Minorities: DA responds

2013-05-28 00:00

THE DA anticipated that the appointment of Senzo Mchunu as KZN ANC chairperson would bring some hope to the people of this province — and the country as a whole — and that he would use his influence to change the lives of our people for the better.

The article by him titled “We are all South African” (The Witness, May 22), demonstrates that this is not the case.

Mchunu’s comments, and kindergarten analysis of voter behaviour in “minority” communities, and more specifically his analysis of the Indian community, are disappointing.

As the chairperson of the DA in KZN, and a person born within an Indian community, I have a deep understanding of the issues facing this community and am deeply insulted by Mchunu’s misinformed claims.

Firstly, Mchunu’s use of the word “minority” is unfortunate. As individuals, we are all part of a majority of South Africans who are anti-corruption and want a government that actually cares and delivers.

Mchunu’s unfair attack on the DA — for being the most popular party among the communities mentioned — is little more than a misguided and weak attempt to deflect attention away from the ANC’s failure to deliver on real issues facing society.

Furthermore, to make the argument that the DA has no people of Indian origin in influential positions is an attempt to mislead the masses. Had he bothered to do any research he would have discovered the facts.

The DA has more Indian people in influential party positions and representative within government structures than the ANC has ever had. As the chairperson of the DA in KwaZulu-Natal, I am privileged to serve the party at a senior level — as do many other competent people from different races.

And percentage-wise, the DA has more Indian councillors in the communities Mchunu mentions and in Parliament than the ANC or any other party. More importantly, these public representatives were not chosen on the basis of being of Indian origin, but on their abilities and willingness to fight for an equal-opportunity society.

Allow me to remind Mchunu of the serious issues recently brought to his attention by the respected advocate Kessie Naidu, and his desperate appeal to the ANC to stand up for what is right and stop making excuses. Clearly he does not see the value in Naidu’s wisdom, nor does he see the seriousness of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s recent promise never again to vote for the ANC.

If former ANC stalwarts were alive today, they too would abandon the ANC in the same manner as Tutu has. Even Fatima Meer, in her twilight years, reprimanded the ANC for the manner in which it treated Chatsworth residents living in sub-standard homes where raw sewage spilled out into their children’s play areas.

Allow me to assist Mchunu with a layperson’s analysis of why these communities have rejected the ANC. Perhaps my four decades of experience living in a “minority” community will be of assistance to him. During the dark days of apartheid, sidelined communities were forcibly clumped together in township ghettos with sub-standard houses and little opportunity for economic development.

They converted their houses to small palaces through sheer hard work and dedication, with little or no help from the government.

Many people living in these communities had no hope of ever receiving a house from the government and they had to fend for themselves.

Even when a “lucky” few did receive a house, it was nothing more than a concrete shack with four walls and an open toilet.

Yet the ANC remains defiant —even when more than R200 million is spent on President Jacob Zuma’s palatial private residence in Nkandla.

During apartheid, the Indian community had to kneel before the government with a begging bowl for assistance with education, which gave rise to state-aided schools established by local leaders who took the education of their children seriously. Not much has changed today, with governing bodies having to beg for more funds.

Black economic empowerment and affirmative action benefit a few, regardless of race, while broad-based empowerment remains elusive.

The ANC’s track record in fighting corruption is dismal and nobody in our country takes Mchunu or his party seriously anymore when they claim to fight it. The Manase report is a case in point.

People in our province know the difference between good governance and bad. Where the DA governs, you find the highest roll-out of basic services, lower unemployment and better public education. This is the type of service we want to take to other provinces in the country, but voters need to make their voices heard for us to do this.

Mchunu’s convenient references to the Indian community —when it suits him and especially around election time — will be seen for what they are: another desperate attempt to woo voters to the ANC.

• Haniff Hoosen, MP, is the DA provincial chairperson for KZN.

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