Building SANGOCO as a Coherent National
(SANGOCO: South African National non-Governmental Organisation Coalition)
The issue of structure and constitution of an organisation must relate to
the context in which the organisation is operating as well as respond to
the main tasks it needs to address. Since SANGOCO was formed the
situation in our country has changed considerably.
SANGOCO has evolved from a small co-ordinating structure of NGOs
which saw its main task as ensuring an enabling environment for the
non profit sector in post apartheid South Africa.
Today, however SANGOCO is having to confront a situation of growing
poverty and deepening inequality in the context of the implementation
of conservative macro-economic and social policies. In this context
there has been a rapid growth of the sector, the formation of new
sectors and organisations as well as the emergence of new social
Thus, it is necessary for the discussion on constitutional and structural
change in the organisation to deal with the way questions of
accountability, unity of purpose, internal democracy, etc are having to
Taking the Peoples Budget Campaign as an example, we need to
consider how this campaign becomes one which is not only driven by
programme staff in the national office -- carrying out a conference
resolution -- but is a living campaign in which the members of
SANGOCO local, district, provincial and sectorial level participate in
and own. In this context membership of SANGOCO shifts from a
paper membership to active involvement in decision making and
implementing of those decisions. A new level of accountability is
To effect this level of unity and cohesiveness in the organisation we
need to ensure a wide-ranging mobilisation amongst the membership
of the proposed discussions and decisions to be taken at the national
conference. It becomes very important that any decision, campaign or
initiative agreed at the conference has a strong mandate and
commitment of the entire membership of SANGOCO.
In this scenario one can then legitimately have expectations of the
membership to carry out these decisions, campaigns and initiatives.
The organisation can move forward as one.
Structurally, this requires a very strong and close relationship between
the provincial and national structures of the organisation. It requires
strong capacity in the provinces to carry out the mandate of the
organisation and it requires an equally strong responsibility from the
national bodies to resource all levels of the organisation.
Leadership structures of the organisation would have to be redefined.
In this context the present situation of an executive director would have
to be transformed into an elected post like the general secretary of a
union. This would structurally, at least ensure a greater accountability
an responsibility to the membership of the organisation.
The executive would need to comprise provincial representatives and
act on mandates coming from the various structures of the
organisation. This would overcome the present situation where the link
between the province and the executive is often tenuous.
This linkage between the provincial structures and the national
structures would help ensure that local issues and concerns can more
easily come on to the national agenda and influence the direction of
SANGOCO as a whole.
Sectoral structures, important in their own right for co-ordinating
activities and campaigns will participate in SANGOCO through the
provincial structures. In this way we can ensure the strengthening and
importance of provincial structures. In this way we can ensure that
provinces are responsive to the critical issues and campaigns that are
the preoccupation of the sectors.
The Western Cape NGO Coalition resolves that:
The constitution of SANGOCO must define the role and structure of the
provincial structures. Provincial constitutions must be congruent with
the national constitution.
The executive of SANGOGO will be made up of provincial
representatives. Sectoral representation will fall away.
The post of executive director will be replaced by an elected full-time
official of the organisation with an in built limitation of two office-terms.
Provincial AGMs will take place prior to the SANGOCO national
conference and will mandate delegates to the national conference.
The right of recall of delegates at all levels of the organisation will be
written into the SANGOCO constitution.
P.O.Box 34670, Groote Schuur, 7937, Cape Town, South Africa
Chairperson: Patric Solomons Telephone Email: Patric Solomons
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