"WORK COLLECTIVELY, EXECUTE SEPARATELY" Posted by Picasa

We – the interns of SANGOCO – would like to introduce our work and ourselves to the readers of this blog.

Thanks to the generous donation of the Eskom Foundation the South African NGO Coalition (SANGOCO) was able to employ six young interns for the year 2006.

The six interns came form different skills and academic/working backgrounds:

Jacobeth Makhubele is doing her honours in Media Studies at the University of Witwatersrand.

Muelelwa Khosa has accomplished her Bachelor Studies in International Relations and Political Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2005.

Simon Schaefer has accomplished his Bachelor Studies in African Development in Geography and Economics at the University of Bayreuth (Germany) in 2005.

Mohammed Ziyaad is doing his Bachelor Studies in International Relations and Political Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Theenegran Chetty is currently completing his degree in Computer Studies through UNISA. Previously, he worked as a network/IT technician for Sun-International (Carousel Casino).

Marius Kotze was a fulltime worker in Layout and Design before he joined SANGOCO.

For further information view our profiles on the blog, which will be uploaded soon.

Collectively, we are assigned to track down the historical and institutional mandate of the coalition by doing research, collect and distribute relevant information on SANGOCO’s core activities and campaigns.

Further, we assist our Manager Hassen Lorgat and SANGOCO’s Executive Director Zanele Twala.

Thanks to the Eskom Foundation that made it possible for us (interns) to be part of the Coalition, at the same time being trained in the NGO sector fighting against poverty and inequality to make South Africa a better place.

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Interns Report to Eskom Foundation

Background

The South African National NGO Coalition (SANGOCO) sought financial support in 2006 to run an internship programme. The Eskom Foundation provided the necessary funding - R100 000 - for the programme. The intent was to get the interns to recover the institutional memory of the organisation, as part of rebuilding, as well as train the interns. This serves as a report back from the interns to Eskom Foundation as to what they have accomplished so far.

Introduction

The South African NGO Coalition’s programme serves young university students and graduates to learn and develop skills in the NGO sector, preparing them to take on the challenges of South Africa’s young democracy. At a recent meeting, Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said civil society will need interns for 2010 to be a success.

SANGOCO began 2006 with six interns working under the guidance of Campaigns & Communications Manager Hassen Lorgat. These include Marius Kotze, Muelelwa Khosa, Simon Schaefer, Theengran Chetty, Mohammed Ziyaad, and Jacobeth Makhubele. They come from diverse range of backgrounds in their studies, work and life experiences.

Muelelwa Khosa graduated with a BA in international relations and political studies from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2005.

Simon Schaefer completed a BA in African development studies, specialising in geography and economics, at the University of Bayreuth (Germany) in 2005.


Marius Kotze worked as a full-time layout designer and was responsible for the layout of several newspapers before he joined SANGOCO.

Jacobeth Makhubele is finishing an Honour’s degree in media studies at the University of the Witwatersrand.



Mohammed Ziyaad is finishing a BA in international relations and political studies at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Theenegran Chetty is completing a degree in computer studies through UNISA. Previously, he worked as a network/IT technician for Sun-International (Carousel Casino).

Munir Hassen is a long-time Islamic scholar and worker in the Muslim community.


Recently Jacobeth, Theenegran and Mohammed left SANGOCO to focus on their studies.
After the three left, Jason Siegel joined the intern team. Jason arrived in Johannesburg in September 2006 after earning his BA in journalism at the University of Washington in the United States. He spent the last three years working for newspapers, magazines, online media and public radio as a producer, writer, photographer and editor; for non-profits serving refugees, homeless people, HIV/AIDS patients and immigrants; and doing research via the Mary Gates Venture Fellowship.

Steffen Kühne is a recent addition to SANGOCO from Germany. He is finishing his Masters’ degree in administrative studies, specialising on international politics and institutions, at the University of Potsdam. He’s written for a local newspaper and worked for a variety of NGOs working on the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and rural development in his eight month stay in Togo.

Interns work collectively, though each intern takes charge of different tasks (see details below).

Tasks

The interns are fully involved in the day-to-day work of SANGOCO. This includes office administration, organising and coordinating conferences and workshops, researching and writing reports. They play an important role in the Coalition’s capacity building efforts.
DEVELOPING “THE STRUGGLE ZONE”

A constant and major undertaking has been the construction of “The Struggle Zone.” Interns were assigned to track down the historical mandate and institutional memory of the Coalition.

Tracking down and making these civil society documents available for the public is crucial part of SANGOCO’s capacity building efforts. SANGOCO played a significant role in the writing of these documents. In order to make the documents available to a broad base, the interns put The Struggle Zone online on SANGOCO’s website at
http://www.sangoco.org.za.

The Struggle Zone is a tool for the public to respond to development challenges and to learn more about citizens’ rights. The documents can also be utilised to do an assessment on the government’s promises made to fight poverty and by civil society to hold the government accountable.

Historic documents like The Freedom Charter, South Africa’s Constitution and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Recommendations, the Reconstruction and Development Programme and South African Yearbook 10 Year Review are included.
The utility of the documents placed in the subsection “South African NGO Documents” is unmistakable. SANGOCO has been inundated with calls from NGOs inquiring about how to legally constitute themselves. Since Setting Up A NGO was first placed online, it has been a constant and fervently sought tool box assisting burgeoning NGOs to find their way through the legal maze and to select the appropriate legal forms.
The Struggle Zone provides a library of educational material for civil society and amplifying the voices of those they serve. Documents like Fighting Poverty in South Africa (produced by NEDLAC) and Speak Out on Poverty.
The latter document is a product 10,000 contributing participants at ten hearings in all nine provinces between 31 March and 19 June 1998. Outlines of those meetings, organised by the South African Human Rights Commission, the Commission on Gender Equality and SANGOCO, and conclusions borne from them are provided. Speak Out on Poverty is the sole document that preserves the opinions and conclusions made at the massive set of hearing. Anyone interested in reading the document would find that it was inaccessible. This despite huge amounts of time and money were invested into the hearings and the corresponding reports, with grants from the Swedish Embassy, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Department for International Development, United Nations Development Programme, European Union Foundation for Human Rights, South Africa Development Fund, Netherlands Embassy and Nedcor. Now it has not only been tracked down, but the full length of the report is freely available to the public via The Struggle Zone.
This is but one example of how The Struggle Zone makes many documents electronically available for the first time that have no remaining record to be learned from or unfortunately have been discarded and lost. As a result, university researchers have anxiously anticipated each update to the site and the new additions brought.
The Development Update, a quarterly journal founded by Interfund and SANGOCO in 1997, is a particularly desired resource. Until 2004, with Interfund’s subsequent closing, the journal provided critical debate in the areas economic justice, HIV/AIDS, gender and women’s development, human rights and democratisation, capacity building, arts and culture, and environmental sustainability. “Without Development Update,” wrote Christa Kuljian of the Centre for Policy Studies last December, “the development sector in South Africa is without a journal to reflect on the challenges facing the country in terms of urban and rural development, poverty and inequality, and the role of civil society.”
Despite being a multimillion rand project, the 18 books that made up the Development Update disappeared with Interfund’s closing. In The Struggle Zone, all 18 books have been tracked down and 15 full-text electronic copies made available thus far.
Finally, the products of international meetings and commitments are not forgotten as The Struggle Zone documents like the Copenhagen Declaration at the WSSD in 1995, the Beijing Declaration on the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995, the 2002 WSSD in Johannesburg, the World Conference Against Racism NGO Forum in 1999, the WSIS meetings in Geneva and Tunis from 2003-2005 and the Global People’s Forum Civil Society Declaration in 2002.
EVENT ORGANISING

SANGOCO hosted five members of the Steering Committee from the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) from the 26th of February to 3rd of March 2006. The interns planned and organised the visit, from setting up meetings in Johannesburg and Cape Town to coordinating accommodation and transportation both within South Africa and from Palestine.



