Education activists have claimed victory after the Eastern Cape High Court ordered Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, to publish norms and standards for school infrastructure.
In a press statement, Equal Education, a non-governmental organisation, says that should the minister fail to comply with the court order, she could face a fine or imprisonment.
Motshekga and her department now have two months to publish for comments amended draft regulations for minimum uniform norms and standards for school infrastructure.
To read the article titled, “Equal Education claims victory in Motshekga battle,” click here.Source:City Press
The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) is calling on government to provide funding for the legal representation of Marikana miners, to protect the integrity of the Farlam commission.
In a press statement, CASAC warns that government's failure to provide funding for legal representation for the mineworkers who were injured and arrested during the Marikana massacre, "Flies in the face of government's latest initiative to restore stability to the mining sector."
The comments follow a decision by the retired judge, Ian Farlam, to postpone the commission until 25 July 2013 to allow lawyers for the injured and arrested miners to file papers at the Constitutional Court.
To read the article titled, “CASAC appeals to state to fund Marikana miners,” click here.Source:Mail and Guardian
The Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) has criticised the arrest of Movement for Change (MDC) parliamentary candidate, Arnold Tsunga, and 50 supporters.
SALC, which also condemns the banning of a political rally in Harare,” calls on that country’s electoral commission and electoral observers deployed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and African Union to investigate and address the recent incarceration of Tsunga to ensure that the rights of all stakeholders are respected and protected during this important time.
The organisation further argue that in the build-up to Zimbabwe’s presidential elections, the country must commit itself to the creation and maintenance of an environment conducive to political freedom, among others.
To read the article titled, “SALC condemns arrest of top lawyer,” click here.Source:Mail and Guardian
- One sometimes wonders if the Southern African Development Community (SADC) should not simply give up the time-consuming and unrewarding business of trying to resolve political crises in its member states.
After five years of intensive SADC mediation in Zimbabwe, first led by then President Thabo Mbeki and thereafter by President Jacob Zuma, what has been achieved? Parliamentary and presidential elections that will be held on 31 July 2013 under essentially the same conditions as the violent and almost certainly rigged elections of March 2008, which prompted SADC’s intervention.
Perhaps President Robert Mugabe will tone down the violence because he thinks he does not need as much to beat the rather hapless Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, this time around. But if so, it will be no thanks to SADC. Mugabe still has full control of all the hard power in Zimbabwe, including its security apparatus, which is still fully partisan to Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).
Likewise, the public media - essentially all the broadcast media and most of the papers - is also still fully and unashamedly biased towards ZANU-PF. The Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) ostensibly has one or two independent commissioners, but not only do ZANU-PF supporters outnumber them, the ZEC is essentially being run by the same group of officials present at the 2008 elections and set to conduct the upcoming ones in July 2013. That is assuming the ZEC does in fact conduct the election. The deep suspicion is that it will be run behind the scenes by the army, as done previously, apparently.
Tsvangirai is fighting this election with both hands tied behind his back and his legs hobbled. Zuma raised hopes of meaningful change when he took Mbeki’s place in mediating the Zimbabwe negotiations for SADC. He - and particularly his no- nonsense foreign policy adviser, Lindiwe Zulu - talked straight to Mugabe and insisted on real reforms to level the political playing field. But in the end, it seems as if the pair succeeded only in irritating Mugabe. In June 2013, at Zuma and Zulu’s insistence, SADC leaders asked the Zimbabwe Constitutional Court - clearly just another Mugabe instrument - to postpone the poll so as to allow time for the many necessary reforms. It predictably rejected what was no more than a polite request.
SADC could do nothing about this humiliating rebuff because it is not equipped to truly confront Mugabe and make him answer for his behaviour. It is showing the same reluctance to confront Madagascar’s de facto leader Andry Rajoelina. In 2009, when he ousted Marc Ravalomanana, SADC should have already insisted that Rajoelina give up power. Instead, it let him stay on as transitional leader. It issued firm declarations that he should allow Ravalomanana to return from exile in South Africa in order to participate in the next elections. SADC also inserted a mealy-mouthed escape clause, respecting Madagascar’s judicial sovereignty, and in effect telling Rajoelina that he could arrest and imprison Ravalomanana if he returned, as the latter had been convicted and sentenced in absentia for alleged complicity in the shooting of protesters.
