Joburg Advocacy Group (JAG): 2010

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Joburg Municipal Billing Crisis Campaign

JAG is receiving more and more calls and e-mails about the current billing crisis in the City of Johannesburg.

Consumers report being unable to resolve a range of problems, including huge "interim" bills for electricity, charges based on incorrect meter readings, inflated accounts for water and other services, missing payments, incorrectly-levied interest, threats of credit action, and having to sign acknowledgements of debt in order to obtain clearance certificates after the sale of a property.

All report being unable to resolve these problems through the usual official channels and, although this issue has received extensive coverage in the press, they remain without any effective means of dealing with it.

In order to assist residents in this situation, JAG has developed a comprehensive information leaflet, and we urge consumers to take direct action by logging complaints with all relevant authorities to ensure that they take immediate and effective action on this issue.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Pollution in the Jukseki River and Bruma Lake

JAG continues to do everything possible to address the issue of the severe pollution in the Jukskei River and Bruma Lake.

Most recently, we have logged a complaint with Mobilitate, and ask all supporters please to register with Mobilitate and to support this action. The more people that support it, the greater chance it has of becoming a "burning issue" and of ultimately being addressed.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Red Ribbon 2010 Kicks Off in Kensington

It's that time of year again! The people of Kensington will be tying red ribbons around their trees as a sign of their commitment to building happy, safe and peaceful communities from the ground up. They invite all other communities in South Africa (and beyond) to join them in this celebration of the true meaning of the festive season - and to do one thing in their communities that will make a positive difference over the holidays.

See the Red Ribbon Campaign web site for more info.

Friday, 22 October 2010

National Environmental Impact Assessment Management Strategy

The Department of Environmental Affairs is calling for the public to contribute to the development of a National Environmental Impact Assessment Management Strategy.

Please participate in the public discussion forums on the web site - it's vital that the department gets grassroots input in order to develop an effective and well-managed environmental impact system in South Africa.

P.S. To register use the Log In button on the Home page. There's a link for new registrations on the Log In page.

Image: Kosi Bay, iSimangaliso Wetlank Park, KwaZulu Natal

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Groot Marico Threatened by Open-Cast Mining

The community of the Groot Marico needs our help.
Their historic bushveld area is in danger of being destroyed by open-cast mining that will compromise not only the environment, but the Groot Marico's rare and irreplaceable heritage. Mining will also irreversibly pollute the Marico River and, as JAG is particularly concerned about the management of water resources in both Johannesburg and around the country, we appeal to supporters to click through to the Groot Marico Petition and to add their names.
The UN regards access to clean water as a basic human right. Let's make sure our government respects this right, and the right of communities to retain their environmental and cultural integrity.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Hard at Work

The Joburg Advocacy Group has been hard at work over the past two months. In May and the first half of June, we were privileged to be involved in the planning of the Proud to Host campaign, a community-driven campaign established to clean up and rehabilitate the suburbs around Ellis Park Stadium in the run-up to and during the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Together with volunteers from the I Love Kensington Association (ILKA), volunteers from JAG also set up the Kensington Community Work Programme (KCWP) in Johannesburg's historic suburb of Kensington. The programme aims to rehabilitate public spaces, provide much-needed work opportunities for unemployed people in the area, and foster a spirit of community and cooperation between people of different ages, races, classes, language groups, cultures and religions.

The KCWP has constituted and is currently running four community work projects as part of the Proud to Host campaign, the Rhodes Park Project, the Community Hall Project, the Public Artworks Project, and the Scottish Horse War Memorial Project, and workers from the programme also participated in National Clean-Up Day on 5 June. KCWP draws funding from government's Community Work Programme (CWP), and is supported by Seriti, the NGO tasked with providing technical support for the CWP.

JAG was also actively involved in assisting the Kensington community in the task of dealing with the legal, governance and environmental health issues arising from an illegal fan park in their suburb, and are pleased to say the community managed to get it shut down. We're now involved in helping to plan a People's World Cup event to coincide with the monthly Kensington Arts, Crafts and Farmers Market, which is aimed at reclaiming the soccer fields where the fan park was set up for the use and enjoyment of the community.

JAG also supported the call from Lawyers for Human Rights for the development of a National Strategy for Sustainable Development, which focuses specifically on the very pressing environmental threat posed by acid mine drainage in the Witwatersrand Mining Basin.

All of which means we don't do a lot of blogging, facebooking or tweeting but, rest assured, we're out there ...

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Protests Not Just About Service Delivery

"There were more protests around the country in the first three months of this year than in any equivalent period since 1994," says Yunus Carrim, deputy minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs.

And the protests have been about much more than just service delivery:

"The protests are also about a range of other municipal issues, including maladministration, nepotism, fraud, corruption and the failure of councillors and administrators to listen," he said.

"But it is the rage of sections of the protesters and the extent of violence and destruction they wreak that is striking. It reflects a far more fundamental alienation of people from our democracy."

In short, democracy in South Africa is failing us and if we, the people, don't get involved to ensure that it remains a living, breathing, fair, just and relevant system, it will continue to fail. Get involved - and do whatever you can do to make a difference where you stand.

Our future depends on what we do today.

See TimesOnline for more.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Commentary Invited: What is the Future of the ANC?

Veteran activist, Zackie Achmat, is asking South Africans what their views are on the future of the ANC. Can it be transformed from within to be a truly democratic and representative organisation, or has that horse already bolted?
Have your say at Writing Rights, the Centre for Law and Social Justice.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Public Objections to Proposed Rates and Tariffs Increases

This is just to advise all City of Joburg residents that if they'd like to object to the proposed new 2010/11 rates and tariffs increases - either individually or collectively - they can do so for the next 30 days.

Details of the proposed new tariff structure are available on the city's web site, and any objections must be made in writing.

These should be addressed to the Mpho Mapheto in the City Manager's office at either, or P.O. Box 1409, Johannesburg, 2000. Residents who are unable to write can make verbal submissions at a number of different city offices (contact us for further details if you need them).

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Help for Haiti

Dear Friends,

Please consider making a donation to the relief efforts in Haiti. The Caribbean nation is in desperate need of humanitarian aid after Tuesday's devastating earthquake.

South African rescue and medical teams are already on their way. You can support them with a donation through the local charity Gift of the Givers, through the local branch of Doctors Without Borders, or through the international disaster fund. These organisations are absolutely guaranteed to get the funds through to those who need them quickly and in full.

Let's be a community that helps other communities in need.