Advancing social responsibility since 1995

At ECSECC we believe in cultivating and advancing social responsibility, with the outcome of improving socio-economic circumstances for people in the Eastern Cape.

ECSECC was founded in April 1995 and has over the past 29 years played an important role in strategy, planning and transformation in the provincial and local sphere of development.

Over the years, ECSECC has grown into an established development planning and partnership facilitation institution, having developed significant capacity in its niche areas. It is well embedded in the development landscape of the province, and has critical relationships and networks with key role-players across the state and civil society sector.

How we were established

ECSECC was established in 1995 as a multi-stakeholder council to advise the provincial government on integrated development strategy and planning. The establishment of ECSECC followed the establishment of NEDLAC at national level in 1995, as part of the social compacting model adopted by South Africa in the transition from Apartheid to a democratic state.

In this model of social compacting and semi-autonomous institutional mechanisms was established with strong political support, to extract choices and compromises required for shared growth. The approach was to convince, rather than coerce, social actors to participate in driving a shared vision, and to facilitate concrete partnerships and actions around this vision.

"The principal objective of the Council will be to advise and assist the provincial Government to achieve an integrated development strategy for the province and its constituent regions, in order to address the economic development of the province in terms of the RDP, and in particular the needs of the deprived communities and underdeveloped areas. The Council will achieve this through a planning and development process which can give effect to both strategy and operational issues.”

Founding document (1995)

Consequently, ECSECC’s founding document describes its functional mandate as that of, "Fostering a new relationship between the key stakeholders of the province”. The labour movement, organised business, developmental non-Governmental organisations and the Government are the key components of the Council. Through this body the parties will strive to jointly promote the goals of economic growth and increased participation in decision-making on the implementation of the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). Higher education and local government were included as constituencies in 2006.

Socio-Economic themes

In response to its mandate and in the context of national and provincial priorities in the period since 1995, ECSECC has largely worked in four main areas, across selected socio-economic themes:

• Research and information:
Strategic development trends and information; Applied research; and Generation and dissemination of ideas and information.

• Advice, planning and strategy development:
Strategy development and planning; Executive decision support and advice; Facilitation and planning support to strategic institutions.

• Stakeholder engagement and participation:
Provincial stakeholder dialogue and consensus building; Stakeholder communication; Stakeholder coordination (e.g. secretariat to stakeholder forum and ad hoc processes); and Popularising legislation and policy.

• Service deliver support:
Programme and project design; Troubleshooting and unblocking; Institutional support and organisational development.


The interactive timeline provides a rich library of what ECSECC has produced over this period.

  1. 1994-1996

    During this period,  poverty, unemployment and inequality  were the main challenges of the South African Government.  Economic and Development policies were developed. 

    The role players in the Province of the Eastern Cape's attempt in achieving Reconstruction and Development saw that it  was necessary to achieve this  through the leading and enabling role of the state, a thriving private sector and the active involvement of all role players in civil society. 

    A decision to ensure that the economic objectives are achieved through transparent participatory and accountable policy-making  procedures in both public and private sector was made. 

    ECSECC was established as a formal cooperative council to foster a new relationship between key stakeholders of the EC province, the Labour Movement, Organised Business, Developmental Non-Governmental Organisations and Government.




  2. 1998-2000

    Difficulties faced by the provincial government in effectively delivering service for the people of the Eastern Cape, Unsuitable environment in the province might be keeping investors away, circumstances began to put a strain on relations between stakeholders in EC. Formation of ECSECC was seen as a way of combining and taking forward various pre-elections forums in new circumstances....


    Alice LED Strategy

    East Cape Economy at Glance

    Department of Education Baseline Conditions for the period 1994- Mid 1997

    Local Economic Development in the Eastern Cape: A People Driven Option- Discussion Document  

    LED Choices in Port Elizabeth: Top-down or Bottom-up LED?

