Dialogue for peace in our beloved South Africa

The South African Women in Dialogue (SAWID) has a long history of advocating for peace through dialogue in South Africa and beyond. This is a moment in our country’s history when we again have to raise our voices in a call for peace to prevail. We call on all women, community and religious leaders, organisations and movements to rise up for peace in our land.

Our constitution, justice system and adherence to the rule of law are fundamental components of our democracy. When we undermine these we risk descending into violent conflict. This we must prevent at all costs. To do so we must address the triple challenges of Poverty, Unemployment and Inequality. But we must also address the politicization of these challenges that lead to the violence that we have seen over the past few days. Our people’s poverty must not facilitate their being used as political fodder. As women we will bear the brunt of the impact of conflict. We must therefore unite to protect our democracy.

Local elections are supposed to transpire this year. Citizens must ensure that these take place in an environment that is free and fair and that those who seek to be elected not use fear and intimidation to propel themselves to power. The leaders we elect are a reflection of the society we have and we want. Let’s not be disheartened and saddened by the action of some citizens but try to ensure that this does not happen again through creating the appropriate channels to express difference and grievances.

Communities must engage in dialogue and construct a collective methodology to obtain peace in this country. The media must become a vehicle for spreading the message of reconciliation, peace, hope and prosperity. Let us engage on how we want to be governed and let the voices, perspectives and knowledge of women and youth play a central role in constructing a future South Africa. The National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security was adopted by Cabinet in August 2020 and launched in March 2021 and calls for peace dialogues – these need to happen now.

We encourage all individuals and organisations to embrace the possibilities of a peaceful resolution of the conflict in our country.

Issued on Wednesday 14 July 2021 by the Coordinating Committee of the SAWID Peace Commission, comprising Professor Cheryl Hendricks, Ms Suraya Bibi Bhyat-Khan, Dr Marjorie Jobson, Ms Mu-Aalima Fakude and Ms Madumise Maria Puseletso.

For comment: In writing: Email: Ms Suraya Bibi Khan at peace@sawid.org.za
Telephonically: Dr Marjorie Jobson on Mobile: 082 268 0223