Johannesburg - There is no place for racists in the DA, says leader Helen Zille, saying the party is “disgusted” by such people and they have no right to associate with the party.
Zille was writing in her SA Today newsletter released on Sunday, where she took stock of several recent racial incidents that have occurred around the country over the past couple of months.
She lists a number of incidents, including the attack on a domestic worker by swimming coach Tim Osrin, who claimed to have mistaken her for a prostitute.
Zille also listed the attack on a petrol attendant by a group of bikers who violently assaulted him while calling him a host of “offensive racial slurs”.
“I could go on listing incidents like these for ages. Like the drunk white UCT student who urinated on a black man’s head from a nightclub balcony. Like the drunk white reveller who called a black man at a Green Point ATM the “k” word and got beaten up as a result. Like the black motorist in Randburg who was attacked with an axe by a white motorist, only to be reportedly ignored by the paramedics on the scene. Like the all-too-regular reports of racism on our campuses, in our high schools, in our sports clubs, on our roads,” wrote Zille.
Zille said she wanted to “make one thing quite clear”, that the party “has no place for people like these”.
“We are disgusted by them. While our constitution guarantees them the right to free speech, even when they are vile and offensive, they do not have a right to associate, or be associated with, the DA. We do not want them. Full stop. They are free to associate with each other (within the law) - but not with us,” said Zille.
She said everyone knew that the people who perpetrated or condoned racist attacks were “a tiny minority”.
“Some of them will probably never come to terms with the march of progress, and the increasing preference of South Africans to associate along the lines of values and not race.
“Fortunately, incorrigible racists are a small and dwindling group. As we move into our third decade of a free and democratic South Africa, their voices will likely become fewer and fainter,” said Zille.
She said the most “nauseating experience of all is those racist whites who assume that everyone else of a similar colour is okay with an offensive joke or a distasteful comment”.
“If we turn our backs without confronting them, we are complicit in giving them a platform to carry on doing so.”
She said gone were the “khaki-clad, gun-toting, horse-riding para-militaries of old” who had been replaced by Afrikaans pop star and “self-proclaimed intellectual” Steve Hofmeyr and Dan Roodt.
“Unless we do, we allow the level of acceptable behaviour to sink lower, little by little. We accept that people have a constitutional right to be offensive. But we have a duty, in defence of our constitutional values, to confront them non-violently,” said Zille.