Governance and democracy

Governance and democracy

  • State of the Nation Address, 17 June 2014

    By His Excellency Jacob G Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa on the occasion of the Joint Sitting Of Parliament Cape Town

    17 Jun 2014

    The Speaker of the National Assembly,
    The Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces;
    Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP,
    Deputy President of the Republic, Honourable Cyril Ramaphosa,
    Former Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe,
    Honourable Chief Justice of the Republic, and all esteemed members of the Judiciary,
    Honourable Ministers and Deputy  Ministers,
    Premiers and Speakers of Provincial Legislatures,
    Chairperson of SALGA, and all local government leadership,
    Chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders,
    The Heads of Chapter 9 Institutions,
    Leaders from all sectors,
    Members of the diplomatic corps,
    Honourable members,
    Distinguished guests
    Fellow South Africans,

    Good evening, sanibonani, molweni, riperile, dumelang, ndi madekwana.

    It is a great pleasure to address you on this first State of the Nation Address of the fifth democratic administration.

    Let me begin by extending our deepest condolences on the sad passing of the Secretary of Parliament, Michael Coetzee.
    His contribution to the struggle for freedom and democracy will never be forgotten.

    Last week, we also lost our mother, Mama Epainette Mbeki. Her guidance and wisdom will be sorely missed. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the Mbeki family. Our hearts go out to the families of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members who died in a tragic helicopter crash in Mpumalanga today during a training camp. We wish the injured a speedy recovery.


    We have recently emerged from a successful national general election held on the 7 May 2014. We look forward to working with all the parties in Parliament as we move South Africa forward.

    In the February State of the Nation Address, I related the good story of 20 years of freedom and democracy.

    We stated that South Africa is a much better place to live in than it was in 1994, and that the lives of millions of our people have improved.
    However, as the National Development Plan (NDP) and the Presidency Twenty Year Review highlight, the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment continue to affect the lives of many people.

    As we enter the second phase of our transition from apartheid to a national democratic society, we have to embark on radical socio-economic transformation to push back the triple challenges.

    Change will not come about without some far-reaching interventions.

    We have put in place a programme of action based on the African National Congress (ANC) Manifesto and the NDP.

    The economy takes centre stage in this programme.  It remains our strong belief that the most effective weapon in the campaign against poverty, is the creation of decent work, and that creating work requires faster economic growth.

    We have set a growth target of 5 per cent by 2019. To achieve this, we will embark on various measures and interventions to jump-start the economy.
    We have set this target during a difficult period. The economy has grown below its potential over the last three years and many households are going through difficulties.

    The slow growth has been caused in part by the global economic slowdown and secondly by domestic conditions, such as the prolonged and at times violent strikes, and also the shortage of energy.

    Given the impact of the untenable labour relations environment on the economy, it is critical for social partners to meet and deliberate on the violent nature and duration of the strikes.

    The social partners will also need to deliberate on wage inequality. On our side as government we will during this term investigate the possibility of a national minimum wage as one of the key mechanisms to reduce the income inequality.

    Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, will convene the social partners dialogue, within the ambit of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC).

    Secondly, government will play its part in the implementation of the landmark Framework Agreement for a Sustainable Mining Industry entered into by labour, business and government last year, under the leadership of former Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe.

    The process will now be led by the President.

    We will implement the undertaking to build housing and other services to revitalise mining towns, as part of the October 2012 agreement between business, government and labour.

    The focus is the mining areas of Motlosana, Emalahleni, Sekhukhune, Lephalale, West Rand and Matjhabeng.

    An Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Revitalisation of Distressed Mining Communities has been established under the leadership of the Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe. 

    The members of the committee include the Ministers of Mineral Resources, Water and Sanitation, Trade and Industry, Social Development, Labour, Human Settlements, Health, Economic Development and Finance.

    To further promote improved living conditions for mine workers, government is monitoring the compliance of mining companies with Mining Charter targets, relating to improving the living conditions of workers.

    Companies are expected to convert or upgrade hostels into family units, attain the occupancy rate of one person per room and also facilitate home ownership options for mine workers.

    We urge the companies to meet the 2014 deadline for these targets and extend this right to dignity to mine workers.

    Honourable Members,
    Distinguished Guests,

    The low level of investments is a key constraint to economic growth. We are determined to work with the private sector to remove obstacles to investment.
    We would like to see the private sector showing as much confidence in the economy as the public sector.

    We will continue to engage business in promoting inclusive growth and to build a more prosperous society. In this regard, I will soon convene a meeting of the Presidential Business Working Group.

    After the last meeting of the Working Group last year, six work streams were established and these have been discussing solutions to various obstacles to doing business in South Africa.

    These issues were also raised by owners and chief executive officers (CEOs) of major companies that I hosted in three separate, intensive working sessions at the Mahlamba Ndlopfu residence in November and December last year. 

