Johannesburg – Equality is the key to achieving social cohesion, says Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
Speaking at the Social Cohesion Summit at the Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication in Kliptown, Soweto, on Wednesday, the minister said that for social cohesion to become a reality, equality needed to be understood and practised.
Dlamini Zuma and other ministers addressed the summit after President Jacob Zuma opened the summit and political parties had made presentations of their role in building a socially inclusive society.
Earlier, the summit had heard about the role the judiciary, Parliament, legislatures and councils had in achieving such a society.
“It doesn’t augur well for social cohesion if there are still people who feel they are superior to others. Unfortunately if we don’t deal with these issues, we will not get social cohesion… There are still people who feel they are superior because they belong to a particular race,” she added.
The minister said equality should equate to equality for everyone, regardless of gender. “Males should not feel more superior or more entitled to anything than females.”
Dlamini Zuma added that social cohesion meant that minorities also needed to integrate with others instead of always wanting to be treated separately or differently.
The minister said when it came to the economy, sharing in wealth was an important issue.
“Sharing in wealth is still outstanding. We should share in whatever the wealth of the country is. Not only in wages but there should also be sharing in the terms of access to education, health, the law, [among others],” she added.
Justice Minister Jeff Radebe noted that one of the goals of social cohesion was equality.
He stressed that there was a need for equality for people across race, genders and culture lines, with particular emphasis being placed on the participation of women in all spheres of life
Radebe acknowledged that crime hindered free and open social integration as it forced people to hide behind high walls and security gates.
Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile said partnerships were important when striving for social cohesion as it could not be achieved by government alone.
There needed to be partnerships between government, civil society, political parties, non-governmental organisations and the religious sector, among others, he said. – SAnews.gov.za