Max du Preez

Coligny arguments are reckless and dishonest

2017-05-16 08:18

It is absolutely reckless for a national political leader to publicly declare that white South Africans are mere “visitors” in the country of their ancestors.

"Go back to Europe" is not only ahistorical, it is so early 1700s.

But to deny that white racism is still a serious threat to national harmony and to blame black anger purely at the government’s ineptitude and maladministration, is equally irresponsible.

To try and paint white Afrikaners and whites in general as the poor victims, is so early 1900s.

Did North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo really imagine that he would achieve anything else but increase the atmosphere of intolerance and resentment and promote white laager-forming when he declared from a Coligny platform that whites were undesirable aliens?

After Mahumapelo’s televised statement, the cry "go back to Europe" appeared more and more on social media.

We shouldn’t forget that the makwerekwere-insult eventually led to bloody violence against African visitors and immigrants in our midst.

How does one ask someone to take your hand and help build a winning nation; how does one ask someone to make sacrifices so we could have a fairer and more equal society if you preface that with: oh, by the way, you don’t belong here and we don’t want you here?

Afrikaners are perhaps a problem tribe and you don’t have to love them, comrade Supra, but they are an African tribe; they are from here, they are as committed to this soil as you are.

Mahumapelo wasn’t corrected by his party. That says a lot about the ruling party’s real commitment to the Freedom Charter and the Constitution.

Nobody but the two white farm workers, Pieter Doorewaard and Phillip Schutte, and perhaps a possible eyewitness know what really happened when the 16 year-old Matlhomola Mosweu died on a dirt road outside Coligny.

Most of the white people in Coligny and elsewhere in the country would love to believe that Mosweu had jumped off the back of a bakkie, while most black people of Coligny and elsewhere are convinced that he must have been murdered.

Let’s be very honest with each other today, however uncomfortable it may be.

I have personal experience of the attitudes of many white people (not all) in towns like Coligny.

The k-word is still common among some in these communities. It is still expected by many to be addressed as “baas” by black people, especially on farms.

Virtually the only social contact between white and black is when the white boss communicates with his black workers, when white women talk to their domestic workers and when white children are cared for by a black nanny.

Whites live in middle class houses in town and on farms, while most blacks live in the "location".

The day after Mosweu’s death, well before the ANC politicians arrived to cash in on the racial strife so people would forget how they have been treated the last 23 years, black inhabitants of Coligny complained loudly that apartheid was still alive in the town; that they got little respect from their white counterparts; that they were treated differently to white clients in shops.

White apologists can spin as much as they want. Black people know very well what goes on on some (not all) farms; they have taken notice that there are three cases of murder or assault on farm workers currently on the country’s court rolls.

I could not believe my eyes when I read a long piece by Flip Buys, head of Solidarity and its offspring, AfriForum, on the events in Coligny in Sunday’s Rapport newspaper and couldn’t find a trace of introspection of white attitudes and racism.

Buys catalogued over perhaps a thousand words how mismanagement, weak service delivery, false promises and incendiary anti-white propaganda had created the boiling pot in Coligny that boiled over last week.

Everything is the ANC’s fault; the Afrikaners are the sad victims.

The mistakes and shortcomings he listed are relevant and I have no doubt they contributed to the conflict, but it’s just dishonest and disingenuous to pretend that white attitudes had no role.

The Afrikaans churches and political/cultural organisations such as Solidarity, AfriForum and the Rapportryerbeweging ought to play a much bigger role to bring greater harmony and mutual understanding to such communities.

This would be much better protection to the people of Coligny than sending in men in khaki with guns.

These rural white communities, like the rest of white South Africa, should be assisted to find and trust their place in our society.

Calling them undesirable foreigners would be the worst place to start.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. 

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