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Analysts say KZN-UN memorandum will help make things better for KZN

Premier Sihle Zikalala, and Resident coordinator and head of the United Nations in SA Nardos Bekele-Thomas during the signing of the memorandum of understanding at Inkosi Albert Luthuli ICC, last week.Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Premier Sihle Zikalala, and Resident coordinator and head of the United Nations in SA Nardos Bekele-Thomas during the signing of the memorandum of understanding at Inkosi Albert Luthuli ICC, last week.Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Sep 28, 2021

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DURBAN - Analysts have described a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the KwaZulu-Natal government and the UN in South Africa as mutually beneficial.

Last week, Premier Sihle Zikalala and the head of the UN in South Africa, Nardos Bekele-Thomas, signed a MoU which identified priority areas in which the province and the UN will collaborate to assist communities and entities as part of the rebuilding efforts.

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The UN pledged R20 million in catalytic resources. Of this, R10m was allocated to support educational interventions, R7m for social cohesion dialogues through community radio stations and R2m to support gender-based violence shelters in the province.

It provided details on governance issues, reporting mechanisms, monitoring and evaluation.

Zikalala said: “In this regard, we have prioritised the economy, ensuring the continued provision of social services, addressing food insecurity, provision of infrastructure and advancing social cohesion.”

Bekele-Thomas said that through the memorandum, the UN intended to complement the ongoing efforts of the KZN government while ensuring that duplication of efforts was avoided.

Professor Siphamandla Zondi, an analyst at the Institute for Public Dialogue, said South Africa was a member state of the UN and thus entitled to UN involvement, provided it was done in collaboration with the government.

Zondi said interventions meant that needs had been identified which the UN office could help address, perhaps arising from the twin impact of Covid-19 and the looting in July.

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“The UN needs to be known on the ground by ordinary people. It wants to be known as a helpful institution that assists the needy. The UN needs to have a relationship closer to the people as opposed to high-level relationships through the top of the national government.”

Zondi said building relations with sub-national governments was also important for the UN’s long-term interests as an organisation, which wanted to also be known as “an organisation of the people of the world”.

He noted that the South African economy suffered major socio-economic challenges like poverty, hunger and unemployment.

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“The UN is the most important international organisation. Some BRICS partners have been helping with trade. The BRICS bank has extended financial help to South Africa, but in relation to unrest, BRICS countries would not help because they do not interfere in the internal affairs of one another,” Zondi said.

Political analyst Dr Ralph Mathekga said the UN and other developmental institutions were there to “contribute towards making things better”.

“The UN has experience in dealing with communities that are distressed,” Mathekga said.

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He said that the funds allocated to education support would assist with infrastructure in schools, where some were looted and vandalised.

“We have had stress with the protests, the mass destruction of property that has actually stressed the state and the communities. One would imagine that interventions such as these would contribute towards making things better for people,” Mathekga said.

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Civil Unrest

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