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Outgoing SABC COO Craig Van Rooyen
SABC will overcome challenges: Van Rooyen
13 August 2019, 6:13 AM

Outgoing acting SABC COO Craig Van Rooyen says he’s confident that the public broadcaster will overcome its challenges.

He was speaking after his resignation as the Group Executive for Technology and acting Chief Operations Officer.

Van Rooyen had been acting as COO following the axing of Chris Maroleng earlier this year.

In a statement, the SABC says Van Rooyen has resigned for personal and family reasons.

He’ll be leaving the broadcaster on the 9th of next month.

The SABC says it will be interviewing potential candidates for the COO role this week, and will soon advertise for a new Group Executive for Technology.

This week in 1994: Democracy 25
7 August 2019, 1:55 PM


This week we focus on arms control in South Africa.

In the 80s, liberation movements used the international border between South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique to smuggle firearms.

Apartheid South Africa also used to supply the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo) with guns in its fight against the ruling – Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo).

This trend continued during the early 90s during the KwaZulu-Natal state-sponsored political violence, which later spilled to Gauteng. The Freedom Party (IFP), the African National Congress (ANC) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) were involved in the fighting.

Independent Researcher and Violence Monitor Mary De Haas says KwaZulu-Natal is still awash with weapons that were used in the political violence.

An agreement between governments of South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique aimed at curbing arms smuggling between the three countries was reported by Radio Maputo to have been signed on 4 August 1994.

Despite this, however, De Haas says gun movement in the country and the continent remains a concern.

At the height of cash heists in the 2017/2018 financial year, criminals were reported to have outgunned the police in some instances, using AK47s, R5 and R1 assault rifles.

Taxis, trucks and private vehicles are cited as possible carriers of illegal ammunition and guns. Ports of entry are other areas of concern, according to De Haas.

She says lax border controls and rogue security companies are also problematic.

“A lot of the companies that are running around with guns are not registered with PSIRA or their permits have lapsed. Now that is a major problem we are sitting with.”

De Haas is urging South Africans to hold police to account for failing to discharge their Constitutional duty.

The Researcher says government has failed to tackle the gun problem properly in the 25 years it’s been in power.

“Government has not done what it should have done guns that were stockpiles, that kept coming in and guns that have proliferated in the security and the taxi industry. They haven’t done what they should have done to stop guns going missing from the police. They haven’t as far as we know penalised people in the police who don’t keep proper controls of their guns.”

De Haas says the lack of transformation in the police service is another impediment to the battle against illegal firearms.

She is calling for an overhaul of the crime intelligence service and pro-active policing.

Tamara Mathebula CGE chair
Slow progress of transformation in the workplace lamented
6 August 2019, 6:00 AM

The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) says it’s concerned about the progress of transformation in the workplace.

Gender equality is enshrined in the Bill of Rights of our country’s Constitution and forms an integral part of our lives in a democracy.

More than 20 years after policies and legislation in place to ensure gender parity, women remain marginalised across sectors.

In corporate South Africa for example, men still occupy positions of influence while women play a supporting role.

“We see more women occupying either the middle or lower strata of the management in those government departments as well as private sector and SOEs (state-owned entities),” says the Chairperson for Gender Equality Tamara Mathebula.

The Gender Equality Commission has found that Private companies and even mining conglomerates are resistant to change.

Mathebula adds that women with disabilities and the LGBTIQ community are the most marginalised.

“And it’s even worse when it comes to promotion – gays and lesbians are not even considered for promotion….because of who you are we (companies) are not sure whether you will be able to become a CEO of this company or you’ll be able to represent us the way you should.”

Pay gap

Equal pay is another contested issue.

According to the International Labour Organization’s Global Wage 2018/2019 Report – women earn about 20% less than their male counterparts.

“Companies are categorising women as people who get distracted by something. You will find one of the reasons you will find that women will take more time off to take care of their newborn – maternity is not equal to paternity. When payment is structured, they look at those issues that you are still young and still fertile and will therefore take more time out more than the male.”

Patriarchy, lack of information and concrete plans to mainstream gender equality are said to be factors that contribute to this social injustice.

The Gender Commission Chairperson believes this issue needs an all hands on deck approach.

Mathebula says while more still needs to be done to even the gender playing-field, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have been steadfast in their attempt to change things.

Government departments and political parties are also said to have improved efforts to ensure gender parity.

Watch related video:

SANDF logo and SA flag
This week in 1994: Democracy 25
31 July 2019, 4:02 PM


We wrap the month of July with the focus on the impact of the declining budget of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

On 26 July 1994, the Department of Defence was allocated R10.5 billion, more than 8.7% of the national budget. This was a good number as funding was almost 3% of total government spending for that period.

It was, however, a dip from previous years. Prior to 1994, the apartheid government spent billions on the military. The South African Defence Force was larger than the SANDF  and was also involved in the Angolan Border War.

The cut in the army’s budget marked the re-positioning of the military to a defensive instrument of the state.

The move sparked an outcry, with even external military commentators slamming it. Out of frustration, the SANDF  released a document outlining how the budget cut has affected the military capability of the force.

Since then the situation has being getting worse, with the army’s budget declining by 5% to a mere 1% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the past two decades.

Countries around the world spend around 2 and 2.5% of their national budget on the defence force.

South Africa Defence Force Union (Sandu) Spokesperson Pikkie Greef says the defence department won’t be able to implement all its goals with the funding it’s getting from government.

Greef says while he understands that the country’s priorities are different from those of other countries – government can’t have its cake and eat it.

He is calling for urgent action to prevent a possible disaster.

While some military commentators are advocating for the trimming of the force to solve the dilemma, Greef believes that would just be a futile exercise.

SANDF bosses, including Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, have also been decrying the army’s budget spiral.

Mapisa-Nqakula has warned of increasing terrorism threats and extremists groups, saying more resources are needed to support SANDF to patrol and protect the country.

The department has been allocated R50.510 billion in the 2019-20 financial year.

A far cry from the R80 billion it is said to need to fund its programmes.

Watch 2019 defence budget vote:




Think before you tweet logo
Think before tweeting
30 July 2019, 5:40 PM


Social media’s growing role in the public discourse can never be disputed.

It’s not only an efficient tool for businesses to promote their products or just a connecting measure for millions of people around the world.

It is also being used to drive social change, with the hashtag Twitter symbol having now become a token of revolution.

To mitigate risks that come with the ever growing popularity of social media platforms, companies have introduced policies, which dictate how their employees should behave while expressing themselves on the internet.

“If an employee is saying anything or making any comments on social media that can be insulting then the employer is held to be liable. So by virtue of that the employer then has to be responsible and take responsibility for that,” says senior part-time commissioner at the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) Ronel De Wet.

Over the past two years the CCMA has facilitated over 50 disputes, involving people who had used social media to their disadvantage.

De Wet says irresponsible posts won’t only get you fired though– you could also be sued for defamation and end up with a huge fine or even jail time.

“Employers need to be pro-active and educate people on the consequences of that. But employees also need to understand that once you’ve said something – you cannot take it back,” she adds.

The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) agrees that people need to be mindful of the damage irresponsible posts could have. The organisation’s Executive Director, Samkelo Mokhine, is however urging companies not to stifle debate.

Mokhine is also calling on companies not to come down too hard on offenders but to instead find ways to educate workers on the importance of expressing their views without tweeting themselves out of a job.

Watch discussion on the power of social media:



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