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Building SANGOCO as a Coherent
National Organisation


(SANGOCO: South African National non-Governmental Organisation Coalition)
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 movements.
  4. 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 be redefined.
  5. 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 required.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10.   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.
  11.   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.
  12.   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.

Resolution

The Western Cape NGO Coalition resolves that:
  1. The constitution of SANGOCO must define the role and structure of the provincial structures. Provincial constitutions must be congruent with the national constitution.
  2. The executive of SANGOGO will be made up of provincial representatives. Sectoral representation will fall away.
  3. 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.
  4.   Provincial AGMs will take place prior to the SANGOCO national conference and will mandate delegates to the national conference.
  5. 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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