Since it could not muster the courage or conviction to do the right thing - which was to force Rajoelina not to run for office (in violation of SADC and African Union rules) and to allow Ravalomanana to do so instead - SADC resorted to the so-called ‘ni-ni’ option. This meant that neither of the two bitter rivals would run for office. In December 2012 and January 2013 respectively, Ravalomanana and Rajoelina accepted the ‘ni-ni’ deal, and the problem, at least from SADC’s perspective, seemed to have been resolved.
But then Ravalomanana put his wife, Lalao, forward as a candidate for his political movement, in so doing prompting Rajoelina to renege on the ‘ni-ni’ deal and enter the presidential race. And so did former president Didier Ratsiraka - along with about 40 other candidates. However, both Lalao Ravalomanana and Ratsiraka did not meet the legal requirement, which states that candidates need to have lived in Madagascar at least six months prior to an election, and Rajoelina also broke the law by missing the deadline for submitting his candidacy. Yet the electoral court accepted all three of them as candidates anyway.
Now SADC and the African Union (AU) are demanding that the three candidates withdraw from the election, and have vowed not to recognise any of them if they are elected. They and the international community are also refusing to fund the poll, and are even threatening to slap personal travel and financial sanctions on the candidates if they fail to pull out of the election - something SADC and the AU never contemplated doing with Mugabe.
The International Contact Group on Madagascar (ICG‐M), led by AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ramtane Lamamra, and SADC’s mediator, Joaquim Chissano, visited Madagascar to try to persuade the three controversial candidates to withdraw from the elections. They evidently had a heated meeting with Lalao Ravalomanana and her supporters, who refused to back down. Evidently, the other two also rebuffed this request. According to the Ravalomanana people, Chissano openly told them that what they really wanted was for Rajoelina to withdraw from the presidential race - and that Lalao Ravalomanana had to be ‘sacrificed’ for this to happen.
If that is true, it would epitomise the disingenuous and frankly cowardly approach of SADC, confirming that it cannot confront the real problem, Rajoelina, the same way in which it has ultimately failed to confront the real problem in Zimbabwe, namely Mugabe. Threatening sanctions against the three erring candidates in Madagascar looks, at least on the surface, to be a good thing, a sign that SADC and the AU are at last baring their teeth to enforce their decisions. But this tougher resolve is misdirected in Madagascar. If the three candidates pull out now, there will be no one to represent the Ravalomanana political movement in the elections. Perhaps the same would be true of Rajoelina’s movement, although there are suspicions that it has at least one other secret candidate in the race. Having failed to remove Rajoelina directly, SADC should back down, accepting Rajoelina, Lalao Ravalomanana and Ratsiraka as candidates.
This arrangement, though unsatisfactory, seems to be an acceptable compromise to the main rival camps, more particularly to Marc Ravalomanana, who is the most aggrieved party.
The infringements by the three candidates are technicalities that SADC, the AU, and the international community can surely afford to ignore - having condoned much greater violations by Rajoelina. It is time for SADC to admit its impotence and let the Malagasy go ahead with an election most of them seem to want.
- Peter Fabricius, Foreign Editor, Independent Newspapers, South Africa. This article first appeared on the Institute for Security Studies website.
Twelve years after African governments pledged in the Abuja Declaration to allocate at least 15 percent of their annual budgets to healthcare by 2015, just six countries have met this goal.
According to data compiled by the UN World Health Organisation (WHO), Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Rwanda, Togo and Zambia have met the target, and five other countries are spending at least 13 percent of their annual budgets on health.
While on aggregate spending on health has increased - up to 10.6 percent from 8.8 - about a quarter of African Union (AU) member-states have regressed and are now spending less on health than they were in 2001, adds the WHO data.
