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CALS Quarterly Issue 11

- Lee-Anne Bruce

Read the latest issue of our quarterly newsletter and learn how we are supporting activists, challenging unfair decisions and more

The last few months have been a difficult time for human rights defenders and activists. Many of their usual methods of organising and collective action have been necessarily limited by lockdowns put in place in response to the current pandemic. Not only in South Africa, but across the continent and around the world, we have seen protest action against police brutality being met with further force and watched as democratic space is closed down. 

Yet, nothing could have prepared us for the loss of grassroots activist Fikile Ntshangase, who was murdered after a long history speaking out against the risks posed by mining in Somkhele, near iMfolozi National Park. Since then, we have also lost Sibusiso Mqadi, chair of the Amadiba Crisis Committee, and heard of the death threats against another fearless Xolobeni leader, Nonhle Mbuthuma. This is part of an all too familiar pattern of victimising activists working to protect the environment and livelihoods of their communities. 

Nevertheless, we persist. In whatever way we can, we try to support the country's human rights defenders. Recently, this has meant representing a group of grassroots activists who have been interdicted from protesting mining in their area and ordered to pay the costs of this interdict. It has meant defending a whistle-blower accused of defamation for uncovering local government corruption. It has meant continuing to promote the right to protest, and the principles of openness, transparency and accountability wherever possible. 

Read on for more about these and our other latest updates. Thank you as always for your engagement with our work and your support during this challenging year. We wish you a happy end to 2020. 

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