The conference begins with a Gala dinner on the evening of Friday, 15 May 2015 at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg.
The next day of the Conference, Saturday, will host 500 delegates, participating in 8 Panel discussions, structured along the specific chapters of the NDP, with each panel consisting of a Moderator, Government Leader, Labour Leader, Businesss Leader, and two Civil Society Leaders.
South African Civil Society, of which Muslim Civil Society is an integral part, must speak, act and be problem solvers with vigor and energy on critical South African Issues that face all of us as ordinary citizens daily: such as: Education, Healthcare, Nation Building, Crime and Justice, and Unemployment.
Broad and open. The conference is envisioned to be a pluralist civil society conference in its truest sense, initiated by the Muslim Community, bringing together broader Civil Society for a common purpose.
Attendance is open to anyone. Citizens, NGO Leaders, Jurists, Professionals, Business Leaders, Religious Leaders, regardless of ideology, political affiliation, religion, gender, etc. Pluralist in the truest sense.
The conference aims to instigate a national conversation and call to action in broader South African Civil Society and simultaneously in Muslim Civil Society. A one day conference and Gala Dinner wouldn’t achieve much if it doesn’t act as a catalyst for a national conversation about our role as Civil Society in securing our Country’s future. It has to motivate and coordinate us to act consistently to achieve the society that we envision, i.e. world class public education, world class public healthcare, low levels of crime, an effective and efficient justice system, and low levels of unemployment.
What should motivate us into action is the huge socio-economic costs down the road of not acting now as Civil Society, by partnering with government and other Civil Society Organisations and communities to find practical solutions to critical Socio-Economic Issues facing South African Society.
For example, a failing public healthcare and education system dramatically increases poverty and the gap between rich and poor. If the current trajectory continues, in the next ten years a much larger proportion of our society will not have access to quality education and healthcare. Only those who can afford medical aid and private schooling will have access. We’ll have the situation where within our own immediate families, some will have access and others not. Now extrapolate that out to wider society and consider the socio-political instability that it would produce.
No amount of charity or fundraising will solve these problems. The only solution is to start acting now as Civil Society to work with government to alter the trajectory, and to efficiently spend the public purse to fix the root causes, which is fundamentally the lack of capacity on the part of the state to implement public policy efficiently and effectively without waste.
The conference uses the NDP as its initial input. There are varying opinions about the NDP, but the reality is that the NDP is a policy blueprint that has been tabled by government to guide South Africa’s development until 2030.
It’s our duty as Citizens and Civil Society to engage with the plan, understand it and critique it, and make a judgment for ourselves on whether to reject it, amend it or chart a different course. This has not happened as yet.
Considering this, we have structured the Conference Programme along identical themes to the chapters of the NDP with 8 Panel Discussions.
The panels are as follows:
- Improving Education and Innovation;
- Promoting Health;
- Uniting the Country;
- Building Safer Communities;
- Protecting the Environment;
- Fighting Corruption;
- Creating Employment; and
- Effectively Implementing Policy
Each panel will be constituted with a neutral moderator, two civil society representatives, a government leader, labour leader, and a business leader to engage in a robust discussion around the content of each chapter of the NDP in turn, with participation from the conference delegates on the floor.
The conference opens with a Gala Dinner, which will be addressed by the Honourable Deputy President, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as the Chair of the National Planning Commission.
The conference has been endorsed by the MJC, Sunni Ulema Council, Jamiatul Ulema, United Ulema Council of South Africa, SANZAF, AWQAF-SA, Minara Chamber of Commerce, Muslim Professionals Network, SAMNET, AL ANSAAR Foundation and Radio Al Ansaar, Voice of the Cape, Radio Islam, ITV, Muslim Views, Union of Muslim Student’s Associations, Islamic Careline, Vision2020, Muslim Aids Project, Islamic Forum, Al Imdaad Foundation, The Call of Islam, Suliman Nana Memorial Trust, Islamic Relief South Africa, Somali Community Board of South Africa, The United Arab Communities of South Africa and the Islamic Medical Association of South Africa.