    Local Economic Development - Butterworth

    Local Economic Development  - Stutterheim

    Restructuring Local Government in the Eastern Cape - A discussion Document 

    Survey of Local Business Service Centres in the Eastern Cape 

    The Rise and Fall of Butterworth 

    Whittlesea: socio-economic profile and led strategy report

    Wild Coast SDI Anchor Areas Institutional Review 


    Butterworth Regional Economic and Development Summit

    Rural Development Summit

  3. 2001-2003


    The purpose of this strategy was to achieve integrated planning. The focus was on budgeting in Provincial Government and to ensure alignment of strategic plans with policy priorities.

    The key pillars of this strategy were
    Job Creation
    Investment in people
    Redistribution of Income
    Prevention of Crime
    Efficient and effective public service


    The Challenge of Poverty and Inequality, Economic Growth and Development Challenges , Service Delivery Challenges


    Rapid Review of LED in the Eastern Cape 

    LED options for Karoo Region 

    Nkonkobe Regeneration Study 

  4. 2004-2005


    "The period 2004-2009 saw a focus on new intergovernmental and stakeholder compacts, aimed at reviving the spirit of the 1994. Reconstruction and Development Programme. The term saw the launch of the Provincial Growth and Development Plan, as well as the hosting of a provincial Jobs Summit in 2006 followed by Growth and Development Summits in all districts, aimed at creating new partnerships and coalitions to develop the economy. This was, in the main, a period of unprecedented economic growth, in which unemployment began to decline." (ECSECC 20 year review report) 

    PGDP Framework



    This was a period of creating a balance  and consolidation - putting systems and capacity in place for a functioning provincial administration. Steps were taken to improve the operational efficiency of the provincial administration and a number of initiatives were launched to address very specific challenges, with mixed effect. 


    Development of the PMU,

    PGDP Summit 

    PGDP Summit Report 

  5. 2006-2007



    The period 2004-2009 saw a focus on new intergovernmental and stakeholder compacts, aimed at reviving the spirit of the 1994 . Reconstruction and Development Programme. The term saw the launch of the Provincial Growth and Development Plan, as well as the hosting of a provincial Jobs Summit in 2006 followed by Growth and Development Summits in all districts, aimed at creating new partnerships and coalitions to develop the economy. This was, in the main, a period of unprecedented economic growth, in which unemployment began to decline.

    Job Summit - Feb 2006

  6. 2008-2009

    The period 2009-2014 - - the fourth term of government, began against the backdrop of the hard hitting global economic recession, which quickly undid many of the economic gains of the earlier period. . It was, however, in line with national government’s counter-cyclical fiscal stance, a five-year period that saw heightened levels of public investment in economic infrastructure in the province, and greater alignment of the allocative decisions of national government and state owned entities with provincial development priorities. In this respect, and in spite of the weak and uncertain global and national economic outlook, there emerged this term the recognition that with the right policy measures and partnerships, the province could escape its historic and path dependent status as a labour sending province.



    Job losses from global recession, marginal reduction in poverty, some progress in social progress in social and basic services, large backlogs for the majority of the working class, strong impact of HIV and AIDS on social life in the province…

    Assesment of the Provincial Growth and Development Plan (PGDP)

    Jobs Summit Review,

    Development of the cooperative development programme of the EC- Baseline study and facilitate cooperative strategy for EC,


    Post GDS support,

    Leadership Dialogue Session

    Policy Formulation Dialogue Session

    Land Summit Report

  7. 2010-2011


    Need to transform the structure of the provincial economy and diversify out of the reliance on the auto sector through a medium range industrial strategy. Need to transform the underdeveloped agrarian economy and former Bantustan areas through Rural development strategy , The ongoing HIV/AIDS pandemic . Capacity constraints and systemic weakness in key departments(especially education and health) and municipalities charged with social wage and basic services mandate, in a context of increasing service delivery protest . urgent need to build the necessary state capacity to actively leverage resources for economic and industrial development in the province . Job creation , leverage necessary resources our catalytic transport and logistics projects. Support to planning Commission

