The Dullah Omar Institute joins civil society organisations concerned about the state of our democracy in condemning the deployment of 441 members of the SANDF to maintain law and order during this week’s State of the Nation Address.
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP), one of Pakistan’s four provinces, is implementing a new local government system. DOI is convening a study tour for a group of provincial and local officials.
On 7 February 2017, two days before the official opening of Parliament in 2017, Parliament Watch, a collective of nine independent civil society organisations working towards the advancement of social justice, the realisation of human rights, and strong constitutional democracy in South Africa will be hosting discussions on the state of South Africa’s legislatures and the effectiveness of parliament and parliamentary committees in their functioning as a tool for oversight, openness and accountability.
On 3 February, Jaap de Visser presented a lunch seminar at the Development Action Group (DAG) on how to use the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA) for advocacy around urban housing challenges. The seminar was attended by housing rights activists based in Cape Town.
On 07 February 2017, in the days ahead of the opening of Parliament, Parliament Watch will be hosting an event, which aims to increase public scrutiny on legislatures through reflecting on their performance in 2016 and considering the prospects for stronger legislatures in 2017.
The drought is forcing cities to consider new ways of regulating water use. This is critical because rapid urbanisation and increasing water scarcity will continue to put pressure on the availability of water.
In 2016, the Dullah Omar Institute, together with Stephen Berrisford, made a submission to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
Scholars and practitioners from all over the Horn of Africa, South Africa and Europe came together in Addis Ababa on 2 December to discuss the role of federalism and decentralisation in the Horn of Africa.
On 3 and 5 December, nine doctoral students from the Centre for Federal Studies (Addis Ababa University) presented parts of their dissertations at a doctoral colloquium. Each student presented a chapter, received feedback and engaged in debate with peers.
The Dullah Omar Institute’s Applied Constitutional Studies Laboratory (ACSL) is pleased to announce the publication of the Civic Protests Barometer (CPB).
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has come under increasing criticism in recent years. Among the reasons for criticism are the declining rate and number of cases being prosecuted, and the perceived politicisation of the institution. Institutionally the NPA is in a deeply troubled state. Is the NPA in need of an oversight mechanism to oversee its decisions? Please join the Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative (CSPRI), a project of the Dullah Omar Institute (University of the Western Cape) for an armchair discussion on the future of the NPA.
The Dullah Omar Institute, together with Stephen Berrisford, made a submission to the Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land Bill, 2016. The Bill seeks to regulate development activities on agricultural land in order to protect agricultural production. In essence, it forces municipalities to seek the consent of the Minister of Agriculture before approving the development of agricultural land.
From May till September 2016, the Socio-Economic Rights Project at the Dullah Omar Institute hosted a series of Community Leaders Workshops to empower and raise awareness on human rights and social justice.
On 27 August, the Center for Federal Studies of the Addis Ababa University convened a seminar on the Sustainable Development Goals and Beyond: The 15 years Democratic and Developmental Role of Local Government in Ethiopia.
Dullah Omar Institute’s Associate Professor Derek Powell has published a book titled State Formation After Civil War: Local Government in National Peace Transitions.
Prof De Visser, Director of the Dullah Omar Institute and local government expert has been providing expert analysis in various media on the 2016 elections and on coalitions. He explained the rules governing elections and particularly the rules impacting on the efforts to build coalitions in so called 'hung councils'.
On 28 and 29 July, Prof Jaap de Visser participated in an Expert Group Meeting, convened by UNHABITAT on the sidelines of PrepCom 3 in Surabaya, Indonesia. PrepCom 3 was the third meeting of the Preparatory Committee, established by the UN to prepare for HABITAT 3 in October 2016 in Quito.
On 20 July, Jaap de Visser addressed a seminar convened by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung to mark the launch of the book "Electing Councillors" and the video "Do you know what you are voting for? He shared the platform with Deputy Minister Andries Nel who delivered the key note address.
