The trouble with Qunta

2007-11-23 00:00

Christine Qunta is the kind of person that some people love to hate. A lawyer by profession, she is the deputy chairperson of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

Her critics, many of whom are white, accuse her of being a racist and because of this and the fact that she agrees with the president on many issues, are up in arms. There is speculation that the president will appoint her chairperson of the SABC board.

In the last few weeks her critics and detractors have written petitions, written letters to newspaper editors and phoned radio stations and talk show hosts to complain about this “impending disaster”.

Most people know Qunta’s views from the regular column she writes for the Star and

Pretoria News. At one time she wrote for Business Day. The question to ask is why there is such intense opposition to Qunta being appointed as chairperson of the SABC?

Is it really because she is a racist and a supporter of the president? I do not think so. Qunta is no more racist than you, me and Dali Mpofu, SABC CEO, who, incidentally, was hugely supported by many of the people who are now opposing Qunta’s appointment.

My suspicion is that the opposition to Qunta’s appointment is just another example of where we see forces opposing transformation taking place. With people opposing transformation and putting every objection in its path, it will take many years before transformation is complete in this country.

The SABC board does not make editorial decisions. It is there to ensure that the SABC carries out its mandate.

I suspect that the critics of transformation and the detractors of Qunta know this and it’s not what they are interested in.

The aim of their objective, it seems, is to create a perception in the public’s mind that the SABC board is just as bad as the previous one that was controlled by the Broederbond. If my suspicions are true, then this is a cynical use of democracy, which allows everyone to express his or her own views on anything.

I draw a line between these two positions. I am all for those who criticise constructively the processes of transformation that are currently taking place in this country but I have no patience with people who want to return this country to Verwoerdian times.

Speaking broadly, there are many people within the black community who have issues with transformation, but they have chosen to give the process a chance.

It is going to take a long time before some people begin to accept that the wheels of change will never turn back.

It also does seem that, just as the liberation of this country rested on mostly black people, the same black people are going to have to take it upon themselves to protect and defend all those individuals who are being publicly ridiculed, hounded and persecuted, especially in the media.

We have to do this because there are still some among us who, because they suffer from a false superiority complex, want to give the impression that there are jobs and tasks that blacks are not suited to do.

Clearly we not only have to defend the democratic institutions that we have built since our democracy, we also have the task of protecting and defending the people that we have ap-pointed to head and work in them. This is our responsibility, as black people.

Lastly, in this prevailing hostile atmosphere, black leaders and prominent community leaders should take care and conduct themselves in all spheres of life in such a manner that they do not embarrass the black community, making it the laughing stock of their race.

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