Earlier this week, the Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance formally released the long-sought Environmental Master Plan for the Vanderbijlpark Steel Works owned by international steel giant ArcelorMittal (AMSA). AMSA only handed over this Master Plan, a series of expert reports on the environmental and health impacts of the steel works compiled in 2003, in December 2014, after being ordered to do so by the Supreme Court of Appeal.
Trade unions — as democratic organisations of the sellers of labour — are probably more relevant now than they have ever been. Especially for anyone who feels that democracy is an important concept. Unfortunately, however, most of the unions remain narrowly focussed in a manner better suited to fighting the battles of an earlier era.
We're a generation of clicktivists, incessantly raising awareness for a wide assortment of causes and social justice issues. But we rarely follow through with any tangible action or put our money where our ‘shares’ are. So, logically, we should be lauding those attempting to deliver actual change by attempting to physically address societal problems.
Are we on a slippery slope to authoritarianism? It’s a valid question to ask since both the Cosatu and the national constitutions have been undermined. And they were both, in their own way, flag bearers of the democratic promise of the new South Africa.
On Friday, R2K Gauteng is planning a protest at the gates of the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD). We did this after many years of frustration -- from R2K activists and other civic structures in Gauteng -- at how JMPD officers have undermined the right to protest.
Constitutional Court judge Edwin Cameron delivered the Bram Fischer Memorial Lecture at Oxford University on 16 June. While much longer than pieces we normally carry, the speech is relevant to vital current issues and we present it here in full.
Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The court’s prosecutor alleges that al-Bashir has "criminal responsibility for the crime of genocide … killing members of the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups … causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of those groups, and deliberately inflicting on those groups conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction in part”.
Today, the Pretoria High Court dismissed the urgent application by Advocate Dali Mpofu on behalf of Mzoxolo Magidwana, who was shot by police during the Marikana massacre, and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), for the Marikana Commission’s findings to be released immediately. The President has given a self-imposed deadline of 30 June for releasing the report.
There is just the faintest breeze of renewal and democracy wafting through the bureaucratic corridors of Cosatu and disturbing the cobwebs of dogma that have tangled up due process in the country’s largest labour federation. It comes in the form of the election of David Sipunzi as general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).
Human rights lawyers have been engaged for ten years in a bid to secure massive damages for former gold miners who suffer from silicosis and TB. As the case heads for the courts, the mining industry is scrambling to offer its own and much less comprehensive solution.