Cape Town- South Africa (PANA) -- President Thabo Mbeki has vowed to continue his government's fight against racism, irrespective of what opposition political parties think.
Addressing the National Assembly in Cape Town on Thursday afternoon, Mbeki said no one would stop his government from confronting racism and continuing to build a non-racial South Africa.
The President said the struggle against racism would be with South Africans for a long time because the racist legacy of colonialism and apartheid would be around for a long time.
"There is nobody in our country, or anywhere in the world, who is going to stop us from confronting the cancer of racism and continuing the struggle to build a non-racial South Africa," he said.
He was referring to statements made on Wednesday by opposition leader Tony Leon, who accused Mbeki of using "the race card" to deflect criticism, rekindling fear and hatred among the population.
"It is on President's Mbeki's watch that South Africa has moved from the politics of the rainbow nation and reconciliation to the politics of race-labelling and race-baiting," Leon said.
Leon accused Mbeki of leading South Africa down a "cul-de-sac of racism," and called for dialogue to help address the real issues facing the country.
However, the President said many of his white compatriots do not like any reference to the issue of racism, "perhaps because they want to forget the past.
" "When we speak of racism and racial stereotypes we do so because we know the hurt caused to those who are victims of this racism.
As long as we suffer this hurt, so long we will continue to fight to defeat that which hurts millions.
"There are some among us who are keen that we should say nothing about the hurt we feel.
They treat our continuing struggle against racism both as the very denial of national reconciliation, and a deceitful political manoeuvre to achieve short term partisan political gains," Mbeki added.