Racism is due to weak SA economy: IRR

 ·5 Jan 2016

South Africans are frustrated at the rate of unemployment, the weak economy and the lack of service delivery.

As a result, they are always ready to fight with each other – whether on Facebook, Twitter or the parking lot, said the Institute of Race Relations.

This week, a Facebook post by former estate agent Penny Sparrow comparing black people to monkeys had South Africans raging against racism, against each other and the government at large.

This led to various races attacking each other on social media.

The IRR’s Mienke Mari Steytler said South Africans were lashing out at each other.

“South Africans are in a state of readiness to fight because they are under increasing strain – our economy is weak (well below 2%), and the rate of unemployment is very high (at 34.9% if the expanded definition is used), and young black South Africans are suffering most.”

Steytler said policy reform was necessary to build South Africa, which at present had a long way to go before true reconciliation.

She said race was also very personal. This included how people felt about their fellow South Africans, and how children were taught at home.

The IRR said individual responsibility was vital in bridging the gap.

Steytler called for South Africans to ask themselves before posting, “Is what I am saying/posting/writing contributing to the good of South Africa as a whole?”.

“The government has a responsibility to bring about policy reform in order to drive South Africa towards a non-racial future, and each and every South African has an individual responsibility to treat their fellow South Africans well, no matter their race, gender or background.”

The Congress of South African Trade Unions said that racism was not limited to a few cases as highlighted in the media over the past few days.

“Workers in general and domestic and farm workers in particular are experiencing racial insults everyday in their workplaces. The fact is that racism is not dead in South Africa and the sooner we realise that the better prepared we will be prepared, as a country to deal with it in a more comprehensive, coherent and decisive manner,” said Cosatu national spokesperson, Sizwe Pamla.

“What allows the white racists to have the arrogance and audacity to publicly use such incendiary language, to vent their racial prejudices is the stranglehold that they still have over our economy. The economic fault lines and the ownership patterns of the economy have not been changed. They still favour the white minority and therefore these racists pay no price for their intolerance. Unless our government takes seriously the task of economic transformation, we will continue to see this race baiting from these close minded and condescending bigots.”

“While they are still having their gardens cared for by exploited black people, dine in restaurants, where they are served by poorly paid black waiters and leave their kids with their poorly paid nannies, white people will continue with their racist tendencies,” Pamla said.

He said that racism need not just be opposed but has to be vigorously fought against and this cannot be successfully done, when the entire economic system is still racially skewed in favour of the white minority.

“If we are to defeat racism we need to ensure that black people get their land back and they are given a share in the country’s wealth. The best strategy to fight racism is to dry up the swamp, where these racists feed and breed , by breaking the stranglehold that they still have over the economy. They will continue to goad and insult black people and behave as if this country is theirs, because they pay no price for their bigotry.”

With News24

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