The state of the nation is not simply about how the economy is doing, or how strong our currency is. The state of the nation is about how well the people of South Africa are doing. Are they able to live with dignity, feed their children, meet their basic needs and access employment, education and health care? According to the views expressed during the poverty hearings, our state of the nation is dire. Communities are crippled by poverty. It is a state of emergency.
“Ending Aid Dependence” is a book which shows how developing countries can liberate themselves from the aid that pretends to be developmental but is not. Authored by Yash Tandon, the book argues that exiting aid dependence should be at the top of the political agenda of all countries.
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Archbishop Njonkonkulu Ndungane has called upon South Africans to stand up against poverty. Speaking during the Gauteng round of national poverty hearings in Johannesburg on 12 September, Ndungane said: “We came here to listen to your problems.”
The poverty hearings, which have been held in four other provinces over the last two months, provide the opportunity for the poor to speak about their experiences of poverty.
Over the past two months, the African Monitor, working with Black Sash, CIVICUS, Hope Africa, South African Human Rights Commission, COSATU, Southern African Trust, South African Council of Churches, SANGOCO, Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute and IDASA, has held Poverty Hearings in across South Africa. These gatherings have provided people from all walks of life the opportunity to talk about their experiences of poverty.
The world, both rich and poor countries, is clearly facing multiple crises. Unfortunately it is poor people who suffer the most, suffering immensely from food price increases. We expected this year’s G8 summit to reflect the gravity and urgency of the situation globally, but more so in Africa. Rather we got more and more talk and zero practical, measurable and tangible commitments with set timelines.
By Archbishop Njongo Ndungane