Introducing a New Civil Society News Agency – SACSIS

5 May 2008

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SACSIS -- the South African Civil Society Information Service -- was launched today as a news agency to channel social justice news and analysis of South Africa’s policy dialogue to the media.

Our articles are targeted at policymakers and other decision makers who need exposure to new perspectives that challenge conventional assumptions about how best to make South Africa’s economy and social policies work for the poor.

South Africa has just celebrated 14 years as a democracy, which is not much time to reverse centuries of prejudicial policies and practices that created the massive underclass that this country has inherited.

But, despite the gains, South Africans are more anxious about the future than at any other time in our democratic history. There is huge concern about the high levels of poverty and associated crime.

The question is, are policy makers doing enough to resolve the problems facing this country, so that in future we don’t find ourselves looking back and feeling just as anxious or worse about what is to come.

Mainstream critiques have so far failed to analyse the drivers of poverty and to question the effectiveness of South Africa’s socio-economic policies as instruments for change. Of most concern, is that the discourse about inequality has not yet entered mainstream debates about democratic governance.

SACSIS will highlight this debate by testing the relationship between democracy and governance and the realisation of socio-economic rights. We seek to promote the idea of the fundamental right of the poor to a higher standard of living and better quality of life.

Our central thesis is that we live in a dysfunctional democracy. Public policy in South Africa does not adequately address the issues of inequality, so the question that will drive the articles released through SACSIS is: “How do we make democracy work for the poor?”

Our columnists are drawn from the ranks of civil society. They are people who are grounded in socio-economic issues through their work, who can offer analysis underwritten by rigorous research and practical experience.

They are all experienced writers, with established publications records that include popular writing.

The work of SACSIS will be released under a Creative Commons licence, which means that journalists can copy, republish or adapt the agency’s work, as long as we are acknowledged as the source.

Our emphasis is on quality as opposed to quantity. SACSIS will only release between two and five articles per week.

The SACSIS news agency has been established as a nonprofit trust and was launched on 05 May 2008.

Please visit our website at to view our news and subscribe to our services.

For more information, please contact:

Fazila Farouk


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