    The next meeting of the Working Group will take forward the partnership for inclusive growth and sustainable development.

    Fellow South Africans,

    We need to respond decisively to the country’s energy constraints in order to create a conducive environment for growth.

    The successful electrification programme which has changed the lives of many households was achieved by tapping into artificial electricity reserves, which had not been designed to cater for mass energy distribution.

    This situation calls for a radical transformation of the energy sector, to develop a sustainable energy mix that comprises coal, solar, wind, hydro, gas and nuclear energy.

    The transformation will require structural changes in the manner in which government departments, affected state owned companies and the industry as a whole address the energy challenges.

    The energy plan also calls for the injection of capital and human resources into the energy sector.

    We will also need to identify innovative approaches to fast-track procurement and delivery by government in the energy sector.

    To prepare the institutional capacity, we are in the process of converting the National Nuclear and Energy Executive Coordinating Committee of Cabinet, into the Energy Security Cabinet Sub-committee. 

    The sub-committee will be responsible for the oversight, coordination and direction of activities for the energy sector. The sub-committee will also ensure that Eskom receives the support it requires to fulfil its mandate and that it remains focused on achieving its goals and targets.

    To achieve our energy security goals, state owned companies involved in the energy sector, such as Eskom, South African Nuclear Energy Corporation and the Central Energy Fund will have to adapt to the redefined roles to achieve these objectives.

    Work needs to be done at a technical level on all forms of energy especially nuclear energy and shale gas with regards to funding, safety, exploitation and the local manufacture of components. Nuclear has the possibility of generating well over 9 000 megawatts, while shale gas is recognised as a game changer for our economy.
    We will pursue the shale gas option within the framework of our good environmental laws.

    There are also some urgent activities that we are engaging in, in the short term. Progress at Medupi power station construction site will be accelerated.

    Plans on the financing of the next large coal fired power station, Coal 3, will be speeded up so that the procurement process can commence.

    We will also continue the 4th window of the renewable energy independent power producers programme, to take advantage of wind, solar, biomass and other technologies that increase the opportunity for rural development.

    Honourable Speaker and Honourable Chairperson,

    We are also looking beyond our borders for energy security.

    In October last year, we signed the Grand Inga Hydro Power Project Treaty with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This massive and strategic project has the potential to generate 40 000 megawatts of hydro-electricity.

    Our country will benefit enormously from this milestone project.

    To prepare for the implementation of the energy plan, we need to finalise the legislation that relates to the restructuring of the energy industry as envisaged by the Independent System Market Operator Bill, the Integrated Resource Plan and other policies affecting the Energy sector.

    Honourable Members,
    Distinguished Guests,

    We are a nation at work.

    In addition to our major energy security interventions, we will continue to implement the successful National Infrastructure Plan, under the supervision of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission, throughout the country.

    During the past five years, we invested about one trillion rand in new infrastructure to provide water, energy, transport, sanitation, schools and clinics and Internet connections to our people.

    Over the next three years, we will spend 847 billion rand on the infrastructure and several projects are to be started or completed.

    The construction of Mzimvubu Dam in the Eastern Cape will continue, and also the raising of the wall of Clanwilliam Dam in the Western Cape.
    During the next five years the bulk of the construction work on Phase two of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project will be completed.

    In the next five years, we will finish building more than 60 MeerKat dishes and start building the first 100 Square Kilometre Array dish antennas.
    We will expand, modernise and increase the affordability of information and communications infrastructure and electronic communication services, including broadband and digital broadcasting.

    Cabinet adopted ‘South Africa Connect’, our Broadband Policy and Strategy, in December last year to take this mission forward.

    We will continue with various other infrastructure projects that will change the living conditions of our people and boost economic growth.


    Our radical socio-economic transformation programme will be taken further with the implementation of the Industrial Policy Action Plan.

    We will promote local procurement and increase domestic production by having the state buy 75 percent of goods and services from South African producers.
    We will utilise the renewable energy sector, the manufacturing of buses, Transnet’s R50 billion locomotive contracts and Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA) passenger rail projects among others, to promote local content and boost growth.

    We will also over the next five years promote regional economic development and industrialisation, through the creation of Special Economic Zones around the country. 

    We will continue to support through incentives, the competitiveness of the auto, clothing, leather, footwear and textile industries, which are labour intensive.
    Honourable members

    Despite tough global trading conditions in its traditional markets, South Africa’s tourism sector continued to show positive growth in 2013, reaching a record high of 9.6 million international tourist arrivals.

    People love our country and continue to visit South Africa.

    We have set a target to increase the number of foreign visitor arrivals to more than 15 million annually by 2017.

    We are also looking at increasing the contribution of tourism to the country’s revenue to more than 125 billion rand by 2017.

