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  • August E-Update

    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 info@actsa.org

    News in brief

    Swaziland:  Unfair Trial, Arbitrary Detention and Judicial Impropriety in Swaziland

    The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) recently released its trial observation report of the trial in the High Court in Mbabane, Swaziland, in The King v The Nation Magazine, Bheki Makhubu, Swaziland Independent Publishers (Pty) Ltd, and Thulani Maseko. Makhubu and Maseko were both sentenced to two years imprisonment in July 2014 for ‘contempt of court’ and have recently been released.

    The report concludes that the arrest and detention, trial, conviction and sentencing of the defendants involved multiple violations of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, the Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a fair Trial in Africa and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

    For the full report click here

    Mozambique at 40

    Mozambique celebrated its 40th anniversary of independence from Portugal on the 25th June. Shortly after the watershed anniversary, the country decriminalised homosexuality. The new penal code that this law formed a part of also included the decriminalisation of abortion. Mozambique was given a lead place in the annual Pride in London parade and celebration on 27 June. Pride in London is a celebration and affirmation of the LGBT+ community. The organisers estimate more than one million attended this years event.

    In Maputo, the 40th anniversary was marked with military parades and a number of ceremonies. The main event was the arrival of the “flame of unity”, a torch symbolising togetherness that had been carried across the country since April 7.

    Chatham House have also produced a report, ‘Mozambique to 2018’ that discusses how the country’s recent political developments may mark the beginning of an important new era of real change. The report can be found here

    Zimbabwe – Abduction of Itai Dzamara

    Itai Dzamara, a prominent human rights activist, was abducted in broad daylight from a barber shop in Harare on 9 March 2015.

    President Robert Mugabe has so far remained silent over the issue, which has attracted international criticism. On the weekend of the 10July 2015, a prayer meeting was organised by churches to put pressure on the government to find Dzamara; it attracted MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, former war veterans’ leader, Jabulani Sibanda and former Zanu PF Mashonaland West chairman, Temba Mliswa. This convergence of opposition parties is said to have unsettled the government. George Charamba, Mugabe’s spokesperson, accused the parties of trying to use the disappearance of Dzamara as a way to “regain a political foothold”.

    On the 17th July, the government announced a “reward” of $10,000 for anyone with information about Dzamara’s whereabouts; some human rights groups have said this should have been done much earlier in the investigation.

    There are calls for the production of a detailed report of what the government has done to find Dzamara. The Zimbabwe High Court ordered the home affairs minister, the police commissioner-general, and the director-general of the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) “to do all things necessary to determine his [Itai Dzamera] whereabouts.” The ruling included an order to advertise on all state media and work closely with lawyers appointed by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights to search for Dzamara “at all such places as may be within their jurisdiction.” The judge ordered the government to report to the court every two weeks on its progress with the case until Dzamara is found. It seems the state has not complied with the High Court ruling.

    You can Email the Charges d’Affaires at the Embassy of Zimbabwe and urge him to use his influence so that the Government of Zimbabwe takes all necessary measures to find him.

    Anniversary of the Marikana Massacre

    16 August 2015 marks the third anniversary of the killings at Marikana. 34 people were killed on that day and 10 in the week preceding it. The 34 were shot by the South African police. The Marikana commission of Inquiry report was published at the end of June. You can read ACTSA’s statement on it here

    News from ACTSA

    ACTSA co-signs letter criticising Foreign Minister’s remarks on migrants

    ACTSA co-signed a letter published in the Guardian on 10 August criticising Phillip Hammond MP’s comments on migrants and called for action by the British and other governments to tackle the causes of poverty. Read the full letter here

    Stories from Swaziland Exhibition

    ACTSA will launch a new photo exhibition, ‘Stories from Swaziland’, on 16 September at UNISON headquarters. As well as seeking to shine a light on Swaziland’s political, economic and social problems, the exhibition provides an insight into how the country’s people and their allies abroad are working for human rights, democracy and development. If you or anyone you know would be interested in hosting the exhibition, please contact us at: campaigns@actsa.org

    2015 AGM

    A reminder that the closing date for motions and nominations as 9am Monday 21 September.

    If you have not yet registered to attend and receive the agenda and paper please email info@actsa.org putting AGM in the subject line or phone ACTSA: 020 7186 0750. Papers will be sent out at the end of September. There is no charge for attending the AGM.

    Registration, motions and nomination forms are available here

    Angola Monitor

    Our latest Angola Monitor issue 3:2015 is now available here on our website. Or you can email us at info@actsa.org to sign up and receive it by email (it’s free).

