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Commissions call for a resourced and capacitated social sector

Commissions that took place on the sidelines of the Presidential Social Sector Summit have called for a resourced social sector ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa signing a framework at the Summit today.

Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu officially opened the summit on Thursday at Birchwood Conference Centre in Ekurhuleni, under the theme “Fostering Social Cohesion to Enable Socio-Economic Participation in Communities.”

In the Commission on Resource Mobilisation, Andries Khoza from Mpumalanga, raised concern that there is no monitoring of public funding, and that this often leads to corrupt and unaccounted spending by organisations responsible for civil society funding.

He also indicated that there is a false notion that government has money, and this is not true as it depends mainly on budget allocations.

Another participant highlighted that the issue of a distance between non-profit organisations (NPO) and funders - such as the National Lottery - remains a challenge for most NPOs located in rural communities who need funding for their projects and programmes.

“This Commission agreed as a collective about the need for a binding funding framework and an integrated system for the entire social sector to have capacity to sustain itself and all this can be possible through an establishment of a Civil Society Committee which would assist the sector to be equally resourced and benefit.

“Participants also strongly mentioned the need for Civil Society Organisations to partner with unemployed graduates in local communities,” said the Department of Social Development in a statement.

Based on its deliberations, the Commission on Capacity Building, which intends to strengthen and capacitate civil society organisations, made recommendations that capacity building for the social sector should be mandatory.

Issues of a personnel retention strategy, financial management, skills development, and policy on a well-resourced capacity building were also raised.

Addressing delegates in attendance of the two-day summit, Minister Zulu said that the summit marks the intentions of this government to improve the interface between government and the social sector.

She said the Presidential Social Sector Summit (PSSS) also seeks to establish a formula upon which the sustainability of a longer-term people-public-private-civic-academic-multilateral partnership can be defined.

“Taking a long-range view of the challenges that government and the sector are continuously addressing in communities should amount in the effective removal of the developmental barriers that the people are unnecessarily made to navigate through in their journey to realise their respective aspirations and self-defined futures.

“Therefore, the outcomes of our improved interface and collective interventions should be the enhanced quality of active-citizenship, increased quality of the lives of majority of our people in our communities and showcase dignity in the lives of most people,” she said.

The PSSS is unfolding at the backdrop of the 2018 Presidential call for the Social Sector to convene a comprehensive social compact.

The outcomes of all Commissions will be part of the plenary today before they are presented to President Ramaphosa who is expected to close the summit.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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