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SAHRC response to ANC petition on racism

19th February 2016

Attention: Editors and Reporters

The South African Human Rights Commission formally acknowledges receipt of the petition on racism from the African National Congress (ANC).  The Commission is a Chapter 9 institution established in terms of the constitution to investigate human rights violations, and to report and recommend action to redress these violations.  One of the leading human rights violations reported to the Commission year-on-year are related to inequality, which accounts for approximately 10% of total complaints.

The Commission is deeply concerned that 20 years after democracy, the Commission still receives complaints regarding discrimination on the basis of race. Whilst many efforts have been undertaken in law and policy as well as in the establishment of institutions such as Equality Courts, racism still remains a key issue for the country.  In both 2012/2013 and 2013/14, violations related to equality constituted at least 10% of the total number of complaints received by the Commission.  Based on our 2013/14 financial year, 53% of all equality-related complaints related to racial discrimination alone.

In January this year, the country witnessed a heightened focus and debate on racism arising from social media remarks exchanged by individuals. On the 4th January 2016 the Commission released a statement to the public. In that statement, the Commission invited those who felt that their rights were violated to approach the Commission, and undertook that any cases received would be investigated.

Since then, the Commission has since over 200 racism-related complaints through all its provincial offices. This excludes other human rights related complaints that the Commission ordinarily receives through its offices located in all nine provinces across the country.

This petition that the Commission has just received from the ANC will be one of many others complaints that the Commission will be reviewing over the next few weeks.  The outcome of this review will be the release of a set of recommendations for remedial action by government and all other social actors concerned with transforming the culture of our country into a non-racial society.

On the 14 and 15 March the Commission will be commemorating 20 years of its existence.  The Commission has chosen to dedicate this important event to the theme of racism.  This event will create a platform for engagement with government, the private sector and civil society to have a constructive dialogue on how to address the scourge of racism in the country. The conference seeks to emerge with a Declaration and Plan of Action for a societal response to this concern.  This Declaration will be signed by all stakeholders and released to the public.

The South African Human Rights Commission appreciates the receipt of this petition which the Commission will be considering as it continues to investigate this matter.

ENDS

Issued by the SA Human Rights Commission

Contact Person: Isaac Mangena (SAHRC Spokesperson), 071 884 8273

For comments email info@sahrc.org.za [Back]



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