Socio-economic reconstruction

The Socio-economic Reconstruction Process was agreed to at the National Peace Accord in 1991. The writers of the Accord and all parties which signed it believed that for peace to be sustainable in South Africa, attention should be given to socio-economic needs of people and communities which have been negatively affected by Apartheid. This is an excerpt from the National Peace Accord:

Chapter 5: Socio-economic Reconstruction


In order to achieve some measure of stability and to consolidate the peace process, a priority shall be the introduction of reconstruction actions aimed at addressing the worst effects of political violence at a local level. This would achieve a measure of stability based on common effort thereby facilitating a base for broader socio-economic development.


Reconstruction and development projects must actively involve the affected communities. Through a process of inclusive negotiations involving recipients, experts and donors, the community must be able to conceive, implement and take responsibility for projects in a co-ordinated way as close to the grassroots as possible. In addition reconstruction and development must facilitate the development of the economic and human resources of the communities concerned.


Sustainable development implies that all individuals must be assisted and encouraged to accept responsibility for their socio-economic well-being. Each actor must define and accept his/her role and there must be an acceptance of co-responsibility for and co-determination of socio-economic development.


This development initiative should in no way abrogate the right and duty of governments to continue their normal development activity, except that in doing so they should be sensitive to the spirit and contents of any agreement that may be reached.

NPAT was established through a mandate of the National Peace Committee, one of the structures of the National Peace Accord. Its stated that the primary purpose at its inception was “to implement the Socio-economic reconstruction and development programmes”.

The democratically elected government took this concept and used it to promote its programme of building free houses. Whilst building houses for people who were denied owning properties should be commended, it is mostly done through a Tender system which is driven through business approaches. Beneficiaries and communities are neither involved in the planning nor the delivery except as labourers. They are simply beneficiaries who see houses being built for them and are handed the keys of a finished product.

NPAT will mobilise resources and spend time in identified communities educating them on how socio-economic reconstruction was envisaged by the National Peace Accord. NPAT will utilise those same principles in empowering the communities to drive their own development.