The time is right to begin finding a South African identity beyond race, African National Congress (ANC) National Executive Committee (NEC) member Lindiwe Sisulu said in Johannesburg on Sunday.
"The reason why we still remain with black, white, Indian attached to our status is that we want to make sure, as a government, that we have kept to the programme of transformation," Sisulu argued at the Luthuli House media briefing.
"… But it is time now to rethink this and find a way of identifying ourselves purely as a South African."
Sisulu was speaking in her capacity as the chair of the ANC NEC subcommittee on social transformation. The briefing comes ahead of the ruling party's national policy conference scheduled for June.
Turning to racism, Sisulu said it belonged only in history.
"Racism is what defined the past. Racism is not what is going to define us in the future. What is going to define us in the future is a common identity; a common consciousness of who we are as South Africans to deal with the issue of racism."
She said that the sub-committee had previously tried to deal with the issue of racism "and we found the environment not ready...
"… But we believe now that the environment is ready."
Sisulu said that the party hoped that a "mind shift" could take place.
"We have to move away from any exclusionary practices that discriminate one group from another in any form," said Sisulu.
"We feel now we have reached a point where we can deal with the issue of racism as a society and eliminate all of these stubborn stains."