To read the article titled, “African governments still underfunding health,” click here.Source:All Africa
Zimbabwean police have arrested a prominent rights lawyer running for parliament against the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF).
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights says Arnold Tsunga, who is vying for a seat in the eastern city of Mutare, was detained together with his campaign team allegedly for holding an unauthorised rally.
The organisation says that the detained are still at Dangamvura police station and the police have indicated their intention to transfer them to Mutare Central Police Station.
To read the article titled, “Zimbabwe arrests top rights lawyer,” click here.Source:News 24
Gender Links (GL) has welcomed the appointment of former Deputy President, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka to head UNWOMEN as a ‘proud moment for the women of Africa and the world!’ In a statement issued today, GL chief executive officer (CEO) Colleen Lowe Morna described Mlambo-Ngcuka as ‘a woman of substance, who has taken gender equality concerns to every portfolio she has ever led, with grace, humility and commitment. I cannot think of anyone better placed to fill the shoes of (former Chilean President) Michelle Bachelet in this critical post.’
Mlambo-Ngcuka served as deputy president under Thabo Mbeki until he stepped down in 2008, prior to that she firstly served as deputy minister of Department of Trade and Industry (Dti ) then minister of mines. When Mbeki appointed Mlambo-Ngcuka as second in command, in place of (the now President) Jacob Zuma, the media linked this to her husband, the then director of public prosecutions, Bulelani Ngcuka, who was seen to be at loggerheads with Zuma. Mbeki responded that he had appointed Mlambo-Ngcuka for a simple reason, her competence.
In each of the mainstream posts she has occupied, Mlambo-Ngcuka carried with her a passion for women’s empowerment. At the Dti she created the South African Women Entrepreneurs Network and Technology for Women in Business (TWIB) award. In mining, she proceeded to design the Broad-Based Socio Economic Empowerment Charter for the South African Mining Industry now commonly referred to as the mining charter and a careful strategy for marketing it. From a zero starting point, the charter sets a ‘baseline’ target of ten percent women employed in mining over five years, and 26 percent of ownership of mining industry assets by historically disadvantaged South Africans in ten years. Further provisions cover procurement and beneficiation.
The score card that goes with the charter tracks progress of individual companies. In Dti , Mlambo-Ngcuka established women’s associations both in mining and energy. As deputy president, Mlambo-Nguka drove the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa (ASGISA), holding special consultations with women to ensure they got a piece of the action. A keen supporter of gender initiatives in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, Mlambo-Ngcuka gave the key note address at the recent SADC Gender Protocol@Work summit.
She once reflected, “One of the things for me that has been very grounding, that I learned when I worked for an [non-governmental organisation] NGO is that if it works for women, then it will work for everyone else. So if you want a perfect yardstick for measuring the depths of democracy then just check what difference it makes for women.” She noted that all politicians, but women in particular, are under intense public scrutiny, “I am very self - conscious. I know that I am under the spotlight. I have to guard my integrity with everything. In this kind of job the assumption is that all politicians are corrupt until proven otherwise. My strength in the changes I want to make will depend on how trustworthy I can be. I am vicious about my integrity.” At the same time, she asserts, “In a position of power you must exercise power”.
For more information contact:
Mobile: 076 227 6517.
For more about Gender Links, refer to www.genderlinks.org.za
For more about UNWOMEN, refer to www.unwomen.org
To view other NGO press releases, refer to www.ngopulse.org/group/home-page/pressreleasesDate published:11/07/2013Organisation:Gender Links, UNWOMEN
The Zambian government has extended the period for registration of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for another 90 days.
Community Development Mother and Child Health Minister, Joseph Katema, says that all NGOs that will not register at the end of the 90 days shall cease to operate in Zambia.
Katema says those wishing to register a new NGO can proceed to do so starting from 15 July 2013 as registration forms can be obtained from the Ministry’s department of registrar for NGOs.
