The Global Health for Social Change Internship programme (GHSC) is an unpaid field placement programme that offers an opportunity for students to be embedded with a local or international public health NGO – while experiencing total cultural interest by living with a host family.

This opportunity helps students gain perspective about how public health impacts social change and community development at a local level in South Africa. Because of the far-reaching effects of public health on society as a whole, this programme is looking for a wide range of students regardless of their qualification programme.

The GHSC internship programme is a unique opportunity for students who are interested in getting out of the classroom and into the field to discover how public health impacts local communities in South Africa. This year, the GHSC internship programme placed one international student at FPD head office as an intern to the Management Director for a duration of six weeks. On 21 July 2014, 20-year old Sam Mahlangu, a business management student at St. Francis College in New York, joined FPD. Sam worked on the National Health Insurance research project.

“The GHSC internship programme is an exciting, challenging and practical programme, I really enjoyed it. It was good to have Dr. Gustaaf as a mentor; he is the best teacher anyone could ask for. Coming to FPD, my goal was to get as much information as I can in business management, to have a close overview of what it takes to run a company. During my internship at FPD, I was offered to attend the Advanced Certificate in Health Management (ACHM), which is one of their business courses. We had the privilege of being lectured by Dr. Gustaaf, this proved to be his motivation to improve the South African Health industry and the society as a whole,” said Mahlangu.

“I recommend the programme to students who are serious about becoming leaders, students who are interested in applying their skills in much needed situations, to offer their knowledge to the development of a better society.”

“From what I have seen during the six weeks I spent at FPD, South African people are not selfish, they share knowledge, and they are caring and humorous. South Africa is a beautiful place which needs a better government, leadership and once you fix the leadership, everything will fall into place,” Sam concluded.

For more information about the programme, refer to

The latest version of the disability directory of South Africa has recently been released. Thanks Keith Richmond for the efforts that go into this.

Click here to download your copy.

Several national and international donors have joined forces to inspire and enable bold new initiatives with the potential to transform early learning access and quality in South Africa. Bold ideas for early learning are invited from all sectors and may include anything from new delivery models or smarter financing mechanisms to innovation in the use of technology for training, early learning activities or parent interaction.
The Innovation Edge is part of a R90 million programme called Ilifa Labantwana. It was launched through a multi-donor consortium including the Ilifa funding partners - DG Murray Trust, the FirstRand Foundation, ELMA Foundation, UBS Optimus Foundation - and the Omidyar Network.
“The Innovation Edge will enable Ilifa to explore new frontiers in early learning that can then be incorporated into bigger programmes” says Sherri Le Mottee, programme leader of Ilifa Labantwana.
The focus of the Innovation Edge is on children from birth to six years living in marginalised communities. “Less than a quarter of preschool children in South Africa have the benefit of quality early learning programmes”, says Sonja Giese, founding director of the Innovation Edge. “The prospect of exposing every child to creative learning experiences in their first few years of life is a major opportunity to reshape educational outcomes in South Africa.”
The fund builds on growing global interest in early childhood development as scientific findings have converged on its importance for education, economic productivity and social stability.  “The Edge provides a platform to test the feasibility and effectiveness of innovations that will help to realise the enormous potential of South Africa’s young children", says Giese.  “We want to bring new ways of thinking to early learning by creating opportunities for people with diverse skills and experience to join the call to action.”
For more information or to submit an idea for consideration, refer to Alternatively, email:


After a decade leading national and international non-governmental organisations, I chose to contribute differently through leadership coaching. I am inspired to occupy a space where I can get alongside leaders as a catalyst. As the development sector continues to respond to worldwide changes, along with the business world, coaching emerges as a stronger alternative to leadership training. The pressure to professionalise and apply creative leadership to sustain work is more critical than ever. In this environment, what differentiates successful leaders from less progressive ones is not so much their skills or knowledge, but rather their ability to understand and manage the rapidly changing environment, as well as themselves, taking their team along with them.
Unlike hard skills, emotional intelligence and adaptability cannot be learned in a traditional classroom environment. The self-evaluation and personal development involved requires a safe space, where we can examine our own behaviour and vulnerabilities, without fear of being judged. This process of unlocking internal resources happens through exploration, discussion and practice, both within and between sessions. The opportunity to feedback on progress and adjust action plans on an on-going, one-to-one basis is far more valuable than a once-off training intervention.
As we maximise our potential to think creatively, find solutions and be confident enough to present them in a constructive way, productivity and effectiveness increases. Examining our interactions with others, learning and unlearning new lessons, our ability to trust our leadership increases, and we stretch beyond adapting to change, and actively thrive in change.
Should you need a thinking partner in your leadership journey, contact me for a ‘Discovery’ session to assess your Coaching readiness, at

Judge Willie Seriti has been given another five months in which to finish investigating bribery, corruption and other acts of impropriety which might have happened during the acquisition of prime mission equipment for two arms of the South African National Defence Force in 1999.

