The North West MEC for the Department of Community Safety and Transport Management, Sello Lehari has encouraged the community of Popo Molefe Informal Settlement outside Rustenburg and the public at large to unite and set differences aside. Nine people were shot dead in the settlement a week before Christmas last year and eleven other people were hospitalised with gunshots wounds.

MEC Lehari has emphasised that South Africa is a unitary state and “belongs to all those who live in it, regardless of language or culture differences.”

He was addressing anti-Crime Imbizo attended by over five hundred community members. The Imbizo was preceded by prayer session to promote healing and social cohesion.

Ahead of the Imbizo as part of promoting social cohesion and reconciliation, the local religious and community leaders held a spiritual cleansing ceremony at the scene of the shooting incident.

“The incident on the 16th of December last year left us shocked, and it did not only affect us here, but the entire country as some of the affected families come from our sister Province, the Eastern Cape.

“Conflict has never been a solution to any challenge. At no point must people die like that irrespective of differences. There is no justification of taking life nor inflicting pain on defenceless women and children. To avoid incidents such as these, we must always be available and willing to sit and talk like human beings. We are one people speaking different languages but our South Africanness bind us together. There are many social challenges that we must be fighting rather than fighting each other,” said MEC Lehari.