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Decriminalizing the use of Cannabis

South Africa’s Constitutional Court has decriminalised the private consumption and use of cannabis for adults. This landmark decision by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo this week means that it will no longer be a criminal offence for an adult to be in possession of cannabis in private use. However many have been questioning how this judgement will affect substance abuse policies in the workplace and how this will impact the use of illegal drug. Parliament will now have to consider this court decision and consider introducing a new bill to put into effect this court decision.

To assist us on this we are joined:

• Mr John Smith, counsellor in rehabilitation of drugs and substance abuse at Changes Treatment Centre

• Sister Kerry from the House of Judah Rastafarian Community

• Unathi Sonwabile Henama, lecturer at the department of tourism management from the Tshwane University of Technology

Crime Statistics in South Africa

Last week South Africa’s latest crime statistics were released in the country, showing that the countries murder rate has increased by 6.9%. In the last year the number haS increased to over twenty-thousand people who have been murdered; meaning that an average of fifty-seven people were killed in the country every day. The statistics which only look at a period of 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018, recorded the trends in violent crimes in the country such as armed robbery, car-hijacking, armed robbery, taxi related crimes and mob justice murders. One of the initial consequences of the crime statistics by the South African Police Service was the US Department of State issuing a travel advisory to its citizens travelling to South Africa.

To assist us on this topic we are joined by:

• Dr Andrew Faull, independent criminologist and Consultant at the Institute for Security Studies

• Dr Chris de Kock In dependent Crime Analyst at Cime Facts, SOUTH Africa

• Vannessa Padayachee operations and advocacy and lobbying manager at NICRO

Opposition Politics in Africa

There is rise of what is dubbed “the people’s president” which is usually held by the main opposition leader in some countries, mainly after a lost election. After losing an election Raila Odinga of the republic of Kenya, declared himself the people’s president, thus making the term or deed popular. Meanwhile Kizza Besigye of Uganda did the same and declared himself the peoples president. On the other hand speculation has it; Nelson Chamisa of Zimababwe is considering embarking on the same route after he lost elections against Emmerson Mnagagwa. So today we look at the rise of this practice and what it means for opposition politics in the continent?

To help us unpack the discussion for the day, we are joined by:

• Prof David Moore Department of Development Studies University of Johannesburg (UJ)

• Dr Jessie Kabwila Member of Parliament (Opposition) & Chair: Women Caucus Malawi Parliament

• Jesse Majome Constitutional Lawyer Former Member of the Zimbabwe Parliament and Member of the Opposition MDC party

Democracy in Africa

According to the United Nations the International Day of Democracy provides an opportunity to review the state of democracy in the world. Democracy is as much a process as a goal, and only with the full participation of and support by the international community, national governing bodies, civil society and individuals. An article in the Daily Nation says that the state of democracy in Africa is one of the most controversial and difficult questions facing the continent today. The article continues to ask the questions whether Africa is getting more or less democratic. Why have so many countries become stuck in a murky middle ground between democracy and authoritarianism? How can we design democracy so that it better fits African realities?

To help us unpack the discussion for the day, we are joined by:

• Dr Check Achu who is a Senior Research Specialist at the Africa Institute of South Africa – a unit of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

• Ebrahim Fakir is the Director of Programmes at the Auwal Socio-economic Research Institute (ASRI) and a part time lecturer at the Wits School of Governance


International social media has been buzzing this week over the controversial cartoon by an Australian cartoonist depicting US tennis star Serena Williams having a temper tantrum at the US Open. Many are saying that the depiction is racist and physically misrepresents the tennis player. Meanwhile, in South Africa there has been a lot of a backlash against artist Ayanda Mabulu latest artwork which shows Nelson Mandela raising his hands in a Nazi salute juxtaposed in front of a Nazi flag. These two pieces of work have stirred a conversation around how far can you actually take satire, with some insisting that there should be limitations applied to the genre.
“Should Satire have Limitations?”
To assist us on answering this question we are joined by:
• Nonhlanhla Mahlangu, manager at Arts Eye Gallery
• Jonathan Shapiro, also known as Zapiro,Cartoonist

Africa's City Planning

According to UN-Habitat Africa’s urbanization is at the rate of 4% each year, with population shifts from rural to urban areas posing a challenge to many African governments. With challenges such as overcrowding, crime and population, African governments have to start re-thinking how to create sustainable cities which adapt to the population dynamics. Governments also have to create infrastructural development which deals with the commercial and social needs of the urban environment.

