SAPSN envisions economic, environmental, social and political equity and justice in Southern Africa.
To achieve social, economic and political justice in southern Africa though mobilizing citizens agency and voice to demand results and propose alternative pro-poor and people-centred social and economic solutions that aid in eradicating poverty, inequalities and injustices.
The SASPN moment was in 1999 when economic justice movements across southern Africa came together under the realisation that political independence without economic justice was empty. SAPSN was therefore conceptualised as a loose institutional membership-based network in 1999 with membership drawn primarily from national movements and community-based initiatives working on debt, trade, structural adjustment, poverty and globalization in the SADC region. This model means SAPSN is not and has not been registered as a legal entity in any of the member countries, preferring to work as an integral project of the host secretariat at any given point in time. At inception in 2000, SAPSN was hosted by the Alternative Information Development Centre (AIDC) in South Africa until it moved to Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt & Development (ZIMCODD) in 2003, Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) in 2008 and now the Foundation for Socio-Economic Justice (FSEJ) in Swaziland in 2013.
SAPSN uses some pro-poor grassroots based collective action approach in linking people’s struggles against all forms of injustices, inequality and exclusion in southern Africa. This approach is informed by the understanding that we live in a world of intersecting inequalities and thus there is need to bring collective power and voices to bear on systemic and transnational causes of poverty and injustices. At inception, the common thread that glued the network was the need to mobilise SADC citizens to “fight against corporate led globalization and neo-liberalism”. SAPSN’s interventions were and remain deliberately steeped in an ideological orientation that is anti-neoliberalism. Major proponents of neo-liberalism were identified by the network as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, World Trade Organization (WTO), Multinational Corporations (MNCs) and other regional and international financial institutions, whose policy interventions were and, in some instances, continue to be implemented through willing governments packaged as Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs). SAPs have mutated over the years and continue to be implemented in various forms.
Over the years, SAPSN has devised a multi-pronged strategy to confront the triple crisis of poverty, inequality and inherent injustices, plus the shrinking civic and political space in the region, through grassroots mobilization, movement building, people to people solidarity and policy level dialogue and engagement. The effectiveness of the network’s approach has however arguably been diminishing over the years, thus the need to review and realign the same, in a constantly changing environment.
One of the flagship annual events of SAPSN is the SADC People’s Summit, which has become the prime annual space for various social movements to deliberate, exchange and strategize on how to increase pressure on SADC and individual governments, international financial institutions, private companies and other power wielders to be more responsive to the plight of the poor. From working with small scale farmers, rural women, young people and activists impacted by democratic reversals, SAPSN has been rooted in an organic approach defined by strengthening rights awareness, building consciousness and collective capacity to organize, resist and proffer alternatives. This strategy is anchored on the need to ensure that SAPSN maintains a “living space” in-between People’s Summits, so that summits are platforms for reviewing progress, peer learning, reconnecting issues and struggles across themes and geographical spaces, as well as re-energising the base in the same space.
- To harness grassroots efforts towards the building of a strong regional movement that enhances and strengthens member constituencies’ capacities to challenge and develop alternatives to the current corporate globalization and undemocratic practices.
- To develop a people-led SADC regional integration strategy that serves as a
defenceagainst the impact of globalization.
- To strive to link up with peoples’ movements at every level throughout the region and contribute to cooperation between grassroots actions on the interlinked actions against poverty, inequality
- To deepen a culture of democracy, promotion of human rights and upholding of the rule of law in SADC countries though connecting and amplify various southern Africa people’s struggles at local, national, and sub-regional levels.
- To build strong links and active cooperation with other similar peoples` regional formations in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific, and the rest of the world.
Our Principles and Values
As SAPSN we believe in and uphold the following set of principles and values anchored on economic, environmental, social, and political equity and justice and people to people solidarity:
- Transparency and Accountability – in the way we manage the resources entrusted to us.
- Equity and Equality – Across gender, sex, religion, age, disability
andother intersecting inequalities
- Collective Action – Building people to people solidarity among the SADC people
- People Power – Empowering communities and rights holders to know, exercise and claim their rights: “Nothing about us without us”
- Non-Violence – In building a strong social movement driven by voice and agency of those impacted the most, we use non-violent methods in confronting power and speaking truth to power
SAPSN has committed itself to helping build a region of peace and security, popular participation and democracy, human rights, and wellbeing of all. SAPSN is for the human needs of the many and against the profit interest of the few. Thus, in search of alternatives, SAPSN is unequivocally against opposed to the current corporate dominated global financial, economic and political system and institutions.