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Gauteng govt introduces team who will tackle racism

The team of 20 people will tackle racism over the next 3 years & focus on young people.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Gauteng province has introduced a team of 20 prominent people who will be tackling racism over the next three years, with a strong focus on young people.

Premier David Makhura promised in his State of the Province Address to establish a group of eminent people to work on social cohesion and nation building, starting in Gauteng.

Next week, the group will identify areas that need to be prioritised, especially at universities and schools.

Chairperson of the newly formed group, Judge Yvonne Mokgoro, says it's time South Africa actively deals with racism, which the country is still battling more than twenty years into democracy.

The group consists of church leaders, advocates, African National Congress (ANC) struggle stalwarts and leaders in the business sector.

They will now use their expertise to work actively on the ground and in communities to encourage citizens to deal with the issues of racism.

The group acknowledges that it won't be a quick exercise and that it will years to eradicate the scourge but that the country needs to start somewhere.

The premier announced the team last week at the Sharpeville Cricket Pitch where thousands gathered to celebrate Human Rights Day and remember those who were killed in 1960.

He said the team will help government to come up with ways to tackle issues around racism and xenophobia.

'RACISM AT UNIVERSITIES A TURNING POINT'

Makhura says the recent racism incidents at universities became a turning point that led to the establishment of the group.

By next week, the eminent group will have identified key sectors in the province which need urgent attention to address racism.

The premier says he is concerned about racism surfacing among the youth, who are the future of the country.

"What happened with regard to the racial confrontation among the youth in our campuses is something that gave us a wake-up call."

Mokgoro says it won't be an easy task.

"This group aims to take things to a much more practical level. Who knows, even more research might have to be done."

The plan is to send group members into communities and schools to hold debates on nation building.