    Over the next five years, we will prioritise support to small business, as well as township and informal sector businesses in particular, thus using the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise (SMME) development programme to boost broad-based black economic empowerment.

    We will sharpen the implementation of the amended Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Act and the Employment Equity Act, in order to transform the ownership, management and control of the economy.

    We will promote more employee and community share ownership schemes and boost the participation of black entrepreneurs in the re-industrialisation of the economy.


    The total assets of our Development Finance Institutions amount to some R230 billion.

    However, their impact on development is not sufficiently broad-based and their investment programmes are not well coordinated.

    The institutions will be repositioned in the next five years to become real engines of socio-economic development.

    In the same vein, Postbank will be supported so that it can play a leading role in the expansion of banking services to the poor and the working class.

    Honourable Members,
    Distinguished Guests,

    Youth empowerment will be prioritised in our economic transformation programme.

    Government will introduce further measures to speed up the employment of young people, consistent with the Youth Employment Accord.

    We will expand the number of internship positions in the public sector, with every government department and public entity being required to take on interns for experiential training.

    The private sector has responded positively to the introduction of the employment tax incentive. In only five months, there are 133 000 employees who have benefited and 11 000 employers who have participated in the incentive scheme.

    The majority has been employed in wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing and finance sectors.

    Honourable Speaker,
    Honourable Chairperson,

    Government has since 2004 run the successful Expanded Public Works Programme which provides work opportunities and training for the unemployed. The new phase will provide six million work opportunities by 2019. We are building on the success of the past few years.

    We created around four million work opportunities in the past five years.

    The Expanded Public Works programme environmental initiatives such as working on waste, working on wetlands, working for water, working on fire and the Environmental Youth Services programme will also be upscaled up to 2019, in support of youth development.

    In addition, the local government- based Community Work Programme will be expanded to provide a million work opportunities by the end of 2019.


    We have identified agriculture as a key job driver. Our target is for the agricultural sector to create a million jobs by 2030.

    Government will provide comprehensive support to smallholder farmers by speeding up land reform and providing technical, infrastructural and financial support.
    Support will be provided to communities as well to engage in food production and subsistence farming to promote food security, in line with the Fetsa Tlala food production programme.

    We will accelerate the settlement of remaining land claims submitted before the cut-off date of 1998. We will also re-open the period for the lodgement of claims for the restitution of land for a period of five years, and codify the exceptions to the 1913 cut-off date for the descendants of the Khoi and San.

    Honourable Speaker,
    Honourable Chairperson,

    Sub-Saharan Africa is increasingly becoming a more important trade partner for our country. We are encouraged that South African investments in the continent increased from 5.5 billion rand in 2002 to 32.3 billion rand in 2013.

    Our exports into the continent are also increasing each year, having been at 28.5 percent up from 22.6 percent in 2002.

    South Africa will continue to champion broader regional integration through the Southern African Customs Union, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the envisaged Tripartite Free Trade Area that spans Eastern and Southern Africa.

    Fellow South Africans,

    We would like our people’s experience of local government to be a pleasant one.

    We have listened to the complaints and proposals of South Africans over the past five years, relating to the performance of municipalities.

    I would like to share with you now, our plan of action to revitalise local government.

    Our municipalities are built on a firm foundation, built over the last 20 years of democracy.

    We have evaluated all our municipalities.

    We have inspected their financial management, how they work within legislative processes as well as their ability to roll out projects and to address capacity constraints.

    We have also looked at how they respond to service delivery protests. There have been many successes in many municipalities. However, we face a number of challenges in others.

    We are pleased that eleven municipalities stand out for consistent good performance in audits, expenditure on municipal infrastructure grants and service delivery.
    The eleven municipalities are the following:

    • Nkangala District Municipality
    • Cacadu District Municipality
    • Zululand District Municipality
    • Umzinyathi District Municipality
    • Ilembe District Municipality
    • Knysna Local Municipality
    • The West Coast District Municipality
    • Matzikama Local Municipality
    • Mossel Bay Local Municipality
    • Breede Valley Local Municipality
    • Steve Tshwete Local Municipality
    We congratulate the municipalities for this performance.

    A comprehensive assessment of various municipalities has indicated where they need support.

    We will provide assistance to the following municipalities among others:

    In Amathole District Municipality in the Eastern Cape, our Development Bank of Southern Africa has approved funding to develop infrastructure.

    One hundred numerous projects, mainly in water and sanitation, will be started and the objective is to complete them over the next 12 months.

    In Umzinyathi District Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal, funding will be provided to develop infrastructure projects covering mainly the electrification of households.

    The local municipalities to be serviced include Msinga, Umvoti and Nqutu.

    In Alfred Nzo District Municipality in the Eastern Cape, funding will be provided for infrastructure development projects covering water provision, sanitation, and electrification.

