Posted: 8 August, 2022 | Author: AfricLaw | Filed under: Sandile Nhlengetwa | Tags: carbon budgets, Carbon Tax Act 15 of 2019, climate change, Climate Change Bill, Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa, Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002, environmental laws, gas mitigation plan, greenhouse gases, human rights-based approach, Kwazulu-Natal floods, National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998, policy framework, socio economic development, South Africa, statutes, threat |
Author: Sandile Innocent Nhlengetwa
LLB candidate, University of the Western Cape
Climate change is the greatest threat to mankind as it poses a major threat to the survival of humans on earth. It has a negative impact on the prospects of economic and social prosperity of any nation. South Africa has over the years witnessed a number of her citizens; particularly poor susceptible groups being severely affected by the impacts of climate change. Most recently, the Kwazulu-Natal floods did not only displace indigent people it also led to the loss of lives. The South African government turned a blind eye to this and has been the slowest to react. Two months after the floods occurred, the government is yet to allocate satisfactory financial and human resources to redress the situation. This can be partly linked to the absence of a legislative regulatory framework which provides for an effective, clear and comprehensive response to climate change in order to minimise its impact. Currently, climate change is regulated in a piecemeal manner. Since the Constitution was adopted, an overwhelming number of statutes of environmental nature were enacted including the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 and the National Environment Management: Air Quality Act 39 of 2004. Though both these statutes do not refer to climate change in explicit terms they require the environment to be utilised in a sustainable manner that is not harmful to human beings and regulate the emission of greenhouse gases respectively. Worth mentioning, however, is the Carbon Tax Act 15 of 2019 as well as the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002 both of which have a direct bearing on climate change. The latter Act is the legislative framework within which the government responds to the impacts of climate change. The former makes explicit reference to climate change in its efforts to avoid dangerous anthropogenic climate change by stabilising greenhouse gas emissions while also ensuring sustainable socio economic development.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: 28 March, 2017 | Author: AfricLaw | Filed under: Patricia Mwanyisa | Tags: 94 mental health patients, adequate standards of living including adequate food, Centre for Human Rights, clothing and housing, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD, deinstitutionalisation, disability rights, freedom from torture or cruel, Gauteng, Health Ombud, human rights, human rights-based approach, ICESCR, inhumane or degrading treatment, mental disability, Mental Health Care Act, NGO, provincial government, psychosocial, right to highest attainable health, right to independent living and inclusion in society, right to life, South Africa |
Author: Patricia Mwanyisa
Consultant – Human Rights and Access to Justice
As South Africa took time to celebrate its annual human rights day on March 21, this year (2017) the deaths of the 94 patients in Gauteng Province in a space of under a year should not be forgotten. The provincial government of Gauteng took the decision to remove persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities from government health institutions to reduce spending on their healthcare. The implementation process was poorly planned, rapidly executed and chaotic. The move had fatal and disastrous consequences as it not only contravened national and international law, but also proved cruel and inhumane. The record shows 94 lives were lost, families have been severely traumatised and a healthcare support system regardless of whether it was the most ideal or not was shaken to its knees.
Apart from violating domestic law – the National Health Act 61 (2003) and the Mental Health Care Act 17 (2002)) – as a State party to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), among other international instruments, there are several frameworks that were contravened by South Africa. This case provides an opportunity for some serious learning for South Africa (SA) as well as other African States. Learning from previous mistakes is vital for progress. Focus should be directed on how to avoid making similar mistakes in the future. It is probably more important to provide guidance to State parties or governments when they have made mistakes as opposed to the naming and shaming – particularly after the fact. To be productive, however requires the state or those in power to accept responsibility, acknowledge their mistakes and be receptive to the guidance. Ultimately, objectively and substantively unpacking the critical aspects or points at which things went wrong in the Gauteng saga from an international human rights perspective would be beneficial for the planning and implementation of these types of projects or programmes in the future.
Read the rest of this entry »