Pretoria, 28 June 2018
Hon. John Jeffery, Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development
On the 28th of June 2018, SALO in partnership with the Embassies of Norway and the Netherlands hosted a multi-stakeholder dialogue on the Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill at the Sierra Burgers Park hotel in Pretoria. Stakeholders in attendance represented organisations such as Centre for Human Rights UP, Restorative Justice Centre (RJC), the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), Access Chapter, Save the Children, the Embassies of Norway, Netherlands and Central African Republic. Opening remarks were made by Ambassador of Norway, Ms Trine Skymoen followed by keynote speaker, Hon. John Jeffery, Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development. The event was chaired by Dr Showers Mawowa.
The Ambassador of Norway, Ms Skymoen, spoke of Europe’s experience in witnessing a rise of right-wing and xenophobic rhetoric. The importance of hate crimes and speech bill is evident in the European context. She speaks of the interlinked issues of hate crime and hate speech as a rising global challenge which is somewhat a paradox considering society is becoming more accepting and diverse. Extremist movements strongly oppose diverse and inclusive societies and while being a minority, they cannot be ignored. Intolerance and hatred is not simply cured by economic progress and development. The dialogue nurtured robust and enlightening discussion surrounding the bill, but all were clear that we must stand together in fighting against hate speech and hate crimes.
Deputy Minister, John Jeffrey, gave an overview of the bill and its status, speaking to the importance of prosecuting related crimes but emphasising that the law will not be a solution to ‘unacceptably high’ levels of racism and hateful violence in South Africa. Following this, the session focused on debating the issues surrounding the bill, specifically in relation to hate speech. Right2Know raised concerns about how criminalising hate speech, could possibly criminalise freedom of expression and protest. LGBTQI activists spoke of the influence of Religious organisations who can still preach hate if it does not actively encourage violence. They state that hate crime can be directly linked to hate speech so hateful sermons can encourage violence against minorities. The bill was seen to be dealing with the branches of racism and hate rather than the roots. The RJC emphasised the importance of restorative justice and how it can prevent high levels of recidivism, something which the bill is lacking. This tied into the finals point raised on the importance of social cohesion and how we need to look at this issue from all dimensions and using all the instruments at our disposal.
Participants felt the presentation provided a good overview of the Bill and the following discussions were insightful and informative. Participants also found they were able to ask questions and voice opinions directly to the government. Going forward suggestions were made about engaging in certain topics around solutions such as social cohesion and social contract making in SA.
“What I found most useful is the information that there’s still opportunity for public consultations with prominent figures” – Geoffery Uqwauo, Center for Human Rights
“Open Dialogue with sufficient time for discussion”- Gift Kgomosotho, SAHRC
“They offer dialogue that is informative”- Stanley Thabang Malata, RHS (PM)
“Refugees are people like anyone else, like you and me. They led ordinary lives before becoming displaced, and their biggest dream is to be able to live normally again. On this World Refugee Day, let us recall our common humanity, celebrate tolerance and diversity and open our hearts to refugees everywhere.” – Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General
SALO’s refugee and migrants work:
As part of its principle of regional solidarity, SALO advocates at all levels to improve the position of migrants and refugees living in South Africa, as well as conditions for the poor and marginalised host communities within which many migrants live.
Of particular concern to SALO is the relationship between migrants from the region and South African citizens. As much as the South African government is taking a leading role in constructively engaging in conflicts on the continent, South Africa’s citizens are often not well informed about the history and present of other countries in Africa. Migrants are an important point of contact between ordinary citizens and the rest of the continent. Often, however, relations between migrants and citizens in South Africa has been characterised by conflict and discrimination rather than mutual exchange and learning.
A particularly egregious form of discrimination is xenophobic violence targeting foreign nationals. Since May 2008, when hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals were forcibly evicted from townships and informal settlements around the country and at least 62 people were killed, xenophobic violence has been in the public eye nationally, regionally and internationally, and high levels of violence against foreign migrants have continued since.
SALO works with South African communities through education campaigns on the nature and histories of conflicts in neighbouring countries such as Zimbabwe, Swaziland, the DRC and Somalia. This is done through workshops and the presentation and discussion of videos about the conflicts. SALO has also produced a video about xenophobic violence.
