Albie Sachs calls for more work to be done on Reconciliation Day

The former ConCourt judge says more needs to be done in terms of reconciliation, despite the strides SA has already made.

FILE: A  panel, including UCT professor Pierre de Vos, Inyathelo's Nomfundo Walaza & former constitutional judge Albie Sachs, discusses the Constitution as the country marks 20 years since its adoption on 8 December 2016. Picture: Giovanna Gerbi/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – Former Constitutional Court Judge Albie Sachs says more needs to be done in terms of reconciliation, despite the strides South Africa has already made.

Today marks Reconciliation Day, a holiday which came into effect in 1994 following the fall of apartheid.

One of the architects of South Africa’s Constitution, Sachs says there has been a huge change compared to where the country was before 1994.

“And the world thought it would be impossible. Hugely, predictions were racial bloodbath. So we’ve got a country, that’s phenomenal.”

But he adds that the country's problems remain deep and strongly connected to race.

“But also try find ways of bringing people along improving the understanding of the world. That’s really where we should be going.”

Sachs says the emotional public outcry over racial incidents is a very positive thing.

He says there has been a huge change compared to where the country was.

“What’s been positive is the mass of emotional reaction by the general public, this kind of conduct [of] pushing people into coffins is absolutely intolerable and now we’ve got institutions to deal with them.”

He adds that criminalising racism is something that needs to be debated.

“I think one has to look very much at the context, the impact, the forms of racism that are so ugly, so vicious, so demeaning that there are other things that are stupid and ugly that we have to deal with a kind of concerted effort as a community.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)