On the 04th of April 2018 communities from Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West provinces convened in Polokwane Limpopo with the host organization East and Southern Africa Farmer’s Forum (ESAFF) to deliberate on the issues surrounding BRICS prior its summit with the key objective of drafting a statement to the upcoming BRICS summit while popularizing BRICS and start discussions with communities to increase engagement to them on the process.
BRICS Issues breakdown
The CSOs Community broke into commissions to do unpack the themes that were chosen for the Civil BRICS planning committee:
Youth- young people are facing a lot of challenges amongst them identified few is unemployment, education, substance abuse, early pregnancy and many more other issues.
We anticipated that the problems are caused by the system and that the BRICS countries also contribute towards these problems, but our government has not been playing a leading role in terms of looking at the current education system for the fact that we are having teachers who are not trained properly but again the fact that we don’t produce our own cars, bicycles in Africa talks to a number of issues. We need to embark on raising awareness on the issues of substance abuse and also engaging government to shift technical skills to the people who are well developed. Again how do we bridge the gap of frustration that the youth has, media plays a toxic role in the development of our youth as it feeds them with things that lead them astray.
Gender Inequality and equality– we are aware that SA is a country that is unequal and the rest of the BRICS countries, women and men should be given equal opportunities but we need to be vigilant that when it comes to the issues of land women are working the land and producing food out of it, culture has always alienated them and we need to break those chains. Women who own land must be prioritized in terms of assistance. We must find a framework that will talk to the issues of gender and that will be very clear and implemented.
Land, energy and environment– the issue of land still remains a big challenge in SA, mining companies are still grabbing the little land we own while most of our land is in the hands of white people. Small scale and large commercial farmers must focus in producing organic food/ produce. Clean energy is very essential due to the climate impact of producing unclean energy, one of the major aspect we need to look at is renewable energy sources such as bio-digester, solar panel, windmill because these are clean energy and come natural unlike using paraffin and candles it simple means we supporting Sasol and also we been looking at the damage that Sasol has done in the communities of Secunda and Sasol that come with lots of environmental problems is not taking responsibility of the degradation caused. We want to implement clean energy and we then learn that the government don’t have enough money so we must learn from other countries like Germany and also look at BRICS countries they are aware of the climate change and would try to cut down emissions, CSOs need to be capacitated and benefit the communities from BRICS.
Inclusive economic development – We must as CSOs push for the formation of task teams who will be responsible for the issues of inclusiveness, also working towards finding market for small-scale farmers, local retailers and others. Communities must be represented at a national level in terms of giving guidance and shaping economic development. We need to mobilize more people especially woman because we understand the work they are doing in the economic stream. The minerals produced in SA must benefit the people of SA and again create job opportunities for the people not only in the mining sector but also focus in industrialization.
Peace and security- is needed in communities, countries, region and global level programs must be developed to raise awareness about peace and security, release newsletters in communities and have access to relevant information. Developing BRICS will affect peace and security in the matter of building their own bank and that will limit the position/influence of the World Bank on our country. Local poverty levels are still a huge problem and no peace in families or communities and in global level. The other key challenge is that other countries are still in control of our minerals
New development Bank– How is the NDB going to develop us? And what is development?? These are the major questions that arose during the discussion; they were triggered by the existence of Africa Development Bank that was also imposed and still fail to foster development to surrounding communities. We also looked at the differences between NDB and World Bank, IMF etc., we are of the view that BRICS countries have a direct agenda and they know their participation within this. SA must have a way of consulting communities in relations to what they want.
- Statements to BRICS:
-Expropriate land from whites not Blacks
-China must occupy our land through community involvement/ agreement.
-Agricultural sector we would like to be part of the whole value chains, getting skills to develop skills to develop our own manure/ fertilizers.
-On the issue of energy and environment we verve with bio gas digester which will assist us use sustainable electricity and also gas for generators.
-We don’t want BRICS because we were not consulted. Before SA pulled of Nampat and G20 why not with BRICS.
-Civil society must be part of decision making.
– The NDB must assist people to open small businesses at community level.
-We don’t want the issues of IDP to also affect the development of people.
-Skills development ad transferation from BRICS countries is key.
-BRICS must support NPO’s with resources because of the work they do.
– Why do we still support BRICS because it is very clear that the president of SA is not in support with this initiative?
– Transparency accountability and consultation of people before any finalization of agreement on behalf of South Africa
– We want priority in the development of agriculture