16/01/2014. Minister of Higher Education and Training Dr Blade Nzimande speaks during the launch of the White Paper on Post School Education at Unisa. Picture: Oupa Mokoena

If Nkandla is a problem for Mr Smith, why should it not be a problem for Mr Kumalo? Both pay taxes, says Warren Gwilt.

Johannesburg - Blade Nzimande has outdone himself again when he says Nkandla stories are “white man’s lies”.

White people (people who cry foul when they get a BEE in their bonnet) are still seen as the only race making up the middle class in South Africa. Yes, in a bean counting/statistical analysis way of doing things, this is true; the percentage of white people who belong to the middle class is higher than the percentage of black people who do.

However, since 1994 more black people have entered the middle class – regardless of how disproportionate to whites this may be.

Nzimande argument falls short because, despite the fact that many black people – including those of middle-class standing still reside in traditional black areas (a trickle-down effect of apartheid), does not liberate them from the same fears and hardships as their white counterparts.

Actually, the anxiety experienced by black people in the middle classes is probably higher.

Despite their ascendance to a higher social class, the majority still rely on inferior public services, while still shouldering the burden of all the so-called “white-man’s” problems.

Don’t think that I do not acknowledge that white people use these amenities too; they do so – but on a smaller scale.

The issue at hand here is that class does not see colour. We live in a county where people, who try their damnedest to better their economic and social standing, are vilified by government. It’s as if all should have an equitable share in poverty, yet some from a palpably lower rung.

To come to the point, Nzimande’s position not only borders on hate speech directed at whites. It belittles black people who have struggled to better themselves.

If Nkandla is a problem for Mr Smith, why should it not be a problem for Mr Kumalo? Both pay taxes, do they not? If it is depressing for Ms Kruger, should it not be depressing for Ms Dlamini and all the Mohammeds, Singhs and Pieterses in-between?

Why should the bungling of government not concern a hard-working, middle-class black person just because it is seen as something whites have latched on to?

Nzimande does well to reduce all non-white citizens of this country to being incapable of seeing how the state is failing its citizens while draining the breadbasket.

We have a shared spirit of ubuntu/botho – uniting us in sporting activities, but this seems to fade when, equally as patriotically, we call government to account.

During apartheid, whites who levelled attacks against the ills of the Nationalist government were branded race-traitors.

Today, if black people stand up for themselves they are labelled un-African.

The illogical ranting’s of a failed communist exemplify nothing more than… nasty racial bluffs aimed at keeping the middle class from uniting.

To move Steve Biko’s thinking into the 21st century: “Rainbow man, you are on your own!”

Warren Gwilt


* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.

The Star