29 August 2011

Access to information community training in Diepsloot

On 25 August 2011 SAHA and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) began the first of a series of capacity building sessions on access to information in the community of Diepsloot, Johannesburg.

Over 40 people attended the session which focussed on raising awareness of the right to information. The participants ranged from community leaders, representatives from NGOs and other civil society structures, community development workers and representatives from some political organisations.

A number of community-based case studies where shared with participants. These highlighted the way communities have used access to information to help them assert their socio-economic rights. The case studies can be downloaded here.

After watching the case studies participants identified issues they face in their community and how they could use access to information to assist them in addressing those issues.

A number of key issues were identified by a range participants who included unemployed persons, women, organised labour and youth. The issues included the delay in finalising the construction of a local police station, treatment of residents by the police and access to housing, water and electricity.

The next session, to be held later this year, will be directed to assisting participants to make requests on the issues they identified. In this way, SAHA and SAHRC hope to build capacity of the participants to more confidently use the access to information law to help them assert their socio-economic rights and challenges in their community.