The FPD publishes working papers, monographs, books, opinion pieces and articles. It also holds public roundtables and meetings to generate discussion and dialogue about issues of importance to South Africa's transformation towards socioeconomic equality and prosperity.
The aim of the FPD's research is to create a body of reliable, high quality applied research for targeted audiences to use in decision-making, education, training and advocacy about issues of importance to South Africa's future. As appropriate and relevant, the FPD will partner with other organisations to achieve its goals.
Effective policy analysis and advocacy often depend upon empirical research. The FPD's research includes targeted national opinion surveys and focus groups that take seriously the voices of the people. In this regard the FPD sometimes works in collaboration with key stakeholders and implementing partners such as the Community Agency for Social Enquiry.
Future FPD projects will include public discussions but these will not simply be one-off events. Discussions and other outputs will be packaged for different audiences and promulgated repeatedly in order to widen the debate and knowledge. The use of communications technologies including podcasts and You Tube are just two ways in which the FPD intends to reach broader audiences. The FPD's technological innovation research will also look at ways in which research and information reaches beyond decision-makers to the citizens at large.
Beneficiaries of the FPD's research include policymakers, universities and institutions of higher learning, academics, businesses, political organisations, trade unions, government, embassies and civil society organisations.
“With the threatening disintegration of Cosatu, what are the implications for South Africa and the economy? One of the most important labour federations in history Cosatu has played a crucial role in forging a rights-based industrial relations system, championing democratisation, and it has been a critical voice for workers. Today, the future of Cosatu is uncertain. Some suggest that the crisis of Cosatu is typical of postcolonial labour movements in Africa; but there is no doubt that this crisis has many on edge, especially in the current economic climate. Analysts and commentators in the media, in academia, in business and even those in the labour movement have already proclaimed the death of Cosatu.
Through the work of leading labour scholars and political analysts, Cosatu in Crisis provides an extraordinarily engaged analysis of the underlying causes of the federation’s crisis, and provides crucial perspectives on why organised labour is key to understanding the future of Alliance politics, industrial relations and democracy.
At a presentation at Gordon School of Business Science (GIBS) in Johannesburg on 29 August 2013 several key findings of the FPD/CASE survey of COSATU Shop Stewards were presented by Professor Edward Webster of SWOT at the University of Witwatersrand, FPD Chairman Moeletsi Mbeki and CASE Executive Director, Mohamed Motala.
The full report is available for sale from The FPD. The FPD/CASE Shop Steward Survey provides evidence-based quantitative research to underpin analysis of the transforming socio-economic trends as they impact South Africa's future stability. This survey of 2 052 COSATU Shop Stewards is a follow-on study to a similar one commissioned and funded by COSATU in 1991. The 2012 study was funded independently by the FPD and carried out by the Community Agency for Social Enquiry (CASE).
The Forum for Public Dialogue (the FPD) is an independent, not-for-profit, Section 21 South African think tank with no political affiliation. The FPD encourages and facilitates robust public debate about potential threats to South Africa's democracy and socio-economic transformation. Founded in 2012, the FPD conducts high-impact research with a focus on strong democratic institutions, political pluralism, and free competition of ideas informed by high quality analysis.
In the last three years FPD has been instrumental in bringing out successful research products. FPD has realised that the Think Tank arena is a highly contested environment and believes that its focus needs to be changed from a research based organisation to a dialogue facilitator as a more robust and efficient methodology to support democratic debate and change.
As public engagement dialogue and contestation is at an all-time low, and traditional dialogue forums like Nedlac are in a state of implosion. In addition the business community is anxious and the space for them to engage the state is dwindling fast as a cosnequence of self-censorship, patronage and interest conflicts. In this environment, traditional research agencies and Think Tanks are often unable or unwilling to ask the hard political, economic, social questions.
There is an urgent necessity for dialogue in South Africa. The country is at crossroads and there have been new developments which need the attention and intervention of citizens in the form of facilitated debate, opinion sharing and the disciplined search for common ground.