|Caritas South Africa website|
South Africa has an area of 1 221 037 square km and a population of 47 432 000 inhabitants of which approximately 5 million are Catholics.
Caritas Africa has a staff of 11 employees. Furthermore each of the 29 dioceses have development coordinators. Some are not active, but there is an ongoing process to ensure that every diocese has a full-time development coordinator. A research conducted recently indicated that there are at least 7 000 active volunteers working for Caritas in South Africa.
The main partners of Caritas South Africa are Misereor, Cordaid, Caritas Australia and Missio Aachen. They provide Financial support, Knowledge Resources, Exchange of ideas and personnel as well as Technical expertise. Caritas Australia engages more with Caritas South Africa on a sister-sister organization basis although the latter has very close relationships with all its partners.
According to Caritas South Africa, it is difficult to estimate the number of individuals who benefit from its services but the number is probably about 500 000.
The areas of intervention are Capacity building, economic strengthening, service delivery, lobbying & advocacy and Caritas program.
One of the main challenges is to shift the mindset of the whole nation from dependency to the recognition of their own resources — natural, skills, knowledge and spiritual — and building their confidence to believe they are the agents of their own transformation, using the Livelihoods and Rights Based Approach to Development.
Another challenge results from the disempowerment of people through poor quality basic education and health services; this creates a climate of discontent which leads to violence and crime.
There is also the huge disparity between the rich and the poor – the highest in the world — in a country so rich with natural resources which could provide adequately for the basic needs of all the people. This is compounded by HIV/AIDS.
Caritas South Africa aims to inculcate the Gospel of sharing in an individualistic and materialistic milieu.
The main aim of the Caritas Program is to develop the resources for the various types of emergencies and this is a work in progress.
At Municipal and Local Government levels there are Disaster Management Teams – some more established and effective than others, so we encourage diocesan personnel to create links with existing structures.
Caritas South Africa has a relationship with the RED CROSS and their disaster manager is part of Caritas South Africa Emergency Program. Relationships also exist with many of the UN Agencies, notably, UNHCR, UNDP, UNFAO, WFP, UNICEF.