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Comments Off on 1st Commemorative Anniversary of Tata’s life, 5 December 2014

As South Africa honours the first commemoration of the departure of our former President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the father of a nation founded on human rights, equality, non-discrimination and non-sexism. We  reflect on the great contributions and commitments he has made in the struggle for liberation, peace and justice. These are indeed principles he has taught to us and the rest of the world at large, which is the greatest legacy he has left behind.

On the 5th of December 2013, when the whole world learnt of the passing away of this giant, it was a very sad moment but also a time to celebrate his life as a world icon on human rights. Through his activism he managed to secure every South African a bright future and went on to introduce measures that ensured that we never go that pathway again. Next week Wednesday (10th December) we will be further celebrating one of Madiba’s greatest achievements as we commemorate 18 years of him signing into law the South African Constitution, which is the foundation of our hard earned democracy. As HURISA we are planning an event on that date where we mirror the icon’s role, especially as one of the important leaders who were vital in the fundraising efforts of the Human Rights Institute of South Africa in its inception phases during the early 90s. It was in 1992 when, during a visit to Norway, Mr Mandela requested assistance from the Norwegian Government for effective monitoring of politically based public violence that was threatening the transformation process from apartheid to a multiracial democracy in South Africa. This paved the way for the establishment of HURISA.  The following year in June 1993 HURISA was founded as the Institute for the Study of Public Violence and served as the research and documentation arm of the Commission of Inquiry into public violence, chaired by retired Judge Richard Goldstone. This was all made possible by the support and encouragement of President Nelson Mandela, the father of our democracy. It was in 1994 when the Goldstone Commission’s mandate ended and the name of the organisation was changed to the Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA).

Right from the beginning the organisation envisaged a society in which all people are aware of their human rights, how their rights can be realised and how redress mechanisms can be accessed. To this end the organisation provides human rights education and citizen participation, primarily in South Africa, but also in the region and continent at large. HURISA now is among the leading human rights bodies in the region and implements projects and programmes designed to equip citizens with knowledge about the rights they are entitled to, as well as the importance of their participation in the social debates of the day.

Although challenges exist in our system today, we are confident of the impact Madiba has made in all South Africans. We are urging the government of the day to continue Madiba’s legacy of defending human rights and caring for the upliftment of the people through policy, values, actions and priorities. We call upon South Africans to play a role in holding our government accountable as was Mandela’s administration. We are also calling upon South Africa to have a pro-human rights approach in foreign policy as well as in regional commitments. HURISA thus avails itself, as in previous years, to partnering with different stakeholders in strengthening national as well as continental and global systems of human rights , peace and democracy.

As we celebrate 20 years of our organization’s existence, we applaud uTata Nelson Mandela for everything he has done for us during his lifetime in adding value to human’s actuality.

In our minds and those of future generations uTata will never be forgotten.

Siyakukhumbula Madiba!

Issued by: The Human Rights Institute of South Africa

Contact Mlamli and Mduduzi 011 333 1730: email,

Category: Latest News

Comments Off on Press Statement of the Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA)

Released on 21 October 2014, in commemoration of Africa Human Rights Day

Africa Human Rights Day is observed on 21 October, as a result of entry into force of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights in 1986. This year marks the 33rd anniversary of the existence of the African legal instrument ratified by all 54 African Union States.  The Charter guarantees civil, political, economic and cultural rights. The enjoyment of these rights by African citizens depends entirely on the state’s political will to domesticate these rights and implementation of court decisions. While South Africa has made strides in ratification of regional Protocols, little is done to domesticate the African Charter. Although Article 25 obliges states to educate citizens about the Charter through research and awareness raising, this regional mechanism remains unknown by citizens especially at community level, which creates tacit barriers for the advancement of our democracy and citizen participation. The Charter also imposes a duty upon the state to respect the independence and impartiality of national institutions. In South Africa these institutions are empowered to function without fear, favour and prejudice. The state also has a duty to ensuring strengthened operations and capacities of these institutions and their accessibility to communities. The Charter also places responsibility on the state to submit periodic reports every two years to the Human Rights Organ of the African Union demonstrating measures taken to effect provisions of the Charter. These are new guidelines adopted by this organ to assist states parties develop country reports which include situations of women human rights. Human rights NGOs such as HURISA have assisted the government in preparing its draft periodic report as far back as 2010. The latest CSO contributions were presented in June 2013 to officials from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation as well as the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. However the state has failed to submit the country report and pledged to do so after the installation of the new administration. The new administration has been in power since June 2014 with more or less officials that were in power before the May 7 2014 national elections. As a result, South Africa’s human rights record reflects the last report submitted to the African Commission in 2005. This means the country is behind with 4 long overdue reports that need to be submitted to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.

