Beware! Malema and Kriel thrive on racial hatred
In between these two extremes sits a silent majority of black and white South Africans who wonder what the noise is about
A great deal of political noise has erupted since the EFF got the ANC to support a parliamentary process to amend the constitution and make possible the expropriation of land without compensation.
The noise comes mainly from two extremes. The first is a hotchpotch of black loudmouths under the aegis of the EFF, and a sprinkle of toothless radicals who are relics of the PAC and the black consciousness movement.
The second extreme is made up of white racists who are bent on stoking white fears by spreading the message that swarms of dark-skinned people are about to descend on private properties, and potentially rape wives and kick crying babies. AfriForum is the organisational vehicle for this kind of fear-mongering.In between these two extremes sits a silent majority of black and white South Africans who wonder what the noise is about.
As they continue to insult white people, black extremists like Julius Malema claim to speak on behalf of black people. That the EFF enjoys the electoral support of only 6% of black voters gets lost in Malema's hot air. How could 6% represent 94% of black voters? Is this not a tyranny of 6%?It is obvious that President Cyril Ramaphosa is not fully committed to the idea of land expropriation without compensation, but he is scared that the governing party will lose black votes if he does not play along.The problem is that the EFF thugs continue to terrorise communities while Ramaphosa dances on eggshells.
It may not say so, but AfriForum loves Malema; for he assists the organisation to mobilise white racists to prepare themselves for an imaginary war with black people – which will never take place.
The unfortunate thing about the current noise is that it leaves little room for sober voices. There are white people who call radio stations to complain that they feel excluded in South Africa. Such people don't realise that their problem of “feeling” is nothing compared to the reality (not feeling) of economic exclusion experienced by millions of black people daily.
Truth be told, there are no human beings in the whole of Africa who enjoy life the way white South Africans live. Those of us who have been to Australia, Europe and North America know that most white South Africans would never afford life out there the way they do in South Africa.
Go to the nearest restaurant now and you will find white people eating and drinking, served by black people. Make a turn at the nearest golf club, and check who is drinking and who is serving. Visit the nearest farm now, and you will find a white boss commanding an army of dark-skinned people.
The sober conversation we must have is not how quickly to expropriate land without compensation, or how best to make white people poor.
The urgent task is to find an ownership model that will make black and white people feel that South Africa truly belongs to all who live in it, and that the land shall be shared by those who work it.Such an ownership model must be based on the recognition that impoverishing white people will not automatically enrich black people. Robert Mugabe was very happy to see black thugs on white farms, but Zimbabwe’s mayhem impoverished more black people. Today, Zimbabweans are scattered all over the world as paupers and beggars.
The problem is that the majority of black and white people who stand between the EFF and AfriForum don't claim their space in the public discourse. As a result, the false impression thrives that Malema speaks for black people and Kallie Kriel for white people. Who appointed them?
When the majority of sober black and white people finally claim their public space, they must be careful not to behave as if South Africa has no genuine problem of racialised land ownership. Malema or no Malema, it is problematic for the white minority to own the majority of South Africa's land.
Sober South Africans must urgently find ways to normalise wealth ownership in our country.
White people must accept that black people were not created by God to be a nation of servants.
Black people, too, are fully human, and deserve to enjoy life like white people.
Only when clear-thinking South Africans take up their rightful space in public discourse will Malema and Kriel be exposed for what they are – political arsonists who thrive on racial fires.
This column originally appeared on SowetanLive