Poverty Hearings: briefing by Sangoco

Social Development

25 August 1998
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Meeting report


26 August 1998

Documents handed out:
The People’s Voices (National Speak Out on Poverty Hearings, March to June 1998)
Poverty & Human Rights (both publications edited by SANGOCO; contact them at http://www.sangoco.org.za)

Using the above documents the meeting focussed on the National Poverty Hearings which had been conducted country-wide between March and June 1998.This was not the usual in-depth research but rather a voicing out of what people are saying about their basic needs at grassroots level. It is acknowledged that certain people are voiceless and unheard primarily because structures have failed to reach them due to geographic and other circumstances.

Issues covered Social Security, Education, Land, Government Services, Environment, Housing, and Health.

It was acknowledged that there must be a moving away from NGOs imposing solutions to a situation where they must be less academic and more practical in their approach to the issues of poverty. People at grassroots level should say what they want and they must be heard.
Information should be distributed broadly and made available to community information centres. The media should play a vital role in disseminating information to rural communities about poverty eradication programmes

Government officials need to respond to all queries and requests within three months of their being lodged. They need to adhere to and publicise the Public Service Code of Conduct which aims to treat all individuals with respect and dignity regardless of race, creed, gender or social standing.

Incentives need to be provided for investment in rural areas. Strategic alliances should be formed. With the intervention of the private sector in terms of establishing partnerships with NGOs and CBOs to implement tenders that have been awarded.


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