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Our Latest Annual Report

Our Annual Report reflects the activities of our last financial year and the context of the times we wrote it in.

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Chairperson’s Report

The power of resilience to overcome trying times 

Nkosikhulule Xhawulengweni Nyembezi 

My uppermost memories of the period under review are of a celebratory space, marked by a series of events and activities to commemorate the 35-year anniversary of the Social Change Assistance Trust.

This space allowed SCAT members and partners from all corners of South Africa and abroad to reflect and affirm that the best response to social injustice, poverty, and hunger is resilience.

During this time, SCAT was also afforded the opportunity to adopt innovative ways of implementing its mandate with a full complement of the Board of Trustees. Following the stepping down of Priscilla Sigila as chairperson at the end of her term in 2019, there were changes introduced to strengthen the board as well as its committees. These changes included my election as chairperson, Sue Anderson as vice chairperson, Lorenzo Wakefield as finance committee chairperson, and Deena Bosch as programme committee chairperson. Mandisa Shandu was appointed a trustee, thus adding valuable knowledge, skills, and experience to the team.

One of SCAT’s most distinguishing features is the absolute commitment of trustees and staff members. In the case of trustees, this is also reflected in attendance and active participation in all meetings in a professional manner that nurtures individual and collective ownership of responsibilities while optimally benefitting from collegiality.

Since the dawn of democracy in South Africa there has been remarkable progress in making human rights real, but there are still many challenges. Our daily experiences in the period under review were shaped by alarmingly high levels of hunger and household food insecurity, drought and disease, regular electricity blackouts, high unemployment and poverty. In the course of assisting partner organisations, SCAT has amassed new insights into the lived experiences of communities struggling to survive while weighed down by these life challenges. These insights amplify the importance of the work of SCAT and the need to constantly remind ourselves of the intrinsic value of courage, resilience, and mutual support. 

Because of the commitment and courage of SCAT members and partners, we did not hesitate to roll out accredited training through various workshops, including the 2019 Dullah Omar School for Paralegalism. The provision of accredited training benefits the social justice sector by ensuring the availability of a wide pool of suitably qualified individuals to provide legal advice to the poor and vulnerable individuals and communities. We did this in order to build capacity for broadening access to social justice and human rights at a time when the scourge of gender-based violence in the form of femicide and infanticide is tearing our society apart.

The extent of our programmes in these areas and the scale of investment is reflected in this report. Over the past years we have constantly reminded ourselves that SCAT’s mission is about empowering communities, strengthening civil society and promoting social change. Creating opportunities for empowerment and meaningful participation in all socio-economic aspects of life is not easy when communities are faced by extreme conditions of deprivation.

In addition, rural communities are deeply impacted by climate change which has caused drastic changes in rainfall patterns and water shortages. Most poor South African communities, in particular rural communities find themselves disconnected from the fourth industrial revolution, with low or no digital connectivity – denying them access to essential information from government, NGO’s or funders. 

Rural voice II

Rural Voice II was published in November 2019 to coincide with our 35th Anniversary. It is a collection of stories of transformation from SCAT’s grantees in celebration of our 35th Anniversary.

Mt Fletcher community

“What a joy to read – 35 years of SCAT’s existence symbolically expressed in clear and proud voices who tell stories of their lives and work on behalf of their rural communities. ” Mpho Ndebele, First Director of SCAT and former Trustee

Video Stories

Here are links to our YouTube channel to some of our recent video stories.