Christian Aid worked in South Africa for many years to bring about important changes to lives of the most poor and disenfranchised. Many of our former partners are now active Act Umbumbano participants.
Campaigning for change – national level advocacy
The advocacy of our partner Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII)'s was key to the country's first-ever national minimum wage legislation in 2018. SPII was the community constituency chief negotiator, and through strategic discussions with the government, business and organised labour achieved a higher rate than initially tabled. Currently, SPII are calling for this to become a decent living wage.
The Economic Justice Network (EJN), played a central role in supporting the South African government to set up an inter-governmental body on tax, which will help to combat illicit financial flows out of Africa.
Mining – monitoring corporate and government behaviour
The BenchMarks Foundation (BMF) is mandated by the churches to monitor multinational corporations in South Africa and the region to ensure they respect human rights and the environment. They ensure that affected communities are heard, protected and considered by big companies. The Soweto Health and Mining study 'Waiting to Inhale' on the impacts of mining on communities, gained widespread media coverage, leading both companies and the government to take positive action.
BMF has made important recent advances in pressuring mining companies to make their secretive environmental impact assessments, social and labour plans more widely available to the public.
BMF and EJN are central partners in growing the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) – a space for communities to seek dialogue with the mining sector. It now has over 500 participants and provides an alternative platform to the corporate mining indaba. This gives mining-affected communities a voice, and the mining sector now directly responds to themes raised at the AMI.
EJN formally represents civil society and faith voices in spaces like Civil BRICS, SADC and the G20, and together with other partners they are working on integrating tax justice with the advocacy work around extractives and mining to counteract illicit financial flows and corporate tax evasion.