Deploying troops is not a solution to problems

2017-10-19 06:00

Last week I attended the 7th Annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecturer addressed by Advocate Vasu Gaunden.

He was speaking about what we are choosing as South Africans: Civil war or peace and stability.

He said in 1994 we chose peace regardless of the fights that were happening in KZN between ANC and IFP. And he was part of the solution accord that was signed in 1992.

As he was talking about the civil wars happening in most African states like Burundi, Sudan and Central Africa, I couldn’t stop thinking about the war happening in Philippi East (Marikana), Mannenberg and the war zone of Nyanga. Statistics show that Nyanga alone has more people dying compared to the Southern Sudan Civil war.

I also cringed when I heard that Minister Fikile Mbalula and MEC Dan Plato are planning to deploy soldiers carrying with them AK47s in the midst of claims for a gun free society.

They have missed the plot, since the underlying issue are not being dealt with. This is tantamount to sending troops to Somalia, without trying to find solutions to their problems.

We are a broken society and our solution to our problems have been outlined by Mrs Nosizwe Graca Machel.

Addressing the Dullah Omar Institute memorial lecture, she emphasised that we should have open dialogues and engagement for our problems.

In this O.R Tambo, we reminisce about what he always said: “Let’s continue to engage”. I personally believe our solution will come when we engage. Mama Graca said law enforcement agencies will only create fear and our problems will not be solved.

It’s about time that local ward councillors and civil society organisation create a space for debate. People are expressing anger through violence because there is no space for discussion/dialogue. This is why even the youth are burning schools and libraries because dialogue is not given its due.

Advocate Gaunden spoke about three things: Moral campus, Consciousness and Responsibility. Our moral campus is not alive because we get things that speak to it. Our consciousness is dead, it’s even worse to take responsibility for something that we are not part of. We are told what to do as if we are children, no discussion or conversation.

Thembalethu Qolo Nyanga

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