‘ANC aban­doned rec­on­cil­i­a­tion’

DA DE­MO­GRAPH­ICS

CityPress - - News - SETUMO STONE setumo.stone@city­press.co.za

The ANC has given up on the quest for rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and non­ra­cial­ism in South Africa, and is in­stead fight­ing a race war, says DA leader Mmusi Maimane. In an in­ter­view with City Press this week, Maimane said “the dis­cus­sion about rec­on­cil­i­a­tion has long de­parted from the ANC”, which had aban­doned the pro­ject of mak­ing it­self a home for all South Africans.

“What the ANC has done to­day is say that we are no longer fight­ing a sys­tem, but we are fight­ing a race, and that is the prob­lem,” he said.

Maimane was speak­ing a day af­ter he de­liv­ered a well­re­ceived speech on race and racism at the Apartheid Mu­seum in Jo­han­nes­burg. The speech, de­liv­ered in the wake of a spate of racist in­ci­dents around the coun­try, was hailed as hon­est and brave.

In the speech, he said the con­tin­u­ing racism was akin to “pour­ing salt in a deep wound” of past in­jus­tice, and pledged that his party would be at the fore­front of fight­ing the scourge. He said racists were not wel­come in the DA and dis­cour­aged them from vot­ing for the party.

Maimane told City Press that there should be equal out­rage at racism, re­gard­less of who per­pe­trated it. He said the racial slurs di­rected at him and whites by ANC lead­ers should be treated with the same out­rage di­rected at the case of Penny Spar­row.

Fedex

Black: 4 White: 4 Men: 6 Women: 2

MPs

Black: 31 White: 56 Men: 59 Women: 28

Pro­vin­cial lead­ers

Black: 7 White: 2 Men: 7 Women: 2

“When peo­ple stand up in Par­lia­ment say­ing things like ‘Maimane is only a to­ken black who was hired [be­cause he is] mar­ried to a white per­son’, al­most at­tack­ing in re­ally racial lan­guage, no­body says a thing,” he said.

He said the “pre­sump­tion that says racists can only be white” was wrong. He cited as ex­am­ples an in­ci­dent in which an ANC MEC in the East­ern Cape had al­legedly said that white pupils should be barred from a lo­cal school, and an­other in which an ANC MP said white peo­ple were “stupid and must be driven out” of the coun­try. In an­other ex­am­ple, an ANC coun­cil­lor in Cape Town had also threat­ened white peo­ple with “mur­der”.

He de­scribed as “al­most false logic” the ANC’s cam­paign to por­tray the DA as a racist party.

“You say only white peo­ple are in the DA, and only white peo­ple can be racist, there­fore the DA is racist. That is the cam­paign,” he said.

He said that the DA was “the only party that has stopped say­ing that we rep­re­sent one race or de­mo­graphic or one prov­ince, and the party is grow­ing ev­ery­where in di­verse en­vi­ron­ments”.

On the claim that only the DA in­her­ited for­mer sup­port­ers of the Na­tional Party, Maimane pointed out that Na­tional Party mem­bers and sup­port­ers could be found ev­ery­where, high­light­ing the fact that its last leader, Marthi­nus van Schalk­wyk, had joined the ANC.

He said it was a “mis­nomer” to talk about the Western Cape – which is the only prov­ince gov­erned by the DA – as the most racist in the coun­try.

“The ANC has also been in govern­ment there, so the sug­ges­tion will be wrong and mis­in­formed,” said Maimane.

“The fac­tory for racism was apartheid and it is a na­tional cri­sis. If we as lead­ers are not will­ing to stand up and lead through it – not only in our par­ties, cities and com­mu­ni­ties – we are go­ing to face some big chal­lenges,” he said.

Maimane said it was true that the DA was not yet as di­verse as it could be, par­tic­u­larly look­ing at the racial com­po­si­tion of its leg­is­la­ture cau­cus in Par­lia­ment.

“The big part of my speech was to say that we are di­verse, but we are not di­verse enough. So I ac­knowl­edge that point,” he said.

He said there was “a de­lib­er­ate process” to set tar­gets and achieve more di­verse cau­cuses in the var­i­ous leg­is­la­tures.

“We have gone for an or­ganic growth, and now I’m ask­ing that we must put steroids to that or­ganic growth so that we ac­cel­er­ate it with­out sit­ting down and set­ting quo­tas. We are go­ing for di­ver­sity and not rep­re­sen­tiv­ity on the ba­sis of the na­tional census,” said Maimane.

PHOTO: LEON SADIKI

TRUTH TO POWER

Mmusi Maimane dur­ing his race re­la­tions speech at the Apartheid Mu­seum in Jo­han­nes­burg on Tues­day

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.