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Brandishing the old apartheid flag does not advance the cause for social cohesion and nation building

Yesterday, during the Black Monday protest, the democratic values enshrined in the Constitution were severely undermined by the shameful brandishing of a symbol of the biggest crime against humanity – apartheid. The Minister Nathi Mthethwa strongly condemns this intolerance displayed at the Black Monday protests which continues to undermine the pursuit for social cohesion and nation building.

In South Africa, the rule of law is the foundation on which our constitutional democracy finds its strength. The Department therefore sympathises with the many families that have lost their loved ones as a result of these attacks on farms and call upon the law enforcement agencies to act decisively without fear or favour.

“Killings and attacks of any kind on South African citizens are unacceptable and conflicting to the kind of society that we seek to build – a truly non-racial, non-sexist, and democratic society”, said Minister Mthethwa.

While we are unreservedly sympathetic to the plight of our farming communities, we are deeply disturbed by some of the symbolism that characterised the protest action. It is important to note that the event of burning the new flag and flying of the old flag did not advance the cause for social cohesion and nation building and we condemn this action with the strongest contempt it deserves.

The Department has the mandate to lead South African society in bridging persistent socio-historical divisions, mainly entrenched along racial, cultural and ethnic identities. There are various platforms, some in the form of community conversations that are being rolled out across country to encourage robust conversations so as to bridge existing divisions, especially along the racial lines.

We remain committed to working with all communities in ensuring that we live up to the vision of our Constitution and the National Development Plan (NDP); and by extension, we hereby issue a call to all communities to join us in forging this common future together, for ourselves and for posterity.

Minister Mthethwa concluded by saying that the wise words of OR Tambo still ring true today when he said “we seek to create a united democratic and non-racial society. We have a vision of South Africa in which black and white shall live and work together as equals in conditions of peace and prosperity.”

For more information, please call Lokile Molefe, MLO to the Minister at 076 920 3934 or lokilem@dac.gov.za

Issued by the Department of Arts and Culture