• The USAID CSOSI for South Africa

    The Civil Society Organisation Sustainability Index (CSOSI) has been used by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) since 1997 to assess the sustainability of the CSO sector in 29 countries in Europe and Eurasia.

    The CSOSI was first applied in sub-Saharan Africa in 2009. USAID's implementing partner in South Africa, the Cooperative for Research and Education (CORE) – a non-governmental organisation - lead the process of organising and convening a diverse and representative panel of CSO experts. All scores and narratives are then reviewed by a Washington-based editorial committee, assisted by sub-regional civil society experts. With the information provided by the expert panels along with desk research CORE undertook then developed a narrative report.

    The CSOSI measures the strength and overall viability of civil society sectors. Seven different dimensions of the CSO sector are analysed in the CSOSI.  These are:

    Legal Environment

    For a CSO sector to be sustainable, the legal and regulatory environment should support the needs of CSOs. It should facilitate new entrants, help prevent governmental interference, and give CSOs the necessary legal basis to engage in appropriate fundraising activities and legitimate income-producing ventures. South Africa placed in first position with a score of 3.3, followed by Botswana (3.8) and Ghana (3.9), while the worst performing nations were Sudan (6.3), Zimbabwe (6.3) and Ethiopia (6.5).

    Organisational Capacity

    A sustainable CSO sector will contain a critical mass of CSOs that are transparently governed publicly accountable, capably managed, and that exhibit essential organisational skills. South Africa and Uganda both scored 3.8 and are jointly the strongest in this dimension, while Burundi is the weakest scoring 5.9.

    Financial Viability

    A critical mass of CSOs must be financially viable, and the economy must be robust enough to support CSO self-financing efforts and generate philanthropic donations from local sources. South Africa continues to have strongest score (4.2) in this dimension, although even this is in the lower half of the Sustainability Evolving category, while Gambia, Ethiopia and Angola all scored (6.2) in those nations the least financially viable


    The political and advocacy environment must support the formation of coalitions and networks, and offer CSOs the means to communicate their messages through the media to the .broader public, articulate their demands to government officials, and monitor government actions to ensure accountability. Kenya placed first with 3.3; and South Africa scored (3.4). Kenya reports the strongest score in advocacy and showed further improvement in 2013. Meanwhile, Ethiopia remains the weakest in this dimension (6.1), as the legal environment severely restricts CSOs’ ability to engage in advocacy.

    Service Provision

    Sectoral sustainability will require a critical mass of CSOs that can efficiently provide services that consistently meet the needs, priorities, and expectations of their constituents. South Africa placed first with a score of 3.2 followed by Kenya (3.4) and Tanzania (3.4). Angola (5.3) has the weakest score resulting in little to no service provision by Angolan CSOs.


    A strong sectoral infrastructure is necessary to provide CSOs with broad access to local CSO support services. Intermediary support organisations (ISOs) providing these services must be able to inform, train, and advise other CSOs; and provide access to CSO networks and coalitions that share information and pursue issues of common interest. Kenya placed in first position with a score of 3.6 followed by South Africa with 3.8, whilst Sudan (507) and Angola (5.8) placed in the last two positions.

    Public Image

    For the sector to be sustainable, government, the business sector, and communities should have a positive public image of CSOs, including a broad understanding and appreciation of the role that CSOs play in society. Public awareness and credibility directly affect CSOs' ability to recruit members and volunteers, and encourage indigenous donors. The public image dimension looks at the extent and nature of the media's coverage of CSOs, the awareness and willingness of government officials to engage CSOs, as well as the public's knowledge and perception of the sector as a whole. South Africa was placed in first position with a score of 3.6, followed by Senegal with 3.7, while Sudan (5.1) and Angola (5.5) placed in the last two positions.

    Overall CSO Sustainability

    South Africa placed in first position with regard to overall CSO sustainability for 2013 with a score of 3.6, Kenya follows with a score of 3.9, and Tanzania scored 4.1. In terms of the CSOSI, South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania have the most well-developed civil society sectors on the continent. On the other end of the CSOSI scale, the three worst-performing nations were Guinea (5.1), Ethiopia (5.2) and Angola (5.4).

    - Phiroshaw Camay is a director at the Cooperative for Research and Education. For further information call +2711 836 9942 or email to
    Phiroshaw Camay
  • Amnesty: Rights Violations on the Rise in SA

    The global state of human rights is grim and violations in South Africa are on the rise.

    This is the message delivered by Amnesty International Southern Africa director, Deprose Muchena, at the launch of its annual report in Johannesburg.

    The worldwide human rights watchdog's global report documents human rights successes and failures in 160 countries and found that police brutality, violence against foreigners and intimidation of the public prosecutor were the most prominent threats to human rights in South Africa in 2014.

    To read the article titled, “SA doing worse on human rights: Report,” click here.

