Secretary General of the African National Congress, Gwede Mantashe says that South Africans must build a prosperous nation together, and defeat racism.
Speaking in Sandton at a TNA Business Breakfast briefing tackling the topic of racism in the country, Mantashe said that there is an opportunity to enter into a real transition. “We have avoided discussing the matter in earnest,” he said.
Mantashe said that he has been trying to understand the thinking of a number of apartheid leaders, coming to the conclusion that racism has been indoctrinated into whites over many years, giving them a superiority complex.
“We cannot be apologetic for being black, and we cannot be apologetic for being majority in this country”, Mantashe told the audience.
“We as South Africans, we must build a nation, we must let go (of the past) and we must allow ourselves to be a part of building,” the ANC lead said.
He said that South Africans should be wary of relegating the racial debate into thinking that “if we dispose every white person in South Africa, and redistribute everything to black South Africans, we have solved the problem”.
“That is not the issue. We must build a prosperous South Africa, where we can all benefit,” Mantashe said.
Economic expert and commentator, Chris Hart, recently pointed out that ‘for transformation and exclusion to be resolved, SA needs a massive expansion. The economy is currently way too small’.
Hart was accused of racism following a series of tweets he sent out at the beginning of the year. He has since been suspended by his employers, Standard Bank, pending an investigation into the matter.
Within that series of tweets, Hart said:
- Essentially, redress policies have focused on economic transfer rather than growth. Yet exclusion is perpetuated by lack of growth.
- The labour force numbers: (roughly) 110 000 unemployed whites; 8 million unempl(oyed) blacks; 14 million employed (total); 2 million employed whites.
- The actual numbers show unemployment problem is essentially a black problem. If one normalizes participation rate, 10m+ jobs are required.
- Even if there was full economic transfer and full exclusion of white from the economy, there would be a massive black exclusion problem.
- The reality is that we can bemoan the legacies of Apartheid but that does not solve the problem of the massive number of unemployed.
- Economic transfer policies may satisfy the more emotional side of Apartheid redress but provides zero solution to the excluded.
Kallie Kriel CEO Afriforum, said that racism is something South Africa cannot afford, and must eradicate.
He said that some people believe that only whites can be racist, and black people can’t – you then perpetuate the view that all whites are perpetrators and all blacks are victims and leading to a spiral downwards
“If we tackle racism, we need to tackle all forms of racism,” Kriel said.