    Economic and Rural Development Programme, Infrastructure Development Planning,

    Support to distressed companies

    Manufacturing Survey,

    Buffalo City Metro Strategic Support

    Support to FET

    ECAC development partnership Summit

    Transport Master Plan

    Priority package for Transnet

    CHDM water and Rural Summit,

    Party and State in post-colonial Africa

    Democracy and Civil Society

  8. 2012-2013

    NDP - VISION 2030

    The province needs to reposition itself in the national minerals- based economy and global logistics chains. This will mean upgrading ports , rail, roads, ICT AND energy infrastructure, which will enable the necessary modernization and industrialization of the modern economy. Continued support to planning Commission

  9. 2014-2015

    Eastern Cape Vision 2030 Provincial Development Plan (PDP)

  10. 2016-2017

    VISION 2030

    ECSECC continued to provide a strategic crossing point with a range of public and private institutions and organisations in the development space to ensure alignment of policy, strategy and implementation. ECSECC, in the recent past, has developed capabilities not only for planning but for programme conceptualisation, execution planning, implementation facilitation and oversight. ECSECC continues to play an even greater role in strategic compacting for the implementation of the new provincial development plan through supporting implementation through project development and planning. As an enabler and facilitator for development planning and partnerships, ECSECC will bring to bear its capabilities not only in the sphere of strategy development but also on practical programmes and projects.ECSECC continues to strengthen its knowledge management capacity and is thus providing evidence based policy and strategic advice to the provincial government and its stakeholders.

  11. 2017-2018

    The Eastern Cape has a large and complex public sector, comprising provincial departments and agencies, municipalities, national department activities in the province (such as police, courts and prisons) and state-owned enterprise activities (such as electricity, ports and roads). Public sector activity is a major economic driver in the province, and the main economic driver in the former homeland areas. While there are "pockets of excellence” within the public-sector system, there are serious issues around the poor general quality of public services and the lack of value for money from public-sector expenditures. In some areas there are bloated bureaucracies and in others (such as doctors and nurses) people are over-worked. Interventions are under way to bring down the ratio of compensation of employees to the fiscus, with particular emphasis on scaling down administrative costs

    While the historical reasons for development and underdevelopment in the Eastern Cape remain the main cause of continued low rankings in terms of social and economic development, it is necessary to recognise that institutions of the state, private sector and civil society work in a dynamic, interconnected and fast-changing environment. The current age is transitional and characterised by vulnerability, complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity. That is, we are living in world characterised by rapid change, greater diversity, growing divides, increasing disruptions, higher levels of distrust, realignment of power and sharp contradictions. 

    Technology development is creating major opportunities for innovation and efficiency, as well as new challenges for governance and in the labour market. While there are regional and country-specific conditions, broad global trends indicate that there are major changes in the global economy, the physical environment and, the status and expectations of individuals that needs to be better understood. 

    ECSECC continues to analyse the context to guide strategic decision-making in the province.

    NDP - VISION 2030


    At a glance: the State of the Eastern Cape Province Address

  12. 2019-2020


    " This period is  uncertain and a context where many developmental gains of the past two decades stand to regress. The Covid-19 pandemic that engulfed the world arrived in South Africa in March 2020. Unlike business continuity disruptions that take the form of an event, Covid-19 creates an entirely new operating environment. Locally, the pandemic and the resultant lockdown affects all of ECSECC’s stakeholders and constituencies. The changing contextual environment will continue to alter demands, priorities and operating conditions. 

    In this period ECSECC has shown an ability to respond with speed and agility and has refocused all its work to support the response to the pandemic. The year ahead will further test the agility of the Council, the stakeholder constituencies, and the strength of ECESCC as a stakeholder council and compact. In the year ahead, ECSECC will support the Office of the Premier in stabilising and implementing the strategic agenda for recovery and re-building from the pandemic. As a multi-stakeholder council, ECSECC works to connect people and institutions and facilitate development action, and the work is centred on our value proposition of providing strategic advice for development action across the Eastern Cape. As the world is changing rapidly, ECSECC seeks to be a socio-economic compass that navigates uncertainty; co-creates visions; and puts strategic information to work."

    NDP - VISION 2030

    ECSECC continues to analyse the context to guide strategic decision-making the province.