Calls for lifestyle audits mask ‘racist narrative’

2010-03-23 13:23

Calls for lifestyle audits have become a “smokescreen” masking

“racist narratives” which says black Africans cannot be wealthy without being

corrupt, the Black Management Forum (BMF) said today.

“Instead of objectively raising issues in the national and public

interest, the tendency has been to portray black wealth as something to be

regarded with suspicion,” said BMF deputy president Tembakazi Mnyaka in a


“In doing so, the purveyors of this narrative seek to silence the

emerging black economic elite and middle class, lest they are blackmailed by the

now exposed banner that says: blacks cannot be wealthy.”

Mnyaka noted the direction of the debate on lifestyle audits,

punted by the Congress of SA Trade Unions, with concern.

While the BMF supported Cosatu’s call “in principle” it was

confident that existing mechanisms in the country’s tax, policing and justice

system were sufficient.

Those supporting calls for lifestyle audits “manipulate” and

“de-historicise” the context.

“We are made to question whether apartheid and its attendant

policies that dehumanised blacks and created the most unequal society in the

world really happened; and if the conclusion is that it did, we are made to feel

guilty about correcting its wrongs.”

Mnyaka here referred to policies such as black economic

empowerment, affirmative action and land reform, which were “cynically viewed as

avenues for corruption”.

“To mask the continued unjust economic relations percentile

statistics are thrown by organisations such as Solidarity who claim that Blacks

own 23% of the JSE (Johannesburg Stock Exchange) wealth.

“Such number throwing does not say anything about the how the elite

and middle class remains the preserve of white compatriots.”

The wealth of the few Africans mentioned was then questioned and

the same did not apply to whites.

“His/her whiteness is enough to justify wealth and status and is

enough to refute any suspicion of wrongful doing in wealth accumulation.

“Blacks should not be made to feel ashamed of legitimately acquired

wealth or sorry for doing business with government,” Mnyaka said.

The BMF’s comments came as The Star revealed that Gauteng premier

Nomvula Mokonyane has 50 speeding fines and two pending warrants of arrest

against her name.

The revelation forms part of the newspapers’ running of lifestyle

audits of the country’s politicians.

The daily newspaper said the R17 000 in fines, ranging from R100 to

R1 500, were incurred over a period of four years and were registered on the

metro police’s data base.

Two of the fines show warrants of arrest are pending, which means a

magistrate has decided to issue the warrant, but the order for arrest had not

been signed yet.

The fines are linked to six vehicles.

It could not be proved that she was the driver at the time of the

offences, but all the vehicles were registered in her name.

Mokonyane said in reaction: “I’d prefer not to talk about my

personal life... Why are you choosing me to do this to? I believe you guys are

being too hard on politicians.”

The Democratic Alliance spokesperson on safety and security in

Gauteng condemned the premiers actions saying: “It is high time that she and all

ANC Office bearers understand that their actions are open to scrutiny and that

they are not above the law.”

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