Will the host city for the November-December United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP17) clean up its act? The August 23 launch of a major Academy of Science of South Africa (Assaf) report, Towards a Low Carbon City: Focus on Durban, offers a chance to test whether new municipal leaders are climate greenwashers. Will they try to disguise high-carbon economic policies with pleasing rhetoric, as their predecessors did?
The two major civil service unions on strike against the South African government have vowed to intensify pressure in a struggle pitting more than a million workers against a confident government leadership fresh from hosting the World Cup. Along with many smaller public sector unions, educators from the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) and nurses from the National Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) have picketed schools, clinics and hospitals, leading to widespread shutdowns from August 18.
Acting against our alleged “ambush marketing” and “incitement”, the South African Police Service, newly augmented with 40,000 additional cadre for the World Cup, detained several of us in Durban on July 3. We were exercising freedom of expression at our favorite local venue — the South Beach Fan Fest. Wearing hidden microphones to tape discussions with police leadership, what we learned was chilling.
On June 11, South Africans will start partying like no time since liberation in April 1994. It is a huge honour for our young democracy to host the most important sporting spectacle short of the Olympics. The ordinary people who have worked hard in preparation deserve gratitude and support — especially the construction workers, cleaners, municipal staff, health-care givers and volunteers who will not receive due recognition. But balancing psychological benefits against vast socioeconomic and political costs is vital.
In an indication that the global climate justice movement is becoming broader, there is now intense opposition to a climate-destroying energy loan for South Africa.
World-renowned political organiser and one of Africa’s most celebrated poets, Dennis Vincent Brutus, died in his sleep early on December 26 in Cape Town, aged 85.
Preparations for the December 7-18 Copenhagen climate summit, where world leaders will discuss the greatest threat facing the planet, are going as expected — including a rare sighting of the African elites’ stiffened spines.
Here’s a fairly simple choice: the global North would pay the hard-hit global South to deal with the climate crisis, either through the complicated and corrupt “Clean Development Mechanism” (CDM), whose projects have plenty of damaging side-effects to communities, or instead pay through other mechanisms that provide financing quickly, transparently and decisively to achieve genuine income compensation plus renewable energy to the masses.
With high-volume class strife heard in the rumbling of wage demands and the friction of township “service delivery protests”, rhetorical and real conflicts are bursting open in every nook and cranny of South Africa.
One of US president-elect Barack Obama’s leading advisers has done more damage to Africa, its economies and its people than anyone I can think of in world history, including even Cecil John Rhodes.
A far-reaching strategic debate is underway about how to respond to the global financial crisis.
In even the most exploitative African sites of repression and capital accumulation, sometimes corporations take a hit, and victims sometimes unite on continental lines instead of being divided and conquered. Turns in the class struggle might have surprised Walter Rodney, the political economist whose 1972 classic How Europe Underdeveloped Africa provided detailed critiques of corporate looting.
We are the creditors! insist a new layer of African social activists, victimised by the ongoing Third World debt crisis but now gathered to fight back.
Durbans University of KwaZulu-Natal vice-chancellor Malegapuru Makgoba is expected to deliver an edict that the UKZNs Centre for Civil Society (CCS) will close on December 31.
The March 29 election in Zimbabwe is very likely to result in President Robert Mugabe winning, by hook or by crook, a slim majority so as to avoid a run-off.
Should poor people be given pit latrines and other devices to limit their consumption of water? A resounding yes was heard at the Africa Sanitation conference held during February at the Luthuli International Conference Centre in Durban.