To read the article titled, “NGOs registration extended,” click here.Source:Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation
- ‘Multiple sites of power are crucial to a democracy and a vibrant civil society provides just that. It is estimated that there are over 100 000 organisations that make up civil society. Some are membership-based and can therefore rightfully claim to represent their own communities. Others are established by individuals and groups who are passionate about a specific cause and they create a mechanism to work in that field. Although these organisations are not membership-based, they still have enormous value because they exist.’
If we are to look at the main areas that emerge in this hive of activity, they tend to develop into welfare and service delivery on the one hand, and advocacy and policy development on the other.
The government has for some time objected to civil society organisations (CSOs) with the critique that nobody has voted for these organisations and that they are therefore unaccountable. The Constitution defends our right to free association and freedom of expression. Any individual has the right to hold the state to account as does a group, an organisation, a movement, a society or any other structure. And besides, civil society is not only there to check the state but also to keep a watchful eye on the corporate sector. Civil society organisations have been very effective at exposing businesses that exploit child labour, or are guilty of unfair labour practice, or environmental degradation, or price-fixing and excessive profit making.
In any event, the accusation about non-governmental organisations (NGOs) being unaccountable and unrepresentative is a non-starter. Civil society is the space where citizens have the right, and the freedom, to organise with like-minded people around particular issues or to work for particular socio-political, economic and/or cultural causes. CSOs are accountable - to their members, beneficiaries, donors and communities. It is political parties that are failing to account for where their funds come from, or where they have invested their party money. They also do not seem to feel the need to tell us when their cadres benefit from private and other deals.
Funding of the Civil Society Sector
There has been substantial media coverage about a funding crisis in the nonprofit sector and, for many organisations, this is a reality.
According to a 2012 Nonprofit Job Losses and Service Cuts survey undertaken by GreaterGood South Africa, 80 percent of participating organisations had experienced significant declines in funding. This had led to retrenchments and the closure of some well-known organisations. The real impact is not known, there is no current data on the size and scope of the sector. However, in 2002 Mark Swilling and Bev Russell produced a research document that indicated that there were about 305 000 full time employees in the sector. This is no small number. The main reduction of funding was that from international aid agencies with some reduction in local corporate funding for nonprofits as a result of the recession. Currently, business confidence in South Africa is quite low and people are not investing heavily in business enterprises within the country, although South African companies are doing well outside the country. This all has a knock on effect on civil society and institutions such as universities.
On the other hand, it also means that organisations have not planned ahead and have not put effective strategies in place to ensure financial sustainability. Four key pillars for financial sustainability include;
- A diversity of donors;
- Some form of income generation in-line with the organisation’s objectives;
- Building of reserves and possibly; and
- Purchasing their own premises.
Inyathelo’s understands that fundraising is not fair – it is not about the best idea or the best proposal, but it is about building personal relationships based on trust. Trust is no doubt the underlying contract between a donor and a grantee, but it does not happen without engagement. Relationships cannot only be on paper. The growing demand for detailed reporting including outputs, outcomes and impact has something to do with current donor practice where trust is reduced and relationships are curtailed. The building of real, trusting partnerships requires face to face engagement. It is imperative that nonprofits understand this as much as the donor community.
Inyathelo believes that there are resources available to the civil society sector, but organisations and their leaders need to attract these resources, rather than chase money. Organisations need to put in place effective advancement practice including good governance, quality leadership, good financial management, functioning programmes that deliver on their objectives - monitoring and evaluation; they need to be visible and let the world know what they think and do; they need to be clear where they are going, what they want to achieve and how they will do it and they cannot rely on proposal writing as the first port of call. This standard way of raising money is probably the least effective and I am always amazed that people continue with a practice that does not work. There is no silver bullet - the bottom line is that organisational leadership has to build relationships and this takes time and effort.
The Lotteries and the National Development Agency (NDA)
These two agencies were established with an expressed objective to support and serve the civil society sector, but have been notorious in their failure to do so. The NDA was for years embroiled in various charges of corruption by its senior management and the lotteries were plagued by administrative bungling and a lack of transparency in respect of the Distribution Agencies that report to the Minister of Trade and Industry. The NDA appears to have contracted into its shell, paying out a significant percentage of its annual allocation to its internal functions, while appearing to be running its own programmes rather than supporting civil society. There are attempts to review the lotteries and a new legislation is awaiting comment.
