Petition Tag - south africa

1. Three Terms for South African Schools

Three School Terms for South Africa.
I am a ballet teacher. I cannot get my work done with the 4 terms currently in place in the South African Education system.
I feel that in particular that the time between Easter in April and the public holidays on 27 April and 1 May is affecting the whole education system.
The school terms should start for the first school term as from about 15 January until the Thursday before Easter and commence again after the 1st of May. The
second term then from the 2nd of May to about the end of July and the 3rd and last term from the end of August to the end of November.
With all the public holidays currently in place in South Africa school going children are not getting the education they require particularly due to the public holidays in April interfering with the school terms as they are ( currently 4 terms ).
Children will benefit from a less interrupted schedule and have a sufficient time for the summer vacation of at least 6 weeks in December and half of January. Teaching is an extremely demanding occupation and both teachers and learners need to take a longer holiday in summer and focus on school work without interruption of so many public holidays piled up on top of each other.
The majority of private schools in South Africa have 3 trimesters and not 4 terms. The whole of South Africa should agree to a 3 term school term from learners from grade 0 to grade 12 irrespective of private or public schooling.

2. Criminal Sanctions for Violators of Constitution of South Africa

FACT require that South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) take urgent steps and set the wheels into motion to develop the law to create appropriate criminal sanctions in respect of all residents and citizens who habitually violate the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

Civil remedies in many instances do not appear to have the desired effect on to curtail offenders contempt of the constitution.

▌Violating the Oath of office of the State President
▌Wasteful expenditure of state resources.

3. Make Connecting to Telkom WiFi Easier

Telkom always assigns monthly WiFi bundles to its customers to utilize at any Telkom Wifi hotspot. Apart from the fact that these hotspots are hard to find, it is a nightmare connecting to their WiFi network, once you've found one
These monthly 10GB , or weekly 2GB can go a long way and they do so much when you are trying to update your devices, do some work on a laptop or stream your favourite videos.
In order to make sure that everyone assigned these bundles can use them whenever they want, we HAVE to compel Telkom to bring back "MAC Address Linking" feature on the portal, so users can register their laptops' MAC Addresses, since EAP-PEAP authentication does not work on laptops; but only on Mobile.
Sign this petition so we can have back the feature that enables us to enjoy our free WiFi bundles on devices that do not accept EAP-PEAP; especially laptop devices.

4. Sanitary Towels For Free

Growing up in rural areas can be difficult for many young girls. Most young girls find themselves surrounded by poverty, hardship and a lack of positive role models, causing them to end up sexually active at an early stage, falling pregnant and end up using drugs and alcohol to deal with their circumstances.

Growing up in rural Hammanskraal myself, I believe that with the right people caring and reaching out to young girls to motivate, encourage and mentor we can inspire them to believe in their dreams and to pursue their full potential. For many of us, buying sanitary pads is as easy as buying bread and milk. But this is not the case for millions of girls and women in South Africa. They are at a permanent disadvantage as they are forced to stay at home as they are unable to afford this basic necessity. Girls use unhygienic alternatives to sanitary pads, such as newspaper or even sand and leaves, or sitting on cow patties. Doing this puts them at a huge risk of infection. And, according to Barnes, of nine million girls aged between 13 and 19 years in South Africa, "80% of those were missing a week of school every month... That's just time you can't make up and it's affecting their education."

5. STOP MCQP'S BLATANT CULTURAL APPROPRIATION

At midnight on October 30 2016, a day the indian community recognized globally as Diwali, MCQP announced the theme of their 2016 party: "A Bollywood Production."

Established in 1994, The Mother City Queer Project (MCQP) started as a costume party which aimed to create a safe space for misfits, freaks and beautiful creatures to be free and rejoice in the experience of being a marginal other. But in recent years, all it has become is a money making machine which blatantly commoditizes the queer body and creates a hostile playground for white, homonormative bodies to rule over. Those are the "no fats/fems/asians" types just by the way. It's toxic and it just became even more toxic with the announcement of this theme.

This is blatant cultural appropriation and misrepresentation of the highest regard. The event's Facebook page uses a description that attempts to justify the theme as cultural appreciation, but with phrases such as "Eastern guests" "from Bollywood" (because Bollywood is a place now) calling for the party's predominantly white cis-gendered patrons to express themselves in "Saris and harems", it is anything but. Furthermore, the Facebook event credits Ian McMahon as brainchild
of the event, and features no members of the indian community in its production credits or promotional material. The promotional material features white shirtless males dressed in "pagaris" (turbans) and traditional Indian jewelry. This is an uncalled for exploitation of the iconography of indian culture for the pleasure and profit of a largely privileged and white audience. Those homonormative bodies are going to be taking a marginal identity and missusing it for the sake of looking "cute" or just getting lucky with NO regard for the cultural significance of such icons AT ALL. This cannot be allowed!

