Governance and democracy

Governance and democracy

  • 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 www.iodsa.co.za.

    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.

  • 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
    E-mail: mordekai@oayouth.org

    For more about the Organisation of African Youth, refer to www.oayouth.org.

    Event start date: 
    18/08/2012
    Event end date: 
    18/08/2012
    Event venue: 
    FNB Auditorium 101 - West Campus, University of Witwatersrand
    Event type: 
    Seminar
  • 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: tim@hsf.org.za

    For more about the Helen Suzman Foundation, refer to www.hsf.org.za.

    For more about the Open Society Foundation for South Africa, refer to www.osf.org.za.

    Event start date: 
    16/05/2012
    Event venue: 
    The Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) Auditorium 26 Melville Road, Illovo, Johannesburg
    Event type: 
    Seminar
  • 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: info@onevoice.org.za.

    For more about OneVoice South Africa, refer to www.onevoice.org.za.

    To view other NGO press releases, refer to www.ngopulse.org/group/home-page/pressreleases.

    Date published: 
    31/03/2012
    Organisation: 
    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.

    Ends

    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
    E-mail: Chantal@quo-vadis.co.za

    Client:

    John Capel
    Executive Director
    Bench Marks Foundation
    Tel: 011 832 1750
    E-mail: jcapel@eject.co.za
       
    For more about the Bench Marks Foundation, refer to www.bench-marks.org.za.

    To view other NGO press releases, refer to www.ngopulse.org/group/home-page/pressreleases.

    Date published: 
    03/05/2012
    Organisation: 
    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.

    Source: 
    Scoop
  • 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.

    Source: 
    VOA News
  • New Code of Governance for Non-profits in South Africa - Please Comment

    A proposed code of governance for non-profit organisations (NPOs) in South Africa has been released for public comment. The draft Independent Code of Good Governance for Non-Profit Organisations in South Africa aims to encourage best governance practice and was initiated by a group of NPOs at a Civil Society Consultative Forum meeting held in August 2010. They recognised the need for South African civil society to formulate and adopt its own distinct code rather than be regulated by government or corporate sector codes.

    The Working Group mandated to develop a draft code has already consulted hundreds of NPOs across the country and individuals and organisations now have until the end of April 2012 to submit their final suggestions and comments. Various provincial workshops are also planned where the code will be further debated.

    It is intended that the process should culminate in the formal adoption of the proposed new independent code by the end of July 2012.

    The Working Group consists of Chris Mkhize, Chief Executive Officer, Uthungulu Community Foundation; Shelagh Gastrow, Executive Director, The South African Institute of Advancement: Inyathelo; Colleen du Toit, Chief Executive Officer, Charities Aid Foundation Southern Africa; Jimmy Gotyana, President, SANGOCO; and as legal adviser, Richard Rosenthal of Richard Rosenthal Attorneys.

    The 18-page draft document proposes eight particular ‘values’ which are of special relevance and concern to the NPO sector, as well as six key leadership principles, and five statutory legal and fiscal principles.

    Click here to read or download a copy of the initial draft of the proposed Independent Code of Governance for Non-Profit Organisations in South Africa.

    Click here to read the official media release in support of the release of the draft code.

    To submit your comments in response to the draft document and/or for more information about the planned provincial workshops, please contact Janine Ogle on janine@inyathelo.org.za or Tel: 021 465 6981.

     

  • A New Code of Governance for Non-Profits in South Africa

    Joint Media Statement issued on behalf of a Civil Society Working Group nominated to draft an independent Code of Governance for Non Profit Organisations (NPO’s) in South Africa.

    The Working Group was nominated at a Civil Society Consultative Forum held in August 2010, and includes Chris Mkhize (Chief Executive Officer, Uthungulu Community Foundation); Shelagh Gastrow (Executive Director, The South African Institute of Advancement: Inyathelo); Colleen du Toit (Chief Executive Officer, Charities Aid Foundation Southern Africa - CAF-SA); Jimmy Gotyana (President, South African National NGO Coalition - SANGOCO) and as legal adviser, Richard Rosenthal (Richard Rosenthal Attorneys).

