'Poor excluded from reconciliation'

As the country marks Reconciliation Day, the IJR says more needs to be done.

A shack dweller's washing dries in the wind in the Langrug informal settlement outside Franschhoek. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) says poor people are excluded from social and racial reconciliation.

As the country marks Reconciliation Day, the institute's Dr Fanie du Toit told 567 CapeTalk that more still needs to be done.

"The poorest people only speak to other race groups about 15 percent of the time, whereas the top echelons speak to other race groups almost 75 percent of the time which means that racial reconciliation is also the preserve of the rich."

Du Toit says the poor are being left behind.

"In a way, you get a double whammy if you're poor. You get excluded from the economy and you also get excluded from reconciliation. It's very serious and that's what we need to address."

Du Toit called on the country to honour Madiba's memory by developing equal relationships among different race groups.

"Tata Madiba stood for reconciliation, but not your cheap sort of hug and make up reconciliation, but reconciliation that's built on equality between people."

He believes people should strive to build equal relationships with other race groups.

He also urged South Africans to unite.

"Reconciliation is not a mechanical thing. It's not something that you can learn techniques for. It's first and foremost a mindset that says we are in this together. There must be solidarity between all South Africans."