This is distasteful, problematic and absolutely unapologetic appropriation in the worst way possible. As members of both the Indian and queer communities, we are truly offended. MCQP, you have gone too far. The gaytriarchy will not prosper. Do us all a favour and fix this.

We ask for all the support we can get in signing this petition and appealing to MCQP to change the event theme, or if not, cancel their event. As advocates for the rights of marginalized identities, we cannot let this come to fruition.

6. Stop Corruption of Immigration Officers in Islamabad Airport

Every single Pakistani travelling to Pakistan from South Africa, face this problem, they being held on airport in Islamabad and then being released after paying high amount of bribes, specially coming back to South Africa, they keep you on airport and threaten you that you will miss your flight, every time they have something new to ask if all the documents and visa is genuine.

Passengers have no other option other than paying them because of missing flight and all the related expenses.

I flew three times and i paid every single time as my documents and visa is 100% genuine and issued by Home Affairs South Africa.

7. Remove Students from campus when they protest during test periods

Fees Must fall started as a student led protest movement that began in mid October 2015 in response to an increase in fees at South African universities

on 19 October 2015 students started blocking access to and from Campuses all over South Africa in the aims of having a no fee increase. This went on until January in 2016 which put a stop to most academic activities.

NMMU has experienced strikes during the time 22 August 2016 till 26 August for Fees must fall. As a student of the university I know the stress it puts on students when you not sure whats happening or when you can go back to class. And that's why we calling on you to help us get back into the class rooms during these times.

8. Petition to remove removing racial quotas from rugby in South Africa

South Africa is the only country in world rugby that has political interference in terms of influence on team selections based on race. It is against the rules of the IRB that any team be selected based on this condition.

We would like to see the IRB either enforce this rule on the Springboks and other teams in South Africa or preclude them from participation in any IRB sanctioned matches.

9. Enough is Enough: Petition for harsher punishment for crimes of RAPE and MURDER in SA

Every week there are newspaper and police reports of children being brutally raped and murdered at the hands of ruthless savages. The attacks are becoming more and more violent in nature and more frequent.

We stand together with the mothers, sisters, and daughters of South Africa, in a desperate call for an end to the current deaths and rape of our children. Minor jail sentences have no meaning to these killers and rapist.

Crime does not effect any particular race or creed rather we are all effected and victims of crime. It's time something is done to solve this problem.

10. Bring Foster The People to South Africa

After 6 years of global recognition, the interest in Foster the People has grown a significant amount within groups of South Africans who have a more evolved taste in music.

The market may appear small in the country, however, this is because individuals whom have grown attached to FTP'S music are scattered widely throughout the country.

A large number of people have expressed their desire to attend a concert by the band, but due to the lack of opportunity to attend a concert in a different country, it has grown on people to be highly unlikely.

With the petition, we will enable people to recognise that their dream of one day attending a FTP concert may be a reality. The petition will group together a large number of people who are keen on having the band in South Africa. This will increase the market level as well as prove that there will be enough people to attend the concert for profitable factors.

Our love for the band has encouraged us to sign the petition in hopes that we will receive results in the very near future.

11. Petition to Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma to resign as president of the Country and the ANC

It is with regret that it is necessary for the people of South Africa and members of the African National Congress to call on Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma to tender his resignation as President of both the Republic of South Africa and the African National Congress.

We believe it is in the best interests of South Africa if you resign. There have been far too many unacceptable incidents that have undermined the dignity of the Office of President.

Resignation is the right and honourable thing to do.

12. Save Sylvester the Lion

Cape Town - Sylvester, the lion that escaped from the Karoo National Park for a second time on Tuesday, 29 March, will be put down once he is re-captured, SANParks announced on Tuesday.

“We will not take him back to the park," Reynold Thakhuli for SANParks told Traveller24. "Unfortunately, this lion has now been identified as a damage-causing animal and will be euthanised”.

"Thus far, we have received reports that he has killed a cow," Thakhuli says.

Last year, when Sylvester went AWOL for more than three weeks, he killed 26 sheep along with other game belonging to private owners.

13. Support the LOTSA regime change

We, the people of South Africa, call for the Independent Electoral Commission (or IEC abbreviated) to register the new political part that is NOT made up of politicians, called Leaders Of Tomorrow – South Africa (or LOTSA abbreviated).

This will be the first political party which, when in power after the 2016 elections, will use the system where the South African citizens will have the opportunity to vote for the president and deputy president of their choice, and not just vote for the political party that will decide on the next president and deputy president.

LOTSA will utilise social media, like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp to communicate with its members and non-members who are still afraid of leaving their current political parties. Non-members will still play an important role in providing crucial information from the ground, within other political party branches and in executive levels to lift LOTSA up. Information is important, hence some governments across the world are tapping into citizen’s’ private information.

We also call on every South African citizen to donate what they can to the IEC’s bank account with the reference LOTSA to show that the money will be for any registration costs of the party.

