Talks with Afrikaners frank, open - ANC

2012-05-09 07:23

Johannesburg - Discussions between the ruling party and Afrikaner organisations on Tuesday were frank and open, the ANC said.

"The meeting identified a number of priority areas dear to the Afrikaans speaking community which require discussion and debate leading to consensus," ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu.

"This included, amongst others, the question of education and training, land reform, economic empowerment, as well as language, linguistic and cultural rights."

The ANC met with 19 Afrikaans bodies in Johannesburg. They included the Afrikanerbond, the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk, the Afrikaanse Taal en Kultuurvereniging, the Afrikaanse Taalraad and the Federation of Governing Bodies of SA Schools.

The ANC delegation included ANC treasurer general Mathews Phosa, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, and Public Enterprises deputy minister Enoch Godongwana.

The convenors of the ANC Progressive Business Forum, Renier Schoeman and Daryl Swanepoel, also attended the meeting.

Governance


Mthembu said agreements were met on certain structural arrangements that would be put in place to ensure that ongoing attention was given to the issues raised. A report was being put together and would be tabled at the ANC's national executive committee meeting next weekend.

"All parties expressed their appreciation for the platform and enthusiasm to be involved in the envisaged process. The process will also be expanded to include other organisations which were not present at today's summit," said Mthembu.

Earlier, Phosa said the Afrikaans groups were worried about the state of governance in South Africa.

"There was a feeling that leadership needs to shape up and address the issue of good governance."

He said other issues of concern related to service delivery, especially at local government level, security in urban and rural areas, and the position of the Afrikaans language and culture.

Phosa said he felt the discussions had gone well.

"There were no holy cows... we said talk like you talk in the northern suburbs, don't hide things, we want to hear things," he said.

"We must embrace them and deal with the issues. We are not here to be buddy-buddy. We made it clear to them we not looking for votes, we are looking at issues that affect the nation... things which worry the nation."

Phosa said the organisations spoke about their reservations, and said the merit of government appointments was being undermined.

Some raised issues about black economic empowerment.

Phosa said he was touched when one of the organisations spoke about positive citizenship.

"They want to participate, they want to give input into the policies."

He said the ANC had also raised issues, such as rural security, with the Afrikaner organisations.

"We said, well, there must also be security for farm workers, you must treat them in a humane manner. We [are] giving each other both sides [of the story]... so not one perspective dominates," said Phosa.

Ulterior motives


The Freedom Front Plus earlier said the ANC had ulterior motives in holding talks with Afrikaans groups.

"[It] has more to do with the ANC's forthcoming election conference and the political survival of Mr Gwede Mantashe, than it has to do with a real concern for minority groups' and Afrikaans people's interests," FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder said.

"Talks with hidden agendas, however, bedevil relationships, break trust between groups and result in nothing."

He said the FF Plus had always been in favour of talks, and the party's history of talks with the ANC proved that, but he wanted to know what the "sudden interest" was.

"If the objective with the talks is to go gain the political support of minorities for the ANC and to boost individual candidates' images with a view to the ANC's election conference, it is doomed to fail," said Mulder.

Mantashe said the ANC had an obligation to understand the concerns of Afrikaans bodies in the country.

"Whether they vote for us or not, we have an obligation to understand where they are coming from, and their concerns."

He said the organisations had voiced some concerns, and wanted to make a contribution to South Africa.

"People want to make a contribution in making South Africa work and making South Africa a better country to live in."

The Afrikaans language also featured in the discussions.

"What came out was that there is no intention of elevating Afrikaans at the expense of other languages," Mantashe said.

Phosa and Mantashe said more meetings of this nature would be held and there would be feedback on the progress made.

"Our view is that maybe we should meet more with not only them [Afrikaans groups], but with many other stakeholders in a much more structured and regular way, and give feedback to each other about problems and issues raised in this meeting," said Phosa.

- SAPA

Read more on:    ff+  |  anc  |  afrikanerbond  |  mathews phosa  |  pieter mulder  |  politics
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