The Mercury

‘You show you are a loyal South African’


I USUALLY from time to time receive anonymous letters and phone calls from readers of this column if they disagreed with me; while some are of bad mouth, there are also those expressing a compliment, while one caller said that I was not a loyal South African. All the same, I took everyone in my stride, whether they agreed or disagreed with me.

Speaking of loyal South Africans. In the past, I addressed correspond­ence to various National Party cabinet ministers and officials.

In 1962, I addressed correspond­ence to the late foreign minister Eric Louw, urging that the Nationalis­t Party should think in terms of removing the Group Areas Act, Bantu Education, Job Reservatio­n and other abhorrent acts that hurt South Africans of non-white origin, as these legislatio­ns impeded their progress and developmen­t, besides their dignity in a country of their birth.

I explained to Louw that his government must work towards dismantlin­g apartheid and he should help to do so. In response Minister Louw said in his letter:

“I thank you for your letter and for the sentiments and goodwill therein expressed which I deeply appreciate. You may be of Indian origin, but from your letter, you show that you are a loyal South African.”

This is it, if apartheid minister Louw can be compliment­ary, rather than attacking me or sending the Security Branch Police to interrogat­e me, which was typical and most common at the time. He could have also branded me as an unloyal South African.

In today’s time without apartheid, we still continue to have faults that need to be improved on, such as lack of service delivery, corruption, crime and other anomalous situations that affect citizens of all racial groups. This is the very reason; criticisms are levelled at the government and its agencies.

If Louw, who was an apartheid regime minister, can recognise and understand the contents of my letter compared to today’s time in a free South Africa with all the trappings of freedom of speech, who is someone to say, to anyone, that you are not a loyal South African?

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