    Local municipalities involved include Mbizana and Ntabankulu, catering for a population of about one million people.

    We will support Lukhanji Local Municipality to reorganise its administration and implement support plans for the provision of water and electricity.

    We will assist OR Tambo District municipality to stabilise the administration and organisational structure and fast-track the implementation of the Presidential Intervention Plans.

    In Mbashe Local Municipality we will implement waste management plans and address ground water contamination issues.

    At Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality in the North West, national government will provide support and work with the Development Bank of Southern Africa to resolve financing for water and sanitation infrastructure.

    We will support the City of Joburg in Gauteng to resolve problems with the billing system.

    We will support Moqhaka Local Municipality in the Free State with the eradication of the bucket system and open toilet challenges.

    Meanwhile work is underway to eradicate the bucket system throughout the country. This will also be the priority of the Inter-Ministerial Task Team on Service Delivery that I have established. The team is led by Minister Pravin Gordhan.

    The team comprises the Ministers of Planning, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency, Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Transport, Home Affairs, Public Enterprises, Energy, Rural Development and Land Reform, Health and Basic Education.

    Honourable Speaker and Honourable Chairperson,

    A key focus area in local government in the next five years will be how we respond to the reality of rapid urbanisation.

    South Africa is becoming an urban country. By 2011, almost 63 percent of our population were residing in towns and cities and this trend is expected to continue over the coming decade.

    Our government’s Integrated Urban Development Framework will be finalised by 30 July 2014.

    It will provide a new deal for South African cities and towns.

    It will set out a policy framework on how the urban system in South Africa can be reorganised so that cities and towns can become inclusive, resource efficient and good places to live in over the next 20 to 30 years.

    Together let us move local government forward.


    Over the past 20 years, we have steadily expanded support for marginalised and vulnerable households through investments in housing, extensions to our social grants programmes and improved access to education and primary health care.

    Over the period ahead, poverty reduction will continue to be reinforced.

    We will continue to invest in education and skills development as that is the key to economic growth and development. We need engineers, electricians, plumbers, doctors, teachers and many other professionals to build our country’s economy.

    Education therefore remains an apex priority for this government. We will continue to promote universal access to education by ensuring that all children between ages 7 and 15 are in school.

    We will increase the number of Grade 12 learners who can gain entrance to university, moving from 172 000 in 2013 to 250 000 in 2019.

    We opened at least one new school a week in the Eastern Cape last year and will continue to eradicate mud schools and other inappropriate structures.

    The number of young people in universities and colleges has increased over the years. Contractors will move on site in September to build new universities in the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga.

    By January next year, the first intake of medical students will be enrolled at the new medical university in Limpopo.

    In addition, 12 training and vocational education colleges will be built to expand the technical skills mix in the country.


    Together we must continue to fight drugs and substance abuse in our schools and communities. We will also prioritise safety in schools, scholar transport and child health.

    In the area of health, we will work harder to increase life expectancy at birth from 60 years in 2012 to 63 years in 2019.

    The campaign to reduce child and maternal mortality ratios will continue.

    This will require the implementation of the National Health Insurance and the improvement of the quality of care in the public sector.

    We will build on the success of our HIV and AIDS treatment and support programme by expanding our mass HIV prevention communication campaigns.

    We will take forward the advances we have made in promoting women’s empowerment and development.

    The Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women’s development, Susan Shabangu, will work with other government departments, agencies, the private sector and non-governmental organisations, to promote women’s socio-economic empowerment, development and human rights.

    To further consolidate our democratic gains, we will continue to advance and improve the lives of people with disabilities over the next five years.

    We will work with the Disability sector to identify key areas in which we should fulfil South Africa’s role as signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocols.

    Another key intervention this term will be to finalise the National Disability Rights Policy which includes the National Disability Rights Framework.

    The Policy and the Framework will guide government action to promote a more inclusive society and to promote the involvement of people with disabilities in decision-making processes.

    Fellow South Africans,

    Some progress has been made over the past five years in reducing the levels of serious crime such as murders, aggravated robberies, crimes against women, children and other vulnerable groups, but they remain unacceptably high.

    We will work to further reduce levels of crime.

    The Special Investigating Unit, the Anti-Corruption Task Team the Asset Forfeiture Unit and the Hawks, have made notable progress in our quest to combat corruption in society broadly and in the public sector. This work will continue in the next five years.

    Weaknesses in procurement, management and operations systems that undermine the efficiency and effectiveness of government will be addressed.

    One of the key steps, which is already underway, is to centralise procurement under the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer in the National Treasury.

    We have begun piloting this new approach with the centralised procurement of school furniture in the Eastern Cape. The furniture will be delivered in all Eastern Cape schools by the middle of August 2014.

    Measures will be introduced to prevent public servants and public representatives from doing business with the state.

