Cape Town: A call has been made to South Africans to use Heritage Day to celebrate diversity and to reach outside their comfort zone to discover and embrace other cultures.
MPs made this call on Wednesday during a joint sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.
IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi challenged South Africans to invite someone from a different social and cultural background to enjoy a braai with them, be they orphans, the elderly or a work colleague from a different social background.
He said MPs should ask themselves whether Heritage Day had seen any increase in social cohesion, or whether it had become little more than a holiday or the country’s so-called ‘national braai day’.
The ANC’s Masefele Morutoa said South Africans should listen to each other’s different views and pointed out that patriotism should not be seen as a natural tendency of all, but a goal that needed to be worked towards.
DA MP Niekie van den Berg appealed to every South African to do everything possible to create a better country, as the country was one full of possibilities.
The problem, he said, was that South Africans didn’t listen enough to one another and needed to work to find a middle ground.
In finding the middle road, the ID’s Sarah Paulse called on all MPs and South Africans to commit themselves to the ideals set in the National Development Plan, which was released last month.
The Freedom Front Plus’s Cornelius Mulder called on the government to create a specific department to promote minorities – pointing out that many minority groups were concerned about their position in the country.
ACDP leader Reverend Kenneth Meshoe said the country’s moral fibre had frayed and called for South Africans to speak out against a plan by Swedish group Save the Children to teach sex education to local children who were five years old.
The UDM’s Ntopile Kganyago warned that a culture of greed and corruption had taken hold in South Africa, which together with a language of intolerance, stood in clear contrast to the African practice of ubuntu and threatened the stability of the country.