14. Revocation of Nobel Peace Prize awarded to FW de Klerk

Since 1994, South Africa is embroiled in a dispute between the ANC, and the EFF later, and the country's white citizens. Whites face violent deaths and torture in farm attacks, while the general murder rate exceeds road deaths and is in the top 3 in the world. Our YEARLY murder rate approaches the total amount of people killed in 25 years of the Gaza conflict, and violent deaths in South Africa exceeds warzones.

FW de Klerk won the Nobel Peace Prize after a fraudulent referendum, during which South Africans had to vote either YES or No, based on premises set for either the YES or No vote by FW de Klerk. If one studies the premises, you will find that FW de Klerk won the YES vote, but fraudulently delivered the premises he assigned to what would happen with the No vote.

The result is a violent country at war with itself, with civillian casualties exceeding warzones. Every day we face violent protests, and on average 50 people are murdered every day. The ANC was a terror organisation, listed as such, and with the ANC being put in control, the legacy of human rights abuses at the ANC's Camp Quattro lives on in our daily lives. Furthermore, a majority of 10 to 1, is using race laws to protect the many against the few, thus oppressing the minority white population.

15. 5 SOS to South Africa

If you or anyone you know lives in South Africa you should know about the struggle ... Nothing interesting ever happens here and thus I created this petition so that we can say to 5SOS managers that we the South African Fans also want to see them Live ... Please sign and share to make my and so many others dreams a reality ... #5sostosa

16. Save electricity: 1on/1off initiative

The 1on /1off initiative urges the Buffalo City Municipality, and eventually all municipalities in South Africa, to switch off every second street lamp in the entire city.

By doing so we can save huge amounts of electricity and curb load shedding. East London had in excess of 125 000 lampposts with an average wattage of 120w to 450w each. by turning every second one off we could save as much as 10 ME, conservatively speaking.

Best of all is it won't cost a cent other than having people walking from pole to pole and flicking a switch. The next time you drive past a lamppost, look at that panel at about hip height. behind it is a circuit breaker and that's how easy it is.
if we could save 10Mw in BCM that is almost a tenth of stage one load shedding saved in one city.

Imagine what a city like cape town or Johannesburg can save?

Sign the petition and before you know we'll be in your city too. This could end the load shedding insanity.

17. Change SA High School male hair rules/law

Why should teenage boys have to cut their hair the way that schools, or the government see best?

We live in a country that prides its independence from European rule and have established ourselves as a leader on the continent. But still we follow basic school rules from the 19th century.

When I think of a country that lets their future generation be independent I think of the United States, the most independent country on earth. A lesson to learn from that is that you must not shackle the youths hopes but encourage them. Another major concern is if a school can make boys cut their hair, why not girls as well, feminist groups have been fighting for equality for decades, let them have it then, not saying that they should, its their choice. so why not boys as well.

There is no harm if a pupil has a ponytail, or another dreadlocks, if you still want to encourage rules set by former governments, why not segregate schools again completely.

18. Make the Right to Food Act a Reality

This Holiday, 1 in 4 South Africans are going hungry. This doesn’t have to be the case. The Government must ensure that next year is different.



19. Petition Against Consensual Sex For 12 To 15 Year Olds

As it stands the Sexual Offences Act considers consensual sex below the age of 16 to be an offence. The Amendment to the Sexual Offences Act seeks to reduce this age to 12.We consider this amendment to be absurd for the following reasons:

1. Psychologically under 16’s are not mature enough to make sexual decisions or understand the consequences thereof.

2. It exposes under 16’s to the risks of HIV/Aids and other STDs, prostitutions, statutory rape, abortion and child pornography.

3. It places an unfair burden on parents by taking away their rights to restrain their children from sexual activity. Children will be free to make their own decisions regarding sex.

4. School communities will become platforms for sexual activity for learners. Education staff will be unable to contend with sexually unruly and chaotic learners.

5. It will lead to an increase in teenage pregnancies. School drop-out will increase and unemployment and other socio-economic problems in the country will soar.

6. It violates the Child Protection Act because it will be “exposing or subjecting a child to behaviour that may harm the child psychologically or emotionally”.

7. It will encourage the growth of child pornography as an industry and other crimes in South Africa. International black-market demands will be made on SA since sex with under 16’s is illegal in other nations.

8. It will permit under 16’s to undertake abortions without the presence of parents or adult guardians.

Other nations, including the United States, do not promulgate consensual sex for under 16’s. If this amendment is successful it will make South Africa the most liberal nations in the world with regard to the age of sexual consent!

The authority to decide the destiny of minor children should lie with their parents/ guardians. As responsible citizens of South Africa we must prevent laws that expose our children to harm. The rights of our children are cannot be violated. The rights of children must be secured at all costs.

As parents, guardians and responsible citizens I sign this petition and thereby express my disapproval of the amendment to give under 16’s consent to engage in sexual activity.

20. Support our local artists at Klerksdorp Festivals

Artists in our province are not taken seriously. For an artist to survive they must sell or showcase their craft more often.