Relationship with Government
This takes us to the issue which is the relationship between civil society and government. During the anti-apartheid struggle, CSOs played a major role in the political shift. This included the hundreds of organisations that formed the backbone of the United Democratic Front, organisations such as the Black Sash and Idasa that helped to break the political log-jam. Civil society organisations played a role in drafting the constitution, in implementing the National Peace Accord and in promoting the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). However, over time, as government began to find its feet, civil society found itself on the outside merely serving as a partner with government in the context of poverty alleviation. What does poverty alleviation mean? In my view, it merely means making poverty bearable, it is not about changing a system to get rid of poverty. This led government and quasi government structures such as the NDA and the Lotteries to see CSOs, especially NGOs, as merely service providers to the poor and even worse, as a nuisance.
There are many organisations that provide services to the poor (it is allegedly estimated that 30 percent of social services are provided by the nonprofit sector) and they have become major recipients of government money, leading to a heavy dependency on government largesse. This has led to a question relating to the independence of these organisations whether they align their programmes with government priorities, or stick to their own objectives, advocate on behalf of their beneficiaries; and can they criticize the hand that feeds them?
A key question to ask of government is whether it is meeting its mandate? The existing Nonprofit Organisations (NPOs) Act was promulgated in 1997 and it contains a clause which reads:
Every organ of state must determine and coordinate the implementation of its policies and measures in a manner designated to promote, support and enhance the capacity of NPOs to perform their functions.
Certainly, this clause has largely been ignored.
The Act also provided for the establishment of an NPO Directorate within the Department of Social Development to offer support services to the sector. However, the Directorate was severely under resourced and it has had huge difficulties in servicing the sector. Worse was the mass deregistration of organisations that took place at the end of 2012 and early in 2013 – apparently a new efficient computer system implanted into a dysfunctional entity.
It is of common knowledge that expectations relating to government service delivery have not been met. As a result, various new, dynamic and activist organisational structures within communities and beyond have emerged and most of them rely on volunteer membership for their impact. These are generally termed social movements.
At the same time, there are other more structured organisations that are involved in issues relating to systemic change such as educational improvement, refugee rights, gender issues, corruption and political rights. These organisations, often termed social justice organisations, sometimes attract government ire. Their skills base can be quite sophisticated and this enables them to participate in legislative processes such as making submissions to portfolio committees in parliament, organising campaigns including raising awareness through the media, undertaking effective research and even going to court. There has been on-going sniping on the part of government about the role of such organisations. Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande accused some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as being part of an ‘ideological third force’. A statement issued by the ad hoc Committee on the Protection of State Information Bill in 2012, following the Bill’s passing, accused civil society organisations of ‘half-truths, distorted conflations and mischievous political deportment’. Some NGOs have been vilified and accused of being ‘foreign spies’. South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) also described some NGOs as ‘imperialist neoliberal forces” and threateningly asserted that the union would not accept a situation in which they could be used as “proxies to pursue certain political agendas’.
There is therefore an uneasy relationship between civil society and government. Government needs organisations to deliver services, but on its own terms and within the parameters of its own agenda. Those who aren’t directly involved in service delivery are often seen as a threat, rather than a potential partner.
The publication of King III presented the nonprofit sector with a number of challenges as it was written for the corporate sector which is based on different values and functions differently. Perhaps the most obvious difference between the two sectors is that the corporate sector exists to achieve the maximum amount of profit possible, whereas the NPO sector, by definition has to channel any resources it generates towards the benefit of the organisation and the work that it does. But there are other differences too. Directors of an NPO freely and voluntary give their time to fulfil an altruistic purpose; in the corporate sector, directors do not freely give their time, and expect the highest possible remuneration for their investment. As well illustrated in the world over - South Africa being no exception – such remuneration is sometimes astronomical in its largesse.
