Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has called on South Africans to make an effort towards building a coherent and united nation as they mark Reconciliation Month in December.

Briefing the media on the work of the Social Protection, Community and Human Development Cluster of government departments here Monday, she said this was necessary for South Africa to realise its long-term strategic goals.

“Let’s promote reconciliation, peace and social cohesion .. Government is hard at work to realise [its] goals,” she said, adding that the highlight of the country’s 20 years of democracy was a Bill which would make hate crimes and hate speech a criminal offence.

In October, the Cabinet approved the publishing of the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill for public comment.

The Bill seeks to create the offences of hate crimes and hate speech, and to put in place measures to prevent and combat these offences to address the rising number of racial incidents and to further address other types of criminal conduct motivated by bias, prejudice or intolerance in the form of hate crimes and hate speech.

This is aligned to the National Development Plan, which highlights the need for sustained campaigns against racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia. It also seeks to ensure that all people are and feel safe.

Dlamini said the 2016 Reconciliation Month commemorations would be held under the theme: “Bridging the Divide towards a Non-Racist Society” and called on all to make the best of the upcoming festive season and build and strengthen relations through interactions based on Ubuntu and respect, as reflected and protected by the Constitution.

“We appeal to all South Africans to play their part in ending racism, sexism and gender-based violence especially against women, children and older persons.”


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