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Zuma saddened that some South Africans still uphold racist values

The president says the Justice Department is working on clamping down on intolerant behaviour.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG – President Jacob Zuma says it’s saddening that some South Africans still uphold racist values, despite the government and Constitution advocating for a non-racial society.

On Tuesday, Zuma was speaking at the Victoria Grounds in King Williams’s Town where he was joined by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and several other ministers to commemorate Human Rights Day.

Zuma laid a wreath at a newly revamped memorial grave site for Steve Biko who was killed 40 years ago by the apartheid police.

“It represents one of the most despicable human rights violations. We’re, however, encouraged at the level of outrage that these incidents usually draw.”

The president says the justice department is working on clamping down on intolerant behaviour.

“Government, through the Department of Justice, is finalising the National Action Plan against racism and related intolerances.”

Zuma said it’s sad that racism still exists in South Africa’s democracy 23 years after the African National Congress government took the deliberate decision to create a non-racial society.

Zuma used the commemoration to speak about socio-economic rights, transformation, and deepening unity in the country.

“In 1994, we undertook to build a non-racial society in which racism would be a thing of the past. Sadly the ideology of racism is deeply entrenched amongst some in our population.”

The president’s comments came as South Africans are gripped by video footage of an altercation at a Spur restaurant that has gone viral.

In the video, a white man is seen threatening to attack a black woman inside a Spur restaurant at The Glen.

The two could be heard arguing about one child bullying the other.

The altercation took a turn for the worse when the man threatened to hit the woman while she accuses him of bullying her and reminds him South Africa is a democratic country.

CALL TO UNITE

Zuma called for a spirit of unity in remembrance of liberators like OR Tambo, who kept the African National Congress movement united during difficult times.

“He strove for unity at all times and this should inspire us to work together to achieve our dream of a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa.”

Meanwhile, the ANC said South Africans should recommit themselves to the values which define the nation.

Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said they commend government for its dedication to human rights day.

“Steve Biko is one of the leaders who fought to unite, amongst others, black people. I think it’s important that we continue to carry that message and enlighten our people.

“Unity among black people, the oppressed, and unemployed and the disadvantaged, is quite important - even today. We must unite (against) all these ills that continue to undermine human rights.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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