Most of the artists succeed when they go to other provinces.

21. Stop Genocide on White South Africans

Black-on-White attacks in South Africa:

In 7 Days. 20 Attacks. 27 Victims. 3 Women Raped. 7 People shot. 6 People Murdered.

9 April: Leon Pretorius (50) and his wife Phylis (49) were attacked at their place of business in Bloemspruit. Leon was shot twice. He is in hospital.

9 April: An Elderly man was attacked and murdered in his home in Dinwiddi. He was stabbed and his neck was broken.

9 April: An elderly couple was attacked, assaulted, tied up and robbed in Helderkruin.

10 April: A Family was attacked in their home in the Featherbrooke Estate. The mother and daughter were assaulted and the father was shot. He is recovering in hospital.

10 April: A 27-year-old woman was attacked by 4 black men. She was abducted and raped.

10 April: 'A 58-year old woman was attacked and raped at the Anstey's Beach Guest House in Brighton Beach.

10 April: The Lombaard couple was attacked on their farm in Tulbach. They were able to defend themselves and the attackers fled.

11 April: Lazlo (87) and Carol Bercsenyi were attacked in Bon Accord. They were hacked with axes. Lazlow died from his injuries.

12 April: Jaap Pretorius (52) is in a critical condition after an attacked on him and his fiancé in Bloemfontein. He was shot in the head.

12 April: A 62-year-old man was attacked in his holiday home in St. Francis. He was assaulted, tied up and robbed.

12 April: Vicus Botha (63) was assaulted in front of his home in Pietermaritzburg. He was badly beaten and died from his injuries.

13 April: A 48-year-old woman and her husband were attacked by 4 black men in their home in Benoni. The woman was raped by the attackers in front of her husband.

14 April: Kobus Nieuwoudt (41) was attacked, assaulted and shot in Ontdekkerspark.

15 April: Rina Hough (65) was stabbed to death at her home in Senekal.

15 April: Bart Klopper (63) was attacked and assaulted at his farm in Edeville. He sustained serious head injuries.

15 April: Johan Nel and his 13-year-old son were attacked and assaulted on their farm in Wolmaransstad by 6 black men armed with CZ88 pistols.

15 April: Frik Bodenstein (58) was attacked on his farm in Witbank. He was hacked with machetes and is recovering in hospital.

16 April: Johan Bornman and his wife were attacked in their farm in Vredefort. Johan was shot in his face and shoulder and is in hospital.

16 April: W/O Steven Britz (44) was shot dead at the Klapmuts Police Station.

17 April: Hannes Duvenhage (68) shot dead in Ermelo.

22. Stop Rape in South Africa and Bring Back the Death Penalty!

144 people are raped every day. Somewhere we all have to start standing together and draw a line somewhere! It could be your wife, sister, mother or daughter next.

Let's put an end to it! BRING BACK THE DEATH ROW TO SOUTH AFRICA!

Lets stop talking and lets do something!

23. Support Vegetable Garden versus Play Ground

Twelve (12) Million People go to bed on a hungry stomach every night in our country: http://goo.gl/7nbWPh

We applied back in 2011 for a piece of land, a landfill that has been a dump since the birth of this country and continues to be, to date.

We had applied to use the land for a sustenance / subsistence vegetable food garden to belong and be run by the Orlando West community on sweat participation and cooperative principles, with great potential for communal tourism business, due to the close proximity to a popular tourist attraction site.

We have today (21 January 2014) received communication from the company (JPC) that the very fertile land has been reserved for Public Open Space, in a country with a more than 25% unemployment rate, coupled with abject poverty.

Objectives:

> Hydroponic (Water Planting) vegetable growing systems
> Aquaponics (Fish Tank Planting) vegetable growing systems
> Permaculture vegetable growing systems
> Computerization of All Processes - Introduction to Technology
> Employment Opportunity Creation - within own Neighborhood
> Establishment of a Wellness Restaurant
> Great Communal Tourism Business
> Nutrition Promotion
> Introduction of the DaKota Meals (10 / 12 Vegetable Meals)

24. Stop Hypocrisy: Stop David Cameron Representing UK at Nelson Mandela's Funeral

Over the next few days you will see David Cameron and the Tories shedding crocodile tears and telling the world what a great statesman Nelson Mandela was.

The truth is that the Tory party thought Mandela was just another grubby little peasant upstart for daring to take on his countries white ruling elite and some even publicly called for him to be hung or shot and would mock him at their Bullingdon club booze ups and young conservative parties and the FCS of which John Bercow was the then chair person and who is now the worst ''speaker of the house'' this country has ever had, and who constantly meddles in the freedom of information act to cover up Tory fraud on their expense claims and other misdemeanors.

They only changed their stance when it was clear that world opinion was now firmly on Mandela's side and that apartheid would eventually collapse, and that Mandela would become a world icon for freedom and human rights, and so they jumped on to the winning side's band wagon.

