SPECIFIC LAW TO CRIMINALIZE RACISM & PROMOTION OF APARTHEID NECESSARY
5 January 2016
The Office of the ANC Chief Whip in Parliament firmly believes that time has come for a specific legislation to be created by Parliament to criminalize any act that perpetuates racism or glorifies apartheid. More than 21 years since the advent of our democratic dispensation founded on the noble principles of forgiveness, reconciliation and healing in the interest of a united, non racial, non sexist and prosperous South Africa, there are still elements who are resisting efforts for racial unity and are working tirelessly to widen the racial rifts and tensions created by apartheid oppression.
Despite the great efforts by the Black majority to embrace reconciliation and forgiveness rather than retribution for the untold atrocities and injustices suffered under apartheid and colonialism, there are some within the white community whose only response has been to engage in acts of persecutions and torments driven by racial bigotry. Even more disturbing is the increasing trivialization of racism, where accusations of 'reverse racism' are often thrown around without regard to the historical context. Since 1652, with the arrival white settlers, black people have suffered dispossession, economic deprivation and racial oppression, and thus continued racism is offensive and intolerable.
Clearly, there are some within the white community who are still struggling to come to terms with our democratic order which is anchored on human rights values that extends fundamental rights to all regardless of race, colour, creed or sex. Various researches and surveys continue to demonstrate that racial unity remains illusive and that the majority of Black people continue to experience racism in many spheres of their lives. Trust amongst races remains unsatisfactory and discrimination continues to undermine our efforts towards nation building and social cohesion.
The recent disturbing incidences of racism and glorification of apartheid, and the indifference with which they were dealt with, proffer valuable lessons to our young democracy regarding how not to deal with such gravely serious infringements that dehumanizes the great majority of our people and robs them of their dignity. Such gross violations cannot be left merely to the internal subjective processes of a political party or a company. Today, as the nation is justifiably seething with anger and disappointment at yet another blatant acts or racial bigotry, we know too well that there is little that can be done in terms of our legislative provisions to sufficiently punish the perpetrators and to sternly discourage recurrence of such repulsive conducts.