HURISA and partners are calling upon the South African Human Rights Commission and the Commission for Gender Equality to urge the government to comply with its AU obligations by bringing up to date all its overdue reports to the African Commission and ensuring timeous submission of its human rights reports to relevant human rights bodies.

Issued by Mduduzi Khanyile, Advocacy and Communications Officer,, 011 333 1730, 0742682665

Category: Latest News





For immediate release

5 September 2014


On the 6th of September 2014, The Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) celebrates 20 years of existence as one of the leading human rights NGOs in South Africa.

HURISA traces its origins to the Richard Goldstone Commission established in late 1991 by the then President Frederick de Klerk, to investigate political violence and intimidation during the tumultuous period leading to the first democratic elections in 1994. In June 1993, HURISA was formally founded as the Institute for the Study of Public Violence and began to serve as the research and documentation arm of the Goldstone Commission.  When the Goldstone Commission’s mandate ended in 1994, the name of the organisation was changed to the Human Rights Institute of South Africa.

During its 20 years of existence, HURISA has worked hard to transform, safeguard and advance human rights not just in South Africa, but also in the southern African region and on the African continent as a whole. The institute has worked with a wide number of NGOs and community-based organisations in South Africa, and provided training to government officials, legal practitioners, grassroots communities, students, educators and learners. For more than 10 years, HURISA coordinated the Pan African Human Rights Training Programme through which individuals, academics, human rights defenders, NGOs and government officials were provided with training on human rights and human rights mechanisms on the African continent. Training camps were successfully held in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Morocco and Egypt.

Understanding the need to strengthen the work of continental and international human rights mechanisms and institutions, HURISA has worked closely with bodies such as the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (African Commission), the Organisation for African Unity (now the African Union), SADC and the Human Rights Council of the United Nations.

HURISA enjoys observer status with the African Commission and has since 2002 served as a vital source for promoting and protecting the African human rights mechanisms in South Africa and beyond. HURISA also serves as a focal point for the Executive Committee of the NGO Forum for the SADC region, and organises pre meetings to consolidate human rights issues for discussion in the NGO Forum as well as in the public sessions of the African Commission.

The organisation has contributed to the development of the legal architecture of the African Union through advocacy and lobbying of the African Commission for adoption of a number of regional mechanisms and resolutions. It is in this vein that the institute played a seminal role in the development and adoption of the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, the Protocol Establishing the African Court on Human and People’s Rights, and the Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

Other milestones for which the institute can justifiably claim pride include the adoption of guidelines for the nomination and appointment of commissioners and judges of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights, the adoption of the Robben Island Guidelines on Torture and Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, and the Kigali Declaration which promotes the work of human rights defenders on the African continent. Forced disappearances and extra judicial executions continue to plague the human rights landscape in Africa a fact which made HURISA lobby strongly for the African Commission to expand the mandate of the Committee on Death Penalty to include the afore-mentioned egregious human rights violations.

Proud as we are of our history and of our achievements, we cannot nevertheless turn a blind eye to the many challenges facing South Africa 20 years since that proud moment when all South Africans, irrespective of their colour, gender or creed, were able for the first time to exercise their bitterly fought for right to elect a government of their choice. South Africa’s peace and security is threatened by high unemployment, deep inequality and social exclusion. Spiralling crime, violence against women, children, gays, lesbians and migrants, and a disregard for the basic rights of others now define the new South African society. In a society defined by consumerism and the ostentatious display of material wealth, corruption has become endemic. From the non-delivery of school books in Limpopo thus compromising the right to education of a whole generation of children, to  corruption in the tender processes, wasteful state expenditure by provincial departments and entities, municipalities, negligence and incompetence have claimed over R30 billions of governments’ annual procurement budget ( Head of Special Unit Investigation and the Auditor General’s report, 2011-2012 report).

