President Jacob Zuma has reiterated government’s need to speed up its fight against racism in the country by making racism punishable by law.
Drawing concern to the recent growth of racism alongside xenophobic attacks, Zuma, while addressing a small crowd at Victoria Grounds in King William’s Town, Eastern Cape, lamented the fact that some South African population still hold firm the ideology of racism.
This, according to him plays a role in drawing the country back from its transformation moves.
“This plan will give further clarity and guidance to government and to the broader South African society on the fight against racism and related intolerance,” Zuma said while marking the Human right day.
The president also said the National Action Plan focusing on racism and intolerance was currently being finalized by the department of justice as Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill has recently been published.
“Once it becomes law, it will criminalize several forms of discrimination, including on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and nationality,” he said.
“This Bill is a perfect illustration of the seriousness with which we view hate crimes in our country,” he added while describing the racial discrimination problem as one of the most despicable human rights violations.
“We are, however, encouraged at the level of outrage that these incidents usually draw. It proves that South Africans are generally not tolerant of racism,” he said.
Zuma’s significant announcement about government’s plan to finally put to death the monster called racism which has laid hold of the country, follows comments by concerned SA officials against the recent outburst of racial comments on the social media.
Aside that, SA is argued to still be radicalized as the country’s three main racial group; Black, White and the coloreds are still holding to their racial prejudice. For instance, in the Northern Cape, there is a small Town called Orania that’s occupied entirely by whites only.
It has also been argued that the concept of racism has remained widespread at most South African universities as students are being forced out of class discussions based on their racial differences.
Ernst Roets, spokesperson of the organization Solidarity Youth once claimed that some SA Universities were discriminating against white students, denying them entry although they did better than their black counterparts.
“We have proof of instances in which white students with excellent results were refused entry in favor of black students with greatly inferior marks,” he told the South African Press Association (Sapa) as he reportedly named the University of Pretoria as one of the universities discriminating against white students.
In another significant announcement, Zuma said government was considering amending the law to provide funeral benefits for the elderly and savings for caregivers.
He said in order to provide assistance to the move, government was seeking to amend the Social Assistance Act to, among other things, enable it to provide funeral benefits to the elderly and be savings vehicles for caregivers of children. Presently, the system offers grants to 12 million children and 3.2 million older persons.
The president gave further notes of assurance that grant beneficiaries would receive their money at the end of the month.
“To all the old-age people, particularly grannies and grandfathers who receive grants, children and disabled people, we urge you not to panic at all.
“You are going to get your money at the end of this month. The problems that existed have been solved,” he said while addressing the matter in isiXhosa.
He paid tribute to Steve Biko, saying the gruesome and painful manner in which he was treated and his eventual merciless murder by the apartheid state was a gross human rights violation.