South Africa News

Hank’s Old Irish Bar: Premier and mayor must step up – Brett Herron – POLITICS

GOOD SG says there are enough such incidents in the City and surrounding region to sketch pattern of discrimination

Alleged racism in Bree street: Premier and mayor must step up and lead

8 December 2022

The Premier of the Western Cape and Mayor of Cape Town must show some leadership and apply themselves with more vigor to rooting out racism.

We don’t know the full story of what recently transpired at Hank’s Old Irish bar in Bree Street. But what we do know is that there are enough of these type of incidents in the City and surrounding region to sketch a pattern of prejudice and discrimination.

Cape Town is not only among the most unequal cities in the world, it is also among the most conservative and racially divided.

It was this conservatism and rejection of social and spatial integration that led to the province retaining the apartheid National Party in 1994 – when given the choice of voting for Nelson Mandela – and continues to guide DA policies today.

It is thus no co-incidence that Cape Town has done nothing in nearly 29 years to break down Group Areas Act divisions, building not a single affordable home in an area formerly reserved for whites.

And it is no co-incidence that instead of unequivocally condemning several outrageous racial incidents at Stellenbosch University this year, the DA condemned the report of the retired Constitutional Court judge who was brought in to investigate.

When she was the Mayor of Cape Town, GOOD leader Patricia de Lille set up an Inclusive City desk in her office, in 2015, where incidents of racism could be reported. It formed part of a broader campaign with the tagline, “Don’t let racists speak for you”, and enjoyed the support of leading voices on the issue such as Archbishop Tutu and Ahmed Kathrada.

The initiative aimed to educate citizens about racism and inclusivity, and promote a culture of human rights awareness. It specifically targeted industries and workplaces which had been associated with racist incidents, not least in the hospitality sector…

Every one of us has a duty to eradicate racism. Strong values-based leadership with the vision to create meaningful mechanisms to contribute to social healing will help.

Issued by Brett Herron, GOOD Secretary-General & Member of Parliament, 9 December 2022

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