We are excited to announce the return of our #CivicsChat which will run throughout the year in 2022! It started on 1 March 2022, when we kicked off this year’s conversation with the theme Human Rights and the Role of Local Government in South Africa.
The annual Human Rights Day on 21 March is very important in South Africa. It commemorates one of the significant events in the country’s history. It acknowledges the sacrifices that were made to achieve the basic Human Rights that the people in South Africa enjoy today. To celebrate this day and month, we at the Civics Academy raised awareness about Human Rights and the role of local government in South Africa in helping people access them.
The conversation took place on our social media platforms, where we shared daily posts and encouraged our audience to engage. Among other content, we shared our videos titled: What are Human Rights?, What can I expect from my Municipality?, and What is a Responsive Citizen?.
Prior to Human Rights Day, we hosted a virtual live event on Twitter Spaces to highlight the importance of the dependency of human rights on good governance and responsive citizens. Lawson Naidoo, Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution, Devon Steenkamp, Ward Councillor from Johannesburg and Tessa Dooms, Director at Rivonia Circle, joined the conversation.
“The requirement of local government is to be responsive, open and accountable,” said Lawson Naidoo. He emphasized the point of the local government’s role in delivering socio-economic rights, such as the right to a healthy environment; ensuring that there are childcare facilities available to children and providing municipal health services such as community clinics.
From a local government perspective, Councillor Devon Steenkamp reflected on the challenges local government faces in supplying basic municipal services and called for joint action between the three spheres of government:
And Tessa Dooms explained why responsive citizenship is vital for people who want to access and protect their Human Rights. She says there is much more the ordinary citizen can and should do besides casting a vote:
The power that Tessa Dooms is talking about lies in education. Civic education. Civic education is a prerequisite for a well functioning democracy. It is imperative that everyone in South Africa has a thorough understanding of the democratic system we live in and an appreciation of the values that are meant to govern our society.
We from Civics Academy aim to inform and to strengthen democratic values and responsive citizenship. So keep an eye out for the announcement of our next educational theme!
Click on the link to listen to the recording of our event on Twitter Spaces and follow us on social media to learn more about our #CivicsChat.