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South African protest news 29 March - 4 April 2010 (2010) South African protest news 29 March - 4 April 2010.  : -.

Summary
SOUTH AFRICAN PROTEST NEWS 29 MARCH 4 APRIL 2010

South African army on high alert for World Cup
(AFP) Cape Town 26 March 2010

South African soldiers will be on high alert during the football World
Cup, the army boss said as the government voiced concern about violent
protests during the tournament.

The military will also begin patrolling the national borders on April 1,
taking over the duty from police as part of a broader security
realignment meant to allow police to focus on fighting crime, Lieutenant
General Solly Shoke said."We are ready to help where needed with the
World Cup," Shoke told reporters in the capital Pretoria.

"All army leave has been cancelled over this period. We will be on high
alert," he said. "We will be there in support of the South African
Police Services."

"This World Cup is not about security. It's about enjoyment. People must
be allowed to come here and enjoy the soccer. We don't see any threats"
to the tournament, he added.

The border patrols are part of South Africa's push to prevent
trafficking in drugs or people, particularly as the World Cup's June 11
kick-off nears. South Africa last week proposed its first direct
legislation to target trafficking, with maximum sentences of life
imprisonment and a one million rand (136,000 dollar/101,000 euro) fine.

The new law will not be in place before the World Cup, but South Africa
will train police to use existing legislation to tackle trafficking,
said Ngoako Ramatlhodi, chair of parliament's justice committee.

"Anticipation of an increase in trafficking, especially for sexual
purposes, ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, has focused attention on
South Africa's ability to deal with trafficking," he said in Cape
Town.The government on Thursday also expressed concern at the risk of
violent protests during the four-week tournament.

South Africa has been rattled by a series of demonstrations over the
last month, with impoverished communities demanding access to basic
services and the powerful mini-bus taxi industry protesting a new public
transport system.Street protests are a common feature of South African
life, but some recently have been marred by shootings, arson and stonings.

"Obviously we are concerned," government spokesman Themba Maseko told
journalists.
"The violent and destructive nature of some of the protests is
unacceptable," he said.
"We do not want to see these demonstrations, especially during the World
Cup, when the country's attention and focus should be to be the best
host ever for the 2010 FIFA World Cup."

The protests were "a symptom of accumulated discontent" over basic
services like piped water and housing in poor neighbourhoods, he
said."Our primary concern at this stage is the use of violence. The
burning of libraries and other public facilities, destruction of
property, we think is an unacceptable way of raising concerns in a
democratic state," he said.

"The most ideal situation is obviously for a lot of these challenges or
problems raised by communities and the taxi associations to be resolved
well ahead of the World Cup. Obviously, that's our first prize," said
Maseko.Many of South Africa's protests are less dramatic.

About 100 members of the South African Disability Alliance burned three
wheelchair tyres near the Soccer City stadium, venue of the opening and
final matches, to complain about poor handicap access at three stadiums.



Cosatu issues strike card to World Cup
Kea' Modimoeng - Additional reporting by Sapa www.times.co.za 4 April 2010

Cosatu has threatened to stage an indefinite strike that might affect
the Fifa World Cup if Eskom's 25% tariff hike is not changed.

quote 'Our interest to defend jobs is certainly bigger than the
Soccer World Cup' quote

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi submitted a Section 77 notice
to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) on
Thursday, calling for negotiations to start about the unfair treatment
of the working class and the poor. Failure to resolve the dispute could
lead to legitimate strike action by the trade union federation.

Addressing journalists after the National Union of Metalworkers of SA
(Numsa) bargaining conference earlier this week, Vavi said Cosatu's main
focus was to prevent the estimated 250000 job losses that could follow
the fuel and electricity price increases.

"Our interest to defend jobs is certainly bigger than the World Cup.
That is why we want the government and business to come to the party so
that we can agree on terms."

Vavi said if the strike action proceeded into June, it would be
impossible to tell workers to stop striking "just because there is a
World Cup taking place. Workers will not be the ones faulted by history
simply because they had legitimate demands".

Vavi also demanded that Eskom's capital spending be funded by, among
other things, a tax on short-term capital flows, a tax on luxury and
non-essential imports, and a one-off wealth tax on corporations and
individuals.

"The funding for capital expenditure must come from the fiscus," Vavi
said when he handed over the Section 77 notice to Nedlac's executive
director Herbert Mkhize.

"We further demand a discussion on the electricity pricing policy with a
view to a review of all provisions, such as the cost-reflectivity, that
hurt the poor."

"We demand that the government desist in its attempts to privatise
electricity distribution and the generation of electricity."

Delegates at the Numsa conference expressed their determination to
embark on a strike "in defence of jobs."

Mkhize said Nedlac's first step would be to satisfy itself that the
notice complied with Labour Relations Act requirements.

Thereafter, it would, within seven days of receiving the notice, convene
an initial meeting of all the parties to establish whether the issues
raised could be resolved.

Usually, at least three meetings are convened to obtain a sense of
whether the issues are capable of being resolved.

"The first three meetings are critical," Mkhize said. "If we can't
resolve (the problems), then we declare the matter as having been
considered by Nedlac and we issue a certificate to the applicants to say
if they so wish they can invoke a 14-day notice that they intend
proceeding with the strike action."

Cosatu said its protest action would take the form of marches,
demonstrations, pickets and stay-aways directed at the departments of
energy, public enterprises, trade and industry, economic development,
co-operative governance and traditional affairs, and the Treasury.

Also targeted would be Business Unity SA, Business Leadership SA, the SA
Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Eskom and the National Energy
Regulator of South Africa.

Economist Mike Schussler said if the strike went ahead it would
"definitely" affect investor confidence in the country.

"Investors will ask themselves whether they can count on South Africa
for future investments and the answer will be no," Schussler said. He
added that the timing of the possible strike was significant as the
world would be watching closely to see how South Africa hosted a major
global sporting event.




Bloemfontein residents embark on violent protest
3 April 2010

Community members of Thaba Nnchu, east of Bloemfontein, have vowed to
make the area ungovernable if their grievances over poor service
delivery are not met. Today a group of protesters burnt tyres and
barricaded roads - including the N8 to Bloemfontein. Some protesters
even threw stones at motorists who then had to use alternative routes.

Members of the South African Police Service fired rubber bullets after
one of the protesters assaulted a law officer trying to restore order.
Four people have been arrested for public violence.

Community members have warned that protest action will continue on
Tuesday if their grievances are not met. These include opposition to the
installation of VIP toilets. They also complain that houses promised to
them have still not been built after years of waiting. In some cases
only the foundations were completed.

According to community representative, Shiloane Thole, the protest
action that took place today is just the beginning of what will happen
on Tuesday when the local municipality is supposed to provide answers to
their grievances.

Zuma set for public meetings
President Jacob Zuma and his ministers will soon embark on a series of
public meetings in a bid to curb service-delivery protests. The new
initiative - known as the Public Participation Programme - intends to
curb potential service-delivery protests, which often end violently.

The programme is similar to the izimbizo programme launched under former
president Thabo Mbeki's government, where members of the public would
interact directly with government on issues that troubled communities.

Government spokesperson Themba Maseko said late last month that all
ministers would undertake at least 10 public izimbizo (meeting)
engagements a year.



Cope calls for tolerance after homes burned
Sapa 4 April 2010

THE Congress of the People on Saturday called for political tolerance in
KwaZulu-Natal after homes belonging to some of its members’ were torched
in recent weeks.

Cope leader in Parliament Mvume Dandala was speaking at an Easter
service in KwaSizabantu when he accused the African National Congress of
breaking the law.

“The point we are making is that it is illegal to destroy people’s
property …. We are asking that the ANC intervenes and stops its members
from intimidating other parties,” Cope spokesperson Phillip Dexter said.

In March, police reported that about 600 ANC supporters had embarked on
an illegal protest in Durban’s Clermont area.

At the time, police spokesperson Superintendent Vincent Mdunge said two
shacks had been burned down but no injuries were reported.

Police used rubber bullets to disperse the unruly crowd, who had stoned
police.

Cope claimed that the attacks were an attempt by the ANC to push them
out of Clermont. — Sapa



Service delivery protests rock the North West province ,
1 April 2010

The lack of service delivery by local authorities in the North West
province, continue to haunt them. Late last night, the flow of traffic
between Mafikeng and Vryburg was disrupted again. Motorists travelling
between the two towns were stranded when a group of protesters blockaded
the road and started stoning passing vehicles, protesting against what
they termed lack of service delivery by the Mafikeng local municipality.

A group of protesters barricaded the road between Mafikeng and Vryburg
with stones, scrap metal and tree branches. Traffic leaving and coming
from Mafikeng came to a stand still while the protesters were singing
and toy-toying in the middle of the road.

Group leader, Sam Mbewa says: "We are toy-toying because we are looking
for our needs, we have our lights here, we don't have roads here, we
don't have bridges and our children are suffering to go to school. There
is plenty of water here but we don't have libraries, our children want
to learn and to have more education. It can't be right that they do not
have anything to study at times".

Police were forced to use rubber bullets to disperse the protesters
after they stoned passing vehicles, damaging several. Police patrolled
the area over night.



Cosatu plans to go on warpath
I-Net Bridge 1 April 2010

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is mounting a major
campaign - including rolling mass action - against what they have
identified as the apartheid fault lines in the economic system.

In particular, the unions will be calling for a total ban on labour
broking, and for the implementation of other measures to protect
vulnerable workers such as farm labourers "and workers employed in
small/medium enterprises who are facing the brunt of
super-super-exploitation".

Addressing the metal workers' union Numsa in Johannesburg on Wednesday
Zwelinzima Vavi, the general secretary of Cosatu, said the federation
has instructed its lawyers to submit a section 77 notice - which would
authorise a strike with political and not industrial objectives - to
cover their demands.

"We are launching the Cosatu proposals on 26 April 2010," Vavi said.

Their proposals will include the withdrawal of the wage subsidy policy,
contained in Finance Minister's speech, that will further open young
people to super-exploitation, and they will seek a macroeconomic policy
that supports and not undermines a new growth path and industrial policy.

In the meantime, Cosatu will convene a meeting of the three labour
federations (Cosatu, Fedusa and Nactu) to discuss this state of affairs
in line with the resolutions of the recent Nedlac labour conference.

"In this meeting we shall discuss and resolve whatever outstanding
disagreements that may still exist on labour brokering," Vavi said.

"Further to this we will decide how we can work together more
systematically to unite all workers' organisations through a more
systematic campaign to challenge and change the apartheid political
economy fault lines. We hope we will convene a broad workers' summit
during 2010."

They also plan to have a meeting with the leadership of the ANC to
discuss in particular their rejection of the wage subsidy policy for
youth employment.

"In this meeting we shall take the opportunity to explain why we reacted
angrily to the budget speech policy framework, which undermined the
spirit of the Alliance Summits," Vavi said.


They are seeking a major workshop between the Department of Trade and
Industry and all Cosatu unions operating in the manufacturing sector to
look at practical ways to implement IPAP2 (the second industrial policy
action plan).

"We shall demand that the DTI provides more capacity to unions to engage
in more research to address all structural, objective and subjective
weaknesses of every sector of our economy," the general secretary told
Numsa.

Cosatu is also planning to get more deeply involved in the local
protests against poor service delivery.

Cosatu locals throughout the country must convene community-based
meetings, Vavi said, to listen to the grievances of the working class
communities and take up issues communities raise with relevant authorities.

