Story-ideas-1011172

SA Organisations

After xenophobia, now time for introspection

  • 2a-Mary Kluk tightcrop
With calm now having largely been restored in those areas of the country that were recently so hard-hit by xenophobic violence, the focus now is on finding ways to meaningfully address the underlying socio-economic ills that generated the unrest in the first place.
by MARY KLUK | May 05, 2015

South Africans, our own community included, came forward in their numbers to provide crucial short-term assistance to victims of the violence. The challenge now is to facilitate their reintegration into the communities from which they were originally hounded, and for that a broader vision for social upliftment is needed.

To this end, the Board is partnering with SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) in a project that aims not just at addressing the needs of the foreign nationals who were victimised, but also those of the wider community in areas where they live.

Through initiatives such as this, it will hopefully be possible to prevent the recurrence of such tragic social upheavals, which cause such profound harm to the fabric of our society.

This week, Wits student leader Mcebo Dlamini was formally compelled to step down as SRC president, and vacate his position on the SRC itself. His removal was not, in fact, on account of his having declared on Facebook that he “loves” Adolf Hitler and that every white person had an element of Hitler in them, but for previous offences, including assaulting a senior staff member.

The matter of his “Hitler” remarks has since been referred to the Wits legal office for investigation. Shocking though the comments were, and particularly because they emanated not from an ordinary individual but the elected representative of the Wits student body, we have been encouraged by the appropriately emphatic manner in which Wits Vice-Chancellor Prof Adam Habib has repudiated them.

In addition to his written communications to the Wits community, Prof Habib reiterated his sentiments in a radio discussion, which he participated in along with SAJBD National President Zev Krengel.

What came through very clearly was that in lauding Hitler, as well as making racist comments against whites, Dlamini had violated the fundamental values of Wits University.

He further stressed that those holding leadership positions in an organisation, could not make controversial public statements - particularly ones that might well be anticipated to bring that institution into disrepute - and then claim to have simply spoken in their “personal capacity”.

When you hold office in an organisation, as I myself know very well, you are associated in the minds of the public with that body, and hence have a responsibility to weigh one’s public pronouncements carefully. Put another way, one of the prices you pay for holding office is that when it comes to speaking in the public realm, you no longer can claim to have your “own opinion”.

At the time of writing, the announcement of a new Israeli government is expected within the next 48 hours. As with all new beginnings, this represents a time for new ideas and fresh opportunities. We wish the incoming new administration all success, and hope to see in due course the emergence of a new era of dialogue and engagement between its members and our own government.

If we can draw a lesson from recent events in this country, it is that while there should always be room for robust disagreement, this must always be accompanied by a willingness to listen to opposing views and a sense of respect for those who hold them. It is this essential civility that has largely disappeared from public discourse in our country. All of us, starting with our own everyday interactions with our fellow South Africans, have to do whatever we can to bring it back. 

Comment

  1. RadEditor - HTML WYSIWYG Editor. MS Word-like content editing experience thanks to a rich set of formatting tools, dropdowns, dialogs, system modules and built-in spell-check.
    RadEditor's components - toolbar, content area, modes and modules
       
    Toolbar's wrapper 
     
    Content area wrapper
    RadEditor's bottom area: Design, Html and Preview modes, Statistics module and resize handle.
    It contains RadEditor's Modes/views (HTML, Design and Preview), Statistics and Resizer
    Editor Mode buttonsStatistics moduleEditor resizer
      
    RadEditor's Modules - special tools used to provide extra information such as Tag Inspector, Real Time HTML Viewer, Tag Properties and other.
       

Injure

 

Follow us on

Newsletter