Govt working on National Action Plan to combat racism

2016-03-21 18:02
President Jacob Zuma addresses a Human Rights Day commemoration in Durban. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

President Jacob Zuma addresses a Human Rights Day commemoration in Durban. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Durban –  The department of justice and constitutional development has drafted a national action plan to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerances, President Jacob Zuma announced on Monday.

Zuma addressed thousands of people at a Human Rights Day celebration held in the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

The president received a warm welcome from the crowd, mostly wearing ANC T-shirts, who cheered as he walked on to the stage. 

“The plan is designed to raise awareness of anti-racism, equality and anti-discrimination issues among public officials, civil society and the general public, mobilising support from a wide range of people," Zuma said.

“This policy framework will encourage the collection of information regarding racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”

Zuma said the justice and constitutional development department had been tasked with coordinating the drawing up and finalisation of the plan.

Wide consultation

“A national action plan steering committee which comprises government departments, Chapter 9 institutions, international human rights agencies, faith based organisations as well as civil society organisations has been established to enable wide consultations on the plan," he said.

“Once final, the plan will be submitted to the UN Human Rights Commissioner for Human Rights. It will form the basis for the development of a comprehensive policy framework against the scourges of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”

Zuma said to complement the national action plan, the department was finalising the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill which is expected to be tabled in Parliament by September.

“The law is intended to make hate crimes and hate speech a statutory offence. We urge all to participate in the shaping of this important legislation.”

Zuma also said the department of arts and culture was developing a non-racial heritage architecture in the country.

“A major new project, the Liberation Heritage Route, is also to be implemented, and will feature sites of significance in all nine provinces.

“Statues of our liberation heroes are being erected while their graves and other important sites are being declared national heritage sites.”

Archie Gumede statue

Zuma announce the government would build a statue of the late co-president of the United Democratic Front, Archie Gumede, in Durban.

Zuma said the country had experienced horrific attacks on foreign nationals in April last year in parts of Durban and Johannesburg.

“Xenophobia has no place in South Africa and will not be tolerated,” said Zuma.

Zuma said in celebrating human rights South Africans should also remember those living with disabilities. “The United Nations in 2011 declared the March 21 as World Down Syndrome Day.

"We call on all South Africans to pledge solidarity with South Africans with Down syndrome and their families and accord them the respect and understanding they deserve.”

Zuma urged all South Africans to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma  |  durban

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