Dear SADC Leaders
Social movements, progressive groups, and civil society organisations united under the banner of the Southern African People Solidarity Network (SAPSN) write this open letter to you to reiterate the pleas and demands raised during the 2020 SADC People’s Summit held under the theme ‘SADC @40 Towards a people-centred post Covid recovery plan.’
1. We demand comprehensive social protection mechanisms. Barriers such as the privatisation of public services; imposition of austerity measures and weakening of state bureaucracies weaken the Region’s ability to respond to emerging shocks and crises such as the Covid pandemic. We therefore want to see resilient and inclusive social protection mechanisms in every country including: Universal Income Grants for young people as well as greater investment in their education matching or exceeding the 20% national budget threshold; Increased budget allocations towards gender just and sustainable agriculture and food production systems; Increased budget allocation of at least 15% of national
budgets to strengthen access to healthcare; and Allocation of 0.5% of national GDP to finance improved access to sanitation. At a regional level want to see: A SADC COVID Response Fund to enable the pooling and equitable sharing of funds; as well as SADC Regional Strategic Grain Reserves and safeguards against corporate domination of staple food value chains.
2. We demand cross-boundary coordinated measures to stop the expropriation of our resources and loss of public revenue through illicit financial flows, public tender corruption, harmful corporate tax incentives, deregulation of the financial sector and debt distress. In this regard we urge the strengthening of regional oversight and accountability mechanisms particularly on debt borrowing, privatisation and PPP agreements. We also demand a stop to the criminalisation of the informal economy. Instead we ask for income support, inclusive financing and other support measures to mitigate the loss of income and livelihood opportunities for Cross-border Traders, smallholder food producers and workers in the informal sector.
3. We call for decisive and coordinated Regional responses to address the root and structural causes of growing human insecurity, conflict and instability in the Region. In particular we call for: Stronger interventions to safeguard civilians caught-up in the ongoing military conflicts in Eastern DRC and Northern Mozambique.
Another Southern Africa is possible!
Southern African People’s Solidarity Network
Convenor, SADC People’s Summit 2020
Mozambique Civil Society Alliance