SA Organisations

All South Africans must work to defeat racism

  • Krengel
If racism is to be defeated, then all South Africans, and not just the leadership, must become involved in the fight. This is the basis of a new “Code of Courtesy”, an initiative of Active Citizens, which was launched in Johannesburg on February 3.
by DAVID SAKS | Feb 10, 2016

 Pictured: SAJBD National Vice-President Zev Krengel speaking at the launch.

The Code was co-written by SAJBD National Vice-President Zev Krengel and Active Citizens founders and business leaders Bobby Godsell and James Motlatsi.

Active Citizens was founded in April 2013 with the aim of encouraging ordinary South Africans to make a positive difference to their society by, inter alia, contributing their time and skills to social upliftment. The Code of Courtesy came about in response to the furore over racist hate speech in South Africa, particularly in the social media.  

While the right of people to express their views and to disagree - even strenuously - with one another, is a fundamental democratic right, this must always be conducted in the spirit of the Constitution.

Based on this, the Code of Courtesy urges people to respect the dignity of their fellow-South Africans when expressing their views about the country and its future. Those signing on to the pledge further commit themselves to respecting “the diversity of gender, race, ethnic origin and religious belief”, and to ensure that when disagreeing with their fellow-citizens, they would “contest their ideas, but not attack the dignity of their person, nor of the group to which they belong”. 

Speaking at the launch, Krengel described the social media as a double-edged sword, since unfortunately it was open to being abused. Indeed, he doubted whether South Africa would have been able to make the turbulent transition from apartheid if Facebook and Twitter had existed at that time.

“Social media allows racists to spew hatred that causes terrible hurt to general South African citizens. We want to live in a democratic country where there is freedom of expression, but we need to act responsibly,” he said. 

In his introductory remarks, Godsell stressed the crucial part that the various faith communities, through all of which ran the “golden thread that looks to the principle of treating others as you would have them treat you”, had to play in taking the initiative further. 

Motlatsi urged that South Africans, rather than continually focusing on negative issues, focus on the positive aspects of South African society and how to build on them.

In a vote of thanks, Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi remarked that the morning’s discussions had revealed the depth of people’s concern for South Africa, particularly for the economy and social cohesion.   

“While each of us comes from a different background and serves in a different sphere, we are friends simply because we share this love of our country. Ours is a noble duty. Let us fulfil it hand in hand,” he said.


* The full text of the Code of Courtesy can be found at




  1. 2 nat cheiman 11 Feb
    Easier said than done. Malema calls Collen Maine a monkey. Mcediso Dlamini, the dumb guy at Wits says he loves Hitler. Black students at Wits wearing T-shirts with " F*** White People". Velaphi whatever his name , says " kill white people". Are these people racist?
    Is Penny Sparrow a racist?
    It appears that nothing is done when black people do these things.
    ANC, government and black people need to get their house in order and STOP throwing stones at whites.
    Until then, why should I care about racism?
  2. 1 yitzchak 21 Feb
    So the ANC is going to play the race card for the upcoming municipal election, having taken on the EFF rhetoric to outdo them.
    There is nothing left of any policy in SA.
    So there's no anti white racism?
    A few foolish whites shoot their mouths and we are all collectively guilty....haven't I heard this somewhere before?
    There is only one code:
    Discriminate against all people equally


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