"Cosatu will form part of all community campaigns as we have done
throughout our history," he added.

"But we will ensure that genuine protests are not hijacked by criminal
elements involved in the wanton destruction of property and other acts
of criminality. These violent protest actions, just like violent
strikes, only take away attention from the genuine grievances."

The unions want in addition, to get involved in decisions over how the
R846 billion infrastructure spend will be used.

"We will approach the government to put structures in place to
facilitate participation of labour in the decision-making processes," he
said.

"We demand that government uses the same aggression and efficiency it
used to build stadiums and other infrastructure for the Fifa 2010 World
Cup to roll out infrastructure in the working class communities in order
to address the apartheid spatial development patterns, build transport
and road infrastructure and other amenities". - I-Net Bridge



Call to revise Gauteng procurement policy
SIBONGAKONKE SHOBA www.inet.co.za, 1 April 2010

The tripartite alliance in Gauteng has proposed a complete overhaul of
procurement policy to ensure transparency, prevent corruption and speed
up service delivery.

THE tripartite alliance in Gauteng has proposed a complete overhaul of
procurement policy to ensure transparency, prevent corruption and speed
up service delivery.

It plans to table the proposal to review the policy at the African
National Congress’s (ANC’s) national general council meeting in Durban
in September.

This is the province’s response to the barrage of criticism of the
manner in which tenders have been used by the ANC for political patronage.

The alliance partners — the ANC, the Congress of South African Trade
Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Communist Party — together with
the South African National Civic Organisation agreed at their summit
last weekend that the state should move away from inviting tenders for
services the government could itself perform.

Cosatu provincial secretary Dumisani Dakile said the government must
build its own capacity to provide services to the people rather than
appoint private companies.

The state should have a company that builds houses and maintains roads.
“Do we really need private sector involvement?” Dakile asked.

The alliance also wants the tender process to be made public from when
it is advertised to when it is awarded, and favours the removal of red
tape to speed up delivery.

Some minor changes in the procurement process in Gauteng have already
been implemented. Premier Nomvula Mokonyane recently ordered all
accounting officers to stop delegating authorisation powers to junior
managers and take full responsibility for goods procured. Plans are at
an advanced stage to remove procurement from the Gauteng Shared Services
Centre (GSSC) to line departments.

The GSSC — which acts as a back office for Gauteng departments — is
under review after calls for it to be dismantled.

ANC provincial secretary David Makhura said the summit did not discuss
the future of the GSSC as the ruling party was still waiting for the
report of a team appointed by Mokonyane to review the agency.

Makhura said any review of procurement policy would not mean moving away
from empowerment policies: “One thing we are not going to change is
empowerment.”

He said corruption was not just about tenders but about public servants
not doing their jobs properly.

The alliance’s leaders had visited areas affected by service delivery
protests. Their assessment, said Makhura, had revealed that one of the
problems was the employment conditions of ward councillors.

“If you go to the wards, councillors have day jobs like you and I. When
there is a protest, they are expected to take time off their day job to
be there (where people are protesting),” he said.

The alliance resolved to table a proposal for the review of councillors’
salaries. “If councillors were paid adequately it would not be necessary
for them to have day jobs,” said Makhura.
shobas@bdfm.co.za

Municipalities to strike

Around 130 000 members of the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) would
embark on an indefinite nationwide strike on April 12, the union said on
Thursday.

It said in a statement it had lost patience with the "delays, evasions
and generally irresponsible attitude" of the SA Local Government
Association (Salga), with which it negotiates pay and other matters.

The union said that among the issues giving rise to the strike was the
refusal of Salga, which employs all municipal workers, to introduce a
system that would grade all jobs in the municipal sector.

The absence of such a system allowed individual municipalities to
arbitrarily grade jobs and assign their own salaries.

"This leads to massive abuse and favouritism that is not conducive to
sound work practices," the union said.

Salga also wanted to peg wages at 2008 levels while municipal managers
and councillors continued to pay themselves hugely inflated salaries and
bonuses and granted themselves other perks.

Samwu claims 130,000 members countrywide.

Samwu's national deputy general secretary Walter Theledi said the
national strike was not related to various provincial branches'
threatened strikes.

The union's Mpumalanga branch on Thursday threatened to strike if Salga
refused to improve their members' working conditions, while Samwu in
Limpopo marched to premier Cassel Mathale's office to hand over a
memorandum demanding the same.

They were also concerned about corruption in the municipalities.

Both the provincial branches said they would go on strike on April 12 if
their demands were not met. Mpumalanga gave Salga until April 9.

Theledi said the provincial bargaining councils could still come to
agreements on their separate issues, but the national strike would go
ahead regardless.

"It is a done deal," he said. "We have already served them with a notice
a few weeks ago and will go ahead with the protected and legal strike."

He said the decision had already been taken in December last year and
that the union had negotiated with Salga without success since 2003.

He said the strike would be indefinite.

"We will go on until they (Salga) come to the table with an agreement
that we could agree on."

Theledi said service delivery would be disrupted on a national scale.

"We don't condone violence during our peaceful protest but there are
always some individuals that want to use our strikes to further their
own personal interest," he said.



Angry Diepsloot residents stage protest over service delivery
LAUREN PETERSEN 29 March 2010

JOHANNESBURG - Angry Diepsloot residents yesterday staged a protest
march on William Nicol Drive to hand over a memorandum of grievances.

A strong police contingent kept a watchful eye on the protesters as they
waited for Human Settlements acting secretary-general Martin Maphisa to
receive their memorandum.

Maphisa promised he would pass on the list to minister Tokyo Sexwale.

Lucky Manyisa, an SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) representative,
said Dainfern residents had appealed to them for help, after being
evicted from their homes and having their belongings destroyed by the
owner of the property.

“People were evicted from their homes and promised alternative
accommodation. They were moved to an unsuitable place where there is a
sewerage camp,” he said.

A 70-year-old woman, who had lived there for almost 60 years, said she
was removed from her home without warning.

Sanco community leader Joe Masemola said service delivery was a big
problem and housing development in the area did not happen fast enough.



Minister is warned - Shiceka reneges on vow to return
Vusi Xaba 1 April 2010

ENRAGED: Residents of Siyathemba township near Balfour in Mpumalanga are
threatening to set the township alight after the government failed to
live up to its promises on delivery of basic services. Photo: HALDEN KROG

GAVE HIS WORD: Sicelo Shiceka
Vusi Xaba - xabav@sowetan.co.za

RESIDENTS of Siyathemba township near Balfour in Mpumalanga have warned
of another wave of violent protests after Minister of Cooperative
Governance and Traditional Affairs Sicelo Shiceka failed to return to
the area yesterday as promised.

Shiceka had put together a task team to defuse the volatile situation
after violence erupted in the region in February. But this initiative is
on the brink of collapse, with community members threatening to withdraw.

Community representatives in the task team said yesterday that Shiceka’s
failure to appear and to report on the demarcation issue as promised,
showed that the government had no regard for the community. The
representatives asked not to be named out of fear of being targeted.

Shiceka visited the area on February 18, when Siyathemba township was
plunged into a violent protest and stayaway that lasted for two weeks.
During his visit Shiceka said he would look into residents’ demands and
would come back by yesterday.

He appointed an official from his office, Tozi Faba, to facilitate the
task team.

“There has been no word from Shiceke ’s office since his last visit to
the area,” Faba said.

“Wherever we go people ask us whether Shiceka is coming or not. They
want progress. We will not be able to stop the people if they protest
again,” he said.

Faba said residents had made it clear at the task team’s last meeting
that they did not want to hear about anything other than the issue of
the re-demarcation of Balfour to Gauteng.

“We are saying that service delivery would be attended to once we are in
Gauteng.

“ Johannesburg is about 45km way from us whereas Mpumalanga’s provincial
capital is Nelspruit which is 400km away,” he said.

Residents also said Shiceka’s recent visit had taken place after an
earlier one that had proved entirely fruitless .

He first visited the area after Siyathemba residents had staged a
service delivery protest last year.

Attempts to obtain comment from Shiceka’s office were unsuccessful .

Sowetan e-mailed an enquiry to his spokesperson Vuyelwa Qinga Vika in vain.

Numerous phone calls were made to him on Monday but he did not respond.

Public hearings on Municipal Property Rates Act (MPRA) Review – media
briefing by Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
Sicelo Shiceka

Issued by: Ministry for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
25 March 2010

The Ministry for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA)
will embark on public hearings during April 2010 to engage property
owners across the country on the proposed review of the Municipal
Property Rates Act, 2004 (MPRA).

The Ministry will conduct these hearings in an attempt to reach out to
ordinary ratepayers, ratepayers’ associations, community
representatives, farmers, industry, organised business, mining chambers
and owners of public service infrastructure to solicit their views and
inputs on the current Act with the objective of improving it for the
benefit of citizens.

The MPRA makes provision for municipalities to value properties in their
jurisdictions and impose property taxes to fund the provision of public
goods that benefit communities. However, in its current form the Act has
been inconsistently applied by municipalities, which has resulted in an
inequitable and inefficient implementation of the MPRA. This has left
poor households vulnerable to unaffordable taxes and has also resulted
in the inequitable treatment of ratepayers in general.

Currently, the exemption of poor or indigent households and households
owned by those dependent on social grants from rates payment is a
municipal decision. This may result in these households being subjected
to paying municipal rates where municipalities do not make provision for
their protection in their rates policies. In addition, the equitable and
fair rating of different property categories is proving to be difficult
to manage.

The proposed amendments are intended to address these and other
inconsistencies and provide for a more equitable, consistent and
transparent application of the Act.

Public hearings in all provinces will begin on 6 April and end on 30
April 2010. Refer to attached schedule indicating actual date and venue
in respect of each of the nine provinces. Public inputs will be given
due consideration and where necessary incorporated into a draft
Municipal Property Rates Amendment Bill which will be submitted to
Parliament in September 2010.

South African citizens are encouraged to make use of this opportunity
and participate in this process because the amended Act will affect
them. The current Municipal Property Rates Act is available on the
CoGTA’s website (www.cogta.gov.za.

Concerned parties can visit the website to download a copy of the Act,
the list of public hearing venues that are nearer to them and other
documents relating to the hearings. Inputs of citizens can also be
forwarded to CoGTA by sending an e-mail to mpra@cogta.gov.za or fax to
012 334 4811, and this must reach the department before the cut off date
of 3 May 2010.

The MPRA review forms part of a series of local government laws that are
under review as CoGTA embarks on a process that will allow for a more
efficient implementation of the Local Government Turn Around Strategy
(LGTAS) and effective service delivery to citizens. The LGTAS is the
department’s response to various challenges that are facing
municipalities, as was shown in the State of Local Government in 2009
Report (www.cogta.gov.za).

