Cape Town – The government, civil society and private businesses have joined hands in the fight against poverty while striving to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The various groups met at the second annual social justice summit which was held virtually to adhere to the Covid-19 recommendations. Among those present was Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola, who both lambasted and praised the country’s Constitution.
“As I am fond of saying, although we may celebrate the fact that we have the greatest Constitution in the world, the Constitution still requires significant amount of implementation. The Constitution must be felt and touched by people in Pofadder, Thohoyandou and Mqanduli. As a result, social justice is that which our fellow South Africans must experience.”
Lamola told those present that social justice could not be achieved without a good justice system and an inclusive state while empowering and promoting the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status.
“I believe that the state must be a conduit of social justice. In other words, the role of the state, among other things, is to deepen equality in our society. Although we as a nation state celebrate 25 years of a constitutional and democratic state, we must be honest: obtaining social justice is still elusive in various communities and spheres of society in general. Politically, equality is afloat but social justice requires a substantial amount of work,” Lamola added.
The 10 SDGs for 2030 include: “To progressively achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40% of the population at a rate higher than the national average”.
According to Statistics SA’s Living Conditions Survey, more than one in five adults was living below the food poverty line in 2015, while a third was living below the lower-bound poverty line and approximately half were living below the upper-bound poverty line.
“A South African’s likelihood of being trapped in poverty is to a large extent determined by gender, race and location,” added Lamola.
Gloria Serobe, from the Solidarity Fund, said while the work was yet to be completed, more than R3 billion had been contributed to the fund by “over 305 000 donors including 14 000 individuals and 2 620 corporates”.
The Solidarity Fund became the platform for South Africans from all walks of life and our international allies to express their support to fight the pandemic.
The financial donations given to the fund allowed it to lessen the impact of the pandemic as effectively as possible.
“Given that Covid-19 did not discriminate, rich and poor, urban and rural, our tactical response to all communities had to be extremely innovative and be deliberately inclusive.
“Our interventions will always be measured against the SDG. The SDGs are fundamentally designed to not leave anyone behind. Goal number 10 speaks at reducing inequalities and poverty. From the very start, it was clear that this pandemic would transcend a health crisis, which would become a humanitarian crisis as well.”
The goals include: “Ensuring equal opportunity and reducing inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and action in this regard.
“Adopting policies, especially fiscal, wage and social protection policies, and progressively achieving greater equality.
“Improving the regulation and monitoring of global financial markets and institutions and strengthening implementation of such regulations.
“Ensuring enhanced representation and a voice for
developing countries in decision-making in global … economic and financial institutions.”