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  • What is at Stake for New Councils in South Africa?

    The eight percent decline in the voters’ support for the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party between 2011 and 2016 represents a fundamental shift in South African politics.
     
    Much has been written on the implications for the ANC and the country, but a significant and underreported short-term impact relates to the implications for budget expenditure and service delivery at a local level.
     
    Few know that depending on the outcome of coalition negotiations, there could be significant changes to who is responsible for the governance of a very large portion of the R287 billion local government operating budget, and the R57 billion capital budget. Who will be responsible for overseeing the management of key municipal services such as water, electricity and roads? Who will be directing future investments in city infrastructure? These areas are both critical to the development of the economy, the creation of jobs and the ability of the country to alleviate poverty.
     
    Following the 2011 local government elections, there were 35 hung councils (where no single party achieved a majority). These were mostly small or smaller councils located in KwaZulu-Natal (18 councils), the Western Cape (12) and Northern Cape (five).

    Based on the 2015/16 municipal budgets published by National Treasury, we have calculated that the 35 hung councils in 2011 collectively only affected 2.63 percent of the total consolidated operating expenditure budgets of local government; and 3.03 percent of the total consolidated capital expenditure budgets. So although there were more hung councils in 2011 than there are in 2016, this was a political side show for small-town politicians. If there were stasis in the functioning of these hung councils, it would not have affected the core functioning of the South African economy.

    But since 3 August 2016, things have changed - and drastically so. There are now 27 hung councils, and although fewer in number, they are now a big issue – affecting the metros Johannesburg, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and Nelson Mandela Bay, as well as large city municipalities like Rustenburg and Mogale City.

    After 2011, the ANC had control over 82.1 percent of the R287 billion local government operating expenditure budgets, but this has now been reduced to 41.73 percent. The Democratic Alliance has expanded its outright control of operating budgets very marginally, from 14.95 percent in 2011 to 15.63 percent in 2016. The percentage of operating budget in municipalities with hung councils, however, has increased from just 2.63 percent in 2011 to a massive 41.31 percent in 2016.

    Operating budgets are used to pay the salaries of councillors and municipal staff, buy bulk water and electricity for distribution to households and businesses, and pay for the operating costs of the actual provision of local government services. They are also used for items such as sponsorships for golf tournaments and overseas travel for councillors.

    A similar picture emerges if one looks at who controls municipal capital budgets. In 2015/16, the local government capital expenditure budgets totalled about R57 billion. These budgets are critical for putting in place the roads, electricity and water infrastructure essential to sustaining and growing the economy. They also support the building of houses, installing electricity and water connections and the creation of sustainable settlements. Budgeted medium-term revenue and expenditure framework figures show these capital budgets increasing to R64 billion in 2017/18 – although it is expected that they will, in fact, grow faster as national government seeks to boost economic growth by investing in city infrastructure.

    In summary, as far as capital expenditure budgets are concerned, the situation is that firstly, the ANC’s outright control of local government capital budgets has declined from nearly 83 percent in 2011 to about 45 percent in 2016. Second, the DA has expanded its outright control of municipal capital budgets very marginally, from 13.90 percent in 2011 to 14.22 percent in 2016. And lastly, the percentage of local government capital budgets in municipalities with hung councils has increased from just 3.03 percent in 2011 to over 39 percent in 2016.

    In other words, the ANC has lost outright control of about half the local government operating and capital budgets it controlled in 2011. Some R118 billion in operating budgets and R22 billion in capital budget is now located in councils that will be governed by coalitions. A great deal is thus at stake – for the political parties, for households and businesses, and indeed for the national economy, job creation and poverty alleviation.

    What the above figures don’t show is the full extent of the impact of the 2016 local government election outcomes on Gauteng specifically.

    After the elections in 2011, the ANC controlled all the metro and municipal councils in Gauteng, with the exception of Midvaal. This meant that between 2011 and 2016, the DA controlled just 0.9 percent and 0.5 percent of the local government operating and capital budgets in Gauteng.

    Since the August elections, the DA still controls Midvaal, while the ANC now only has full control of the municipal councils of Emfuleni, Lesedi, new Randfontein and Merafong City. Together, these four municipalities control just 7.6 percent and 4.3 percent of the respective local government operating and capital budgets in Gauteng.

    This means the ANC has lost outright control of the remaining 91.5 percent and 95.3 percent of the local government operating and capital budgets respectively in the province - which are now located in the four hung councils, but primarily in Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane. The actual numbers at stake are as follows: 
    2015/16 Operating expenditure budgets* 2015/16 Capital expenditure budgets*

    Ekurhuleni 29 321.9 4 471.6
    Johannesburg 43 195.3 9 896.9
    Tshwane 25 710.9 3 856.6
    Mogale City 2 593.1 293.4
    Total 100 821.2 18 518.3
    *Rand in millions
    The budgets of Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane are very large and very important for the smooth functioning of the economy of Gauteng and of South Africa generally. The country needs the governance of these metros to improve: they are critical to driving economic growth and job creation in the country.

