MP notes irony of debating social cohesion a day before EFF’s Brackenfell protest
Cape Town – The DA’s Zakhele Mbhele said it was ironic that a debate in the National Assembly on non-racialism and social cohesion for a prosperous South Africa took place a day before the EFF's planned demonstration at Brackenfell High.
“It is a very sad day in our country when schools become the sites of such racial hostility... a scenario that echoes similar and equally abhorrent flashpoints in the early 1990s when there were also racially charged stand-offs in sites of whites-only schools as they started to desegregate.
“Our responsibility as leaders is not to stoke and intensify animosities but rather to set the example, dialogue and respectful engagements that promote understanding and broad commitment to reach solutions for the many problems that we face,” said Mbhele.
IFP chief whip Narend Singh noted during the debate that they were inundated by reports of racial polarisation.
"Now more than ever we need to talk more as South Afrcians about social cohesion. All South Africans need to join in this discussion and we need to be prepared to listen to each other no matter how difficult this conversation may be," Singh said.
"In inviting everyone to have honest conversation, we can't show further racial tension, stigmatise and stereotype cultural groups. By referring to minorities as visitors we exclude them from the outset from the discussion and create barriers instead of celebrating our diversity.’’
ANC MP Mondli Gungubele said the debate afforded an opportunity to pause, analyse, reflect and grapple with the attempts to derail nation-building and social cohesion projects.
"We can all agree that what transpired in Senekal and Brackenfell can never happen again. We hope so,” he said.
“Neither should we be shy in condemning some of our leaders who responded to both incidents."
EFF MP Sinawo Tambo said non-racialism and social cohesion were not possible without changing ownership patterns of the economy and confronting the arrogance of racists that turned black identity to subservience and servitude
"Social cohesion is possible through justice and equality. This can be achieved when those who control means of production subject themselves to the will of the majority and share the wealth of our land," he said.