KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala and the Resident Coordinator and Head of the United Nations in South Africa Nardos Bekele-Thomas signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that identifies priority areas in which the province and the UN will collaborate to assist communities and entities that were affected by the civil unrest in the province in July.
The MoU is also aligned to provincial priorities and the Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) which are aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2020-2025.
As agreed between the two parties, the immediate actions consist of an Emergency Response Plan addressing the impacts of the unrest, including the medium to long-term actions which focus on proactive measures that address the underlying causes of the civil unrest.
“We gather on the eve of South Africa’s Heritage Day to sign a historic memorandum of understanding between the provincial government of KwaZulu-Natal and the United Nations to declare for our country and the world that by working together we can build a proud legacy and a heritage that future generations will be proud to inherit,” Zikalala said.
Zikalala said that the partnership with the UN was part of provincial efforts towards building enduring peace and advancing sustainable development.
“We wish to assure the UN and its agencies that KwaZulu-Natal is home to you and we welcome you with open hands on this journey of supporting development and peace in this beautiful and legendary province,” he said.
During a walk about, Bekele-Thomas and her team interacted with affected communities in the province and stakeholders and discussed the potential support that the UN could contribute to ongoing response efforts.
The mission consisted of various meetings with the provincial leadership, the political and administrative leadership of eThekwini metro, the executive management team of the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (Accord) and visits to the sites impacted by the civil unrest.
These engagements identified areas where the UN could provide support to the KZN provincial government in the immediate, medium and long term to recover and build back.
“As we strengthen our law enforcement and put in place plans to mitigate future occurrences, we also agree that we need to get to the root causes of anti-social behaviour in KwaZulu-Natal and indeed in our country. In this regard, we share the sentiment by the UN Resident Coordinator that, ‘People need a stake in the economy because then they will protect it not destroy it’. We appreciate that the UN has pledged its support to the provincial government of KwaZulu-Natal to assist in rebuilding affected communities and to address the underlying causes of the complex developmental landscape in the province,” Zikalala said.
He went on to say that the UN and its agencies would be an important player in defeating the coronavirus and reduce its impact on citizens.
“Our efforts will support KZN’s Vision 2030 which is a prosperous province with a healthy, secure and skilled population, acting as a gateway to Africa and the world. We have undertaken that the joint work carried out by the provincial government and UN will be channelled through the Emergency Response Plan, and the Implementation Framework between the UN and the Office of the Premier,” Zikalala explained.
He said he was also pleased that the MoU was informed by the need to support a post-Covid recovery and developmental trajectory that is environment-friendly and sustainable, in line with the ethos of a green recovery, the promotion of low carbon emissions and supporting climate resilient development.
“We have no doubt that our partnership with the UN and all its entities will enable KwaZulu-Natal to maximise mutual benefits for our residents and citizens,” he ended.