Safety and Perceptions of Safety
Perceptions of safety order our daily interactions. They dictate our movements, determine who we choose to engage with, and inform our actions. Perceptions of safety are also intimately linked to feelings of freedom. The challenge of safety, therefore, is not merely a nominal issue but rather an existential one. This is because the need for safety is a basic human need. Personal and community safety is directly linked to our common humanity. In the lead-up to the 2019 elections, it is important to reflect on safety and perceptions of safety, and what we need to think about in this regard in the months prior to South Africa’s national elections. The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) hosted an event on 4 February, bringing together various stakeholders to a discussion on safety and safety perceptions in the lead-up to the 2019 elections. The IJR presented perception data related to the topic from both the South African Reconciliation Barometer (SARB) and Afrobarometer. We also included insights from our Sustained Dialogue Programme. The initial, brief presentations were followed by a robust conversation. This paper captures some of the themes that were touched on during the conversation.