we support the renaming of the province to Moses Kotane province.

Reburial of J B Marks and Moses Kotane

Both the activities went well. The PEC thanked the ANC-led government and the Russian government for the work that they have done and also thanked the members of COSATU who were part of the activity and were part of the mobilisation for the two activities.

The memorial of Moses Kotane will be turned into a workers’ monument

There were challenges with the some opportunists who wanted to disrupt the activity but they failed from day one.

Bilateral with SACP and SANCO

The bilateral was not able to take place due to the commitment of the alliance in the program of the funerals it must take place to plan for the coming 2016 election.

Meeting with MECs

Affiliates have been given a mandate to meet with the MEC. NEHAWU has raised some challenges with regard to the conduct of some MECs. There is an outstanding meeting with the MEC of CATA which need to be followed up. There is a need for affiliates to give report so that the alliance can engage.

State of the province address

The state of the province address (SOPA) covered a number of issues which COSATU has noted: that some mines have made money available for the provincial government program but they have failed to address the issues of the workers. We have not been able to do an assessment of the SOPA but welcome the work done by the affiliates that have done a SOPA assessment

The PEC then resolved that:

bull The matter of the renaming will taken to the geographic names committee and for public participation and this will include the removal of apartheid symbols.

bull The must be regional alliance meeting and programs in the entire region.

bull All members of COSATU must participate in the ANC subcommittee which they are deployed to.

bull The POBs must finalise the names to the ANC subcommittees

bull The PEC condemned the failure of some municipalities to pay workers salaries on the due date and called on for the alliance to intervene in all municipalities where there are challenges of governance and management.

bull The PEC also condemned that attitude of the Department of Health officials against NEHAWU and DENOSA and the federation will support the program of defending workers against the health department.

Socio economic

NTI board

We are not well represented in the board and we need to make sure that we have representation. The federation will contest the comrades who have been deployed to the board who have questionable credentials in the struggle.

Aids Council

We are told that the premier wants to dissolve the council and we need to act as this will affect the workers that are employed it cannot be correct that always when there is corruption the government or any entity of government or poor management, poor workers are made the culprits.

Learner transport

The matter has been brought back to the Department of Education as there are challenges with regard to the learner transport we will monitor the program for those poor learners to make sure that proper transport is used to transport learners to schools.

Election of SGBs at School

There is a need for the members of COSATU to participate in the election of the SGBs to make sure that racism at schools is being dealt with.

EPWP

The PEC resolved that the meeting between the premier and the MEC of public works is very important so that some things are cleared up, even if the premier has cleared some of those during the SOPA. As the federation we must engage on the matter of defending those workers. The previous administration, with some corrupt officials, has created an expectation for those poor workers and it is our primary mandate to defend the rights of workers regardless of their status.

Source : Congress of South African Trade Unions

The Cruelty of Politics – Ses’khona Supporters Poo-Poo ANC’s Fransman [analysis]

On Thursday, hundreds of supporters of social movement Ses’khona People’s Rights – the original poo-chuckers – marched to the Western Cape provincial legislature. The ANC Western Cape had put out a statement announcing that they would meet them there in support. Many Ses’khona members wore T-shirts stating “Ses’khona endorses ANC”. And yet when ANC provincial leader Marius Fransman tried to address the crowd, he was booed away. Politics is a bloodsport.

Police and officials were on edge ahead of Thursday’s Ses’khona march. Previous protests by the movement have ended in violence and looting. In October 2013, a march through the CBD led by Ses’khona leader Andile Lili saw small-scale traders on St George’s Mall robbed of their wares and car windows smashed.

Last month, following the appearance of Lili and fellow leader Loyiso Nkohla in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court, Ses’khona supporters looted Somali-owned stores in Philippi.

Concerns over safety on this occasion were fuelled by rumours that Lili had made an appearance on a local radio station in aance to encourage marchers to bring hammers in order to smash shop windows – an allegation subsequently denied by Lili. A number of the marchers were, however, carrying weapons…

Source : Daily Maverick