Cape Town mayor, Patrica de Lille on Saturday marked Human Rights Day by launching the ‘Inclusive City’ campaign.
The campaign was aimed at creating public platforms for dialogue to confront what makes some residents feel excluded, while others felt entitled.
“We face many challenges to a culture of rights, and as a city government we try and face them head-on to say that we will not tolerate racists, sexists, or homophobes,” de Lille said in a statement prepared for delivery at the launch.
“But it is the issue of racism that has proved to be a particular barrier to accepting an inclusive, rights-based culture for everyone. Given that South African history has been structured along racial separation for centuries, it is to be expected that that history lives with us today,” she said.
At times, people avoided the talks on these issues because of a fear of being misunderstood or condemned by those who had different views, de Lille said.
Others avoided the topic because it was serious and difficult to address.
“As hard as it is, it is the responsibility of leaders to demonstrate courage and initiate these difficult conversations,” de Lille said.
“We have to ensure that we lead the people of our city to reject racism, to make everyone feel included in this city, and to activate a positive culture of rights in our society. That is why I have initiated this race dialogue under the banner of the Inclusive City campaign,” she said.
The Democratic Alliance said it welcomed the campaign.
“We believe that constructive dialogue is an essential step in tackling racism,” national spokeswoman Phumzille vam Damme said.
She called on other municipalities to follow suit and create similar platforms.
“Racism is not a Cape Town problem, it is a South African problem.,” van Damme said. SAPA