By Jan Bosman
The ANC is building castles in the air if media reports are to be believed that the ruling party is now suddenly seeking rapprochement with minority groups. A year before the 2024 elections, the white, brown and Indian voters are now considered important enough. The figure of up to 20% white voters was mentioned as something the ANC has its eye on.
Minorities are not voting cattle. Above all, the estrangement between the ANC and minorities in South Africa is too great to suddenly wish it away and believe that minority groups will now vote for a party that in the years between elections does everything to diminish the rights of minorities, make them suspicious or to ignore and then, so opportunistically obvious, now want to take the interests of minorities to heart.
Bit by bit, the rights of minorities have been nullified over the last 29 years and most minorities, who as reasonable South Africans put their shoulders to the wheel to create the new and democratic South Africa, have also been disillusioned by a country dominated by state capture, clumsy and incompetent cadre deployment, abuses, abuse of power, increasing corruption and poor service delivery.
Minorities are hindered by irresponsible and ill-considered actions and policy frameworks, a government that fails to comply with the National Development Plan, grandiose self-enrichment and rampant corruption and lust for power.
But the most cynical suggestion is the thought now put forward by mr. Ramaphosa was raised in the concern about minorities to possibly establish an “office that will focus exclusively on non-racialism”.
The newfound rapprochement with minorities could perhaps be judged differently if mr. Ramaphosa responded in any way to the Afrikanerbond’s proposal that was sent to him on 13 May 2019.
In this letter, the Afrikanerbond requested the president to give serious consideration to the establishment of a special liaison mechanism for minorities and South African linguistic, cultural and religious communities to address the concerns and specific needs of these groups in the various government departments, provinces and promote, evaluate and monitor constitutional institutions.
In this regard, we have done one or more of the following:
- A permanent ministry of South African minorities/communities
- An ombudsman for South African minorities/communities
- A special office for South African minorities/communities in the presidency
There are numerous international examples of special mechanisms, in Europe and also the ministry of minority affairs in India, from which South Africa can adopt best practices.
However, South Africa needs the political will to support internationally recognized minority rights in South Africa. Therefore, not only can minorities be expected to continuously fight for the rights of minorities or communities, but it is especially necessary that the obligations of the state and government towards minorities and cultural communities are outlined. Such a link mechanism would have been an important first step.
Perhaps we have too much experience in the past of the sudden approach to minorities, and especially Afrikaners, by the ANC before elections in which important workshops and meetings are held, undertakings are given and then after the election and despite many follow-up requests never again no feedback. In our opinion, the ANC has already burned all bridges regarding relations with minorities.
As president, you should enter into an agreement with minorities in which the government irrevocably commits itself to maintaining the rights and privileges of minorities according to the Constitution.
Also treat us like mature first class citizens of South Africa and we undertake to give our full cooperation to make South Africa a first world country once again.
This is a minor, but very important condition!
- Jan Bosman is general secretary of the Afrikanerbond.
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