Given the perilous financial state of many civil society organisations in South Africa, it is understandable that there is a high level of anxiety around the revised B-BBEE Codes – particularly pertaining to the Socio-Economic Development Element. And while it is true that the Codes were never intended to replace traditional corporate social investment, in practice this is largely what has happened.
In fact, South Africa is often held up as a best practice case study internationally for how the B-BBEE Codes have encouraged greater corporate participation in social development.
The loss of jobs in the sector is also a significant cause for concern. The latest labour market trends show that the Community, Social and Personal Services (CSP) sector employs the most people of any industry in South Africa – 3 million people or 22.4% of total employment. It is also a sector that provides employment to those that have traditionally found it hardest to enter the labour market: young people, working mothers, older people and people with disabilities.
GreaterGood South Africa has been working with civil society organisations and social enterprises since its inception in 2005. We now have an online community of over 1,440 registered organisations from every corner of South Africa, ranging in size from small community groups to large, established non profits. Through our social enterprise consultancy – GreaterCapital NPC – we have advised over 100 corporate and institutional clients on how to make their social investments count. Since 2008, we have run a forum for CSI practitioners called the Social Investment Leaders Forum.
Our work is guided by the belief that ethical social investment, together with a professionally-run civil society sector, has the power to reduce inequality in South Africa. So we advocate for a long term, integrated and evidence-based approach to social development.
We have experience of working with both sides of the social development equation – we understand the needs and issues of non profits and social enterprises as well as the concerns of corporate and institutional investors. Our submission is informed by this experience as well as by recent research and dialogue with collaborative partners: the GivenGain Foundation, the South African Institute for Fundraising, Charities Aid Foundation Southern Africa, Inyathelo, Tshikululu Social Investments, Trialogue and the hundreds of organisations that participated in this process.
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