Tripartite alliance launches campaign against racism, police brutality

The ANC's Jessie Duarte says the tripartite alliance is unhappy about act of police brutality.
The ANC's Jessie Duarte says the tripartite alliance is unhappy about act of police brutality.

The ANC-led tripartite alliance is launching a campaign against racism and police brutality inspired by the death of a US citizen George Floyd.

The alliance, consisting of the governing ANC, labour federation Cosatu and SACP​, wants South Africans to wear black attire for the next three Fridays to highlight racism and brutality.

Floyd was allegedly killed by a police officer who rested and pressed down his knee on his neck which resulted in him being unable to breathe.

The tripartite alliance said they were using this incident to highlight racism and law enforcement brutality in the country after Alexandra resident Collins Khosa recently died at the hands of the military.

According to ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte, the campaign will be officially launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday.

“It will be the start of our Black Fridays, where henceforth we all are called upon to wear black on this day of the week,” Duarte said.

“The Alliance Anti-Racism campaign, to be launched tomorrow, will also highlight the racism in our own society and against police and security force brutality. The deaths by citizens at the hands of security forces are of deep concern to the alliance.”

They were criticised for not starting the campaign when the death of Khosa was announced but seem more concerned about a life of an American more than that of a local.

ANC general manager Febe Potgieter-Gqubule said the party had raised the Khosa matter with the government during their meetings on the fight against Covid-19.

“I think that you are absolutely right that as a society we are not doing enough to respond to that. For example the ANC has raised this matter very consistently with government in all our engagements about Covid-19 in the official meetings to say that the security forces are there to serve and protect and that they need to act within the confines of the constitution,” Potgieter-Gqubule said.

“I think that it was a timing issue. We, for example, supported the statement by the minister of defence at the time, that she deeply regrets what happened. But as I said, I think that these things are ongoing and we tend to make statements and do the usual around these things when there’s something that sparks a more general outcry.”

The tripartite alliance said they were pledging solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the U.S because the black people there had supported South Africa during the fight against apartheid.

“South Africa is standing up to be counted. The USA, and its African-American community in particular, has played a critical role against our own struggle against the institutionalised racism of apartheid. Today, we must as a nation add our voices in solidarity to their call: That Black Lives Matter,” Duarte said.

She said that the “demon of racism” had also played itself out in the country when cooperative affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was depicted as a baboon recently in a matter that the party had reported to the SA human rights commission.

“The alliance also notes that the demon of racism remains a blight on the soul of our nation. It reflects itself in institutionalised racism in apartheid geography, in the economy and in social spheres.

“It also finds expression in the kind of blatant racism and misogyny in social media, that we’ve seen against cde Dlamini Zuma. As a society, this must not be tolerated, and we will and must use the institutions set up to bring the perpetrators to book,” Duarte said.

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