Citizen groups building solidarity to reclaim our democracy

Many serious questions are being raised about the state of democracy and politics in South Africa at this time. Over the course of 2013, there have been a number of initiatives to discuss and engage with questions of civil society’s role and place in South Africa’s democracy nearly 20 years down the line.

26 November 2013: Following numerous engagements with more than 40 civic organisations nationally, one of these initiatives, has resolved to go beyond a once off event, and rather build a 'platform for social justice and accountability' - a common vehicle to connect and amplify individual voices, and reclaim our government from political and economic elites.

The platform's provisional name is AWETHU! People’s platform for social justice

AWETHU! is not a new organisation and does not seek to replace existing initiatives. It will function by providing a series of platforms on which those committed to social justice and political accountability can build solidarity to unite on specific demands. It will seek to grow networks and strengthen relationships between those working in NGOs, social movements and community based struggles. It is a collective effort not owned by any one organisation.

A statement of intent elaborating on our principles, purpose, and short term action plan is attached. This statement will continue to develop as the initiative grows.

AWETHU! is hosting a mass meeting on the afternoon of 28th November 2013, in JHB. There has been a strong response from civic organisations, social movements and others from across the country who will participate in the meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to:
- Expand the range of organisations participating in this initiative
- Discuss the initiative's name, vision and plan of action for January 2014 - May 2014
- Identify ways of working that will be inclusive and give space to 'new' voices.

Event details
Thursday, 28th November 2013
Venue: Braamfontein Recreation Centre, Corner Juta and Harrison Street (Opposite Damelin College), Johannesburg
Time: 12:30 - 6:00 pm.

The press are welcome to attend the meeting, note that in addition to the identified AWETHU! Contacts below, there will be many local and national activists present who may be available to comment on the initiative from their organisations’ perspective.

For comment contact members of the AWETHU! Interim steering committee:
Contact 1
Mazibuko Jara
Democracy from Below
083 987 9633
Mark Heywood
Section 27
083 634 8806
Vishwas Satgar
082 773 3420
Kelly Gillespie
082 294 3402

Organisations involved in this initiative, or who have pledged their support include:
Afesis Corplan, Black Sash (BS), Caring Heart for All Movement, Centre for Law & Society (UCT), Charities Aid Foundation Southern Africa, Community Law Centre (UWC), COPAC, CORE, Cormsa, Corruption Watch, Democracy From Below, Equal Education, Equal Education Law Centre, FXI, Gays and Lesbians of Rustenburg, Heinrich Boell (HBF), Ivory Park Solidarity Economy Cooperative, Jo’burg People's Pride, Few, Khanya AiCDD, Legal Resources Centre, Library Association of South Africa, Local government Action network, Media Monitoring Africa, My X Counts Campaign, Ndifuna Ukwazi, New Women's Movement, Oxfam, PMG, R2K, SACC, SACSIS, Section27, SERI, SJC, Sonke Gender Justice, Studies in Poverty & Inequality Institute, Students for Law and Social Justice, SWEAT, TAC.
In addition, Nadine Gordimer, Jay Naidoo and Pregs Govender have expressed their support of the principles and aims of AWETHU!

Contact Sam Waterhouse 084 522 9646 if you have any queries