Community anger at the lack of basic services such as water, electricity, health clinics and roads has seen a dramatic rise in what are now labelled ‘service delivery protests’. These protests have become increasingly violent often resulting in deaths, injuries and the destruction of public and private property.

Institutions established to support constitutional democracy in South Africa such as the South African Human Rights Commission, the Office of the Auditor General, Commission for Gender Equality and the office of the Public Protector continue to be of pivotal importance to our maturing democracy and for folding the state accountable. However, disregard for the rule of law and the undermining of these institutions is a worrying sign that all is not well in the “Rainbow Nation”.

As HURISA celebrates twenty years of actively promoting the cause of human rights in South Africa, it cannot lose sight of the many challenges confronting the young democracy. However, these challenges are the reason why the work of the institute and many other similar civil society organisations remain important.

The Institute has planned a series of commemorative events around Johannesburg. They will include seminars, an exhibition and a gala dinner during which an award will be presented to a South African who has made the most outstanding contribution to the defence of human rights in the country and beyond. HURISA will appreciate any donations in cash or in kind, towards the successful 20 years celebration of its existence which will be on 27 November 2014.

HURISA acknowledges the sacrificial role of the late Tata Nelson Mandela in soliciting funds for the Goldstone Commission of Inquiry from the Royal Norwegian community, Danish Embassy, Finish, Konrad-Adenauer–Stiftung e.V., Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa, Open Society Foundation, Open Society Foundation of Southern Africa, Ford Foundation, Mott Foundation, Oxfam-Novib, Hivos, Southern Africa Trust, Oxfam-Great Britain, Foundation for Human Rights, European Union, Lifeline advocacy sub grant (CIVICUS), Freedom House South Africa.

For comments/enquiries, please contact Corlett Letlojane, the Executive Director, HURISA. Telephone numbers:  011 333 1730 /082 574 7773

Category: Latest News

Comments Off on Press statement on the situation of peace, security and gender equality in South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Press statement on the situation of peace, security and gender equality in South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

28 August 2014

Gordon Institute of Business Science

Issued by the Human Rights Institute of South Africa

As we celebrate the women’s month, we observe with serious concern the slow implementation of the African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) peace and security mechanisms in armed conflict countries, especially in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). One of the important instruments is the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which is 14 years in existence, but its implementation has been staggering at national, regional and international levels. The aim of this resolution is to ensure women’s participation in the conceptualisation, negotiation and mediation in the peace process.

The Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed in January 2014, was not observed, and the insurgency continued unabated. This has resulted in people being displaced, as the United Nations report (2014) states, 1.1 million people are internally displaced, with 405,000 displaced in neighbouring countries. Most of these displaced are women and children. Two more peace agreements were signed between February and June 2014, however, none of these brought sustainable solutions. The fourth peace agreement subsequently signed in August 2014 states that there should be formation of a unity government in 45 days, this is yet to be respected by both warring groups.

The findings from South Sudan are that as the peace process is staggering, conflict and humanitarian crisis escalates, women and children suffer the most, through increased famine, internal displacement, and lack of access to health and education services among other critical services, torture, mass killings and rape. These suppress human rights, and the situation is devastating in areas such as the Blue Nile, Nuba mountains and Malakal. This becomes a challenge to peace process. In DRC, the situation is so terrible that women can’t exercise their rights to access basic necessities and livelihood, they face life threatening risk, abduction, rape, which is used as a weapon of war especially when they go out to fetch water and firewood in the forest. They also experience severe taxes imposed each time they cross the border between DRC and Rwanda to sell their goods.


Our recommendations include ending the war permanently and the implementation of the fourth signed peace agreement.

Regional institutions specifically IGAD and the AU should continue to put pressure on all concerned parties in the conflict in South Sudan to sign an immediate ceasefire, which should be binding, and to punish those who do not abide by the agreements. Furthermore, there is a need to engage on a national healing and reconciliation process, and the invitation of Emeritus Arch-Bishop Tutu to work with South Sudan Churches is highly welcomed by South Sudanese stakeholders we engaged. As well as for the South African government through the embassy in South Sudan to have outreach programmes and stakeholder consultations on the ground.

There is urgent need for rigorous capacity building of women’s CSOs, across South Sudan. Programmes should be established on Long term for CSO to deliver their oversight functions and contribute to the peace process and be part of the decision making so that they claim ownership of the process as they have been compromised by the armed conflict.

