We Own It Weekly – Victory in South Africa!

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Victory in South Africa! Economic Freedom Fighters in-source thousands

A South African political party called The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) says it’s in the process of drafting legislation to end the outsourcing of all government workers at local, provincial and national level.

“We reiterate our call to all government entities from national level to local level to insource staff,” said EFF’s Sixolise Gcilishe to Eyewitness News.

Earlier this year, the EFF tabled a successful motion where it pushed for the City of Johannesburg to insource all its contract workers including security guards, cleaners, garbage workers, drivers and all general workers.

The motion resulted in 1,600 security guards being directly hired by the city effective from 1 June this year.

“Previously, the City outsourced its security services through over 150 contracts with service providers paying on average R14 000 per security guard, while the guards themselves received as little as R4500 as a salary per month,” the City said in a statement.

The next phase of insourcing is expected to be implemented over the coming weeks.

According to the City, the success of the project “signifies the good work we can achieve under the leadership of … mayor Herman Mashaba, and our coalition partners working with the EFF”.

Little known about Google’s plan to build a private neighbourhood in Toronto.

Toronto has chosen Google to help develop a 12-acre “smart” neighbourhood. But as Politico Magazine reports, “So far, the deal hasn’t exactly been a victory for transparency; Waterfront Toronto has declined to make the exact terms of its deal with Sidewalk public, so no one on the outside knows exactly what the city has promised Google, or vice versa.”

Bianca Wylie, a Toronto-based open-government advocate, says that “Blurring the line between what is the public sector and what is the private sector is the thematic concern here.”

New York Times writer Allison Arieff is similarly wary, saying that “the for-profit tech sector, shot through with libertarian disdain for government and the build-and-flip ethos of the startup world, isn’t well-matched for the kind of work it takes to run a city: long-term, and driven by civic improvement rather than stock prices.”

Forget sports cars. These millennials say public transit is the sexy way to go

A growing group of university students from around the world are passionate about public transit, and they’re using internet memes to show it.

According to The Guardian, one post asked: “Yeah sex is cool, but have you ever fantasized about an infrastructure renewal program funded by the taxes of billionaires?” and somebody responded with a gif of Homer Simpson drooling.

“The group was co-founded by Juliet Eldred and Emily Orenstein, both students at the University of Chicago, with Jonathan Marty of New York University following a heated disagreement with strangers on the internet about – of all things – the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956. “We were getting upset at them because we were saying we didn’t want them to glorify car culture,” says Marty, 21. “That led to a conversation: ‘someone should make a new urbanism meme group’.”

That was in March; membership has since ballooned to more than 95,000 members, with about 300 posts made every day. Did Marty and his co-founders have any inkling of the response? “Frankly, no,” he says. “I don’t think any of us understood quite how mainstream these issues are.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate doubts Medicaid privatization saved money

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Barnett is demanding proof of Gov. Jeff Colyer’s assertion that privatization of Medicaid with three for-profit insurance companies enabled the state to avoid $2 billion in expenditures and improved health outcomes for hundreds of thousands of Kansans.

Barnett said the Colyer campaign’s portrayal of KanCare as a privatization success was “quite a whopper,” according to the news websiteCJ Online.

“Governor Colyer is bringing harm to Kansas. Both Dr. Colyer and I took the same oath-first do no harm. His policy decisions are wrong,” Barnett said.

Israel post to be privatized. But what about the periphery?

The Israel government’s ministerial privatization committee voted to sell off stakes of the state-owned Israel Post on Monday, raising concerns that service to outlying areas could be affected.

“There’s a reason why FedEx and DHL haven’t gone into all the neighborhoods in Israel which aren’t profitable,” said Prof. Dan Ben-David of Tel Aviv University said in the Jerusalem Post. “What’s the arrangement that they have that service will be provided in areas that are less profitable – in outlying areas, in neighborhoods that need mail but are not profitable?”

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