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ANC not caring about minorities ‘an unfortunate falsity’

Pic file: Logo of the South African leading party, the African National Congress (ANC)

Pic file: Logo of the South African leading party, the African National Congress (ANC)

Published May 23, 2023


ANC MP and the governing party’s former acting Western Cape chairperson, Khaya Magaxa, has taken issue with his colleague, Faiez Jacobs, for publicly claiming that the organisation is sidelining coloured, Indian and white communities.

Magaxa said Jacobs’s assertion that the ANC must prioritise and focus on what the party’s former Western Cape provincial secretary referred to as “non-African wards” to build a stronger, more inclusive party that represents all South Africans and fosters social cohesion in order to secure long-term political success “lends credence to an unfortunate falsity”.

Last month, the Sunday Independent reported that Jacobs, also an ANC MP, said that the coloured, Indian and white communities’ feelings of exclusion were a major threat and there was a sense that current affirmative action measures were unevenly applied, and in some cases prejudicial and that this remained a sore point requiring urgent intervention.

“This assertion, which sounds foreign, is not just contradictory but confusing and extremely problematic,” Magaxa wrote in the latest edition of ANC Today, the party’s weekly newsletter.

According to the chairperson of the National Assembly’s portfolio committee on public enterprises, the ANC-led national government is still continuing with progressive policies while they continue to be thwarted by DA-governed provincial and local government.

This week, a war of words erupted between the ANC and the DA over the draft Employment Equity Amendment Act regulations, which the official opposition has threatened to take to the country’s highest court for setting racial quotas across 18 economic sectors for companies with more than 50 employees.

Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi published the draft regulations for public comment for 30 days last Friday.

But the ANC accused the DA of pushing propaganda by suggesting that the governing party is promoting new race laws prohibiting employment of specific racial groups in certain provinces and sectors, and expressed its confidence that the draft regulations were consistent with the country’s Constitution and would help transform the labour market and society.

Magaxa said implying that ANC government policies did not resonate with particular communities without concrete evidence, except to casually refer to affirmative action, was vague and imprecise.

”We need to understand and appreciate the real reason as to why coloured people, as part of the black majority, have been behaving negatively towards the ANC even before it took power in 1994,” he said.

Magaxa described it as dangerous to assume that socio-economic challenges faced by historically oppressed masses are somehow different and certain communities among the poor need special attention irrespective of their class.

He said since 1994, the coloured community had been consistently voting for reactionary political parties against the ANC.

“In the biggest township in the Western Cape, Mitchells Plain, the ANC hardly achieves 10% in almost all the wards while DA is always guaranteed 60-80%. In the (Cape Town) metro, the ANC would win two wards in Gatesville and Macassar until 2006 and since then we have nothing,” Magaxa said.

He said any view that the ANC did not care about minorities and its understanding of these communities was always narrow and not based on its National Democratic Revolution.

”Some of our own comrades who are very lazy to apply our own tools of analysis, including those that are extremely opportunistic, fall to this trap.

“They become too desperate to emerge and seek sympathies and wanting to be considered for positions because they represent certain ‘minority constituencies,’” said Magaxa.

He said that he was not suggesting that representativity reflecting South African demographics was not important, but that it did not have to be artificial.

”It has to be built from grassroots level. It must be a product of our hard work in our communities by all ANC activists,” Magaxa maintained.