UN to pump R20m into rebuilding efforts in KZN after civil unrest
The UN in South Africa will pump R20m into the implementation of an emergency response plan to assist KwaZulu-Natal in its rebuilding efforts after July's civil unrest.
On Wednesday premier Sihle Zikalala and the UN's Nardos Bekele-Thomas signed a memorandum of understanding in Durban, in which the provincial government and the entity will collaborate in rebuilding efforts.
The premier said the province's rebuilding efforts received a much-needed boost with the UN's R20m pledge which includes R10m to support educational interventions, R7m for social cohesion dialogues and R2m to support gender-based violence shelters.
“Our partnership with the UN is critical in our provincial efforts of building enduring peace and advancing sustainable development where no-one is left behind,” said Zikalala.
“As we strengthen our law enforcement and put in place plans to mitigate future occurrences, we also agree that we need to get to the root causes of antisocial behaviour in KwaZulu-Natal and indeed in our country.
“People need a stake in the economy because then they will protect it, not destroy it,” said Zikalala.
“We appreciate that the UN has pledged to assist in rebuilding affected communities and to address the underlying causes of the complex developmental landscape in the province.”
Bekele-Thomas said: “If we do not face the truth of what happened, if we return to business as usual then we will fail, and it will be on our shoulders.
“To demonstrate our commitment to the emergency response plan, we are committing more than R20m as catalytic resources to support the implementation of this programme.
“I want to challenge the private sector to, at the very least, match our initial funding and I look to all our partners to share their knowledge, experience, resources, and to contribute to our planning and implementation.”
CEO of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry Palesa Phili facilitated the private sector engagements and pledged to drive economic inclusivity in the province.
After the July civil unrest, a UN delegation, led by Bekele-Thomas, visited the province to assess the impact of the damage and destruction that left many communities and businesses reeling.
A joint UN and KwaZulu-Natal task team was formed during the visit.
The office of the premier said: “As agreed between the two parties, the immediate actions consist of an emergency response plan addressing the impacts of the unrest. This includes the medium- to long-term actions which focus on proactive measures to be undertaken that address the underlying causes of the civil unrest.
“The UN has worked with the KwaZulu-Natal office of the premier to identify priority areas and take action in the areas of food security, gender-based violence and education.
“The two partners will also work with the civil society to help heal wounds, build bridges, and to frustrate those voices that advocate violence over dialogue.”