CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) --
Reconciliation is not an easy matter,
South African President Jacob Zuma said Friday, while urging all
South Africans to recommit themselves to the cause.
Addressing a rally
in Zeerust, North West Province, to mark the National Day of
Reconciliation, Zuma said that as South Africans celebrated
achievements in reconciliation, “we should also remember that
reconciliation is a two-way process”.
“While black people
are implored to come to bury the pain of the past and move on,
white compatriots should also be ready to accept and support the
imperative of transformation and redress,” Zuma noted.
He urged South
Africans to bury racism, tribalism, xenophobia and all other
intolerance, saying these tendencies rear their ugly heads from
time to time.
South Africa has
seen an increase in racist speech and crimes this year,
including one high-profile incident in which two white men
forced a black man into a coffin and threatened to light him on
Earlier this year, a
former estate agent also made headlines when she vented
displeasure at the number of black people swarming public
beaches during the New Year holiday, likening them to “monkeys.”
measures to deracialize the economy, such as black economic
empowerment, affirmative action and land reform remain critical
for South Africans to achieve true and meaningful
reconciliation, he said.
In 1995, the first
democratically elected government declared December 16 as the
National Day of Reconciliation with the aim of healing a painful
division between black and white people.
“We come from a
painful past as South Africans. We have been able to come this
far in 22 years because we took that conscious decision to move
on, and build a new nation,” Zuma said, outlining measures to
redress the painful past.
Among the measures,
the government is currently engaged in a program of finding
missing persons and handing over remains of former political
prisoners executed by the apartheid government to their
families, according to Zuma.
At least 130
political prisoners were hanged for politically-related offences
in the period between 1960 and 1990. The state retained custody
of the remains of the deceased, thereby denying their families
the opportunity to receive or bury them, Zuma said.
The government is
also working to ensure that the socio-economic needs of former
anti-apartheid combatants are met as many of them are unable to
look after themselves and can not provide for their children,
according to the president.
The National Day of
Reconciliation is also about coming to terms with the painful
tragedy that occurred in August 2012 in Marikana, North West
Province, where about 44 people were killed, the majority of
whom by police, during a strike at Lonmin Mine, Zuma said.
The issue of
compensation, particularly for loss of support for the deceased
families, for unlawful arrest and detentions, is being attended
to, according to Zuma.