King III focused on the new Companies Act, but the majority of NPOs are trusts and voluntary associations. Trusts and voluntary associations have their own body of law including aspects of common law as well as guidance from international principle and practice, especially taking into account the degree of funding of South African NPOs that comes from abroad. Most especially though, we felt that the requirements of King III were too overwhelming for the capacity of most civil society organisations. This did not mean that they were incompetent. An article in the Financial Mail of 14 October 2011 entitled ‘Strangled by Rules’ explained that local companies were overwhelmed by the requirements of King III and that governance issues were crowding out all other items on board agendas.
In essence, King III served as a catalyst, forcing the nonprofit sector to look inward at its own governance practices. This is particularly pertinent considering the work NPOs do. Very often, this involves the provision of public services (the building of schools, or providing emergency access to medicine in natural disasters). Governance of any organisation and its funding are critical to donor and beneficiary confidence.
There was therefore an urgent need for the South African nonprofit sector to explore the development of a Good Governance Code or Charter that spoke to, among others, the specific governance and risk management needs of NPOs. Such a Code needed to be aware of the multi-layered and multi-textured nature of NPOs and it needed to serve as a way of building confidence in the nonprofit sector. Following a two-year consultative process with hundreds of nonprofits, a Working Group produced the Independent Code of Governance for NPOs in South Africa. This can be found on the website www.governance.org.za and organisations can subscribe to the Code through the website. We currently have over 50 organisations that have publicly subscribed, and donors can measure their governance performance against this commitment. Over the next three years we will be promoting this Code across the country to ensure that it has currency and can stand as the key governance document for the sector.
This Code does not purport to be a comprehensive statement of the law and it acknowledges the existence of other Codes such as King III. It is basically a statement of values, principles and recommended practice.
Relationships with Business
There are two components that impact on civil society’s relationship with South African business, mainly through CSI operations. These are the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) codes and the capacity to measure delivery and impact. Business is not generally altruistic, although there are some key exceptions to the rule. I am not opposed to the for-profit sector: it is critical to the development of the economy; it provides work and produces the products needed. However, in terms of values, the corporate sector is extractive by nature: it will extract what it can from its employees, its customers, its suppliers etc. The nonprofit sector is about giving back to society.
Are there therefore real opportunities for partnership between civil society and business? In many instances there will be common ground in terms of what people are trying to achieve, although they might approach the problem from different angles. For example, an organisation might be working with matriculants to prepare them for university. This could be supported by a company as it desperately needs good, talented, qualified graduates and it understands that the seed bed of such future employees (our school system) is currently barely functioning and that the add-on provided by educational NGOs has value. There are a range of opportunities for corporates and civil society organisations to partner, but there has to be respect for different values and agendas.
The BEE Codes have also had an impact on such partnerships. Whilst there might have been some level of altruism previously, this has been wiped out on a significant scale by the need to tick boxes to gain BEE points. There are some companies that no longer have any values, but only request proposals from organisations that can prove the 75 percent black beneficiary targets. So, for example, you might find a company supporting a pro-abortion organisation and an anti-abortion organisation, both of which have 75 percent black beneficiaries, but with totally divergent values. While the imperative to transform society is totally understood, the reality of this requirement has had an impact on the interface between civil society and the corporate sector in terms of a common value base.
The issue of social return on investment has also created confusion. Although it is important and correct for organisations to report on how funds were spent, whether they delivered on their programmes and what the impact of the programmes were, there is the utopian idea that somehow business practice can save the world. In response, the following quote from Michael Edwards in his book Small Change is appropriate.
“Expecting price competition, the profit motive, short-term deliverables, and supply-chain control to bring about a world of compassion and solidarity is, to say the least, a little strange. You would not use a typewriter to plough a field or a tractor to write a book, so why use markets where different principles apply?”
Social change is complex and messy, organisations need to navigate society, social structures, interest groups and differing agendas in order to achieve consensus. The process alone can take months or years, before any actual work takes place. When Jonathan Schrire was encouraged to build a school in Vrygrond, a disadvantaged area in Cape Town, two members of his committee were killed before the school was built. It took enormous courage and persistence to deliver and complete this incredibly successful project.