Schedule of Municipal Property Rates Act Review public hearings

Province: Eastern Cape
Date: Tuesday, 6 April 2010
Venue: Provincial Legislature, Independence Avenue, Bhisho
Time: 09h00

Province: North West
Date: Friday, 9 April 2010
Venue: Provincial Legislature, Dr James Moroka Drive, Mmabatho
Time: 09h00

Province: Limpopo
Date: Monday, 12 April 2010
Venue: Jack Botes Hall, corner Kerk and Bodenstein Streets, Polokwane
Time: 09h00

Province: Free State
Date: Thursday, 15 April 2010
Venue: The Chamber, Fourth Raadsaal, President Brand Street Bloemfontein
Time: 09h00

Province: Mpumalanga
Date: Monday, 19 April 2010
Venue: Nelsville Hall, Grace Street, Nelsville, Nelspruit
Time: 09h00

Province: Northern Cape
Date: Thursday, 22 April 2010
Venue: Provincial Legislature, Northern Noben Bula Extension, Galeshewe,
Kimberly
Time: 09h00

Province: Gauteng
Date: Monday, 26 April 2010
Venue: Johannesburg City Hall, Corner Harris and President Streets,
Johannesburg
Time: 09h00

Province: KwaZulu-Natal
Date: Wednesday, 28 April 2010
Venue: The Chamber, KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature, 239
Langalibalele Street, Pietermaritzburg
Time: 09h00

Province: Western Cape
Date: Friday, 30 April 2010
Venue: Old Assembly Chamber in Parliament, 120 Plein Street, Cape Town
Time: 09h00

For further enquiries or interview requests please contact:
Craig Meyer
Cell: 084 506 1701
E-mail: CraigM@cogta.gov.za, copying Abigailt@cogta.gov.za

Questions and Answers (transcribed by Parliamentary Monitoring Group):

Q: The minister noted that there was a lot of exploitation taking place
when it came to property evaluations. In which areas of the country was
exploitation most rife?

A: The minister replied that he did not want to “name and shame” the
municipalities in the country. However, he assured the media that there
were people who had come forward and raised the issue. This was why he
was taking measures to prevent people being exploited.

Q: How did the minister define the category of poor people that he
wanted to protect? Looking at people who could afford to pay rates but
were not doing so, did the minister accept that the reason was because
municipalities were not providing them with services that were supposed
to be rendered? How seriously was the minister taking the attack by the
National Taxpayers Union (NTU)? Was credence being given to their
argument that they were revolting against the non-provision of services?

A: The minister replied that he was trying to ensure that there was
equity between the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
(CoGTA) sector and the Minister of Finance. Every year the Minister of
Finance looked at people within a certain low income bracket and excused
them from paying taxes. This would be applicable to rates payments.
Anyone who was below a certain income threshold would not have to pay rates.

The minister understood the reasons why people did not pay rates. He
understood protests against paying rates for services that were not
rendered. In many cases people were burning tyres and becoming more
violent. This was not acceptable. People had a right to protest but
their actions had to be appropriate. South Africa was not a lawless
country and the rule of law had to prevail at all times.

The minister informed the media that he would be meeting with a rate
payer’s organisation in Pretoria on 29 March 2010. He wanted to work
with the rate payers associations to promote partnerships with
government and in so doing would find solutions to problems and concerns
identified by rate payers. The Minister had spoken to the NTU through
the media even though the NTU had never spoken to him directly. He was
starting a process of engaging with all organisations who wanted to find
the solutions to problems regarding rates payments. If this did not
work, he would apply the law.

Q: Do you exclude new laterals for water when you talk about
infrastructure? What should this be paid from? Is the Minister saying
that the current consultation processes at municipal level are inadequate?

A: The minister replied that local government had three streams of
income. The first was nationally raised revenue called equitable share.
This was linked to the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG). The second
stream of income dealt with surcharges such as for water, electricity
and sanitation. Municipalities charged more for these services so that
they could acquire a profit, which would be used for the expansion and
maintenance of those services. The third stream of income came from
property rates, which were being focused on now. It came to the
Minister’s attention that municipalities were using the resources of one
stream against the other without improving the conditions of the service
they were supposed to be attending to. At the end of the day,
municipalities were “robbing Peter to pay Paul”. This was what the
government wanted to deal with. The government wanted municipalities to
use the money for what it was supposed to be used for.

The minister accepted that consultation processes in the country, in
terms of ward committees, one were could raise concerns with their
councilors were not up to scratch. This meant that concerns could not be
processed and handled. The Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) was an
instrument for development and delivery. However, it had been undermined
by national and provincial government departments, and State Owned
Enterprises (SOEs).

Those entities did not participate in addressing problems and if they
did, they sent junior officials. The Minister wanted to strengthen the
system to ensure that if projects were not included in IDPs, then it
would not be implemented. South Africa had “wall-to-wall”
municipalities. Every part of the land was overseen by a municipality.
Therefore, if a municipality did not approve a project, it would not be
implemented. The ministry was engaging with every municipality and
asking them to look at their own strategies and implementation plans.
This was part of the Local Government Turnaround Strategy and would be
concluded in April 2010. The intention was to find out the needs and
states of the municipalities. The minister also wanted to strengthen
public participation structures in ward committees so that they could
become of value to the people and contributions could be taken
seriously. Most service delivery protests were due to lack of communication.

Q: Is there a figure the minister can put on the amount of rate relief
that would be given?

A: The minister replied that it was too early to answer this question.

Q: How much money was recovered by the municipalities that were not able
to implement the Municipal Property Rates Act?

A: The minister replied that the financial year for municipalities was
going to come to an end in June. Municipalities had collected
approximately 60% of the money they were supposed to have collected. The
Minister was in the process of disaggregating the debt so that he could
see who owed the municipalities money. He hoped the matter would be
taken to Cabinet in April 2010.

Q: With the relief there would be less income for poor municipalities.
How does the minister plan to make up for these losses? How would the
government subsidise this loss of income for municipalities that were in
great need of infrastructure development?

A: The minister replied that the Intergovernmental Relations Framework
and the allocation of resources between the three tiers of government
had not been accurate in the past. The reason was because it was
premised on the idea that municipalities would raise 95% of their own
revenue themselves. In reality, all but 39% of the money that went to
municipalities was from grants. The second weakness was that the rule
for allocating money was base on the population in a municipal area. It
was not based on backlogs, viability or topography. The Minister was
requested by the President to lead a programme of review of all the
intergovernmental and fiscal relations. He would be addressing the issue
to ensure that when money is allocated, the government would be biased
towards the poor municipalities that could barely stand on their own.

Q: What punitive actions would be taken against people who were not
paying their rates?

A: The minister replied that he was more interested in finding solutions
to the problems. South Africa was a good country. Even people who left
to go to Australia or the UK were coming back in droves. The people and
the government had to stand together and find solutions to the problems.
In the event of the worst case scenario, the government would be able to
use the laws of the land to force people to pay for what they consumed.
He hoped that the government would not reach this stage and that an
alternative solution would be created.

Q: Who is responsible for paying rates if property is leased or rented?
If property is leased from the government, who is responsible for paying
rates?

A: The minister replied that it was the person that used the property
that usually absorbed the costs. The person that was leasing the
property usually factored in the rates when they charged rent.
Municipalities usually charged the person who was recorded as the land
owner. This included the government.

Q: Approximately how many people would be exempt from paying rates?

A: The minister replied that it would depend on the amount of people who
were exempt from paying taxes. He did not have the figures for this at
the moment. The government was hoping to build an accurate database as
the process went along. At this point in time, the data was inaccurate.

Q: Is the minister going to make sure that the review process is
completed before or at the same time that the Municipal Property Rates
Bill is amended to ensure that municipalities could be granted enough
funds before the tax relief is implemented?

A: The minister replied that from July to October, “household profiles”
would be conducted with an IT system that would be able to tell the
government everything they needed to know about South Africans. By this
time, the government would be able to complete the review of the
municipalities’ situation. This process was necessitated by the service
delivery protests in the country. It said that the government did not
know its communities properly and did not understand its pressures. The
government had to find solutions that would target problems directly.
These processes would give the government accurate data that would
assist it in planning properly and accurately.

Q: Would this process be a sort of mini-census given that there has not
been one for a few years? Is the exemption of judicial communities a
disincentive for the implementation of the Communal Land Rights Act
(CLaRA)? How much money does the government owe municipalities?

A: The minister replied that the government had not discussed the issue
with Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) as to whether a mini-census
would be conducted. However, they were looking at it from the
perspective of the needs of municipalities. For the government to plan
properly, it needed accurate information. Stats SA were welcome to join
CoGTA if they wanted to.

The minister indicated that the government wanted to review the ClaRA
because some sections of the Act were found to be unconstitutional, and
because traditional leaders in traditional communities felt that CLaRA
was unworkable. The forms of tenure in South Africa were still issues
that needed to be looked at.

Finally, the minister added that the government was till busy
disaggregating the debt. However, he could assure people that it was not
less that R2 billion.

Issued by: Ministry for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
25 March 2010
Source: Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
(http://www.cogta.gov.za/)



MORE THAN TEN THOUSANDS SAMWU MEMBERS IN MPUMALANGA WILL EMBARK ON A PROTECTED STRIKE
SAMWU PRESS STATEMENT 1 April 2010.

SAMWU members in Mpumalanga will be embarking on a protected strike if the conciliation scheduled for 09 April fails to resolve the deadlock we have encountered.

The deadlock was reached after SALGA (employer organization) announced that they will not sign and or implement the agreement that was concluded with SAMWU and IMATU. Parties engaged in negotiations aimed at regulating standby Allowance, Nightshift Allowance, Shift Allowance, Acting Allowance, Essential Service working hours, Bonus Allowance, and Additional Leaves as directed by the national agreement.

It is unfortunate that SALGA who was party to the negotiations up until the last day of negotiations decided not to sign the document, which is the product of their negotiations.

We learned from the bargaining council regional office that someone in the SALGA national office is not happy with the concluded agreement and wanted parties to re – negotiate it, as he wanted divisions to have the same agreement. If SALGA national office does not have confidence in their divisional representatives, why did they allow them to start negotiations in the first place?

We believe that the agreement would go a long way in ensuring stability in municipalities, especially with regard to regulation of hours of work for essential services, which is a serious problem at the moment. The agreement would ensure that possible strike actions with regard to work hours are prevented. Workers cannot be subjected to the mess of their individual municipalities with regard to their hours of work.

The labor unions will give seven days notice of commencement of strike immediately after the conciliation on the 09th of April 2010.

For further comment contact the SAMWU Mpumalanga Provincial Secretary Kgokedi Mphahlele at 0826626436

Issued by;
Tahir Sema.
South African Municipal Workers' Union of COSATU.
National Media and Publicity officer.
tahir.sema@samwu.org.za
Office: 011-331 0333.
Cell: 0829403403.



No talks at Gold One, strike enters second week
NUM 1 April 2010

The strike by a thousand mineworkers over a living out allowance at Gold One mine in the East Rand has today entered a second week with no negotiations having taken place. On Tuesday, Gold One International, an Australian mining company misled its shareholders by arguing it was in talks with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). The workers, most of whom are migrant workers have no proper accommodation at the mine and have erected shacks around the mine. The National Union of Mineworkers demands that the company should provide its workers with at least R900 as a living out allowance which will enable them to rent some cheap accommodation. Most of these workers do not qualify for housing loans from the banks whilst at the same time they do not qualify for RDP houses.

Lesiba Seshoka – 082 803 6719 (NUM Spokesman)

Lesiba Seshoka
Head: Media & Communications
National Union of Mineworkers
Tel: (011) 377 2047
Mobile: 082 803 6719
LesibaS@num.org.za



Why we are marching in Limpopo
SAMWU PRESS STATEMENT 31st March 2010.

SAMWU in the Limpopo Province is today marching to the Premier’s office to deliver a very important memorandum. The march comprises of SAMWU, COSATU and its affiliates. The key demand of the memorandum is for the Premier of Limpopo to work with SAMWU to organize Municipal District meetings in the province. This in our view will resolve a host of problems the province and its communities are experiencing.