The fact that there is no media coverage on the conflict in DRC and in South Sudan, implies that atrocities continued unreported. Therefore media should cover DRC and South Sudan conflict extensively. There is limited media coverage, especially international media houses.

It is important to include women as lead mediators and negotiators in the peace process. The appointment of Dr. Binta Diop as AU’s gender and conflict special envoy is a positive step, and more women should be given the opportunity to serve as lead mediators and negotiators.

It is therefore urgent to popularize the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and other mechanisms to put pressure on Pan African and global leaders for the implementation these UN and AU peace, security and gender equality protocols.

Litlhare Rabele: 0838819095,



Category: Latest News

Comments Off on Statement of the political tensions in Lesotho

Statement of the political tensions in Lesotho


02 September 2014

The Human Rights Institute of South Africa  (HURISA) and the South Africa Forum on International Solidarity (SAFIS) note that military coup in Lesotho is not a new phenomenon ,with slightly under two decades, Lesotho has experienced a military coup twice . Lesotho is the only country in the SADC region to have had coups in our recent times.  Since independence in October 1966 Lesotho has had several military coups, which happen despite Lesotho’s constitutional provisions on democratic governance and many other regional and international protocols that the country has ratified.

Since prorogation of parliament in June 2014, we note with disappointment that the country is battling to consolidate good governance, democracy and the rule of law, within its coalition government. We also note that the Lesotho army is highly politicised and therefore compromised.

The AU Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (article 23) is appalled to illegal means of attaining or maintaining power as an act of unconstitutional change of government.  During the recent SADC summit in Victoria Falls- Zimbabwe, the SADC Heads of States and governments appealed to all political leaders and the general population of Lesotho to refrain from any action that could undermine peace, security and stability in their country.  HURISA is urging all parties to resolve their concerns through guidance of the constitution and laws of the country.

The political crisis in Lesotho has led to people of the region not having confidence on Lesotho as the chair of the SADC Troika on the organ for peace, security and defence cooperation and not being given the opportunity to chair this important SADC troika. The current chair of SADC Troika of the organ on politics, defence and security cooperation has been given to South Africa, for three months to give Lesotho a chance to solve their political problems at home and not regenerate into a crisis.

We condemn and reject in total the unconstitutional attempts to change government.

We call all parties to adhere to the country’s constitution, laws, SADC decisions of the summit dated 18 August 2014, the AU Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance which Lesotho is a state party to and its acts.

We call upon the army to respect the democratic government and decisions made by the prime minister. They must stop the attacks on police and civilians immediately. The police must continue protecting civilians and ensuring safety and that human rights are upheld. All state parties must respect human rights and democratic principles of the country, regional and international commitments.


Issued by: Litlhare Rabele- HURISA’s Peace, Security & Gender Equality Programme Coordinator


Sipho Theys- SAFIS’s Project Coordinator


Category: Latest News





Date:          Thursday 28th August

Time:       10:15 for 10:30

Venue:     Gordon Institute of Business Science, Illovo, Johannesburg


As we commemorate the Women’s Month, HURISA, SONKE –GENDA, POWA, SALO, and CSVR invite you to a press briefing with Litlhare Rabele, Molly Dhlamini, Medard Abenge Yega, Rosemary Jairo and Corlett Letlojane for a study mission conducted on peace security and gender equality in South Sudan. The briefing brings to light atrocities faced by women in armed conflict countries with rape used as a weapon of war, especially in countries like the DRC and calls for effective implementation of AU and UN mechanisms to restore peace and stability for women in Africa.



Please RSVP to

Category: Latest News


Date:        Tuesday 12th August

Time:       08:30 for 09:00

Venue:     Crowne Plaza Hotel, Rosebank, Johannesburg


Freedom HouseHURISA and the Swaziland Solidarity Networkinvite you to a press briefing with Sipho Gumedze and Vincent Ncongwane, two Swazi human rights activists who have been threatened with strangulation, by their prime minister because of advocacy they have just done in Washington DC during the US Africa Summit. Their calls for free speech and respect for human rights in Swaziland have provoked a savage reaction from a government that is coming under increased pressure to open itself up to democratic reforms. The prime minister’s threat follows shortly after the imprisonment for two years of two more activists Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubu on contempt of court charges.