How does one measure this? Does this process not matter in terms of return on investment, but only that the school was built, how many pupils attend and what their final matric results are?
According to James Taylor of the Community Development Resource Agency, we have approached developmental work in a linear, mechanistic and instrumental way. This is effective in resolving simple and even complicated problems where there is a direct and predictable cause and effect relationship between input, output and outcome. But we are starting to understand that this framework could thwart our capacity to address the multifaceted, complicated systemic problems that we face.
There are huge opportunities for the corporate sector to work with civil society, but there should be clear guidelines for good partnerships between the two. For corporate, these include:
- Ensure that objectives dovetail and that corporate are not forcing an organisation to change course to where it does not want to go or where it does not have the skills sets to go. This will invariably end in a sad way;
- Respect partner’s knowledge in its field of endeavour and in the community in which it works;
- While sharing skills can be enormously helpful, there is no purpose in trying to micro-manage a partner organisation. Besides being bad manners, it can undermine what both parties are trying to achieve;
- Understand that social change takes time, Immediate impact in the social sphere is unlikely;
- Make a contribution to overheads, organisations cannot function without overheads. Companies would not dream of running without offices, equipment, marketing and staff, So goes the NGO. Each project has to pay its way in the organisation including oversight, governance, rental, supplies, equipment etc;
- Make a contribution towards building the capacity of partner organisations, no business would dream of eliminating staff training and resources from its budget, so goes the NGO;
- Do not be judgmental about costs such as salaries, there is no reason why people running NGOs should live on a pittance. They are professionals in their own right and are partners with the corporate sector. Do not revert to the charitable paradigm and reduce them to beggars, it is humiliating to use the power game because the funds come from the corporate entity. These organisations are enabling the corporate sector to undertake interventions that they simply cannot do themselves;
- Be clear about how you exit a relationship. A warning is not an exit strategy, companies could open doors to other donors; provide training and capacity building in fundraising and development; contribute towards an endowment. If you have a long term relationship, it is unethical to stop support suddenly;
- Make a medium to long term commitment. Organisations cannot make guarantees that their work will endure if they need to continually resubmit requests for support on an annual basis. This insecurity leads to staff losses, and an inability to plan for the future;
- Do your due diligence, before investing in an organisation, ensure that it is sustainable, that it has the skills required to undertake its projects and that you are confident and have trust in its leadership. This means that companies need to know their partners and that this is not just a paper relationship. Meet with the Director, visit their offices, the state of their working environment will tell you immediately if the organisation is well managed or not; and
- Understand that reserve funds and endowments are a good thing. The argument that an organisation has a reserve and therefore does not require funding is spurious. What this actually means is that the organisation will be there to carry out its objectives if things go wrong financially. Because nonprofit donor income is subject to the whims of donors, it is good practice to build a reserve to see the organisation through transitions. Donors who object to an organisation’s financial success are operating in a patronising, charitable paradigm – expecting professionalism, yet abandoning their own business principles in the case of nonprofit organisations.
- Do not assume that a donor is obliged to fund you, you need to attract funds from partners that share your objectives and hopefully values;
- Build relationships based on trust and be transparent, this takes time and your Executive Director needs to find this time;
- Ensure that your objectives dovetail with the objectives of your corporate partner and that any outcome indicators are agreed;
- Do not be swayed into mission drift because there is money involved;
- Ensure that you have a good paper trail and can account for all funds;
- Put effective thanking and reporting systems in place;
- Stick to your contracts and report on time, both narrative and financial;
- Recognise your corporate partner, both privately and publicly. Starting with a thank you letter, this can extend to a recognition event, a certificate of recognition, the naming of space, a plaque on a wall and publicity in your annual report and website;
- Bring your partner into the organisation - share your achievements;
- Continually monitor your programmes and projects, find the places you can improve and share this knowledge with your donor. Be proactive about evaluations - engage with the donor about what they would like to know in the process and share what you would like to learn;
- Inform your partner immediately if things go wrong, you do not want them to hear about this from other sources. Be open and honest - we are all human; and
- Understand that your champion in the company, such as the corporate social investment (CSI) officer, is accountable to his/her board. Your failures reflect on him/her. It is therefore important to maintain a transparent relationship and to answer questions that need to be asked.
