Research and advocacy actions formed an important part of our work during this past month. These focussed on the local municipality, the national parliament, as well as with the media. A number of the articles in this newsletter provide greater insight into our advocacy positions and the integrated nature of our interventions.
Advocacy, amongst certain sections of the state is becoming increasingly difficult as critique and contestation gets interpreted as undermining the state. This was very clear from the state's reaction during the State of the Nation address when riot police was brought into parliament. However, this critical work has to continue!
We hope you find this eNewsletter interesting and informative. Please feel free to engage with us on its contents.
Youth Peer Educators Network plan for 2015
Thirty Peer Educators from seven different schools in the uMgungundlovu District recently attended a 3 day workshop to share experiences and plan common awareness programmes and school-based actions that create safe spaces for scholars to engage around gender, sexuality and HIV and Aids.
Duduzile Radebe – PACSA Practice Development Manager
After an extensive search and interview process the PACSA Council appointed Ms. Duduzile Radebe to the newly created position of Practice Development Manager. She starts work with us on the 1st March 2015.
Advocating for a National Strategic Plan to end gender-based violence
42 CSO’s from across South Africa, including PACSA, met in Cape Town in February to discuss and strategize around advocating government to adopt a National Strategic Plan to end gender-based violence. The meeting provided an opportunity for strategic engagement around how best to move forward in building a common response to GBV in the country.
PACSA argues for a total restructuring of the Msunduzi municipal tariff framework
It has now become common for the Msunduzi municipality to invite our comments and inputs into their annual municipal tariff policy that sets the cost structure of services such as electricity, water and sanitation. Last year we argued that setting costs makes no sense without first conducting an affordability study to ascertain whether costs are affordable. Msunduzi agreed with our proposal but this year’s tariff policy again was set without taking affordability into regard.
The January 2015 PACSA Monthly Food Price Barometer headlines ‘No drop in food prices as a result of the petrol price drop’.
The price of petrol has dropped by 25% since July 2014, and even considering the time lag, PACSA’s food price barometer shows an average increase in food prices of 0.7% from October 2014 till January 2015 (R1557.63 in October 2014 to R1568.25 in January 2015). STATS SA’s CPI food and non-alcoholic beverages index similarly showed a 0.9% increase between December 2014 and January 2015. Many are questioning why we have not seen a drop in food prices. Fuel is an input cost across the entire food value chain and in all foods.
"PIETERMARITZBURG Agency for Community Social Action (Pacsa) has proposed a range of measures to close the widening gap between the Child Support Grant (CSG) and what food actually costs. Pacsa’s Food Price Barometer tracks the price of a basket of 36 basic food items from six different retail stores."
Read the full articlehere published in the Maritzburg Fever on 30 January 2015
Calls mount for guaranteed minimum wage
"Cape Town - As the 2015 budget announcement nears, there is an increasing clamour from trade unions and human rights groups for a guaranteed minimum wage and social welfare net. The minimum wage demands so far registered range from R4 000 to R8 000."
Read the full article here published in FIN24 on 24 February 2015
Increasing calls for guaranteed minimum wage
"Terry Bell writes that, as the 2015 national budget announcement nears, there is an increasing clamour from trade unions and human rights groups for a guaranteed minimum wage and social welfare net. The minimum wage demands made so far range from R4,000 to R8,000 per month."
Read the full article here published in South African labour News on 24 February 2015
PACSA calls for increase in minimum wage
"The Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (PACSA) has provided sobering statistics on poverty to show why the National Budget to be delivered today is not benefitting average households."
Read the full article here published in The Witness on 25 February 2015
Food prices continue to rise, despite the decrease in petrol prices
"DESPITE the recent decrease in petrol prices, food prices have seen a steady increase.
The Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (Pacsa) stated that since petrol price dropped by 25% since July last year, their food barometer has shown an increase in food prices of 0.7% from October last year until January this year."
Read the full article here, published in Maritzburg Fever on 25 February 2015
Poorest of the poor forced to tighten their belts
"Pietermaritzburg - Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s Budget was condemned as “regressive” for poor and working class households, with fears raised that it would increase poverty. Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (Pacsa) on Wednesday said it was deeply disappointed at the tentative nature of Nene’s Budget."
Read the full article herepublished in the Daily News on 26 February 2015
4 February 2015, ENCA Television, What the petrol price means for your pocket.
East Coast Radio: PACSA response to the national budget speech
Budget 2015 Factsheet
As feature article we present the Budget 2015 factsheet which we prepared and disseminated amongst media personnel and members of parliament with the intention of identifying some of the fractures upon which our current economic approach is founded, and to present background information with which to interrogate the 2015 national Budget. Rather than employing the jargon of economics, this document speaks to the lived experience of ordinary people, and makes some key suggestions for a transformative budget that meets their needs – and those of the country as a whole.