Sunday Tribune

WEF yet another damp squib

Sisulu is right to think of South Africa beyond black and white


MUCH enthusiasm was displayed at the World Economic Forum Africa held at the Durban ICC. It was claimed the forum would change the face of Africa.

Such sentiments have been expressed at previous forums and practicall­y all turned out to be damp squibs. Why should the WEF in Durban be any different? I am not optimistic.

The WEF leaders gather under the banner of the club and volumes of words are spoken. They exchange greetings and hug each other. There is joy and laughter. Meanwhile, all have their own hidden agendas for attending.

President Jacob Zuma had high hopes, as if all South Africa’s problems would be solved – he cut a brilliant picture glorifying the WEF.

The world is tired of forums holding discussion­s when nothing comes out of them for change.

World leaders don’t readily open their wealth to many of the poorer countries in Africa, Asia and in the Americas.

The poor get poorer and continue to live in abject poverty in shanties. There are more poverty-stricken in the world now than decades ago.

Think of the plight of refugees around the world, longing to return to normal lives in their homelands. Do world leaders really care for their plight? I fear not.

The WEFS achieve little. What was discussed in Durban will be forgotten before the leaders even reach their home soil.

Of the decisions taken at previous WEFS, how much was implemente­d, who benefited and how?

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe was a pathetic figure at the WEF and confidentl­y said his country was in a favourable position. Can you believe that?

Zuma now also falls in the category of a despot like Mugabe and the ANC is blind to him driving them as if he’s above the law.


I WAS pleasantly surprised to read news reports quoting what Lindiwe Sisulu had said at a recently held ANC briefing at Luthuli House.

The gist was that she believed the time had come for South Africans to find their identity beyond race and start thinking of themselves as South Africans, as opposed to black or white.

Sisulu reportedly said: “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 added: “We have to move away from any exclusiona­ry practices that discrimina­te one group from another in any form.”

I wondered to myself: Do we at last have a senior ANC person who can lead our nation back to honouring the principles prescribed in the constituti­on?

I’m a white man who lived through the apartheid era. I experience­d South Africa being shunned by the rest of the world in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s. From 1992 to 1994 I witnessed the miracle of a peaceful transition to a constituti­onal democracy.

At the time, I was convinced that, with our new constituti­onal democracy, all blacks and whites would link up and forge ahead, ensuring a strong and prosperous country for all to work and live in, a sort of “united we stand, divided we fall” approach.

I also naively believed this would be the end of all official racial classifica­tion (with all of the associated problems). How wrong I was on that one.

Since 1994, we’ve had racial classifica­tion big-time!

It’s been contained in black economic empowermen­t and employment equity legislatio­n. And we have the morally indefensib­le race-based sports team quotas.

Aggravatin­g the situation, we also have whites being blamed for most of the ills within our country; whites who bought their land with hard-earned cash being accused of stealing land from the country’s black people; and we are reminded daily of the evils of “white monopoly capital”.

To my black compatriot­s out there, I can assure you it’s not comfortabl­e being a white person in post-1994 South Africa.

I suspect most of my compatriot­s feel like me, being a second-class citizen in one’s land of birth, a feeling aggravated by having the apartheid past continuall­y thrown at you.

It seems to be a case of all whites having to bear the guilt of the white perpetrato­rs of apartheid forever.

However, I find renewed hope for a better, non-racial South Africa when I hear comments like those attributed to Sisulu, who is clearly a potential leader in the “Mandela mould”.

May Sisulu rise from strength to strength and become a serious contender for the Anc/south African presidency. And let’s hope support for her from moderate, fair-minded whites like me doesn’t prejudice her chances of success. It would be tragic if it did. ROBIN MUN-GAVIN


 ??  ?? Human Settlement­s Minister Lindiwe Sisulu... a reader reckons she holds out hope for a truly non-racial South Africa.
Human Settlement­s Minister Lindiwe Sisulu... a reader reckons she holds out hope for a truly non-racial South Africa.

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