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Give racism in sport a red card: Pres Zuma

NOVEMBER 21, 2014
Give racism in sport a red card: Pres Zuma

President Jacob Zuma has called on the world to give racism in sport a big red card.

“We call upon the entire progressive humanity to frown upon racism in sports and to do everything humanly possible to put an end to it,” he said on Friday.

Speaking at the Global Watch Summit on Racism currently underway at the Emperors Palace in Kempton Park, President Zuma emphasised the need to fight the root cause of racism.

He called on sport loving people and supporters to embark on a process of introspection and ideological cleansing that will heal or protect them from the disease of racism.

“Sport people must not defend racism in sport; there must be equal opportunities in sport.

“The world cannot allow sports to be used to perpetuate ideas which divide humanity and limit the ability of people to work together for development regardless of race, skin colour, creed, religion, gender and sexual orientation,” President Zuma said.

With regard to South Africa, President Zuma referred to the 1994 elections, saying that was the time when South Africans turned their backs on racism and all related intolerances.

“We entered a new era, and began to build a united, democratic non-racial and non-sexist South Africa.

“We have experienced it, we hate it, and we are determined to fight racism wherever it rears its ugly head, because we know its impact. We know that it can destroy nations and peoples if it is not eradicated,” he said.

President Zuma called on the delegates attending the summit to take the discussions further in order to deal sufficiently with the root causes of racism in all facets of social life.

“Our point of departure should be the understanding that racism in sports will not end unless our actions to achieve its end are related to efforts to exorcize the demon of racism in society in general.

“We must appreciate that sport is played in various political, social, cultural and economic contexts and is therefore not insulated from the influences of these contexts,” he said.

President Zuma commended Global Watch for sensitising people about racism and forcing them to come to terms to the fact that racism does exist in sport.

Professor Njabula Ndebele, Chairperson of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, said there was no better place than South Africa to meet and discuss racism.

He said the scourge of racism should not be underestimated.

“I have no doubt that we will defeat racism in sport. Sport contributes to social cohesion,” he said.

Global Watch is a global civil society which is the brainchild of the Sexwale Family Foundation, and it arises from the ‘Say No to Racism in Football’ campaign launched by FIFA during the 2006 World Cup in Berlin, as well as from the establishment of the Anti-Racism Global Task Force 2013, of which Sexwale is member.

The two-day summit, which started on Thursday, is expected to adopt a charter on the elimination of racism in sport. –SAnews.gov.za