Jaap de Visser and Nico Steytler, both professors at the Dullah Omar Institute, have written a manual entitled: “Electing Councillors - A Guide to Municipal Elections” which explains the rules for local government elections. It discusses the rules for voter registration, party registration, ward candidates and party lists. It also explains what happens on voting day, how votes are counted and how results are determined.
On 3 August, millions of voters will exercise their right to vote and decide who controls South Africa’s 257 municipalities. The stakes are high because municipalities deal with basic services and parties are competing for control of powerful cities, such as Johannesburg, Cape Town and eThekwini.
South African Research Chair (SARChI) in Multilevel Government, Law and Policy offers two full-time doctoral (LLD or DPhil) bursaries, commencing in the 2017 academic year. The study may focus on South Africa’s system of cooperative government, including provincial and local government, fiscal relations, and comparative federalism.
Prof Benyam Dawit Mezmur, who is currently an Acting Director of the Dullah Omar Institute, Faculty of Law, at the University of the Western Cape was elected into UN Committee on the Rights of the Child with the highest votes of 152 states together with Mikiko Otani from Japan. Mezmur is being re-elected into the Committee for a second term. He currently serves as its Chairperson, a position he was elected into by his colleagues in the Committee last year May, when he became the youngest, and the first Chairperson of the Committee from Africa in almost 15 years.
Prof Jaap de Visser, Director of the Dullah Omar Institute, joins the European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano (EURAC) as a visiting scholar from 26June to 19 July. EURAC is an independent research centre in Bozen/Bolzano inSouth Tyrol, Italy. It houses various institutes on public management, minority rights, federalism but also alpine environment, biomedicite, renewable energy etc
The Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs intends to introduce the Local Government: Municipal Structures Amendment Bill, 2016 in the National Assembly. Before introducing the bill, the ministry invited members of the public to submit written comments on this Amendment Bill, and Jaap de Visser and Nico Steytler, both professors at the Dullah Omar Institute submitted their comments.
The national government, provinces and municipalities play key roles in development and deepening of democracy. However, they face serious challenges: intergovernmental conflicts, maladministration and corruption. A key event will be the local government elections of August 2016, indicating the importance of metropolitan governments as well as the sphere of local government as a whole. This unique, full-time programme deals with the law, policy and practice of multi-level government in South Africa. It combines class room teaching with a practical internship at an institution multilevel government (including municipalities, province, Parliament).
This is the first issue of the ESR Review in 2016. It includes three feature articles. The first, by Yuri Ramkissoon, reflects on the lessons from the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on the importance of realising economic and social rights in alleviating poverty and ensuring transformation. The article highlights some of the positive and negative obligations placed on the state by the Bill of Rights and then turns to the lessons learned by the SAHRC over 20 years of data collection on economic and social cultural rights.
The national Department of Human Settlements is preparing a new White Paper on Human Settlements. The new White Paper will lead to new legislation and the repeal of the Housing Act of 1997. Together with the South African Local Government Association, the Department is hosting a series of roundtables to debate the new policy. On 31 May, Jaap de Visser delivered a presentation to the Roundtable on Planning, Design and Development of Integrated Human Settlements.
The director of the Dullah Omar Institute Prof Jaap de Visser, published an article on the Conversation titled: South Africa’s politicians will have to adjust to many more coalitions, looking at the upcoming local government elections. In this article he argues that it is likely that there will be more 'hung councils', i.e. councils without an outright majority. In these municipalities, coalitions will have to be formed.
Yesterday, Prof Nico Steytler, the SARChI Chair in Multilevel Government Law and Policy at Dullah Omar Institute hosted colloquium focusing on the South African constitution as an export model. This was followed by a book launch of the Kenya-South Africa Dialogue on Devolution edited by Nico Steytler and Yash Pal Ghai published by Juta.
On 5 May 2016, Prof Jaap de Visser conducted a guest seminar at the Federal University of ABC in Sao Paolo, Brazil. He was hosted by Prof Gilberto Rodriguez, an expert in international relations, federalism and governance.