If anyone needs a crash course in the critical role played by civil society organisations, COVID-19 provided it — from increased need for the services they provide to those less fortunate, to the need for assistance to businesses in order to sustain them and avoid job losses.
Thankfully the dreadful pandemic is now part of our history and Mafube Business Forum (MBF) can proudly say that MBF facilitated funding close to half a million rand to sustain our local economy. Not a single business member of Mafube closed their doors during this time.
Beyond the current crisis in governance, civil society is an essential building block of development and national cohesion. In a country blessed with peace and stability, civil society fills the space untouched by government. In a fragile and conflict-ridden country, it plays an even more important role of providing services normally the responsibility of the state, and can lay the foundation for reconciliation.
Civil society comprises organisations that are not associated with government—including schools and universities, advocacy groups, professional associations, churches, and cultural institutions. Civil society organisations play multiple roles. They are an important source of information for both citizens and government. They monitor government policies and actions and hold government accountable. They engage in advocacy and offer alternative policies for government, the private sector, and other institutions. They deliver services, especially to the poor and underserved. They defend citizen rights and work to change and uphold social norms and behavior.
Civil societies have to be brave and remain steadfast, despite criticism, open hostility and malice – sometimes from sources least expected. If built on a solid foundation with clear objectives and truly having the interest of the community at heart, the stumbling blocks will gradually disappear and the road to a better future open up. The resistance from the few who benefit from corruption and mismanagement will be with us for a while, but soon those too, will capitulate, change their tune or move elsewhere.
Members of MBF have much to look forward to - the positive changes will come. If you or your business are not yet on board, join us today and be part of our success story.
MBF invite residents, business owners and ratepayers to visit our offices at 18A Kerk Street, Frankfort on Mondays to Thursdays from 08h30 to 16h00 and Fridays 08h30 to 12h00. Call or send a WhatsApp message to Marina at 079 145 4295. Visit our website www.mafubebf.org