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March for Unity, Non-Racialism and Democracy to be held on the 19 February 2016

18 February 2016

The ideals of unity and non-racialism have been cornerstones of the African National Congress since its formation in 1912. The people of South Africa in 1955 called for a South Africa that belongs to all who live in it, black and white. Building on the solid foundation laid by the Freedom Charter, the preamble of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa recognizes the injustices of our past and enjoins all South Africans to work together to build a country "united in our diversity".

South Africa today is a product of many streams of history and culture, representing the origins, dispersal and re-integration of humanity over hundreds of thousands of years. Our constitutional democracy and indeed our inherent values as a nation, are founded on the need to heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights.

It has therefore been very disturbing that in recent months the country has witnessed the incidences ofracism, at times disguised as freedom of speech. Racism is a system of domination by one group of people over another, fuelled amongst others by economic marginalization and inequality. Thus ingraining the notion of a superior race imposing its will on what they regard as inferior races. It is this scourge that the Freedom Charter enjoins us to overcome. The struggle against apartheid was a struggle against racism in the main. The resurgence of this scourge reverses our gains and thus the ANC calls for action by all South Africans to fight for unity, non-racialism and democracy.

The ANC calls for South Africans to move beyond merely identifying racism as a persisting challenge to uniting in action and to completely eradicate it together with all other forms of discrimination. In the same way our people were united against apartheid the ANC seeks to mobilise all South Africans, black and white, to contribute to the ongoing transformation of our country.

The ANC March for Unity, Non-racialism and Democracy is not a protest march. It is a march about facilitating conversation amongst South Africans. This conversation has been reduced in recent times. The march will take place tomorrow, 19 February 2016, starting from the Burgers Park Hotel, Lillian Ngoyi Street to the Union Buildings. We will be delivering the memorandum to the Union Buildings as the seat of government. The Presidency represents the democratic state, whichis founded on the principles and values of unity, non-racialism, equality and democracy.

The ANC issues an open invitation to all South Africans to join the march. We realize that we are only at the beginning of a long journey to a truly united, non-racial, non-sexism, democratic and prosperous South Africa in which the value of all citizens is measured by their humanity, without regard to race, gender and social status.

Our expectation is that South Africans everywhere they are - as we move towards Human Rights Day and beyond - will continue engaging on our collective responsibility to build a united South Africa.

Issued by
Gwede Mantashe
Secretary General
African National Congress

Zizi Kodwa 082 330 4910