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Jonathan Brady
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Cohesion in KZN: more than a social issue

06 July 2014, 17:03

So the aspect of social cohesion has once again been mandated, this time by provincial government in Kwa-Zulu Natal. The Special Committee on social cohesion has been created for sole purpose of identifying challenges to, and investigating the possibilities for social cohesion in KZN. This was laid bare for all to see when both Senzo Mnchunu and Jeff Radebe echoed the need for this at a Nelson Mandela Memorial held at UKZN's Wstville campus late last year  

That said; the aspect of socio-economic equality and access to opportunity is one which has been raised by Senzo Mnchunu in his recent state of the province address,necessitating poverty eradication and job creation as primary objectives. 

Chaired by Dr. Paulus Zulu (Director of the Maurice Webb Race Relations Unit at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal since 2002), the special commission is grounded with the depth of experience and maturity in filtering meaningful from unconditioned contrfibutions

thee are however, vehemently contested issues which are to be undoubtedly raised in written submissions. The laments of many exploited African workers under the ambit of big businesses and powerful corporations has been openly expressed, and to the detriment of our economy in recent months. KZN is no exception to this as the exploitation of workers has been attested to by activists from various sectors of society.

Surprisingly, the infamous Mazibuye African Forum has been uncovering unjust labour conditions in some remote areas of KZN, where education and awareness of social and legal rights are lacking, and used to the advantage of empolyers, with some employees earning less than R30.00 a day. If such claims are grounded in truth then it signals not only malpractice but also dehumanizing aspects by business and employers in our province. 

Zweli Sangweni, the lead activist of the forum, has been accused of racializing the agenda of the forum by attacking minority groups which are economically prominent in Durban and the greater surrounds. Even so, the Mazibuye Forum has been one of the main groups advocating for social cohesion, maintaining regular contact with provincial officials. 

Recent activities by the Forum include advocating for maths and science programs in rural and township areas, in conjunction with privileged schools. Actions like this denote foresight aimed at socio-eonomic development and equality over the longterm, and are worthy of collective contribution from all sectors or groups of society. 

Civil society, business, ethnic minorities and race groups alike will likely contribute to the [special] commission. conflicting views are bound to arise in a considerable number of submissions. No doubt because social-cohesion itself will undeniably rest on economic upliftment of African and other non white groups, this commission is bound to deal with numerous of aspects relating to working conditions and the local business environment. 

Perhaps given the failure of development programs by government in the past, community participation has been mandated by the premier in an attempt to foster contributions and perspectives which are grounded in daily experience. Social mobility and harmonious existence in our relatively new democracy are indivisible, especially as the country looks to solidify itself on the global map while moving beyond systemic poverty based on racial division.

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