Police can't do it all - KZN Premier Mchunu

2017-06-01 19:14
KZN Premier Willies Mchunu (City Press).

KZN Premier Willies Mchunu (City Press).

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Durban - KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu on Thursday defended police for criminal acts that the community could have prevented.

"We need not point fingers at the police since the police are not necessarily present when crimes are committed," Mchunu said while addressing the Social Cohesion and Moral Regeneration Summit in KwaMashu.

The police are not present when people stab each other, when men beat women indoors, when men rape, when a girl returns from school with a cellphone even though there was no money to buy even a loaf of bread, and when the mother won't ask questions, he said.

"It is up to us as communities to report crime and give evidence where it is needed," he said.

Similarly, communities must work with the police to clamp down on the massive abuse of drugs in schools and villages, Mchunu said.

Racism blocking transformation

Mchunu told delegates who attended the summit, which was set to conclude on Friday, that racism was also an issue that was not only a threat to democracy "but a barrier toward transforming SA to a non-racial future".

He said racism must be seen as one of the most serious violations of human rights, "given the incalculable damage racism inflicts.

"We have to fight ethnicity, prejudice and racism as it raises its ugly head in all its forms. Racism weakens the fabric of our society and erodes the trust and the optimism on which economic growth depends. It needs to be addressed with the seriousness it deserves," Mchunu said.

He said the summit should ensure that there was a long term plan focusing on improving race relations.

The values of non-racialism and non-sexism are central to our democratic values and principles, he said.

"We must do more to guarantee that South Africa belongs to all who live in it and that we are united by our diversity. Importantly, civil and political rights mean little if they are not accompanied by socio-economic freedom," Mchunu said.

He said various threats to social cohesion were multi-dimensional and mutually reinforcing.

"Structural socio-economic challenges do not only constitute the foundation of threats to social cohesion, but also influence, perpetuate and exacerbate distinct institutional and societal threats," he said.

Addressing xenophobia

The premier also condemned the recent xenophobic attacks in KwaMashu after protesters looted shops belonging to foreign nationals.

The attacks came after claims were made on social media that foreigners had abducted about three children in the township.

"I would therefore like to state upfront and unequivocally that we reject all acts of violence and xenophobic attacks such as the ones that took place here in KwaMashu and other areas in eThekwini earlier this week," he said.

These incidents would be addressed with decisiveness not just in this summit, but in a programmatic manner going forward, Mchunu promised.

"We cannot afford incidents of this nature to tarnish our reputation as a city, as a province and for that matter as a country."

Mchunu urged guests to emerge from the summit with a clear plan aimed at ensuring that many communities, across all racial lines, participate in activities that are aimed at celebrating culture, heritage and national days reflected in the country's calendar.

Unity could be achieved if national days such as Diwali, Rosh Hashan, Eid, Umkhosi WokweShwama and Ramadan, were celebrated by all, he said.

"We remain concerned about the lack of representation of all racial groups in our national days such as Human Rights Day, Freedom Day, Heritage and Day of Reconciliation to name but a few."

Mchunu revealed that a Social Cohesion and Moral Regeneration Council would be established to monitor the implementation of programmes through the structures government has established for the rollout of Operation Sukuma Sakhe.

"We are proposing that this council should meet regularly and be attended by members of the Provincial Executive Council, mayors, municipal managers and other key stakeholders drawn from civil society, traditional and religious leadership."

Mchunu said social cohesion and moral regeneration programmes must be rolled out after the summit "to heal the deep scars clearly visible on different communities.

"These scars are displayed through high levels of intolerance we often see in public spaces and others we read about in the media."

Read more on:    willies mchunu  |  durban  |  xenophobia  |  protests  |  crime

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