Black Sash making its mark for 60 years

first_imgFor more than half-a-century, the Black Sash has been helping people in tangible concrete ways realise their human rights. Formed in response to the discrimination practised by the apartheid government, today it still works to assist the downtrodden. Black Sash, the initiative that started in 1955 to fight against the government’s apartheid laws, are now for example helping people who have fraudulent deductions for loan repayments and airtime taken from their grants. (Image: Screen grab via YouTube) Melissa JavanHelping people who rely on social grants who have fraudulent deductions for loan repayments and airtime taken from their grants, is just one of the things the Black Sash has been doing over the past few years to relieve the pressure of poverty.In May, this initiative – known for its vision to make human rights real – celebrates 60 years of existence. On 19 May 1955, six women decided to take political action against the packing of the Senate to disenfranchise coloured voters; it was to be foundational to the establishment of the Black Sash.According to the organisation, the women who started this initiative continued to making their voices heard by organising peaceful marches, handing over petitions and helping a number of South Africans who were affected by apartheid laws.“They were also part of a group of women who marched to the Union Buildings in 1956 against pass laws, on what is now known as Women’s Day,” says the Black Sash. “The group was initially called The Women’s Defence of the Constitution League and later nicknamed the Black Sash by the media, because of the black sashes they wore to marches.”It was not an easy road for them. News reports speak of the negative feedback from the public. They were often taunted as vuilgoed (rubbish) and lighted cigarettes were thrown at them. In Worcester, in the Cape, a man confronted the women, saying: “We would like to push you into the sea.”But they also had some support: they were greeted by V for Victory signs, thumbs-up salutes and warm congratulations for their activism.The seed they plantedThe Black Sash embarked on campaigns against the erosion of civil liberties and racial segregation. “They also set up a bail fund in 1958 to assist people arrested for contraventions of the pass laws. Soon afterwards, the first Black Sash advice office opened in Cape Town, offering free paralegal advice and support.“The following 20 years were difficult as political movements were driven underground or into exile. Through this period the women of the Black Sash stood in silent protest with their placards, provided advice services, researched laws, followed parliamentary debates, wrote articles, took statements, monitored and recorded meetings, and kept and published lists of those victimised by the apartheid government,” the organisation says.“We continue to work to realise the rights of the most vulnerable, with an emphasis on women and children. In partnership with civil society organisations across the country, we work in three programmes: rights-based information, education and training; community monitoring; and advocacy in partnership.”Elroy Paulus, the national advocacy manager, said that until 2011 the Black Sash offered one-to-one advice-giving as a service. While this service is no longer an option, there is a helpline through which members of the public can ask a Black Sash paralegal anything relating to their rights. “We work with approximately 400 community based-organisations [and] non-governmental organisations, many being advice offices,” he explained.Much needed to be doneWhile apartheid may be over, there is still a need for the Black Sash. Lynette Maart, the national director, said: “The challenges facing South Africa are inequality and extreme poverty, a footprint left by apartheid and globalisation which will not be changed quickly.“While we acknowledge that we have a good Constitution, it is in part a promise that does not always translate into human rights on the ground, and we need to remain mindful that there is still a lot of work to be done.”She gave an example of one of the group’s achievements: she and a colleague were on a farm in Franschhoek to witness the repayment of funeral cover instalments deducted fraudulently from the accounts of several social grant beneficiaries.The Black Sash had exposed fraud and misrepresentation of South African Social Security Agency (Sassa). “To date, the Paarl Advice Office has uncovered 43 cases in Franschhoek alone,” Maart said.“The Black Sash and our community based-organisations [CBO] partners have witnessed many other unauthorised, illegal, fraudulent and immoral debit deductions from the Sassa branded bank accounts – including [for] water and prescribed debt.”Prescribed debt is debt that is older than three years. In terms of South African law, a debt prescribes – meaning it falls away or expires – after three years.In March this year, the Constitutional Court ordered Sassa to implement a timetable for the new tender for payment of social grants nationally in October 2015, Maart said.“We hope that the South African Reserve Bank serves on the new Sassa Tender Bid Committee to ensure that proposals from prospective bidders technically and systemically prohibit any EFT, stop or debit order deductions from ring-fenced bank accounts and block the trade of personal confidential data, including biometric data and cellphone numbers.”FestivitiesWhile the hard work to make human rights real continues, the Black Sash did spend time celebrating its 60th year.On 16 May, Standing on Street Corners: A History of the Natal Midlands Region of the Black Sash, by Mary Kleinenberg and Christopher Merrett, was launched in Pietermaritzburg.On 19 May, the book Sheena Duncan was launched in Cape Town.On 23 May, a gathering was held for Gauteng colleagues at the Women’s Jail Atrium on Constitution Hill. Sheena Duncan was launched in the region and there was a panel discussion.About Sheena DuncanDuncan was an anti-apartheid activist and counsellor. She was the daughter of Jean Sinclair, one of the co-founders of the Black Sash, and joined the organisation in 1978. She played a significant role in the group and was involved in recruiting members for resistance movements.The book Sheena Duncan was written by her colleague and friend, Annemarie Hendrikz, while Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu wrote the introduction. The online news portal IOL reports that Tutu, speaking at the launch, said he thought God was proud of Duncan. “I think God was glad God made Sheena Duncan. He rubbed his hands together and said, ‘Now there’s something.’”She died in 2010.The Black Sash National Helpline, 072 66 33 739 or [email protected], is a free national information, advice and referral service.Watch the history of the Black Sash and how these women made an impact:last_img read more

