Civil society hailed for ensuring national stability

todayFebruary 28, 2024 49

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Yesterday marked World NGO Day, where all those who play a role in shaping societies, help the vulnerable and hold the powerful to account were honoured and celebrated for their bravery and resilience.

The global celebration is observed in over 89 countries across six continents.

Phemelo Khaas works for the Budget Justice Coalition, which aims to collaboratively build the public’s participation in and understanding of South Africa’s budget and planning processes.

The 33-year-old says being able to fight for the rights of others, caring for them and being their voice in spaces they have no access to drives her.

“I have been fortunate to be part of projects that have given people hope, that has fought for people and that has ensured that our democratic rights are fulfilled,” the Corruption Watch former media liaison officer.

Amnesty International South Africa’s Genevieve Quintal says the role of civil society is often underrated.

“Civil society in South Africa plays an important role in the country’s accountability mechanisms. At the heart of Amnesty International South Africa’s mission lies a powerful global movement of over 10 million dedicated individuals determined to shape a world where human rights are upheld for all,” she says.

Quintal says despite the organisation’s reliance on donations, it’s quest for a just world remains untainted.

“Uniquely funded by the generous contributions of individuals, the organization remains steadfastly independent of any political leanings, ensuring that their pursuit of truth and accountability in human rights violations remains untainted by external influence.”

Quintal and Khaas are among millions of other humanitarians around the world who swim against the tide to ensure that abused women, homeless and orphaned children, and the downtrodden are taken care of, seen and heard.

Despite their noble quest, however, there are laws they need to adhere to, which Social Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu, used the day to remind them of.

Conveying best wishing for civil society at large, Minister Zulu urged the non-profit organisations to comply with the NPO Act 71 of 1997 to avoid deregistration.

Zulu says despite facing financial constraints and lack of resources and support, NGOs/NPOs continue to make a positive impact and drive progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Paying homage to the organisations that, among others, keep those in power in check and continue to push for just socio-economic policies, Zulu believes that civil society plays a crucial role in ensuring national stability. Written by Tshenolo Khaile

Written by: Lindiwe Mabena

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