FF Plus: Recognise Afrikaners' contribution

2014-12-16 19:40
The ANC did not learn any lessons from the past, particularly from the 1976 youth uprising, the Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder says. (File, Sapa)

The ANC did not learn any lessons from the past, particularly from the 1976 youth uprising, the Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder says. (File, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The contribution of Afrikaners in building South Africa's infrastructure as it stood in 1994 must be recognised, FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder said on Tuesday.

"In 1994 South Africa had the best infrastructure in Africa. Afrikaners played an important role in making this possible," he said in a speech prepared for delivery in Despatch, near Uitenhage, on Reconciliation Day.

Mulder said Afrikaners deserved a "balanced portrayal" of their history and role in the country.

"Of course we have made mistakes in the past, but we also made a huge contribution to the economic power and success of this country... of which we could be proud," he said.

From 1948 onwards, South Africa was an apartheid state in which the National Party, dominated by Afrikaners, enforced legislation to ensure racial segregation to the benefit of the white minority and at the expense of the black majority.

This system was dismantled in the 1990s, culminating in the first democratic elections in 1994.

Reconciliation Day is a public holiday celebrated every 16 December. Previously, this date was commemorated by Afrikaners as the Day of the Vow to mark the victory of Voortrekkers over Zulus at the Battle of Blood River in 1838.

It is also the date on which the African National Congress founded its armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, in 1861.

However, after 1994, the day was changed to an event to encourage unity in the country.

Mulder said that the commemoration of Reconciliation Day and the Day of the Vow did not stand in opposition.

"It is a mistake to try and force Afrikaners to choose between the two, because both are possible."

Mulder said Afrikaners, like other South Africans, wanted "the right to be themselves... Is that too much to ask?"

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