Local Peace Committees
An Initiative by the ACTION Support Centre
The origins of Local Peace Committees in South Africa date back to a national initiative during the end of apartheid and the transition towards democracy. Most of these structures have however collapsed. Reasons for this vary from structure to structure.
The ASC together with its partnership and grassroots activists, through its initiatives such as the community strengthening capacity building and conflict transformation training workshops, anti-xenophobia schools’ project and the cultural diversity programme, has over the past years, worked on establishing and strengthening Local Peace Committees.
New challenges emerged post apartheid and these challenges relate to cultural intolerances, often magnified through the lens of poor service delivery in local communities, rising level of unemployment and the increase in socio-economic and political inequalities and regional instabilities.
The xenophobic violence of 2008 and the ongoing instabilities in South African local townships created an opportunity through which the ASC can create initiatives that promote cultural diversity and establishing Local Peace Committees was one such area of work.
[accordion title=”Mobilising and organising across sectors”]
As part of their work, LPCs have strong developed strong linkages with solidarity movement, such as the Swaziland Democracy Campaign, African Diaspora Forum, Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum, Somali Solidarity Campaign and many other solidarity movements.
Through this strategy, LPCs engage with as many people as possible. Activities include, but are not restricted to, door-to-door visits, public rallies, as well as meetings with South African and Diaspora civil society organisations and with people who wish to become involved in the solidarity movement and formations building.
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Working with organisations that organise around migration and refugees issues including CoRMSA, Human Rights Foundation, South African Human Rights Commission and Wits Migration Studies, LPCs engage South Africa’s Home Affairs Ministry, police service and other strategic organisations in a long-term programme to respond to several community driven strategies and recommendations aimed at reducing the vulnerability of the African Diaspora in South Africa and recognising the obligation of the state to afford them the same rights as everybody living in South Africa.
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The xenophobic attacks on foreigners in South Africa in May 2008 and the on going attacks usually seen as xenophobia by many encourages LPCs to continue engaging on issues related to xenophobia and criminal violence. This form of engagement, mobilising and organising help to strengthen local forms of organisation, and building connections and creating platforms, in areas where there are key tensions in communities.
Currently LPCs are involved in ongoing tensions in Thembisa, Diepslot and other local townships.
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The ASC has facilitated the establishment and strengthening of LPCs in Orange Farm, Alexandra, Soweto, Yeoville, Tembisa and Paarl and efforts to establish or connect with similar initiatives in other parts of South Africa are underway.
Strongly linked and designed as Infrastructures for Peace, that connects to solidarity and peacebuilding initiatives at all levels, LPCs are a pool of grassroots organic initiatives contributed by a dynamic network of interdependent community organisations and structures, mechanisms, resources, values, and skills which, through dialogue and consultation, contribute to conflict prevention, peace-building and solidarity in local communities.
For more information contact:
The ACTION Support Centre, Email: email@example.com
, Telephone: 011 482 2453