SAFMH Adds Voice To 3500 CSOs Raising Concerns About The Presidential Social Sector Summit

SAFMH News Room

SAFMH along with more than 3 000 civil society organisations add their voice to concerns about the Presidential Social Sector Summit and ask Presidency to revise Social Sector Summit Framework Declaration 

On 4 and 5 August the long-delayed Presidential Social Sector Summit was finally conducted. Even before it began media commentators were skeptical of its purpose and by the time it concluded participants were complaining about having participated in ‘rubberstamping’ pre-determined outcomes.[1] Still others noted the exclusion of important civil society players from the Summit. Approximately 3 500 civil society organisations have added their voice to these concerns and formally requested the President to allow for further debate around the Summit’s Framework Declaration.

A key goal for the Summit was “improve the interface between the state and civil society and to address the challenges that they face.” These challenges will be many and different, given the size and diversity of South African civil society. But given how many different groupings were overlooked in the invitations to the provincial and national summit it’s certain that this goal was not met.

This goal still remains important. To work towards achieving it, the organisations have asked the Presidency to:

  • Confirm the legal status of the Framework Declaration document, as well as the extent to which its decisions are binding on either the state or civil society, or both;
  • Call for, and accept, additional submissions on the Framework Declaration since it may not be possible to call a second Summit to rectify the shortcomings of the first version.
  • In the event of recommendation 2 being accepted, establish a representative and inclusive structure that includes a wide range of civil society organisations at least equivalent in number to the participating government departments. This structure’s purpose will be both to adjudicate the above inputs and oversee the Framework amendments, as well as to oversee the Implementation Plan referred to in 5.3 of the draft Framework.
  • Make available the resolutions taken at the Summit referred to in section 5 of the Framework Declaration.
  • Alternatively, afford the organisations an opportunity to make representations to the Presidency around both our various concerns with the Framework, as well as matters not dealt with by the Framework Declaration.

If these concerns are not addressed, the organisations said, it is highly unlikely that the social compact sought around addressing poverty, inequality and unemployment implications will be effective. In fact, could a compact truly be described as ‘social’ when a number of sectors and structures were overlooked in its development?

See below the Letter and Summit Framework Declaration for further information.

Presidency Summit Letter


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