Community-led Restitution

Community-led Restitution

The Restitution Foundation’s strategy is the development and facilitation of a community-led restitution programme in the Boland town of Worcester which addresses both the psychological and socio-economic trauma caused by decades of colonial and apartheid rule. The intention is then that this model would be show-cased as an example to motivate other South African communities to develop their own community-led restitution interventions.

The Restitution Foundation’s work in Worcester led in January 2010 to the establishment of the Worcester Hope and Reconciliation Process (WHRP), an initiative recently identified by members of both the national and provincial cabinets as a flagship reconciliation project in South Africa.

During the first phase of its existence (2010 – 2012) the WHRP used the narrative of the 1996 racially motivated Worcester bombing as a metaphor to support the Worcester community to deal with the psychological trauma related to colonialism and apartheid.

Since 2013 the Restitution Foundation in partnership with the Third Carnegie Conference on Poverty, the University of Cape Town and the National Planning Commission is supporting the WHRP to use four key focus areas (Employment, Education, Housing and Substance Abuse) of the National Developing Plan as foundation for the development and implementation of a socio-economic restitution strategy for the community of Worcester.

During 2013/14 financial year the Restitution Foundation facilitated Worcester based workshops with civil society, the business sector, the religious sector and the youth at which employment, education, substance abuse and housing were identified as the main focus areas for a community-led restitution intervention in Worcester. As a next step in the development of a Worcester based community-led restitution programme the Restitution Foundation then, in partnership with the 3rd Carnegie Conference on Poverty, the University of Cape Town and the National Planning Commission arranged a five day residential workshop (17 – 21 February 2014) for twenty strategically selected members of the WHRP where they attended presentations by best practise South African institutions focusing on:

  • Employment (Timbali Incubators; the National Public Works Programme; Beirowplas Recycling)
  • Education (Sinenjongo High School, Cape Town; Early Learning Resource Unit)
  • Housing (the General Motors Foundation) and,
  • Substance abuse (Cape Town Drug Rehabilitation Centre; Toevlug Rehabilitation Centre; Red Cross Children’s Hospital).

At the end of the workshop all the institutions declared their full support for the development of a Worcester based restitution intervention with specific focus on the four identified areas.

After the various presentations the twenty participants decided that under the umbrella of the WHRP:

  • They would form the driving force behind the development and implementation of a Worcester based community-led restitution plan with specific focus on the four identified areas
  • That this process should maintain close working relationships with all the institutions who presented at the workshop
  • As strategy they would establish volunteer community advocacy and lobby groups within each of the four focus areas to:
    −    ensure that all the information disseminated at the conference would be shared with the broader Worcester community
    −     hold government accountable to provide quality and just services in all the four identified focus areas
    −    encourage business to play a bigger role in creating a more equal and just Worcester society
    −    advocate for real transformation in each of the four areas in order to create a better Worcester society for all the people living in the town

At a follow-up workshop (16-18 May 2014) all twenty workshop participants developed detailed first draft business plans / strategic plans for each of the four areas and elected elected convenors for each focus area. (The development of the business plans were guided by the following planning framework: challenge / problem statement; vision statement for the focus area; over-all objective; intended outcomes (positive changes for the beneficiaries); some deliverables with KPI’s observable; milestones (break down into 5, 10, 15, 20 year time line); critical success factors (what need to be in place to ensure effective transformation and progress); and finally, briefly identify “low hanging fruits” (achievements that could come relatively soon / quickly for inspiration).

The following visions, goals and outcomes for the four advocacy groups were developed:
(i)    Employment
Vision: An economically active Worcester community that shares in its abundance
Overall objective: to (i) help create a Worcester entrepreneurial spirit, (ii) to stimulate innovation and (iii) in doing so form a contributing and sharing community
Outcome: A Worcester entrepreneurial spirit of innovative thinking and equal sharing in available material resources

(ii)    Education
Vision: Enabling a developmental culture of transformational learning.
Overall objective: To have the whole Worcester community actively involved in the transformation of the education system.
Outcome: Worcester civil-society, business, government and religious fraternity investing in the learning culture of their town.

(iii)    Substance Abuse
Vision: A town (Worcester) where substance abuse prevention projects and education is a dynamic force in the prevention of human degradation, loss of human dignity and loss of life.
Overall objective: Reducing (i) prevalence and incidence of substance abuse (ii) the Addicted Population (iii) Drug-Related Crime and (iv) Improving Coordination
Outcome: A Worcester community free from substance abuse.

(iv)    Housing
Vision: An integrated Worcester human settlement at peace with itself.
Overall objective: A clean Worcester human settlement with integrated health care, recreation and shopping facilities, public transport system, security, open public spaces and schools.
Outcome: Empowered, dignified and responsible Worcester home owners that take care of their own environment.