US to deny blind people in SA access to accessible publications
Disabled Women Living With Dignity will be joining the protest outside the USA Embassy on 24 February 2020 demanding that the US Administration rejects the imposition of trade sanctions against South Africa for signing the CAB which will eliminate the “Book Famine” faced by blind people.
Place – USA Embassy
Date – 24 February 2020
Time – 11:00
Wakamelow Mofokeng 22year old member of DWLD disabled women living with dignity foundation in full force to protest outside the US embassy demanding that the US administration rejects the world to imposition of trade sanctions against South Africa for the CAB which will eliminate the “Book Famine” faced by Blind people.
Meagan Chauke /Adonis, Founder /Chairperson of disabled Women living with dignity
United States of America is pressurising South Africa not to sign the Copyright Amendment Bill (CAB) into law by threatening the revision of the preferential trade agreements by proposing trade sanctions.
President Ramaphosa has had the CAB on his table for almost a year. On March 28th 2019 the Bill was passed by both Houses of Parliament and forwarded to the Office of the President for assent. Since then, conflicting Legal Opinions regarding the Bill have been sent to the Office of the President by Senior Advocates from the Johannesburg Bar Association. The process to be followed when a Bill is forwarded to the President, is provided for in Section 79(1) of the Constitution: “The President must either assent to and sign a Bill passed in terms of this Chapter or, if the President has reservations about the constitutionality of the Bill, refer it back to the National Assembly for reconsideration.”
The aforesaid section makes it clear that the President is required to sign a Bill duly passed by Parliament unless he has reservations about the constitutionality of aspects of the Bill. If the President has no reservations about the constitutionality of a Bill, he has a duty in terms of Section 237 to fulfil the constitutional obligation to sign the Bill “diligently and without delay”.
Professor Pierre de Vos, the Claude Leon Foundation Chair in Constitutional Governance at the University of Cape Town holds that “if Parliament passes legislation which it immediately discovers contains serious flaws (but remains constitutionally compliant) … the president has no option but to sign the bill into law. Parliament then has one of two options. First, it can repeal the newly enacted legislation. Second, Parliament can pass amendments to the newly enacted legislation to correct the flaws in the legislation. Blind SA is sure that the President’s legal counsel would have alerted him to his duties under Section 79 of the Constitution. What is of concern to Blind SA, however, is the delay between when the Bill was forwarded to the President’s Office until now. The United States have exceptions and limitations in their intellectual property legislation and in the disability legislation for Americans with disability to readily access publications in accessible formats like braille, audio and daisy for blind and visually impaired persons.
Section 19 D of the CAB and the primary objectives of the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works in an accessible format for blind, visually impaired and otherwise print disable persons has the exceptions and limitations for the Reproduction of published works in an accessible format on the same day and cross border exchange of accessible formats, viz. braille, daisy and audio for persons with disability.
Only 0.5% of published works in South Africa is available in these accessible formats and the majority is produced by NPO’s like Blind SA.
Blind SA, SA Disability Alliance, and hundreds of activists, academics, and IP practitioners will protest outside the USA Embassy on 24 February demanding that the US Administration rejects the imposition of trade sanctions against South Africa for signing the CAB which will eliminate the “Book Famine” faced by blind people.
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More information Jace Nair, CEO of Blind SA www.blindsa.org.za Mobile: 0609670258
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