Black Sash Media Statements

Black Sash calls on all South Africans to support 'Stand Up and Take Action' campaign - 16 October 2009

For Immediate Release: Friday, 16th October 2009

The Black Sash calls on all South Africans to join the global campaign to “Stand Up & Take Action” against poverty and inequality over the next three days (16th, 17th and 18th October 2009).  This is a significant weekend on the human rights calendar as it includes the ‘International Day for the Eradication of Poverty’ on Saturday, the 17th  and ‘World Food Day’ on Sunday, the 18th of October. Last year, 117 million people around the world supported the ‘Stand up and Take action’ campaign, breaking the Guinness World Record for the largest mobilization of human beings in recorded history.

The Black Sash is expecting more than two million South Africans to stand together with us over the coming weekend to demand urgent action to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger in our country. Along with all these people, the Black Sash believes it is unacceptable that more than half of all South Africans still live in poverty and continue to face a desperate daily battle to survive.  We are deeply concerned about the rising inequality in our society and particularly in our cities.  A recent UCT study has found that “South Africa is now the most consistently unequal society in the world.” (Development Policy Research Unit, Working Paper 09/138, August 2009 – see link to report below). And according to a recent UN report (Habitat’s 2008/9 State of the World’s Cities Report – also see link to this report below), South African cities are amongst the most unequal in the world - more unequal than those in Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala and Mexico. 

The Black Sash believes that to effectively address poverty we must fully embrace the mechanisms outlined in our own Constitution, namely ‘the provision of social assistance for all those who cannot support themselves and their dependents’. While President Jacob Zuma acknowledged in his ‘State of the Nation’ address earlier this year that “social grants remain the most effective form of poverty alleviation”, our current system excludes the millions of adults who are unemployed or are only able to find temporary or low paid work. 

The Black Sash acknowledges that poverty alleviation must be seen as only one component of a wholehearted national commitment to work against poverty and inequality.  We need to increase our investment in skills development and the creation of jobs that really allow families to advance.  We need to accelerate our spending on developmental social infrastructure.  More than ever, we need to ensure transparent and accountable governance so that we know that each tax Rand is being responsibly and appropriately spent.  We need to send a clear message to our government over the next three days – we need jobs not jets.

To find out more about the ‘Stand Up and Take Action’ Campaign and how you can take part, please visit our website: www.blacksash.org.za

Read the UCT ‘Development Policy Research Unit, Working Paper 09/138’, August 2009. 

ENDS.

For interview requests, please contact:

Elroy Paulus

Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager

Cell: 072-382 8175

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OR

Ratula Beukman

Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager

Cell: 072-174 3507

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OR

Nkosikhulule Nyembezi

Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager

Cell: 082-429 4719

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For more information, please contact:

Sarah Nicklin

Black Sash Media Officer

Cell: 075-150 9525

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

www.blacksash.org.za