It is truly unfortunate that the many laws that exist are not followed by Municipalities and that is why service delivery in the country is either poor or nonexistent. Municipal Managers so often ignore the laws and procedures that ought to be followed. As SAMWU nationally, the above is precisely why we strike. We know the laws and we are present at Municipalities throughout the country, we can easily spot problems of corruption, maladministration and when proper processes are not followed.

The constitution of the Republic of South Africa makes it explicitly clear that Municipalities ought to ensure that communities receive adequate services. There exist many laws that bind and guide Municipalities on how to provide and re-configure service delivery.

We condemn in the strongest term the outsourcing and privatization of Municipal services. Our research and analysis has revealed that poor service delivery is as a result of the OUTSOURCING and PRIVATIZATION of Municipal services in the province.

We will continue to demand the restoration of services under the direct control of Municipalities; we will also continue to fight for the changing patterns of planning and the delivery of services.

We have consistently raised the issue of corruption through our office to the South African Local Government Association and politicians, in the interest of Municipalities and it seems no fundamental changes have been made. We shall not keep quite! We will escalate the matter further, if we do not receive any joy from the premier. We are determined to see this matter through to the end and we will use all the means we have available to us, to seek a resolve in the province!

Issued by:
Tahir Sema.
South African Municipal Workers' Union of COSATU.
National Media and Publicity officer.
tahir.sema@samwu.org.za
Office: 011-331 0333.
Cell: 0829403403.



SATAWU Mpumalanga press statement regarding the current toll gates strike
SATAWU 30 March 2010

The media is informed that as part of our efforts to find an amicable settlement and bring the strike to the conclusion, SATAWU has proposed a meeting with the employer to further the negotiations.

The meeting will be held on 01st April 2010 at 11h00 at Middelburg toll gate subject to the employer confirming his availability.

Today, 31st March 2010, SATAWU will be convening a central picketing of all its members from all toll gates.

The picketing will be in Middelburg toll gate given its strategic location.

The picketing will be addressed by amongst others cosatu provincial secretary, SACP Provincial Secretary And YCL Provincial Chairperson and SATAWU Provincial Secretary.

For further information contact the Provincial Secretary Vusi Ntshangase at (013) 656 6792 or 083 536 0547



SAMWU march in Polokwane!
Press statement for immediate release: 30 March 2010.

COSATU Limpopo province calls upon all its affiliate unions to join its SAMWU-led provincial march to be held as follows :

Date: 31 March 2010.
Time: 08h00.
Venue: SABC Park, Polokwane.

The march will proceed from the SABC Park at 09h30 to the office of the premier, then to SALGA and the department of local government and housing.

Amongst others, the following are our key demands:

  • Decent work program.

  • Banning of labour brokers in public and municipal services and parastatals.

  • Declaration of moratorium on privatization, outsourcing and agentisation of services in public and municipal services and parastatals.

  • Immediate filling of all vacant funded posts in the public and municipal services.

  • Quality service delivery.

  • Launch an unceasing fight against corruption and fraud.

  • Support further black listing of companies doing poor workmanship, shoddy work and failure to pay workers in providing services to the state.

  • Review of mandates of various parastatals and development finance institutions in the province.

  • Call on the provincial government to place under administration municipalities which are dysfunctional, in particular, at financial management level.


  • We call upon the entire community of Limpopo to come out in large numbers in support for the march.

    Enq: Dan Sebabi
    082 779 2421.

    For transport and logistics, please workers should call their union provincial offices.



    Ex-nuclear workers to demand answers from Energy Minister at her offices
    24 March 2010

    Nuclear Energy
    Please be informed that ex-nuclear workers who have repeatedly over the
    past few years failed in their attempts to get compensation from South
    Africa’s Nuclear Corporation (NECSA) for debilitating and often fatal
    occupational diseases, will today seek answers from Energy Minister
    Dipuo Peters.

    They will gather at Makhaza Sports ground, corner Maunde Street and
    Makhaza Street Sausville, Atteridgeville outside Pretoria. They will
    leave at 11h00am to hand over a memorandum to the Minister at her
    offices in Pretoria at 12h00. For information you can call Mr Alfred
    Sepepe at 074 2998214.

    Please find attached the memorandums .

    Memorandum from Ex NECSA Nuclear Workers

    Please contact Mr. Sepepe for further details.

    This media release is issued by:

    Pelindaba Working Group
    acting in solidarity with the plight of these ex-nuclear workers
    Dominique Gilbert – 083 740 4676

    This event follows a march by the ex-nuclear workers on Necsa’s
    Pelindaba Complex earlier this year.

    Some background information has been subjoined below for your information.

    Many of these Atteridgeville Township based workers formed part of the
    sample group of 208 ex-nuclear workers who underwent preliminary medical
    examinations by respected occupational health medical practitioner Dr
    Murray Coombs. Coombs found that a significant number of these workers
    suffered from occupational illnesses resultant from their employment at
    the Pelindaba complex and referred several cases to the Compensation
    Commissioner. All these applications were rejected. The Commissioner has
    yet to make known the basis on which he dismissed these applications
    despite legislation which entitles these workers to compensation based
    on presumption alone. Coombs further concluded that most of the
    ex-workers he had seen needed further in-depth medical tests and in 2006
    Dr. Coombs approached NECSA to undertake these tests in the presence of
    representatives appointed by the workers themselves to ensure
    transparency. NECSA flatly refused and produced its own medical results
    that denied the claims made in the Coombs Report.

    Almost 30 ex-workers from the original sample group have died penniless
    and with extreme medical conditions since this process began in 2005/6 –
    this despite numerous appeals to the President, various Ministers and a
    special hearing before a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee in July 2007
    which undertook to ensure justice and compensation for these workers.
    The chairman of that committee was dropped in the new post-elections
    administration and to date not a single promise made to these workers
    has been met.

    Protest about illnesses ends peacefully
    A protest by ex-employees of the South African Nuclear Energy
    Corporation (Necsa) who claim to suffer from illnesses caused during
    their employment at the corporation, ended peacefully on Thursday when
    it was agreed that they would first study Necsa’s response to their
    demands before taking any further action.

    The action by ex-employees to get compensation for the illnesses they
    suffer as well as compensation for the families of ex-employees who have
    already passed away started in 2004 as a campaign supported by Earthlife
    Africa.

    The ex-employees gathered outside gate 3 at Necsa on Thursday morning,
    demanding answers to a memorandum handed over to the corporation during
    a protest on 24 January 2007, claiming that the corporation never
    responded to the demands set out in the memorandum.

    Salome Moela (Setsiba), who was employed by the erstwhile Atomic Energy
    Board, told Kormorant that she was involved in an accident at Pelindaba
    in 1987 when she was pinned to a wall by a truck when she walked from
    one building to the next. She says that since the accident she has been
    unable to work but has received no compensation or pension from Necsa.

    Another woman, Rosina Raselabe’s husband worked at Necsa in 1998 when he
    was rendered unconscious and injured in an explosion at the site. She
    said that her husband was taken to Unitas Hospital where he regained
    consciousness after four days. Raselabe’s husband has since died and she
    claims that she does not receive any pension from Necsa – money that she
    needs to take care of her children.

    The group claimed that since the campaign started more than half of the
    ex-employees have died without any compensation forthcoming.

    The memorandum from 2007 which was handed over to the Chief Executive
    Officer (CEO) of Necsa, Dr. Rob Adam, includes demands to have access to
    medical treatment, access to their medical files and compensation for
    the ill as well as compensation for the families of the deceased. In
    accepting the memorandum from Mr. Alfred Sepepe, Dr. Adam said that the
    corporation responded to the memorandum on 25 January 2007.

    He said it seemed that the response did not reach the ex-employees and
    it was agreed that the leaders of the ex-employees first study the
    response. Dr. Adam then invited the group to return to the corporation
    if they had any further concerns.

    The response from Necsa to the memorandum included that Necsa opened its
    medical facilities to the ex-employees for examination so that medical
    tests can be done to ascertain whether their illnesses are due to their
    employment at the corporation. It also refers to the finding of an
    independent investigation into the claims and the fact that the findings
    were forwarded to the Compensation Commissioner.
    The group undertook to study the content of the response.

    href="http://www.kormorant.co.za/2010/02Feb/11Feb/Necsa.htm">http://www.kormorant.co.

    za/2010/02Feb/11Feb/Necsa.htm




    Nationwide bus strike expected on Monday
    BUSINESS DAY ONLINE and SAPA 26 March 2010

    Approximately 15000 bus industry workers are due to go on strike this
    coming Monday (Picture: Financial mail)

    Approximately 15000 bus industry workers are due to go on strike this
    coming Monday, after wage negotiations with the SA Bus Employers
    Association (SABEA) broke down this week.

    The three unions involved in the negotiations, Transport and Omnibus
    Workers’ Union (Towu), the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union
    (Satawu), and the Transport and Allied Workers’ Union of South Africa
    (Tawusa), have all confirmed their members in the industry will strike.

    Approximately 15000 workers are expected to join in the protest action.

    Speaking to Business Day Online Assaria Mataboge SATAWU spokesperson
    says all attempts were made to resolve the dispute but there now no
    option but to go on strike.

    “We have to fight for this increase and meet in the street”, he said.

    Sabea represents 31 bus companies, including Putco in Gauteng, Mayibuye
    Algoa in the Eastern Cape, North West Star, Great North Transport,
    Remant Alton in Durban, IBL, Maluti, Gauteng Coaches, Ipeleng, and Mgqibelo.

    The unions, which claim to represent 15,000 workers, are demanding a pay
    hike of 15%, while Sabea is offering 6.5 percent.

    Sabea vice president Meshack Ramela said a mediator in the talks had
    proposed a pay hike of 8.5%, which the unions rejected.

    A second mediator intervened and an offer of 9.5% was proposed.

    Ramela said that while the employers agreed to the offer, the unions
    rejected it.



    Service delivery protest in Krugersdorp
    iWitness/Atang Malatsi

    iWitness Atang Malatsi was on the scene after a service deliver protest
    took place in Hebron outside Krugersdorp in Muldersdrift earlier this week.

    Atang says from what he could understand there hasn’t been water in the
    area for four weeks and residents took to the streets to get officials
    to sort out their problems.

    To submit your own iWitness report, video or pictures email them to
    iwn@ewn.co.za.



    Braamfischerville residents up in arms
    jozifm

    Over a thousand Braamfischerville residents took to the streets on
    Thursday in a peaceful protest demanding better housing delivery from
    their local authority.

    According to residents houses that they currently occupy are built on
    wetlands.

    Residents marched along the Elias Motsoaledi road then move to Kopanong
    where a memorandum of their demands was handed over to Peter Nkota from
    the City of Joburg’s petition office.

    Residents initially wanted to hand over their memorandum to Joburg mayor
    Amos Masondo.

    After meeting behind closed doors with representatives from the south
    African civic organisation who led the protest, Nkota told the crown
    that a task team will be set up to visit Braamfischerville next week
    Monday to asses the area.

    Nkota said to angry but calm protestors that a multi forum will be set
    up to address some of the issues.

    The forum will comprise of city power, Eskom and Johannesburg Road Agency.

    Residents have threatened to burn down councilor Pat Magubani’s house if
    their demands are not met within 14 days.



    Mayor's home vandalised
    Sapa 27 March 2010

    Eight people, part of a group of residents from Breyten near Ermelo who
    allegedly stoned their Mayor's house during a service delivery protest
    on Saturday, were arrested, Mpumalanga police said.

