Welcome to Ecumenical Service for Socio-Economic Transformation Website


Church has been central to the lives of many people
It shapes behavior, facilitates celebration, comfort us when we are hurting, educate, train leaders & musicians, sustain families, run charity programs and deal with spiritual matters. The time has come for the church to deal with economic challenges.

Church leaders who were involved in the fight against apartheid were aware that democracy is not going to autometically benefit everyone. They new that after the political freedom we needed to work towards achiving economic justice. They saw the church as a vital role player that must fight the economic injustice. So they established ESSET to mobilise the church and build its capacity to be a prophetic voice, be in solidarity with the poor and run practical economic alternative programs.

 Latest News & Announcements

Theme: The Church and Gender Equality …… What progress has been made?

Any form of gender injustices that continues to afflict women is a major challenge that needs to be met. Reverend Monwabisi Mcophela, Justice and Theology officer at ESSET and an Ordained Minister of United Congregational church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) explains what steps must be taken to deal with this problem.

The Church and gender equality is a blasphemy to the gospel of Jesus Christ. A lot has been said in our assemblies, Synods, presbytery and Bishops Conferences or Regional conferences, however very little has been done to address these unjust imbalances. The fact that the majority of our citizens live in fear of all kinds of abuses and violence can no longer be tolerated by a nation that prides itself as a Christian majority.

Read more


ESSET Fundraising Lecture Gala Dinner
24th OCTOBER 2013

Please complete Booking Form and e-mail to ESSET by 1st October 2013

Book Now Click Here


    Dear Pastors, Bishops, church leaders, Youth leaders, Bafundisi, Baprofeti,                                                                                                                                                       
                                                     Dorcas, Zwelonke, women groups, church activists and social justice movements

                                            RE: INVITATION TO A PUBLIC DIALOGUE
THEME: Church and Gender Equality ……… What progress has been made?

The Ecumenical service for socio economic transformation (ESSET) would like to invite you to participate on this public dialogue that will be held on the 28 August 2013.   The Ecumenical service for socio economic is an independent organisation that works for social and economic justice against the systematic exclusion and exploitation of the poor.

As an organisation committed to socio economic justice, ESSETs role goes beyond mere poverty alleviation programmes that only deal with the symptoms of unjust systems. Its work instead is about striving for socio economic transformation by challenging socio economic processes, systems and structures that undermine the life and dignity of poor people. Its mission is to advocate for social and economic justice by committing to being in solidarity with the poor in their struggles as they act in resistance to their marginalisation and oppression. Our focus this month is on women.

Read more


Re: ESSET 2 Day Workshop on the legal framework for informal trade                                                            

The Ecumenical Service for Socio-Economic Transformation – (ESSET) would be hosting a two days’ workshop on the Legal framework for informal trade. The workshop will be attended by 30 women informal traders from three provinces of South Africa-: Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape. The workshop is scheduled to take place in Johannesburg on the 04th – 05th August 2013. The workshop is the first phase of the ESSET project titled-: Boosting the economic and political empowerment of working class women.”

The South African Department of Trade and Industry found that 3.5 million poor and unemployed people were engaged in survivalist economic activities in 2004 . It means that approximately 19.4% of the 18 million people who lived in poverty in 2004 eked out their livelihood from survivalist economic activities, underscoring the point that survivalist enterprises are an important coping strategy for the jobless poor. The considerable importance placed by poor black women on low-income earning survivalist economic activities, such as street trade and small scale informal cross-border trade, begs the question:

Read more


Re: Change of leadership at ESSET
15 July 2013 

Dear Partners and Friends

Greetings from the Board of ESSET.

2013 has been a momentous year for ESSET with significant changes taking place in the life of the organisation.  ESSET’s Board of Directors would like to bring you up to date with those changes, and inform you of the steps ahead for ESSET in the remainder of 2013.

At the start of 2013, the Board appointed a new Executive Director, to take over the leadership of the organisation following the resignation of Thembela Njenga in November 2012.  The new Director was Rabana Modisane, who commenced his employment with ESSET in February 2013.  Rabana was appointed to the position with a period of probation, as the Board was aware that the nature of ESSET's work – as well as the size of the organisation – requires close work as a staff team, and significant levels of trust and alignment within the team.  It was envisaged that the probation period would allow this to develop as a sound foundation for the further growth of the organisation.

The organisation has been very fortunate to have staff members who carry the strategic heart of ESSET, who are passionate about its mission in our current context, and respectfully work with a range of formations of the poor and marginalised as they explore options for livelihoods against enormous odds. 

At an extraordinary meeting of the Board in June 2013, the members of the Board took the unanimous decision to appoint one of the current and long-standing staff members as the Acting Director of ESSET, as this will ensure the continuity of the strategic direction of the organisation. 

We, therefore, would like to inform you that Mrs Sonto Magwaza has been appointed Acting Director of ESSET with effect from July 2013.  We are excited about this appointment, and as the organization we look forward to working with Sonto as we collectively give further direction to the organisation.  Sonto has worked for a number of years with ESSET's key constituency and has helped to shape and inform the critical programmatic choices ESSET has made in recent years.  It is this grounding in the strategic work of ESSET that Sonto will ensure remains at the centre of the organisation, and will give the organisation its vibrancy as it responds to the challenges ahead of it.


We look forward to your ongoing relationship with ESSET, and will keep you updated as we take the next steps in our journey.

Yours Sincerely

Duduzile Radebe
Board Chairperson


Dear church Leaders, Church Ministers, Pastors, Bishops, Archbishops and Prophets, Ministries, Ministers Fraternal, Provincial Councils of Churches and Dorcas (women Groups)

Re: Invitation to A Public Theological dialogue

The Ecumenical service for socio economic transformation (ESSET) would like to invite you, to be part of this public theological dialogue that will be held on the 7 May 2013.   The Ecumenical service for socio economic is an independent organisation that works for social and economic justice against the systematic exclusion and exploitation of the poor.

Read more

Latest Updates

ESSET’s Response to the 2013 National Budget Speech
The Ecumenical Service for Socio-Economic Transformation (ESSET), an independent ecumenical organization that works for social and economic justice, welcomes Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan’s unadventurous 2013 Budget speech which was presented yesterday amidst slow economic growth and huge budget deficit. 

Read more

Let us stand up and put a stop to violence on women
The Ecumenical Service for Socio-Economic Transformation (ESSET) could like to call on all the people of faith and all sectors of society to stand up and put a stop to the senseless rapes and cold-hearted murder of women and girls. 

Read more

ESSET’s response to the State of the Nation Address 2013
President Jacob Zuma’s fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) presented last Thursday (14 February 2013) simply lacked inspiration. President Zuma missed the opportunity to use the occasion as platform to inspire confidence by providing the solutions to the many challenges confronting the nation. Instead, all he gave us was a bland version of previous SONAs, which provides no hope for our country. 

Read more




Published Works

Featured IssueRead moreDaily Bread Digest 2012 Volume II

Special Dinner Lecture in Honour of Dr Naude

ESSET Public Seminar Report

Daily Bread Digest 2012 Volume I

  Partners & Funders
Line Break (Shift + Enter)

Follow Us

ESSET Facebook ESSET Blog Twitter LinkedIn

Contact Us


+27 (0)11 833 1190


6th Floor, Khotso House
62 Marshall Street
South Africa


P.O. Box 62098

Subscribe to Newsletter

© 2010 ESSET - Ecumenical Service for Socio-Economic Transformation - South Africa
Home   |   About Us   |   What We Do   |   People   |   Resources   |   Contact Us