The aims are to increase South African understanding of the reasons for migration from these countries as a means of increasing dialogue with migrants, as well as building a constituency for the South African government’s efforts to build peaceful resolutions to the crises in these countries.
SALO’s work to counter xenophobia and xenophobic violence, and to work particularly towards increasing the rights and voice of migrants and refugees from Zimbabwe and Swaziland, is supported by the Olof Palme International Centre among others. SALO works in partnership with a range of organisations including the Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum; People Against Suffering, Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP); Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa.
The 16th of June marks the anniversary of the iconic 1976 student uprisings which took place in Soweto. It is a day of solemn remembrance for the brave youth who were struck down while peacefully rising up in rejection of the Apartheid regime’s inferior education system for black students. It is also a day for celebrating the essential role of youth in our society, as vibrant catalysts for change, and the torch bearers of our nation’s future.
We join South Africans in commemorating Youth Day. As a civil society organisation we believe that it is our responsibility to confront our past, to challenge the future and to promote a more equal and sustainable society and region. In light of the incredible international solidarity shown to the people of South Africa – which ultimately crippled Apartheid South Africa’s economy – South Africa has a responsibility to repay its historic debt to the world by playing a role in bringing about a more just world for all. SALO believes that the work we do plays a part in that larger picture, both in seeking solutions to conflicts on our continent, and in bringing about awareness and behaviour change around issues such as homophobia, gender based violence and xenophobia.
Cognizant of the important role of the youth in affecting social change, SALO strives to mainstream youth participation in all aspects of our work. SALO places a strong focus on working with youth in our community-based anti-xenophobia, LGBTI rights and gender-based violence programmes. SALO’s network includes youth from a wide array of political and student organisations, however SALO strives to prioritise the voices of black youth living in townships.
Date: 25th of May – Africa Day
Venue: Sierra Burgers Park Hotel
Hosted by SALO
SAWA South Sudan was a virtual summit being streamed from Nairobi, Kenya. Its aim was to connect women activists in South Sudan with women leaders and activists from around the world. Speakers ranged from former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson to Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director at Oxfam International and Dr Koiti Emmily, medic at Juba Teaching Hospital.
It recognised the growing issues and conflict occurring in South Sudan as well as the lack of impactful responses in bringing resolution. The importance of women and their role in peace and reconciliation was raised as a paramount factor if South Sudan is ever to have sustainable peace.
The conflict itself is worsening with systematic state and militant force abuses inflicted on the civilian population. Human rights abuses are reported daily, and the issue of sexual abuse is becoming a rampant problem. With women making up over 60% of the population, events like SawaSouthSudan play a critical role in raising these issues and how we can empower more women to take an active role in fighting for human rights and for the betterment of their country.
SALO was delighted to have partners from the ANC, the South Sudanese Embassy and the Institute of Global Dialogue (IGD) present at our viewing function. There was lively conversation towards the end on the issues mentioned above as well as what more needs to be done to support South Sudan from South Africa.
The summit reached more than 115 million people on social media, with viewing events in 25 countries. The success of this campaign shows the importance of social media in spreading awareness around the globe.
For Navi Pillay, it’s because the women of South Sudan have suffered for far too long. Share your reasons for participating in the comments below and don’t forget to RSVP at https://www.sawasouthsudan.com/
YOU’RE INVITED: SawaSouthSudan is a virtual summit connecting the women of South Sudan to the world. Streaming live on Africa Day, 25th May 2pm EAT. Find out more here: https://www.sawasouthsudan.com/
As we mark this important day, may the words of our icon and founding father echo throughout our land, “Let freedom reign. The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement”, Nelson Mandela, 10 May 1994. Happy Freedom Day South Africa!
But what does freedom mean for the young people of this nation? Here are some views from the young people at SALO.
“For me, freedom means having the ability and the right to express myself. The ability to live in a society where everyone is equal and to take into account the immense responsibility of having that freedom, given the sacrifice that many gave for me and everyone to attain that freedom”, Athenkosi Thoba.
“Freedom to me is Choice! Which school I want to attend, what profession I’d like to go into and who I want to marry, where I’d like to live, travel at will. These were not just restricted by race but by gender” Jessey Matlou.
“Freedom to me means living in a society that values the importance and contribution of women in leadership roles, and where the choices I make for myself are not determined by surviving structural patriarchy” Daisy Mbutho.