The aim of this petition is to show a mark of respect for a man who fought tirelessly against oppression . The People of the UK will not be represented by A Hypocrite.

25. Refuse Melissa Bachman any future VISA to Australia

Melissa Bachman, recently killed the lion on a hunt in South Africa. Bachman is a keen trophy hunter. The co-host of the TV show Winchester's Deadly Passions has shared several photos with dead bears, deer and alligators on social media.

Hunting and poaching are one and the same!

26. South African Government Should Actively Stop Murders in the Country and Protect All Its People

It is rather concerning that the Government of South Africa seems to close its eyes to the murdering of the white people of South Africa.

I want to hear and see the Government ACTIVELY DOING SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!

27. Red Balloon Protest-UK

Since 1994, more than 75 000 white people have been brutally raped, tortured and murdered at the hands of the black people in SA. The current government spreads racial mistrust by singing songs to kill the Boer.

White elderly are being targeted, white owned businesses are targeted. Understaffed, corrupt police create are not dealt with. Government does not recognise the heinous crimes being committed. SA is the highest rape capital in the world, and since 1994, more than 75 000 white people have been brutally murdered.

28. National Day of Repentance to Avoid Coming Racial Tensions

National Day of Repentance to avoid any racial distress and tensions prophesied by His Mighty End-time Prophet (Dr David Owuor).

Recently (14/07/2013) in a live radio interview on Jesus is Lord Radio www.jesusislordradio.webs.com, there was Prophet Dr. Owuor warning South African of a pending terrible racial tension that would occur Post Mandela’s death, “PROPHECY OF SEVERE RACIAL TENSION COMING TO SOUTH AFRICA - PROPHET DR. OWUOR”. Find interview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mDSbCRwHj4

In this prophecy the Prophet Dr David Owour stated that severe judgment was coming to South Africa of racial tensions & xenophobia. He said that this marks the distress spoken about in Book of Daniel Chapter 12. But for South Africa to avoid the distress that must observe a national Day of Repentance that the Lord may relent of His judgment, upon this nation.
Jeremiah 18:7-8 “The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.”
2 Chronicles 7:14 “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

This needs to be taken very seriously because Jehovah is giving this nation of South Africa an opportunity to Repent that this distress does not take place. This fear of such an event has been spoken by many secular critics for some time, but minus the exit plan of repentance. See God does nothing first before He speaks to His Prophets (Amos 3:7) And the Church first must repent This is a direct warning to the Church for not taking your rightful place as a light to this dark world, because of false prophets, false apostles, false teachers, false pastors , false teachings & sin that has defiled the alter. If the church does not rise up and demand a National Day of repentance the Lord will have no choice, but bring His judgment to this land of South Africa.

Last November On a national TV broad cast in Kenya, the Prophet Dr. Owuor gave a warning to Kenyans of a pending terrible animosity, “with a worse magnitude than the 2008 violence”. He mentioned It would sweep Kenya with flood of blood and wananchi would hack one another like ones hacking down trees. Kenyans would kill one another with renewed appetite and the agony would be as horrible as never ever seen in the land. ( find interview here NTV Interview - 30 Nov 2012 - Dr. Owuor http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8ujzN3342E )

This however was averted due to the nation honouring a National Day Of Repentance, in which 23 million participated with a national TV coverage and all then potential presidential candidates attended.

He is known for prophecies both locally and internationally. When the Dr. Owuor prophesied about earthquakes in Italy, Russia, China, Chile, US’s Mexico and California, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia, Tanzania, Kenya’s Nairobi among others, they were fulfilled. When he warned that floods would hit Australia, Malta, Kenya, etc, it happened. When he warns about wars, as his most recent prophesied of Airstrikes in Syria (25/01/2013), they do not miss to come. In all the revelations, God provides a way: “Repent from your iniquities for the mitigation of the impending effects of the wrath of Jehovah!” With that Jehovah God always gives and exit plan if the nation or people will just repent.

In 2007 he prophesied the Post-Election Violence in Kenya after General election that saw over 1,300 dead and thousands displaced from their homes. Prophet Owuor said it will occur simultaneously with the elections to disguise the cause

People all of the world believe in Dr Owuor’s prophecies, because they are all coming to pass with some taking less than 24 hours. It sounds quite immediate, but believe me it will come to pass. He is a man of God. If he would not be calling people to repentance and holiness; if he was not calling people to Jehovah Adonai by reconciliation in Christ Jesus; I would doubt him. He cannot be serving another master and direct people to turn to God in tears in supplication and imploration for forgiveness and mercy. This prophecy will come to pass if South Africa doubt or ignore it.

The Nation that not only believes the Lord, but fears the Lord shall be established; believe in His Prophet and you shall prosper.

