Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa File picture: Independent Media
Cape Town – Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa on Tuesday said the government is deeply concerned over the incidents of racism which are often witnessed in different parts of the nation.

"In recent times, racism has continued to come to the fore at times and rear its ugly head. Legislation is being tightened and progress made so far in terms of the mooted Prevention and the Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill," Mthethwa said while tabling his 2017/18 budget vote speech in Parliament.

"Once accented into law, this Act will criminalise all forms of bigoted crimes and speech." He said government is currently leading community conversations on the emotive subject, and the country seeks solutions to the scourge of intolerance.

"We have had 33 community conversations across all nine provinces in a big to address the scourge of racism and other social ills facing society. Work is continuing apace to conclude these sectoral conversations with the view of crafting and adopting a common compact to unify our people, and strengthen the mental frameworks for complete emancipation," said Mthethwa.

"Through our community conversations, we also continue to address racism, language, heritage, patriotism, inequality, unemployment and poverty. The department has presented a report from the 2016 community conversations to various government departments so that they can action some of the recommendations proposed."

He said several community conversations were held to respond to the violent protests that swept through Vhuwani and the surrounding villages in Makhadho and Thulamela municipalities.

"These protests saw the burning and vandalism of over 20 million schools. The social cohesion advocates have carried out comprehensive social cohesion community dialogues so far to foster peace, unity and social cohesion in this area," said Mthethwa.

African News Agency