The objectives of the visit were:

to learn from Palestinian NGOs about their struggle for nationhood and creating a sustainable democracy under the trying circumstance of occupation
· to allow NGO bodies from different struggles and histories to exchange information and experiences
· creating an atmosphere of lobbying, support and advocacy within South African civil society towards the people of Palestine
to explore the lessons of struggles and building sustainable democracies in South Africa and Palestine to overcome race, ethnic and economic exploitation and
to take lessons from the South African struggle during the apartheid regime and how to constructively negotiate a peaceful, amicable agreement between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

The PNGO delegation met in Johannesburg as well as Cape Town with diverse groups in government and civil society, as well as the Palestinian Ambassador Ali Halimeh.

Both organisations worked closely to strengthen their relationship, exchanging information and experiences. SANGOCO is organising a week long visit to Palestine to strengthen relations with the PNGO in early 2007. The interns are credited for making the solidarity visit a success.

The half of the subsequent report outlining the meeting was written by Mohammed and Muelelwa. Simon assisted in the photos/layout and Jason Siegel assisted in the editing and finalisation of this report.

More recently, the interns organised SANGOCO’s Leadership Training Workshop, and Media Workshop. The Leadership Training Workshop was held from the 1st to the 3rd of August 2006.

The objectives of the Leadership Training Workshop were the following:
assessment of the state of NGOs in light of the funding crisis
evaluation of the relevance of the aims and objectives of the organisation
re-energising the sectoral membership activities
enhancement of accountability to members and other stakeholders
resolution to send a SANGOCO delegation to Palestine on a solidarity visit.

The Leadership Training Workshop attracted approximately 60 participants from all provinces. Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and other high profile figures spoke at the event.

The interns’ work was key to the success of the workshop. They set up the programme, compiled the workshop information packages, made sure that the workshop went well and arranged transport and accommodation for the participants.

The Media Workshop was held form the 5th to the 7th of September. The objects of the Media Workshop were the following:
assessment of the state of provincial offices in terms of campaigns and communication issues
the utilisation of the different means of media
introduction of the “new media” (bulk sms, website, blog, voice over IP etc.)
how to write a press release
how to present a statement on radio or television in an appropriate way
how to file a complaint e.g. to the Press Ombudsman’s Office.

Approximately 20 SANGOCO members attended the workshop. SABC Editor Steven Lang was a key speaker at the workshop, among others.

The interns’ work was again instrumental, inviting the speakers, set up the programme, compiling the workshop information packages and arranging transport and accommodation for participants.



Interns took on different organising roles for the Global Call to Action against Poverty’s (GCAP) month of action 16 Sept – 17 October. Muelelwa helped organise the Aerobics Against Poverty event at the Wits Sports Ground that joined the global Stand Up Against Poverty campaign with over 13 million people, a Guinness World Record, standing to end poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Interns collectively helped organise the Stand Up Media Conference in Alexandra with Vusi Gumede of President Mbeki’s Office.
Jason helped organise the Hip-Hop Against Poverty and Inequality event in the Alexandra Township, drawing local hip-hop artists, dancers and slam poets including Zolani Mkiva, DJ Kenzhero, Kgafela Magogodi, the Studio 69 dancers, a local brass band and many others.
On the 27-28 October, interns contacted organisations for the HIV/AIDS Civil Society Congress in Randburg. Additionally, they helped put together informational packs for the event and took photographs of the event.

Throughout the One in Nine campaign, interns participated in many demonstrations outside during the Zuma case, supporting the complainant.

The Action Week of Global Campaign for Education (24-30 April) brought high profile and influential South Africans to either be teachers or students. The underlying intent of the event was to bring leaders to see the needs of South Africa’s primary and high schools, principally those in rural areas. With the help of our manager, Marius, Muelelwa, Simon and Jacobeth we able to get high profiles like Minister of Public Service & Administration Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi and 702 Talk Radio host Tim Modise to participate.


For the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children (25 Nov – 10 Dec) Marius, Muelelwa, Jason and Steffen helped organise different events outside SANGOCO’s office to mobilise people in support of the 1 in 9 Campaign and member organisations working against gender-based violence. On 27 November, Muelelwa and Jason organised a human chain along Rissik Street. Interns were at the Tembisa Magistrate’s Court on 29 November in support of Buyisiwe, a rape survivor whose case was being reheard that day. Marius organised a women’s self defense class taught by Hanshi Solly Said, a karate grandmaster, on 8 December at Wits.

INDIVIDUAL TASKS

Apart from the collective work, the interns have key duties. Theenegran worked as SANGOCO’s IT specialist. His responsibility was the maintenance of SANGOCO’s website, computer maintenance and support of SANGOCO’s network. Mohammed was a project manager. Jacobeth was in charge of the media research.

As a task, each intern worked to develop SANGOCO membership in the provinces. Munir worked to develop and solidify SANGOCO membership in the Eastern Cape and towards the formation of a Muslim NGO coalition. Steffen is fundraising as well as researching and developing partnerships around water issues in South Africa towards the development of a water integrity network.

Marius works as Hassen Lorgat’s personal assistant as well as SANGOCO’s layout designer. “I’ve learned so much about development issue on South Africa,” he says. “I believe civil society provides so many challenging opportunities.”

Muelelwa and Simon do research on various topics such as poverty, anti-corruption and WTO issues. They participated in a two day workshop in Johannesburg last year on the WTO and the transformation of economic partnership agreements between Africa and Europe, and outcomes of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. The workshop focused on economic development in Africa and the transformation of economic partnership agreements between Europe and Africa. It also reviewed the outcomes of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development that was held in Geneva on the 26th July 2005. Simon also does fundraising and works for Transparency South Africa, a SANGOCO member, maintaining their website (
http://www.tisa.org.za/) and as a junior researcher.

Marius did layout and Muelelwa helped write Civil Society Speaks, a response to the Millennium Development Goals by SANGOCO, SACC, and COSATU. Muelelwa is also assisting with the membership base of SANGOCO as it is part of rebuilding the organisation rebuilding Gauteng’s province membership.

Jason is using his journalism background to produce a radio documentary and publication interviewing unemployed people living in informal settlements in Gauteng; taking photos and developing a SANGOCO online photo album (
www.sangoco.myphotoalbum.com) of our events; joining interns in developing “The Struggle Zone;” and developing a SANGOCO e-newsletter and magazine. “They work me to the bone here,” Jason says. “But, as an insomniac, that’s how I like it. With all the reading and writing I do, the people I meet, events I help organise and the endless supply of conferences to attend, every day is a learning opportunity.”