    These will be supported by improved implementation of the Financial Disclosure Framework, strengthened protection of whistle-blowers, and the provision of technical assistance to departments for the effective management of discipline.


    Over the next five years we will continue to promote the building of a better Africa and a more just world.

    South Africa will continue to support regional and continental processes to respond to and resolve crises, promote peace and security, strengthen regional integration, significantly increase intra-African trade and champion sustainable development in Africa.

    This will entail supporting and executing decisions of the African Union as well as the promotion of the work of its structures.

    We will also continue to promote South-South cooperation by utilising membership and engagements with formations and groupings of the South.

    Similarly, we will continue to promote mutually beneficial relations with countries of the North.

    We will continue to deepen economic development, trade, and investment partnerships with the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) through the work of the BRICS Contact Group for Economic and Trade Issues.

    Honourable Members,
    Distinguished Guests

    The SANDF has been a source of national pride as it participated in peacekeeping missions in the continent.

    This role will continue and government is looking into the resourcing of the SANDF mandate in line with recently concluded Defence Review.

    Fellow South Africans,

    To take this programme of action forward, the deputy president and I will be meeting with ministers and deputy ministers to discuss the detailed implementation plans for each department.

    Each minister will sign a performance agreement with the President outlining what each department will do to deliver on the programme of action.


    17 June 2014 marks the 22nd anniversary of the horrific Boipatong massacre in Gauteng.

    Looking back at one of the worst horror stories in recent history, we are reminded of the fact that we need to prioritise healing and nation building more than ever before.

    We must continue to build understanding, tolerance and reconciliation, and together fight racism, xenophobia, homophobia and all related intolerances.

    The use of sports and culture as a unifying factor in our country will continue during this term. We will also continue to promote the Constitution in schools and ensure that our children grow up with positive values and love for their country and its people.

    We will continue to build inclusive heritage over the next five years through building monuments and other symbols that honour the heroes of the struggle that delivered the freedom and democracy we enjoy today.

    As part of our 20 years of freedom and democracy celebrations, records turning 20 years this year, such as those of the late former President, Nelson Mandela’s first days in Office will be transferred to the National Archives.

    This year will also see the listing of the CODESA Multi-Party Negotiating Forum Records in the International Memory of the World Register.

    Next month, the country and the world will mark International Mandela Day.

    All South Africans should dedicate at least 67 minutes on 18 July 2014, to clean South Africa, which is our theme for this year.

    Let us begin planning for a major clean-up of our cities, towns, townships, villages, schools and beautify every part of our country.

    Fellow South Africans,

    This programme of action is aimed at making South Africa a better place for all.

    We urge all South Africans to work with us make the implementation of these programmes a success.

    Together let us move South Africa forward.

    I thank you.

  • Invitation to Comment on the Draft Practice Note on the Application of King III in the Non-profit Sector

    The Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoDSA) invites all interested parties and stakeholders to submit written comments to the draft practice note that provides guidance on how King III should be applied in the non-profit sector.

    The King Committee has convened a special subcommittee tasked with researching and making recommendations on how the principles and practice recommendations contained in King III will apply in non-profit organisations. The work of the sub-committee culminated in the drafting of a practice note that provides guidance to non-profit organisations on how sound governance could be achieved.

    The subcommittee is chaired by Anton van Wyk, a member of the main King Committee and Ansie Ramalho from the IoDSA, and also includes the following representatives from the non-profit sector:
    • Helen Starke, KDS Consulting
    • Nicole Copley, N S Copley Consulting (NGOlawSA)
    • Phiroshaw Camay, Co-operative for Research and Education (CORE)
    • Tracey Henry, Tshikululu Social Investments
    • Yogi Nambiar, African Social Entrepreneurs Network (ASEN)
    The King Committee recognises the importance and significance of the non-profit sector to address poverty and inequality. The ability to secure funding is critical to financially sustain non-profit organisations and it is necessary that good governance standards are established for donors to assess and measure this within non-profit entities. Uniform standards are also important when auditors perform the assurance procedures on governance that donors rely on to make donation decisions.

    The sub-committee reached the conclusion that many of the principles and practice recommendations as contained in the King III Report are applicable to non-profit entities. The non-profit sector, however, faces unique challenges and it is in recognition hereof that the King Committee wishes to give clear guidance on how King III is to be interpreted by non-profit organisations.

    King III is recognised as the credible standard for corporate governance in South Africa. There are also other codes and practice guides specifically drafted for non-profit organisations and the sub-committee has incorporated these by reference in order to present a holistic and comprehensive view.

    As non-profit organisations are not unique in needing to understand how to interpret and apply King III in their specific environment, the King Committee is extending the work it did on the King III Report to address the specific governance challenges that are faced by other sectors such as the public sector, medical schemes and pension funds. Further communication on this will follow in due course.

