KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Sihle Zikalala, says it is only when communities are prepared to expose those within their own families, who are involved in criminal activities, that the scourge of crime in the country can finally be dealt with.
Zikalala made the remarks during the memorial service of 13 people, who were from UMzimkhulu, KwaZulu-Natal. The 13 were among 16 people who were shot and killed at Mdlalose’s Tavern in Nomzamo informal settlement, Soweto, two weeks ago.
The memorial service followed several deadly incidents that took place at taverns, including Enyobeni in East London, where 21 young people died. Almost two weeks ago, a mass shooting occurred at Samukelisiwe Tavern in Sweetwaters, Pietermaritzburg, where 12 patrons were shot at randomly, leading to the death of four people.
According to Police Minister, Bheki Cele, at least 130 AK47 cartridges were discovered after the tragic shooting at Mdlalose’s Tavern.
Speaking at the memorial service held in UMzimkhulu Hall on Wednesday, Zikalala warned that violence in society has the potential to derail the programme of delivering a better life for all, and undermines the achievements made by the democratic government since 1994.
“As we gather here at this memorial service, we are called on to be vigilant and to jealously guard our hard won peace. KwaZulu-Natal and indeed our country simply cannot afford the violence and murders. We must give peace and development a chance,” Zikalala said.
Zikalala emphasised that citizens must work side by side to eradicate the culture of violence and bloodshed, and create a new “model man and woman who frown upon violence and intimidation”.
He said that now is the moment to seize the day to create safer, stable and thriving communities, where young people have an array of choices for recreational activities.
More importantly, Zikalala said, efforts must be doubled transform and deracialise the economy to ensure that black people in general and Africans in particular also have meaningful participation in the country of their birth.
“This means that we must create opportunities for the rural youth of KwaZulu-Natal in the villages and townships where they are raised. It is clear that lack of opportunities and rural poverty continue to push poor youth to move to bigger cities, like Durban and Johannesburg, in search of economic opportunities.
“Nearly three decades into freedom and democracy, it is clear that our country still has to overcome apartheid spatial planning, rural poverty, and exploitative labour migration that has been the backbone of the colonial and apartheid economy,” Zikalala said.
Youth urged to take full advantage of opportunities
Meanwhile, Zikalala urged young people to take full advantage of the opportunities that the democratic State is providing to educate and skill them from grade R, all the way to institutions of higher learning.
He said the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government has identified youth skilling, youth economic empowerment, as well as youth employment as an urgent priority.
“Education and skills are fundamental to self-development, and we urge all young people of UMzimkhulu and the Harry Gwala District to make use of them,” the Premier said.
He said government will continue to support initiatives to grow youth employment in KwaZulu-Natal and support youth entrepreneurs through initiatives including Operation Vula, KwaZulu-Natal Youth Development Fund, support for the township and rural economy, the Black Industrialist Programme, set-asides for women and youth and 30% of public procurement going to young people.
“We appeal to all the youth of this province to stand up and look for these opportunities. We also implore the private sector in KwaZulu-Natal to do more to support youth development and economic empowerment.” – SAnews.gov.za