We are inspired by the new energy and commitment to the growth of the South African Tamil Federation (SATF ) and the upliftment of the South African people. The open door policy of the SATF was well received. Delegates from across the country participated in a commitment ceremony, each one lighting a lamp to symbolise the light of divinity with each one of us and the commitment to spread the light to uplift others.
There was emphasis that although our forefathers came from India, we are fore-mostly South Africans citizens and that we should increase our participation in all spheres of South African society and government.
The SATF was affirmed as the elected mouth piece of the Tamil people of South Africa.
The SATF is 45 years and has a rich history which needs to be verified and safeguarded for our future generations. There is a call to all persons who may have material or information, including documents, photographs, videos to come forward and assist us with this process.
The Conference resolved that the SATF adopt a good governance declaration and further to ensure transparency and accountability, especially financial accountability, in all its structures and affiliate organisations. The SATF has been tasked to consider succession planning and to ensure the organisation’s financial sustainability. The SATF will document policies and guidelines in respect of all governance aspects e.g. procurement, conflicts of interest.
The strategy and capacity of the SATF to deliver was scrutinised and it was proposed that substructures be formed from the large pool of experts available to the organisation to provide the SATF with the best advice available on all issues. This will include veterans of the SATF and professionals within the community.
A youth Conference needs to be expedited to consult with the youth nationally on their needs. We are confident that with the level of and quality of youth participation in the conference, we will succeed in creating a powerful effective youth body who will be the future leadership of the SATF.
The SATF will develop a Communications strategy that is sufficiently diverse to reach out of the various target audiences using different means for the different groups and will increase its use of technology for this purpose.
The SATF and the Tamil community have a responsibility to consolidate its approach and to speak in one voice on the issue of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. As South Africans, we are regarded as the champions in upholding human rights. Not so long ago, as South Africans, we needed support from the rest of the world. Now, we need to mobilise people and form strategic partnerships to agitate more for an immediate end to the atrocities in Sri Lanka and to call on government and organisations globally to to take a stronger position in regard to the plight of the Tamil people of Sri Lanka.
The SATF must ensure greater representation in its structures for women and there was a call for men in the organisation to support the initiatives in respect of women. The SATF will commit to treat women with respect and dignity and to empower women.
Forums need to be created for business and professionals in the community for mutual benefit which would include recognition of achievements, mentorship and job creation.
The need to use technology more effectively to teach the language, to create an environment to create an interest in learning the language, to have greater dialogue on religious issues and where necessary provide guidelines to organisations on how to conduct certain traditional ceremonies was proposed.
The Conference mandated the SATF to develop a business plan, that would set out time frames for implementation and monitoring. The new executive of the SATF committed themselves to the delivery of the aspirations and needs of the Tamil people of this country and to provide leadership.
The SATF invited continued submissions and involvement by all to ensure that the SATF is set on the path to excellence.