Public Services

SACSIS promotes the fundamental right of the poor to services such as clean water, sanitation, waste management, affordable energy, public transport, health, education and social security.

Conventional Education Fails to Deliver the Goods

Picture credit: Dissent Magazine Glenn Ashton - We have thrown bags of money at education over the past two decades. Education consumes nearly a quarter of our total budget, close to a quarter of a trillion Rand a year. We spend more money on education than anything else. Yet despite tardy progress, meaningfully reforming the broken apartheid era education system appears to be an impossible task. We still have some of the worst outcomes in the world as far as literacy and numeracy are concerned. We still struggle to properly teach the...

Antibiotic End Game: What are the Implications for Africa?

Picture credit: Discovery News Glenn Ashton - Antibiotic resistant bacteria have brought humanity to the dawn of a new era of medical uncertainty and risk. This has emerged through a simple evolutionary trend, where some of the most basic organisms on earth have managed to thwart our ingenuity over the course of slightly more than half a century. Recent medical and scientific progress has extended human longevity well beyond the traditional biblical time-span of 70 years, across many parts of the world. One of the most important...

Hidden Treasure and the New Colonialism: Why SA Must Protect Its Intellectual Property

Picture credit: AIDS activists in London demanding an end to big pharma Glenn Ashton - South Africa is about to embark on a radical restructuring of its health industry in order to provide universal access to good medical resources. The astronomical cost of medicine has consistently outstripped inflation. These costs are driven by three primary factors: Firstly the progressively technological nature of intervention, using devices like CAT scans in sophisticated facilities. Secondly, doctors are increasingly specialised and innovative, which raises costs, particularly in...

Rip Eskom Apart

Picture credit: Pakistan Today Glenn Ashton - While rolling blackouts are never a joke, many South Africans cracked an ironic smile when Minister of Public Enterprises Malusi Gigaba remarked that Eskom was better prepared to deal with their recent power supply crisis than in 2008. Thanks for that insight, Minister. Problem is, we still have rolling blackouts six years on, with things looking pretty dire as we approach winter. As usual we all pay, in different ways, for these systematic failures at the highest levels. Surely it is time...

UK Officially Recognises Pubs as 'Assets' With Importance Beyond their Market Value

Picture credit: On the Commons David Bollier - Why should investors always have the upper hand in “development” plans when the resource at stake is a beloved building or public space? Why should the divine right of capital necessarily prevail? How refreshing to learn that England has created a special legal process for preventing market enclosures of community pubs. There is even a Community Pubs Minister, whose duty it is to recognize the value of pubs to communities and to help safeguard their futures.  So far, some...

Safeguarding Public Health: South Africa's Challenge to International Intellectual Property Laws

Picture credit: South Africa Ayesha Jacub - Private profit versus public interest: the distinction may seem binary and simplistic but the divergence between big pharma and public health interests are increasing in polarity. Big pharma, like most big actors on the international trade scene have their interests firmly secured through lobbies touting big money, slanting legislation in their favour. With international trade legislation having direct effects on health issues in nation states, is the South African government doing enough to...