Zuma's apartheid remarks criticised

2013-04-12 13:01
FW de Klerk (File, Beeld)

FW de Klerk (File, Beeld)

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Johannesburg - The FW de Klerk Foundation on Friday accused President Jacob Zuma of using apartheid to cover his own government's failure to tackle joblessness and poor education.

"Attempts to blame these failures on 'apartheid' will simply divert government and public attention from the urgent need to implement the kind of realistic solutions" needed to address spiralling social and economic woes, the foundation said.

Wading into a fierce debate about the legacy in the country of apartheid, it also warned that such statements only rekindle unnecessary racial acrimony.

Racial animosities

"They also serve intentionally or unintentionally to stir up racial animosities that we simply cannot afford," the 77-year old Nobel Peace prize-winner's foundation said.

Zuma on Wednesday rejected Planning Minister Trevor Manuel's suggestion that government could no longer use apartheid as an excuse for poor public service.

"To suggest that we can't blame apartheid for what we are doing now or for what is happening in our country, I think is a mistake, to say the least," Zuma said.

But according to the De Klerk Foundation: "When President Zuma says that 'we cannot stop blaming those who caused it', he is playing the very dangerous game of making whites the racial scapegoats for the manifest failures of his own government."

While admitting that an unequal society existed when democracy came to South Africa in 1994, the foundation said two decades on, the country faces unacceptably high levels of inequality.

"The fact that, 19 years later, we are an even more unequal society is the consequence of the failure of government policy."

- An earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed the comments to FW de Klerk, instead of the FW de Klerk Foundation.

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Read more on:    fw de klerk foundation  |  trevor manuel  |  fw de klerk  |  jacob zuma  |  apartheid  |  service delivery  |  politics

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