Johannesburg - Non-racialism in the country remains an elusive dream despite progress made in the past 20 years, Gauteng premier David Makhura said on Friday.
“We all agree that the challenges that still face our country are immense,” he told a provincial social cohesion summit in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg.
“Blacks, women, and youth carry a disproportionate burden of the historical injustices of social and economic exclusion and the associated social pathologies, such as the crime and corruption plague (in the country).”
Makhura said racial attitudes were hardening and there was a growing mistrust between blacks and whites.
“Blacks and whites feel they can never trust each other.”
This was one of the issues the summit had to discuss.
Makhura spoke about other areas of concern which needed to be discussed.
The first was the increased levels of violent crimes.
This undermined nation-building and social cohesion, he said.
The second was corruption and citizen alienation.
“Corruption and bad treatment of citizens by public servants contribute to the high level of trust deficit between government and citizens,” Makhura said.
There was also an increasing xenophobic negative sentiment against foreign nationals.
“Even the middle class is blaming their problems on foreign nationals. There's such a negative feeling towards foreign nationals, whether they are law-abiding citizens or not.”
Despite all this, Makhura said South Africans were resilient.
“The more challenges we face, the more determined we become to triumph. Together we shall overcome.”
The province would work to become a beacon of an equal, just and inclusive society, he said.
The country needed to stand together to fight the problems.
“We can make poverty, hunger, illiteracy, disease and crime history if we mobilise all the resources of our nation,” Makhura said.
“As we work together to heal our nation from the pain and divisions of our past, we must face the future with confidence.” - Sapa