President Cyril Ramaphosa during a virtual address. Picture: Elmond Jiyane, GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa during a virtual address. Picture: Elmond Jiyane, GCIS

South Africa has no place for religious intolerance, says Ramaphosa

By Jehran Naidoo Time of article published Nov 13, 2020

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Durban - President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that South Africa has no place for religious intolerance.

“There is no place for religious intolerance of any sort in the democratic South Africa. Our Constitution is clear that no person may be discriminated against on the basis of, among other things, religion, conscience, belief, culture or language,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa was speaking during a question-and-answer session with the National Assembly on Thursday.

This came after the president was asked about rumours regarding the alleged rise of “Islamic extremists” in certain parts of South Africa.

Ramaphosa said that despite the country’s conflicted past, South Africa has remained a nation that can be characterised by religious tolerance and a deep respect for beliefs and cultures.

Ramaphosa said that the government had established institutions for dealing with discrimination against religions and beliefs.

“In short, South Africa has a progressive constitutional and legislative framework to address intolerance, hate speech and discrimination,” he said.

Earlier this week, Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Naledi Pandor condemned the bomb attack at the World War I commemoration site in Saudi Arabia.

Several international delegates were injured during the attack, which was held at a cemetery in the coastal city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to pay respect to non-Muslim casualties of the First World War.

“South Africa maintains that terrorism in all its forms cannot be condoned and continues to advocate for the total isolation and eradication of all terror groups.

“In this regard, South Africa is supportive of all efforts to combat terrorism undertaken by the international community, including the positions of Saudi Arabia against terrorism and extremism,” Pandor said in a statement.

The British embassy in Saudi Arabia said in a joint statement on Wednesday that the attack was an act of cowardice.

The UK’s Minister of State for the Middle East and Africa, James Cleverly, said in a tweet that he had “full confidence” in the Saudi Arabian authorities to investigate the attack and bring the perpetrators to book.

African News Agency (ANA)

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