Avatar photo

By Editorial staff

Journalist


Race is a cheap scapegoat for government’s failures

Our politicians have failed in their national duty to try to heal the wounds of the past … and this applies to all sides of the political spectrum.


Fortunately, Archbishop Desmond Tutu is no longer around to see his dream of a “Rainbow Nation of the People of God” is in tatters as racial conflict and tension rise across South Africa.

Let us first acknowledge that the seriousness of the situation is probably exacerbated by the wall-to-wall media coverage – both on mainstream and social platforms. While there is bile spewed in both arenas, many South Africans, of all races, get along just fine in the workplace and socially.

Yet, it cannot be denied that the gulf between the races is probably wider than it has been at any time since 1994 ended apartheid and brought us democracy.

ALSO READ: ‘Very troubled imagination’: Zille hits back at Nqaba Bhanga over racism claims

Race is a cheap and convenient scapegoat for the failings of the government – both in the sense that apartheid gets the blame from one side and nonwhites the blame from the other side.

Skin colour and the perceived wrongs of history are used, often cynically, by populist politicians in place of actual programmes to bring about real – and lasting – change to the lives of their supporters.

This week, the bitterness was all around – from Julius Malema refusing to apologise for encouraging the singing of the “Kill the boer, kill the farmer” liberation song; to right-wingers dragging Elon Musk onto to their “white genocide” bandwagon.

ALSO READ: ‘Apologist to racism’: Mbalula says ANC will work with DA if party had no choice

At the heart of the problem is the fact that this country has not markedly transformed for the majority of its people and we remain a highly unequal society. This inequality – and its associated poverty, unemployment and helplessness – breeds anger.

Our politicians have failed in their national duty to try to heal the wounds of the past … and this applies to all sides of the political spectrum. We have to listen to each other – our hopes, our fears and our experiences – and try to understand. Otherwise, we are doomed.

ALSO READ: ‘Country’s stability under threat’ – ANC concedes racism, crime, GBV out of control