An anti-racism team charged with the responsibility of fostering social cohesion in Gauteng Province will start work next month. The team was commissioned by Gauteng Premier David Makhura.
The premier presented the team on Monday, at the Sharpeville cricket pitch where thousands gathered to celebrate Human Rights Day and remember those who lost their lives in 1960 in the country.
The special day celebrates the sixty-nine people who were shot dead by police while protesting against pass laws. The protest also left more than 100 people injured.
Before the march, wreaths were laid on the graves of the PAC members who died in a protest against pass books which turned violent on 21 March 1960.
Paying special tribute to the deceased, Makhura recalled that “56 years ago, 69 people were killed here in Sharpeville, we know that their death was not in vain.”
Speaking more about the team, Premier Makhura enumerated some members of the anti-racism team. They include former Justice Yvonne Mokgoro, former Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Chairperson Brigalia Bam and Reverend Ray McCauley of the Rhema Bible Church.
He iterated that the team was established due to the emergence of hate speech and racial comments on social media earlier this year and the 2015 xenophobic attacks.
Makhura opined that the 20-man team would be conducting research and investigation at various universities as well as in suburbs, townships, churches and businesses across the Gauteng province.
The premier added that In the next 10 days, he will convene a meeting to brief the team extensively and to provide the necessary secretarial support.
He asserted that he would be working on plans to appoint the team for a three-year term after meeting them this week.
Makhura postulated that the team has been charged to help government come up with ways to tackle issues around racism and xenophobia.
He added that the provincial government is doing everything it can to provide houses for homeless families of people who died in the Sharpeville riots.