    Captain Leonard Hlathi said the protest started on Friday evening after
    police closed a tavern for operating outside its licensed hours.

    After the tavern was closed residents started stoning police, but the
    situation was brought under control.

    On Saturday, Hlathi said the situation "turned into something else" when
    residents barricaded roads with burning tyres and stones calling for the
    resignation of the Msukalekwa municipality Bheki Vilakazi.

    They said they were protesting against Vilakazi, who failed to respond
    to a memorandum they gave him on March 4.

    "Some of them went to the local stadium to burn tyres. Some went to the
    mayors house and pelted it with stones."

    His house and car and that belonging to his security guards were vandalised.

    At about 4pm police were still struggling to calm the situation down. - Sapa



    Man killed during funeral
    iafrica.com 28 March 2010

    A man was killed and two others injured on Saturday at a funeral of a
    man killed during protests in Leandra last week, Mpumalanga police said.

    Captain Leonard Hlathi said police were monitoring the funeral of the
    man killed during a service delivery protest staged in the town on 20 March.

    "Police were monitoring the funeral procession when the man's father
    approached police, who were standing a kilometre away, telling them to
    vacate the area," said Hlathi.

    When police refused to leave mourners pelted them with stones before
    barricading roads with stones and stoning cars driving on Devon road.

    Police fired teargas and when the crowd did not respond they fired
    rubber bullets.

    After police managed to calm the situation three injured men were
    brought to the police station by members of the community.

    One of the three, a 21-year-old died, at the police station and the
    other two were rushed to hospital with critical injuries.

    Community members accused the police of firing live ammunition.

    But police received information that there were community members who
    fired live ammunition at police and that the three may have been caught
    by bullets aimed at the police.

    "We have called the ICD [the Independent Complaints Directorate] to
    investigate this... If it is found that our members were involved,
    criminal charges will laid against them," said Hlathi

    However, he said should it be true that there were people who were
    shooting the police and accidentally shot the three men, community
    members must come forward with information.

    At around 4pm the situation was calm and police kept a strong presence
    in the area.

    "People should know that police work is to secure the public and
    property, our presence at the funeral was not meant to humiliate the
    community, they were there to protect them.



    Clash with police at Lebogang funeral leaves one more dead
    Katharine Child (Eyewitness News)

    A man was shot and killed and two others seriously wounded at a funeral
    at the Lebogang township in Mpumalanga on Saturday.

    Police were monitoring the funeral of a man who was killed during a
    service delivery protest there about a week ago.

    It is understood family members asked officials to leave the funeral
    this and when they refused, mourners started stoning police and passing
    cars.

    Community members claim police fired live ammunition at the crowds.

    Violent protests have rocked the Lebogang township near Leandra in
    recent weeks leading to ongoing tensions between residents and police.

    “Saturday’s incident will be investigated by police and possibly the
    Independent Complaints Directorate,” said the police’s Leonard Hlhati.



    Bickering affecting service delivery
    Sapa 27 March 2010

    Bickering among party members is affecting service delivery, ANC
    national chairwoman Baleka Mbete said.

    Addressing delegates at the Mpumalanga general council in eMalahleni,
    Mbete said infighting in the ruling party was making it difficult to
    fulfil promises the ANC made during last year's elections.

    She said the party wants the leaking of matric examination papers to be
    a thing of the past and called on stakeholders, especially parents to
    play an active role in the education of their children.



    Toilet protest: Cape Town versus the SJC
    Gavin Silber 24 March 2010

    Gavin Silber responds to criticism from Alderman Clive Justus
    RESPONSE TO CITY'S STANCE ON THE SJC "TOILET QUEUE" AND THE STATE OF
    SANITATION IN CAPE TOWN


    1. On Saturday 20 March, the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) organised a
    queue of approximately 600 people outside a public toilet on the Sea
    Point Promenade as part of The World Toilet Queue - an international
    demonstration scheduled to coincide with World Water Day - to highlight
    the plight of the 2.5 billion people worldwide who do not have access to
    basic sanitation. It was also arranged to draw attention to the lack of
    basic sanitation services in the City of Cape Town and highlight how
    this affects residents' health and safety, as well as the
    disproportionate investment in formal as opposed to informal
    settlements. It was further designed to coincide with the Human Rights
    Day weekend, to illustrate how numerous rights, particularly those of
    dignity and security, are still deprived to hundreds of thousands of
    Capetonians, and indeed millions more across the country.

    2. On Sunday 21 March Alderman Clive Justus (Mayoral Committee Member
    for Utilities) released a statement (attached in addendum) condemning
    the event for being unfairly biased against the City of Cape Town and
    Sea Point, and drawing incorrect comparisons. He includes various claims
    which are untrue, callous and that show contempt for poor people living
    in our city's informal settlements.

    3. The SJC is a Cape Town based organisation - with the vast majority of
    our member base located in Khayelitsha's informal settlements. While we
    routinely acknowledge that inadequate and inequitable sanitation is a
    national problem, it is appropriate that we focus on the City. The Water
    Services Act expressly states that the provision of basic sanitation as
    defined by the Act is the responsibility of local government.

    4. The SJC believes that every public area including the Sea Point
    Promenade should have decent toilets. But a greater, more equitable
    effort should be made by the City to supply basic sanitation to the
    poorest, as directed by our Constitution. The particular toilet that we
    queued at in Sea Point is cleaned regularly, stocked with toilet paper
    and seats, has dedicated caretakers, is often patrolled by security and
    personnel, and is well lit. It is a model public toilet. It is therefore
    suitable to draw a comparison between this safe and clean toilet, and
    those in informal settlements. His claim that there are "no public
    toilets in other suburbs away from public or leisure amenities" fails to
    acknowledge that this is because people in these suburbs tend to have
    ample toilets in their homes or places of work, whereas in informal
    settlements residents are left with no choice but to use public facilities.

    5. Ald. Justus claims that "there is access to toilets in Khayelitsha".
    This is very vague, but one would presume he means basic sanitation as
    outlined in the Water Services Act. If so, this is clearly not the case,
    as illustrated in both the statistics and the countless stories of
    residents who have to walk long distances to use a functioning toilet
    (or a bush or clearing, in many cases). The city itself acknowledges
    that 45397 households don't have access to "a minimum standard of
    service", and a recent study by Water Dialogues shows that in fact the
    real figure is closer to 100 000 households (when using the criteria of
    "basic sanitation" as defined by the Act, which excludes bucket
    toilets). At the event on Saturday four individuals shared their
    respective personal stories about being stabbed, robbed, hit by a car
    crossing a road to relieve herself in a bush, and threats of rape in
    attempts to use a toilet. The alderman's claim flies in the face of
    these people, and the thousands who suffer in Cape Town's informal
    settlement each day.

    6. Ald. Justus claims that the City has "met a norm of one toilet for
    every five households in informal settlements", albeit to then go on to
    concede that there are areas below this norm. Using this calculation
    (dividing the total population of informal settlements by the total
    number of toilets in informal settlements) is misleading, as it fails to
    take account of the fact that some informal settlements have 1 household
    per toilet, whereas others have 100 households (or more) per toilet. In
    fact, just over 50% of informal settlements have more than 5 households
    per toilet, according to the City's Masterplan. It also fails to
    illustrate how many of these toilets are dysfunctional, and many more
    don't qualify as meeting "basic sanitation".

    7. It is insensitive and ignorant to say, as Ald. Justus does, that the
    problem lies with the local communities not maintaining the toilets that
    they are given. The fact that toilets are blocked is very often not due
    to "vandalism", but the high use rates resulting from insufficient
    toilets, compounded with the fact that containerized toilets are never
    cleaned or serviced by the City. Toilets are left to reach a state of
    disrepair before they are given attention, at which point substantial
    investment is required. As an example, the City refuses to supply toilet
    paper which results in residents being forced to use newspaper or
    plastic instead, which is then flushed down the toilet leading to
    blockages. Equally worrying is the reference to "uncontrolled urban
    migration". Is the Alderman proposing the reintroduction of influx
    control and other apartheid measures which kept the rural poor from
    accessing economic and other opportunities? It is true that several tens
    of thousands of people move into the city each year, but this provides
    an even greater need to invest in providing basic sanitation services to
    informal settlements as the housing backlog grows and residents will
    need to live there longer.

    8. While an invitation was not directly sent to Ald. Justus, invitations
    were sent to Mayor Dan Plato, Premier Helen Zille, and Mayco member for
    Community Safety JP Smith. All of them tended apologies, but it is
    disappointing that not a single representative of the City was in
    official attendance. We were surprised to discover that JP Smith -
    despite earlier apologising for not being able to attend due to being
    out of town on 20 March - attended a DA "fun day" event right next to
    the toilet queue at precisely the same time. A second invitation to join
    the growing toilet queue of hundreds standing in solidarity with those
    affected by crime and poor health as a result of inadequate access to
    toilets was made in person at the event, but was refused.

    9. The SJC realizes that the issues of sanitation and safety are
    complex, and have always held that partnerships between the government
    and communities are required to make real progress. Unfortunately, the
    alderman's remarks serve to exacerbate tensions between civil society,
    affected communities, and local government.
    ADDENDUM

    CITY OF CAPE TOWN MEDIA RELEASE
    21 APRIL 2010

    Toilet protest in Sea Point uses wrong comparisons, facts

    Yesterday's toilet queuing protest in Sea Point, Cape Town used
    incorrect comparisons and facts while singling out Cape Town for a
    national problem, says Alderman Clive Justus, Mayoral Committee Member
    for Utilities.

    He said: "The protest by the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) also ignores
    the reality of uncontrolled urbanization, limited resources for local
    government and the fact that Cape Town is performing better than other
    metros."

    Executive Mayor Dan Plato who was busy with a meeting in Gugulethu
    during the protest and had advised the organizers beforehand, will meet
    with the SJC next week.

    The SJC organized a meeting and queue outside a public toilet in Sea
    Point to highlight the shortage of toilets in Khayelitsha.

    Ald. Justus said the comparison is not valid. "Public amenities like
    sports fields and beaches have public toilets accessible to all. You
    cannot therefore use a public toilet at a beachfront in Sea Point to
    contrast the lack of public toilets in townships. There are no public
    toilets in other suburbs away from public or leisure amenities.

    "In terms of the Constitution, local government has to provide access to
    toilets, rather than toilets per family or building. There is access to
    toilets in townships. Many of the toilets are damaged or blocked by
    vandals. The theft of pipes and toilet components exacerbate the
    problem. The City is also busy with a long-term programme to upgrade its
    more than 220 informal settlements, but finite resources and
    uncontrolled urban migration pose a major challenge."

    "It is also not fair to single out Cape Town for a national protest by
    the SJC when Cape Town is performing better than other metros.

    "Government has a Constitutional responsibility to ensure that all South
    Africans have access to adequate sanitation. In delivering on this
    Constitutional intent, the City has essentially met a norm of one toilet
    for every five households in informal settlements. There are areas below
    this norm, due to the density of some informal settlements,
    geo-technical conditions and other factors. The City is working towards
    improving sanitation by using a variety of sanitation devices suitable
    for local conditions," says Ald. Justus.
    ENDS
    Issued by: Communication Department, City of Cape Town

    Statement issued by Gavin Silber of the Social Justice Coalition, March
    23 2010



    Cosatu say local artists shut out from 2010 events
    COSATU 28 March 2010

    The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) said it supported
    the campaign by local artists to benefit from the Soccer World Cup, it
    said on Sunday.

