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National Action Plan against racism taking shape

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In recent months, South Africans have voiced concern about the increase in racist sentiment that has made the rounds on social media. Recently, the owner of the Sodwana Bay Guest House, Andre Slade, unapologetically stated that based on his religious beliefs, he will not rent his guest house to ‘black’ people. Slade’s comments were met with anger by South Africans of all ethnicities.

In response to the increase in racist incidents, on Wednesday the ministry of Justice and Constitutional development hosted a Provincial Consultation on the Draft National Action Plan to Combat Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerances in the Western Cape. The National Action Plan, which includes the contribution of citizens, is directed toward assisting in understanding what defines racial discrimination and in finding viable solutions to eradicate racial prejudice.

Speaking to VOC, the Western Cape’s head of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, Advocate Hishaam Mohamed explained that while the provincial consultative National Plan has been taking place in each province, in February the National Action Plan was officially rolled out.

Yesterday, the Department hosted approximately 200 delegates, including religious leaders, NGO’s, community leaders, teachers and university leaders from across the country.

In an attempt to conclude the spectrum of the definition of racial discrimination, the committee sifted through a number of proposals in which individuals gave their lived experiences of racial discrimination.

Interviewees subsequently indicated what intervention they believe needs to be employed in order to prevent racist sentiment.

The delegates, Mohamed says also provided possible solutions to combat the issue of xenophobia and its related intolerances.

He further notes that the draft document has deliberate areas of empty space, which the department encourages citizens to fill, since the plan is expected to be presented to member states of the United Nations, who will be invited to provide input.

While the draft document has been released to a number of websites, Mohamed says that the department will extend the submission deadline and, therefore, encourages citizens to share their lived experiences of racial discrimination in order to be part of the change.

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