Zuma must stop ‘scapegoat politics’ – Mulder

2015-02-18 17:00

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President Jacob Zuma is playing with fire by singling out minorities, Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder has warned.

Speaking during a joint-sitting debate on last week’s state of the nation address, Mulder accused Zuma and his party of resorting to “scapegoat politics” to stem their losses.

“The Honourable President says a man called Jan van Riebeeck arrived here, and that was the start of problems in the country. I can prove the president is wrong. But what did he say in plain language? He said, when white people arrived here, the trouble started,” Mulder said.

“What is the understanding of ordinary ANC supporters? They understand that if one gets rid of the white man, all problems are solved. Get rid of the cockroaches and all problems go away.”

Mulder was referring to remarks made by Zuma at an ANC fundraiser in Cape Town last month, where he said “all the trouble began” in 1652, when Van Riebeeck landed at the Cape.

The SA Human Rights Commission today confirmed it is investigating complaints of hate speech against Zuma for those comments. The Freedom Front Plus laid a complaint against Zuma last month.

Today, Mulder told Zuma to stop such scapegoat politics.

“I and the majority of Afrikaners and English-speaking white people, and all other minorities who call South Africa home, will not allow someone else to decide whether we are African and whether we are patriotic.

“Honourable President, stop scapegoat politics. You are setting a bad example. It’s exactly the opposite of what [former] president Nelson Mandela did. You are playing with fire in a country that needs little to set it alight.”

He questioned the ANC’s commitment to the Constitution, and whether the ruling party would hand over power peacefully if it lost an election.

“Does the ANC really believe in the Constitution and democratic principles? I say no.”

He told Zuma: “You are currently the problem. Please leave scapegoat politics. Respect democratic values and stop attacking and driving me, as an Afrikaner, and other groups away.

“You will not get rid of us. And you will not solve the problems of the country without us.”

Calling for co-operation among all groups, he said South Africa was going in the wrong direction “to the benefit of none”.

On Zuma’s pronouncement, during his address last Thursday, that foreign nationals will not be allowed to own land in South Africa, Mulder said figures suggested foreigners only owned about two percent of the land.

“Figures show that foreigners own about two percent of the land, but their investment, their job creation and contribution to tax are much more than that.”

Switching to Afrikaans, he criticised government’s proposal to put a 12 000 hectare ceiling on land ownership, saying this threatened to destroy agriculture and threatened food security.

Earlier in the debate, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Deputy Minister Bheki Cele spelled out what the 12 000 hectare ceiling meant.

“I want to reassure the house that the ceiling of 12 000 hectares does not mean that we will be procuring 12 000 hectares of land for each land reform applicant.

“This is a maximum ceiling set to include all commodities. We are aware that 12 000 hectares exceeds the average farm size. But as you may know, economies of scale differ among various production systems, eg grazing land for livestock producers need much more land than wine or maize producers.

“The 12 000 hectare ceiling is meant to cover all producers,” he said.

Cele said government’s plan to “protect” land against foreign ownership was not internationally unique.

“This, Honourable Members, is not a unique practice; many other countries in the world are advanced in this phenomenon.”

“[In] the Republic of Ireland, foreigners (except those with seven years continuous residence) are required to obtain the permission of the land commission to purchase land, or hold a lease, mortgage or contractual interest, such as an option, in agricultural land.”

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