Zuma warns against turning back the clock on racism, bantustans

2015-02-09 06:00

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South Africans should stop fighting about racism and ethnicity and accept that everyone is equal, President Jacob Zuma has said.

Addressing editors and journalists at a lunch at the presidential guest house yesterday afternoon, Zuma said South Africa shouldn’t turn back the clock on race.

“I don’t think we really encourage that,” Zuma said when asked about people basing arguments on race and ethnicity.

He said “we should understand whoever we are and whether we come from nationalities, small or big, we are equal”.

“We don’t want to look at our colours to say who we are. We are what we are, with our different colours,” he said.

“We believe our diversity is in fact our biggest strength as a rainbow nation.”

Zuma was also asked about the residents of Malamulele who complained that the Thulamela municipality was favouring certain ethnic groups above others when delivering services.

Residents protested violently after the Municipal Demarcation Board ruled it was not viable for Malamulele to be a separate municipality.

Zuma said the issue worried him because granting the Malamulele residents their request based on ethnic grounds could take the country back to the bantustan era.

“Yes we are concerned about that issue. Our concern was there even before people said something and I think they are saying it now, which confirmed our suspicion about it,” he said.

“(Ethnic divisions) are something that should never be encouraged in this country. We have come very far. Dividing people according to their kind is a dangerous thing and I think it should not be accepted.”

He said government wanted to conclude the matter.

“It is important that we follow the law, and if there is a need for another municipality there for delivery or whatever, we need to look at everything. Not because some people are saying we need a municipality. There are for example municipalities that are not viable and already there’s a plan. We are working on it; how to reconfigure those (municipalities) so that we can put others together. So that is a process that

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