    Issue 3:2015 covers the sect killings in Huambo province, China’s investment and aid, President Hollande’s visit to Angola and much more.

    Annual Fundraising Dinner

    This year our Annual Fundraising Dinner will take place on Friday 27th November.  To book your places contact info@actsa,org or tel us 02071860750.

    We are also looking for volunteers to help us organise the event and also some people to help out on the night to make sure the evening runs smoothly. It would be fantastic if you could help in both capacities, but any help offered is greatly appreciated, even if it’s just a few hours on the day/ evening of 27 November.

    If you would like to get involved with organising the event or helping out on the night, please get in contact at: info@actsa.org

    Ageas Zip Wire Challenge

    This October, the Ageas Bowl, the home of Hampshire Cricket, is challenging people to jump from the top of the Ageas Bowl’s iconic pavilion roof terrace and zip-line down to the famous outfield to raise money for your chosen cause.

    If you are interested in challenging yourself and getting a glimpse of the stadium as you’ve never seen it before, get in touch with us at: info@actsa.org and we will provide you with all the information you need to take part for ACTSA.

    For more information on the event take a look here

    Nelson Mandela’s grandson in Liverpool to mark Slavery Remembrance Day

    Ndaba Mandela will deliver the Dorothy Kuya Slavery Remembrance Lecture in Liverpool on Friday 21 August. As well as remembering those lost through the transatlantic slave trade, Slavery Remembrance Day also reminds us of the threat of racism and discrimination in modern society. For more details on the event click here



    Topics: News | No Comments »

    SADC People’s Summit Communique

    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

    6.Climate Change

    7.Agricultural Finance,  Seed Sovereignty and Climate  Justice

    The whole document is available here: Gaborone SADC People’s Summit 2015 Communique Document

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    International Nelson Mandela Day

    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!

    Topics: News | 1 Comment »

    Mario Masuku and Maxwell Dlamini released on bail

    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:


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    Judge Masipa expresses concerns about state ignoring court rulings

    By admin | July 6, 2015

    Judge Thokozile Masipa, South Africa’s second black woman High Court judge who became internationally known when she presided over the trial of Oscar Pistorius expressed concern about the South Africa government ignoring court rulings at a lecture in London on 2 July  jointly sponsored by Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), the Human Rights Law Association of Britain, the Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Association  and hosted by Hogan Lovells business and human rights practice.

    John Battersby, a well-known journalist and editor, attended the talk and wrote this article for South Africa’s ‘Business Day’ news website: http://www.bdlive.co.za/national/law/2015/07/03/masipa-voices-concern-about-state-ignoring-court-rulings

    You can also read the full text of the talk here: http://www.timeslive.co.za/sundaytimes/stnews/2015/07/05/Read-Judge-Masipas-full-speech-here

    Topics: News from ACTSA | No Comments »

    Statements on the Marikana Inquiry

    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

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    Remembering Peter Brayshaw, by David Kenvyn

    By Mark | December 26, 2014

    I first met Peter Brayshaw in 1968 at the London School of Economics.   It was at the Freshers’ Fair.   Peter was staffing the stall of the Anti-Apartheid Movement, and I was making an application for membership of the student group.   In those days, Peter’s commitment to internationalism concentrated on two causes – the liberation of Southern Africa and the liberation of Read the rest of this entry »

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    COSATU Deputy President’s Address to ACTSA Conference

    By Mark | November 3, 2014

    Keynote address by Tyotyo James, 1st Deputy President of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, to Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), formerly the Anti-Apartheid Movement

    1 November 2014

    Thank you for inviting me to address this important gathering, celebrating the 20th anniversary of democracy in South Africa. I bring greetings and best wishes from the National Office Bearers and 2.2 million members of the Congress of South African Trade Unions – COSATU.

    I must begin by thanking all those in the Read the rest of this entry »

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    Maurice Mason: 1914-2014

    By Mark | September 29, 2014

    Maurice Mason from Canterbury has sadly died at the grand old age of 100 years, he was one of ACTSA’s most stalwart members. Maurice’s whole life was dedicated to the Read the rest of this entry »

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    London to Brighton Cycle Ride

    By Mark | July 30, 2014

    Sunday 7 September 2014

    Cycle for ACTSA

    The London to Brighton Cycle Ride is a unique fundraising Challenge. You will start at Clapham Common, travel through Mitcham, Carshalton, Chipstead, Banstead and Haywards Heath before finishing on the Brighton seafront having completed 54 miles. Read the rest of this entry »

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