Mrs. S. Thakur-Rajbansi seen with Themba Ngcobo and other panellists at the Social Cohesion Conversation at ICC
The third dialogue in the lead up to the 3rd Social Cohesion Conference this month raised very pertinent issues between diverse business people, particularly Black and Indian, to contribute positively to the economy of Ethekwini. Social cohesion, as discussed in chapter 15 of the NDP 2030 and the link with the SDGs was elaborated, to which Minority Front Leader, Mrs. S. T. Rajbansi added that the gaps identified will be dealt with at legislative and policy levels. She emphasised the term as inclusivity so that “no one is left behind.”
On the hindrances to Blacks and Indians working together, Mrs. Rajbansi stressed upon firstly, conducting more of our own research on the cultural differences and commonalities. She added, “low levels of trust; laws and policies contrary to the spirit of the Constitution, eg. Affirmative Action; language as a barrier to relations; weak networking and databases on SMMEs in Ethekwini; reviewing terminologies on classification of people and tolerance; addressing workplace racism; vilification of race groups by the media; the move away from traditional businesses; increasing the HDI, Innovative and Freedom indexes; and addressing the ongoing triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality necessitates urgent intervention.”
Mrs. Rajbansi said, in attempting to level the playfields, the following initiatives must be introduced: formation of think tanks in different sectors with publications and blogs to disseminate knowledge. She cited Stieglitz’s lecture on “ Creating a learning Society” which promotes collective empowerment with the aim of fostering a sharing framework with productivity and growth; the crafting of business models incorporating the pillars of the NDP; ensuring that municipal research has a compilation on SMMEs and a database for flow of information and networking; building the capabilities of the Local Government Seta; promotion of business opportunities by implementing legislation correctly and its monitoring, eg. Affirmative Action; regular evaluation to meet the NDP 2030 goals; business coaching in cultural diversity management to use commonalities effectively; and strengthening state banks such as Ithala, State Bank of India and other public funders.
Mrs. Rajbansi stated that she will raise these issues in the Legislature by tabling motions and debates and, expressed the belief that fostering Social Cohesion to change fixed mind-sets to growth mind-sets. . “In the final analysis, it’s to realise vision 2030 which I want to see and the litmus test for me would be when real economic freedom promotes social wellbeing of all our people, which uses people partnership rather than relying on limitations of the markets,” she said.