    This should be the primary concern of the political parties currently negotiating coalition deals, and should inform the behaviour of all parties taking up the responsibilities of governance and of opposition in the new councils.

    • Conrad Barberton and Carmen Abdoll, Senior Economists at Cornerstone Economic Research; and Chandré Gould, Senior Research Fellow, Governance, Crime and Justice Division, ISS Pretoria. This article first appeared on the ISS website.

    Photo Courtesy: gstatic.com



  • One of the Biggest Vaccination Drives Ever is Underway to Beat Yellow Fever

    A yellow fever outbreak in parts of Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has led to more than 400 deaths since December 2015. The United Nations has embarked on a massive vaccination campaign with the aim of reaching 14 million people.

    What makes this vaccination campaign different or unique?

    This is one of the largest vaccination efforts to contain an ongoing outbreak ever undertaken.

    The response to the yellow fever outbreak in Angola, which started in December 2015, has already been remarkable. More than 10 million people have been vaccinated in Luanda Province and other affected areas of the country since February. The effect is already evident. No new cases in the area were recorded in July and the first weeks of August.

    But the outbreak has spread to the DRC. The current concern is for the evolving situation there as well as to prepare for possible flare ups of the disease in the coming rainy months.

    The vaccination campaign has been expanded to increase coverage in Angola in the areas that border the DRC in particular, and then in the DRC’s affected areas. These are regarded as high risk areas for the transmission of the virus.

    What does it take logistically to vaccinate 14 million people?

    The vaccination programme requires vaccines as well as health care workers to administer them safely. There are also many people working in the background coordinating the programmes and logisticians planning the campaigns. This ensures that the right people go to the right places with the right tools.

    The World Health Organisation is coordinating more than 50 global partners to contribute to the vaccination drive on various levels. It includes 17.3 million syringes, 41 000 health workers and volunteers and 8 000 different vaccination locations. These are often in hard-to-reach rural settings in the DRC’s capital Kinshasa and surrounds and along the Angola-DRC border.

    Why is it being done now?

    The yellow fever vaccination campaigns started in the Angolan capital Luanda soon after the outbreak was recognised earlier in 2016. Vaccination coverage in Angola has been variable but the intention was to target areas hit hardest by the first outbreak in the capital.

    Cases of yellow fever have been reported in the DRC since March. Most were related to people who got the disease in Angola. But there is now mounting evidence that the virus has spread to mosquito populations in certain areas of the country and is being transmitted locally. That’s why the current interventions are being mobilised.

    Routine yellow fever vaccination is a part of national immunisation plans in yellow fever endemic countries. The outbreak highlights challenges in these programmes. This includes supplies of the vaccine: it takes a long time to manufacture and supplies are limited.

    It also points to the fact that existing programmes need to be strengthened. This is to make sure that populations are protected from yellow fever and from other vaccine preventable disease.

    People who get yellow fever may experience fever and general flu-like symptoms such as tiredness and body aches in their joints. They sometimes also complain of nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting and dizziness.

    In some cases the infection will have a more serious effect on the body’s organs. This can be fatal. For example, the liver may be severely affected and the person may become jaundiced or yellow in colour. This is where the disease gets its name from. Some people may also start bleeding. This includes blood in their stools or urine, or oozing from needle puncture sites.

    Why the slow roll-out in Kinshasa?

    This is related to a confluence of different factors. The first yellow fever cases associated with the Angola outbreak was reported in the DRC in March 2016. As case numbers started to increase and epidemiological data became available, it became apparent that the virus was not only being imported from Angola but was also being transmitted locally.

    Another challenge has been acquiring adequate volumes of vaccine to vaccinate on a larger scale especially in the face of the massive and sudden uptake of vaccine in Luanda.

    The vaccine cannot be rapidly produced and up-scaling of production is problematic and time consuming. Because of this the World Health Organisation has recommended a dose sparing approach known as fractional dosing. This requires the use of one-fifth of a dose of vaccine per vaccination.

    The downside is that the fractioned dose allows for shorter term protection against the virus. The advantage is that the current outbreak can be managed and the immediate risk mitigated. But it will be important to provide a catch-up vaccination in the future to ensure long lasting immunity. This will also diminish the risk of future outbreaks. A full dose of the vaccine provides lifelong immunity.

    -      Jacqueline Weyer is senior medical scientist at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, University of Pretoria. This article first appeared in The Conversation.

    Photo Courtesy: anongalactic.com



  • Can Development Enhance Peace and Resilience in West Africa?
    Institute for Security Studies (ISS)

    The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) is a leading African organisation that enhances human security to enable sustainable development and economic prosperity in Africa. It works across the continent, doing authoritative research, providing expert policy advice and delivering practical training and technical assistance.
     
