“Refugees Welcome Here”, National Day of Action, Saturday 12 September – Assemble noon at Marble Arch
By admin | September 7, 2015
National day of action, Called by Stand up to Racism, BARAC, Stop the War Coalition, Migrant Rights Network, War on Want, Peoples Assembly Against Austerity, Unite Against Fascism, Movement Against Xenophobia, Love Music Hate Racism and Black Out London.
Saturday 12 September 2015, 12pm, Assembly point Marble Arch 2pm Rally,Downing Street
This event has been called to show solidarity with refugees fleeing war, persecution, torture and poverty, losing their lives or struggling to find a safe haven. This includes the death of 200 refugees Read the rest of this entry »
By admin | August 25, 2015
Welcome to August’s issue of ACTSA’s E-update with a brief rundown on key issues from across southern Africa, in addition to a summary of what we’re getting up to at the moment.
Hope you find it interesting and informative. Gives us feedback by emailing email@example.com
News in brief
Swaziland: Unfair Trial, Arbitrary Detention and Judicial Impropriety in Swaziland Read the rest of this entry »
By admin | August 20, 2015
More than 500 representatives from a range of Southern Africa civil society organisations met in Botswana on 15 and 16 August and developed and presented a communique to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of State and Government. The communique was received by the SADC Deputy Executive Secretary. It covers seven thematic areas:
1.Tax Justice and the Fight against Illicit Financial Flows
2. African Solidarity, Migration and People’s movement
3.Governance, Democracy and Human Rights
4.Cross-border traders, small-scale farmers
5.Trade Negotiations and Agreements
7.Agricultural Finance, Seed Sovereignty and Climate Justice
The whole document is available here: Gaborone SADC People’s Summit 2015 Communique Document
By admin | August 3, 2015
An action has been launched in the High Court in London by the law firm, Leigh Day, on behalf of 1,800 Zambian villagers against Vedanta Resources Plc and Konkola Copper Mines.
The action alleges that the villagers’ water sources and farming land were poisioned from the copper mining operations of both companies. Vedanta Resources Plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange and has a controlling share in Konkola Mines, which is the largest copper mine in Zambia.
Vedanta and Konkola copper mines were the subject of a report by ACTSA, Christian Aid and SCIAF in 2007, “Undermining development? Copper mining in Zambia”
Read more on the current case here
By Fiona | August 3, 2015
Greg Nicolson of South Africa’s the Daily Maverick has carried out this interview with Mario Masuku, leader of the banned political party Pudemo.
The interview covers Mario’s time in prison, what is next for the pro-democracy movement and the role of other countries in the southern African region in supporting Swaziland’s struggle
By admin | July 22, 2015
In 2009, the United Nations declared that 18th July, Nelson Mandela’s birthday, would be named Nelson Mandela International Day, in recognition of his contribution to peace, reconciliation and justice. The UN called upon people to donate 67 minutes, one for every year that Nelson Mandela gave to public service, to support voluntary and community activity.
Unsurprisingly, South Africans took to this with huge enthusiasm, and there are now so many events that the celebration has been extended over the whole of July. There will be celebrations across the whole country. People have been sewing blankets to keep people warm on the cold winter nights, and nights in the mountains of South Africa are cold. People have been collecting books for libraries in remote rural areas, and in the impoverished townships. People have been raising money for community projects. And all this is done in a spirit of celebration of the life and legacy of an incredible man.
And people the whole world over have thrown themselves into the celebration. This year, for instance, there will be a poetry slam and live art demonstration in Denver, USA. In Napier, New Zealand, they will be raising funds for a community project. In Hanoi, Vietnam, they will be donating blood. In New York, there will be a commemorative event at the United Nations. In Owerri, Nigeria, they will be celebrating through fundraising.
In London there will also be a celebration. On Friday 17th July, there will be a concert at South Africa House, to raise money for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Foundation, where young South African artists such as Mi Casa and Toya Delazy will be performing. On Saturday 18th July, Mandela’s birthday, there will be a festival of music and arts at the South Bank Centre. So, just wander along the river by the Royal Festival Hall, and look for the sculpture of Mandela’s head.
In Glasgow, we will be sending a large container of children’s books (I am guessing at 40,000 but we will not know until the day) to schools and public libraries in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Mandela himself was born at Mvezo, near Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, and retired to where he was born. He is now buried there.
Our volunteers have been sorting and packing these books for several weeks now, and there are still thousands to be packed with only four days to go.
The container will leave City Chambers, George Square, Glasgow at 2.30pm on Saturday 18th July. It will be sent on its way to the Eastern Cape by Sadie Docherty, the Lord Provost. This will be followed by a Civic Reception in which the guests will be entertained by Charlie and the Bachelors, a local jazz band, and Magnus Walker, a young baritone, will sing “Nkosi Sikelel’I Afrika”.
This year, the world is celebrating Nelson Mandela’s legacy in style. And in 2018, it will be the centenary of his birth, so start making your plans now. Mayibuye I Afrika!
