EJN on the Move | News

Annual EJN meeting with NCC programmes officers

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In April, the Economic Justice Network (EJN) of the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa (FOCCISA) held a joint planning meeting with the National Councils of Churches (NCCs) on food security, extractives industries and tax justice. The three day planning meeting was held at Lakeview Airport Lodge, Johannesburg, South Africa. A total of 19 participants representing FOCCISA National Councils of Churches (NCCs) namely; South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Angola, Namibia, Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zimbabwe attended the meeting.

The meeting objectives were to provide a space for EJN and the NCCs to explore areas of joint programming and activities. This meant exploring synergies and strategies for the implementation of programs for the different NCCs and exploring the possibility of creating long term programs. Furthermore, programme officers could identify and share challenges that they face when they work in their countries and importantly the meeting was time to formulate a plan of action to be used as a guide for implementation.

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Malawi and Zimbabwe Tax justice and extractives mapping

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Tax justice and extractives meeting with MCC council members, LilongweIn November 2012, EJN and the relevant national Christian Councils as well as like-minded stakeholders had a meeting on tax justice and its linkages to the extractive sector in Southern Africa. It was here that it was decided that a mapping would take place in Zimbabwe and Malawi to better understand the context of the extractive industries there, to investigate the opportunities on how best the Church can be more involved from an advocacy perspective as well as to begin work towards building an advocacy strategy for the NCCs and other key stakeholders in these countries.

EJN visited Malawi in April 2013 and Zimbabwe recently in May 2013. Both scoping exercises begun with a full day meeting with the Christian Council church members which was then followed up by the Church and stakeholder meeting the following day. It was clear from the findings that there is room to scale up work on tax justice in Malawi especially with the recent wave of info regarding natural resource discoveries. Stakeholders agreed it was a crucial time to work together and be organized. They agreed that the SADC NGO Forum would be a great opportunity to show case such unity and raise concerns and fears with regards to the extractives industry in Malawi.

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Advocacy ToT on tax evasion and under taxation in South Africa

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The Economic Justice Network of the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa (EJN of FOCCISA) organised a tax justice Training of Trainers Workshop. The workshop was held at the Strand Tower Hotel and Conference Centre in Cape Town, South Africa from the 04th – 08th March 2013. Michelle Pressend and Simon Vilakazi co-organised the workshop whose aim was to build social justice activist’s understanding of tax justice as a redistributive measure to meet socio-economic needs. The training sought to demystify mainstream economic concepts and ideology of fiscal policy, tax policy and budgets. Moreover the participants where challenged to broaden their understanding of tax challenges such as tax avoidance and evasion. An expected outcome was to develop campaign and advocacy strategies to incorporate tax justice in ongoing struggles for social justice and service delivery.

The workshop was attended by South African participants from 8 provinces that include Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape, Free State, North-West.  Most participants were from faith-based, communities affected by mining, trade unions, health sector, local and national governance and gender organisations. The mixture of women and men participants was 50% each. A total number of 30 participants participated in the workshop.

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Extractives Assembly at the World Social Forum

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EJN participated at the World Social Forum (WSF) which gathered this year in Tunis, Tunisia from March 26-30, 2013. This year’s event had more than 50,000 participants from NGOs and people’s organizations from around the World.  EJN as well as partners such as Tax Justice Network Africa (TJN – A) were part of the more than 4000 organizations from 127 countries that were represented. The structure of the program –which included more than 1000 separate sessions– was that of a mosaic of different and separate initiatives.

On the 25th of March EJN in collaboration with AFRODAD, Third World Network and TJN-A hosted a workshop on Mining and Taxation. The discussion looked at the African Mining Vision (AMV) and how it could be used as a tool to allow African countries to benefit from mineral resource extraction. The session also sought to look at how secrecy jurisdictions work and how the continent was losing money due to tax avoidance and evasion. The objective was to thus reflect on how Africa has been impacted negatively by such huge mining revenue losses. Please find the Tax Justice Declaration here from the 2013 WSF.

 



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Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work. - Mother Teresa