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Opinion

Novels by South Africa's Dickens given new life

“Alex La Guma has come home.” With those words, a visibly emotional Blanche La Guma last weekend received the first book, “hot off the presses” containing three of her late husband’s best-known novels, all of them banned in the apartheid era. The occasion was the initial launch of Alex La Guma - a colossus revisited at the literary festival in the small Western Cape resort town of Montagu.

Jul 6, 2015
Terry Bell
Wakkerstroom town and the wetlands of the Mabola Protected Environment. Photo by Norman Dennett.Mining - coming to a protected area near you

On 28 May 2015 the Traditional Healers Organisation laid criminal charges against mining company Aquila Steel SA (Pty) Ltd and three of its directors for illegally causing extensive damage to one of South Africa’s most sacred cultural sites.

Jul 6, 2015
Tracey Davies
Former miners suffering from silicosis and TB as a result of their work on the gold mines have launched a claim for damages.Sick miners: time for the mines to share the burden

Between 1,500 and 2,000 miners a year still apply for compensation for silicosis and TB contracted on the gold mines - yet the mining industry is doing very little to share the burden of these deadly diseases, writes Pete Lewis.

Jul 2, 2015
Pete Lewis
Communities have been left out of all the debates on mining and the environment, including Operation Phakisa, say activists. Photo courtesy of Tracey Davies.Mining communities are ready to explode, say activists

Phakisa, from the Sesotho word meaning "hurry up", has been touted by government as the silver bullet that would “fast track the implementation of solutions on critical development issues.”

Jul 1, 2015
Christopher Rutledge
Operation Fiela at Cape Town Station on 20 June. Photo courtesy of SAPS.Disturbing court judgment ignores our rights

On 23 June the Pretoria High Court struck from the roll an application by Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) that tried to put an urgent end to Operation Fiela. Lara Wallis explains why this is deeply concerning.

Jul 1, 2015
Lara Wallis
VEJA protestors outside the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein on 6 November 2014. Photo by Melissa Fourie of the Centre for Environmental Rights.Steel giant's environmental records exposed

Earlier this week, the Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance formally released the long-sought Environmental Master Plan for the Vanderbijlpark Steel Works owned by international steel giant ArcelorMittal (AMSA). AMSA only handed over this Master Plan, a series of expert reports on the environmental and health impacts of the steel works compiled in 2003, in December 2014, after being ordered to do so by the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Jun 29, 2015
Melissa Fourie, Robyn Hugo and Nicole Löser
Terry Bell.Why trade unions are even more relevant today

Trade unions — as democratic organisations of the sellers of labour — are probably more relevant now than they have ever been. Especially for anyone who feels that democracy is an important concept. Unfortunately, however, most of the unions remain narrowly focussed in a manner better suited to fighting the battles of an earlier era.

Jun 29, 2015
Terry Bell
Not an urban camper - a homeless man in the Cape Town CBD. Picture by Masixole Feni.We are wrong to celebrate CEOs for pretending to be poor for 12 hours

We're a generation of clicktivists, incessantly raising awareness for a wide assortment of causes and social justice issues. But we rarely follow through with any tangible action or put our money where our ‘shares’ are. So, logically, we should be lauding those attempting to deliver actual change by attempting to physically address societal problems.

Jun 24, 2015
Natasha Skoryk and Caitlin Spring
Terry Bell.Is South Africa on a slippery slope?

Are we on a slippery slope to authoritarianism? It’s a valid question to ask since both the Cosatu and the national constitutions have been undermined. And they were both, in their own way, flag bearers of the democratic promise of the new South Africa.

Jun 22, 2015
Terry Bell
Photo from City of Johannesburg website.When protesters have to teach police what the law says

On Friday, R2K Gauteng is planning a protest at the gates of the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD). We did this after many years of frustration -- from R2K activists and other civic structures in Gauteng -- at how JMPD officers have undermined the right to protest.

Jun 18, 2015
Bongani Xezwi

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