KZN to host social cohesion summit

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Pretoria - The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government is set to convene a two-day Social Cohesion and Moral Regeneration Summit.

Held under the theme, ‘Deepening Social Cohesion and Moral Regeneration towards a United and Prosperous KwaZulu-Natal and Nation Building’, the summit will start on Thursday. It is an opportunity to reflect on the latest attacks against foreign nationals in KwaMashu and various parts of the province.

Violence protest broke out in the Durban township this week after rumours of fake and unsubstantiated reports about children being kidnapped for the sale of their body parts by foreign nationals in the area.

“We cannot deny that the recent ongoing political killings, instabilities we witnessed at Glebelands hostel in KwaMashu and racial incidents such as the Penny Sparrow [episode] show that our social cohesion efforts still lag behind.

“This proves that a lot of work still needs to be done in order to rebuild our moral fibre and fight social ills. We want to use this summit to instil long-lasting measures that will rebuild our society, promote social inclusion, nation building and help to eradicate racism,” said KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu on Wednesday.

The summit will see the development of a comprehensive provincial social cohesion and moral regeneration strategy. The strategy will, among others, address issues such as feelings of marginalisation and exclusion, based on race, from participating and benefiting from social and economic opportunities, and perceptions that foreign and African nationals are benefiting more than local citizens. The strategy will also seek to deal with violence directed towards foreign nationals based on such perceptions.

It will further address the declining moral fibre, which aggravates social ills, political intolerance and politically related violence. Sustainable solutions to bring about radical socio-economic transformation will also be table at the summit.

The summit will be attended by political parties, organised labour, traditional and religious leaders. It will be addressed by leading figures in the Social Cohesion and Moral Regeneration movements such as Judge Navi Pillay, Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa and former SA Ambassador to the United Nations, Welile Nhlapho.

The summit comes on the heels of the provincial Reference Group on Migration and Community Integration Report, which was commissioned to investigate the causes of xenophobic attacks and threats to social cohesion in KwaZulu-Natal.

The mandate of the reference group was to assess reported causes and socio-economic impacts of attacks against foreign nationals, which occurred between March and May in 2015.

The reference group found that the triple challenge of poverty, socio-economic inequality and unemployment contributed to an environment of heightened tensions within and between many communities.

The resulting tensions were then exploited by individuals or groups with narrow self-interests and this contributed to violence. -

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