Racism will consume South Africa unless something is done soon, Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder said in the National Assembly on Wednesday.
“Currently the sparks of racism are being thrown into dry grass everywhere,” Mulder said in reply to President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address.
Unlike other countries which were dealing with conflict over one issue, such as religion, South Africa was a melting pot of reasons for people to turn on each other.
People were making sweeping statements that “all white people are racist” or “all black people are criminals”.
The African National Congress had declared that the white minority in South Africa had rejected nation building.
People blamed the country’s problems on the arrival of Dutch administrator Jan van Riebeeck, continued Mulder.
“But that is a racist oversimplication of our complicated history,” he said.
“History is just not that simple. Racism from the side of white people or black people carries the germ that could destroy South Africa.
“Leaders must set the example because they determine the tone of such debates. Racism is a very serious matter that must be dealt with.”
Two Stellenbosch University students were wrongly accused of racism for painting themselves black for a party when they were actually covered in purple paint and glitter for a space-themed party, he said.
But when a University of Cape Town student wore a T-shirt that said “kill all whites”, it was considered debate.
“We’ve totally lost the plot,” he said.
When Mulder read the T-shirt’s handwritten slogan of “kill all whites”, some MPs shouted “Yes! Yes!”
Fellow FF Plus MP Pieter Groenewald complained to Speaker Baleka Mbete about this and demanded that those who shouted it, own up and withdraw the remark.
“Because it’s unacceptable that I sit in this Parliament and I must hear that all whites must be killed.”
Nobody took Mbete up on her offer to withdraw.
Mulder said all political groups and business leaders should get together to get through the crisis.