    Your contribution to this process will be appreciated in the interest of improving governance in the non-profit sector.

    Click here to view the draft practice note and here to submit your comments.

    The deadline for submissions is Monday, 15 October 2012.

    For more about the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoDSA), refer to

    Related article:

    New Code of Governance for Non-profits

  • Eastern Cape Sustainable Rural Development Needs Multi-Faceted Intervention

    Sustainable rural development in the Eastern Cape would need a package of interventions if real local economic opportunities for rural communities were to be created.

    This was the combined message from three speakers at a seminar hosted by the European Union and Office of the Premier-funded Sustainable Rural Development in the Eastern Cape (SURUDEC) and its local implementing agent, RuLiv in East London in April 2012.

    Entitled ‘Rural Livelihoods and Development Planning: Experiences from the Eastern Cape’, the seminar heard presentations from the Eastern Cape Social and Economic Consultative Council (ECSECC), the Agricultural extension department of the University of Fort Hare and from SURUDEC.

    Most of the opportunities probably lay in the agro-processing sector according to ECSECC's CEO, Andrew Murray.

    He added that as agriculture contributed a mere 2.6 percent to the provincial gross domestic product (GDP), beneficiation and value chains needed to be explored and would probably be the sector where most jobs could be created.

    One possible strategy was aggregating micro-projects with a focus on value chain multipliers, but Murray cautioned that producers had to produce the right product at the right time within a market system.

    “It’s important to link micro-projects with manufacturing at scale, this needs to be a costed instrument and we have been too slow in getting it right – this needs to be speeded up”.

    “Values have to be shared; it is no good squeezing small producers on one end of the scale while manufacturers take home huge revenues.”

    Training and learning incubators were also important as making land more productive was a lengthy process and consisted of more than mere access to land. Capital, knowledge and skills together with labour were also needed.

    On training, Murray’s view was echoed by Professor Francois Lategan of the Agricultural Extension department at the University of Fort Hare who added that past training of agricultural extension officers had failed and that today’s students needed training in a multiplicity of skills in order to equip them for the job.

    This included entrepreneurial skills, innovation and understanding markets. he most crucial skill was the ability to identify opportunities and act on them.

    “We lack a message or a workable model for small scale farmers but the message needs to include instilling an entrepreneurial slant.

    “Farmers, big and small, need to be shown how to recognise opportunities to make money,” he concluded.

    SURUDEC programme coordinator, Dr Stephen Atkins, outlined SURUDEC’s asset-based approach to development which included recognition that communities employed multiple livelihood strategies and that local conditions determined responses and interventions.

    An example was one SURUDEC-funded project in the Indwe area, a large farm obtained through a restitution award in 2001. While the farm co-operative had R70 000 in its bank account and was now valued at R10 million, the enterprise could potentially earn a net profit of R600 000 a year while employing 20 people full time.

    However, currently additional enterprise and employment generating options were not being considered and Atkins pointed to potential rental accrued from a cell phone mast which was not being collected by the enterprise.

    “The business is in a fragile state and long term plans need to be made by all stakeholders for sustainability of the enterprise,” he added.

    The second case study was of an ecotourism development initiative at Cata, near Keiskammahoek in which existing and new birding hiking trails were refurbished and developed, a community institution was set up and given business skills training and marketing material had been produced. In addition, the project dovetailed well with previous community development initiatives.

    Atkins concluded with some of the lessons coming out of the SURUDEC programme in the Eastern Cape which included:

    • It was vital that robust and accurate data support rural development actions;
    • It was important to know the area and know the people concerned;
    • Possibilities and the challenges needed to be identified;
    • Being realistic of the scale and scope of the intervention was needed from the beginning;
    • It was important to identify the resources required to undertake an action and to budget correctly;
    • Time frames or horizons needed constant monitoring and management;
    • Building capacity over time and planning for support and mentoring was an integral part of any intervention and must be planned and budgeted for;
    • The prioritisation of options needed to be managed constantly;
    • It was important to network with relevant practitioners.
    SURUDEC is a joint programme of the European Union and Republic of South Africa. The Contracting Authority is the Eastern Cape Office of the Premier (OTP) and the Implementing Agent is Promoting Rural and Urban Livelihoods (Ruliv), based in East London.

    SURUDEC aims to reduce poverty in the province by providing grant funding to support the design and implementation of integrated community-driven development plans (ICDPs). These are plans of action that indicate ways in which the economic situation of a community will be improved and how its asset base will grow over time. These plans would inform district and local government IDPs, and importantly, over time and as resources become available, elements of each community plan would be implemented, either directly from community resources, or in combination with funds from partners, donors or Government.

    - Barbara Manning is the Visibility and Communications Coordinator (SURUDEC) within Ruliv.

