On 15 November 2019, the Department of Small Business Development, in collaboration with the EDSE Programme, held a technical experts’ Round Table in Pretoria. The Round Table identified the key challenges facing co-operative enterprises and ways to make them more competitive in the market. Participants included senior government officials, the former chairperson of the portfolio committee on small enterprises, members of cooperatives and cooperative policy experts.

The seven principles of cooperatives, as included in South African law, were restated by the discussants as being critical to ensure that cooperatives align to the global movement. These are: voluntary and open membership; democratic member control; member economic participation; autonomy & independence; education, training & information; co-operation among cooperatives and concern for community.

The authors: Annie Sugrue, Lesley Wentwork, Raisa Cole, Azwi Langalanga