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'We cannot revert to raw racism and separation of ourselves'

President Cyril Ramaphosa has told Parliament that South Africa cannot afford to return to the raw racism of its apartheid past in spite of the pain it still causes.

President Cyril Ramaphosa replying to questions in the National Assembly in Parliament on 6 November 2018. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN – President Cyril Ramaphosa has told Parliament that South Africa cannot afford to return to the raw racism of its apartheid past in spite of the pain it still causes.

Ramaphosa says South Africa’s commitment to a non-racial democracy was forged in the crucible of oppression and is what sets the country apart.

He was speaking after fists and insults flew in the National Assembly during his last question and answer session of the year yesterday.

As tensions spilled over, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Democratic Alliance MPs squared off against each other.

Agang SA member Andries Tlouamma was physically tackled by the EFF’s Nazier Paulsen after he defended the right of white people to be heard in the House.

WATCH: Fists fly during Ramaphosa Q&A [WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE]

“There should never be a time or an opportunity where we see each other as black, white and so forth and insult one another. There should never be times like that. We are South Africans, and this is what defines us.”

Speaking after the mayhem, President Ramaphosa told the House that building a non-racial society in South Africa is an historic task that cannot now be abandoned.

“We cannot go back to that horrible past that we have had. We are a non-racial democracy. And however painful it might be and we still live with the pain that apartheid did we cannot revert to raw racism and separation of ourselves.”

House chairperson Thoko Didiza is meeting with chief whips on Wednesday and is expected to rule later on the many rules broken in the chamber on Tuesday.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)