Equal respect and dignity under threat - De Klerk

2016-08-26 21:39
Ex-president FW de Klerk, back left, at the launch of the centre for Unity and Diversity.  (Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

Ex-president FW de Klerk, back left, at the launch of the centre for Unity and Diversity. (Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

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Johannesburg - The FW de Klerk Foundation opened a Centre for Unity in Diversity because “equal respect and dignity” were under growing threat, the country's former president said on Friday.

It wanted to promote the vision of unity in diversity articulated in the preamble to the Constitution.

“The time for such a centre is ripe because the concept of South Africa as a multi-cultural country in which all communities enjoy equal respect and dignity is under growing threat," De Klerk said at centre’s opening in Melrose, Johannesburg.

The centre should consider encouraging white South Africans to understand the depth of the hurt apartheid policies had caused to non-whites. 

“The centre should take a firm stand in support of constitutional values and rights. It should insist that we honour the agreement that we reached during the constitutional negotiations. It should resolutely oppose unfair discrimination against any South African citizen and reject racial ideologies that result in new forms of racial discrimination and domination.”

De Klerk said the centre should call on government to implement the Constitution’s language and culture provisions. It should encourage dialogue between South Africans, to promote positive relations.

“If we do this, we will achieve the vision of unity in diversity.” 

De Klerk said the current ANC government had adopted policies that were consciously harming the “core interest of a section of the South African population”. 

“I think the centre can become a player in changing the present climate in South Africa on the issue of race.”

It needed to do so in conjunction with other organisations in society.

“We need to stop this deteriorating race issue in South Africa,” he said.

Read more on:    anc  |  fw de klerk  |  johannesburg  |  politics

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