SAPSN (Southern African People’s Solidarity Network) in collaboration with other Civil Society Organizations namely OSISA, ZIMCODD, just to mention a few, made the summit a success.
THEME: RECLAIMING SADC FOR SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL JUSTICE, FREE MOVEMENT AND USE OF NATURAL RESOURCES FOR YOUTH EMPLOYMENT, AFFORDABLE LAND AND HOUSING FOR ALL
COUNTRIES IN ATTENDANCE:
FACILITATORS : JOY MABENGE AND HELENA NGAIFIWA
The summit opened up with some entertainment followed by the welcome remarks by His Worship, the Mayor of the City of Windhoek, Hon Muesee Kazapua. After the welcome remarks, Uhuru Dempers presented his keynote address which was then followed by solidarity messages from different countries.
During solidarity messages presentations, most of the SADC countries lamented on the issue of high levels of corruption, violation of human rights, elections that lack credibility due to violence and intimidation before and after elections, and lack of participation by women and youth in political spheres. Zimbabwe was a case study of political violence where 6 people were killed by the military.
Clusters were organized as follows:
* Democratic, Governance and Human Rights
* Youth Empowerment and Participation
* Economic Justice ( Trade, Debt, Tax Justice)
* Gender Justice and Empowerment
* Climate Change, Environmental Justice & Natural Resources Governance
I participated at the Climate Change, Environmental Justice & Natural Resources Governance cluster whereby issues concerning food security policies and Land Rights were discussed. It was highlighted that women also have a right to own land for farming purposes regardless whether they are married or not.
On natural resources governance, the discussions dwelt much on that foreign investors must plough back to the communities through corporate social responsibility and by paying required tax. It was also raised that SADC countries must make it mandatory for investors to comply with (publish what you pay) pwyp mantra as it promotes transparency and accountability.
There was also a concern about relocations that are caused by mining projects and other public sector investment projects. We agreed as a cluster to advocate for uniform compensation policies across the SADC region. Lesotho cited that they have a Water Project that has caused displacements among community members without proper compensatory measures.
In a nutshell, there should be interventions to protect communities affected by destructive mining activities.
Day 2 was comprised of Awards presentation for tertiary students debaters. Our own Zimbabwe Midlands State University debater received an award.
There was also an organized march to present our position paper to the member States of Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). Issues for the position paper were derived from the 5 clusters from day 1.
By 1300hours we were ready to depart from Windhoek to Zimbabwe
Report compiled by: Lungile Masuku, Gwanda Community Economic Justice Development Trust ( GCEJDT)