Kgalema Motlanthe criticises #BlackMonday racial outbursts

2017-11-08 12:01
Kgalema Motlanthe (Photo: Denvor de Wee)

Kgalema Motlanthe (Photo: Denvor de Wee)

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Johannesburg – Former president Kgalema Motlanthe on Tuesday evening criticised racial divisions sparked during the #BlackMonday protests.

"These approaches seek refuge in the past with a dogged refusal to recognise the successes made in our democratic era. They are curiously unaware of their repetition of colonialism and apartheid…viewing the past as a greener pasture and even adopting its symbols," said Motlanthe.

Motlanthe was delivering his address titled, Generosity of spirit, power and privilege in politically uncertain times, during the Suzman Memorial Lecture delivered by the former president at the Gordon Institute of Business Science in Illovo.

Motlanthe said there was still an element of "us and them".

ALSO READ: 'Is it time to ban old SA flag?' asks Mandela Foundation

"The past is still being resurrected and the future is still being shaped."

He said it was regrettable that in the post-apartheid era, the country had regressed from a dream of a united democratic, non-racial and non-sexist South Africa.

"Instead of turning away from uncertainty, we have to embrace its lessons."

2017 an important, defining year

He praised Helen Suzman, saying she was a truly distinguished South African who represented the values of the Parliament in the chambers of the old.

"Present times require that we use our positions of privilege to effect change in spaces where we hold influence, from grassroots to boardrooms, Parliament and political rallies…"

Motlanthe said those charged with power had failed to live up to their oaths of office.

He said the year 2017 was an important one and would be a defining moment.

ALSO READ: Maimane pays tribute to Helen Suzman on her 100th birthday

"Given the present global realities in one’s considered stable and developing democracies…the year 2017 appears to be [a] historically significant one.

"Perhaps in future with the benefit of hindsight, we will look back at this year and see it as a time when the tide turned in favour [of] a return… of ethical leadership. Or instead it could constitute a moment in which we were collectively overcome by the waters of corruption, conceit, deceit and greed…"

Motlanthe said while Suzman came from a life of privilege, she knew how to use her position to make positive changes.

"Whether by our hands or thoughts… South Africa is being shaped and the future is at stake," he said.

'A wonderful touch'

During the lecture, the South African Post Office honoured Suzman with a postage stamp bearing her image.

A framed stamp was handed over to the family on the same day that Suzman would have celebrated her 100th birthday.

Group executive corporate affairs, Twiggs Xiphu, said every year various organisations or individuals submitted recommendations to the South African Post Office (SAPO).

"The idea of a Helen Suzman stamp was submitted and the process takes about two years," said Xiphu.

The South African Post Office honoured Helen Suzman with a postage stamp bearing her image. (Amanda Khoza/News24)

He said after the stamp was submitted to SAPO, the stamp advisory committee looked at it and then submitted it to the Ministry.

"The minister then takes it to Cabinet for approval. It is only once Cabinet has approved the stamp, that it can be launched."

Xiphu said the stamp was now available for the public to purchase.

Francis Antonie, director of the Helen Suzman Foundation, said he was pleased that the stamp had finally been launched.

"I am very pleased that the minister and the Cabinet approved this addition because it does recognise Helen Suzman's important contribution to the struggle, to our liberation and to the establishment of a Constitutional democracy.

"It is a wonderful touch," said Antonie.

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Read more on:    kgalema motlanthe  |  helen suzman  |  johannesburg

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