As Mr. Gumedze and Mr. Ncongwane prepare to travel back to Swaziland they will hold a press briefing for journalists in Johannesburg on Tuesday morning at 08:30 at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Rosebank. Tea/Coffee will be served in advance.

Please rsvp to Tshegofatso Diphukwane at Freedom House on

Category: Latest News

Comments Off on 286: Resolution on Freedom of Expression in the Kingdom of Swaziland

286: Resolution on Freedom of Expression in the Kingdom of Swaziland.


The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) meeting at its 16th Extraordinary Session held from 20 to 29 July 2014, in Kigali, Republic of Rwanda;

Recalling its mandate to promote and protect human and peoples’ rights in Africa pursuant to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter);

Recalling further Article 9 of the African Charter, which provides that every individual shall have the right to receive information and to express and disseminate his or her opinions within the law, as well as other international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR);

Bearing in mind the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa (the Declaration) which supplements Article 9 of the African Charter, in particular, Principles I (1) and II (2) of the Declaration which provides that freedom of expression and information is a fundamental and inalienable human right, whose restriction should be provided by law and serve a legitimate interest in a democratic society;

Recalling the Letter of Appeal of 24 March 2014 by the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa regarding the alleged arrest of Mr. Thulani Rudolf Maseko and Mr. Bheki Makhubu;

Underlining Principle XI (1) of the Declaration, which provides that “…intimidation of, and threats to media practitioners and others exercising their right to freedom of expression…undermines independent journalism, freedom of expression and the free flow of information to the public,” and Principle XI (2) which puts an obligation on State Parties “to take effective measures to prevent such attacks and, when they do occur, to investigate them, to punish perpetrators and to ensure that victims have access to effective remedies;”

Recalling Resolutions on the Situation of Freedom of Expression in Africa, including: Resolution ACHPR/Res.54(XXIX)01, adopted during the 29th Ordinary Session, held in Tripoli, the Great Socialist Peoples’ Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, from 23 April to 07 May 2001; Resolution ACHPR/Res.99(XXXX)06, adopted during the 40th Ordinary Session, held in Banjul, The Gambia, from 15 to 29 November 2006; and Resolution ACHPR/Res.166(XLVII)10, adopted during the 27th Ordinary Session, held in Banjul, The Gambia, from 12 to 26 May 2010;

Further recalling Resolution ACHPR/Res.216(LI)2012: Resolution on the Human Rights Situation in the Kingdom of Swaziland, adopted during the 51st Ordinary Session, held in Banjul, The Gambia, from 18 April to 2 May 2012, which called on the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland to respect the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of assembly, and urged the Government to take all necessary measures to ensure the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in 2013;

Underscoring the fundamental importance of freedom of expression and information as an individual human right, as a cornerstone of democracy and as a means of ensuring respect for all human rights and freedoms;

Deeply concerned about continuous allegations of the violation of the right to freedom of expression in general and in particular the conviction and sentencing of Mr. Thulani Rudolf Maseko, a prominent human rights lawyer, and Mr. Bheki Makhubu, a journalist in the Kingdom of Swaziland, in relation to articles published in The Nation Magazine in February and March 2014;

The Commission:

1.Calls on the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland to respect, protect and fulfill the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of assembly as provided for in the African Charter, the UDHR, the ICCPR and other international and regional human rights instruments; 2.Calls on the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland to take the necessary measures to stop all acts of harassment and intimidation carried out against human rights defenders and media practitioners working in the Kingdom of Swaziland and to respect and guarantee their right to freedom of opinion and expression.

Adopted at the 16th Extraordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights held from 20 to 29 July 2014 in Kigali,  Republic of Rwanda

South Sudan women leaders threaten protests as peace talks stall

JUBA (6 Aug.) Radio Tamazuj

A coalition of South Sudanese women’s groups on Wednesday convened a press conference in Juba to demand that leaders of the country’s two warring factions, Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, reach a peace agreement at talks in Addis Ababa.

They announced the following message to Kiir and Machar:

“Stop the violence so that our children go back to school. Stop the war to allow the IDPs to go home and live with dignity. Stop the war to ensure the refugees come back home. Stop the war to give a way for all South Sudanese to regain their identity and dignity.”

This is the second peace petition by the women’s group, the South Sudan Women Platform for Peace. In late July over 100 members held a protest asking to present a peace petition to President Salva Kiir.