To document and monitor their work the interns have set up an online blog
http://www.working4justice.blogspot.com/. The blog gives interns the opportunity to post reports and publish information about their work. It also helps the interns to familiarise themselves with this new medium, which is a very useful and effective tool to share information with other parts of the society.

Thanking Eskom Foundation

SANGOCO interns would like to thank the Eskom Foundation for its generosity, which makes SANGOCO’s internship programme possible. The interns are very grateful for the opportunity to be trained in NGO sector, which fights against poverty and inequality to make South Africa a better place. The interns believe that the training, guidance and experience gained from the internship programme is of high-quality and will help them flourish in their future careers.

EVALUATION REPORT-SANGOCO’S LEADERSHIP WORSHOP

EVALUATION REPORT-SANGOCO’S LEADERSHIP WORSHOP

The South African National NGO Coalition held a Leadership Workshop from the 1st to 3rd of August 2006, with the leaders from all the nine provinces. The Workshop was held in Hotel Devonshire, in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. According to Richard A Baker, Leadership is “ the reciprocal process of mobilizing, by persons with certain motives and values, various economic, political, and other resources, in a context of competition and conflict, in order to realise goals independently or ,mutually held by both leaders and followers.” The motive was to remind the Leadership the purpose for which SANGOCO was created, and also to grow to a more progressive organisation. The other thing was for the organisation to evaluate itself why it exists, and where it is heading.

Some of the objectives of the workshop were to:
- Assess the state of NGOs and funding crisis which has resulted in many NGOS closing down.
- Evaluate the aims and objectives of the organisation and deciding upon the programme of action, and to
- Enhance accountability to members; donors; and other stakeholders.

Participants of the workshop arrived from all corners of the country including SANGOCO’s member organisations. A number of speakers were invited to present from different fields. The speakers included intellectuals, the churches, the unions, funders, civil society, as well as the honourable Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa. As of the list of speakers invited, 99% arrived for their presentations. The first day SANGOCO’s board members met with the Deputy President, Ms Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, for almost three hours, before the actual workshop began. SANGOCO’s Leaders were privileged to have all those speakers presenting what would help SANGOCO rebuild itself and for the Leaders to revive their mandate.

The workshop was a success as it managed to set out the main fundamentals for the organisation to go forward. From the presentations, the main challenges which the organisations are meeting are financial which causes organisations to close down because of lack of funding. Engagement between Civil Society and government is still seen as a problem, because much has not been done about it. The National Development Agency, the National Lotteries, and the Foundation for Human Rights, presented the predicament of some organisations not being funded and the problems they experience with some of those they are funding.

The workshop was fruitful to both the participants and the delegates. It is up to SANGOCO’s Leaders after getting more funding to rebuild the organisation, especially in those provinces without physical offices at the moment.

A special thanks to SANGOCO’s Acting President Mr Dolos Luka, together with the Executive Director, Ms Zanele Twala. We would also like to thank the participants who made it to the workshop, from all the provinces for their support.


By: Muelelwa Khosa

SANGOCO NGO WEEKS RESOLUTIONS

2000 Resolutions
HIV/AIDS
Join with other progressive organisations in leading a campaign to end discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS in communities and in the workplace, and to provide equal access to treatment,
Actively support the Treatment action Campaign’s international day of action against drug company profiteering,
Endorse and support the TAC’ s defiance campaign that aims to import high quality, affordable generic drugs to SA, in defiance of patents held by multinational companies such as Pfizer

To call on the government urgently to:

Make affordable treatment available to people living with HIV/AIDS and to increase government spending o health care workers, health care facilities and treatment,
Immediately begin implementing a national programme to reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV,
Clearly state that HIV is the cause of AIDS and to dramatically step up programmes on education, prevention and treatment,
Respond to the immediate and long term needs of children orphaned by AIDS and people living with HIV/AIDS,
Urgently address issues of gender inequality as this is feeding the AIDS

PROVINCES & SECTORS
To work to establish functioning offices in all provinces by 2004,
To strengthen horizontal linkages between provinces through a structured programme of networking, information exchange and joint planning,
To establish a forum of provinces that includes the NEC , the National Office, the Provincial Executive Committee, and staff from provincial offices, in order to strengthen both horizontal and vertical linkages, to debate and plan provincial activities and issues.
That sectors should be rationalised to 11 as per the discussion document on restructuring SANGOCO, presented at NGO Week 2000,
That members should affiliate to sectors through the provincial structures,
That the membership fee of SANGOCO should be payable to provinces, with a portion (to be determined) payable to the National Office,
To call on SANGOCO members to commit time and resources in the interim phase of establishing offices to ensure that the tasks outlined for provinces become operational as quickly as possible,
To ensure that provinces and sectors hold regular and well-structured AGMs


LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Assist communities in building organs of peoples power for participative democracy,
Become a serious pressure group to government in a manner that is proactive,
Assist in building capacity for sustainable advocacy,
Support initiatives around the formation of a Social Movement to campaign against the macro economic policy, this to be done together with the labour movement and other popular organisations,
Ensure that the building of social movement coincides with the revival of the Speak Out Against Poverty Campaign,
Declare the Human Rights Day ( 10 December 2000) as a day for a massive national campaign in rejection of GEAR and call for policies seeking to eradicate poverty,
Encourage and lobby for the participation of women in local government leadership positions,
Support candidates for local government elections contesting on the basis of an anti-poverty platform that rejects privatisation and commercialisation of social services.

GEAR

Reject GEAR and commit to effectively struggle against this neo-liberal policy,
Mobilise civil society to advocate and defend social, economic and political rights of the poor and working class through an accessible economic literacy programme and campaign development,
Join with other progressive forces such as the labour, civic, women’s and youth movements to lobby government to deliver on its mandate and legal obligations, and to develop a coherent alternative economic framework policy document,
Endorse and support the following campaigns waged by COSATU: buying locally produced products, labour law amendments in particular, campaign against financial sector,
Facilitate research on effects of GEAR policy on the lives of the poor to use as an engagement tool and consider other existing research in this process,
Extend our participation in international networks and global social movements working for debt cancellation and the development of a new, just economic order,
Support and promote the emergence of a democratic progressive public media,
Strengthen the pro-poor budget campaign to ensure active and meaningful mass participation.


SOCIAL SERVICES

Reject the privatisation of social services by government,
Co-ordinate the development of a rights based Social services Framework for appropriate development,
Campaign for and build strong alliances at local, provincial and national level for the defence of basic rights to effective social services,
Step up and consolidate existing campaigns for poverty eradication, child support grants, maintenance grants, pensions, disability grants, basic income grants for the unemployed,
In support of the Treatment Action Campaign, call for basic health care services and the care and treatment of persons infected and affected by HIV/AIDS,
Mobilise community support and participation, advocate and monitor the budgetary process,
Call on government ensure that resources are spent on what they are allocated for, to avoid instances of unspent funds,
Lobby within and outside of government for increased social spending through reprioritisation of budget allocations.

