DA taunted over racism

2016-03-27 20:35

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Pietermaritzburg - Penny Sparrow’s racist Facebook rant and the Dianne Kohler Barnard saga came back to haunt the DA during a debate on racism in the legislature on Wednesday.

Sparrow, a card-carrying member of the DA at the time, described black beachgoers as “monkeys” in a Facebook post during the holiday season, while MP Kohler Barnard shared a Facebook post which praised apartheid president P.W. Botha.

The two were subjected to a tongue lashing during the debate, which was introduced by Premier Senzo Mchunu.

ANC member Ravi Pillay got at the duo first.

“These political parties have had ample opportunity to cut these elements out in a dramatic and emphatic manner.

“They refuse to do so because it is part of protecting their inner core, their base,” he said.

Pillay’s stance was echoed by fellow caucus member Jomo Sibiya, who said “the Sparrow moment was the lowest the country has ever observed in the democratic dispensation”.

“It was a shame and a sad day for this country,” he said, adding that Sparrow’s comments demonstrated the continuous utterances by some in the white community who insulted the black majority through racist statements.

“The majority of these people are DA members. It is even worse when a leader of the DA, who is in Parliament, also joined this crew of the irrationals and tweeted that the apartheid architect was better than this government.

“I personally believe that it cannot get worse than that. She [Kohler Barnard] misses apartheid. What a moment, what a sad moment for this country,” he said.

Heckling from the DA members could not deter Sibiya, who continued his charge.

“They are an organisation that embraces and protects racists. Kohler Barnard is still part of their organisation,” he said.

NFP member Njabulo Mlaba accused the DA of being emotional when it comes to racism.

“They own the issue. There is no need for the DA to come here and defend racism; they should deal with it and discipline their members,” he said.

EFF member Vukani Ndlovu said the Sparrow issue had shown that the DA protects racism.

“Racism should be condemned whenever it shows its ugly face,” he said.

The DA leader in the legislature, Sizwe Mchunu, said he was disappointed that while “grandstanding to score cheap political points”, members of the legislature had missed an opportunity to speak about solutions to the issue of racism.

Mchunu said the DA was against racism.

• sabelo.nsele@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  racism  |  da

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