    Spokesperson Patrick Craven said in a statement that the trade union's
    affiliate, the Creative Workers' Union of SA (CWUSA), had a right to be
    angry.

    He said this was after artists in the country and around the continent
    were overlooked by both the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and Fifa
    for a concert ahead of the tournament at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on
    June 10.

    Alicia Keys, John Legend, the Black Eyed Peas, Amadou & Mariam,
    Angélique Kidjo, BLK JKS, Juanes, Shakira, the Parlotones, Tinariwen,
    Vieux Farka Touré and Vusi Mahlasela are scheduled to play at the concert.

    'Scandal'
    "In particular, it is a scandal that the World Cup concert will feature
    only three local artists and nine-plus from elsewhere," Craven said.

    "The federation urges all its members to support CWUSA's rolling mass
    action at the 2010 World Cup LOC's offices in Nasrec to protest against
    this plan," he said.

    Craven said the trade union shared CWUSA's sentiments that "This [event]
    is an African World Cup and it's for Africa".

    "Creative workers are part and parcel in displaying the rich heritage of
    our country and continent through their involvement and participation,"
    CWUSA said after the announcement of the line-up for the concert.

    The union demanded that the line-up for the June 10 concert be mainly
    composed of South African and African artists.

    The CWUSA also demanded that a publicly sanctioned procurement process
    be put in place for all cultural events. - Sapa



    Disabled burn tyres in World Cup picket
    Pretoria News 26 March 2010

    SA Disability Alliance (Sada) members burnt tyres at Safa house, south
    of Johannesburg, yesterday in protest at the lack of accessibility of
    World Cup stadiums to people with disabilities.


    "We burnt tyres because they are our mobility, but they cannot get us
    into stadia," said Sada executive Ari Seirlis.

    Security guards extinguished three burning wheelchair tyres, while
    protesters chanted and waved placards.

    "LOC (Local Organising Committee) let us down" read a placard. Another
    read: "Stadia no accessible for disabled, no legacy for us".

    Seirlis said the alliance was not burning tyres because it was
    fashionable, but because it showed the pain of the disabled at not being
    able to attend any of the World Cup matches.

    "We want to be there. We want to be part of the action, but the stadia
    are not ready to accommodate us," he said.

    About 100 members of Sada sang liberation songs as they rolled their
    wheelchairs from the parking bays opposite Safa house to the entrance,
    where a memorandum of demands was handed over to local organising
    committee chief executive officer Danny Jordaan.

    Jordaan said he would meet with the leadership of Sada on March 31 to
    discuss issues raised in the memorandum.

    Jordaan said only three stadiums were not accessible to the disabled and
    that while people in wheelchairs had to buy tickets, the people pushing
    the wheelchairs did not.

    "We care about you," said Jordaan, explaining that there was a
    memorandum of understanding signed between Sada and the LOC.

    "If there are issues, we need to sit down and talk them out... we still
    have to meet to discuss," Jordaan said.

    Sada has demanded that the LOC ensure a safe and equitable environment
    for all spectators with disabilities, including at fan park facilities.

    It also wants an accessible transport plan approved and implemented by
    all host cities.

    Sada chairman Musi Nkosi said that during the Confederation Cup,
    transport from park and ride sites was not accessible to people with
    disabilities, with no facilities for deaf spectators and no
    communication services.

    "Visually impaired persons are also not fully accommodated: they are not
    allowed to bring a guide free of charge. They have to find someone who
    can afford to buy a ticket to accompany them.

    "We do not want to disrupt the World Cup events.

    "It might be the first and last for Africa in our lifetime.

    "We want to be part of it. I hope from this protest something will be
    done for people with disability," Nkosi said.

    * This article was originally published on page 7 of The Pretoria News
    on March 26, 2010




    Rebel World Cup gig on the cards
    LLOYD GEDYE 26 March 2010

    Legendary musician Sipho "Hotstix" Mabuse is leading a drive by angry
    local musicians to stage a rival concert on the same night as Fifa's
    World Cup kick-off celebration.

    Local music professionals are furious that so few South Africans will
    feature in the official Fifa concert. Their call to arms this week -- to
    mount a free rival concert -- was made at Music Exchange, an industry
    conference in Cape Town.

    One delegate suggested the rival concert should be called "Fuck Fifa",
    although he later conceded that the name would probably not fly.

    Fifa's concert at Soweto's Orlando Stadium in Soweto will feature only
    three South African acts -- Vusi Mahlasela, BLK JKS and The Parlotones.
    African superstars Vieux Farka Touré, Angélique Kidjo, Tinariwen and
    Amadou and Mariam will take part alongside international artists
    including Alicia Keys, John Legend, Black Eyed Peas and Shakira.

    South African music professionals are also simmering because Fifa
    contracted American-based events management company Control Room to run
    the concert, instead of a local company.

    Mabuse said a rival concert is about "opportunities for South Africans.
    Why should South African musicians be denied the opportunity to be
    exposed to the rest of the world, when those that already have been
    privileged enough to have opportunities get to come here and make money
    and then go?" he asked.

    The Fifa concert will be broadcast to millions of viewers around the world.

    "Are we going to be silent about this?" Mabuse demanded. "Hell, no; it's
    either there are more South African musicians involved in this concert
    or there is not going to be a show."

    Reacting to the controversially expensive tickets for the Fifa event --
    priced at R450 to R1 150 -- Mabuse said: "We must do concerts for free.
    We must go out and find our own venues on that day and perform."

    Keevision chief executive Yoel Kenan agreed with Mabuse's idea, saying
    of Fifa's control: "We are in an environment where this is the reality
    and we are not going to be able to change it. We must ask how can we
    leverage the World Cup to promote the music from South Africa. If we put
    all our energy and resources together, we can do it.

    "We can get YouTube and Puma as sponsors -- they are not Fifa sponsors
    and they are all waiting for something to do. If it comes from the heart
    and it's a South African project, I think people will feel it."

    Fifa spokesperson Delia Fischer referred the Mail & Guardian to Control
    Room, the American events management company organising the kick-off
    concert. But she said only the first round of artists has been announced
    and there would be more South Africans on the final bill.

    Attempts to get comment from Control Room proved unsuccessful.

    href="http://www.mg.co.za/article/2010-03-26-rebel-world-cup-gig-on-the-cards">www.mg

    .co.za




    Inside Labour: Cost-of-living crunch to spill onto streets
    Terry Bell 26 March 2010

    With just 76 days to go before the kick-off of the World Cup, the annual
    wage negotiation season is getting under way. At the same time, a 20
    percent hike in public transport fares is looming, along with the near
    30 percent increase in bulk electricity charges from Eskom that will
    affect consumers across the board.

    In addition, taxi operators are up in arms over the failed
    recapitalisation scheme; the increased fuel tax announced in the recent
    budget is still to filter through to the wider economy; and there is a
    continuing net loss of jobs, a substantial number of them from the
    workforces that built the recently completed football stadiums.

    All this spells some very tough talking and almost certain industrial
    action over coming weeks and months as employers try to hold wage rises
    below double digits.

    So while there is considerable interest in, and support for, the great
    Fifa circus, bread remains the priority for most workers. And while
    consumer inflation may officially dip below 6 percent, the real rise in
    the cost of living for the low paid, especially given transport costs,
    is usually much higher.

    As far as the unions are concerned, it is not workers who are to blame
    for a crisis that has followed a lengthy period of the rich getting
    increasingly richer while national wealth continues to flow abroad. This
    has given added impetus to demands to resurrect the call for a basic
    living wage.

    This basic wage call will be a central feature of a three-day “national
    bargaining conference” starting on Monday in Johannesburg where the
    National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) has adopted the theme:
    “Unite for decent work: decent work = living wage.”

    In line with the living-wage argument, Numsa, together with the SACP,
    also this week adopted the more radical stance of pledging to “drive a
    revolutionary agenda to restore the bulk of the wealth of our country to
    the people as a whole”.

    But just what constitutes a living wage is open to debate. “A very crude
    measure for a modest, low-level standard of living for a household of
    five would be R3 700 a month,” says Trenton Elsley, the deputy director
    of the Labour Research Service in Cape Town. However, he stresses that
    there are no contemporary benchmarks and notes that a large number of
    workers, even those in full-time employment, still earn much less than this.

    The officially stipulated minimum wage for farmworkers over the past
    year, for example, was R1 231 a month and it is scheduled to rise, from
    this month, by inflation plus 1 percent, or about 8 percent. “That would
    mean still less than R1 500 a month which, in anybody’s language, is
    certainly not (a) living wage,” says Elsley.

    Given such facts in these troubled times, it is best to ignore all the
    optimistic and jargon-ridden talk about the economy having turned; about
    it having reached the bottom of a “V” or the second trough of a “W” dip.
    On this score, there seems to be fairly widespread consensus among the
    major players.

    On Tuesday in Cape Town, for example, representatives of labour,
    government and business seemed to agree that if there is any light at
    the end of this recessional tunnel, it is a long way off. They also
    agreed broadly that the light may also not be reachable at all, unless
    some way is found out of the economic policy tunnel in which we are trapped.

    In other words, we are in for a long haul and the way things are done in
    the economy will have to change if there is to be any hope of future
    stability and prosperity.

    The point was made by Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel,
    Business Leadership SA chairman Bobby Godsell and Cosatu general
    secretary Zwelinzima Vavi at the Next Economy National Dialogue launched
    by Patel in association with the Cape Times and the SA New Economics
    Network (Sane).

    It was also made, even more forcefully, last Saturday at gatherings in
    Johannesburg and Cape Town. These were regional meetings of the
    Conference of the Democratic Left (CDL), a loose alliance of small
    left-wing groups, community and campaigning organisations and some trade
    union representatives. Similar groups are scheduled to meet in
    KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape with the object of drawing up
    campaigning strategies to be taken to a national conference, some time
    next month.

    A prime focus for these groups, which are largely on the margins, as
    well as for the labour movement as a whole, is the electricity price
    hike. The three labour federations represented at Nedlac, the
    negotiating forum for government, business and labour, have already
    announced that a general strike is on the cards and this move has
    received broad support from unions and from the CDL groups.

    The manner in which the tariff rise was agreed and the differential -
    and often confidential - rates paid by big business, in particular, the
    three aluminium smelters, have raised the ire of consumers across the
    board. Electricity could, therefore, become the catalyst for general
    protest. This was summed up by one enthusiastic comment at the Cape Town
    CDL gathering: “Constantia and Sandton will march with Khayelitsha and
    Alex.”

    And as Vavi has warned, it is not the union leaders, but the members who
    will decide when to take action and how long any action will last.

    Lines are now being drawn, with the government, Business Leadership and
    Sane arguing that business, the government and labour are all in the
    same boat and share equal responsibility for finding solutions. However,
    this argument for a social compact is an old one and something that, in
    practice, has been tried - and has failed.

    A substantial section of the labour movement, along with a hardline
    element within business, see calls for such a compact as a historical
    and, at best, naive. The dialogue may therefore continue, but it could
    be a dialogue of the deaf.



    Violent protests unacceptable: gvt
    Lauren Holley 25 March 2010

    Cabinet has asked communities to behave responsibly when taking
    part in protest action.


    Government spokesperson Themba Maseko says the violent and destructive
    nature of some of the protests, that have been taking place across the
    country, is unacceptable.