DEBT AND GLOBALISATION

Ensure that SANGOCO recommits itself to supporting and strengthening the Jubilee 2000 campaign,
Utilise Jubilee 2000 to mobilise communities around issues of debt and reparations,
Support an unconditional cancellation of apartheid debt, foreign debt and the apartheid-caused debt in the Southern African region,
Encourage Jubilee 2000 to link its issues with sectoral campaigns on debt,
Support a call for reparations as spelled out in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report and the Jubilee 2000 campaign.

LAND REFORM AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT

Mobilise rural communities focusing on land, agriculture and water,
Assist in building of rural organisations to respond to the issues of communities, rural women and people with disabilities,
Facilitate the coming together of rural development NGOs involved in the founding of the RDI together with Sangoco should come together to assess the RDI and re-commit themselves to taking forward a rural social movement and popularize the Rural People’s Charter,
Ensure that the rural sector of SANGOCO takes up the challenge of developing a research and education programme to deepen our understanding of agrarian reform,
Ensure that SANGOCO and rural NGOs should pool resources to support the campaign and struggles of rural people,
Through the rural sector, develop a proposal and dedicate resources to develop and produce a monthly simplified newspaper for rural people for information and mobilisation, and explore the utilisation of other media, e.g. community radio and television,
Make sure that provincial structures of Sangoco assist in bringing together rural people’s organisations to discuss the formation of the rural people’s movement and a programme of training of volunteers to build this movement
2001 Resolutions
CAMPAIGNS

· Prioritise that SANGOCO hosts educational workshops at regional, provincial & national levels on national campaigns
· Ensure that provincial dynamics inform national campaigns at all times;
· Involve rural-based organisations as this is key to the success of the campaigns;
· Involve regions & communities in the conception and implementation of our campaigns;
· Initiate a process of employing a programmes person for each province to take – up and coordinate the implementation of campaigns;
· Allocate adequate resources that will enable provinces to sustain campaigns;
· Provinces & PEC’s should take responsibility to implement and also to decide on appropriate structures and processes to co-ordinate campaigns.

HIV/AIDS
· To support TAC court action against National Minister of Health, for not implementing MTCTP,
· That government should provide Anti-retrovirals and MTCT programmes;
SANGOCO should:
· Join other organisations in fighting discrimination against the infected;
· Join other organisations in fighting for access to treatment;
· Take part in TACs events;
· Endorse and support TAC against Pharmaceutical Manufacturer’s Association;
· Join campaigns to increase government spending on Health Care System;
· Carry out education on treatments
· Highlight the issue of gender as it affects HIV in all its campaigns;
· Address the role of insurance companies in providing financial security to people infected by HIV/AIDS;
· SANGOCO should strengthen the visibility of the campaign through the media;
· Form other campaigns, like a campaign for orphans of HIV;
· SANGOCO and its members need to call on government to draw a national treatment plan for HIV;
· Link importance of nutrition and poverty as a key contributor to perpetuating the scourge of HIV/AIDS in the country
· There is a need to incorporate the campaign on the accessibility and affordability of microbicides into our existing campaigns around treatment and prevention.

SOCIAL SECURITY
· Short term: Characterised by the existing problems in the social security systems.
· Long term: Characterised and drawn from the coalition vision and commitment to poverty eradication.
· BIG must be seen as a means to self-reliance therefore should build the financial capacity of the communities at local level;
· Provinces must work in a co-coordinated manner and in harmony with each other
· Provinces are to conduct public hearings, with clear and common agenda. This will enable members to identify eligible BIG beneficiaries and to feed in with the coalitions long term goals in particular the research and advocacy units;
· There is also an immediate need for provinces to undergo workshop on Tenure, National Office must play a facilitation role;
· Monitoring and evaluation mechanisms must be put in place particularly the pay points;
· When it comes to the Basic Income Grant, concerns were raised about making the grant universal because of the costs and budgetary implications attached to it, SANGOCO

SANGOCO & WSSD Resolutions
· That SANGOCO integrates its campaigns as part of the WSSD processes.
· Galvanise and support the current initiatives of the SA process in the form of the Indaba and its “Call to Action” plat form.
· How should SANGOCO be represented at the WSSD Civil Society Indaba?
· All major groups such as labour, women, etc; have 5 representatives for the Indaba;
· SANGOCO is supposed to have 5 representatives as well; these should come from SANGOCO sectors that are well placed to intervene in WSSD processes;

We propose the following sectors;

Environment
Human Rights
Land & Rural
Health
Socio-Economic Justice

PROVINCES
· Reaffirm 2000 resolution on the establishment of provinces and provincial offices, with the following amendments:
· Infrastructure and human resources to be in place by June 2002,
· Provincial offices to be campaign centers through developing, planning, shaping, implementing, monitoring and evaluating SANGOCO campaigns;
· Head of the secretariat to be a political linkage between political centers and campaign centers;
· National campaigns be integrated with member campaigns at provincial level; to ensure proper coordination, planning, information dissemination and action,
· SANGOCO resources must prioritised for rural provinces,
· Provinces must intensify membership recruitment
SECTORS
· Ensure that sectors affiliate at provincial level;
· Review last years NGO week resolution on the number of sectors, instead sectors be identified on an ongoing basis, based on emerging issues/needs;
· Entrust an appointed member of PEC to coordinate sectors at each province;
· Encourage sectors to concentrate their work at communities and play an effective advocacy role in raising critical issues that affect communities.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS
· Insert an enabling clause on the constitution that allows this NGO Week 2001 to amend the Constitution;
· Extend the term of office of PEC/NEC/EC/National Council to be 2 years;
· Have only two year consecutive terms of office for all elected officials;
· Insert a clause on the composition, role, powers and functions of PEC, NEC, REC and NC;
· Endorse amendments proposed by the Constitutional Committee;
· Endorse the proposal of splitting membership fees by 70% to provincial offices and 30% to national office;
· On the Coalition being a unitary structure, on the following provisions;
· National Office takes the responsibility for provision of resources to provinces;
· Provinces are given powers to mobilise resources, to decide on province specific campaigns/programmes in line with the newly agreed national priorities and guidelines;
· Each province develop/maintain/amend its constitution in line with the national constitution to enable it to mobilise resources, and to submit this to the national assembly for adoption;
· SANGOCO Executive Director to remain an appointed member of staff and ex-officio member of the NEC.