Patient Ceres tightens grip on Group F top slot

first_imgMOST READ View comments “But there’s a lot of things we have to improve. We have to be more patient when we build up. But the most important thing is that we got the goal and did not concede any goal.”Ceres is now three points clear of Singapore’s Home United, which suffered a 3-2 loss to Boeung Ket in Cambodia Tuesday night. Shan and Boeung Ket have three points each, but the Myanmar champions are ahead on goal difference.Only the top team in the group is guaranteed of a spot in the Asean zone semifinals.ADVERTISEMENT Typhoon ‘Tisoy’ threatens Games Guiao, NLEX brace for Paul Lee: ‘He’s the biggest problem’ Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university PLAY LIST 01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Pussycat Dolls set for reunion tour after 10-year hiatus Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH LOOK: Iya Villania meets ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ cast in Mexico Google honors food scientist, banana ketchup inventor and war hero Maria Orosacenter_img Read Next Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Families in US enclave in north Mexico hold sad Thanksgiving BACOLOD CITY—Stifled for long periods and missing numerous golden opportunities, Ceres Negros could have easily settled for a point.But the Busmen, buoyed by an energetic Panaad Stadium crowd, struck twice late in the second half to turn back a stubborn Shan United side from Myanmar, 2-0, Tuesday night to keep top spot in Group F of the AFC Cup.ADVERTISEMENT John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Substitute Patrick Reichelt and Bienvenido Maranon found the back of the net in the second half as the Busmen’s persistence finally paid off, enabling them to increase their tally to seven points from three matches.Reichelt’s 79th minute goal came off a defensive error, but the strike was a vital one as the Busmen finally broke through against a team that was set out to frustrate their attack.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutA moment of brilliance from Mike Ott set up Maranon for the second goal that finally sealed maximum points for the hosts. Ott beat three defenders on the left before cutting the ball back to Maranon who made no mistake.“It’s not easy to play teams that are dedicated at defending, but the effort was good and of course the players gave everything,” said Ceres coach Risto Vidakovic. LATEST STORIESlast_img read more

D-League: Fiery Cignal drubs Tanduay

first_imgRaymar Jose chipped in 13 markers, seven rebounds, and three assists, while Jason Perkins collected 11 points, four boards, and two assists, as Cignal bounced back from a 86-84 heartbreaker to Flying V last week.“We’re really happy with the way the players reacted in our motivation,” said coach Boyet Fernandez. “We know we had a won game last game but we lost it and I really appreciate what the players did today. They practiced hard for the last four days and we hope that we can be very solid in terms of our teamwork.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingDown 4-0 early, the Hawkeyes strung 10 straight points and never looked back, pouncing on the new-look Rhum Masters as they extended the lead to 29, 77-48, after a Byron Villarias trey with 8:15 left.Cignal also shot 9-of-21 from threes, while limiting the Rhum Masters to a paltry 30-percent clip from the field. Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR MOST READ Jaymo Eguilos led Tanduay with 10 points and six rebounds, while Von Tambeling poured 10 in the defeat.The Scores:CIGNAL HD 89 – Sumalinog 15, Jose 13, Perkins 11, Potts 10, Bringas 8, Arong 5, Villarias 5, Batino 5, Atkins 4, Raymundo 3, Arboleda 3, Bartolo 3, Sara 2, Cahilig 2.TANDUAY 63 – Eguilos 10, Tambeling 10, Alvarez 8, Sanga 8, Palma 7, Santos 5, Varilla 4, Vigil 4, Gaco 3, Villamor 2, Taganas 1, Sollano 1, Acidre 0.Quarters: 30-16, 48-31, 69-46, 89-63.ADVERTISEMENT Bonleon out to prove he can still play despite weight gain Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast Every 18 seconds someone is diagnosed with HIV LATEST STORIES BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blastcenter_img Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games BSP survey: PH banks see bright horizon amid dark global recession clouds Palace: Duterte to hear out security execs on alleged China control of NGCP Oping Sumalinog. PBA IMAGESCignal HD rode a hot start and downed Tanduay, 89-63, for its first victory in the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.Oping Sumalinog went on a perfect 3-of-3 shooting from rainbow country to finish with 15 points to lead the attack for the Hawkeyes.ADVERTISEMENT Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more