    This follows a spate of recent protests that turned violent, including
    those at DUT, taxi industry strikes and various service delivery protests.

    Maseko says while they recognise the rights of people to express their
    grievances they are urging communities to do so peacefully.

    He says no-one has the right to attack others, to destroy public and
    private property, or to embark on criminal activity in the name of
    service delivery protests.

    Maseko has assured citizens that government is doing everything they can
    to address their concerns.

    "We understand why people are putting pressure on government to deliver
    services and we will do everything we can to make sure that the delivery
    concerns are addressed

    But communities must not engage in protest action."

    Meanwhile government has announced plans to hold more than 4000
    community meetings every year to listen to service delivery concerns.

    href="
    &s=800x600>">


    Transcript: Post-Cabinet briefing by Government Spokesperson, Themba
    Maseko, Imbizo Media Centre, Cape Town

    Government 25 March 2010

    Statement

    Questions and answers

    Journalist: Just on the issue of directors-general, the issue of exactly
    where Directors-Generas are accountable, was that discussed? There has
    been that problem where you find that there is tension between
    directors-general and minister. Are they accountable to political heads,
    the ministers to Cabinet which approve their appointment or to the
    president who signs off on their appointments and how to deal with the
    tensions that existed before between directors-general and ministers,
    was that also discussed?

    Themba Maseko: No it wasn't discussed because it's as clear as water.
    The directors-general are appointed by the President on recommendations
    of the ministers and that is taken to a Cabinet process. The
    directors-general are directly accountable to ministers and in case of
    tensions and difficulties between a minister and a director-general, the
    President is brought into the picture and he tries to resolve those
    difficulties. In terms of day to day accountability of directors-general
    it is very clear, they account to ministers as their bosses.

    Journalist: What is the turnover rate though?

    Themba Maseko: You will have to get to the Public Service Commission
    report, I didn't check that one. The report was basically concerned that
    too many directors-general who are leaving the system is becoming a
    rolling door approach where directors-general actually in some cases, we
    have had departments that had more than eight directors-general since
    1994 and there is a loss of intellectual property. So this is an attempt
    to try and make sure that we provide some security of tenure to enable
    the public service to be strengthened under strong leadership at the top.

    Journalist: This initiative to improve communications with communities,
    does this sort of arise from a sense that government has become too
    distant and some of the reason for the protests are because of
    alienation or some kind of political disaffection or maybe you can
    explain what the background is?

    Themba Maseko: The background is that we have been implementing the
    Izimbizo programme for more than a decade and they have actually
    provided a very useful platform for members of the public to speak
    directly to government and [have] given government the opportunity to
    tell communities what it is that we are doing to address their concerns.
    But it was felt that to limit the period to just one week - in fact in
    some cases you will find that we are not even able to convene those
    sessions per quarter - it was felt that it is important for us to
    actually extend the level of interaction to close the gap. Yes there is
    a bit of gap between government and the citizens so this is an attempt
    to close that gap, to make sure that communities understand what the
    constraints are for meeting the basic service delivery concerns of
    communities; to tell communities what government is going to do to solve
    their problems. Because if you continue to see these protests, it's an
    indication that in fact there is an element of discontent and our
    citizens may just be feeling that government is not listening to them.
    So this is an attempt to actually to bring Government closer to the people.

    Journalist: Will Members of Parliament (MPs) be held accountable in the
    same way, will they be monitored more closely, and their interactions
    with their constituency?

    Themba Maseko: This applies to the executive, that is to government, we
    are aware that Parliament has an initiative of taking Parliament to the
    people, so the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) is taking the
    Parliament to the people and in those sessions government does
    participate in the form of ministers. But the holding of MPs
    accountable, that will be a separate political process, it will not
    involve the executive.

    Journalist: Can you give us an example of how people can express their
    discontent in a responsible manner?

    Themba Maseko: I think the major concern is that we are now living in a
    democratic state so it's possible for people to use existing channels to
    raise their concerns. Our primary concern at this stage is the use of
    violence, the burning of libraries and other public facilitates and
    destruction of property.

    We think is an unacceptable way of raising concerns in a democratic
    state. So we are appealing to communities to begin to use existing
    channels to raise their concerns and again we are aware that there are
    cases where communities feel that nobody is listening to them and that
    is why this public participation initiative will make it possible for
    people to communicate to government directly without waiting for their
    frustrations to be heightened. So we believe that we are providing
    communities with a platform, a channel to communicate and raise their
    concerns without having to resort to violent protests.

    Journalist: Just on the issue of these protests: what feedback are you
    getting form the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in terms of this. I
    mean there are all these whispers going around that these protests are
    being coordinated by some unknown force and it's been suggested that the
    similarity with the way in which they actually erupt, that there are
    similarities in how these protests actually get off the ground.

    It's been said they are too coincident as to raise questions over the
    spontaneity, was this discussed in Cabinet and is there feedback coming
    from the Intelligence Agency? And secondly, the minister is going out
    into these, I mean that is a huge number of community events - 4 359
    over a 365 days a year - I'm just interested in terms of how that is
    going to play into a local government election campaign, and the extent
    to which the State uses those platforms.

    Themba Maseko: The local protest, whether government discussed an
    intelligence protest report: it was not discussed at the meeting. Yes,
    there are trends that are descernible in all these protests. We are
    aware for instance, prior to the year leading to local government
    election, we tended to see a lot of protests taking place in various
    parts of the country in the past. But at the meeting there was no
    discussion on any intelligence report, our primary focus of government
    at this particular point in time is just to begin to identify the
    service deliveries concerns that exist in communities.

    When communities say they don't have access to water, there are potholes
    in various part of the cities, what do we do to address those concerns
    because even if there was a sinister force behind this protest, the
    reality of the matter is that there are genuine concerns and that's
    where the focus of government is going to be: to make sure we improve
    the performance of local government to address the concerns of
    communities because local government is proving to be the most important
    sphere of government in the sense that it's this sphere that interacts
    with communities on a day to day basis. So if there are concerns about
    performance at that level, that is where the primary focus should be to
    make sure that we improve performance of government at local government
    level.

    The public events that we were talking about here, let me just unpack
    this a little bit. It's not just ministers. You are talking about the
    minister; you are talking about the deputy minister, you talking about
    provincial executive council being the MECs in all the provinces. We
    want to see local government, particularly mayors and counsellors also
    conveying these kinds of events so when all of these people are
    participating in these events that's when you see the large number of
    events taking place, it is not just ministers.

    Whether this is part of electioneering for local government election, we
    did not think so when the discussion were taking place at Cabinet, that
    was not a factor considered at all. It is for you that we are improving
    on the existing programme, Izimbizo programme, to bring government
    closer to the people. So we are initiating this thing. Yes it will
    coincide with [the local] government election, but that is not the
    primary objective to use this platform for the elections, there will not
    be party political events.

    There will be public events where the members of the public are expected
    to participate. If there is a member of the executive - either
    provincial, national or local Government level - that belongs to another
    party, they are equally going to be required to participate at these events.

    The Presidential Coordination Council meeting is a meeting where the
    President meets the premiers and the representatives of South African
    Local Government Association (SALGA) to talk about how this matter could
    be rolled out in all the three spheres of government, so it is on a non
    participant basis.

    Journalist: The investment protection treaty with Zimbabwe only comes
    into effect once both Parliaments have ratified it. What assurances are
    you getting from Zimbabwe that they will do this quickly so that this
    thing can come into force?

    Themba Maseko: The assurance we can give is that these negotiations have
    been going on for many years; they actually started in 2002 with a
    commission set up by the two governments to negotiate this. Obviously it
    was slowed down with the political difficulties in Zimbabwe but the
    agreement that was signed in November actually represents a high level
    of commitment on the part of governments. We are giving the assurance
    that we will fulfil our part of the bargain and it is our expectation
    that government will do everything possible to make sure that the
    Zimbabwean government also lives by its agreement. That's as much as we
    can say.

    Journalist: Back to the protests, was there any sense that government's
    slow reaction time to corruption could be a cause for communities to
    become very dissatisfied and protest? I just want to find out if there
    was any discussion in Cabinet about something like if government took
    swift action against alleged tenderpreneurs building bridges in Limpopo
    that wash away, whether that would not build a community's confidence
    far more than an izimbizo. And just on the marches in the last two
    weeks: two marches have actually been banned, first was the Equal
    Education march to the Union Buildings that was first banned but then
    eventually they allowed them to go ahead. Then last week the Abahlali
    baseMjondolo march in Durban was banned and then they were given a kind
    of a limited small route to march along. Do you not want people to have
    peaceful marches instead of burning libraries in their own communities
    and if you do, then why do you prevent the marches from going ahead?

    Themba Maseko: Your first question about building confidence, we think
    that the only way that government can build confidence is through
    improving service delivery. If communities expect water to flow from
    their taps and water flows from their taps that builds confidence. If
    people want potholes to be fixed as soon as they come up, that builds
    confidence.

    Of course government has made it very clear that it will and is dealing
    with all incidences and allegations of corruption. There is even an
    Inter-ministerial committee that's been put in place to make sure that
    government can deal decisively with issues of corruption. So yes all the
    things that government does, including the fight against corruption,
    will build confidence. But the most important way in which we can build
    confidence is by making sure that people can see visible change in their
    lives and I can assure you that the majority of South Africans are
    experiencing an improvement in their lives in many different ways and
    yet there are still challenges that exist.

    Our focus is actually to make sure that we improve service delivery. Let
    me tell you that with the Izimbizo programme, we do not see that as an
    answer or a solution to the problem, it's a contribution by creating a
    platform for people to know they can talk to government directly without
    any mediation in the form of media or any other entity. It's a platform
    that we are creating but we are not saying that through izimbizo or the
    public participation initiative, all problems will be solved and they
    will go away, it's a platform we are creating.

    On the banning of marches, there are rules and procedures that need to
    be followed when anybody wants to organise a march and our expectation
    is that people will follow those procedures. What we are particularly
    objecting to is the violent nature of these protests. We will welcome
    anybody who wants to organise a march as long as that is done peacefully
    and through following the rules that currently exist. Blocking of
    freeways and roads without consideration of the rights of other citizens
    we find totally unacceptable, and that is what we are objecting to.

    Journalist: Firstly I want to know the Public Participation programme,
    have you figured out the cost and from which budget will that come, from
    which department, the Presidency or wherever? Secondly did Cabinet
    discuss the National Ratepayers Union's actions where they withhold
    rates and taxes as a form or protest against poor service delivery?

    Themba Maseko: Budget for the Public Participation programme - each and
    every government department has a communication network which also
    includes outreach activities, so that will come for the budgets of all
    the various departments that will be participating in this initiative.
    So it's not a question of a pot of money being made available for this
    event. Essentially what we are talking about is using an existing venue
    and inviting communities to come and interact with government.

    The session that the Minister of Economic Development held in this room
    on Tuesday, the costs of such events are not that much, it's simply
    getting a venue and organising maybe snacks here and there, it may not
    even be necessary to organise snacks so we don't expect this to be a
    very expensive initiative.

    However, there is no price that is too much for government to pay to
    create an opportunity for members of the public to tell government what
    they think of our performance, but at this stage the short answer to
    your question is, each and every department has a communication budget
    that will be used for this particular purpose.

    Withholding of taxes, that issue was not discussed specifically at this
    Cabinet meeting, but I can tell you that withholding payments of rates
    and taxes in it is an illegal act. So if somebody does that, he is
    actually breaking the law and they will face the consequences, but the
    matter was not discussed.

