UDM welcomes Government Anti-poverty strategy- statement by Mrs Thandi Nontenja (UDM National Treasurer) (10 December 2009)

Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe, addressed civil society organisations at a two-day National Anti-Poverty Strategy Colloquium this week where he committed Government to work together with civil society to fight the scourge of poverty.

The UDM hopes that this is not just another round of Government rhetoric; we hope this means that Government has finally realised the crucial role played by civil society prior to 1994 and the tangible difference they can make in the lives of South Africans. 

We are however concerned that there is no clear mechanism of implementing this strategy. Will this not be yet another document gathering dust in an office somewhere at the Union Buildings? The strategy might look good on paper but if not implemented it’s of no use to the nation.

Civil society has made it clear that they want to be taken seriously.  They said that Government managed to spend billions on the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Why not do the same to eradicate poverty? Government must harness the strength of all stakeholders to fight poverty, bearing in mind that civil society organisations function closest to our people and are in touch with the day-to-day problems of citizens. 

Government will be able to fund this initiative by stopping wastage caused by corruption, inefficiency, spurious travelling, self-congratulatory feasts, pointless conferences, expensive vehicles and expensive accommodation for ministers and over-reliance on consultants. 

The UDM calls on Government to refine the strategy, incorporating the civil society’s inputs to come up with a clear mechanism on implementation, and how the civil society will access the services meant to assist them.