PACSA eNewsletter: No. 04, 2015

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Dear Friends

Greetings from PACSA. 

In this E-Newsletter we share some reflections on the recent spate of horrific xenophobia attacks which occurred in our province.

Even though we managed to reach out to some of those affected we are nevertheless filled with shame. We are discussing how we can document attacks on foreign born compatriots and develop early warning systems at community level so that our response can be quicker and more focussed.


In the next newsletter we will share further plans on how we will do this. Other articles focus on our work to influence discussions on a minimum wage for South Africa and how to tackle structural inequality; as well as ‘goings and comings’ within PACSA. 

We hope you find this eNewsletter interesting and informative. Please feel free to engage with us on its contents. 

Mervyn Abrahams

PACSA Director

PACSA enewsletter news

Pietermaritzburg Says NO to Xenophobia

The recent months we have again seen the horrible face of xenophobia spreading through our country resulting in an estimated 7 deaths. More than 5,000 people were forced to flee their homes with lives destroyed and living in fear. In Pietermaritzburg about 135 people, mainly from Malawi, fled their homes and were housed, by the municipality, at Dale’s Park in terrible living conditions, while awaiting repatriation back to their country of birth. PACSA has joined a number of faith-based NGO organisations to state clearly our opposition to xenophobia (see here) and created safe spaces for those who live in fear.

Debating a Minimum Wage for South Africa

The question of a minimum wage and the level at which such a minimum should be set is one of the most contested policy discussion in South Africa today. In order to explore this policy issue, Mervyn Abrahams (PACSA Director) together with Professor Nicoli Nattrass, University of Cape Town, and Mr. Terry Bell, labour journalist, made inputs at a roundtable discussion hosted by the CPLO in Cape Town.

PACSA hosts the launch of ‘Recovering Democracy in SA’ by Raymond Suttner

Raymond Suttner, a veteran in the liberation struggle, launched his latest book, ‘Recovering Democracy in South Africa’, at a PACSA hosted event on the 16th April 2015. Through this book, Raymond advances the idea that South Africans must “become more actively involved in their own emancipation”. Democracy is about the ‘popular’ and more self-empowerment,” that we should expect more from our democratic system and “invest greater efforts in creative ways of building democracy and institutions that go beyond and augment what is found in the Constitution.”

Annual AGEH-Fachkraefte meeting hosted in KwaZulu-Natal

Bernd and Almut Schulteiss, AGEH seconded consultants based in PACSA, hosted the annual AGEH-Fachkraefte in Amanzimtoti, near Durban, in April 2015. AGEH ( is the German Catholic agency for international cooperation; and they provide personnel with specific expertise for development cooperation projects in Africa, Asia, Latin America or Central or Eastern Europe. Once a year the AGEH seconded personnel in Southern Africa meets for a few days to discuss common issues and re-connect.

The YPO group joined the May Day March in Durban

The YPO youth advocacy forum joined the May Day march in Durban this year. Bukiwe Zondi, from the YPO, reports on the march. We were invited by ALUTA of South African Students (ALUTA) to attend the workers day March in Durban. The march focussed on unemployment, poverty, labour brokers, slave wages, demanding for Free Education and quality health service. While the YPO interrogate questions and issues surrounding unemployment and different aspects of education this was an important place for listening and connecting.


PACSA enewsletter foodpricebarometer

Minimum wages must be living wages: workers support families

The PACSA Minimum Food Basket in March 2015 for a family of four members increased from R2155.62 to R2170.04, a R14.42 or 0.67% month-on-month increase. This increase in the cost of a basket of food has to be considered against the increasing price trends in the International Commodity prices for staple foods and the CPI food month-on-month increases (up for the third month since January) and importantly against the backdrop of the urgent debate on minimum wages. In this statement we advance the view that a minimum wage must be set at a level of a living wage. Read the March 2015 PACSA Food Price Barometer here

PACSA enewsletter upcoming events
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PACSA enewsletter inthemedia

Inflation index and other SA data skewed, says agency

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is inadequate basis for wage negotiations, the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (PACSA) has said in a statement. Read the full article here published in the Cape Times on 8 April 2015.

Ratepayers to feel the pinch

MSUNDUZI ratepayers could be hit with stiff increases in water and ­electricity tariffs, if the proposed ­municipal budget for the next ­financial year is approved. The budget shows electricity will increase by 12, 28%, but could go up even more if the energy regulator, ­Nersa, grants Eskom the further ­increases it has asked for. Read the full article here published in the Witness on 23 April 2015.

Inflation Adjusted Wages

John Maytham from Cape Talk radio speaks to Mervyn Abrahams, Director: PACSA (Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action) on” Inflation adjusted wage settlements."  Listen to podcast here of the conversation which took place on the 10th April 2015


Pacsa launch for Suttner’s new book

The Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action hosted a book launch for Raymond Suttner's Recovering Democracy in South Africa at the Protea Hotel Imperial in Burger Street, on the 16 April 2015.  Read the full article here published in the Witness on 15 April 2015.

PACSA enewsletter feature article

Fortress South Africa


Jane Duncan - Rather than addressing the underlying factors driving migration into South Africa, our government is turning migration into a national security threat requiring the intervention of the security cluster. It is pursuing a more securitised response to the immigration question by deploying more troops to the border and expediting plans to establish the Border Management Agency to strengthen border security. Meanwhile, as government securitises and militarises South Africa’s borders to prevent labour from the region from entering the country; South African capital is allowed to roam freely in the region. What we have is a Pan-Africanism for capital, but not for labour. Read more here.



PACSA enewsletter writetous 
170 Hoosen Haffejee Street, 
Pietermaritzburg, 3201
P O Box 2338, Pietermaritzburg,
3200, South Africa