Zuma encourages cohesion among communities

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has called for greater cohesion among Cape Town's Coloured and African Communities.

"We must begin to make the divisions between the Coloured and African communities here a thing of the past," said President Jacob Zuma, at a festival to mark the 35th anniversary of Mitchell's Plein on Saturday

"We are one people and no one should make us despise one another," said the President.

He said while this was not an easy task given the years of division, unity was possible and achievable.

President Zuma encouraged the community, as it celebrated the occasion in song and dance into the evening, to always remember where they came from as a people.

"We must hold in high regard the values of cohesion and unity that we have yearned for over many years of apartheid.

"We must celebrate the fact that apartheid segregation did not break our spirit and that we still walk tall and know exactly what we want for our country and our continent," he said.

He challenged each person to feel at home in Khayelitsha or Mitchell's Plein and even at Strandfontein and other places, regardless of whether they stayed there or not, as well as revive the popular cultures of jazz, dance, social clubs.

"Cape Town is a very cosmopolitan city, whose diversity we should all cherish and enjoy, above all, we must make this area a safe haven for our communities, particularly our elderly, women and children."

Mitchell's Plein, as well as other communities, need a lot of attention, said Zuma, adding that poverty, unemployment, domestic violence, abuse as well as crime must be attended to with much vigour by all spheres of government.

He said it was fortunate that Mitchell's Plein and Khayelitsha already had a good track record in the fight against crime.

"We know that the communities of Mitchell's Plein and Khayelitsha have taken a strong stance against drugs and gangsterism, and you have government's full support."

He paid tribute to the Mervyn Jacobs and Vincent Naidoo, two street committee members who paid the ultimate price in the fight against crime.

"In their memory, let us continue to battle to keep our communities safer by working with law enforcement agencies to fight crime," said Zuma.

He said government was working to change the apartheid landscape and provide services to the people to ease their socio-economic burden.

"We met with mayors from all over the country in Khayelitsha a week ago, in that meeting we emphasized the need for improved and faster service delivery. This is what we are working on and we are establishing mechanisms to monitor all departments to ensure that undertakings are acted upon," said President Zuma.