By admin | July 15, 2015
The Supreme Court ordered the release on bail of Mario Masuku and Maxwell Dlamini after they served nearly 15 months in jail. They were not brought to trial. The charges against them have not been dropped and they are banned from attending and addressing political rallies.
Read the full article here:
By admin | July 13, 2015
The Ardent Theatre company are looking to produce a new version of the play, ‘Strike!’.
Strike!, written by Tracy Ryan, tells the story of the Dunnes Stores Anti-apartheid strike in Ireland, 1984-1987. The script was written through interviews with original Strikers, Brendan Archbold (Union Organiser) and archive material.
This production would mark the London premiere of the show and the Company is in talks with venues as high profile as the National Theatre.
To make it happen, they need our help. They are trying to bring the play to the attention of as many people as possible in order for it to attract funding and potential audiences.
To find out more about Strike! and about other shows that the Ardent Theatre Company are showing, follow this link: http://www.ardenttheatre.co.uk/strike
By admin | July 1, 2015
National Union of Mineworkers Statement: http://www.cosatu.org.za/show.php?ID=10588
Lonmin mining company statement: http://www.lonmin-farlam.com/
Bench Marks Foundation statement: http://www.bench-marks.org.za
By admin | July 1, 2015
Marikana Commission of Inquiry, summary of main findings and recommendations:
FINDINGS AGAINST LONMIN
The Commission has found that Lonmin did not use its best endeavours to resolve the disputes that arose between itself and its workers who participated in the unprotected strike on the one hand and between the strikers and those workers who did not participate in the strike.
It also did not respond appropriately to the threat of, and the outbreak of violence.
Lonmin also failed to employ sufficient safeguards and measures to ensure the safety of its employees.
Lonmin also insisted that its employees who were not striking should come to work, despite the fact that it knew that it was not in a position to protect them from attacks by strikers.
The Commission also criticized Lonmin’s implementation of undertakings with regards to the Social and Labour plans.
FINDINGS AGAINST AMCU
The Commission has found that officials of AMCU did not exercise effective control over AMCU members and supporters in ensuring that their conduct was lawful and did not endanger the lives of others.
They sang provocative songs and made inflammatory remarks, which tended to aggravate an already volatile situation.
The Commission also noted that the President of AMCU, Mr Joseph Mathunjwa, did his best before the shootings to persuade the strikers to lay down their arms and leave the koppie.
FINDINGS AGAINST NUM
The National Union of Mineworkers did not exercise its best endeavours to resolve the dispute between itself and the strikers.
The NUM wrongly advised Rock Drill Operators that no negotiations with Lonmin were possible until the end of the 2 year wage agreement.
The union also did not take the initiative to persuade and enable Lonmin to speak to the workers.
The NUM also failed to exercise effective control over its membership in ensuring that their conduct was lawful and did not endanger the lives of others.
It encouraged and assisted non-striking workers to go to the shafts in circumstances where there was a real danger that they would be killed or injured by armed strikers.
FINDINGS AGAINST INDIVIDUAL STRIKERS
Individual strikers and loose groupings of strikers promoted a situation of conflict and confrontation which gave rise, directly or indirectly, to the deaths of Lonmin’s security guards and non-striking workers, and endangered the lives of the non-striking workers who were not injured.
FINDINGS IN RESPECT OF MR CYRIL RAMAPHOSA
The Counsel for Injured and Arrested Persons alleged that Mr Cyril Ramaphosa is the cause of the Marikana massacre and that he must be held accountable for the death of 34 miners.
The Commission has found that it cannot be said that Mr Ramaphosa was the cause of the massacre, and the accusations against him are groundless.
FINDINGS IN RESPECT OF MINISTER NATHI MTHWETHWA
The Counsel for Injured and Arrested Persons alleged that Mr Mthethwa is the cause of the Marikana massacre and that he must be held accountable for the death of 34 miners.
The Commission found that the Executive played no role in the decision of the police to implement the tactical option on 16 August 2012, if the strikers did not lay down their arms, which led to the deaths of the 34 persons.
FINDINGS IN RESPECT OF MINISTER SHABANGU
The Counsel for Injured and Arrested Persons submitted that Minister Shabangu should be prosecuted on charges of corruption and perjury.
No findings were made against Minister Shabangu.
FINDINGS AGAINST THE POLICE
In respect of the tragic incident of 16 August 2012, the Commission found that the Police drew up an operational plan which entailed the encirclement of a relatively small group of strikers, who would be in the koppie early in the morning.
The strategy entailed encircling the strikers with barbed wire, and offering them an exit point through which they would need to move while handing over their weapons.
This phase was only capable of being implemented early in the morning when there was a relatively small number of strikers. Attempts were also made to negotiate with the strikers by the police.
The encirclement plan was replaced by the tactical option which was defective in a number of respects.
The tactical option was implemented at about 15h40 on that day, resulting in the death of strikers in scene 1 and scene 2.
The Commission found that the police operation should not have taken place on 16 August because of the defects in the plan.
The Commission has found that it would have been impossible to disarm and disperse the strikers without significant bloodshed, on the afternoon of the 16th of August.
