THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF A RECKLESS REMARK
Twenty one years ago millions of South Africans stood in queues for hours excited that they would be able to cast their votes in South Africa’s first democratic election and all these voters looked forward to the new South Africa where every person enjoyed freedom and equal rights we were promised in the Freedom Charter that “We the people of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white. At his inauguration as the first Democratic President of our country President Mandela made a commitment that “Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another.”
Now, less than six months since he passed away we should honour his memory by honouring that dream, but rather we are plunged into a state of violence with rampant xenophobia and racism.
Very often a seemingly innocent remark results in dramatic unintended yet violent consequences such as those that we are experiencing in South Africa at present. Remarks that the perpertrators have brushed off as being either misunderstood, misused by the media or in the interest of transformation. Never the less the results we have experienced are without a doubt some of the worst cases of xenophobia, some prefer to call it Afrophobia or just plain racism
What is the difference bertween the three:
- Racism is a hatred for another race or culture and/or the belief that one race or culture is superior to another;
- Xenophobia is hatred, fear or dislike of foreigners and of other cultures and beliefs;
- Afrophobia is a hatred, fear or dislike of other Africans, their cultures and beliefs;
- Considering the number of Pakistan and Bangladesh national involved in the violence in South Africa it can hardly be called Afrophobia;
So how did the current violence start in South Africa:
- President Zuma decided to blame all the problems in South Africa on Jan van Riebeek which was , both a racial attack and an attack on a foreigner, he then defended this remark as been history;
- Steve Hofmeyer blaming Black People for apartheid, he too said that he was misunderstood;
- Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini told all foreigners “to pack their bags and leave” he claims that this is the media that the media quoted him out of context;
- Edward Zuma added his comment that “we are sitting on a ticking time bomb of (illegal) foreigners taking over the country”
- Also a full month of students carrying out illegal actions, throwing pooh on the Rhodes Statue followed by painting it and culminating with a group of students storming a Council meeting at the University of Cape Town, chanting “one Settler one Bullet”;
The result Rhodes‘ statue was removed and many other statues representing all races and cultures are damaged, people such as Gandi, Sarah Baartman, Paul Kruger and even a statue commemorating the horses killed during a war.
Violence then breaks out in KZN and Gauteng and the President remains silent for four weeks before he makes a public statement in Parliament. But he does not tell his son or anyone else to withdraw their remarks or to apologise for their remarks. He merely says that action will be taken to stop the violence. Only once many African Countries threaten action, the Secrearty of the United Nations condemns the violence we see Peace Marches and action against criminal activities. But of course the media and apartheid is to blame not the wreckless politicians
Once again it is proved that it is easier to break something down rather than to build something.
Imagine the the number of jobs that could have been created if Eskom’s advice was followed and the building of power stations commenced in 2008 as recommended, load shedding would have never happenned. The cost of electricity would be a lot less, there would be less reason for violence, less need for protests against service delivery.
Surely the naming of a modern power station providing electricity to the poor people of the Eastern Cape called the Nelson Mandela Power Station could be a greater tribute than naming a bankrupt metro municipality after this Icon?
Until next week,
This newsletter is published by Clive Hatch former Leader of the Opposition in the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature and DA Provincial Leader. These views are my personal views and do not represent those of any other person or organisation.