Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane says citizens should work towards a shared heritage and build partnerships with others, including those from other African countries.
He said it was important for everyone to work together towards building a better future, just like it was done during the fight against the injustices of apartheid.
Maimane was speaking at a DA event celebrating Heritage Day on Tuesday outside former president Nelson Mandela’s home in Orlando West, Soweto.
Maimane was joined, among others, by the party’s national spokesperson Refiloe Nt’sekhe, women’s network leader Nomafrench Mbombo, national caucus chairperson Annelie Lotriet, DA spokesperson for home affairs Joe McGluwa, and youth leader Luyolo Mphithi.
In his speech, Maimane said efforts should go into building a reconciled society and an inclusive economy with a redress model that benefited all, not just select cadres.
“This Heritage Day we will rightfully reflect on where we come from – our customs, our language, our culture.
“Reconciliation doesn’t mean that we must all surrender our diversity. It doesn’t mean we must give up our identity or apologise for our race, culture or language.
“It is an acknowledgement and a celebration of our diversity, and recognition that this diversity is what makes us strong and resilient. Black and white, young and old, Xhosa, Zulu or Afrikaans, we are better and stronger together,” said Maimane.
Maimane urged people to not listen to notions that Africans were enemies and that certain people or languages did not belong in South Africa.
Touching on the recent attacks on foreign nationals, the DA leader said he met with SADC leaders and they all condemned “xenophobic violence”. He said partnerships should be built with other countries, instead of chasing foreign nationals away.
“Our future is a SADC where we can trade together and travel together.”