    Sowetan Live
  • Pohamba Wins African Leadership Prize

    Namibia's outgoing president, Hifikepunye Pohamba, has won the Mo Ibrahim Foundation's US$5 million African leadership prize, an award meant to recognise good governance that has been presented only three times in eight years.

    Announcing the award in Nairobi, the Mo Ibrahim committee praised Pohamba's commitment to the rule of law and his respect for the constitution, as well as his promotion of gender equality.

    Since it was set up by the Sudanese telecom tycoon in 2007, the prize has gone to three former presidents, from Cape Verde, Mozambique and Botswana. In other years, no one was found to have met the criteria.

    To read the article titled, “Namibian president wins US$5m Africa leadership prize,” click here.

    News 24
  • UN Congratulates Lesotho Over Polls

    The United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki Moon, has commended the Lesotho Independent Electoral Commission for preparing the elections.

    Ki-moon has also hailed the Southern African Development Community, which has led efforts to peacefully resolve political challenges in Lesotho.

    A surprising result is that the Royal village of Mastieng has gone to the Democratic Congress, despite Prime Minister, Tom Thabane, vowing to protect the monarchy in a case in which the Attorney General is suing the King.

    To read the article titled, “UN chief congratulates Lesotho,” click here.

    SABC News
  • e-Tolls Success Will Depend on Motorist’ Support

    The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) says any plans aimed at saving the besieged e-tolling system will not work without the support of the majority of road users.

    The alliance was responding to media reports that government plans to introduce a R120 surcharge on annual car licence fees in Gauteng in a bid to rescue the system.

    During his state of the province address, Premier David Makhura, says the final decision on e-tolls will be made once the work of a team led by Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has completed its work.

    To read the article titled, “Success of e-toll needs support of motorists,” click here.

    SABC News
  • Social Grant Tender Deadline Suspended

    Electronic payments company Net1 UEPS Technologies has more time to continue carrying out a social grant tender amid a Constitutional Court decision to suspend a bidding deadline.

    In April last year, the Constitutional Court ordered that the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) re-issue the country’s R10 billion grant tender, which was awarded to Net1 division Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) in 2012.

    The Constitutional Court’s Justice, Johan Froneman, criticised SASSA for its ‘irregular’ conduct regarding the Net1 deal. The latter has previously faced allegations of bribing officials to win the contract and was also criticised for selling products such as prepaid airtime and loans to social grant recipients.

    To read the article titled, “Social grant tender deadline suspended,” click here.

    Fin 24
  • Govt to Adjust e-Toll Tariffs Downwards

    Finance Minister, Nhlanhla Nene, says the e-toll tariffs will be adjusted downwards but government remains committed to the principle of road users funding improvements to keep the South African National Roads Agency Limited solvent.

    Delivering his 2015/16 national budget in the National Assembly, Nene stated that: "Concerns regarding the socio-economic impact of toll tariffs have been heard, and revised monthly ceilings will shortly be proposed."

    He added that further government funding could be expected when he tabled his adjustments appropriation in October this year, providing some succour for both road users and SANRAL.

    To read the article titled, “E-toll tariffs to be adjusted downwards #Budget2015,” click here.

    Times Live
  • SA to Provide Grants to the Unemployed

    Government is planning to introduce social assistance to unemployed South Africans between the ages of 19 and 59 who do not receive support from government.

    However, it is not clear yet whether this will be in the form of a grant, but Social Development Minister, Bathabile Dlamini, says government must ensure unemployed people in this age group were able to put food on the table every day.

    Dlamini was quoted as saying that government has focused on social relief mainly for malnourished children, but the reality is South Africa has malnourished adults in South Africa too.

    To read the article titled, “SA may soon get ‘the dole’,” click here.

    City Press
  • Mogae Hails NGOs Fighting HIV/AIDS

    Former Botswana President, Festus Mogae, has hailed non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Uganda for their role in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
    The former leader, who ruled the Southern African nation for a decade (1998-2008), says although he is no longer in office, he is still active in the fight against the scourge.
    Mogae made these remarks on his most recent trip to Uganda where he officiated at the commissioning of the new home of the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS Eastern Africa (ICWEA).
    To read the article titled, “The 75-year-old talked of his commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS,” click here.

    New Vision
  • COSATU Urges Govt to Scrap e-Tolls

    The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) says Gauteng e-tolls system must be scrapped.
    COSATU general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, states that the federation will ask for a meeting with the Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, over the controversial e-tolls.
    Vavi argues that e-tolls are not working and are an expensive way of collecting and paying for debts.
    "I am confident that the new dispensation should provide major financial relief to motorists, while simplifying the payment system to make it easy for road users to pay," he explains.
    To read the article titled, “E-tolls must be scrapped: Vavi,” click here.

    SABC News
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