With great sadness, the South African Civil Society Information Service announces its closure. We will no longer be publishing articles on our website, but it will remain live for you to access, as it has developed into an extensive archive of progressive views and information. The decision to close SACSIS wasn't taken lightly. We were forced into it due to a lack of funding support. We thank you for your interest in our views and leave you with this message: Never stop searching for ways to make this world a kinder place for all who live in it.
Richard Pithouse - In the midst of the state of emergency, Johnny Clegg's exquisite song for Nelson Mandela, Asimbonanga, soared above the blood and teargas. The song seemed to suggest that Mandela could take us across the burning water. Mandela did return from Robben Island. And while the sun didn't rise red on the day of his return and the dead didn't arise to make the world whole, time seemed to stand still as he returned to the embrace of a mass movement. There are critiques of how this delicate moment was handled. But it is clear that the wheel of history did turn in 1994 and that Mandela did take us across the burning water.
Saliem Fakir - Current notions of the market and economy tend to put an inconvenient cover on the market's workings, especially the role of corporations in the dynamics of the market. A new lens is required to unpack what corporations are, how their influence works and what their impact is on markets and the politics between states and citizens. We must move away from the mundane idea that corporate success is the result of a single ingenious entrepreneur, hard work, innovation and tenacity. This is pure fiction.
Steven Friedman - South Africa's real 'ticking time bomb' may not be poverty, but what it has always been - race. Our angriest people may not be those forced to survive on much less than they need, but the black middle class. The frequently heard claim that poor people are about to rise up and destroy the economy ignores reality: poverty forces people to be more pragmatic because more is at stake. The poor are not yet organised enough and too isolated from economic power to change society. Middle class people, by contrast, can organise and make themselves heard. And, if middle class people are black, they may be very angry.
Leonard Gentle - The story of Marikana runs much deeper than an inter-union spat. The broader platinum belt has been home to a series of new upsurges of struggle in the last five years. From the working class community activists of Merafong and Khutsong to the striking workers of Angloplat, Implat and now Lonmin, these struggles, including the nationwide "service delivery" revolts, are a sign that a new movement is being forged. Rather than just howl our outrage, it is time to take sides and offer our support.
Watch - SACSIS spoke to renowned author and social commentator, Prof. Sampie Terreblanche, who's spent years researching South Africa's inequality. We talk to him about the history of South Africa's transition with a particular focus on the role of big capital in the transition to democracy as well as prospects for change in the future. Terreblanche argues that the ANC's embrace of the neoliberal approach for economic development is the wrong model for South Africa. He also notes that White South Africans occupy an extremely privileged position in this country and argues that if the situation of the bottom 50% of South Africa's population is going to change, then Whites will have to make a sacrifice. "There is no other way," he contends.
Watch - Talking about the nationalisation debate in relation to the mining industry in South Africa, BEE expert, Duma Gqubule, explains that the value of untapped mineral resources in South Africa is US$4.7 trillion. Put differently, the value of these mineral resources is worth one million Rand per South African citizen. The mistake our country made in relation to BEE was to set a target of 25% for black people. By definition, a black empowerment transaction will only benefit a few black people. There has to be more that you take from this industry for the country as a whole, he contends.
Watch - They are important drivers of the South African economy, yet domestic workers are still amongst the lowest paid workers today. Their fate was sealed during the apartheid era when "kitchen girls" were just servants with no workplace rights. Little has changed in post-apartheid South Africa argues Myrtle Witbooi, the general secretary of South Africa's domestic workers' union. Domestic work is not considered decent work. Poor enforcement of laws and regressive employer attitudes mean that domestic workers' rights are being quietly violated every day.
SACSIS - In the face of compelling evidence against coal and nuclear energy, our government's response to SA's electricity crisis is to continue building coal-fired power stations and an expensive nuclear power plant. A crisis is one of the best ways to catalyse short-termism it was argued at an event examining the energy crisis - and our government's "quick fix" for the crisis (coal, gas, nuclear) is a false solution, which goes against international trends. But the public fed on propaganda from the fossil fuel lobby is completely panicked about power outages, leading to silence on these false solutions.