SUSBSTANTIVE STATEMENT ISSUED BY
THE CIVIL SOCIETY SECRETARIAT
31 July 2001
We, holding the mandate and confidence of Civil Society in South Africa and around the world, are determined to make the Global People’s Forum a democratic, dynamic and effective process. We are determined to ensure that the voice of civil society is heard loud and clear. We are determined to ensure progressive programmes to reverse the damage on our environment are agreed. We are determined to engage the political leaders and bring them back to earth: the earth of disease, poverty and rampant environmental destruction. Also to bring them back to the earth of hope, pride, human resistance and creativity.
A CALL TO INTERNATIONAL CIVIL SOCIETY
It is not inconceivable that some powerful world leaders might decide not to come to Johannesburg and answer for their actions. We call upon international civil society to exert maximum pressure on their political leaders to come to the Summit and have dialogue with the people they claim to lead. It is the duty of citizens of the world to hold their governments and leaders accountable. After all, ordinary people elected these leaders to the powerful positions they now occupy and abuse.
We observe with outrage the neglect of the poor by political leaders and governments. Today, the entire Southern African region is gripped by life-threatening poverty. We see children die of hunger in front of our very eyes. We ask ourselves: where is the world of milk and honey – jobs and health care - that proponents of globalisation always talk about? Where is the effectiveness of Western ‘solutions’ to the problems of the world? Where is the political will to effect redress?
A MESSAGE TO OUR GOVERNMENT
We note that a dire drought is presently gripping the Southern African region. We see the effects absences of adequate food and social security in the lives of our people.
It is in this context that we call upon the South African government to live up to its promises: a better life for all! We want to see our government seriously address the scourge of HIV/AIDS, land ownership patterns, unemployment. We call upon our government to give our people access to sustainable energy, clean streets, clean running water. We want to see our government spend the national resources on problems of the poor.
We want to see an immediate stop to the apartheid-style evictions of our poor. We demand an end to electricity cuts. We demand a new strategy for housing the poor. In all, we demand a better deal for South Africans.
We assure our government that we will not rest until we see a perceptible shift in the management of our economy, environment and cities.
A sustainable world is possible!