History

The Social Change Assistance Trust (SCAT) was founded to ensure that the poorest and most marginalised communities can access donor funding. Funding is secured from the Norwegian government and channelled through Norwegian Church Aid. SCAT’s first funded partners were the Advice Office Forum, Epic, the Association for Rural Advancement and the Ravensmead Workers Advice Bureau.

At least 17 people shot dead by police in Langa, a township near Uitenhage during a commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) formed.

The ‘Cradock Four’ killed in June 1985.

Fourteen people killed by security forces in Mlungisi township, Queenstown.

Western Cape Hostel Dwellers Association formed to protect the rights of thousands of hostel dwellers.

Pass Laws abolished; Influx Control Act and Urban Areas Act are repealed. The number of people living in squatter camps around the cities and towns rapidly increases.

Further state of emergency called and 70 000 troops are sent into the townships. More than 25 000 people are detained; nearly half of them are under 18.

National Education Crisis Committee (NECC) formed.

Scat purchases Community House in Salt River, Cape Town, for the use of community organisations. This is severely damaged by a bomb the following year.

Scat increases its funding from four to 26 organisations and extends its base outside of the Cape to Natal and begins to fund three organisations there. Hanover Park Advice Office established in the Western Cape. Logra (Lotus River, Ottery and Grassy Park) Advice Office established to assist the residents of the Cape Flats. Scat begins to support the Community Arts Project, a progressive education and training project in the arts established in Cape Town in 1977.

Scat provides funding for the Siseko Community Trade School in Nyanga, which runs a successful brick-making project that generates close to 80% of its expenses.

Scat supports the Bhongolethu Advice Office in Oudtshoorn in the southern Cape. Farm evictions are a problem in the area as there is no law to protect farm workers. The office assists community members with claims against the Minister of Law and Order.

1987 sees the highest number of strikes ever, including a strike by over 300 000 mineworkers.

Stepped-up sanctions campaign in the United States of America.

COSATU headquarters bombed.

The Elsies River Community Advice Centre is formed in the Western Cape and caters to the needs of approximately 120 000 people.

Queenstown Community Centre is established.

The advice offices of the Western Cape Hostel Dwellers Association in Langa and Nyanga are firebombed and rebuilt.

Scat begins to support the Uitsig Women’s Committee, a relief organisation that also sets up a primary health clinic, a literacy improvement programme and a buying cooperative.

Repression in the Eastern Cape continues. Scat begins to support the work of the Grahamstown Rural Committee, which works with resettled communities and with those threatened with resettlement. The Grahamstown Rural Committee investigates and publicises the conditions of resettled communities through their own newsletter and through the media.

Scat begins to support the Philani Nutrition Centres that provide medical and nutritional care to malnourished children and their families in the informal settlements around Cape Town.

 

Scat supports the George Civic Association at Lawaaikamp in the southern Cape. The community has been threatened with forced removal and the George Civic association is responsible for the organisation of Lawaaikamp residents in their opposition to removal. Scat also supports the Development Action Group which is working with the George Civic Association to improve living conditions in Lawaaikamp.

All-race municipal elections are held to elect segregated local authorities.

National Education Crisis Committee is restricted. For the first time more black pupils graduate from high school than white pupils.

30% of black workers belong to unions. Khotso House, the headquarters of the South African Council of Churches is blown up.

Scat begins to support the Bellville Community Health Project in the Western Cape. The clinic provides primary health care and aims to address the increasing tuberculosis rate, an indication of worsening social conditions.

Butterworth Community Advice Centre opens in the Transkei.

Grabouw Advice Office opens in the South Western Cape.

Unemployed Workers Union established with five branches in the Eastern Cape.

Scat supports for the Phandulwazi Workers Skills Development Project in Langa.

The Mitchells Plain Crisis and Relief Centre outside of Cape Town is supported by Scat. The Centre monitors unrest on the Cape Flats and supports the families of detainees and trialists.

Scat assists Bossiesgif Advice Office in Plettenberg Bay in the southern Cape.

The Woodstock Advice Office in Cape Town initiates an anti-Group Areas organisation in the area. The office provides counselling for residents who are under threat of removal.