2003 Resolutions LOCAL GOVERNMENT
SANGOCO members actively participate in local government process such as IDP and ISRDP, where applicable to their work (Northwest and N.C)
Provinces in particular monitor and disseminate information regarding these processes to members (N.W; F.S; M.P; L.P; N.C)
That SANGOCO co-ordinate civil society participation for 3 case studies of engagement with local municipalities (urban, peri-urban and rural) to design strategies, draw replicable models and lessons for the NGO community ( N.C)

ROLE, VISION, & MISSION OF SANGOCO
That Sangoco’s core mandate remains the facilitation of the NGO/CBO community to a) eradicate poverty and b) build the capacity of members and institutions to achieve a sustainable enabling environment (all provinces & sectors)
That Sangoco better understand the needs of its members in order to facilitate appropriate capacity building particularly with regards organisational management and leadership, policy development and fundraising (Limpopo & Northwest)
That Sangoco is not an independent actor but a facilitator of the work of members, adding value through information sharing and dissemination, lobbying, co-ordination of campaigns and solidarity, networking, national policy engagement and formulation, research and contesting public opinion (National Council & Northwest)
That provinces, regions and sectors engage in a recruitment drive to inform organisations of the vision, role and programmes of Sangoco and that a clear induction manual be developed for new members to better understand the Coalition, its vision and their role within it (Free State; Northern Cape; Northwest & Limpopo)

ACTION ITEMS FOR THE COALITION
SANGOCO will produce a database of members to assist in networking and information sharing (Northwest)
SANGOCO will produce an annual directory of donors (Mpumalanga & Free State & Sectors)
SANGOCO will produce annual index of poverty and development (Sectors)
Seek to participate in NEDLAC chambers forging strong unity with FBO & Labour (Sectors)
Encourage strong citizen participation in the 2004 elections (Free State & Northwest)
Host a national policy conference in early 2004, to produce the Development Charter and political manifesto of citizens for the elections (Sectors)
SANGOCO actively engage in a political cadre-ship building programme to develop leadership, analytical and strategic skills within the sector (Sectors; Northwest)

RESTRUCTURING THE NATIONAL SECRETARIAT
The NS must be brought in line with the needs of members, sectors and provinces
The primary role of the NS is supporting, co-ordinating, facilitating and assisting in the existing and future activities of members, provinces and sectors and NOT acting as an independent organisation in its own right
That the NS be scaled down, be member focused and staffed with the appropriate levels of skills and experience
The NS be restructured with 3 units, viz a viz, Research-Lobbying& Advocacy Unit, Capacity Building Unit and Media & Publications Unit
(All suggestion from Sectors)

Provincial & Regional Secretariat
The provincial secretariats remain accountable to the NEC (operationally through the NS) but are also accountable to PEC for their day-to-day activities and provinces specific programmes and interventions (Free State & Northwest)

ENABLING ENVIRONMENT
To continue to engage in the NPO directorate and seek to simplify the registration process, particularly for CBO
To generally awareness about the NPO and registration processes among members
To develop a coherent strategy to engage SETAs in order to facilitate members participation and beneficiation from the SETA skills levy
Engage the donor community to bring about uniform application processes and procedures among donors
Facilitate access by members to skills development resources and process to build particularly for fundraising, proposal development and financial management skills
Engage institutions of high learning to provide additional capacity building and skills to members
Develop a strategy to engage the corporate sector to be a key player in genuine, people-centered development
Enforce the SANGOCO Code of Conduct to ensure accountability and defend the integrity of members
To have provincial donor database which members can access and use.

SECTORS
To maintain sector representation in one form or another within the policy making structures of the Coalition
To assist each sector representative to facilitate consultations with member organisations to strengthen and clarify the need, role and function of each sector, and within an agreed time-frame of no more than one year to finalise the position of sectors within the structures of SANGOCO
To utilise the proposed Council of NGOs to achieve this process of re-organisation and clarification of the role of sectors
To reflect in the Constitution the sectors which SANGOCO organises
To endorse the Sector Protocol proposed by the National Council as a binding framework document for the operation of sectors

CAMPAIGNS
Sangoco’s existing campaigns should be maintained and supported, although there direct relevance and contribution to members is varied, and that co-ordination and participation in them should be devolved to different sectors, provinces and members who have more direct interest in them (Northern Cape, Northwest & Free State)
The Coalition endorse the following set of criteria for campaigns:

That campaigns be relevant to the majority of our members and the communities they serve
That campaigns must have clear impact
The results and outcomes of the campaigns should be clear and well articulated
Campaigns be selected on the basis of proper information and research, and should not be negative but have built in and well thought through alternatives – the problem we are seeking to address must be know and our alternatives must be sound
That campaigns should be unifying, people-driven and participatory
That campaigns must be realistic, operate in clear time-frames and be “outcomes” orientated
That campaigns must be politically sound and in-line with our strategic orientation
Campaigns must be framed within a proper strategic approach to reducing poverty
(Northwest; National Council & Northern Cape; Free State)



By Muelelwa Khosa

My interview with Mr Dolos Luka


Interview with Mr Dolos Jafta Luka: SANGOCO’’s new Chairperson


Muelelwa: Please tell me about yourself

Mr Luka:

I am a 47-year-old community development worker who has long been involved in NGOs, CBOs, leadership, and in community activities. In 1974 I was politically activated while in high school while involved in community structures in Potchestroom. At the age of 24 I was involved in Ikageng Ratepayers Association. In 1976 during the uprising, I was a very strong political activist; this was the time of the Black Consciousness Movement. During the 1980s, I became a member of the United Democratic Front (UDF), and chairperson of Free State Detainees Parents Committee (DPSC). I used to assist political prisoners; those who were studying while in prison. I would assist them with study materials. After the DPSC was debarred I continued to be a community developer by joining the Matla Trust in North West, as a voter education trainer. In 1995, after the 1994 elections, the Trust crumbled since it was led by people form exile. I then joined IDASA and SANGOCO after the fall of the Matla Trust. I was the Deputy Secretary General of SANGOCO in North West and a Provincial Coordinator for the North West Community Policing Forum Project, for IDASA.

Muelelwa: What do you find most attractive about being SANGOCO’s Chairperson?

Mr Luka:

It is the leadership in the organization. Repositioning SANGOCO is one of the key effects that we would like to achieve working together with the senior positions in the organization, for example the Executive Director Zanele Twala, Media & Communications Manager Hassen Lorgat and the volunteers.

My aspiration is to put behind the negative perceptions that people had believed about SANGOCO; for example that the organization care less about the member organizations and is also closing down. Rebuilding SANGOCO especially the provinces that needs an inspirational hand is a major task to do to ensure that more work is done, and perceive that it is done effectively.

Muelelwa: Looking at your experience, do you feel that you have top managerial potential as the new chairperson?

Mr Luka:

With the past experience and the skills I achieved, there is no doubt that I have top managerial potential for the position. I have a lot of work in leadership, so the skills are not a problem, how to use is essential while in leadership.

Muelelwa: What are the challenges that you think you will be facing as the new NEC chairperson?

Mr Luka:

The organization has got challenges that it is facing. “The most difficult one is the provincial structures of SANGOCO”. The issue of funding is also a problem, because lack of resources makes it difficult to get the work done on time. I consider that the organization needs to get more resources so that the Community Based Organisations)(CBOs) are also empowered on the ground. We need to ensure that well established Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are brought back into the SANGOCO fold. For example, in North West, the composition of Civil Society is the NGOs. SANGOCO needs to engage government to fund the Civil Society, to sustain the partnership between government, Civil Society, and the private sector

Muelelwa: What difference will you make that will show that there is a new leader?