They were not satisfied when the Speaker of the National Assembly Manasseh Magok appeared to receive the petition on the president’s behalf, instead demanding to meet Kiir personally, as well as his vice president.

As reported by local media on 26 July, the women labeled the South Sudanese president “a stubborn child who does not listen to his mothers’ call.”

One of the group’s leaders Angelina Daniel reiterated the same point at the press conference on Wednesday, saying their appeal for peace has met with deaf ears, noting that the president had failed to attend to them.

Meanwhile, they are vowing more protests should they continue to be ignored.

“The women vowed to storm the warring leaders’ premises if not listened to through the press,” the local Catholic Radio Network reported.

Dudu Sebit, another member of the group, said they are denouncing losses of lives and misery of their children. She said they do not want to witness more atrocities.

In another development, civil society leader Deng Athuai, who was shot in the leg by an unknown attacker last Friday night, is calling on the international community to impose sanctions on leaders of the warring factions.

Speaking from his hospital bed to Radio Tamazuj, he urged other nations to seize bank accounts of South Sudanese politicians and to expel their children from their countries, so that they can return to South Sudan to face the same sufferings of disease, hunger and violence as ordinary citizens.

He was referring to the fact that many South Sudanese leaders send their children abroad rather than raising them in South Sudan itself.



John Ashworth

Sudan, South Sudan Advisor

+254 725 926 297 (Kenya mobile)

+211 919 695 362 (South Sudan mobile)

+27 79 832 8834 (South Africa mobile)

+44 750 364 2508 (UK/international)

+88 216 4334 0735 (Thuraya satphone)

PO Box 52662 – 00100, Nairobi, Kenya

Category: Latest News

Comments Off on Unveiling the Third Force: Toward Transitional Justice in the USA and South Africa, 1973–1994

James Gump


At dawn on 17 April 1973, three single-engine Cherokee Six airplanes approached
the village of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern
South Dakota. Each aircraft was loaded with 700 pounds of food, ready to be
dropped to the besieged occupants of the village. Fifty days earlier, approximately
250 supporters of the American Indian Movement (AIM) occupied Wounded
Knee, site of the Army’s horrific massacre of several hundred Lakota ghost dancers
in 1890. Much like the ghost dance crisis of 1890, the Wounded Knee occupation
drew federal security forces to South Dakota to quell this latest “uprising” of
militant Indians. Bill Zimmerman, who piloted one of the Cherokees involved in
the airlift, marveled at the panorama below him on that dawn, observing that
Wounded Knee village was surrounded on all sides by APCs (Armored Personnel Carriers) … Each of
the four roads leading out of the village were blocked, and next to every
roadblock were satellite bunkers and sand-bagged trenches. I was stunned. We
had flown out of the United States and into a war! It looked like a piece of
South Viet Nam, APCs and all, cut out of Indochina and dropped into the
middle of South Dakota.1

Read More>>>>>> GUMP – Unveiling the Third Force

Category: Latest News

21 June 2014

Media Statement

Convening of the South African Dialogue on Land Grabs on the 26 and 27 of June 2014 in Johannesburg, Constantia Hotel – Midrand.

Attention: Editors and Reporters

The Steering Committee of Africa Conference on Land Grabs with “Funding facilitated by the Foundation for Human Rights which is funded by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and the European Union under the Sector Budget Programme – Access to Justice and the Promotion of Constitutional Rights”invites members of the media to a one and half day national South Africa Dialogue to discuss and evaluate South Africa’s position on the new trend where foreign companies and governments are buying large tracts of arable land on the African continent in general and in South Africa in particular. This new phenomenon known globally as ‘Land Grabbing’will be discussed, debated and addressed on the 26 and 27 of June in Johannesburg, Constantia Hotel in Midrand. This dialogue will serve as a build-up and preparatory consultative meeting to the very important Continental Conference on Land Grabs which will be taking place in October 2014. The purpose of the South African dialogue in the form of panel discussions, research paper findings and media visuals is to reach a common understanding of the political and economic implications of land grabs on the African Continent, the role of political players and civil society in monitoring and supporting governments policies in land governance, traditional leadership and land governance, land, women and marginalized communities and human and people’s rights and use of land. The national dialogue event is a pre-conference initiative to enable South Africa to assesses its position and approach to the planned continental conference by developing a clearer understanding of Land Grabs on the Continent and their implications on South Africa and the African continent, to consider South Africa’s development path on the continent and evaluate its investment on land, development of a South African position towards the continental land grabs conference and finally to develop a minimum land investment plan and principles for investor engagement for adoption by the Pan-African Parliament and African Countries. As such, the target communities for this dialogue will be National and Local Government, Social Movements and Political Parties dealing with land, environment, water and other human rights related issues, African Diaspora in South Africa Academics, researchers working on the broader land question and Pan African Institute Representations in South Africa.

