Touching a nerve

2008-08-27 00:00

In yesterday’s Witness, MEC for Local Government, Housing and Traditional Affairs, Michael Mabuyakhulu, writing as a member of the African National Congress (ANC), criticised the recent assertion by Shehana Gaibie that “Indians won’t vote for the ANC bullies, but nor should they abstain”. According to Mabuyakhulu, Gaibie is a former ANC branch secretary who “should know better” — although what she should know better is not clear.

In fact, Gaibie, and a number of other Indian commentators — whether in newspaper articles or in letters to the press — have recently expressed their dissatisfaction and disappointment with the ANC, the party many of them supported during apartheid and the Nelson Mandela years, but which they feel has since forgotten, or even jettisoned, them and does not now represent their interests. As South Africa loudly prides itself on being a democracy, it is surely the democratic right of these people, as members of a minority within it, to express their opinions, and, if they feel marginalised by a party that once purported to represent them, to say so.

And clearly, as we move more deeply into the pre-election period, their views have touched a nerve in the ruling party, or else the response would not have been so swift or so over the top. Mabuyakhulu describes them as “arrogantly presumptuous” and suggests that their comments (“rantings”) are undemocratic and insult and patronise other members of the Indian community by suggesting that they’re “unthinking voting fodder”. He accuses Gaibie and Indian South Africans who think as she does of promoting ethnicism and racism, and goes so far as to cast aspersions on Fatima Meer, staunch and ever-vigilant upholder of democracy, suggesting that she’s besmirching the memory of her husband Ismail Meer. And, typically, he blames the media for fomenting divisiveness by allowing the disaffected to air their views, instead of accepting that newspapers are simply doing their job and that vigorous debate lies at the heart of democracy.

All leaders must learn that they have to rule the whole country, not just themselves and their supporters. To do that they must, somehow, rekindle the largeness of spirit, the genuinely democratic inclusiveness that seemed to vanish from government with the departure of Nelson Mandela.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.