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Saturday, 8 January, 2000, 20:09 GMT
Racism 'still rife' in South Africa

Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki Thabo Mbeki (right) wants to finish what Nelson Mandela started


South African President Thabo Mbeki has called for a national congress to combat racism which he says still plagues his country five years after the end of apartheid.

In a speech marking the 88th birthday of the ANC, Mr Mbeki said the challenge of the 21st century would be to root out the "cancer of racism" from the Rainbow Nation.

"We have not won the struggle against racism - a defining element of the problem of the colour line which the 20th century failed to solve," said Mr Mbeki, who succeeded Nelson Mandela last year.



We have not won the struggle against racism
Thabo Mbeki

"Among other things, consideration should be given to convening a National Congress Against Racism this year.

"This would enable us to have a broad-based programme of action against the cancer of racism as we enter the first year of the African Century," he added.

Since leading the ANC to victory in the country's second all-race elections last June, Mr Mbeki has repeatedly asked when the fruits of democracy will be enjoyed by the black majority.

'We must intensify the struggle'

South Africa is struggling to deliver jobs, housing, health care and education and many blacks are impatient with the slow pace of transformation.

With conflicts across the continent Mr Mbeki urged all Africans to make 2000 the year the continent buried its violent past and opened an African Century.

"We must intensify the struggle to ensure that by the end of the year 2000, all countries on our continent are at peace and that none of our countries is ruled by a military regime," he said.

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See also:
01 Jan 00 |  Africa
Sorry, whites only
26 Dec 99 |  Africa
The birth and death of apartheid
28 May 99 |  South Africa elections
South Africa's crime crisis
15 Dec 99 |  Africa
South Africa targets domestic violence
01 Dec 97 |  Africa
A new role for Afrikaans

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