Sunday Times-Business-Times Q & A: Mrs. Mankodi Moitse
Since the dawn of democracy addressing issues around poverty, unemployment and inequality have been on South Africa’s agenda. These areas form government’s priority and to address these triple challenges government has adopted a National Development Plan (NDP) as a guiding framework to eradicate poverty, reduce levels of unemployment and address inequalities by 2030. The NDP targets on the triple challenges, are to eliminate income poverty by reducing household income below R419 per person to 0 by 2030, reduce inequality to 0.6 Gini coefficient, increase employment to 24 million by 2030.
Kagiso Trust under the Heart of Gold Campaign will be calling on all sectors of society to partner and collaborate in the formulating and implementing of community-centred development models to address poverty.
In this editorial, the CEO of Kagiso Trust (KT) Mankodi Moitse shares her insights.
- What are the key drivers that informed the Trust’s strategy refresh in order to continue its development work of overcoming poverty?
For the past 30 years, the Trust has had an impact on over a million beneficiaries and spent close to R2 billion on development programmes mostly in education development. Consequently, Kagiso Trust went through a process of identifying which parts of its existing strategy needed to be deepened and strengthened in order to chart a long-term vision for greater impact over the next 30 years. The principal drivers for the strategy refresh was the need to adapt and learn from the past 30 years of the organisation’s existence as well as positioning Kagiso Trust’s development programmes as seeking to overcome poverty through scalable, innovative, replicable and sustainable models. The strategy refresh looked at how we can further scale and grow our programmes to address the triple challenges (poverty, inequality and unemployment) facing our country.
This gave us an opportunity to reflect and identify gaps within our development models for each of our strategic objectives in consultation with various stakeholders to ensure that we were on the right path with our programmes. It is only through structured systemic interlinked interventions in education and socio-economic development that we can grow the economy, increase the productive base and empower marginalised and vulnerable groups in our society.
- Why is Early Childhood Development (ECD) critical in the education pipeline?
South Africa’s development and future highly depends on the extent to which it can unlock the potential human capital inherent within its youngest population. By making investments in ECD, we are more likely to observe long-term benefit in terms of keeping learners in school longer, addressing a challenge in terms of learner throughput in the education system (a measure introduced to evaluate learner retention). Studies done by the Department of Social Development and UNICEF South Africa suggest that participation in early learning and development programmes contributes to an increase of between 5 and 10 percent of lifetime labour income. Early childhood, especially the first 1000 days from conception to two years, is particularly sensitive
Early childhood, especially the first 1000 days from conception to two years, is particularly sensitive for development, however, ECD statistics show that 8 out of 10 children do not have access to quality ECD centres. Therefore, the shortfalls of minimal ECD intervention means that it becomes more difficult to rectify and intervene in a learner’s long term academic development as they consistently have to play catch- up.
Our interventions need to start at the beginning of the education pipeline if we are to ensure that all the learning outcomes, class appropriate competencies and early childhood cognitive development is built early. Our programme will also assist existing community ECD centres with comprehensive skills required to run effective and sustainable centres.
- Economic growth and transformation is geared towards fundamentally changing current structures within the economy, what programmes has the Trust put in place to support entrepreneurs in high impact sectors of the economy?
Economic growth and transformation should not be seen in isolation, the two are co-dependent. The international economic outlook shows slight economic growth improvement and South Africa should be growing above 3%, but we hope the current 2.5% growth of the real gross development product in this current quarter will be sustained.
Inequality is still evident in the patterns of economic participation in the country as economic ownership remains imbalanced.
It is against this outlook that we will be working towards developing and supporting sustainable small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) by providing a holistic enterprise development programme, focusing on high impact sectors in agriculture, construction and real estate. We aim to achieve this by providing access to markets, funding, mentorship and business support in collaboration with the private and public sector. We also aim to launch an entrepreneurial fund in order to action this vision and call on like-minded partners to collaborate with the Trust.
We believe this programme will contribute towards getting SMMEs to organise themselves and become industry disruptors in order for them to grow into industrialists that will create much needed decent jobs and contribute towards the reduction of the current 27.7% unemployment rate.
- Local government is the sphere of government closest to communities and plays a critical role collecting and generating revenue to provide municipal services while providing e free basic services to indigent households. What solution is the Trust proposing to municipalities?
Our local government solution aims to provide municipalities with the ability to use different sets of data as a tool to improve the overall functionality of municipalities. We aim to provide assistance in building in-house capacity within municipalities through sustainable and cost-effective solutions. The solutions assist in improving municipality revenue streams, which in turn results in better service delivery and local economic development, as well as enable municipalities to play a bigger role in servicing indigent households who need them the most.
- Poverty is a key challenge for development in social and economic terms; not only in South Africa but throughout the developing world. Does the sole responsibility of the vision 2030 sit on government’s shoulders?
The recent statistics released by Stats SA paint a bleak picture of the current state and future of South Africa. It shows a regress in the achievement of the past ten years that saw a significant reduction in the levels of poverty and now we see over 50% of South Africans living in poverty and unemployment at 27.7%, the highest it’s ever been since 2003.
The NDP provided a framework to guide all sectors of society to work towards. Government has to continue creating an enabling environment with the right policies, legislation and regulation. Without the full participation and support from the private sector, labour and civil society the end- in -mind will be difficult to reach. NGOs can play a more active role in development as they are at the interface of communities and operating in areas where government is unable to reach. What we need to ask ourselves is, what are the right scalable development models that are needed to ensure participation of communities to implement the NDP effectively? The NDP puts active citizenry at the centre of the cycle of development leading towards actualisation of their rights, responsibilities.
Through our Heart of Gold campaign, we would like to encourage you to engage with us and work towards overcoming poverty in our communities.