The Free State government will host the provincial Social Sector Summit with nongovernment organisations on Thursday (31/01) and Friday (01/02) to discuss means to improve ties and tackle challenges. The summit forms part of the Social Protection and Community Development Cluster. It takes place at Kopano Nokeng in Bloemfontein.The interactive summit’s theme is “Strengthening partnerships with the social sector towards poverty alleviation”. Nthabiseng Diphoko, assistant director: media liaison, said the interactive summit will reflect on a variety of issues and deliberate on the approach to the national Social Sector Summit which stakeholders plan to convene afterwards. She said the provincial sector summits are planned for different provinces. Diphoko said the two-day provincial summit will seek to improve the interface between the state and civil society and address the challenges that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community-based organisations (CBOs) face. According to her, over 300 participants from civil society organisations and social sector departments are expected to attend the two-day summit to be addressed by Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela and MEC of Social Development Butana Komphela.Diphoko said the summit will culminate in nominations of 120 candidates to represent the Free State at the national Social Sector Summit planned to be held soon. The provincial Social Sector Summit will be informed by a specific framework.Mechanisms to expedite the full attainment of the resolutions of the national Social Sector Summit 2012 are in the following areas: resource mobilisation; fragmentation in the regulatory framework; transformation of the sector (accessibility of quality services and employment equity); and capacity support. Diphoko said stakeholders will also look at possibilities to develop and agree on mechanisms to improve the interface between and beyond government to include the legislature, state-owned entities (SOEs), the judiciary, regulatory agencies and organs set up to promote democracy and civil society.According to Diphoko, the provincial Social Sector Summit will lay the basis for more responsive and effective collaboration to deliver on the promise of a better life for all South Africans, by ensuring that commitments are clear and precise, that they strengthen existing initiatives and develop new ones to tackle the challenges faced by the partners. According to Diphoko, the provincial Social Sector Summit will lay the basis for more responsive and effective collaboration to deliver on the promise of a better life for all South Africans.