  • Food Security Threatened by Population Growth

    Food security concerns cannot be addressed without tackling population growth.

    Simon Ross, chief executive of Population Matters, commented, "We are right to worry about how we are going to meet the future demand for food in a more-crowded world. But simply addressing supply will never be enough. We need also to address demand - by encouraging a more sustainable way of life, including smaller families.

    The report on food security issued this week by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee of the British House of Commons concluded that:

    "The UK [United Kingdom] currently enjoys a high level of food security, but this situation will not last unless the government plans now for future changes in our weather patterns and the changing global demand for food...the UK's self-sufficiency for food that can be grown domestically (already) has fallen from 87 per cent to 68 per cent in 20 years."

    The report focuses on food production, supply and the systems necessary to ensure our food security in the future and highlights some examples of good practice and how the government and food producers could plan for projected changes to make our food production and supply systems more secure.

    Simon Ross continued, "Planning improvements to food supply in response to an increasingly hot and crowded world make sense. However, the committee perhaps felt ill-qualified to comment on Britain's rapid population growth, which is running at around four million every decade - much higher than other European countries.

    "This is of course a global issue rather than being limited to one country. If we are serious about addressing food security in the face of climate change and rising per capita consumption in industrialising nations, we should seek to stabilise human numbers by promoting smaller families and balanced migration flows."


    About Population Matters

    Population Matters is the UK’s leading body campaigning for sustainable populations in the UK and abroad. We conduct education, research and advocacy on the environmental impact of population size. Population Matters is the working name of the Optimum Population Trust.
    For further information contact:
    Simon Ross
    Tel: 020 8123 9353

    For more about Population Matters, refer to

    To view other NGO press releases, refer to

    Date published: 
    Population Matters
  • Youth Dialogue

    Organisation of African Youth (OAYouth

    Organisation of African Youth (OAYouth) was formed in 2009, conforming to the provisions of African Youth Charter, which was adopted by the African Union. The Charter defines African youth as people between the ages of 15 and 35. Membership to OAYouth is open to individuals and youth organisations, that are working to empower youth on any issues.

    The youth voices in South Africa are fragmented and divided by race, religion and especially controversy-magnetic political platforms. As such, young people generally do not have a cohesive neutral platform for dialogue. In certain circumstances South Africa fails to answer: Who speaks for the youth?

    OAYouth, in partnership with students associations at University of Witwatersrand, is hosting a Youth Dialogue on 18 August 2012 in Johannesburg.

    The symposium will be attended by over 60 young people, youth organisations and students leaders.

    The event is aimed at discussing the following question - ‘how do developmental trajectories have to look like in order to achieve social equality in South Africa? What is the role of youth to make it happen?’

    These and other policy issues such as nationalisation, land reform, unemployment and entrepreneurship development, will strengthen a more coherent voice of youth and their willingness to partner with developmental stakeholders to make South Africa a great nation in Africa and the world.

    For more information contact:

    Mordekai Shumba
    President Organisation of African Youth
    Mobile: 073 445 4355

    For more about the Organisation of African Youth, refer to

    Event start date: 
    Event end date: 
    Event venue: 
    FNB Auditorium 101 - West Campus, University of Witwatersrand
    Event type: 
  • Third Justice Symposium

    Helen Suzman Foundation, Open Society Foundation for South Africa

    The Helen Suzman Foundation, in association with the Open Society Foundation for South Africa, is hosting the ‘Third Justice Symposium: The Appointment and Accountability of Judges’ on 16 May 2012 in Johannesburg.

    Sir Jeffrey Jowell of the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law will deliver the keynote address.

    Former Chief Justice Pius Langa and legal commentator, Carmel Rickard, will respond.

    Time: 18h00

    RSVP: Tim Kenny, E-mail:

    For more about the Helen Suzman Foundation, refer to

    For more about the Open Society Foundation for South Africa, refer to

    Event start date: 
    Event venue: 
    The Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) Auditorium 26 Melville Road, Illovo, Johannesburg
    Event type: 
  • Young People Have a Right to their Future

    OneVoice South Africa (OVSA), a dynamic NGO partnering with young people on HIV and TBprevention, continues to reach young people (13-19 years) and helping them to take action in their own lives and communities.

    Since its inception in 2009, OVSA has taken the strong view that young people’s opinions need to be recognised, and incorporated in interventions that directly impact on their lives.

    To date, OVSA’s Schools Programme, consisting of a series of 14 in-depth workshops addressing critical health issues - has been welcomed by learners in 15 schools across KwaZulu-Natal. Developed in support of the Department of Education’s Life Orientation Curriculum and the national response to HIV/TB - the workshop content promotes learner understanding and discussion of HIV/AIDS, TB, sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender and human rights issues. In particular, it provides learners with a good understanding of sexual and reproductive health and rights, basic HIV and TB science, their rights and how to exercise them, as well as other sexual and reproductive health and rights issues.

