Civil Society Organisations have warned that if racism is not tackled head on, it will have negative repercussions for the country’s democracy. The Nelson Mandela and Ahmed Kathrada Foundations have launched Anti-Racism Week, which will precede Human Rights Day on the 21 March.
Tuesday’s launch has seen former Deputy Finance Minister, Mcebisi Jonas, breaking his silence about the Economic Freedom Fighters’ proposal that he replace the Democratic Alliance’s Athol Trollip as the Executive Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay in Port Elizabeth.
Civil Society Organisations led by the Nelson Mandela and Ahmed Kathrada Foundations used the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg to launch the national Anti-Racism Week. Launched under the theme “Root out Racism”, a call to South Africans has been made to act against racism in order to protect the country’s young democracy.
“The deep history associated with the depiction of African people in particular as monkeys and the connotation of people living in Jungles and why in this day and age that still has resonance with people across the globe. When I address them I spoke about how black soccer players in Europe are turned by fans who throw bananas at them. So it’s not something of the past it’s the very current depiction of prejudice to black people which we needed them to understand,” says Ahmed Kathrada Foundation’s Neeshan Balton.
At the same event, former Deputy Finance Minister, Mcebisi Jonas told the media that it is not the EFF’s prerogative to determine his future. He says it is the African National Congress’ responsibility to deploy him where it deems fit. Jonas was responding to the EFF leader, Julius Malema’s statement that his party would push for him to become the Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay Metro when it tables a motion of no-confidence in the DA’s Athol Trollip next month.
“I think this myth of thinking you can bring one person and then everything is solved is actually wrong and not a correct way of approaching things. So again as I am saying I can’t comment on the Nelson Mandela thing, it is supposed to be the ANC that speaks on the matter not me. I think I don’t know what the EFF’s narration is – I think they have the freedom and latitude to make their own predictions and proposals.”
Jonas says the euphoria around the new president of the country, Cyril Ramaphosa, is justified. He says in the past three years South Africa was in a state of economic decline which would have led to investor confidence also declining. “I think the euphoria that is currently sweeping through the country is realistic in that sense because it reflects the reality of the damaged country, damaged communities and in a sense, dreams that have vanished basically because remember during the liberation and all, all the events in the last couple of years were pointing to that dream being trampled upon.”
Asked about the current debate over land expropriation without compensation‚ Jonas says the discourse needed to move beyond slogans. He says there is a need to look at the package and not focus on a slogan in the absence of a well-thought through programme. Click below for more on the story: