While calm has returned to KwaZulu-Natal following last month’s civil unrest, concerted efforts are underway to resort peace and stability, says KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala.
In the wake of last month’s violent scenes, which claimed over 330 lives, the province and national government’s security cluster marshalled in resources to restore stability.
“It is our priority to bring peace and stability,” said Zikalala, while updating the public on the law enforcement and social cohesion interventions in Phoenix following the chaotic scenes of two weeks ago. Thirty-six people were killed in the township.
The second priority, he said, was to provide relief and support to the process of rebuilding with “immediate but lasting effect”.
“We are assessing the impact of civil unrest and compiling our comprehensive report to the National Disaster Management Centre,” he said, adding that this would assist and support the provincial government submission for the declaration of the state of disaster.
While figures were not final, Zikalala said costs incurred in various provincial departments was about R2 billion and R34 million for municipalities.
“These figures are not final and are expected to grow as we consolidate our report. In line with what the minister said, ours in his regard is to ensure stability. That must be a program that is sustainable,” he said on Tuesday.
He emphasized the need to build harmony and coexistence among citizens, especially in the area of Phoenix and surroundings.
In 2017, the provincial government hosted the Social Cohesion and Moral Regeneration summit. Since then, a Social Cohesion and Moral Regeneration Council, which includes prominent members of society, had been formed.
The key objectives of this is to develop a comprehensive provincial strategy. The strategy, said Zikalala, would address feelings of marginalisation and exclusion based on race. It would also address the perception that foreign and other African nationals, are benefiting more than local citizens from the economy.
He said that sustainable solutions are needed “to bring about radical socio economic transformation to address socio economic inequalities that prevail”.
Also speaking at the briefing, Police Minister Bheki Cele said while much ground had been covered on the security front in Phoenix, “crucial work” to rebuild trust between communities is underway.
He extended his appreciation to the work of the Peace Committee that was set up in the wake of the crimes.
The forum consists of members of Bhambayi, Zwelisha, Umaoti, Inanda and Phoenix areas.
He said: “It is these determined and committed women and men who raised their hands to be part of the solution, in the face of adversity.
“They stand together against the divisions sowed among the people of this area.”
The forum worked with the South African Police Service in facilitating the reporting of cases of missing persons.
The Minister said the forum has been at the forefront of assisting bereaved families to identify the remains of their loved ones at the Phoenix government mortuary.
“This Peace Committee is playing a vital role in ensuring that the communities they represent are kept abreast with information at all times. This Peace Committee saw the light at a time when there was only darkness, despair and hopelessness.
Together, they put aside their differences and worked towards the same goal. They have shown us the way forward,” said the Minister. – SAnews