UKZN Academic Part of ANC Dialogue on Non-Racialism
Holder of the SARChI Chair in Applied Poverty Reduction Assessment within the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS), Professor Sarah Bracking, was part of the recent provincial ANC Dialogue on non-racialism held at the Howard College Theatre.
The dialogue examined how South Africa could root our racism to achieve a truly democratic society.
To discuss this topic, Bracking was joined by Arts and Culture Minister, Mr Nathi Mthethwa; KZN MEC for Arts and Culture, Mrs Ntombikayise Sibhidla-Saphetha; ANC Provincial Chairperson, Mr Sihle Zikalala, and Dr Rama Naidu of the Democracy Development Programme.
Bracking spoke on the issue of racialised poverty, saying the country was experiencing a structural problem of poverty and inequality where divisions among citizens, along race, gender, religious or other lines were being used to define the boundaries of likely support for any one particular political party and the lack of quality in democratic debate around elections.
‘To improve the quality of democracy requires that elections are not a tight-rope for the poor who are excluded as they struggle to conform in expectation that they may one day receive a resource.
‘The principle challenge going forward is to reduce the social distance between people; increase the elective affinity between citizens; foreclose on the planning and zoning norms which assign and subject people to spatial poverty; and to promote economic justice in a climate of quality public debate.’
Mthethwa charted a way forward for the development of sectoral and national plans to build social cohesion, combat racism and eradicate discrimination in South Africa. ‘As we enter a new year, it is important that as a country, we take stock of the progress we are making in building a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa. In recent weeks, we have seen that much remains to be done to build non-racialism in particular,’ he said.
Sibhidla-Saphetha, Zikalala and Naidu agreed it was necessary to drive a broader nation-building and anti-racism agenda and plan for a bigger engagement with a wide range of stakeholders.
Mthethwa concluded: ‘We need to focus on what unites us. We need to dwell on the importance of raising consciousness, and a fundamental re-inventing and re-imagining of some among us so that equality and inclusivity become engrained in all our people, who together should work towards a better life for all.’