Mr Luka:

Work has been done at national level but not with provinces. It is the NEC responsibility to ensure that even the provinces are effective and doing work in a way. The other thing is to ensure that the NEC members are always well informed about the activities taking place as well as minor changes thereof, that they must communicate regularly.
There needs to be road shows for the NEC members, to go to each of the provinces and see what has been achieved and the problems thereof. To ensure that the leadership brought on board is empowered, so the NGO week can be effective and well organized. In relation to this, a Succession Plan is significant to ensure that new people coming on board do not start afresh but continue from the last one. Together with other members of the NEC, we will conquer and make a difference in our organization.

Interview by Muelelwa Khosa

When I met Tim Modise

On Wednesday the 25 April I had the great opportunity to meet Radio and TV presenter Tim Modise at MC Weiller School in East Bank. It was the first time I met Mr. Modise. During the GCE Action Week he was invited to teach a group of ca. 50 learners about the importance of education. Before he went to the classroom he told Hassen Lorgat (Manager of Campaigns and Communication at SANGOCO), Flaki Ramothata (the principle of the school) and me (intern at SANGOCO) “the most important thing for me going back to school is to make the kids happy” and “I really want them to have fun”.



When Tim Modise entered the classroom the kids were very excited. When Tim Modise asked the learners: “Do you know who I am?” all the learners shouted: “You are Tim Modise form TV!”

After the learners and the teacher welcomed him, Tim Modise started to teach about the importance of education. He explained why it is important to go to school and do homework and to be serious about school. Good education is the most powerful tool to fight poverty and inequality.

At the beginning the learners were a little bit shy, but I think that is normal when you kids meet a celebrity they only know from TV.


After a short while the kids broke with their resistance and a good dialogue developed.
Tim Modise taught for about 2 hours.

After the lesson Tim Modise, Hassen Lorgat, and I met with Flaki Ramothata. She told us that she was so grateful and felt really honoured that Tim Modise came to MC Weiller School.
“It is so crucial that the kids see role models coming to them. They really look up to you, Mr. Modise! We would love to have something like this more often,” Flaki said.
Tim Modise, Hassen Lorgat and the principle agreed that they would try to keep the idea and campaign alive.

My personal opinion about Tim Modise’s day at school is:
Tim Modise is a very nice guy, who is really down to earth and does care about the children in South Africa. I feel honoured that I had the opportunity to meet him.

by Simon Schaefer

Back to School

GLOBAL CAMPAIGN FOR EDUCATION ACTION WEEK


From 24 – 30th April, civil society, made up of child rights activists, teacher unions and NGOs showed they really care about ensuring every child gets quality education, delivered by a qualified teacher. Approximately 18 million more teachers are needed if every child is to receive a quality education and there are 100 million children are still being denied the opportunity of going to school. Millions more are sitting in over-crowded classrooms for only a few hours a day. Without urgent action these children will remain in poverty and at far greater risk of HIV infection.

The South African NGO Coalition was part of the NGOs who were involved in the “every child needs a teacher campaign” together with the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU). During the Action Week, the Ministers in various departments, celebrities, as well as some from the media went back to school to teach the learners about the importance of education. The list included the Minister of Education Naledi Pandor, Public Administration, Geraldine Fraser Moleketi, Sunday Times Editor, Mondi Makhanya, 702 Radio presenter, Tim Modise, SA FM presenter, Thabiso Sekwane, Bishop of the Methodist Church, Paul Verryn, as well as others. The Ministers and celebrities were able to get an idea how much resources are needed to improve the quality of our education. The resources needed might be stationery, chairs, desks, more classrooms, proper school building, as well as more teachers. The Deputy Minister Phumzile Mlambo Ncquka will only go back to school on the 15th of May 2006, in Ohlange High School in Kwazulu Natal. The struggle still continues with the "every child needs a teacher" campaign, so that we could achieve the goal of quality education to all.

by Muelelwa Khosa

GCE WEEK 24th to 28th of April 2006

Global Campaign for Education (South Africa), made up of teachers’ unions, NGOs and faith-based organisations, is this year focusing on “every child needs a teacher campaign” In support of this campaign, we have invited government officials, celebrities, as well as civil society leaders to go back to school. The day to go “Back to School” can be any day during the Global Action Week from Monday 24 to Friday 28 April (excluding Freedom Day on Thursday 27 April).

Going “Back to School” involves paying a visit to a primary or high school, or to a disadvantaged school of your choice. Those going back to school will teach on a subject of your choice, and participate in discussions with children on why every child needs a teacher. The participants may visit one, two, or even three schools throughout the day.
By taking part, this will be showing commitment to ensuring that every child must not only be able to go to school, but also that there are enough well-trained teachers in South Africa to provide Education for All.
There is currently a massive global shortage of teaching professionals, worsened by the so-called “brain drain” from the Global South to the richer North. The United Nations estimates that at least 15 million and possibly as many as 30 million more teachers are needed to ensure that every child could complete and get a quality education by 2015.

On the 26th of April, there will be a mock trial on this campaign at the Constitution Hill. At the end of the day, the judge must decide on whether South Africa has done enough in providing education for all or not. There will be representatives from government as well as from Civil Society who will present the case.
During the Action Week, we hope that we will raise awareness that we need more teachers for every child, either in primary or high school level in
South Africa. In 1994, our government promised that there will be “Free Education for All”.

PNGO VISIT TO SOUTH AFRICA

PNGO VISIT TO SOUTH AFRICA


INTRODUCTION



The South African NGO Coalition (SANGOCO) hosted members of the Steering Committee from the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) for a weeklong visit. On Saturday the 25th of February 2006, SANGOCO welcomed the five delegates representing the Palestinian NGO Network at Johannesburg international airport. The aim of the visit was to strengthen NGO relations between South Africa and Palestine. The visit was planned since 2005, but could not be possible because the Isareli boarders were closed and as a result the visit was postponed. SANGOCO would like to acknowledge the help from the Foundation for Human Rights, which made the visit be a success through the funds that were given.


PNGO Delegates


Dr Allam Jarrar , who represents the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (PMRS), which is a community-based Palestinian health organisation. PMRS seeks to improve the overall physical, mental, and social well being of all Palestinians, regardless of racial, political, social, economic or religious status. Basically the organisation focuses on the needs of the most vulnerable members of Palestinian society: women, children, and the poor in rural villages, refugee camps, and urban centres. (www.upmrc.org)




Ms Nina Attalah representing an organisation called Al-Haq, which deals with monitoring and documenting human rights violations. Al-Haq is the one of the only Palestinian human rights organisations that systematically collects information on human rights violations using standardised procedures and forms. It is also the one of the few human rights organisations in either Israel or Palestinian territories with a comprehensive databank of systematically-compiled information on human rights violations that have occurred in the OPT (Occupied Palestinian Territories). (www.alhaq.org)

Ms Siham Rashid representing the Palestinian Counselling Centre, which is a community based counselling and consultancy organization that advocates for positive mental health and well being for the Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) through provision of quality care and capacity building. The Onion was chosen as a symbol for the centre because it signifies the individual. From a cursory look at people we can only see the outer skin of individuals. However, if we want to delve deeply into a person's character we have to peel the layers of skin and feelings to see a whole outlook for the individual. This process might prove to be painful for some. (www.pcc-jer.org)

