Fransman apologises for remarks

2013-03-14 11:59

ANC Western Cape chairman Marius Fransman apologised if he had “created the impression” that he pitted Muslims against Jews to attract votes.

“The SA Jewish Board of Deputies’ accusation that I am pitting one religious community against another for vote-catching purposes is deplorable under any circumstances, and is particularly unacceptable, especially coming from a lobby that remains silent on its support for apartheid Israel’s human rights abuses as well as the Democratic Alliance’s war on the poor,” he was quoted as saying by the Cape Times reported today.

“If what I said created this impression, I apologise.”

Fransman told the newspaper he was on record as saying all faith communities, all business leaders and all citizens should work together on the country’s challenges.

In an interview last month, broadcast by radio station Voice of the Cape, Fransman claimed the DA had handed a Jewish businessman building contracts in Observatory and Woodstock which were previously held by Muslim businesses.

At the time, the newspaper quoted him as saying: “The SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) is driving an interest outside of the national interest.

“I am calling on them to be equally vigilant about issues such as substance abuse ...

“What we are asking is them to do is to focus on problems such as service delivery. They must also be vocal when small businesses of Muslims are not getting opportunities.”

Fransman, who is also deputy international relations and cooperation minister, was speaking as Western Cape ANC leader.

On Tuesday, the SAJBD said it had approached the SA Human Rights Commission about Fransman’s remarks.

It said it did so after Fransman did not respond to the board’s requests for him to explain his remarks.

National chairperson Mary Kluk said the substance and context of the remarks intimated that, in Fransman’s and his party’s view, the Jewish community in Cape Town was unfairly benefiting economically at the expense of the Muslim community.

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