When does a political settlement, reached between various groups, fail? Future leaders, Racism and Affirmative Action.
DR PIETER MULDER, LEADER FF PLUS. FEB 2005
When does a political settlement, reached between various groups, fail?
Any political settlement comes under great pressure from the third generation political leaders after the settlement. A study on failed political settlements, such as in Cyprus and Lebanon, confirms this statement. Mandela, de Klerk and Constand Viljoen were the first generation political leaders that negotiated the settlement. Mbeki, Leon and Mulder as second generation leaders were part of the initial negotiations. They increasingly come under pressure from their various power bases, to promote own interests above that of the general interest of South Africa. President Mbeki’s consistent emphasis on race and his unwillingness to make concessions with regard to affirmative action, confirms this. What does the third generation leaders that are to follow, do? They do not feel bound by the original settlement and often then only play to their own audiences.
Mr. Ntshangase of the ANC Youth League sees it very simply: (Sunday Times 28/12/03) “When a black person says he does not like white people, that is not racism, it is prejudice… blacks have no capacity to be racist – they can only respond to it.”
Recently the Indian shops in Phomolong (near Henneman) were destroyed during unrest while the Black shops were not touched. Prejudice or racism?
Mr. De Gouveia was a 70 year old farmer in the Heidelberg area. He died in December last year. He was fastened to a vehicle and dragged behind the vehicle. He died of strangulation. Four young black men were arrested – some of them are 15 years old. Is it prejudice or blatant black racism?
Where do these young men come from? They weren’t in the “struggle”. They do not know teargas and police action. They were born in 1990 when Mr. Mandela was set free.
What motivates them to act like this? They were raised on radical political speeches and one-sided TV propaganda programmes on the past. This has created a climate within which these young people act in a racist way and believe that carries the necessary approval.
The Ivory Coast was seen as one of the model states of Africa.
The stability of the Ivory Coast was, after 40 years, suddenly destroyed by a military coup in 1999.
What went wrong in the Ivory Coast?
What will South Africa look like in 40 years time? Will there be harmony between the different groups? Or will our children then fight each other as in the Ivory Coast? The actions we take now and the speeches we make, will largely determine this.
The ANC Youth League says one can have 40 years of anti-white speeches; it won’t have any effect on black people because “…blacks have no capacity to be racist.” What nonsense.
As a political leader, what should I say? Must I copy the ANC Youth League and say: “Whites have no capacity to be racist, they can only respond to it”? That also would be nonsense. Then I would be justifying throwing a person in a lions’ enclosure or drag him behind a vehicle because he is a different race. We condemned these incidents but the ANC did not condemn the black racist incidents I referred to.
The popular way is to reward racism with racism. But that will bring us nowhere. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and then we end …with the whole world being blind.
A recent university study shows that affirmative action is the single biggest factor that leads to alienation amongst young whites. I have many letters from angry young job-seeking whites. The letters show how they are discriminated against just because they are white. From these letters it is clear that we are paying a high price in white black relations for the affirmative action policy.
This policy created huge expectations with black people. Studies on the results of affirmative action in Malaysia and India show that these expectations will be disappointed. The problem is that the Employment Equity Act is mainly based on representation. It only counts heads. It will therefore not help the black working class as they are already over represented. Neither will the black unemployed enjoy any advantages. The only ones benefiting is the black middleclass white collar workers at the expense of many aggrieved white workers. Because the emphasis is on representation, a wealthy black applicant from a private school or even a wealthy black American is chosen above a poor but competent white applicant. Researchers found in India and Sri Lanka that the social losses resulting from increased tension between groups were bigger than the gains of affirmative action. There it lead to serious unrests and a prolonged civil war.
The FF Plus has suggested solutions. We agree on the idea of an accord. We have suggested a cut-off date as well as that young people of a certain age be exempted. No reaction from the ANC.
I dream of a country that truly belongs to all. A country that grants everyone a place in the sun. Don’t let us walk the long road of conflict to get there, when the short road is available to us here and now.