Parties express differing views on meaning of Day of Reconciliation

The Day of Reconciliation came into effect in 1995 after the end of apartheid, with the intention of promoting reconciliation and national unity.

The South African flag. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - As the nation commemorates the national Day of Reconciliation on Monday, political parties have expressed mixed views about the public holiday.

The Day of Reconciliation came into effect in 1995 after the end of apartheid, with the intention of promoting reconciliation and national unity.

This year the government will observe the day under the theme of The Year of Indigenous Languages. The theme is aimed at supporting national reconciliation through the promotion, development, and preservation of indigenous languages.

The Congress of the People’s spokesperson Dennis Bloem said there wasn't a difference in reconciling the country since 1994.

“We find it very difficult to celebrate Reconciliation Day because of what we see in the country after 25 years of democracy. There’s nothing that we can really celebrate. Many South Africans still live in informal settlements, healthcare and unemployment have also worsened,” Bloem said.

The Democratic Alliance’s spokesperson Solly Malatsi said this day was a day of reflection.

“No matter how difficult things have been in the country - particularly with race relations, inequality, xenophobia, and gander-based violence – it is important that on a day like this we reflect on the journey the country has gone through and to cherish the rights that have made it possible to build the exclusive society we should consistently aspire to be,” he said.

The African National Congress’ spokesperson Pule Mabe said South Africans should come together no matter the race.

“The significance of the Day of Reconciliation is the moment that we bring our people together across racial and cultural divides so that we can contribute towards building a country we can all call home,” Mabe said.