Repent South Africa to Avoid the Coming Distress & Racial Tensions! Proverbs 1: 23-33, 2 Chronicles 7:14, Isaiah 62:6-7, Zachariah 1:3-6

We invite all those who share the same convictions to join us in affirming and spreading this electronic petition far spread, as possible. Once you have forwarded this petition over to your Local pastors and church leaders our desire it to hand it on to the South African National Assembly, the office of the president, and vice president office for implementation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mDSbCRwHj4

29. Halt yellowwood harvesting & restore national forests

An Open Letter to His Excellency, President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, President of South Africa and the African National Congress

Dear Msholozi, Dr Zuma,

I want to draw your attention to the current state of our nation's indigenous forests. Our national trees, the giant “yellowwoods” of South Africa, are all but gone. You can still see yellowwoods along the highway in the Tsitsikamma forests and even stop to see the "Tsitsikamma Big Tree", but these trees are just remnants of the impressive old-growth forest patches that once existed along our coastline and in our mountains. In just two generations we have forgotten what these forests even looked like and accepted how they appear today.

The one thing that most developed countries will not have in 50 years time is wilderness and intact indigenous habitat. A socio-economic truth in Africa is that we have the most untapped natural and human resources on Earth. Now is the time to guard this competitive edge carefully and make sure that we use our natural resources sustainably, while preserve our beautiful natural heritage. This is Africa’s century and we need to make sure that we have something to show for it in one hundred years time. Our forests, grasslands, wetlands, beaches and bushveld are the next generation of South African’s most important asset.

In 1994, the new ANC government inherited a policy of sustainable timber harvesting in indigenous forests from a government focused on self-sufficiency during the Apartheid years. The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has never had the specific mandate to restore our national forests. Indigenous forest management on government land has been underfunded after the privatization of most commercially viable plantations and forests. The truth is we are not doing enough to protect and restore our national forests and hundreds of villages, towns and cities depend on goods and services from these threatened forests. I would like to propose that it officially becomes the responsibility of every South African to rebuild our national forests, while government (DAFF) oversees, facilitates, licenses, co-funds and supports non-profit NGOs and local cooperatives that plant indigenous trees with local communities and develop new green enterprises. Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) programs like Working for Water and Working for Fire would benefit hugely from independently-funded non-profit NGOs and community-run cooperatives planting millions of indigenous trees in areas where invasive trees like Australian wattle are currently being removed. We need to repurpose the role played by both DAFF and DEA in indigenous forest management to atone for the catastrophic damage done to our national forests by previous regimes and colonial powers. Healthy indigenous forests are a direct reflection of the moral and social development of a country.

In 1652, Jan Van Riebeeck described the forests of t’Houtbaaijten (Hout Bay, Cape Town) as "the best in the world" and then proceeded to cut down all the yellowwoods in this secluded bay to build fortifications. This forest is still gone. Many other forests disappeared in the centuries to follow as more settlers and migrants arrived to build colonies using indigenous timber felled by European “wood-cutters”, government foresters and Xhosa pit-sawyers. Just 350 years ago there were hundreds of thousands more large, tall yellowwood trees dominating the high canopy of an archipelago of Afromontane and southern Afrotemperate yellowwood forest patches along the south coast of South Africa from George to Humansdorp, up through the Eastern Cape, Transkei, and southern Drakensberg, and all the way north to Magoesbaskloof in the Limpopo Province.

According to local Xhosa people living along the Amathole Mountains, yellowwood trees have been widely exploited for over one hundred years and the older people have seen the forests decline and disappear in their lifetimes. For many years the Tribal Authorities in the old Ciskei had forest guards under a mandate to sell yellowwood trees to timber companies. Corrupt officials horded all earnings and did not share with local villages. Older people remember the yellowwood trees, the Umkhoba and Umcheya, as the “government trees” that were guarded jealously from local communities by forest guards. They call the forest guards the “forest police” that only looked out for the yellowwoods. In 1994, these local communities started cutting down and selling large yellowwood trees as a symbol of freedom after the repressive Tribal Authorities had been abandoned as part of our new democracy. DAFF got this quickly under control, but today the local communities still complain about rampant illegal logging by “people from other parts of the Eastern Cape”. We need to break down this culture of exploitation and the association of yellowwood trees with “gold and money”. I am sure you, Mr President, will agree that our natural heritage is worth far more.

There is a shocking example in the harvesting records compiled by DAFF in King William’s Town for the period April 1994 to March 1995. These records account for 81 real yellowwood (Umcheya) and 32 Outeniqua yellowwood (Umkhoba) trees that were harvested from indigenous forest in the Amathole Mountains that year. The DAFF report entitled: “Amathole Forest Yellowwood Harvesting Levels” states that “a number of trees had to be excluded from the analysis due to missing data or discrepancies with the data.” It is notoriously difficult to get raw data on the number and size of yellowwood trees being felled each year. The fishing industry needs constant regulation and management to avoid permanent damage to our fisheries. Why not our forests? We need to overhaul government forestry in South Africa, end the harvesting of our national tree, and invest in the restoration of these important forests. This will be our legacy to future generations.