“To me, freedom is living in a world with people who have boundless love for each other and a world absent of greed and arrogance. If we eliminate the thought “I deserve better, and I am better than you” we can achieve freedom. You simply cannot hurt or oppress another person if you regard them as highly as yourself, so to me it starts with a change in mindset towards one another.” –
We have come far, but the long walk to freedom is not yet over.
SALO April 2018
On the 17th April 2018 SALO facilitated a community screening and dialogue with high school learners in Khayelitsha, talking about on gender based-violence.
The session started with a screening of a clip of South African teenagers speaking candidly about gender-based violence, linking these behaviours to prevailing societal norms of what it means to be a “man”. This included a discussion amongst a group of friends on the topic of violence towards their partners. Some of the youths admitted to having hit their girlfriends out of anger, while others indicated that they did not condone gender-based violence and would never hit a woman.
Siphelo Mzondo, former National leader of COSAS active in the province, chaired the post-screening discussion. Participants were all grade 10 learners from Sizimisele Technical High School in Khayelitsha. The participants were evenly split in terms of gender, which added a stimulating dynamic to the discussion. All participants condemned gender-based violence, and with most female participants expressing how this issue affected their lives personally. One male participant shared that he was abused as a child by a relative, and that people don’t know this about him. He raised this as an example to highlight that abuse is so rife in our country that most South Africans walk with unseen scars of sexual and gender based abuse. He also touched on gender-discrimination in terms of society’s treatment of victims of abuse who speak out, saying that he used to be embarrassed as a young man to disclose that he was a victim of abuse, as it is still perceived as an issue only affecting women by many in SA society.
This screening, and other community screenings in this project aim to facilitate school environment change, and to change social norms related to violence at community level, by focusing on ideas of masculinity and violent practices of men and boys, and building relationship and communication skills amongst youth.
SALO mourns the loss of Ambassador George Nene who was a Senior Associate of SALO. Our heart goes out to his family and friends during this very difficult time.
DIRCO Media statement:
07 April 2018
Minister Sisulu extends condolences to the family and friends of the late Ambassador George Nene
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Hon Lindiwe Sisulu, has extended her condolences and those of the DIRCO family to the family and friends of former Ambassador to Nigeria and Switzerland, Ambassador George Nene, who passed away on Friday, 06 April 2018.
Minister Sisulu said Ambassador Nene ranks among the top diplomats the ANC and the Government of South Africa ever deployed across the world. “South Africans must celebrate the contribution Ambassador Nene made to the fight against apartheid and his role in the development of our relations with various countries across the world. We have lost one of our best diplomats at a time when we still need their experience and wisdom,” said Minister Sisulu.
Ambassador George Nene was the chairperson of the South African Association of Former Ambassadors, South Africa’s first High Commissioner to Nigeria; former Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations in Geneva; former Deputy Director- General Multilateral (DIRCO).
Details of the memorial service and funeral will be communicated during the week.
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
460 Soutpansberg Road
07 April 2018
The African National Congress has learned with sadness the passing of a seasoned diplomat and life long revolutionary Ambassador Nene who lived his life serving the people of South Africa.
To us this is a double blow as we are still mourning the death of our revolutionary icon and stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. The role that Ambassador Nene played in the liberation of our country cannot be measured.
Ambassador Nene did not only occupy death defying trenches of the liberation struggle, he was counted amongst those who held the flag of country flying high in the process of carving the role of South Africa on the international platforms.
His role and contribution is the legacy that we will always treasure as we continue to work towards the transformation of the world governance. To his family we extend condolences and may his soul rest in peace.
Issued by the African National Congress
Pule Mabe 071 6234 975
In March 2018, SALO Deputy Director, Dr Showers Mawowa attended the World Bank Fragility Forum in Washington DC under the theme, Managing Risks for Peace and Stability. Dr Mawowa (centre) was one of the presenters for panel discussion on Forging Resilient Social Contracts where he presented findings from a co-authored (with Prof Erin McCandless of Wits University on the right) research paper on Social Contract Making and the Building of Sustainable Peace in Zimbabwe.
In the picture from the right, Dr Showers Mawowa, Deputy Director, SALO; Hon Deqa Yasin Hagi, Minister of Women and Human Rights, Somalia and Prof Erin McCandless, Associate Professor, Wits University and Research Director, Forging Resilient Social Contract Research and Dialogue Project.