POLITICAL NEWS - Democratic Alliance (DA) interim leader John Steenhuisen says African National Congress (ANC) deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte should not be “surprised” that her party is “racist and tribalistic”, as it has “driven nothing but a race-based agenda for the past 25 years”.
“This is always the destination when non-racialism is sacrificed,” he added.
This after Duarte lashed out at her own party for being “tribalistic and racist” at the Naledi Community Hall in Soweto this week during a memorial for late struggle icon Albertina Sisulu.
She seems to have particularly focussed on what she perceives as racism towards so-called coloured people in the ANC.
“We have almost become tribalists in the way we present ourselves. We are racist in the ANC because we marginalise people who are not black African people; keep them out of the ANC at all costs. [We] put one or two there as tokens so that we can say mara ja, you know, there is uJessie apha [is here] representing,” she told the crowd.
She added that non-racialism is one of the ANC’s core values, saying the party’s members “won’t accept” this.
“We won’t accept the fact that non-racialism is a core value of the ANC. We don’t want to accept that, we even go as far as creating myths. I don’t like the term coloured people, I never refer to myself as a coloured, ever in my life and I never will.”
“Then I ask those who say that: Have they ever been to Westbury? I doubt. Have they ever been to Riverlea Extension or Newclare? I would very much doubt that”.
She added that she has seen people in ANC WhatsApp groups using racial slurs towards Indian and so-called coloured South Africans.
Steenhuisen, who recently took over from former DA leader Mmusi Maimane, has expressed his desire for the party to adhere to values of non-racialism, including the rejection of all race-based policies.
Some, however, have accused Steenhuisen, the party’s federal council chairperson Helen Zille and others within the party of believing in a form of non-racialism that is at odds with the need for transformation, which many feel is necessary to counter the legacy of inequality that stems from apartheid.
“It does seem that the dominant bloc in the Democratic Alliance wants to convince some South African voters that a version of liberalism exists which is untouched by history and context. Judging by recent events, they also seem to insist that liberalism has not and cannot be adapted to address the problem of racism,” argued Professor Christi van der Westhuizen in an article on The Conversation.