ANC NEC backs global "say no to racism" campaign in sport

Gwede Mantashe says it is a great pleasure to us that initiative is being led by foundations of our stalwarts and veterans


The ANC, from its inception, stood against racism. As recognised by one of our forebears, Pixley kaIsaka Seme, "the demon of racialism... is the cause of our backwardness". The Freedom Charter, our blueprint for transformation of South Africa into a united, non racial, non sexist and democratic South Africa, declares that "the doors of learning and culture shall be open to all".

Throughout our history, we have continued to confront racism in all its manifestations. We will recall the pivotal intervention made by our collective leadership across race in Kwazulu-Natal in the 1940s, by Doctors Xuma, Dadoo and Naicker, which came to be known as the Doctors' Pact. The cultural boycott led by our movement in the 1980s, which dealt a massive blow against the apartheid regime and its racist codes, brought together a broad front of people and organisations against racism in sport nationally and internationally. We will remember the slogan, no normal sport under an abnormal society.

In recent times we have experienced a rise in incidents of racism and racial insults in sports at a global level. Sport is a micro level of broader level. Therefore, these incidents are a manifestation of the racial tensions that persist in all societies throughout the world. South Africa is not immune to this reality.

Nevertheless, South Africans across colour, have demonstrated that sport can be a uniting force and a critical tool towards nation building. We have seen this during the 1995 Rugby World Cup and the 2010 Soccer World Cup, both of which took place on our soil in post apartheid South Africa.

Given the above context, we are encouraged by the initiative of the Sexwale Foundation; partnering with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and ourselves, to rid our world - particularly in sport, of racism and discrimination. The ANC officials have been engaged with in this regard. They welcomed the fact that the ANC has been given the opportunity to participate in this campaign.

The campaign, Global Watch: Say No to Racism and Discrimination in Sports; will be launched today - June 2nd 2014, in Qatar. It aims to organise summits in each participating country, leading to a global summit to be held in Johannesburg in September 2014. From this summit, there will a process to monitor racism and incidents thereof in sport. This process will be carried out by the Mapungubwe Institute (MISTRA). The campaign enjoys international support in the form of the international federation of football, FIFA, and the United Nations (UN) and some of its agencies.

The ANC believes this is a noble and worthy initiative. It is even of great pleasure to us that it is an initiative led by foundations of our stalwarts and veterans.

In this regard, we are convinced that it is time, once more - nationally and internationally, to fight the demon of racialism that is the cause of our backwardness.

We call on all our structures, the sports community in our country, and the broad South African society, to - together, support the Global Watch and say no to racism and discrimination in sport.

Statement issued by Gwede Mantashe, ANC Secretary General, June 6 2014

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