Ramaphosa raises concerns over racism, GBV as ANC commemorates Freedom Charter

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Jun 26, 2020

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President Cyril Ramaphosa says as the country marks the 65th anniversary of the Freedom Charter, there is a growing movement which seeks to regress the gains made as cases of racism and gender-based violence have gripped the country.

Ramaphosa marked the anniversary of the establishment of the Freedom Charter during an ANC  virtual event on Friday. The charter was signed on June 26, 1955, and called for an end to oppression.

He said there was no document as special and paramount like the Freedom Charter anywhere in the world. Ramaphosa said as the charter calls for a non-racial country which belongs to all, certain groupings aim to undo this call as racism was on the rise.

"We must go on a campaign to root out racism. We must work to stamp out intolerance and racism and discrimination based on gender."  

He also spoke of gender-based violence (GBV) as a pandemic that has befallen the country, with "men having declared war on the women of our country". GBV cases have been on the rise in recent weeks as reports of women being allegedly murdered by their partners.

The president said laws were in place to ensure that offenders were dealt with, but he called on society to root out patriarchal behaviour which deemed women as inferior.

"The government has enacted laws to deal with GBV. We need society to work together to deal with GBV and other social ills. We need to confront patriarchal norms. 

Magommed Ismael, national president of the United Democratic Front, speaks about the resurgence of the UDF in a democratic South Africa and how they want to reinforce the ideals of the Freedom Charter. Video: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA)

"We need to engage our structures in campaigns to change the minds of citizens that treat women as inferior. No longer should we be silent (we) must call out perpetrators," he said.

Ramaphosa also addressed the Covid-19 pandemic. He said the pandemic had upended people's livelihoods and massive jobless were expected due to the lockdown. He said the government was determined to grow the economy and help create jobs.

The focus would be on infrastructure projects designed to create opportunities. He said they would also be a focus on creating new sectors and reviving old ones such as manufacturing.

Ramaphosa said the ANC fully supports the need to transform the economy so that it speaks to the ideas written in the Freedom Charter. He said a society where the majority of citizens, black people, were left out of the economy was not in line with dreams and aspirations of the drafters of the Freedom Charter.

On land, he said the ANC would continue to push for the finalisation of land redistribution. Parliament has yet to finalise the process of amending the Constitution to allow for redistribution of land without compensation. 

Political Bureau


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