    The ISS is hosting a seminar under the theme ‘Can Development Enhance Peace and Resilience in West Africa’ on 26 August 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya.
     
    The problem of violent extremism is acute in West Africa and has sparked a security response that is unlikely to counter the phenomenon. Proactive approaches that prioritise development and the building of inclusive and resilient societies should be part of the solution.
     
    At the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) Summit, this side event will assess whether such interventions can address the region’s security challenges and contribute to achieving peace.
     
    Chair: Iimura Tsutomu, Resident Representative, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Côte d’Ivoire
    Speakers:

    • William Assanvo, Senior Researcher, ISS Dakar;
    • Michiko Miyamoto Furata, JICA Programme Coordinator in Mali;
    • Lori-Anne Théroux-Bénoni, Director, ISS Dakar;
    • Tomoko Akane, Ambassador for the International Judicial Cooperation, Attorney, Office of the Supreme Prosecutor's Public Office, Japan
    • Mamadou Egnes Traoré, former minister of civil service and state reform, Mali
    • Ousmane Moussa, Technical Advisor, Education Unit in the Office of the Presidency of the Republic, Niger
    • Babacar Seck, Director, Centre for Professional Training and Technology, Senegal
    • Gbala Gnato, Advisor, General Directorate of Decentralisation and Local Development, Ministry of Interior and Security, Côte d'Ivoire

    This event is made possible with support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The ISS is also grateful for support from the other members of the ISS Partnership Forum: the Hanns Seidel Foundation and the governments of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United States of America.
     
    Time: 16h00 - 19h00
     
    For more information, refer to www.issafrica.org/events/can-development-enhance-peace-and-resilience-in-west-africa.

    Online registration required: https://krs.bz/ticad/m/s12
     
    For more about the Institute for Security Studies, refer to www.issafrica.org.

    Event Start Date: 
    Friday, 26 August, 2016
    Event End Date: 
    Friday, 26 August, 2016
    Event Venue: 
    Sarova Panafric, Hotel 'Simba', Nairobi, Kenya
    Event Type: 
    Seminar
    Location: 
    Kenya


  • Afro-Brazilians and the liberation struggle in South Africa
    Institute for Global Dialogue (IGD)

    The Institute for Global Dialogue (IGD) is an independent South African-based foreign policy think tank dedicated to the analysis of, and dialogue on the evolving international political and economic environment and the role of Africa and South Africa. It advances a balanced, relevant and policy-oriented analysis, debate and documentation of South Africa’s role in international relations and diplomacy.

    UNISA Centre for Latin American Studies incubated at Institute for Global Dialogue is hosting on Afro-Brazilians and the liberation struggle in South Africa on 24 August 2016 in Pretoria.

    The lecture will be delivered by Gerard Visiting Associate Professor of International & Public Affairs and Africana Studies, Dr Geri Augusto, Brown University, United States of America.

    The lecture will focus on two key moments, namely: 1) the anti-apartheid movement in Brazil, which is a great window on the black movement itself, establishes the connection with South Africa and the search for "a meaningful Africa", and brings in other parts of Afro-Latin America, and 2) the contemporary movement for a more democratic Brazil--that includes struggling against what many see as genocide against black youth, but also ideas about a socially more just Brazil. This focus on Afro-Brazilian contemporary history will thus allow for modest gestures towards other Afro-Latin populations.

    Date: Wednesday, 24 August 2016

    Time: 9h30 for 10h00 to 12h00

    RSVP: Wayne Jumat, Tel: 012 337 6073, Email: tjumafw@unisa.ac.za 

    For more information, refer to www.igd.org.za/events/icalrepeat.detail/2016/08/24/11/-/afro-brazilians-and-the-liberation-struggle-in-south-africa.

    For more about the Institute for Global Dialogue, refer to www.igd.org.za.

    For more about the University of South Africa, refer to www.unisa.ac.za.

    Event Start Date: 
    Wednesday, 24 August, 2016
    Event End Date: 
    Wednesday, 24 August, 2016
    Event Venue: 
    Function Hall 4th Floor, Kgorong Building, UNISA Main Campus, Preller Street, Muckleneuk Ridge, Pretoria
    Location: 
    Pretoria


  • Govt Winning Fight Against Drug Addiction

    Botswana has made strides in addressing drug addiction, says chief health officer in the Ministry of Health

    The chief health officer in the Ministry of Health, Setshwano Mokgwetsinyana, says Botswana has made strides in addressing drug addiction.
     
    This shows in, among others, the funding of 12 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) offering rehabilitation throughout the country.
     
    Mokgwetsinyana says the NGOs are funded from the alcohol levy fund, making the revelation at the official launch of training for nationals on the fight against drug abuse held at the Masa Square Hotel in Gaborone.
     
    To read the article titled, “Anti-drug abuse battle continues,” click here

    Source: 
    All Africa