- Inyathelo Executive Director Shelagh Gastrow was invited to address the 6th annual ‘Making CSI Matter’ conference in Johannesburg at the end of May 2013. The conference was aimed at people who are grappling with corporate social investment (CSI) and development practice, and who want to refresh their thinking. This speech first appeared on the Inyathelo website.
- The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) has noted with concern the unwarranted zealous backlash by the African National Congress (ANC) to the rightful exercise of free expression by individuals in South Africa.
The matter in question relates to an open letter addressed to the President, Jacob Zuma written by Kenny Kunene. The letter expressed his personal disappointment with the leadership of the ANC and expressed his dissatisfaction with several matters including the recent allegations of impropriety with regard to the use of state funds in renovations and upgrades at President Jacob Zuma’s personal residence in Nkandla. It is our view that citizens of this country have a right to hold views and opinions about these matters and to share them.
A press statement released by the ANC characterised Kunene’s comments as part of “...provocations and lies that are touted daily with the intention to harm and degrade the person of President Jacob Zuma and by necessary implication the ANC...” The FXI views this as an apparent attempt to intimidate and scare people from freely expressing themselves. We believe as a ruling party that subscribes to freedom of expression, the ANC should encourage expression that is provocative and critical as long as it does not incite violence, as it serves as an opportunity to create dialogue and discussion between members of the public.
The statement makes further reference to insults against a sitting President as criminal offences in other parts of the world. This recognition is a misplaced and fundamentally flawed conception that is clearly geared towards instilling fear among the citizenry. As a progressive democracy, South Africa should be leading calls for the abolition of insults laws across the continent, instead of suggesting a ‘liking of the draconian pieces of legislation, that are increasing getting shunned upon. As such, the labelling of a citizen’s right to expression as ‘impunity’ and an abuse of ‘democratic privilege’ is disconcerting. As the FXI, we believe that free expression can never be held as a privilege but as a right that should be expanded to all and not merely a preservation of the few elite.
We are alarmed at the ANC’s apparent wish to have an insult law incorporated in the South African legal system. It clearly acclaims the insult laws used elsewhere and if the ANC wants those laws to be models for South Africans to follow, it will mean that any criticism – not even approaching insult -- of a president or other high officials in government would be punished by lengthy prison terms and other penalties. The FXI is deeply disturbed at the ANC’s flagrant disregard of the various campaigns against insult and criminal defamation laws that have been launched in recent years in Africa by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), the World Association of Newspapers (WAN-IFRA) and, most important of all, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP). Ignoring that parliament’s campaign is to be condemned because the ANC government is a member of that organisation and its campaign was launched only a few weeks ago in May.
Despite this, we are, however, encouraged by the acknowledgement from the ANC that freedom of expression is a vital component in building a sustainable and vibrant democracy. It is therefore our position that the ANC should respect this constitutionally enshrined right.
Even though the FXI strongly believes the right to freedom of expression is not an absolute right and it has its limitations, the institute fails to find any need for limitations in the letter under discussion. Limitations to free expression are clearly articulated in the constitution and are geared towards ensuring that the expression is within the confines of the law and does not encroach on the constitutional rights of others.
The ANC should therefore be careful when evoking the need for such limitations because governments have in the history of mankind used the same excuse to deny citizens the very rights that are enshrined in the constitution.
About the Freedom of Expression Institute:
Freedom of Expression Institute is a not-for-profit organisation that was established in 1994 to protect and foster the right to freedom of expression and to oppose censorship. Its vision is a society where everyone enjoys freedom of expression and the right to access and disseminate information.
- Phenyo Dean Butale is Executive Director at the Freedom of Expression Institute.