President Jacob Zuma said in a statement released last Friday, 31 October 2014 that, “The term of the Commission of Inquiry into allegations of fraud, corruption, impropriety or irregularity in the strategic defence procurement package has been extended until April 30, 2015.”

The statement also points out that the commission was established in November 2011 and its term was “recently extended to November 30, 2014”.

The commission was originally given 12 months to finish its investigations and present a report to Zuma six months after its work was finished. In November last year Zuma gave the commission another 12 months and now he has added a further five to its mandate.

The commission is still bound to submit its report within six months of wrapping up.

Witnesses treated unfairly by commission

According to the Arms Procurement Commission website, public hearings will “commence on November 10. The witness to take the stand is Shamin ‘Chippy’ Shaik, followed by Admiral Alan Green and Masizakhe Zimela on 12 November.”

The Seriti Commission was thrown into disarray last month after Hennie van Vuuren, one of three witnesses who withdrew from the commission, took to the stand and said: “I respectfully decline to testify.”

Witnesses Andrew Feinstein and Paul Holden also withdrew from the commission and were re-subpoenaed. Reports indicate they will not be appearing before the commission as they reside outside South Africa and Holden maintains his subpoena never arrived. Feinstein, through his lawyer, Advocate Geoff Budlender, told the commission it did not have international jurisdiction.

Van Vuuren issued a statement through Lawyers for Human Rights to explain his reasons for keeping mum on the Seriti Commission witness stand. These are being refused access to evidence; being refused the opportunity to provide the commission with “crucial” documentary evidence; not being allowed to speak to documents witnesses have not written, and the loss of public trust in the commission and its work.

“There is evidence to suggest the commission is following a second agenda, namely, to discredit critical witnesses and find in favour of the State and arms corporations’ version of events.

“Since January 2013 at least four senior staff have resigned in protest at the commission’s conduct. In August 2014, two senior evidence leaders resigned from the commission, saying its approach ‘nullifies the very purpose for which the commission was set up’. The commission has called only two people to testify, of the dozens who have been directly implicated in impropriety. Most recently almost 40 civil society organisations have called for the commission to be disbanded.”

“If we’re committed to stopping corruption in SA [South Africa], our institutions have to be seen to be working. When they fail us, it’s our responsibility to challenge these institutions," Van Vuuren told Corruption Watch last month. “I am not going to give legitimacy to a process that is extremely flawed.”

Commission spokesman William Baloyi noted that it is a criminal offence for a subpoenaed witness to refuse to testify and a prison term with an option of a fine could be imposed but it is not clear what, if any, punishment van Vuuren could face.

Commissioners will do their utmost to fulfil mandate

Seriti told defenceWeb in September the commission had done “fairly well and overcome whatever problems it encountered”, including resignations. “It has not even been necessary to replace the departed employees. I am confident we will complete our mandate expeditiously and present a thorough report to the president come next year. The commissioners are fully aware of the heavy responsibility resting on their shoulders in this regard and are determined to do their utmost to carry out their mandate,” Seriti said.

“The commission has amassed evidence whose record runs into thousands of typed pages, having heard over 40 witnesses. The resignations have certainly not impeded its work as we now have a leaner, meaner and more efficient staff complement.”

Seriti also said the “the negative ranting of some so-called arms deal experts” had been a challenge. Van Vuuren told Corruption Watch that the performance of some arms deal critics, notably Crawford-Browne, had not advanced the investigation much as Crawford-Browne had “gone on a tangent and focused on gossip” instead of the “evidence”. Crawford-Browne testified there were allegations that Chris Hani’s assassination came before he planned to expose then defence Minister Joe Modise’s involvement in, and corruption relating to, the arms deal and that Hani’s killer was employed by BAE Systems.

Regardless of Crawford-Browne’s testimony, Van Vuuren said arms deal critics were not the ones on trial and that the commission should focus on investigating the arms companies, former Pesident Thabo Mbeki, cabinet ministers and others involved in the deal that saw the acquisition of 26 Gripen jet fighters, 24 Hawk lead-in fighter trainers, 30 Agusta A109 light utility helicopters, four Super Lynx maritime helicopters, four Valour Class frigates and three Type 209 Heroine Class submarines.

One of the more interesting witnesses scheduled to appear this year is Fana Hlongwane, advisor to former (now deceased) defence minister, Joe Modise. BAE Systems in 2011 admitted to irregularly using a South African joint venture with Saab, which manufactures the Gripen, to channel R24 million to a ‘South African consultant’ - Hlongwane. As a result, BAE agreed to pay a record US$79 million (R550-million) fine.

BAE and Hlongwane have not denied the fact of the payments, but have denied that they were bribes.

  • This article first appeared on the Corruption Watch website. 


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