Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma has called on all South Africans to work together to campaign against racism, sexism, tribalism and other forms of discrimination in society.
The President also called on all sectors of society to join hands and to work together to build a united South Africa.
President Zuma said this when delivering the annual ruling party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) January 8 statement at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Saturday.
“… The ANC has historically pursued the ideals of non-racialism as a South African reality.
“In this regard, we call on all the people of this country to work together and defeat the demons of racism and tribalism.
“It is clear that there is a tiny minority in our country that still harbours a desire for separate amenities … These people do not represent the true character of the new South Africa. They are living in the past,” he said.
The President said this in the wake of a number of incidents that became a talking point over the past week across the country after several posts on social networks.
The President said these and other forms of racial discrimination have no place in society.
“The ANC has put in place laws to prevent discrimination on the basis of race. We shall ensure the end of racial exploitation in all its forms and wherever it occurs – in the workplace, in the education system, the health sector, in the administration of justice, in access to government services and in the private sectors.
“We call on ANC branches to develop specific campaigns against racism and to involve their communities, civil society and religious organisations in these campaigns,” he said.
He said going forward, all citizens must unite in promoting unity amongst all people.
In the quest for nation building, the President said people should constantly remind themselves about the unity and the spirit of Ubuntu that was displayed during South Africa’s historic sporting events.
This includes in 1995 when the Springboks won the rugby world cup; when Bafana Bafana won the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations and the display of unity shown during the 2010 Fifa World Cup, which was held in South Africa.
The President also called on all ANC structures to be at the forefront of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people as well as the broad inclusion of disabled persons to be made a national task.
Government to invest in basic, higher education
Meanwhile, the President said government was, through its policies, committed to ensuring that all support is given to schools to ensure the delivery of quality education.
He said economic growth and development are directly linked to the quality of education.
South Africa is succeeding in providing quality basic education and there is evidence that government’s efforts are showing significant results, the President said.
“More students sat for their matric examinations than ever before in 2015,” he said.
President Zuma also said that millions of learners from poor households do not pay fees and receive free meals at school.
Government was also building and refurbishing schools and investing on teacher training.
On higher education, the President said following the student protests late last year, government was putting measures in place to make post-school education more accessible and free for children from poor households.
Commending the youth of 2015, he said they demonstrated that they can be agents of positive social change.
“The ANC assures the country that we are working hard at finding long-term solutions to the challenges around funding for post school education,” he said.
As an immediate measure, an agreement was reached for a 0% fee increase and that university students meeting the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) needs test would not be required to provide upfront payments when registering for the 2016 academic year.
Government has also prioritised R2.6 billion to ensure that deserving students are not prevented from continuing their studies because of outstanding university fees, the President said.
He said a further R2 billion has been allocated for the 2016/17 financial year to ensure that these students are supported financially to complete their studies.
“In total, the ANC government is committing an additional amount of more than R4.5 billion to NSFAS for the 2016/ 17 financial year.”
Transforming the economy
The President said, meanwhile, that government would continue on its quest to de-racialise the economy through radical economic transformation to eradicate unemployment, poverty and inequality.
He said the National Development Plan remained the country’s blueprint to achieve this goal.
President Zuma said for this goal to achieve, government interventions must be coupled with an active private sector that prioritises the interests of the country.