Mr Mohammed El-Bakri representing the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, which is a non-profit organization that protects the land from being expropriated by the Government of Israel, and to improve the performance and professionalism of Palestinian farmers. The Union also aims to help Palestinian farmers market their products and provides agricultural employment opportunities through a framework of cooperation with domestic, Arab, and international agricultural development institutions. (www.uawc.net)


Mr AbdelKarim Aashour representing the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC), which was founded in 1983 by a group of Palestinian agronomists responding voluntarily to the deterioration in agricultural extension programs in the Jordan Valley area of the West Bank as a result of the Israeli occupation by offering expert advice to marginalized, poor farmers in the area. This voluntary effort gained momentum and recognition over a short period of time, and, transformed into a non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting sustainable development in rural areas in Palestine. PARC, over the years, has become the leading organization serving Palestinian farmers and helping them overcome their problems. (www.pal-arc.org)



OBJECTIVES OF THE VISIT

· To learn from Palestinian NGO’s about their struggle for nationhood, and sustainable democracy under trying circumstance of occupation. PNGO believed that there was a lot to learn from the South African experience as it achieved its struggle for liberation and democracy under globalisation.
· To allow NGO bodies from different struggles and histories to exchange information and experiences;
· Creating an atmosphere of lobbying, support and advocacy within South African civil society towards the people of Palestine.
· To explore means and ways of working together in the future;
· To explore lessons of struggles and building sustainable democracies in South Africa and Palestine beyond race, ethnic and economic exploitation and
· To take lessons from the South African struggle during the apartheid regime and how to constructively negotiate a peaceful amicable agreement between the Palestinians and the Israeli’s.



SANGOCO organized meetings in Johannesburg as well as Cape Town with different groups representing government, civil society and the Palestinian Ambassador, Mr Ali Halimeh.


DAY 1: 25 FEBRUARY 2006

Arrival
The seven day visit began with the Palestinian delegation arriving. Mr. El-Bakri and Mr Aashour from Gaza Strip were the first to arrive on Saturday morning at 10:00. Both men are from Gaza and thus had to go through Egypt in order to get to South Africa. Dr Jarrar, Ms Attalah, and Ms Rashid from the West Bank arrived later that evening at 21:40. They had to bypass Jordan from the West Bank in order to travel to South Africa. During their visit, the Palestinians highlighted the difficulty of traveling within the territories due to the numerous amounts of checkpoints by the Israeli military. Although the Palestinians work together on the Steering Committee of PNGO, they were only allowed to interact with each other once they arrived in South Africa. It is almost virtually impossible for Palestinians living in the West Bank to travel to Gaza, and vice versa. The movement of the Palestinian people is currently being controlled by Israel.


DAY 2: 26 FEBRUARY 2006

Educational Tour
The Palestinian delegation and members of SANGOCO undertook an educational tour in the morning of the landscapes and politics of townships in post apartheid South Africa. The Palestinians were stunned that although apartheid had ended more than a decade ago, the socio-economic conditions did not improve much for the working class. The tour included a visit to Eldorado Park, Soweto, Klip River and Lenasia. The Palestinians were able to visit homes in these areas and interact with people who live in the respected areas.


Lunch
The PNGO representatives were treated to a lunch and discussions pertaining to the current political situation in Palestine. Many present at the lunch became emotional about whether a two-state or one-state solution should be adopted; and the political groupings that the people present affiliate themselves with. However, it was agreed upon that the most important thing at this point in time is the support for an exploited people.

Meeting with MRN
After which Iqbal Jassat, Firoze Osman and others from the Media Review Network (MRN) were able to interview and discuss with PNGO the problems facing Palestinian Solidarity in Palestine, South Africa and throughout the world. MRN is an advocacy group that aims to monitor, analyse, dissect and evaluate distortions fabrications and double standards in the mass media. The questions they posed to the Palestinians regarded the elections that were recently held in which Hamas was voted as the Palestinian Authority. As well as, the problems that are being faced in Palestine and the role that South African organisations can help in assisting the Palestinian NGO’s.

Visit to Apartheid Museum
The Palestinians were then taken to visit the apartheid Museum. The Apartheid Museum was chosen because it has so much to learn about the apartheid era in South Africa, it illustrates the rise and fall of apartheid, transition to democracy in 1994, up until today. The museum documents apartheid and the effect it had on the people of South Africa. Visiting the apartheid Museum is always an emotional experience for many South Africans. However, it was clearly seen that the Palestinians were extremely emotional as they still face the struggle for liberation and democracy. Siham Rashid was extremely taken back by the historical violence that she saw on a screen, commenting that this type of violence still exist in Palestine. As South Africans, we look back at our painful past of Apartheid and we begin to appreciate the numerous amounts of freedoms we have been granted. Unfortunately, for the Palestinians, the struggle still continues, as the situation gets worse.



DAY 3: 27 FEBRUARY 2006

At SANGOCO
After breakfast, the PNGO delegation met the staff of SANGOCO at the national office in Gauteng. Ms Zanele Twala, the executive director, gave a short background of the organisation, its members, what SANGOCO does, and a short version of what has been done lately. Dr Allam Jarrar, is the one who gave PNGO’s background as well as what the organisation does in Palestine. He stated the current situation in Palestine, the struggle that the Palestinians are facing with the Israelis.

In Soweto
We went to meet with the Bishop of the Methodist Church, Paul Verryn and his students in Soweto. The Bishop has been helpful to some of the refugees in Johannesburg. He provides shelter inside the Methodist Church building to refugees from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, and other African countries. The purpose of meeting the Bishop was for the students (the Bishop call them ministers) to learn about the current situation in Palestine, and because the Bishop had visited Palestine several times, as a result, he knows most of what is happening in Palestine.

The students were addressed with a basic understanding about the background, history, resolutions and the current situation of the Palestine struggle for liberation. After the delegation gave a brief introduction of Palestine situation, the ministers had few questions, which showed their interests in getting more information of what is happening in Palestine. As a result a distinction was made between Palestine and South Africa in the apartheid era. According to the programme, the delegation was supposed to meet with the Bishop and the students for 45 minutes, but the session was extended for one and half hour, which was good, after noticing that the ministers wanted to know more. In actual fact, the ministers did not know much about Palestine. The Palestinians highlighted the need for civil society to play an important role in educating broader society about their struggle.

Mandela’s House
Whilst in Soweto, the Palestinians were fortunate enough to visit the old home of former President and apartheid struggle icon Nelson Mandela. The visit was to pay their respects to the freedom fighter that fought for, and achieved liberation.
The Palestinian delegation and members of SANGOCO attended an open forum roundtable dialogue with many other solidarity groups, in hoping to learn from each other. One of the outcomes of the meeting was to solidify ties of South African and Palestinian civil society.

Roundtable discussion at CSVR
An open forum dialogue was held at the center for studies of violence and rape in Braamfontein. Many other NGO’s and solidarity organistions attended such as People opposing women abuse (POWA); the Action-Support Center; the Zimbabwe Refugee’s Association; the Swaziland Locality Network and the Zimbabwe Solidarity Reform. Each organisation highlighted the causes in which they stand for, as well as the problems that they face. They had however attended the meeting in support and solidarity with the people of Palestine. The PNGO members spoke about how Israel is setting up Bantustands in the West Bank and Gaza and the problem that the wall is creating in the lives of the Palestinians. Mr Aashour suggested that the Gaza strip is the worlds biggest prison because they are not allowed by any chance to go out of Gaza, but to stay inside the borders.



