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By Citizen Reporter


Most South Africans think politicians use ‘racism and colonialism as excuses’ – IRR

The think tank also says their data shows the majority of South Africans don't want race-based employment policies or race quotas in sport.

Think tank the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) – recently labelled a “right-wing” organisation by both former Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane and outgoing Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba following the organisation launching a campaign to “save the opposition”, which some believe may have played a role in both their exits from the DA – has now released a new campaign called “#CommonSense”.

The institute said their campaign aimed to “voice the clear priorities of South Africans,” which they say, according to their data, includes the abandonment of race quotes in sport or race-based policies in business, and for politicians to stop using “talk of racism and colonialism as excuses for their own failures”.

According to a press release from the IRR, their data shows that:

  • “South Africans want job creation, fighting corruption, better education, and fighting crime to be the top priorities of government;
  • The majority of South Africans feel that race relations are now better than they were in 1994;
  • The majority of South Africans want people to be appointed on merit, with special training for disadvantaged people, irrespective of race;
  • The majority of South Africans want sports teams to be selected on merit and not race quotas;
  • The majority of South Africans don’t care what the race of their child’s teacher is, as long as that teacher is good;
  • The majority of South Africans feel that politicians use talk of racism and colonialism as excuses for their own failures; and
  • The majority of South Africans agree that more jobs and quality education are the solutions to end inequalities between races.”

The campaign argues that the concerns of ordinary South Africans, as put forward by their think tank, should form the basis of government’s decisions.

“If those in or seeking power are willing to actually listen to the views of ordinary South Africans, real redress and progress for all is possible,” says the press release, which can be read in full here.

The institute has been accused of releasing biased polls, which political analyst Sinethemba Zonke described as asking “questions slanted so they would get the answers they wanted”.

Most recently, one of their polls, which was reported as concluding that white South Africans were more often the victims of racism than their black counterparts, received a strong reaction online.

READ MORE: IRR is ‘right wing’ and I won’t let them treat me like a ‘domestic worker’ – Maimane

It was slated as a “silly and simplistic poll on a serious and complex issue” and was accused of having “no supporting stats”, and for creating questions “to give a narrow outcome favourable to the IRR position” – although former IRR employee Gwen Ngwenya argued that the backlash was caused by the way the poll was reported on by TimesLive.

It has been reported that previous polls on public opinion regarding land reform and employment equity conducted by the IRR have also been questioned.

The institute has also been criticised for its close working relationship with and accepting of funding from lobby group AfriForum, considered by some to be a right-wing organisation, and for its inviting disgraced columnist David Bullard – who was fired from the Sunday Times for a column which was slammed for racism, as their only speaker at an event in Stellenbosch on what “the future really holds for South Africa”.

(Compiled by Daniel Friedman.) 

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