Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News - 27-06-2018
A professor and senior research fellow at the Institute for Reconciliation and Justice (IRJ) says the systematic dismantling and degradation of the state due to systemic discrimination did not start with former President Jacob Zuma and doesn’t end with him.
Professor Rajen Govender was speaking during a seminar focusing on the Reflections on Race and Reconciliations findings from the IJR’s SA Reconciliation Barometer in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
The seminar was held in conjunction with Awwal Socio-Economic Research Institute (Asri), the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and the IRJ.
It unpacked the various barriers to racial reconciliation, integration and interaction, as well as aim to identify new opportunities to uprooting racism and racialized inequality in post-apartheid South Africa.
Govender says while people focus on personal discrimination, the most egregious offender in the country in terms of discriminating against people on different grounds is the state and public institutions.
He says South Africans can’t have the state lead on issues of discrimination because the state itself is compromised.
“Just recently the President himself was compelled to bemoan the fact that the state is actually engaged in the abuse of people in the country. It’s not a far stretch of the imagination to talk about just how various aspects of the state have actually created problems for people by actually actively perpetuating systemic discrimination.
Govender says the root causes of discrimination extends beyond social media outbursts as the hidden discrimination and threats to reconciliation happens on a daily basis between ordinary South Africans and public institutions in the country.
He says the bigotry and discrimination in South Africa is multiple and multi-fold.
“It is just not race, it is gender, age, nationality, disability, occupation, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, parental status, religion, albinism and so forth.”
Govender says to achieve equality and to combat discrimination, the state must rethink how it should rebuild public institutions and repair the reconciliation with ordinary citizens including public officials that represent the best interests of South Africans.