Xenophobia: Zuma is inciting ethnic conflict with his ‘others’ comments, says AfriForum

2015-05-26 15:28
Kallie Kriel. Picture: Theana Breugem

Kallie Kriel. Picture: Theana Breugem

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President Jacob Zuma is contributing to ethnic conflict with his controversial remarks over the weekend at the University of Pretoria’s Mamelodi campus, said civil-rights organisation AfriForum. 

Chief executive Kallie Kriel said that Zuma’s comments were a “unconcealed attempt to paint Afrikaners, and whites in general, as scapegoats in the country”. 

“Zuma should know that there are numerous examples of ethnic conflict being preceded by comments by irresponsible leaders who declare ethnic groups as scapegoats.” 

Kriel said that Zuma clearly targeted Afrikaners and other minority groups. 

On Sunday, the president said in isiZulu that Africans had lived in peace with each other and had fun, but then came “the others, whom he would rather not name”. 

In January, Zuma angered some white South Africans when he said that South Africa’s problems started when Jan van Riebeeck arrived in the Cape. 

In reaction to criticism from Dr Pieter Mulder, leader of the Freedom Front Plus, Zuma said in Parliament a month later that it was a “historical fact” that the country’s problems started with Van Riebeeck’s arrival, but that it “didn’t mean that we don’t want the Afrikaners here”. 

“We are all South Africans; we are a Rainbow Nation. Nobody will chase you away. We will fight against anyone who says this. Because you belong here, so there must be no fear.” 

The Democratic Alliance, Freedom Front Plus and AfriForum have criticised Zuma’s latest comments. They believed that Zuma should be focusing on building a united South Africa, not creating racial divisions. 

Yesterday, Zuma’s offices could not explain his Mamelodi comments. 

When Beeld approached Harold Maloka, Zuma’s spokesperson, for comments, he said he wasn’t aware of the comments or the media reports. 

He said “it is not true”, but promised to have Beeld’s article translated so that he could comment. 

By last night, he hadn’t replied to Beeld’s queries.

Read more on:    kallie kriel  |  xenophobia

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