Building a better SA

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Government will host the Social Compact Convention in an effort to build a society that works together to deal with the key challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality as outlined by the National Development Plan (NDP) Vision 2030.

“The NDP advocates for a social compact that will contribute substantially to creating the necessary political, economic and social condition for sustainable development. At the core of this social compact, all sectors are expected to make firm commitments that will expand the social wage for the poor,” said Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

The Department of Sports, Arts and Culture will host the Social Compact Convention from 6 - 7 February 2020, at Saint George Hotel, as part of Social Cohesion and Nation Building Strategy. This compact represents a collective agreement between all South Africans on how to address major issues in the country through a united effort.

Addressing a media briefing on Wednesday in Tshwane, the Minister said although the NDP is focused on the compact between government, labour and business, the material conditions of South Africa dictates that other sectors of society need to play a role in the advancement of social cohesion and nation building.

“In essence, this implies that government, labour, and business cannot on their own drive the country to a social cohesive society. Government is also aware that the social compact has to have a strong component that addresses issues around equal opportunities, inclusion and redress.

“We are of the view that a social cohesion intervention that does not recognise and seek to bridge past divisions and simultaneously deal with the whole question of improving the material conditions of previously marginalized communities, mainly black and poor, cannot succeed,” Mthethwa said.

The Minister said government has already made great strides in this regard, with more targeted focus on the youth in terms of education, training and skills development. 

“The latest presidential initiative, the Youth Employment Service (YES) programme is one of the flagship interventions which form part of the commitment made by government so far, in addressing the skills deficit among the youth and also dealing with Youth Unemployment,” Mthethwa said.

The National Social Cohesion Compact Convention was preceded by a series of consultations that were held directly with various stakeholders during the financial year 2019/2020.

These stakeholders include among others Business formations, Civil Society, the Youth, Labour, Media, Women, people with disabilities and traditional authorities.

In the consultation process, four key themes emerged which will guide the discussions during the National Social Cohesion Compact. These include inclusive economy, social policy, institutional capacity and conflict resolution.

“We believe that these themes will assist us to move close to an inclusive working social compact that will contribute in growing our country. We are grateful that a variety of critical stakeholders from our diverse society have confirmed their participation at the Convention and we look forward to a more nuanced discussion,” the Minister said. –