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Ramaphosa takes a stand against racism in the Cape

The deputy president slammed the DA-led government for not doing enough to root out racism.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on politicians to take the initiative to rid the country of the cancer of racism and xenophobia.

He was responding to a question in the National Assembly on Wednesday afternoon about what government was doing to root out xenophobia, when he took aim at the Democratic Alliance-led Western Cape government.

"If there is a restaurant that is known in the Western Cape, as there are many here, where black people are not well treated, it should be the leadership of the Western Cape that goes there and says 'this is not allowed' and they should not be allowed in South Africa."

Ramaphosa pointed to a few more examples.

"I have friends who have sought to book into hotels in the Western Cape and when their surnames have been pronounced and they've turned out to be African, they're blocked. I have young people who try to get flats to live here in the Western Cape and when they hear they're African, they are immediately blocked."

He took to the podium in the House today, to answer questions about, among other things, Eskom's energy crisis.

Ramaphosa heads up the so called 'war room', established by Cabinet, to deal with the crisis.

RAMAPHOSA ON ESKOM

The deputy president, meanwhile, said there were no plans for wholesale retrenchments at Eskom.

He said the ailing parastatal needed the best skills available and that people should be appointed on the basis of merit rather than colour.

Ramaphosa was responding to a question in the National Assembly about plans, denied by Eskom, to retrench mainly white employees, including engineers.

He also reassured the country that the 'war room' was moving to tackle the country's electricity crisis.

Ramaphosa said voluntary retrenchments at Eskom had been halted.

"It has been stopped because we want to retain as many skilled people as we possibly can."

He said Eskom had lost a number of skilled employees.

"The race is now on to attract as many more skilled people as possible within Eskom and yes, to go on merit, not to go on skin colour."

He added that Eskom also needed to train up young black people to reflect the country's demographics, adding that government was pursuing all means of increasing the electricity supply and curbing demand.

Ministers in the social security cluster, dealing with heath, education, housing and water, will also answer questions this afternoon.