News24

Coloured S Africans close to 'explosion'

2012-06-17 19:30

Johannesburg - The ANC’s bid to woo minority groups has hit a snag.

Those representing coloured South Africans say they’re offended at being lumped in with “Afrikaners”.

As part of its Inclusive South Africa campaign, the ANC recently started meeting white and coloured leaders to find out why these groups almost completely deserted the ruling party at the ballot box during last year’s municipal elections.

Minutes from the ANC’s national executive committee meeting of May 18 this year reveal that the first Inclusive South Africa meeting on May 8 came close to “an explosion”.

“We have also made an observation that attendees from the coloured communities expressed frustration to the point of almost explosion,” the national executive committee notes in its minutes.

Ronald Dyers, chairperson of Kullid, a Johannesburg-based organisation dedicated to coloured communities, told City Press the ANC’s advances were “too little, too late”.

“The ANC knows what is wrong and why they lost the coloured vote during the elections,” Dyers said.

Guts

“Coloured communities feel left out. But they don’t have the guts to deal with the problem properly,” Dyers said.

He said part of the problem was “coloured denialists” – ANC leaders from coloured communities who advised the ruling party on issues related to coloured people.

“They only tell the ANC what it wants to hear. They don’t tell the truth.”

Dyers said he was not convinced by the ANC’s charm offensive.

“We know they just want votes. But when we point out the problems, they want to justify everything.”

A member of the national executive committee told City Press: “The reality is, the ANC needs to increase the coloured vote.”

Seperate meetings

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu confirmed that the party had decided to meet coloured communities separately after the initial meeting earlier this year.

“We are not ashamed that we have created that platform because that made us aware that we need to find ways of addressing issues effectively,” he said.

Mthembu said the national executive committee had decided at its May 18 meeting to set up a structure in the office of the secretary-general to facilitate meetings with organisations and communities that feel marginalised.

“For people to say we are opportunistic is not correct.”

Some people in the meeting had voiced suspicions that the ANC was just courting coloured votes, he said.

“We reminded them that we’ve never won the Western Cape. When we governed that province, it was through a coalition.

"If we wanted votes, we would have gone to coloured communities in the Western Cape.”