Apartheid’s damage endures

2013-04-11 00:00

WE cannot stop blaming those people responsible for apartheid, President Jacob Zuma said yesterday.

He said the damage of apartheid will not be with us for only this generation, but for a long time to come.

“To say we cannot blame apartheid for what is happening in our country, I think it is a mistake, to say the least.”

Zuma was the main speaker at a wreath-laying ceremony in Boksburg to mark the 20th anniversary of the murder of former SACP leader Chris Hani.

Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel said in Pretoria last week that 19 years after the ANC came to power the government cannot keep blaming apartheid for its own shortcomings.

Zuma said that in memory of Hani the government should work towards creating a better life for all South Africans. But he cautioned that it would not happen overnight.

“It is impossible in just 20 years to change the damage caused by apartheid. The legacy of apartheid is too deep and goes too far back for the democratic dispensation to turn it around that fast, unless you are a magician.”

He said the consequences of apartheid can be seen everywhere in the country.

“The fact that the country is divided in two is proof of that. If you enter any city you see the beautiful parts and just on the other side the squatter camps. That was not caused by democracy.

“We cannot stop blaming the people responsible for that.”

Zuma said Manuel erred by adopting that standpoint.

At a media conference in Johannesburg yesterday afternoon ANC General Secretary Gwede Mantashe also said people must not think apartheid will disappear in just 20 years.

“Anyone who wants us to close the chapter on apartheid is being unrealistic.”

Dr Fanie du Toit of the Centre for Justice and Reconciliation said

Zuma’s words were regrettable.

“I think we must never forget about apartheid and the damage it caused, but I think we are past the stage of blaming one another.

“I think nation-building means we accept one another’s bona fides and we build towards the future together — and that does not mean we are forgetting what happened in the past.”

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