Stories from the Field

MAVC: Care Company Monitors in Montagu

on .

MAVC Montagu 1014As part of the Black Sash Making all Voices Count citizen based monitoring project (MAVC ), a group of community monitors from the Care Company conducted two monitoring sessions at the SASSA pay point in Montagu, Western Cape.

They completed 300 questionnaires in October, talking to beneficiaries about their service delivery experience, and about possible experiences of unlawful deductions from their SASSA accounts.

The information from these questionnaires will be compiled into reports that will be disseminated to all stakeholders, including the facilities that were monitored.


MAVC* Justice & Peace Monitoring in Welkom

on .

MAVC Welkom 1014Kalie Senyane and community monitors from the Justice and Peace Commission spent a successful few days monitoring service delivery  as part of the * MAVC (Making all Voices Count) project at the Welkom Clinic. Here are edited samples from his emails to the Black Sash recounting the experience.

"I had a pleasant meeting with the clinic manager. She said she would really welcome the stakeholders meetings as it will help them a lot to know what needs to be done and way forward. She requested ...that after the whole monitoring, she hopes we will help them and not just compile a report and do nothing. They are tired of the province not taking them seriously"
"All went according to plan. Amazingly more women wanted to participate and the clinic manager surprisingly, also asked me to bring more women than men. She believes women should be more developed in terms of monitoring."
Tomorrow we have to do another set of 150 questionnaires. Hopefully by Wednesday we will have completed our 300 target and by Friday all will have been punched into the system.

We received complaints from patients which I don't know how to tackle.... we just noted them and we will see in later stages how Justice & Peace and Black Sash can deal with this issues."

RMCH Community Scorecard Intervention

on .

RMCH RAG BruntviCollage: Bruntville RMCH Action Group

Black Sash engaged in an intense four-month period of activity in the two RMCH pilot districts of OR Tambo (EC) and uMgungundlovu (KZN) where we tested our Community Scorecard methodology.

The Bruntville and Port St Johns RMCH Action Groups (a partnership between the local community health committee and representatives from civil society and multi-stakeholder organisations) facilitated the community scorecard process, after being trained by Black Sash in June 2014.

The community scorecard facilitates constructive input from both the community and health workers about what key challenges are undermining Maternal and Child Health and how to jointly take action to improve the situation. Through multi-stakeholder dialogue and problem solving, action plans were developed in Port St. Johns (EC) and Bruntville (KZN), and in August the RMCH Action Groups, supported by Black Sash, have begun taking forward their action plans.

In Port St Johns they meet with the sub-district and district managers to present the monitoring information and request assistance with addressing supply side challenges. A campaign to address maternal and child health issues at community level was also launched on 29 August where over 200 people attended.

In Bruntville the RMCH Action Group has began disseminating the action plan in community forums to seek further support and buy-in from stakeholders to implement the action plan.

Black Sash participates in KZN SAHRC Business and Human Rights Roundtable

on .

SAHRC KZN EN 290914The Black Sash was invited by the KZN South African Human Rights Commission as one of three panellists to participate in the Dialogue around Business and Human Rights and to speak to a Civil Society Perspective: The Role of Business on the Poor and Marginalized.

The KZN RM, Evashnee Naidu, focussed her discussion around the Black Sash Hands off our Grants Campaign and how Business had victimised the poor by making use of confidential information in order to process unauthorised deductions from Social Grant Beneficiaries' bank accounts.

While some participants at the Roundtable Dialogue were aware of this issue as their offices had been inundated with these issues (for example the SAHRC and Department of Economic Development), most people were amazed at this phenomenon and horrified at the impact that was having on the livelihoods of the grant beneficiaries.

Various suggestions from the floor was that Black Sash proceed with a Class Action Suit from beneficiaries against Net 1 to hold them accountable and to set a precedent against other kinds of fraudulent activities that prey on the poor, that we should consider referring this issue to the Organized Crime Unit for Investigation, that we liaise with ICASA around the use of beneficiaries cell phones as a means of targeting them and that we continue working together with the Public Protector and NCR to lodge complaints, as all felt that a multi-sectoral approach was required.

Black Sash participates in NC SAHRC Business and Human Rights Roundtable

on .

SARHC NC Collage250920141The Black Sash National Office and Western Cape/Northern Cape Regional Office, represented by Elroy Paulus and Sharon Tshado, participated in the Northern Cape SAHRC Roundtable on Human Right and Business in Upington, Northern Cape on 25 September 2014.

At this event, we engaged several stakeholders, including those from the business sector, (agriculture); Consumer Protector's Office, Siyafunda, unions (including COSATU, SAMWU) and the SACP.

We learnt about the Ruggie Principles, which are UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. These were proposed by UN Special Rep on business and human rights John Ruggie, endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in June 201,1 and that led to the establishment of the UN Working Group in business and human rights.

In group discussions, a series of priority actions for the Northern Cape linked to business and human rights identified 6 priorities. Key amongst these, and firmly on the agenda - is the Black Sash "Hands Off Our Grants" Campaign. The Campaign has the support of the SAHRC NC, the Public Protector and Siyafunda in Keimoes, (led by Joyce Muller - our Making All Voices Count Partner in the Northern Cape).