To assist us on this topic we are joined by:

• Sithole Mbanga, CEO of South Africa Cities Network

• Donald Mpholo, town planner/private consultant

• Vuyiswa Letsoko, lecturer at the University of Johannesburg at the department of town and regional planning

Mandarin: A threat or help to Africa

Critics have warned that the Chinese’s involvement on the continent should be carefully scrutinised. According to financial experts Chinese investment in Africa could be accelerating debt on the continent and creating economies which are “entirely dependent on China”. As China takes steps to becoming the biggest investors in Africa, so is their language spreading fast. Mandarin has been introduced in some African counties as well as included in the curriculum of some schools. Could there be a worrying imbalance that is starting to form here? Is language the new form of colonisation? And should Africa be weary of its relationship with China so they ensure that its long term impact is not detrimental.

To help us unpack the discussion for the day, we are joined by:

• Andries Opperman Lecturer: Economics and Mandarin Akademie Reformatoriese Opledeing en Studies (AROS)

• Dr Mantoa Motinyane is a Linguistic and Child Specialist at the University of Cape Town

Land Debate in South Africa

South African Parliament’s Constitutional Review Committee has concluded its oral submissions on Land Expropriation without Compensation. Various stakeholders including banks and trade union federations, farmer’s organisation and many others made submissions before MPs. Co-chair of the constitutional review committee Lewis Nzimande says provisional data from the provincial public hearing indicated that citizens are urging for an amendment to the Constitution.

To help us unpack the discussion for the day, we are joined by:

• Elmien du Plessis Associate Professor in Law North West University

• Prof Ruth Hall Senior Researcher PLAAS (Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies)

• Adv Dumisa Ntsebeza Board Member Foundation for Human Rights

Recession in South Africa

South Africa has plunged into a recession with the country's real gross domestic product decreasing by 0.7% in the second quarter of the year. This is despite expectations from many economists that the country would narrowly miss a recession. Meanwhile President Cyril Ramaphosa says impediments to the country’s economic growth are due to transitional issues and will be resolved. When Ramaphosa took over as president in February this year, the rand strengthened and business confidence was up. But the last few months have been rocky, with government increasing value added tax while fuel prices continue to rise.

To help us unpack the discussion for the day, we are joined by:

• Amanda Fitchen Lecturer Department of Economics UNISA

• Temba Nolutshungu Director Free Market Foundation

The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC)

The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) concluded its third summit meeting in Beijing on yesterday, where a vast majority of Africa’s 55 countries sent their top leaders to join Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in strengthening relations between China and Africa. A declaration and an action plan were adopted. The Beijing Declaration – “Toward an Even Stronger China-Africa Community with a Shared Future” and the FOCAC Beijing Action Plan (2019-2021) were adopted at the two-phase roundtable meeting. This meeting was chaired respectively by Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, who is co-chair of the forum.

To help us unpack the discussion for the day, we are joined by:

• Lumkile Mondi
Political Economist

• Cobus Van Staden
Senior Resercher: Foreign Policy Programme
South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA)

• Andries Opperman
Lecturer: Economics and Mandarin
Akademie Reformatoriese Opledeing en Studies (AROS)

Looting of Foreign Owned Shops in South Africa

Four people died last week in South Africa’s biggest township Soweto, after residents went on a looting spree of about two-hundred foreign owned shops claiming that they were selling rotten goods to the communities. Pictures went viral on social media showing the violence that was unfolding and soon it had spread to other parts of the country. Twenty-seven people have been arrested for public violence. Some leaders believe that this is a symptom of far deeper issues affecting community that need to be addressed such as unemployment and poverty.

To help us unpack the discussion for the day, we are joined by:

• Prof Sheila Meintjies from the Department of Political studies and School of Social Sciences

• Gerbrandt van Heerden is a researcher from the Centre for Risk Analysis

• Gushwell Brooks is the Spokesperson of the South African Human Rights Commission

Financial Control of the Media

Critics say the announcement by the Mozambique government to introduce hefty license fees for local and foreign journalists is an attempt to discourage reporting from the country. Local correspondents will be expected to pay two-thousand five –hundred dollars per trip for media accreditation while foreign correspondents living in Mozambique will be charged eight-thousand – three-hundred dollars per year. Mozambique’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) has warned that the imposition of licensing fees on the country’s mass media must not compromise the fundamental right of the public to information.

To help us unpack this discussion, we are joined by:

• Prof Franz Kruger, is the Director at the Wits Radio Academy at the University of Witwatersrand

• Jovial Rantau Chairman of the Africa Editors Forum

• Zenaida Machado is the Angola and Mozambique researcher in the Africa Division at Human Rights Watch

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