An ongoing debate to stop the imposition of Value-Added Tax (VAT) on sanitary products; as this classifies them as luxury and/or non-essential goods; has ended in a victory for women. The South African government has resolved to abolish the payment of 15% Value-Added Tax on sanitary pads to “restore the dignity of our people.”
The decriminalisation of the private use of cannabis in South Africa could – and should – pave the way for the decriminalization of sex work, says Zanta Nkumane.
The Constitutional Court judgment is to be applauded for doing away with the assumption that marijuana use by adults in private is always wrong.
In a surprising development the conservative southern African country of Zimbabwe published a licensing regime that will allow the legal cultivation of marijuana. After Lesotho it is the second African country to take the controversial step. The government of Zimbabwe says it will now issue five-year licences for the production and sell of marijuana for medical or research use.
The African National Congress, the governing party in South Africa made a number of resolutions at its 54th elective conference, which include the decriminalisation of sex work and plans to push for amendments to the constitutional law to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation. The resolutions have been met with mixed emotions.
Uganda’s Minister of Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo has equipped a pornographic control team with top gadgets to monitor and intercept pornographic material. Uganda has been in the news for passing laws that curb sexual expression.
The Zimbabwean government has proposed a minimum mandatory 60-year jail sentence for people convicted of raping minors aged 12 years and below and the disabled, while a 40-year prison term will apply for all rape cases as a means to stamp out the crime.
The protection and safety of journalists continues to be a pressing issue across the continent. Within weeks of celebrating World Press Freedom Day commemorated on May 3, a number of cases of threats and attacks on journalists had already been reported in several African countries.
Global warming affects Africa significantly more than other regions despite the fact that the continent contributes much less to the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Seven out of 10 countries in a list of countries which are threatened by climate change are in Africa. U.S. president Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accords, has caused widespread criticism. The U.S.’s decision to pull out is despite the fact that the country is the world’s biggest polluter. The agreement deals with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020. 195 countries, including all 55 African countries, signed the agreement. Activists and leaders across the continent have condemned President Trump’s move, which they say will hurt Africa particularly in agriculture, the biggest source of many people’s livelihoods.