Extract from the interview:

FAZILA FAROUK: What advice would you have for those who work with civil society in terms of strengthening the sector? How can people help?

PIROSHAW CAMAY: Well I think both international donors, corporates in South Africa, government officials that are involved in agencies like the NDA (National Development Agency) and the Lotto as well as officials making decisions about the role civil society plays in this democracy of ours have to play a supportive role.

Because without that support, without that understanding of what civil society does to deepen and strengthen our democracy we will weaken civil society. If we weaken civil society the space opens up for an establishment of a dictatorship. And we have seen this in many parts of the world. We’ve seen this in Asia; we’ve seen it in Latin America, in other parts of Africa.

So, it’s a danger to our democracy and we need to protect our democracy. Having fought for it so hard over 350 odd years we now need to enshrine that this democracy is protected. So that’s the one role I see for organisations.

The other is to ensure support for the kinds of issues that civil society are bringing forth. In many instances civil society are saying let’s protect the girl child, let’s protect the women in our society, let’s protect the vulnerable people like the aged. And very little protection is extended to them by the state so this is perforce a role that civil society has to adopt and accept and ensure that these vulnerable groups in our societies are protected.

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