This is a response to the SABC 1programme Sunday Live, 8 July 2012 Social Cohesion Conference
I agree with Andile Mngxitama that such conferences are about myth making. One can tell that by the crowded agendas. Instead of trying to tackle all the problems that one can derive from such a topic, it is much better to choose one clearly defined problem and find solutions to it. One could, for instance, concentrate on how to improve living conditions in squatter camps (the use of the term ‘informal settlements’ is part of the myth making process) and that would lead to all kinds of practical considerations: housing, water, sewerage, electrification, unemployment and resettlement.
Conferences, however, are only talk shops and people become high on words and reach a catharsis in talk that is not connected to practical application. Discussions on racism are just such an exercise. They are a complete waste of time: people become bogged down in personal perceptions of wrong and are carried away into the world of words without action.
The land issue is a very complex problem. What should be recognised is that large agricultural estates need to be left intact as they provide sustenance for the whole society. What needs to be considered is how to turn these large estates into communally held enterprises from which all those who work in them benefit as shareholders. These estates should also become training grounds for the workers in all aspects of production and management so that they have opportunities for promotion where they work.