Sometimes we take for granted the people on the ground, the locals, the social structures that are the backbone of any functioning society. However, this was not the case at the Stakeholders Workshop. The people in attendance and the information they shared proved that the citizens know what they want and are hungry for knowledge on how to move towards those goals.
The speakers for that day called on the people in attendance and the Local Peace Committee to remember the values of Ubuntu and humility. There was an agreement that our current social structures need an awakening and moral regeneration with more people taking responsibility. Patience Pashe’s speech was a reminder that peace is a work in progress, that peace cannot exist without development and that conflict sometimes serves to build this. Mrs. Pashe used simple examples that hit home to many individuals within the room.
Bishop Marcus, on the other hand, was very current with his speech, wanting people to be aware of their current affairs and start questioning why the situation is as it is. This served as a way for people to see how the government, corporate companies within Alex and the community itself was failing to improve their lives. It was indeed a wake up call; the Bishop did not shy away from being specific and controversial with his speech.
The Gauteng Department of Community Safety was also there to chip in a few words of wisdom. Its Take Charge Campaign encouraged a partnership between people and the government. This was reiterated throughout the group discussions and even when Ambassador Nhlapo spoke of his experiences on the African Continent. The stakeholders were tasked with holding all institutions within Alex accountable. If more people realise what they deserve and how to get it, then the country is headed in the right direction.
Another notable contribution to the proceedings was that of CoRMSA (Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa) and its education about refugees as well as immigration. The Advocate Officer from there explained what CoRMSA does and what the South African Foreign Policy is on Refugees and Migrants. He clarified a lot of myths about why people are seeking refuge and helped people understand that foreign nationals are not a threat to South Africans. By the end of the workshop people were more informed and equipped to go to the different sectors they represent and inform them of lessons learnt. The workshop was made possible by the Alexandra Local Peace Committee in partnership with the ACTION Support Centre and the Gauteng Province Department of Community Safety.