Details of the dialogue are as follows:

Date: 26- 27 June 2014,

Time: 9:00am – 16: 30pm

Venue: Constantia Hotel, Midrand, Johannesburg
Issued by Steering Committee of the African Conference on Land Grabs

For media interviews contact the following media liaisons:
1. Mr. Millan Atam
Tel: 011 050 1527 Cell: 072 204 8901

2. Adv. Sipho Mantula
Tel: 011 333 1730 Cell: 0847815587

Notes and facts for editors and reporters to consider:

1. Over 60 million hectares of Africa’s arable land has been bought or leased to foreign companies over the past three years. Often these large-scale transactions are ostensibly carried out as part of efforts against food insecurity and employment creation;
2. Africa currently holds 70% of the world’s uncultivated arable land, most of which is now being taken over at a very fast rate. It is believed the purchase of land is directly linked to an agenda to own and control Africa’s water;
3. In 2013, Nestlé’s CEO argued that water should not be a free commodity but rather a resource that should be controlled and marketed by private individuals;
4. The Steering Committee of African Conference on Land Grabs fear that twenty years from today, communities may not have access to their own fresh waters if appropriate measures are not taken to protect the interests of all stakeholders including investors and communities;
5. South Africans have committed themselves to a target of redistributing 30% of the land by the year 2014;
6. International experience of land reform programmes demonstrates that the market on its own is unable to effectively alter the pattern of ownership in favour of equity for the targeted beneficiaries of land reform, as well as in favour of broader goals of job creation and poverty reduction;
7. South Africa’s land policy should consist of programmes of state actions and land market interventions, a pro-active and state led approach characterized by well-planned and holistic but justand equitable
methods and a programme to attain the objective of a better life for all by a people’s contract to create work and to fight poverty through urban and rural development;
8. That the state should actively intervene in the land market including through, the use of expropriations, scrapping of restrictions on subdivision of land, extensive support for small-scale agriculture, reversing the growing concentration of land holdings, promoting the principle of “one farmer one farm”, changing the current large-farm-size culture, regulating foreign ownership, imposing a land tax and regulating land use to optimize social benefit;
9. The principles underlying our approach should include the decentralization of the land reform process, through participatory and people-centred methods which are area-based, planned and which integrate land and agrarian transformation into wider development priorities, particularly through the Integrated Development Plans (IDPs);
10. The Green Paper was divided into six work streams, they were the Land Management Commission ; the Office of the Valuer General; the Land Rights Management Board ; the three tier land tenure system; communal land tenure and legislation, restitution and communal property institutions; (Source for 5-9 facts :Land Summit Recommendations: Department Briefing ,Date of Meeting: 13 Sep 2005 Minutes: Land And Environment Select Committee)
11. The second Africa Century International African Writers Conference held in South Africa on the 7 and 8 November 2013 under the theme “Dispossessed Repossessed: Land Matters in African Letters” brought together African Writers and the African Diaspora to reflect on the broader socio-economic issues which concern Africans and the way they are being written about or appear in literature and writing and the associated narratives of conflict, liberation, colonialism and the politics of place and
12. A Continental Conference on Land Grabs has been scheduled for October this year in Johannesburg under the theme “Governance, Beneficiation and Sustainability: beyond rhetoric”. This conference will hopefully bring together key stakeholders from across the continent who will discuss land grabs with the objectives being to gain a better understanding and awareness of the Land sales and their long term implications for the African Continent; promote accountability and community involvement in land governance and the beneficiation that ensues for citizens, to create a platform that would enable investors, governments and communities to reach consensus on how best to ensure sustainability and mutual benefit from transactions involving land and natural resources and to strengthen land governance and cadastral capacity, by engaging African governments and the African Union on synchronizing guidelines on land governance and tenure systems.

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