Zuma stands by promise made to minority communities

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma is expected to meet with Greek, Cypriot, Italian and Portuguese minority communities living in South Africa, later this evening.

The event is a follow up to last year's meeting, where these communities raised a number of challenges and constraints that affect their constituency. 

At that meeting, the President had said he would return to the communities with a response to their concerns within the first three months of his Presidency.

Hellenic, Italian and Portuguese Alliance (HIP) Chairperson Stavros Nicolaou, said he was impressed that the President had upheld his promise.

"His office contacted me within the first six weeks of his Presidency with a date for this meeting. This commitment and keeping promises goes a long way to developing confidence amongst our country's citizens," said Mr Nicolaou.

He said that chief among the concerns raised at the previous meeting were safety and security, South Africa's response to the economic crisis, healthcare delivery and the impending National Health Insurance, Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment and affirmative action among others.

They also wanted to know how minority communities could be bought into the mainstream of political life in South Africa.

Mr Nicolaou said the issues mirrored the challenges of the kaleidoscope of communities that make up the country.

"The President wants outcome driven measures and wants to forge partnerships. The focus of the meeting will be to determine how these partnerships can be formed," he said.

Representatives from the South African Lebanese community, as well as a number of other leading South Africans from business and other walks of life will also be in attendance, while the President will be accompanied by ministers from the economic, security and social clusters.

The meeting will be held in the form of an Imbizo.