    ------------------------

    A proposed code of governance for non-profit organisations in South Africa has been released for public comment. The draft Independent Code of Good Governance for Non-Profit Organisations in South Africa aims to encourage best governance practice and was initiated by a group of NPOs at a Civil Society Consultative Forum meeting in August 2010. They recognised the need for South African civil society to formulate and adopt its own distinct code rather than be regulated by government or corporate sector codes. The working group mandated to develop a draft code has already consulted hundreds non-profits across the country, and individuals and organisations now have until the end of April to submit their final suggestions and comments. It is intended that the process should culminate in the formal adoption of the proposed new independent code by the end of July.  

    Inyathelo Executive Director Shelagh Gastrow says the large and diverse non-profit sector in South Africa needs a code that reflects its unique values and principles. “NPOs are a special kind of institution in that they exist primarily to serve the common good and are not motivated or driven by profit-making or self-benefit. Although we recognise the importance of other governance codes, including the so-called “King III” Code devised under the auspices of the Institute of Directors, we have consistently argued that these do not adequately reflect the values and ethos of the NPO sector. In fact, some of the “King III” principles are completely impractical, unaffordable and unattainable for many non-profits, and they don’t accommodate the distinct principles and accountability requirements of non-profits which go beyond those of the corporate sector,” explains Gastrow.

    President of SANGOCO Jimmy Gotyana says the the proposed independent code is intended to be voluntary and will not be imposed. “We believe compliance should be aspirational and supportive rather than prescriptive. Although the code will not have any official or legal status, it is widely supported by the donor community and has the support of the Non-Profit Organisations Directorate in the Department of Social Development. It brings together views and inputs from previous documents, including the SANGOCO Code of Conduct and Ethics. We want the values and principles outlined in the code to be widely understood and supported by NPOs and all sectors of society,” says Gotyana.

    The 18-page draft document proposes eight particular ‘values’ which are of special relevance and concern to the NPO sector, as well as six key leadership principles, and five statutory legal and fiscal principles. Colleen du Toit, Chief Executive Officer of CAF-SA, says it represents a unique opportunity for the NPO community to publicly recommit themselves to certain core values and principles, including fidelity to purpose, democracy, transparency and accountability. “The code deals with how to handle things like conflicts of interest and self-dealing as well as the responsibilities of boards to ensure that scarce resources are spent appropriately in the public interest. There is also a section which affirms the independence and need for impartiality of NPOs so that they are not dictated to by any particular constituency or interest group. Leadership is also identified as an essential ingredient of good governance, and the Code includes six operational principles to facilitate the effective management of fundraising, sustainability and risk,” explains du Toit.

    CEO of the Uthungulu Community Foundation, Chris Mkhize, says the working group will be hosting workshops in Cape Town, Gauteng, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein during March and April in order to get further input and encourage dialogue and debate around the draft independent code. “We really want to ensure the widest possible support so we encourage everyone in the NPO sector to attend the workshops or email or call with suggestions and comments. We are confident that collectively we can create a benchmark for good governance in South Africa to ensure NPOs become more effective and earn well-deserved donor support and public confidence,” says Mkhize.

    Read and download a copy of the initial draft of the proposed Independent Code of Governance for Non-Profit Organisations in South Africa.


    To find out more about the workshops or submit comments on the draft independent code, please contact Janine Ogle on Janine@inyathelo.org.za or 021 465 6981.

    For interview requests, please contact:

    Shelagh Gastrow – Executive Director, Inyathelo
    E-mail: Shelagh@inyathelo.org.za
    Mobile: 082 494 2996

    Colleen du Toit – Chief Executive Officer, CAF-SA
    E-mail: cdutoit@cafsouthernafrica.org
    Mobile: 083 646 8469

    Chris Mkhize – Chief Executive Officer, Uthungulu Community Foundation
    E-mail chris.mkhize@ucf.org.za
    Mobile: 082 692 6405

    Jimmy Gotyana - President, SANGOCO
    E-mail ortambo@tiscali.co.za
    Mobile: 073 615 7665

    To view other NGO press releases, refer to www.ngopulse.org/group/home-page/pressreleases.

    Date published: 
    08/03/2012
    Organisation: 
    Inyathelo
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