The AIDS Foundation of South Africa is established to identify and develop initiatives to reduce the impact of HIV and AIDSin poor communities.

FW de Klerk replaces PW Botha as president.

Walter Sisulu and five other Rivonia trialists released from prison.

COSATU and NECC declare themselves unbanned.

Scat supports 22 advice offices and recommends 63 projects for funding. About 40% of Scat’s partners are located outside Cape Town.

Clanwilliam Advice Office opens.

The Elsies River Community Advice Centre in the Western Cape deals with 248 cases between January and June. The advice office assists school students who are expelled for political activity, AIDS people in obtaining unemployment insurance and in obtaining divorces.

Grabouw Advice Office deals with 131 cases between January and April – most are related to the massive housing shortage for farmworkers in the area.

Between January and June the Mitchells Plain Advice Centre deals with 600 cases.

Ecological Clubs for Children Organisation (ECCO) has 51 clubs across the rural Western and southern Cape. ECCO helps children to break the cycle of rural poverty.

Supported by Scat, the Zamani Community Care Project is set up in Bedford, one of the poorest areas in the Border region, to enable unemployed community members to move from dependence to self-reliance.

 

Between January and June the Burgersdorp Advice Office, situated in a rural area of the north-eastern Cape, deals with 193 cases. Many of the cases concerned evictions, unfair dismissals and workers compensation.

The Butterworth Community Advice Office assists workers in the Transkei where there are no trade unions.

Nelson Mandela freed after 27 years in jail. The ANC, the SACP, the PAC and others are unbanned. Exiles start to return to South Africa.

There are 17 million poor people in South Africa. Eleven million of them live in rural areas. Most are women and children. Approximately 62% of rural women are unemployed. Scat decides to focus on the rural poor. Scat also decides to focus specifically on the Cape provinces. Scat begins to support the Botriver and the Klawer advice offices.            

Nelson Mandela freed after 27 years in jail. The ANC, the SACP, the PAC and others are unbanned. Exiles start to return to South Africa.

There are 17 million poor people in South Africa. Eleven million of them live in rural areas. Most are women and children. Approximately 62% of rural women are unemployed. Scat decides to focus on the rural poor. Scat also decides to focus specifically on the Cape provinces. Scat begins to support the Botriver and the Klawer advice offices.            

President FW de Klerk announces that the Land Act, the Group Areas Act and the Registration of Population Act are to be scrapped. He also unveils a manifesto for a New South Africa.

The UDF is dissolved.

Scat informs all its projects that from 1991 they will be expected to generate some income for themselves. Advice offices will be expected to raise between 5% and 10% of their annual income themselves.

The Haarlem Care Trust, the Bredasdorp, Dordrecht, Burgersdorp and Koinonia advice offices, and the Development Action Group (DAG) are supported by Scat.

COSATU holds a conference to develop an HIV and AIDSplan.

Infant mortality rates are 54 per 1000 live births in the population as a whole. For black children the infant mortality rates are between 94 and 124 per 1000 live births.

Convention for a Democratic South Africa formed to negotiate the transition to democracy.

Two massacres occur that grant legitimacy to the ANC’ claim that a ‘third force’ consisting of elements of the security forces and other reactionaries is at work in South Africa. At a funeral in Boipatong, members of the ANC were attacked by Inkatha members supported by the police. During a march in the Ciskei capital Bisho, 66 ANC supporters are killed and more than 200 wounded.

Scat supports the Savings Credit Cooperative League, the General Workers Advice Service, the Rouxville, Steynsburg, Matatiele, Helderberg, Grabouw, Calitzdorp and the Prince Albert advice offices, Grassroots Educare Trust, the Bellville Community Health Project and the Border Rural Committee.

The Department of Health launches its first HIV and AIDS awareness campaign.

President FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela are jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

An estimated 7 000 000 people are living in informal settlements around the major cities and towns.

Chris Hani, leader of MK and General-Secretary of the SACP, is assassinated by right-wing extremists.

Scat funds the East Cape Agricultural Research, the Farm & Rural Workers Support Association, Hewu, Jamestown, Maclear, Paterson, Riebeeck East, Riviersonderend, Alicedale, and the Barkly East advice offices and the Association for Rural Advancement.

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