    The programme also engages learners on addressing stigma, clears up myths and misinformation about HIV/AIDS, and TB, and teaches a number of life skills. The content includes provision for some creative reading, writing and speaking skills - and are also based on skills, knowledge and values development of learners. Correct information is known to increase confidence and empowers young people to assert their rights to dignity, respect and good healthy practices. The Schools Programme workshops are supported with contextualised, age-appropriate and gender and culturally-sensitive learner and facilitator materials. Content is updated annually, and has been developed with the help of educational experts, OVSA staff, role players and stakeholders and the learners themselves. Specifically, the OVSA Facilitator Manual and Learner Notebook remain in line with national guidelines, as well as what is experienced on the ground. Guidelines are also provided to OVSA Facilitators, who implement the programme - as well as learner assessment activities.

    Concurrently, OVSA, in collaboration with the South African Medical Research Council are receiving a small grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), managed by the University Research Co., LLC. This TB prevention and early detection project is another intervention which provides for critical thinking and decision-making.

    Ultimately, OVSA and its partners, will continue to support young people to make better choices about critical health, sexuality and sex, as well as human rights issues; choices that can change their futures for the better.

    For more information e-mail to:

    For more about OneVoice South Africa, refer to

    To view other NGO press releases, refer to

    Date published: 
    OneVoice South Africa
  • Small Victory for Communities that May be Affected by Mining

    The Bench Marks Foundation welcomes the recent judgment by the Constitutional Court on the ruling that permission is required from provinces prior to the commencement of mining by those who have obtained mining rights.

    This precedent-setting judgment is a step in the right direction toward safe-guarding the rights of communities that may be affected by imminent mining, according to John Capel, executive director of the Bench Marks Foundation.

    Bench Marks is an independent organisation that monitors corporate performance in the field of corporate social responsibility with the focus on social sustainability and economic empowerment.

    “Although communities themselves will not have the power directly to reject mining operations from commencing in their areas, the fact that the mining houses will have to obtain permission from the province first will certainly help. People will have the chance to put their objections to another body other than those in national government who may be biased toward mining,” says Capel.

    “In addition, all too often local by-laws are ignored by mining houses. It is therefore heartening that this judgment has stated that mining rights granted under mining legislation is subject to all other laws including provincial laws.

    “This judgment is a small but very important victory for the communities whose voices are all too often silenced and ignored.”

    The Bench Marks Foundation was launched in 2001 by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in response to the churches’ call in 1993 to monitor and hold businesses accountable in the new South Africa and in Southern Africa. It is chaired by Bishop Jo Seoka.


    Bench Marks Foundation is an independent organisation monitoring corporate performance in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) with the focus on social sustainability and economic empowerment. The organisation encourages CSR that goes beyond reporting mechanisms and focuses on the gap between policy and practice, thereby assisting civil society groups and corporations to move beyond philanthropy to more strategic interventions that benefit both the corporations and society. Central to Bench Marks’ agenda is how CSR is integrated into companies’ operations and ensuring that it is at the core of every decision making process.

    Issued by Quo Vadis Communications on behalf of the Bench Marks Foundation

    Media Contact:

    Chantal Meugens
     Tel: 011 487 0026
     Cell: 083 676 2294


    John Capel
    Executive Director
    Bench Marks Foundation
    Tel: 011 832 1750
    For more about the Bench Marks Foundation, refer to

    To view other NGO press releases, refer to

    Date published: 
    Bench Marks Foundation
  • Restrictions on NGOs Undermining Human Rights – UNHCR

    The United Nations (UN) says that recent moves in a number of countries to limit the freedom of NGOs are seriously undermining human rights.

    The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, urges governments to revise proposed laws that would restrict their capacity to operate independently and effectively.

    “Civil society - including NGOs, trade unions, human rights defenders, academics, journalists, bloggers and others – plays an absolutely crucial role in ensuring that human rights are protected in individual states,” explains Pillay.

    To read the article titled, “Restrictions on NGOs worldwide undermining human rights,” click here.

  • NGO Tackles Rising Child Labour

    A Zimbabwean NGO is working with local communities to eradicate rising child labour in the country, managing through a recent pilot project to remove some 350 children from the fields back into the classroom.

    In an effort to promote what it calls child labour free zones, the Coalition Against Child Labour in Zimbabwe, says it has placed affected children in ‘bridge schools’ where they are housed temporarily.

    National coordinator, Pascal Masocha, has been quoted as saying that a 2007 survey identified Masvingo province as the worst affected, prompting them to set up a pilot project in Chiredzi district.

    To read the article titled, “Zimbabwe NGO tackles rising child labour in farming communities,” click here.

    VOA News
Syndicate content