Minister flags intolerance as obstacle to development

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Intolerance, which has recently been experienced in South Africa, is one of the biggest obstacles to a world free of poverty and inequality, says International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor.

“One of the biggest obstacles to building a world free from poverty and inequality is intolerance. This includes intolerance of other nations, intolerance of our fellow human beings as well as inadequate care for the natural environment that’s sustains us all,” said Pandor on Saturday.

Addressing the General Debate of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at the United Nations (UN) in New York, Pandor said South Africa has not been immune to this.

“Our country has not been immune from evidence of intolerance and division in some parts of our nation, the incidents of violence and looting that erupted in parts of our provinces of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal were regrettable and shameful for a nation with such a proud history of struggle and international solidarity support,” she said.

While not only condemning the incidents seen in recent weeks, government is also working to address security lapses and intolerance that led to the violent incidents.

South Africa also remains committed to tackling crime and lawlessness while also ensuring that criminals are arrested and face the full might of the law.

The country is also addressing immigration challenges while also working with countries on the continent.

“We are also committed to addressing the inadequacy of our immigration administration in order to curb illegal migration and to make sure everyone who comes to South Africa is documented and safe. We plan to work with all countries of the continent to ensure that we implement our development strategies and use them to create increased economic opportunities for all our people so that we diminish feelings of resentment and antipathy.”

In addition South Africa does not condone racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerances.

“South Africa has embraced millions of migrants and refugees from all over the continent of Africa, and the majority of our people have warmly embraced their brothers and sisters from Africa. We are determined to ensure it becomes a national embrace and not one limited to some communities.”

Peace and development

She also assured the world of South Africa’s commitment to work with the rest of the continent in ensuring peace and development.

“We will continue these activities even as we work to address the inadequacies I have referred to. Our country, South Africa, has enjoyed democracy for 25-years, and in that time the leaders and the people of South Africa have consistently acknowledged the immeasurable contribution the people of Africa rendered in support of the struggle against apartheid.”

Gender-based violence, multilateralism

In her address, the Minister also referred to gender-based violence (GBV) as a gruesome form of intolerance with South Africa now taking urgent steps to address the matter.

“All of us need to act urgently to ensure that we all enjoy full access to human rights and bodily security. We also face an existential threat due to our intolerance, disrespect and veritable violence we inflict on the planet which we all depend on.”

However, Pandor said, the UN remains a crucial institution in the fight against intolerance.

“This organisation, however, is a manifestation of the rejection of intolerance. It was created in the aftermath of a devastating world war as a global forum where nations of the world can address differences and work together for the common good of all people,” said the Minister.

South Africa also reaffirmed its backing to the multilateral trading system.

“We strongly believe that a purposive system of multilateralism is necessary to deal with the global challenges we face. We are all inter-dependent in an ever globalising world, and can ill afford the pursuit of narrow self-interests,” she said.

South Africa’s address to the General Assembly fell in the first year of the Nelson Mandela Decade for Peace (2019 to 2028), which was agreed upon last year. –