Mission and Purpose
The Social Justice Coalition is a membership based social movement that works to promote and protect the enjoyment of the rights established in the South African Constitution, particularly socio-economic rights. Their purpose is to ensure equal access and quality of service. The movement’s aim has been to advance the constitutional rights to life, dignity, equality, freedom and safety for all people, but especially those living in informal settlements across South Africa through actions that ensure that these constitutional rights are enjoyed in practice.
The Social Justice Coalition was founded in 2008, as a grassroots social movement with branches in various informal settlements, mainly in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. The movement has 14 active branches, 2000 members, and over 60 partner organisations. The Social Justice Coalition promotes active citizenship through education, policy and research, and community organising to ensure that government is accountable, open and responsive. The branches are the movement’s main tool of mobilisation and they also play an educative role.
Specializations and activities
The Social Justice Coalition engages in campaigns and programmes aimed achieving a safer environment and improved access to justice and basic services through engagement between government and citizens. The 2014/2015 Social Justice Coalition annual report showed that branch members also organised branch activities such as public debates, sports tournaments, documentary screenings, and drama groups. These activities promote political education and involvement. The movement also holds annual lectures to encourage active citizenship and engagement on issues directly related to people living in poor and working class communities, but to all people living
Major projects and events
The major projects in the Social Justice Coalition include the Safety and Justice programme. This Program is designed to make Khayelitsha and all of South Africa a safer place where there is improved access to justice and a better working relationship between the police and communities. The programme’s activities involved campaigning to the Western Cape government for the establishment of a Khayelitsha Commission of Enquiry on policing. The Social Justice Coalition led a group of social movements based in Khayelitsha such as the ‘Treatment Action Campaign, Equal Education and Free Gender, supported by Ndifuna Ukwazi and Triangle Project to campaign for the Western Cape government to establish the Commission.
The Social Justice Coalition also has a local government programme aimed at improving government accountability. The movement established a campaign for clean and safe sanitation. The campaign calls for clean and safe sanitation facilities in informal settlements – areas which are disproportionately affected by crime. To this end, the movement has also conducted a social audit of toilets in Khayelitsha’s informal settlements. The Social Justice Coalition has been monitoring ‘Mshengu’ toilets and other service providers for a number of years and continues to identify shortcomings with regard to cleaning and general maintenance. This shows some of the projects the movement has been involved in.