As Chairman of the South African BRICS Business Council, and executive chairman of black economic empowerment company Sekunjalo, and Independent Media, I condemn the statement made by Black First Land First (BLF) leader Andile Mngxitama.
Earlier this week Mngxitama tweeted that the legacy of the holocaust was not all negative.
I ask that Mr Mngxitama unconditionally retract his statement. I am horrified and disappointed by his tweet, which is an affront to millions of Jewish people affected by the holocaust.
It is unacceptable to make such a statement - many Jewish people suffered during the holocaust. They were victims of ethnic cleansing in Europe by fascist and racist Nazis.
South Africa itself has been through a challenging history as a result of apartheid, which was modelled on Nazi doctrine.
I am concerned, as a South African business leader and executive chairman of a media company, to see increasing populist statements with a strong ethnic and racist undertone. These utterances undermine nation building and harmony in our country and society.
I am disappointed that we have witnessed this rhetoric, and horrific incidences, over the past few weeks, including inflammatory statements made by Julius Malema in KwaZulu-Natal about Indians, and recently a video of a group of white men assaulting a black family in full view of customers at a KFC.
These incidence and comments, while aimed at a specific audience, undermines what is common among us.
Independent Media takes a strong stand, similarly to two years ago in KZN, when there were a number of violent xenophobic attacks. We called upon the leadership in KZN and the royal family to show leadership and to play a constructive role in defusing the tensions and to ensure further acts of xenophobia did not arise.
We applauded the leadership shown in KZN, the leadership addressed the root causes of xenophobia.
After a number of similar incidences Independent Media launched campaigns, including the international award-winning Racism Stops With Me. We partnered the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, the southern African Clothing and Textile Workers (Sactwu) and the MSeta partnership. The campaign focussed on what was common in all of us.
At this time South Africa is facing challenges in social cohesion, which is becoming increasingly fragile.
We should rather work to build social cohesion than to use our utterances to achieve popular gain that in the long-term causes wide-spread destruction
As I prepare to attend the BRICS summit in China, as the chairman of the SA BRICS business council, I am aware that not only our BRICS partners, but the rest of the world is keenly watching us.
BRICS is a springboard for investment from our partners, but also investments from other countries and companies.
We need Foreign Direct Investment as a way to grow our economy, to skill our workforce and create job opportunities.
We do not look like an attractive option if our country faces a social meltdown, where people, communities and religions are degraded and seen as inferior to others.
Investors want to work in countries where there is social cohesion and tolerance
We go to China with a clear understanding, that we need to find solutions for our country’s economic development and peaceful co-existence for all.
Social cohesion can be achieved if we cooperate with each other and if jobs are created.