A key step taken towards developing a social economy policy in South Africa

A draft Green Paper on a social economy policy in South Africa presented at a national consultation conference in Sandton. In a speech to the conference, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder reflected on the relevance of social and solidarity economy organizations and their value-driven, human-centred approaches in addressing the challenges in the changing world of work.

News | 28 February 2019
Participants at the conference
Within the framework of the ILO project “Development of a Social Economy Policy in South Africa”, funded by the Government of Flanders and implemented by the Economic Development Department (EDD) with technical support from the ILO Pretoria office a national consultation conference took place from 27-28 February 2019 at the auditorium of the Industrial Development Cooperation (IDC) in Sandton, South Africa.

A draft Green Paper was presented at the conference as a preliminary policy document that sets out the government’s proposals to create an enabling environment on social economy for initial feedback from key stakeholders and the public. The conference is the start of the National Consultation process, which brings people together to give feedback on the Green Papers recommendations, and shape how the country’s Social Economy develops. The Green Paper was launched by Minister of Economic Development Mr Ebrahim Pateltogether with Minister Lindiwe Zulu, Minister of Small Business Development; Dr Geraldine Reymenants, General Representation of the Government of Flanders; and Director General of the ILO Mr Guy Ryder. Around 200 other policy makers, researchers, and practitioners concerned with social economy also participated in the conference and provided feedback including through a conference application.

[From left] Dr Geraldine Reymenants, General Representation of the Government of Flanders; Mr Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Economic Development; Mr Guy Ryder, Director-General of the ILO; Ms Lindiwe Zulu, Minister of Small Business Development; Mr Jeremy Cronin, Deputy Minister of Public Works

ILO Director-General Mr Guy Ryder making a speech at the conference
Mr Guy Ryder noted that alternative business ownership and governance models were part of the deliberations of the Global Commission on the future of work, which is co-chaired by the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. In this context, he commended the Government of South Africa on its active efforts to promote and enable social and solidarity economy in providing innovative solutions to challenging changes in the world of work. “Social and solidarity economy organizations are well positioned to become an essential part of the tool kit for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in general and for better localizing the SDGs in particular. Building on their value-driven and human-centred approaches, they can help build a new economy strives for social justice and decent work.” said Mr Guy Ryder.

Minister Patel and ILO DG Guy Ryder
Based on the inputs received at the conference, a revised version of the Green Paper will be published in March for public comments and the final version will be presented in June or July after the national elections scheduled on 8th of May 2019.