Note to editors: The following is an extract from a speech delivered by the Democratic Alliance’s provincial chairperson, Harold McGluwa, in the Human Rights Day debate held during a sitting of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature in Pella today.
Let me start by saying that racism knows no colour, no creed and no socio-economic background. The Democratic Alliance declared a non-racial society as a central pillar of principle in its overall political ideology. We believe that neither the colour of your skin nor the circumstances of your birth should determine your future.
So die enigste kleur wat ek sien, is die kleur van die daisies hier in Namakwaland.
The only race I know, is the human race.
In particular, this non-racial objective of One Nation with One Future built on Freedom, Fairness and Opportunity for All was an informed decision by all leaders and members. We understand that racism can only crushed by reconciliation and redress.
We have signed the Pledge Against Racism in order to contribute to the racial harmony and political freedom of this country.
As the Democratic Alliance, we have also launched an initiative called ‘Stand Up, Speak Out’. It is a series of dialogues between South Africans, a sharing of experiences between people. For us to build a prosperous society of Freedom, Fairness and Opportunity, we must have an open and honest discussion about the challenges we face today.
We have seen a recent escalation of racial tension, which can also be attributed to irresponsible and reckless responses to racist outbursts from individuals.
Certain political parties advocate violence and divide South Africans along racial lines. It suits them, because they are intellectually bankrupt and have no better election strategy. It is easier to play the race card and shift blame for the current failure of governance.
As South Africans, we come from a divided and painful past. If the current trend of racist outbursts by individuals and political parties continue, we face a divided future. We must not undermine and devalue our hard-won rights enshrined in the constitution.
As leaders, we simply cannot abdicate our responsibilities and as political representatives, we enjoy a hard-won right to represent political parties with different political views – and we have the corresponding obligation to discourage racial tension. Let us seek to unite people around shared values rather than try to split them.
It takes responsible leadership to bridge racial divides and not perpetuate racial tensions in the country for own benefits. Let us distance ourselves from those who encourage racial tension and who want to keep the country angry. While we seek to build a better society, let us be principled and responsible leaders who tell no lies and claim no easy victories. We need leadership that cares for the future of the country and does whatever it takes to restore the moral fiber of our society – not leaders who use racial slurs.
We cannot base an election strategy on exploiting racial tensions. Let us empower voters to make informed decisions when exercising their very important, hard-won right to vote.
Let us build a truly non-racial and united South Africa.
Harold McGluwa, MPL
DA Provincial Chairperson
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076 551 0312