South Africa

KZN still on track to rebuild after July 2021 unrest

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said the July 2021 social unrest had left many households in untold pain and despair.

Zikalala made the remarks on the first anniversary of July’s civil unrest, in which 354 people lost their lives.

The Prime Minister launched “Operation Siyahlola” on Friday to assess progress in rebuilding and rehabilitating sites that were destroyed during the unrest and looting that took place last year.

The operation included a visit to businesses in uMlazi, KwaMashu, Nandi Drive and Springfield Park, where the Prime Minister assessed the damage inflicted on businesses.

Some of the businesses rose from the ashes of the destruction and resumed operations.

Speaking to the media on what the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government, together with business partners, is doing to rebuild the province, Zikalala said just when the province thought it had weathered the storm, the April floods reminded citizens, once again, how vulnerable they are. to the vagaries of rapidly changing global weather patterns.

“These external shocks had a severe socio-economic impact on the KwaZulu-Natal economy, resulting in weak economic growth and unemployment exceeding the 30% mark in the third quarter of 2020.

“Poverty levels had risen sharply so far and billions of rands have been wiped out of the economy due to infrastructure damage, business liquidations and loss of household income,” Zikalala said. .

Rise from the ashes

Despite the obvious socio-economic issues facing the province, Zikalala said the key trends are indicative of an economy “rising from the ashes”.

“Our GDP grew by 1.9% in the first quarter of 2022, although production is still below pre-COVID levels. Our unemployment rate decreased slightly in the first quarter of 2022, from 35% to 34.5%. Major investments have reached our shores, indicating the confidence that investors still have in our economy,” Zikalala said.

With the lifting of the latest COVID-19 related restrictions, the KwaZulu-Natal economy is poised for increased economic activity, particularly in the tourism sector, which was given a massive boost by the Durban in July a few weeks ago. .

“The return of airlines such as SAA [South African Airways], Turkey, Qatar and new routes such as Durban-Harare, Durban-Eswatini are expected to further boost tourism. Sovereign credit rating agency, S&P Global, has raised its outlook for South Africa from stable to positive, which is a welcome development for the KwaZulu-Natal economy,” the Prime Minister said.

Building social cohesion

Zikalala said the province was undertaking a deliberate program of socio-economic integration to prevent the recurrence of violence between KwaZulu-Natal’s different races and to deepen the roots of social cohesion.

He said the government is committed to ensuring that some of the fault lines that have exacerbated the tragedies seen during the unrest are addressed.

“What the unrest has taught us is that the government must act with agility, urgency and speed to reduce socio-economic inequalities, because it is the only way to achieve social cohesion.

“All of the reports released after the unrest are very clear that the racialized economy, which perpetuates racial inequality, unemployment and poverty, militates against our efforts to build a society based on justice, equality and human dignity,” Zikalala said.

In the aftermath of the unrest, the provincial government began mobilizing communities, as part of the social cohesion program to promote unity, peace and harmony among all races in the province.

The justice, crime prevention and security cluster, Zikalala said, has been given space to continue its work without any interference to solve all crimes related to the July unrest.

The government has also engaged affected communities in Phoenix, Welbedacht and Chatsworth to resolve racial tensions, and peace committees have been established to address racial issues.

“These will be supported by interventions that promote social cohesion, peace and unity. We started with school sports and the school twinning program, and social cohesion through the sports and recreation program, especially between affected communities,” said Zikalala. – SAnews.gov.za

KZN still on track to rebuild after July 2021 unrest

SourceKZN still on track to rebuild after July 2021 unrest

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