Civil groups tackle capture
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.