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South Africa formulates plan to combat racism, xenophobia and discrimination

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In its fight against racism, xenophobia and discrimination in South Africa, the government has launched a tool to assist with combating these social ills, a senior official has said.

According to Justice and Constitutional Development Deputy Minister John Jeffery on Monday, 25 March 2019, the tool comes in the form of a 67-page document known as the National Action Plan (NAP).

“The fight for non-racialism, equity and equality is not short-term work, but generational work. It requires a united effort, and a lifetime of commitment,” the Deputy Minister said.

The plan, which takes its cue from the Declaration Programme of Action adopted by the UN World Conference against Racism, aims to promote and achieve the right to equality while combating racism, discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

In a country that is still reeling from the effects of division sowed by apartheid that officially ended in 1994 with the election of Nelson Mandela as the country’s first black president, Jeffery said there was no doubt that South Africa needed such a plan.

Launching the plan, Jeffery said the NAP is a culmination of an extensive process which started in 2015. The process included a widespread consultation phase with various stakeholders, which Cabinet approved on 27 February 2019.

The NAP will ensure that the concerns of individuals who encounter intolerance are addressed effectively, by providing mechanisms for the documenting, monitoring of such incidents and for ways to strengthen efforts to combat racism.

Apart from the identification of legislation that needs to be amended or adopted to protect victims of racism, the NAP envisages awareness campaigns that encourage and inform the public of reporting incidents of intolerances to the relevant authorities.

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