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  • People protesting against xenophobia in South Africa hold placards in front of the South African consulate in Lagos, Nigeria April 16, 2015.

    People protesting against xenophobia in South Africa hold placards in front of the South African consulate in Lagos, Nigeria April 16, 2015. | Photo: Reuters file

Published 27 March 2019

The NAP details the expectations of the government, civil society, the media, academia, business, labor and sporting and religious bodies to counter and prevent discrimination and prejudice.

The Government of South Africa has launched a national action plan (NAP) to combat the rise of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and other discriminatory conduct and prejudices across the country.

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Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, John Harold Jeffery, reaffirmed that NAP “further exemplifies our commitment to our CERD (International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination) obligations.”

The 67-page NAP document includes specific actions, interventions, measures and time frames effected within a governance structure for the implementation, Jeffery said.

A rapid response mechanism will be put in place to address incidents of racism and other crimes of prejudice that will be prosecuted by the National Prosecuting Authority, according to Jeffery.

The justice minister added that NAP is important since the institutionalized oppressive legacy of South Africa’s apartheid continue to permeate through the nation despite being official struck down a quarter of a century ago.

Jeffery explained that racism, intolerance and discrimination continue to undermine the nation, adding that many people are still experiencing racial harassment and hate speech as well as being discriminated against due to sexuality, freedom of expression, disability and religion.

According to a recent report by the Hate Crimes Working Group, nationality, sexual orientation and religion are the top three hate crimes in South Africa.

“We can pass laws against hate crimes and hate speech, we can launch a detailed plan such as the NAP, but we also need to change attitudes and perceptions within communities and within societies,” Jeffery said.

The Hate Crimes Working Group research reveals that 59% of hate crime victims are black or African.

The NAP details the expectations of the government, civil society, the media, academia, business, labor and sporting and religious bodies to counter and prevent discrimination and prejudice.

The minister further disclosed that the NAP program will be presented at the United Nations and be subjected to revision every five years.

The plan’s launch coincided with South Africa’s 50th anniversary in CERD and serves to pay homage to apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada, who was integral to NAP’s formulation.

”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 quoting Kathrada.

The NAP will be translated into the 10 other official languages.

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