The government has highlighted the need for enhanced engagement of local authority structures in implementing strategies and policies aimed at creating strong, safe and violence-free cities.
Deputy Minister of Local Government, Unity & Culture, Owen Chomanika, made the remarks in Johannesburg, South Africa, at a two-day ‘Strong Cities’ workshop focusing on the role of cities in East and Southern Africa (ESA) in preventing and responding to hate- and extremist-motivated violence.
Chomanika interacting with delegates at the workshop
The deputy minister who is leading a delegation of mayors from three cities of the country and other local government officials said much as the country has put in place frameworks to promote peaceful existence and unity among the citizenry for the achievement of meaningful development, more needs to be done to ensure that the country’s local government structures are resilient.
“This gathering gives us a reflection to say; nationally to what extent have we empowered our cities for them to realize their potential? For example Lilongwe City, what is its potential to ensure that on its own it can avoid extremism? To what extent are our policies being absorbed by local councils? This is what we have to reflect on as a country,” said Chomanika.
One of the sessions of the conference
The workshop is part of wider city-led efforts to promote public safety, build resilience and enhance social cohesion. The gathering is being funded by the European Union as part of its network in partnership with the South African Local Government Association ( SALGA).