Dr Imtiaz Sooliman was on Tuesday named Social Justice Champion for 2021 at the third Social Justice Summit held at Stellenbosch University.
The Summit is held annually, and aims to reflect on the state of social justice in the country. 2021 saw a focus on economic inequality and the impact of the corona virus, with one-size-fits-all solutions being criticised, and the aim for a real-time social justice matrix being formulated to assess real needs of communities at a local level.
Other speakers at the summit, included former Constitutional Court Justice Edwin Cameron, who praised the rollout of Anti-retroviral as lifesaving, and South Africa’s programme as tremendously exceptional.
Sooliman said, “These last two years, all the credit goes to my team. They are working 24/7/365. They are driven by one thing — helping.” Sooliman also gave thanks to ordinary South Africans, whose donations ensure the smooth and sustainable running of Gift of the Givers, and for continuously encouraging Gift of the Givers volunteers.
Sooliman, a medical doctor by profession, started the Gift of the Givers organization in 1992, and was provided South Africa’s order of the Baobab for his service to humanity. Gift of the Givers remains one of the largest disaster relief organizations on the African continent, and was one of the first to directly receive funds from the South African government for humanitarian work domestically.
South Africa continues to remain one of the most unequal countries globally, with the Coronavirus contributing to large job-losses and increased poverty.