Prominent social entrepreneurs, academics, representatives of umbrella bodies within the social economy handed a colloquium declaration to Trevor Manuel, Minister in the Presidency.
Minister Manual addressed the State of the Social Economy of South Africa colloquium, hosted by the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and Social Economy (CSESE), in September 2013.
A working group, under the leadership of Dr Susan Steinman, head of CSESE, was formed after the State of the Social Economy in South Africa colloquium. The working group, led by Dr Susan Steinman, expressed concern about the official status and recognition of the social economy in South Africa, and the high unemployment rate. They have requested that the social economy receives priority within the National Development Plan framework.
It is time to recognise the social economy
One of the recommendations was that the impact of the social economy as driver of social change, job creation and economic activity be recognised and that an office within the presidency be created for this sector, referred to as the “third sector” in the UK. A similar office for social innovation exists within the office of the US president.
Better inter-departmental co-operation relating to policies would be a desired process according to the group and that the social economy stakeholders commit to engaging with government on all levels with one voice.
The working group also made recommendations pertaining to education for the social economy with special emphasis on educating the youth and by including a “heart-set”, “mind-set” and “skills-set” within a bouquet of programmes on all levels – short learning programmes, formal programmes, modules in programmes, community training and development, apprenticeships, coaching and mentoring.
Financial support, access to finance, and tax concessions and the accreditation of Business Service Providers were highlighted as issues that would need attention.