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‘Racists are not welcome in SA’

The ANC's Jessie Duarte says South Africans must not let their hard-earned freedom be trampled on.

ANC supporters march to the Union Buildings over racism on 19 February 2016. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) says South Africa needs to fight against the impression that there is a 'special race' that has ' privileged rights'.

Thousands of ANC supporters marched through the streets of Pretoria calling for an end to racism and all forms of discrimination.

The ruling party says racists are not welcome in the country.

The ANC's Jessie Duarte says South Africans must not let their hard-earned freedom be trampled on.

"Our country will never be prosperous or free until all our people live in brotherhood enjoying equal rights and opportunities."

Duarte says the party will not accept discrimination against race or gender.

"We committed ourselves to the inalienable rights to equality, justice and human dignity in the bill of rights."

The ruling party has called all citizens black and white to defend the country's hard earned democracy.

LISTEN: ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa explains purpose of march.

GWEDE MANTASHE HIGHLIGHTS OTHER REASONS FOR THE MARCH

At the same time, ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe says today's march was not about President Jacob Zuma, but about a general attack on the ruling party and on South Africa.

Mantashe says the ANC will never ask Zuma to step down despite numerous calls from opposition parties.

"Every opposition says he must go; any advice you get from your enemy is no advice."

However, he also says today was not just about stopping racism, but also about the opposition continuously disrespecting the ruling party.

"It's not about Zuma, but about an attack on the ANC, he may be used as an entry point."

There has been numerous calls from parties for the president to be impeached, saying he is not fit to hold office.

There was also a march last December where thousands of South Africans gathered in the Johannesburg CBD under the banner #ZumaMustFall.

SAHRC WELCOMES RACISM PETITION

The South African Human Rights Commission says it welcomes the petition on racism received from the ANC.

The commission says it's as equally concerned about racism in the country as more than 50 percent of equality related complaints it receives are racially motivated.

Spokesperson Isaac Mangena says the number of people who are still racially discriminated against more than 20 years into South Africa's democracy is worrying.

"We will be going through it and we will respond accordingly. Some of the issues that have been raised in the petition are issues we have identified and are dealing with."

The party and its supporters have raised concerns about recent incidents of racism on social media, including a Facebook post by Penny Sparrow and Twitter comments by Gareth Cliff and Chris Hart.

ANC: MARCH AIMED AT SENDING STRONG MESSAGE TO RACISTS

The ANC says today's march was aimed at sending strong message to racists that they are not welcome in South Africa.

Mantashe says there is no "God-chosen race" to be more superior than the rest.

Meanwhile, a man says racism is very much alive in South Africa 22 years after democracy.

The party says it's looking to implement legislation that will criminalise racism in the country.

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