The core vision of the “Amathole Forest Yellowwood Harvesting Levels” technical report reads: “Forests are managed for people and we need to create an enabling environment for economic and social development through sustainable forestry, especially at the local level”. We, the Wild Bird Trust, are fully supportive of this vision and work with local communities to grow and plant trees in our indigenous forests everyday. This vision is, however, made impossible by the ongoing harvesting of yellowwood trees and events like the felling of over 100 large yellowwoods in one year. Most local people do not benefit from yellowwood timber sales, while the ability of their indigenous forest patches to produce food, poles, building materials, clean water, fuel wood, thatching grass, and medicinal plants has almost irreparably been diminished. If, one day for example, local people want to legally hunt in these forests again, we would need to let our remaining intact forest patches recover for at least two generation. Our national forests need at least 25 years of intensive re-planting and restoration followed by 25 more years of recovery before we can say they are on their way to recovery. By then the 3-5 million indigenous trees will be tall and big. Just imagine large areas of indigenous forest with harvestable timber and no threat of being exploited or destroyed.

For centuries the best furniture, homes, boats and luxury goods were made from shining yellowwood timber. Named for the beauty of its wood, yellowwood adorns our parliament, estate homes, courts, embassies, and old bank buildings. Umkhoba and Umcheya are our national trees. By the late 1800s the demand for yellowwood had worked its way up the coastline past Knysna and Tsitsikamma into the Amathole Mountains and KwaZulu-Natal. Most of this yellowwood timber was used to produce the millions of railway sleepers and mining timbers necessary to sustain an explosive boom in the mining industry. By 1900, we had already decimated most of our yellowwood forests through excessive and wasteful cutting, burning and clearing geared at keeping up with demand. For almost one hundred years we were, in essence, trading gold from the ground beneath us for "gold" from our forests, bringing one up and sending the other down.

All yellowwood trees are now protected. Permits are, however, still active that allow sawmills to harvest yellowwood trees up to their quota every year. Most of trees felled are over 200 years old and irreplaceable. The equivalent of 600 cubic meters of yellowwood timber or anywhere between 20 and 100 large yellowwood trees are felled legally each year in the Amathole region alone. The fact is that, if we continue, legal and illegal logging will very soon destroy our national forests. We have seen more yellowwood tree poaching in the last three years than in previous years and record the loss of important yellowwood trees every year. Some desperate local communities in the Transkei region are burning yellowwood as firewood. Now is the time to protect our golden indigenous forests.

Right now there are harvesting contractors targeting the last-remaining intact yellowwood forest patches, eroding our natural heritage every day that yellowwood extraction continues. Today, only a handful of yellowwood trees over 500-years-old remain scattered in remote, degraded forest patches protected from historical and illegal logging by inaccessibility, proud landowners and local foresters. In King William's Town and Keiskammahoek (Eastern Cape) you can see 200, even 300-year-old yellowwood trees being chopped up at saw mills. Yellowwood planks are now valued at up to R25,000 ($3,000) per cubic meter, an increase in value of over 400% in the last 6 years. This sets a high price for our natural heritage, as legal yellowwood timber is getting harder to source and prices are being driven even higher.

What is incomprehensible about all this is that much of this trade is being done legally. The technical report on the "Yellowwood Harvesting Quotas for the Eastern Cape" allows a quota of 600 cubic meters of yellowwood timber from dead or dying yellowwood trees in the Amathole Mountains each year. Unbelievably every year 50 or more large yellowwood trees are marked for extraction by government foresters. From the perspective of the harvesting contractors with 70-year permits to cut yellowwood trees, the yellowwood harvesting quotas are almost impossible to use, as trees suitable for harvesting are very rare (i.e. dead trees or trees with at leas 75% of the canopy dead). Some people have turned to ring-barking or even poisoning yellowwood trees. For example, we have found evidence yellowwood trees poisoned with diesel to kill them for harvesting the next year. The new government-endorsed yellowwood harvesting protocols actually support the targeting of healthier yellowwood trees than before due to contractors complaining about poor timber quality. The technical report also applies forest biometry theory incorrectly and inappropriate sample plots in unsuitable locations were chosen to justify ongoing harvesting of both yellowwood tree species. These and other inadequacies found in the technical report highlight the need for better training, record-keeping, and auditing of annual yellowwood harvesting quotas. We need external auditors to make sure that healthy yellowwood trees are not being marked and felled.

If you care about our natural heritage, you must institute a zero tolerance, zero harvesting quota as soon as possible. None of the sawmills or harvesting contractors will go bankrupt or lose their jobs, as these businesses depend on blackwood timber to be profitable. Blackwood is an invasive species from Australia with wonderful fine, red wood that is sought after by furniture manufacturers that pay up to R15,000 per cubic meter. Removing blackwood from the Amathole Mountains and other catchments around South Africa helps our indigenous forests, removing large yellowwoods irreversibly harms them.

