The Social and Solidarity Economy has been alive and active in South Africa for decades. This sector participates in the economy whilst contributing to the alleviation of social and environmental challenges. The spirit of the Social and Solidarity Economy is a key defining factor, with its principles of solidarity, social cohesion and its focus on inclusive growth and shared development. It addresses our country- concerns about growth, inequality, redistribution, and inclusivity. It allows us to keep pushing back the boundaries of inequality and exclusion, accelerating our post-COVID-19 commitments to build back better.
The mandate of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition is to achieve the vision of a dynamic industrial, globally competitive South African economy, characterized by meaningful economic transformation, inclusive growth and development, decent employment and equity; built on the full potential of all citizens. This vision informs the mission of the department, which includes promoting structural transformation in the economy, broadening economic participation and coordinating the contributions of government departments, state entities, business, labour and civil society to effect sustainable economic development. The mission also includes improving alignment between economic policies, plans of the state, its agencies, government’s political and economic objectives and mandate.
This White Paper recognises that the Social and Solidarity Economy has the potential to contribute to the structural transformation of the economy, inclusive economic growth, as well as the alleviation of social and environmental challenges. The basic premise of the White Paper is that more effective and efficient support to this sector can unlock its potential. It therefore presents an approach to better integrate support; acknowledging all the work that has come before it, and work currently being implemented by various role-players in our society. The goal is to have a clearer and efficient system, focused on facilitating more sustainable and inclusive economic, social and environmental outcomes.
The development of this White Paper was a collective effort – in keeping with the spirit of this sector. Partners include the Government of Flanders, various government departments nationally and provincially, local government structures, SSE entities, as well as organised labour and the International Labour Organization. Citizens participated in the Reference Panels, and engaged in the various consultation sessions, webinars, or by commenting directly to the team. Beyond the White Paper, efforts must be directed toward the implementation of its recommendations, so that the Social and Solidarity Economy will continue to grow and thrive in South Africa, bringing the benefits of solidarity, mutuality and reciprocity for which it is internationally regarded.