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unnamedSTATEMENT BY THE CITY’S EXECUTIVE MAYOR, PATRICIA DE LILLE

Note to editors: Today, 18 April 2016, the City of Cape Town’s Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille, was joined by representatives from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology to sign the City’s Inclusive City anti-racism pledge.

Today we were pleased to host the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) Dean of Students, Cora Motale, and the Student Representative Council President, Sibusiso Thwala.

We welcome their commitment and thank them for reaffirming their support for the Inclusive City Campaign and joining us in the fight against racism.On Human Rights Day last year, the City of Cape Town launched the Inclusive City Campaign to address racism and build a positive rights-based culture where the rights and dignity of all are respected, as prescribed in the Bill of Rights and our Constitution.

Our Constitution states that we: ‘Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity’.

And further, we wish to: ‘Heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights’.

The objective of the Inclusive City Campaign is to condemn racism publicly and promote a culture of rights awareness.

The majority of South Africans are not racists, but there is a minority who are.

We decided it was time to amplify the voices of ordinary people in Cape Town who are against racism and encourage people to publically distance themselves from it and embrace a culture of human rights.

We stood together in saying: ‘Know your rights’ and ‘Know that you cannot be discriminated against’.

Today CPUT joined us in saying: ‘Do not let racists speak for you’.

While racism is a global phenomenon, we refused to sit back and allow this scourge to continue when we are living in a democracy with one of the world’s most progressive constitutions.

Last year we engaged with various sector bodies, including universities, faith-based organisations, editors, FEDHASA and others, who committed to working with the City to condemn and address incidents of racism.

CPUT approached the City a few weeks ago to sign a pledge to show their commitment to fighting racism.

During the second phase of the Inclusive City Campaign which we launched in February, councillors have gone out into communities to host dialogues about racism where we are speaking to communities about how we can overcome racism and discrimination and truly realise a South Africa where the rights and dignity of each person are respected and upheld.

I have joined dialogues in Gugulethu and Heideveld while councillors have hosted sessions in Delft, Bishop Lavis, Bonteheuwel, Valhalla Park, Montana and Charlesville, Muizenberg, Kuils River, Uitsig, Lenteguer and Somerset West.

These sessions have truly been inspiring as communities stand with us in saying there is no place for racism in Cape Town.

I have also set up a desk in my office to report incidents of racism where we will assist in investigating complaints of racism so that racists can know it will not be tolerated and they will face action.

The work started by the fighters and founders of our democracy must continue in earnest and we must all do what we can to ensure that racism is eradicated and that our rights and freedoms are truly enjoyed by all who live in this beautiful country.

As our beloved Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said, the work of reconciliation is an ongoing process and must continue.

Reconciliation is something that is lived every day in our interaction with one another and by working to heal the pain and divisions of our past.

So I thank and commend CPUT for this commitment.

I will be meeting the Cape Higher Education Consortium and vice-chancellors in two days’ time, where we will be updating universities about Phase Two of the Inclusive City Campaign and making our materials available for them to use.

I also reiterate my call to all civil society bodies and residents to be mindful of the task at hand. Let us take hands, reverse the wrongs of the past and build a society where freedom, fairness and opportunity for all is realised.

We look forward to working with all sectors and residents to ensure that we build Cape Town into a city where everyone feels a sense of belonging.

May we continue to make progress possible, together. Laat ons vooruitgang moontlik maak, tesame. Senza inkqubela yenzeke, Sisonke.

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