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Press Release: Arts and Culture to host the Social Compact Convention with various Sectors

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The Department of Arts and Culture is the custodian on South Africa’s social cohesion process and plays a leading role in ensuring that the vision of the National Development Plan (NDP) of a transformed and socially cohesive society is realised. The Department of Arts and Culture will host the Social Compact Convention on the 6-7 February 2020 at Saint George Hotel as part of Social Cohesion and Nation Building Strategy. This compact represents a collective agreement between all South Africans on how to address major issues in our country through a united effort.

Despite positive strides since 1994, South African society remains divided. The privilege attached to race, class, space and gender has not yet been fully reversed. The social, psychological and geographic elements of apartheid continue to shape the lives and outlook of many South Africans.

Through the social compact; business, government, labour and civil society will agree to work together to bring about future change. It will reaffirm the importance of freedom, peace and security as well as the respect for all human rights.

The social compact is aimed at promoting national unity, cohesion and nation building. The strategic objectives of the compact are focused on inviting all sectors of the society to play a role in advancing constitutional democracy, human rights and equality. Furthermore, the compact seeks to building unity amongst South Africans, as well as with the region, continent and the international community; and encouraging healing of individuals and communities.

The social compact takes forward the National Development Plan which advocates the need for such a compact given the socio-historical divisions across society, especially along racial lines, still persist.

The NDP is clear that exclusion, and the associated poverty and lack of opportunity, undermines social cohesion in South Africa. The compact will delve into the strategies to bring the previously disadvantaged and disenfranchised into the mainstream affairs of the country and the economy.

The NDP advocates for a social contract to contribute substantially to providing the political, economic and social conditions for our long-term development. It focuses on the collective problems facing our country such as labour market policy, spatial planning, gender violence, unemployment and economic growth.

At the core of the social compact, government will work to invest more on social and economic infrastructure and expanding the social wage to the poor. Business is encouraged to take a longer term perspective by investing more, and increasing employment and training. Labour is encouraged to recognise that some wage moderation is required and efforts to raise productivity are essential.

The Department of Arts and Culture commissioned Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic reflection (MISTRA) to facilitate the social compact process through consultations and agreement on the framework and programme of action; thus to be informed by specific pillars. This process entails consultations with identified stakeholders in Government, Business, Labour, Youth, Traditional Authorities, Media and Civil Society. The specific objectives of the project are to: Provide a dialogue platform on social cohesion to various key role players; Obtain a broad consensus on the role that different sectors will play in promoting social cohesion and nation building; and obtain agreement on the spirit and the letter of the social compact and its binding force on all sectors. 

Through MISTRA the Department has managed consultations with the following sectors; Business, Youth, Labour, Media, People living with disability, Traditional Leaders and Government who will form part of the Convention on the 6-7 February. These consultations were conducted in order to prepare the sectors for the Convention where a social contract will be signed.

Issued by the National Department of Arts & Culture

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