SA society remains divided

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Despite positive strides made in the country since 1994, the South African society remains divided, says Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

“The privilege attached to race, class, space and gender has not yet been fully reversed. The social, psychological and geographic elements of apartheid continue to shape the lives and outlook of many South Africans,” Mthethwa said.

The Minister made these remarks on Thursday in Tshwane at the Social Compact Convention, aimed at building a society that works together to deal with the key challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

“The task before us today however is to put a seal to the mechanism that will ensure that all sectors of society are mobilised so that they too contribute meaningfully and optimally to this important national project on social cohesion and nation building. That social mechanism of engagement is what we now refer to as social compact,” he said.

The Social Compact Convention is part of the Social Cohesion and Nation Building Strategy.

“Through the social compact business, government, labour and civil society will agree to work together to bring about future change. It will reaffirm the importance of freedom, peace and security as well as the respect for all human rights,” Mthethwa said.

He said the social compact will create a common front in overcoming the nation’s challenges.

“It also seeks to make every South African an agent for positive change. It will contribute to our long term development. The rationale for the social compact convention comes upon the realisation that no single sector, including government, can single-handedly succeed in the goal towards a socially integrated and inclusive society.

“That is, for South Africa to become a socially integrated and inclusive society, the different sectors in society need to make commitments and hold each other to account,” he said.

The Minister said the commitment in building a non-racial, non-sexist, free and democratic society is an integral part of the Preamble of the Constitution of South Africa.

“The National Development Plan (NDP) envisions a type of society in 2030 that would embrace its diversity rather than reify phenotypical human differences. Such a society, as envisioned in the NDP will have a common set of values, an inclusive economy, and increased social interaction among the different racial groups.

“The NDP also envisions a visibly strong leadership cadre across society buttressed by a mobilized, active and responsible citizenry,” he said.

The social compact is aimed at promoting national unity, cohesion and nation building.

The strategic objectives of the compact are focused on inviting all sectors of the society to play a role in the following:

  • Advancing constitutional democracy, human rights and equality;
  • Promoting non-racialism, non-sexism, equality and human solidarity;
  • Building unity amongst South Africans, as well as with the region, continent and the international community; and
  • Encouraging healing of individuals and communities.
  • Social; cohesion can never be separated from Economic justice. -