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Eldos is not only about drugs, residents told​

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It was high time that Eldorado Park residents told their own story and changed the perception that their area was only about crime and drugs.
 
This was the message that Councillor Peter Raferty of Ward 18 in Johannesburg’s Region G delivered at the Interactive Community Dialogue on Social Cohesion at the Albertus Pop Centre in Eldorado Park on Saturday.
 
The dialogue was organised by the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation in conjunction with the City of Johannesburg.
 
Councillor Raferty, speaking as one of the members of the discussion panel, said Eldorado Park residents needed to tell their own good stories about their township. He said they were the custodians of their space and needed to make it work for them. He urged Eldorado Park and Kliptown residents to embrace social cohesion.
 
“This is the time to get us talking and it is easy to do it through sports, arts, culture and recreation. We need to tell our own story and we need to change the mindset that Eldos is about crime and drugs,” Councillor Raferty said.
 
Another member of the panel, Jerome Lottering of the Camissa Movement, said social cohesion was not possible without economic empowerment and while marginalisation was rife in communities. Lottering, who said he was a Khoisan and a descendant of a Khoisan and a Motswana, asked for the prioritisation of economic empowerment before there could be talk of social integration.

Gauteng MEC for Community Safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane said service delivery to all people should be prioritised to ensure they were not divided along racial lines.
 
She said providing employment was one of the most important interventions that could bring the nation together.  The MEC said there was an urgent need to fight poverty to ensure the country was not divided.
 
She urged parents to bring up their children in a responsible way and instil discipline in them, and not leave it to professionals and the government.
 
“Let’s go back to basics and claim the space that belongs to us because if we don’t our children will indulge in drugs,” she said.

“We should embrace our national flag and anthem as our unifying symbols.
 
Our flag represents all the people of South Africa. But very few people understand what it stands for and what it represents. We need to understand why we decided on the national flag, the national anthem and symbols like the Protea and the Springbok. A few years ago the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture held a meeting in which social cohesion was identified as a key priority in bringing people together. We cannot ignore the fact that we are a diverse community but we can live together.
 
The MEC said, in terms of the Constitution, people were all equal.

Unfortunately, people were still classified as Africans, Coloureds and Indians, the same way they were classified during apartheid. She said there should be a platform where these issues could be addressed because there were people who did not want to be called blacks or coloureds.
 
Tisetso Motloung, Chief Operating Officer of the Gauteng Department Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, said freedom came with responsibilities. Motloung pleaded with residents, the youth in particular, to remove the notion of depending on the Government. 
 
She encouraged parents to participate in programmes run her department.