Cape Town, Friday 23 July 2021 –

The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) sends its message of solidarity and support to the South African Women’s Peace Table convened by the Getrude Shope Women Mediators Network. IJR remains available to work collaboratively with associations, organisations and partners to mobilize and build our collective capacity to dialogue and work diligently to address the underlying issues that led to the social unrest and protests in July 2021, especially in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng Provinces.

Today, the IJR stands in solidarity with all of our mothers, sisters and daughters and calls upon all South Africans to calm and unite as the country pursues democratic processes and promotes a cohesive and inclusive vision for the future. The IJR also calls for national solidarity particularly at this difficult time when there are high levels of desperation among South Africans who have been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, worsening the rising unemployment, poverty, inequality. IJR recognizes that the social unrest in South African is linked to the legacies of the past, slavery, colonialism and apartheid have scarred the national psyche with attendant trauma. While the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) started the process towards justice and peace, there is much that remains to be done. South Africans continue to live with the consequences of decades and centuries of dispossession and inequality.

The IJR stands ready as a willing partner to other association, organisations and partners to create fair, inclusive and democratic societies. We call upon government actors and partners to promote strategies for the development of our country that are inclusive and not based on politics, ethnicity or race. We further implore protestors to express their views in nonviolent ways, and for the media to ensure that it plays a peaceful, rather than polarising role. We call on community leaders and religious leaders, working together to explore means of dialogue and mediation, to ensure that we can sustain a peaceful and inclusive society.