    Journalist: You say the existing provisions regarding the management of
    heads of departments were noted and I wondered whether there was any
    discussion of a moratorium on heads of departments joining associated
    private enterprises. There is a vogue phrase for it I presume before
    defence secretary can join Defence. Was there any discussion about it?

    Themba Maseko: There were no discussions at this meeting. I know that
    the issue of what is called the javelin thing, whatever it's called in
    government, has been discussed at different points within the government
    system and also within the ranks of the ruling party. And part of the
    equation was to look at the possibility of introducing a restraint of
    trade for directors-general; those are the technical phrase you are
    looking for.

    The matter has not yet been finalised but it's something that has been
    on the agenda for some time with no finality on it. Largely because it
    is a complicated matter, because if you are implementing a restraint of
    trade on anybody, you are essentially saying that they must not use
    their skills over a period of time and what has been established and
    practised through legal cases has been that if you implement a restraint
    of trade you must pay that person for not using their skills. So this is
    something that might have huge financial implications for government,
    that's why there is a bit of a delay in taking a decision on that matter.

    Journalist: Is Cabinet concerned that it's been left until about 70 odd
    days before the 2010 FIFA World Cup and there is still no agreement with
    the taxi industry in place. The Minister of Transport had a meeting with
    South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) on Monday, Tuesday he goes
    on radio saying it went well, things are in place. Same interview,
    SANTACO comes and says that nothing happened; it has not been fruitful,
    what is happening? It's just a few more weeks left to the world cup and
    there is no agreement in place. Is Cabinet not afraid that the country
    can be held at ransom during the world cup?

    Themba Maseko: Discussions with the taxi industry have been going on for
    quite some time and obviously our interest is to make sure that some
    understanding is reached with the industry sooner rather than later. We
    have been to and fro with the industry, we have discussions, some
    understanding is reached and another group emerges and it puts new
    demands on the table. Yes, we are concerned and we want a solution to be
    reached as soon as possible.

    You would know that as we got closer to the 2009 Confederations Cup we
    had similar kinds of issues being raised by the industry but we were
    able to demonstrate that the industry will be part of the public
    transport mechanism that has been put in place. There have never been
    any doubts in our minds about the need for a role to be coughed out for
    the industry and there is a commitment on the part of government on that
    issue.

    It has been discussed and put on the table. The Minister of Transport
    did indicate to Cabinet that he will continue engaging with the industry
    to make sure that a solution is found sooner rather than later and so we
    remain quite optimistic that the industry will begin to understand and
    agree to a proposal that government has put on the table, but yes, we
    are concerned.

    Journalist: Is government negotiating with bodies outside of SANTACO
    which is the only recognised taxi association? Does government recognise
    organisations such as the National Taxi Association and are you guys
    negotiating with them?

    Themba Maseko: As far as I am aware in the initial stages of these
    negotiations there was an understanding reached with the industry, that
    SANTACO will be the main negotiating partner so that's where the bulk of
    the discussions have been between the minister and the taxi industry.
    However, if there is a need to begin interacting with other groups in
    the industry, I am sure government will be willing to talk to them as
    well, we just want to find a solution to the problem.

    Journalist: You say the withholding of the payments of rates and taxes
    is illegal and quite a few rate associations have been on the record
    that they are withholding the payment of their rates as a sign of
    protest for poor service delivery. What are you going to do about that,
    are you going to take them to task?

    Themba Maseko: At this meeting the issue was not specifically discussed
    but my understanding is that if somebody breaks the law, the normal
    course of action will be taken by the relevant municipalities. If
    somebody doesn't pay for electricity the lights go off,, as simple as
    that. So action is taken in that sense. That person can be taken to
    court to force them to actually pay their rates and taxes so it's a very
    clear legal matter, we don't think that it's something that's even open
    for debate.

    Journalist: Are you aware of municipalities that have started that?

    Themba Maseko: At this particular point, no, I am not aware of any
    municipality doing that.

    Journalist: I know that you speak for government but surely also the
    ruling party has to take action against corruption at local council,
    there is an interplay between the ruling party and government in dealing
    with service delivery at local level. Is that something that is in
    discussion, how does that work?

    Themba Maseko: I can assure you that I can lose my job if I were to
    speak on behalf of the ruling party so I will not do so. All I can tell
    you is that the President took the trouble to meet all the mayors around
    the country last year, to raise this as a matter of major concern so I
    would imagine that the ruling party is also concerned about this and I
    would imagine that it's looking at this issue as a serious challenge and
    they will do whatever they can to make sure that their members play by
    the book, but that's as far as I can say.

    Journalist: My question is almost related. Does it really help to have 4
    250 meetings, meet with communities for an hour or two, have snacks and
    whatever and then go away and the councillor still doesn't take action
    to install toilets where there are not toilets and water where there is
    no water? What does it help to have those meetings when at local
    government level there is no action?

    Themba Maseko: Part of what you are saying here - we are talking about
    the need for repeat meeting as well - is that a minister, deputy
    minister, mayor, MEC will go to a community and say this is our plan for
    this area and communities will say but we are not happy with the
    following things, there is no delivery. The minister, mayor or the MEC
    will go back and deal with those issues, come back and give feedback to
    communities to say this is what I have done to solve your problem.

    So that is actually going to happen - if in those interactions it's
    becoming increasingly clear that a particular mayor or official in a
    municipality is not performing, that is liking to lead to action and we
    have already seen examples of where national government has gone to
    municipalities, found problems and mayors were ask to vacate their
    offices by government.

    So there is already evidence to suggest that in fact we become more
    hands-on and interact more regularly with communities. Changes are that
    we will begin to address much more of these issues but again the local
    government turnaround strategy is also going to be looking at the
    capacity of local government structure to put training measures in place
    if training is required, to make sure that the right people are employed
    in the right post level, to ensure that there is performance. But I have
    to tell you we also going to run in some snags in some cases because you
    will find there is budget constrains in certain cases because government
    is not going to have the resources to deal with particular issues. But
    what is important in our view [is that] we should be able to communicate
    with communities about our constraints and our plans to address the
    challenges that are face communities so it is a process that's going to
    unfold.

    Journalist: There is evidence that a lot of the protest are located in
    areas where there is development, where stuff is happening and there is
    a theory when people see something happening, that is when expectation
    are very high and the protest are more likely as a result of that. The
    big problem of imbizo has also been follow-up - people has said they
    don't even know why they bother to go to these things because they say
    nothing happens. How you going to achieve a proper follow up of the four
    thousand plus meetings? How many of them are one-off meetings, original
    meeting in an area and how many of them are follow-up meetings? Are they
    carried out over the whole year with regular feedback every three months
    or something? Is this not an acknowledgement that essentially you local
    government is in a state of collapse because there is not contact
    between government and its citizens which is supposed to occur mostly at
    local government level, it is just completely broken down?

    Themba Maseko: Well we acknowledge that there are challenges and
    problems at local government level. We don't think that we reached a
    state of collapse at this particular point and we acknowledge that there
    are problems and that is why the Minister of Cooporative Governance was
    actually spending each and every day of his working life making sure
    that the strategy is implemented.

    The programme that we are talking about, in the past, in the izimbizo,
    all the community meetings would be a one-off event and the minister
    would come, talk and disappear and communities were always complaining
    that there were never feedback and issues are not resolved, so part of
    what we are implementing now is that every community meeting that is
    convened by a minister, deputy minister and MECs, premier or mayor that
    takes place; there will be a follow up meeting to give report back to
    those communities about what that member of executive has done to
    address concerns of communities. So that is basically the plan: not a
    one-off visit but regular visits to make sure that there is feedback at
    the meeting.

    Yesterday Minister Chabane was given the task to actually design a
    system and a process to make sure that this is implemented. So what the
    Government Communications and Information System (GCIS) will be doing,
    is contacting the officers of every minister, MECs, mayor, counsellor in
    designing a programme and designing a system to also give us feedback
    about what issues have been raised and what steps are being taken that
    government is feeding back to communities.

    It is a process, we are going to work very hard to make sure that it
    works to the benefit of the communities, but also government will have a
    better sense of what communities are really feeling, what kind of issues
    they want us to attend to as government and this is a system we will
    make sure that we also monitor and whether we are actually responding
    and giving feedback to communities, no longer one-off meetings, there
    will be repeat meetings in communities.

    Journalist: Just a follow up, I mean how concerned is the Cabinet now
    about the kind of increase in the numbers of protests and the violence
    associated with them ahead of the world cup?

    Themba Maseko: Well, obviously as a government, if you see your citizens
    in the streets raising concerns about service delivery, naturally you
    would be concerned and that is why government is concerned and is
    putting emphasis on the turnaround strategy to make sure government
    responds in a systematic manner to all issues raised by communities. So
    obviously we are concerned. We don't want to see these demonstrations,
    especially during the world cup when our country's attention and focus
    should be to be the best host ever for the 2010 FIFA World Cup; we
    really like to see al lot of these issues attended to well ahead of the
    world cup.

    Journalist: I just wanted to follow up the line about we will not
    tolerate violence, same things were said last year when there were many
    of the protests happening, are we going to see an increase of law
    enforcement or action against the protests as we lead up to the world cup?

    Themba Maseko: Well, it is not going to be an increase, it is the
    continuing action that is taken by our security forces; so if people are
    illegally blocking roads, they are destroying private and public
    property, the law enforcement authorities will act against those
    individual. There is no change; it remains government policy that those
    who break the law must actually not complain when the law acts against
    that illegal behaviour.

    Journalist: Can I just get a follow up on Wendell's question about the
    taxi industry. I mean the Transport Minister is well aware that the
    other main taxi group in the country is the National Taxi Association
    (NTA) who had a strike this week in Cape Town and basically brought the
    whole city's taxis to a complete stand still. Is his approach to ignore
    the NTA and keep negotiating with SANTACO who is itself at logerheads
    with the NTA? How is he going to bring the NTA into this negotiation?

    Themba Maseko: He didn't give details how the NTA will be brought into
    negotiations; we will undertake to get a media briefing by the Minister
    of Transport to just explain his plan of action as far as dealing with
    the taxi industry is concerned. The issue was not specifically discussed
    yesterday.

    Journalist: I just wonder whether there had been any communication the
    Local Organising Committee (LOC) received from FIFA. I mean just putting
    some pressure or raising flags about the situation generally; I mean
    taxis on the one hand, protests on the other with the clock ticking?

    Themba Maseko: I imagine that FIFA's major preoccupation at this
    particular point in time is to make sure that all arrangements for the
    world cup are in place. There is no issue raised with government as far
    as I am aware. But you will recall that even ahead of the world cup
    finals in France they had similar challenges - not exactly identical but
    they had all kinds of strikes taking place literally before the world
    cup final took place. So FIFA does understand that countries do have
    major national challenges and they would understand that government do
    whatever they can to address challenges facing those communities.

    The most ideal situation is obviously for a lot of those challenges
    raised by communities and the taxi association to be resolved well ahead
    of the world cup, so when the world cup is taking place we don't have
    all these kind of protests taking place. We are going to do the best as
    Government to make sure we obtain that first prize and that communities
    begin to say we raised our issues, government has listened and our
    issues are going to be attended to, the same with the taxi industry, so
    that we can have some kind of harmony to the period leading to and
    during the world cup itself.

    If there are no further questions, thank you very much for coming.

    Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)
    25 March 2010



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