DAY 4: 28 FEBRUARY 2006


Foundation for Human Rights Roundtable Meeting
SANGOCO and PNGO travelled to Pretoria where the Foundation of Human Rights hosted them. The meeting was once again a roundtable discussion of building Palestine-South Africa Solidarity. A representative from the Department of Foreign Affairs attended, as well as the new Palestinian Ambassador to South Africa, Mr Ali Halimeh. The meeting began without Dr Allam Jarrar and Ms Siham Rashid as they were invited as guests on a radio station (702). After a brief introduction, of everybody who attended the meeting, report backs from Nina Atallah, Mohammed El-Bakri and Abdelkarim Anshour soon began. Those present at the meeting were told about the problems facing Palestinians in Gaza, West Bank and Jerusalem. Once Dr Jarrar and Ms Rashid arrived, the floor was opened to a question and answer session. After which, all those present began working on a way forward in solidifying a relationship between South African and Palestinian civil society. After the meeting in Pretoria, the Palestinians were taken to the airport. This by no means meant that their solidarity visit had ended. It only meant that they would seek solidarity in another province of South Africa. They then left to Cape Town.

.

DAY 5: 01 MARCH 2006

Elections Tour
This was the day of the local government elections nationally as a result there were no formal meetings scheduled for this day. The PNGO delegation was visiting the voting stations in Cape Town.
DAY 6: 02 MARCH 2006

Muslim Judicial Council Roundtable Meeting

The Palestinian delegation graced the offices of the Muslim Judicial Council. The group which deals with the difficulties of living a life under occupation, reported on what was the actual situation in Palestine. They said the experience of the Palestinians was completely different to what the media portrays.

The Oslo agreement gives a false message of peace to the world. The government gives the impression to the world that Palestine is moving forward, but on the ground, this is not so. Palestine has no independent economy. Everything is controlled by Israel. It is very important that the world realises that the situation in Palestine is not a Muslim issue, it is a HUMANITARIAN CRISIS. This crisis is not a natural disaster, it is a man-made one. The international world are clueless as to the situation, and only if you are in Palestine itself, can you have a true picture of what is really happening.

The Palestinians are tired of the injustices, and corruption of their previous government, which is why they voted HAMAS into power. The Israelis control everything; even the Palestinian taxes are held back by the Israelis. Money that belongs to Palestine.

The media only concentrates on the negative symptoms of occupation, such as the suicide bombings. While the media and the world are happy and focusing on the disengagement of Gaza, Israelis confiscate land on the West Bank. It is time that the realities are made known. The psychological warfare, the OCCUPATION, the destruction and most importantly the control of the Israelis over almost everything.



DAY 7: 03 MARCH 2006

Educational Tour
On this day, the PNGO visited South Africa’s parliament, as well as Robben Island, where the rulers were sent who were regarded as political troublemakers, social outcasts and the unwanted of society. They looked agitated to see where the honorable Nelson Mandela spent his 27 years while in prison. It was not only about Nelson Mandela, but also Robben Island came to symbolise, not only for South Africa and the African continent, but also for the entire world, the triumph of the human spirit over enormous hardship and adversity.
Table Mountain was one of the pleasant places the PNGO visited, one of South Africa’s most famous landmarks. The mountain is home to approximately 1470 species of plants; more than on the entire British Isles! Complimenting this vast array of flora is a stunning range of fauna, some, like the Table Mountain Ghost Frog, being found in no other place in the world.

Challenges that Palestinians Face:
Occupation & Economy
The group which deals with the difficulties of living a life under occupation, reported on what was the actual situation in Palestine. They said the experience of the Palestinians was completely different to what the media portrays. The Palestinian delegation also highlighted that the other problem that they face is illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel. Secondly, Palestinians are reliant upon the Israeli economy, as they do not have an economy of their own. Thirdly, there was not enough advocacy and lobbying outside of Palestine. Therefore, in order to truly assist the Palestinians in their struggle of liberation, it is imperative that South African civil society begins to build consensus, build a cooperation network, and work towards pragmatic practical projects.

The Destruction of Property & Land
Jerusalem is also in grave danger. The Zionists are trying to push the Palestinians out of Jerusalem. People are not allowed to build on their own land without special permits. When they apply for these said permits, it is not granted. Homes, which are built without permits, are then demolished.


80% of Gaza Strip belongs to the Israelis

The Palestinians are facing a big problem because the Israelis own almost everything in Gaza Strip. The Palestinians do not get their tax monies; it goes straight to the Israelis


Media

Although the media was not present in all these roundtable meetings, Media and Communication Manager of SANGOCO, Hassen Lorgat managed to get the PNGO delegation an interview on 702-radio station, on this day before they left for Cape Town. Dr Allam Jarrar and Ms Siham Rashid are the ones who went for the interview.




OUTCOMES OF THE VISIT

The visit was a great success as many South African NGO’s are committed to creating solidarity with Palestine in order to assist their struggle against oppression. Many tangible outcomes were the result of the visit. Both SANGOCO and PNGO agreed that there could be support in many sectors such as Human Rights, Democracy, Health and Agriculture in trying to create an attitude of support and help by NGO’s.
The visit has been useful to SANGOCO, because the delegation has provided information that was not known. For example the issue of the checkpoints, the gate and the wall built to separate the Palestine and the Israelis is one of the major problems in Palestine. Their freedom has been taken away from them. If the gate is closed while people are still on the other side, they have to wait until the gate is opened again. This is one example of showing how difficult life is for them. Palestinians staying in Gaza strip are not allowed to go out of the city. Two our delegates form Gaza strip; Mr Mohammed and Mr Karim are experiencing the same thing, as a result they only met their colleagues from the West Bank here in South Africa after a long time.

SANGOCO, PNGO, as well as other solidarity groups agreed that they had to help in some ways in Palestine. PNGO thought it would be best if the civil society outside Palestine is given more information about the current situation in Palestine because most of the people do not understand the situation.

We need to resuscitate the solidarities of South Africa. We need to work together. We need to put pressure on the government to cut all trade with Israel. We need to support the Palestinian market by purchasing their goods. We need to educate people about the struggle of the Palestinian people.
We need to support the struggle of the Palestinian people, because their struggle is the same as our struggle was in the Apartheid regime.




SANGOCO would like to thank the following people who made the PNGO visit be a success:


Foundation for Human Rights- Funding

Hassen Lorgat- Coordinator of the visit & Editor of the PNGO report

Khosa Muelelwa – Compiled the report, Organising the visit

Marius Kotze - Layout of the Programme, Organising the visit

Mohammed Ziyaad Hassen – Compiled the report

Theeny Chetty – Transport, Organising the visit

Marcelle Moses- Organising the visit

Farell Hunter- Organising the visit

Joseph Adams- Organising the visit

Fiona (Palestine) – Organising the visit

Simon Schaefer- Layout



* We also want to acknowledge the great support of our friends who provided lunch and dinner for the delegates.