The police should have waited until the following day, when the original encirclement plan, which was substantially risk free, could have been implemented.
The Commission also found that the decision that the strikers would be forcibly removed from the koppie by the police on 16 August if they did not voluntarily lay down their arms, was not taken by the tactical commanders on the ground.
The decision was instead taken by Lieutenant-General Mbombo, the North West Police Commissioner, and was endorsed by the SAPS leadership at an extraordinary session of the National Management Forum.
The Commission also found that the operation should have been stopped after the shooting at scene 1 and that there was also a complete lack of command and control at scene 2.
The Commission has also questioned the conduct of the police management during the inquiry.
The Police leadership did not initially disclose to the Commission, the fact that the original plan was not capable of being implemented on the first date and that it had been abandoned.
In addition, police leadership did not inform the Commission that the decision to go ahead with the tactical option, if the strikers did not voluntarily lay down their arms and disperse, was taken at the National Management Forum meeting on 15 August. Instead, they informed the Commission that this decision was taken on the 16th of August, and only after the situation had escalated.
The Commission has also raised serious concern that there was a delay of about an hour in getting medical assistance to the strikers who were injured at scene 1, and asserts that at least one striker might have survived if he had been treated timeously.
The Commission recommends that Lonmin’s failure to comply with the housing obligations under the Social and Labour Plans should be drawn to the attention of the Department of Mineral Resources, which should take steps to enforce the performance of these obligations by Lonmin.
The Commission has recommended that a Panel of Experts be appointed, comprising:
• Senior officers of the Legal Department of the SAPS;
• Senior Officers with extensive experience in Public Order Policing;
• Independent experts in Public Order Policing, both local and international, who have experience in dealing with crowds, armed with sharp weapons and firearms, as presently prevalent in the South African context.
This panel should, amongst others:
• Revise and amend all prescripts relevant to Public Order Policing;
• Investigate the world’s best practices and measures available for use, without resorting to the use of weapons capable of automatic fire, where Public Order Policing methods are inadequate.
In Public Order Policing situations, operational decisions must be made by an officer in overall command, with recent and relevant training, skills and experience in public order policing.
All radio communications should be recorded and the recordings should be preserved.
Plans for Public Order Policing operations should identify the means of communication which SAPS members will use to communicate with one another.
A protocol should be developed and implemented for communication in large operations including alternative mechanisms, where the available radio system is such that it will not provide adequate means of communication.
The SAPS should review the adequacy of the training of the members who use specialized equipment such as water cannons and video equipment.
All SAPS helicopters should be equipped with functional video cameras.
In operations where there is a high likelihood of the use of force, the plan should include the provision of adequate and speedy first aid to those who are injured.
The commission also emphasizes that all police officers should be trained in basic first aid.
There should be a clear protocol which states that SAPS members with first aid training, who are at the scene of an incident where first aid is required, should administer first aid.
Specialist firearm officers should receive additional training in the basic first aid skill needed to deal with gunshot wounds.
The Commission adds that the recommendations by the National Planning Commission, for the demilitarization and professionalizing of the SAPS, should be implemented as a matter of priority.
With regards to accountability, where a police operation and its consequences have been controversial, requiring further investigation, the Minister and the National Commissioner should take care when making public statements or addressing members of the SAPS. They should not say anything which might have the effect of ‘closing the ranks’ or discourage members who are aware of inappropriate actions, from disclosing what they know.
The standing orders should more clearly require a full audit trail and an adequate recording of police operations.
The SAPS and its members should accept that they have a duty of public accountability and truth-telling, because they exercise force on behalf of all South Africans, the Commission states.
The staffing and resourcing of the Independent Police Investigations Directorate (IPID) should be reviewed to ensure that it is able to carry out its functions effectively.
REFERRAL FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION IN TERMS OF SECTION 24(1) OF THE NPA ACT
The Commission recommends a full investigation, under the direction of the Director of Public Prosecutions in North West, with a view to ascertaining criminal liability on the part of all members of the SAPS who were involved in the incidents at scene 1 and 2.
For the purposes of the investigation, a team should be appointed, headed by a Senior State Advocate, together with independent experts in the reconstruction of crime scenes, expert ballistic and forensic pathologists practitioners and Senior Investigators from IPID, and any such further experts as may be necessary.
REFERRAL FOR PROSECUTION
The Commission also recommends that all the killings and assaults that took place between 11 and 15 August 2012, should be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions, for further investigation and to determine whether there is a basis for prosecution.
The Commission states that the propensity in South Africa presently for the carrying of sharp instruments and firearms and the associated violence even in service delivery protests, requires the strict enforcement of the laws that prohibit such conduct.
It pointed out that the Lonmin workers can be seen very clearly on videos and photographs in possession of dangerous weapons at the public gatherings or in public places.
The Commission has thus called for a further investigation of offences, in terms of the Regulation of Gatherings Act and the Possession of Dangerous Weapons Act.
The Commission has also recommended that there must be an inquiry into the fitness to hold office, of the National Police Commissioner as well as the North West Provincial Police Commissioner in terms of Section 9 of the South African