Legal and illegal harvesting of yellowwoods happens even though these trees are nationally protected. There are now only seven yellowwood trees on the "Declared List of Champion Trees" published by DAFF last year. Names like "Eastern Monarch", “King Edward VIIth Tree” and "Woodville Big Tree" speak to the grandeur of these sentinels that have stood over our forests for up to 2,000 years. We, the Wild Bird Trust, would like to propose the protection and recognition of thousands more culturally, historically and ecologically important trees by establishing the "South African Heritage Tree List". This list will include all protected indigenous trees over 100-years-old throughout South Africa. We protect buildings over 100-years-old. Why do we not do this for trees? We must establish a task team to locate, sample (for DNA finger-printing) and mark all "Heritage Trees" with a presidential seal to protect them from harvesting in the future. “Heritage Trees” will become presidential or “government trees” again, but, this time, for the right reasons.

The Wild Bird Trust volunteers to establish a website for the location and photo of all “Heritage Trees”, so that every South Africans can find these magnificent trees in their area and even report back on their condition or send in a photos. The "South African Heritage Tree List" will have thousands of trees on the register all of which will need to be clearly marked with a presidential seal to avoid being cut down or damaged. We must start being proud of the amazing trees we still have and stop cutting them down. Future generations will thank us and foreign visitors will be impressed. After our “Heritage Trees” have been clearly marked and protected, senior scientists at DAFF must supervise the development of new sustainable harvesting quotas for indigenous trees under 100-years-old.

Vital government-subsidized, community-based tree-planting programs, like the Wild Bird Trust’s "iziKhwenene" Project, the Wildlands Conservation Trust’s Treepeneurs Project, and the work done by Food & Trees for Africa over the last few decades, must be established throughout South Africa in and near all forests and bushveld areas. We must make "indigenous forestry" a viable economic driver for remote rural communities. This could be done through carbon trading, extracting tannins from wattle bark, and even well-funded, long-term tree-planting programs managed by non-profit NGOs. Government, public benefit organisations and local community-run enterprises are going to be the key to rebuilding our national forests.

The restoration of our yellowwood forests in South Africa presents us with a development model that supports natural resource management and enterprise development in poorer provinces like the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo. Carbon trading is a huge opportunity, as all yellowwood trees planted cannot ever be felled. With government backing all proudly South African businesses and corporates will support the planting of millions of yellowwoods with disadvantaged rural communities that need jobs. We will build hundreds of small “micro-nurseries” and benefit thousands of people during the restoration of our national forests.

We need your support, as the head of state, and champion of the poor. Old people in the villages near the Amathole Mountains have seen their ancestral forests destroyed and replaced with pine and Australian wattle. We, the Wild Bird Trust, herewith officially ask you to intervene by providing us with the necessary funding to plant the first 1 million yellowwood trees and mark all “Heritage Trees” in South Africa. You must end all further logging of our national tree in South Africa. We do not hunt our national bird, the Blue Crane. We do not unnecessarily cut down our national flower, the protea. In fact, we work very hard to protect these icons. The yellowwood trees that we lose tomorrow, the next day, and the week after that cannot be replaced…

We ask you, as concerned citizens, to recognize officially that our natural heritage is more important than natural resource use, announcing that saving our remaining yellowwood forests as a national priority. These trees knew our ancestors and connect us to the greatest events in our history. A small handful of people have made a lot of money from logging and sawmilling yellowwood trees at a catastrophic cost to the remaining forests. It is safe to say that we now sit with less than 10% of the yellowwood trees we had 350 years ago. Every year we chip away at the remaining trees as the forests slowly shrink. The trees are getting smaller, the forests are getting thinner, and the canopies are getting lower, as exotic trees invade our open spaces and water catchments.

I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss the future of our indigenous forests and our national tree. We are proud of our rich natural heritage here in South Africa and cannot let another yellowwood tree be felled. I am a loyal citizen and servant of the Republic of South Africa and will gladly give of my time to solve this problem. I live in Hogsback Village in the Amathole Mountains, own land there, will raise a family there, and am dedicated to restoring the indigenous forests of our great country. I have wonderful friends at DAFF in King William’s Town and look forward to working more closely with them in the future.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Rutledge S. Boyes
DST/NRF Innovations Postdoctoral Fellow
Centre of Excellence at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology (University of Cape Town)
Trustee: Wild Bird Trust
Contributing Editor: National Geographic News Watch

30. Reform the ANC (Animal Farm Pigs?)

The South African Government (ANC) are like the pigs on George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’. They use the police to brutally enforce the regimes ideals upon the masses. Even shooting mine workers to drive them back to work.

When they needed the people to fight and stand up against the old apartheid government they made elaborate promises of equality and freedom, drawing up a whole new constitution to protect human rights. "All animals are equal".

But once in power they started doing exactly what they accused the old regime of doing. They are corrupt and they side with the wealthy and the bankers. They build statues of themselves but squeeze the poor 'work-horses and sheep' harder and harder.

I see a direct parallel between them and the pigs on animal farm.