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South Africa needs to be a more inclusive society, says IJR’s Hofmeyr

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South Africa needs to be a more inclusive society, says IJR’s Hofmeyr

Jan Hofmeyr, who is the Head of Policy and Analysis at the Institute of Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) says SA can become more inclusive through land restitution.

Speaking to Political Analysis South Africa on 6 April 2018, Hofmeyr said that in order for reconciliation to happen between different racial groups in South Africa, wealth would need to be redistributed.

“One cannot talk about reconciliation in South Africa without redistribution of wealth or making the society a more inclusive one,” he said.

Hofmeyr added that South African citizens have to play a more active role in achieving the country’s reconciliation objectives.

“It needs to be a national endeavour. It cannot only be government that takes the role. There also needs to be a citizen initiative,” he said.

He explained that “If one looks back at the role that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has played. In its wake it has generated a lot of criticisms of the Commission that it did not do enough. But also one has to ask: where was the citizen follow-up?”

Reflecting on the recent Vicki Momberg sentencing, Hofmeyr pointed out that the judiciary can be a way to solve racial spats between people, but it also could polarise those who do not agree with judgements handed down by the courts.

“The effect is that it is very often if the court decides in a one way it gains support of one side and loses support of another,” he said.

Momberg was sentenced on the 28 March 2018 at the Randburg’s Magistrate’s Court to three years in prison, with one year suspended. She was found guilty of four counts crimen injuria in November 2017.

Hofmeyr says interrogating the way different races integrate with one another is one way in which to fix race relations in South Africa. This can be done, he says, through fixing social issues such as spatial planning and town planning.