Cape Town – The Justice Department led a walk on the eve of Africa Day to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Constitution and took a stand against racism, xenophobia and the many other discriminatory issues in the country.
The walk was attended by representatives across different sectors including the police, the National Prosecuting Authority, Legal Aid, civil society organisations (churches and mosques) and LGBTI groups.
The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development provincial acting regional head, advocate Tshilidzi Ramathikithi, said great strides were made towards racial reconciliation and tolerance with the collaborative response of the National Action Plan to effectively deal with racism-related incidents.
“We embarked on this awareness campaign to bring stakeholders together to reaffirm our commitment to combating racism, discrimination and related intolerances. It has provided the basis for the development of a comprehensive framework for public policy to address the scourges of racism.
“The department has made the decision to mobilise provincial governments, municipalities, metros, NGOs, churches and mosques to work together on the issue of racism, with a district development model to be implemented and announced.
“We need to know what challenges our municipalities and districts are facing and then engage in those spaces where aspects of racism, issues of land and inequalities are experienced,” said Ramathikithi.
Legal Aid SA advocate Elroy Machelm said people were becoming more aware of their rights, more alert, and that vigilance was something they wanted to continue informing in order to address the prejudices faced in South Africa.
Western Province Rugby Union president Zelt Marais said the country should at all costs strive to be a non-racial, non-sexist and tolerant society that advances its diversities by continually promoting constitutional values of equality and non-discrimination.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said in his weekly newsletter that while observing Africa Day, these tragic stories (of racism) “reminded us of the huge task to build a better life for all the people of Africa”.
“Let us deepen our efforts to achieve a sustainable and lasting social and economic recovery for the citizens of Africa,” said Ramaphosa.