07/07/2017 12:13 SAST | Updated 07/07/2017 12:15 SAST

Civil Society Organisations To Tackle Corruption At Special Conference

Various organisations are meeting on Nelson Mandela's birthday to address particularly state capture using tools such as the Constitution.

Felix Dlangamandla / Foto24 / Gallo Images via Getty Images
Protesters at Church Square in Pretoria during the Save SA #BlackMonday march on April 3 2017.

A civil society conference aimed at tackling corruption and state capture is due to take place on July 18, campaigners Save South Africa (Save SA) and the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation announced on Thursday at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) in Johannesburg.

The Conference for the Future of South Africa takes place on struggle stalwart Nelson Mandela's birthday as the organisations involved feel they "have a contract with Madiba to safeguard and nourish democracy for present and future generations".

More than 1,000 people from various sectors of society are expected to be there.

Organisations expected to attend include civil activists Outa, Save SA, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and public interest law centre Section27.

The conference's core focus is on tackling state capture using tools such as the Constitution.

According to the two organisations, the South Africa of today is not the one for which liberation movements fought. They highlighted examples such as the plundering of state resources and a lack of respect for the Constitution and democracy as well as those who protect it.

The Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority were referred to as ineffective as they have allegedly been captured.

The attack on journalists by the Black First Land First (BLF) movement came under the spotlight, with the organisations endorsing the efforts of journalists they say are championing the rights of civil society and exposing corruption under President Jacob Zuma's administration.

National shutdown

"We believe journalists have a crucial role to play in exposing state capture and the many violations of our sovereignty that we are experiencing," read the statement.

A moment of silence was held for senior SABC radio producer Suna Venter, who was part of the SABC8, a group of eight journalists fired in 2016 for standing up to former SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng's policies. Her body was found in her Johannesburg flat on Thursday last week after she succumbed to a heart condition that is said to be stress-related.

"We offer our condolences for the passing of Suna, which was a great shock and loss for the country. We acknowledge and offer our support for the difficulties that journalists face in doing what the country fundamentally needs and spreading the word about what is going on," said Outa portfolio director Dominique Msibi.

A national shutdown is planned for August 7, the day before a motion of no confidence in Zuma is debated in Parliament. The organisations encouraged MPs to vote according to their conscience for a motion of no confidence, regardless of a secret or open ballot.

"If a vote of no confidence doesn't end in a positive way for South Africans by way of removing Zuma from power, and stopping the eroding of our sovereignty, we will use a canvas document that will allow us to approach the Constitutional Court for legal recourse," said Msibi, who said they were consolidating information and piecing together links from the Gupta emails.