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.

Can the Post Office Become an Instrument for Change?

Picture credit: Chicken Smoothie Glenn Ashton - South Africa’s Post Office has effectively ceased to function over the past three months, turning this once successful and strategic state-owned enterprise into a dead letter box. The recent agreement between unions and management will not solve its ills. Even before this latest strike it was, along with many of its international counterparts, in deep trouble. But perhaps there are ways to reform this much maligned government run corporation to truly reform this once important...

Are South Africa's Protests Really Driven by Rising Expectations?

Picture credit: Defence Web Jane Duncan - Are South Africans protesting because government service delivery is poor? Or are they protesting because delivery is so good that expectations have been raised to the point where government cannot meet them? The ‘rising expectation’ explanation of the protests has found favour with a diverse range of institutions and individuals, such as the government, the South African Institute for Race Relations (SAIRR), City Press editor Ferial Haffajee and Municipal IQ. It featured...

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...