Front Page Publications

Response: Getting the Easy Things Wrong

At around 09.30 this morning, the senior management of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) sat down in a conference room at the Townhouse Hotel to brief members of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Transport on the ongoing spate of burnings of Metrorail trains in Cape Town. PRASA claims to have a plan to tackle the problem.

Response: A Vatican Tribute to Nelson Mandela

Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, and Head of the Delegation of the Holy See to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, participated in the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit in New York to mark the centenary of Mr Mandela’s birth on 18th July 1918.

Land Digest 4: Expropriation without Compensation

As Parliament’s Constitutional Review Committee starts to finalise its report on the extensive hearings it conducted around the country on land expropriation without compensation, political and ideological perspectives on the question abound.

Summary of the SACBC Land Submission

The Catholic Church, as a religious body, does not consider itself competent to pronounce on whether or not an amendment to s 25 of the Constitution is necessary in order to facilitate expropriation without compensation.

Response: The Reinstatement of the Death Penalty

The death penalty was suspended in SA in February 1990, and finally abolished by the Constitutional Court in 1995. Before its suspension, SA had one of the highest rates of judicial execution in the world,1 with over 3000 people hanged between 1959 and 1989.

Response: Sister Water

In 2015 Pope Francis declared 1st September to be World Day of Prayer for the Care for Creation in the Catholic Church, allying it with Orthodox Church, which has marked the same day since 1989. This year, as usual, the Pope has released a short message, the theme of which is particularly apposite for us in drought-prone southern Africa: Water.

BP 461: The Public Protector

The Public Protector is one of the six ‘State Institutions Supporting Constitutional Democracy’ provided for in Chapter 9 of the Constitution, and consequently known as ‘Chapter 9 Institutions’. In many other countries, especially in Scandinavia, where the idea originated, the equivalent of our Public Protector is known as an Ombudsman.

BP 460: The Long-Awaited Climate Change Bill

Climate change represents one of the most globally urgent challenges of our time, with far- reaching environmental, social, economic and political implications. There is almost complete consensus that the rise in global temperatures is primarily due to greenhouse gases (GHGs), emitted into the atmosphere through human activities, and that this is causing rapid climate change.

BP 459: Prisoners on Remand

According to some estimates, up to one in 13 of all South African men aged between 18 and 65 are arrested annually – what happens to them, and to the much smaller number of women and juveniles arrested every year, should be of major concern to us all.

Refugees Digest 29

In the first weeks of July, 180 civil society organizations found agreement on some of the principles that should frame the Global Compact on Migration. This agreement came ahead of the sixth and final round of talks on the Compact, which took place in New York. The protection of children, family unification, and a plea to enhance processes of integration, featured strongly in this agreement. From a policy perspective these principles speak to the core of human rights-based policies.

BP 458: Lawfare

Are South African political actors too quick to ask the country’s judges to referee their disputes? Ordinarily, in a stable and orderly democracy, it is highly desirable that people, and the parties and factions that they constitute, should ‘go the legal route’ rather than settle their differences by force, or bribery, or by any of the myriad other underhand methods that are typically associated with the world of politics.

Response: Civil Society & The Global Compact on Migration

On 9th July, 180 civil society groups active in the field of migration issued a joint statement ahead of the sixth and final round of discussions on the Global Compact on Migration (GCM), due to take place in New York. This followed 18 months of negotiation stressing the need for states to adopt a comprehensive approach to human mobility and for enhanced co-operation globally. It is interesting to note that the bulk of the issues raised in the statement by the 180 organisations have a strong resonance with the official Roman Catholic position.

Refugees Digest 28

Recently Pope Francis said, “We should promote the integral human development of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.” A number of the articles in this Digest spell out the implications of this challenge. So far this year, approximately 30 000 people attempted to reach Europe by sea. 771 have drowned in the process.