WATCH | Cyril Ramaphosa concedes that Indian citizens, colored and white, were ignored after 1994

by MMC
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  • President Cyril Ramaphosa admitted the ANC was also responsible for dividing the country.
  • Ramaphosa was speaking at the 40th anniversary celebrations of the non-racial, anti-apartheid organization the United Democratic Front.
  • Former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel was also present at the event and called for the defense of the country’s Constitution.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, speaking on the 40th anniversary of the United Democratic Front (UDF), acknowledged that Indian, colored and white citizens “feel excluded” from South African politics, saying that The ANC was also to blame.

Ramaphosa addressed the UDF anniversary celebrations at Johannesburg City Hall on Sunday, where the theme of the event was to revive non-racism and active citizenship to reclaim the supremacy of democracy constitutional law of the country, which speakers at the event described as “in danger”.

Ramaphosa — enthusiastic about how the slogan “UDF unites, apartheid divides” was used in the 1980s to “bury” the repressive regime — called poverty and unemployment “enemies of the people” that “we had to overcome through non-racism to “find solutions so that our people can live a better life”.

He criticized his party, the ANC, for participating in the division of South Africa along ethnic, racial and gender lines.

READ | Mondli Makhanya: How the ANC killed the UDF

“We should not use this opportunity (of the revival of the UDF) just to dissect the issues. We should use this opportunity to recall the activism that the UDF taught us,” Ramaphosa said.

He added:

Many people in our country, including some gathered here today, are disappointed that the non-racialist unity embodied by the United Democratic Front has been lost. Too often it has been supplanted by ethnic chauvinism and factionalism – even within the liberation movement (the ANC).

The UDF was formed in August 1983 in response to the apartheid government’s banned political formations and constitutional amendment plans to create lower houses, composed only of Indian and colored citizens in the then parliament, excluding more black Africans and dividing marginalized races.

Nearly 600 organizations – including unions, religious groups, non-racial sports organizations and community leaders, among other groups – formed the UDF.

The organization ceased operations in 1991 after the ban on the ANC, PAC and other anti-apartheid groups was lifted. The UDF has recently relaunched itself to influence the socio-political direction of the country.

In his speech, former North West premier Popo Molefe, a former UDF leader who is part of its current steering committee, echoed Ramaphosa’s sentiments, saying political parties mobilize citizens according to criteria racial.

“Every day we witness the concerted efforts of anti-democratic forces to reverse the progress we had begun to make towards nation building. Political parties of all stripes are not helping to consolidate our democracy, our accountability and the provision of basic (sustainable) services. .

“Instead, they spend valuable time shouting at each other (and) neglecting their constitutional obligations,” Molefe said.

Former finance minister Trevor Manuel – a former UDF leader – said the country should celebrate and protect the Bill of Rights enshrined in the Constitution, regardless of which party won the election.

“The revival (of the UDF) is not about creating a new party; it is about understanding who we are (as South Africans) and the fire that should burn within each of us,” Manuel told News24.

Former South African presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe were also present at the festivities and sat alongside anti-apartheid activist Sophie de Bruyn, the only surviving leader of the four women who led the historic women’s march on 9 August 1956 against the old regime.

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