Support Us : cango@cango.org.sz

EMAIL

cango@cango.org.sz

Call Now

+268 2404 4721

Donate Now

Director's Column

The Executive Director's Column

Coordinating Assembly of NGOs in Swaziland

Reflections on the 13 SADC Civil th Society Form 14-17 August 2017

Esteemed partners and dear members of the public, is gratifying to note that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) civil society has continued to advocate for a more inclusive and people-centred policy- making of the region.

In the month of August 2017, between the 14 th and 17 th , 250 delegates from within the church, NGOs and trade unions convened for the 13 th SADC Civil Society Forum (CSF) at the Birchwood Resort in Johannesburg to deliberate on issues affecting the people of SADC.

The Forum, CSF, held in parallel with the SADC Heads of State and Government aimed at advocating for empowered civil society organisations within SADC members states to interrogate issues that affect the SADC populace with a view to share these with the SADC Secretariat with the hope to pass on the agenda to the SADC Heads of State and Government during their convening.

The event was officially opened by the Apex Alliance Presidents: Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa (FOCCISA) Chairperson Rev Dr. Kenneth Mtata, SADC Council of NGOs (SADC CNGO), President Mr. Jules Hoareau, and the Southern Africa of Trade Union Coordinating Council (SATUCC) President Mr. Gadzani Mhotsha who all addressed many issues that confront the SADC region such as poverty, economic slowdown, gender based violence, human rights violation, climate change and extractive industries to mention a few.

SADC Secretariat Engagement

SADC Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (SADC CNGO) has a Memorandum of Understanding – MOU – with the SADC Secretariat which facilitates the operationalization of the SADC Treaty. It must be remembered that the Article 23 of the SADC Treaty calls for SADC to fully involve the people of the region and NGOs in the process of regional integration where upon the cooperation to foster closer relations among communities, associations and the region is emphasised.

Diplomacy and partnership

An Australian Embassy representative, noting some critical observations highlighted the importance of the CSF in its endeavor to strengthen civil society both at national and regional development agendas, adding that the generating the power to effectively hold governments and the region to account could never be overemphasized.

An Australian Embassy representative, noting some critical observations highlighted the importance of the CSF in its endeavor to strengthen civil society both at national and regional development agendas, adding that the generating the power to effectively hold governments and the region to account could never be overemphasized.

The Australian Embassy also highlighted some issues seriously confronting SADC including: poverty, hunger, strife, rising inequality and migration, highlighting the approach by donors to make an unending call towards SADC to involve civil society at all levels.

The event went on to tackle the SADC-civil society proposed engagement framework culminating from the SADC Secretariat’s emphasis and willingness to engage the citizens of SADC through SADC organs.

Now an important milestone has been achieved. Through the support of the Southern Africa Trust (SAT), the draft engagement framework was developed. Not only that, the draft was further presented to the SADC Council of Ministers.

Set-backs

It is a minor setback though as the Council of Ministers decided that this draft engagement framework needed further reviews taking into account other document such as the Peace and Security Strategy for the region.

SAT then noted that the first draft was presented to the 11 th Civil Society Forum, two years ago and that leading to the first compilation, wide consultations have been held with governments, development partners and Civil Society Organisations.

However, key issues of contention were still raised whereupon the SADC Secretariat’s departing positioning was that there was no adequate funding to implement the framework.

Throwing into the discussion, SATUCC envisaging, noted that though not opposed to Tripartite +1 which will entail bringing other CSOs on board, labor engaged SADC through the Social Dialogue framework whereas the SADC CNGO hoped for a framework which responds to the CSO call for a SADC We Want campaign. There were concerns that only 6 countries in the region had consulted their CSO.

Various sectoral representatives including: children, disability, elderly, gender and development, indigenous people, informal sector and the youth were able to present issues that confront these vulneurable groups in the region.

State of Capture

SADC CNGO hosted a side event where corruption was discussed with relevance to state capture.

There was a concern that corruption in SADC member states had reached alarming levels of corruption whereupon States were showing less capacity to address and manage corrupt practices.

This specific dialogue unpacked many issues of concern. The State was found to be condoning corruption because it was occurring at high levels of state. But civil society also acknowledged the need to address corruption within itself in order to gain high moral ground.

CSO also saw a need to intensify campaigns against corruption to normalize the status quo.

Thematic Cafés

8 thematic cafes were held on: mining and how communities can benefit; statelessness in SADC; access to education; ageing; political economy and regulatory framework; human and trade union rights in SADC; study launches and; Free Trade.

Commissions

Commissions to inform the civil society resolutions and action plans were held as follows:

  • Revitalising civil society movement in Southern Africa – challenge’s and prospects,
  • health and extractive industries,
  • popular participation and the rule of law,
  • social accountability in agriculture and,
  • heath in SADC

Conclusion

The Commissions’ and thematic cafes’ outcomes were consolidated into the 13 th CSOs resolutions and action plan before the meeting was closed by the members of the Apex Alliance.

  • Mr Emmanuel Ndlangamandla
  • CANGO Executive Director