‘Unite through dialogue’
CHARLENE SOMDUTH firstname.lastname@example.org
COMMUNITY leaders are calling for peace amid the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal. They believe this can be achieved through dialogue, showing compassion and understanding the plight of the Indian and African communities in the province. Ela Gandhi, the granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, said she was calling on people to look at the current situation with compassion. "This is a serious problem across our country. On one hand, some of those people who are looting are doing so as an act of criminality, vandalism, and with a political agenda. On the other hand, we have people who are being motivated to loot because of hunger and poverty. We need to look at both sides and not paint everyone with the same brush." Logie Naidoo, the former Speaker for the eThekwini Municipality, said the anti-social behaviour from all sides needed to stop. "We must remember we have been in the Struggle together to build democracy. Now we need to work with our community and traditional leaders to engage in dialogue to find a solution." Fawzia Peer, PR councillor for ward 31 (comprising of Overport, Sydenham and Musgrave), said civil society had to remain calm and focus on the task of building an inclusive and sustainable economy. "The fault lines in our country related to poverty, unemployment, inequality, and racism are being exploited by lawless elements and we must remain united and steadfast. We must not allow ourselves to be side-tracked in working collectively towards the constitutional aspiration of socio-economic justice, development, dignity, and the well-being of everyone.“ Pastor Mervyn Reddy, the chairperson of the community policing forum in Brookdale and Palmview in Phoenix, said he was engaging with leaders in the Zwelisha Township to find a peaceful solution to the unrest. “Not everyone is a protester. We must remember that some of the people in the Zwelisha community are our babysitters, gardeners, and domestic workers, people we have trusted for years. We have lived side by side for over 30 years. There are troublemakers on both sides." The King of the Zulu nation, MisuZulu kaZwelithini, has also called for peace and an end to tension between Zulus and Indians. "My brothers and sisters, a request asking us, with what's happening between the Zulus and the Indians, that, with immediate effect, it must come to an end. Our Indian brothers are our closest neighbours … We have the second biggest population of Indians in KZN, outside of India, and through that, we have met certain people who have come to us to say thank you to the Zulu people and the Zulu Royal Family that you are living with our Indian brothers in peace. So I appeal to everyone that we embrace the Indians because we share our land with the Indians. And through that, I appeal for peace and I want to thank you." Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the Zulu nation and king's traditional prime minister, has called on all citizens to stand together, to protect each other and to denounce violence and looting.