Fractured communities of Phoenix and Bhambayi urged to unite for peace following July riots
Share this article:
DURBAN - Religious leaders, members of civil society along with the KwaZulu-Natal provincial executive, led by Premier Sihle Zikalala, walked the streets of Phoenix and the neighbouring township of Bhambayi in aid of peace between the two fractured communities following the mass riots and looting in July.
While KZN and parts of Gauteng saw unprecedented looting in late July perpetrated by supporters of former president Jacob Zuma following his arrest for contempt of court, Phoenix was the scene of some of the worst violence, with 36 people murdered.
A total of 300 people lost their lives in the looting and violence across KZN and Gauteng.
Speaking in Bhambayi, Zikalala said: ”The clear message is that the peace-loving people in these communities stand firmly against violence, killing, looting, racial profiling or any other negative attitude that risks dividing people.”
He said they had come to Phoenix as a statement of their commitment to peace and social cohesion.
Zikalala said that while law-abiding citizens correctly came forward to protect their stores and amenities, criminal elements had exploited the situation to kill and maim.
“That criminal intent had a racial bent and we must say with one voice - African and Indian, young and old, Christian, Muslim and Hindu - that we condemn that without any reservation,” he said.
Zikalala said those charged with the killings must be dealt with appropriately and sternly by the criminal justice system.
“Wounds will never heal until and unless there is demonstrable justice in all its facets. We walk these streets today in the belief that peace and justice is possible. That peace and justice will not come about simply because we proclaim it...
“In this regard, we must acknowledge the peace-loving people of Phoenix, Bhambayi, Inanda, Zwelisha, Amaoti and surrounding areas for coming together in forums, dialogues, prayer meetings and sporting events.
“The clear message is that the peace-loving people in these communities stand firmly against violence, killing, looting, racial profiling or any other negative attitude that risks dividing people,” he said.