Civil groups tackle cap­ture

CityPress - - News - ANDISIWE MAKINANA andisiwe.makinana@city­press.co.za

Civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions will ob­serve this year’s Nel­son Man­dela In­ter­na­tional Day by seek­ing ways to com­bat state cap­ture. This fol­lows sev­eral re­ports de­tail­ing this scourge as well as email ev­i­dence of un­due in­flu­ence by the Gupta fam­ily on some in lead­er­ship po­si­tions of the state and its en­ti­ties.

The Save SA cam­paign and the Ahmed Kathrada Foun­da­tion will host more than 100 civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions that have reg­is­tered to at­tend the Con­fer­ence for the Fu­ture of SA in Rand­burg, Johannesburg, on Tues­day.

The UN’s Gen­eral As­sem­bly de­clared July 18 as Nel­son Man­dela In­ter­na­tional Day seven years ago, in recog­ni­tion of the for­mer pres­i­dent’s con­tri­bu­tion to the cul­ture of peace and free­dom.

The UN asked in­di­vid­u­als around the world to mark the day by mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in their com­mu­ni­ties.

Ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Ahmed Kathrada Foun­da­tion, Nee­shan Bal­ton, said this spe­cific day was cho­sen to re-em­pha­sise Man­dela’s val­ues “…and among those val­ues is the core value of con­tin­u­ing to strug­gle for a bet­ter South Africa, em­pha­sis­ing the core is­sues that un­der­pin so­cial jus­tice work in this coun­try”.

“It’s about on­go­ing ac­tivism, which was a core char­ac­ter­is­tic of Man­dela’s life; ac­tivism for change, es­pe­cially on a range of is­sues that we are con­fronted with to­day. It’s also a day of de­lib­er­a­tion and re­flec­tion on the big is­sues af­fect­ing this coun­try and to see what civil so­ci­ety needs to be do­ing in re­la­tion to those chal­lenges,” said Bal­ton.

Among the ac­tiv­i­ties of the day will be a pre­sen­ta­tion on state cap­ture by Uni­ver­sity of the Wit­wa­ter­srand eco­nom­ics lec­turer Lumk­ile Mondi, fol­lowed by a panel dis­cus­sion fa­cil­i­tated by sea­soned ed­i­tor Fe­rial Haf­fa­jee. Among the par­tic­i­pants in that panel will be Pas­sen­ger Rail Agency of SA board chair­per­son Popo Molefe, out­spo­ken ANC MP Makhosi Khoza and a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the SABC 8.

The con­fer­ence will look into cam­paigns against state cap­ture and what still needs to be done, the le­gal and con­sti­tu­tional work that is be­ing done to deal with the mat­ter, pub­lic ser­vants’ role and that of Par­lia­ment in com­bat­ing state cap­ture. Out of the con­fer­ence will emerge a pro­gramme of ac­tion.

Bal­ton said they were draw­ing from his­toric prece­dent, whereby the for­ma­tion of the United Demo­cratic Front helped to build max­i­mum unity of South Africans around a core set of things.

“We think that we might be on that path, but it’s about build­ing a non­par­ti­san civil so­ci­ety ap­proach to all of these is­sues,” he said.

Be­sides the wide range of civil so­ci­ety for­ma­tions, busi­ness lead­ers, faith-based or­gan­i­sa­tions, labour fed­er­a­tions and ANC stal­warts and vet­er­ans are ex­pected to at­tend the event.

Or­gan­is­ers also ex­tended an in­vi­ta­tion to MPs to be present and ob­serve the pro­ceed­ings, but by yes­ter­day af­ter­noon, only the United Demo­cratic Move­ment’s MPs had con­firmed the de­sire to at­tend.

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