South African Politicians Use Specter of Racism for Political Gain Just Like US Democrats
Nearly two decades after the end of apartheid and white rule South Africa is an angry violent nation. South Africa ranks second in the world for assault and murder. Around 50 people are murdered in South Africa every day.
Nine South African police officers were charged with murdering taxi driver Mido Macia in February. Mido was killed after he was dragged behind a police car in the township of Daveyton in Gauteng, South Africa. (Str/EPA)
Unfortunately, politicians in South Africa, just like US Democrats, use the specter of racism for political gain which doesn’t help the situation.
The AP reported:
Few South Africans have the moral stature of retired archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who campaigned against apartheid and now laments the crime and inequality that plague the nation two decades after it cast off racist white rule.
“We can’t pretend we have remained at the same heights and that’s why I say please, for goodness’ sake, recover the spirit that made us great,” Tutu said. “Very simply, we are aware we’ve become one of the most violent societies. It’s not what we were, even under apartheid.”
This month, South Africa reopened a conversation over the extent to which the legacy of apartheid drives persistent imbalances in services and opportunities. Some argue that current leaders lean on the past to justify squandered chances to improve South Africa and even invoke the specter of apartheid for political gain.
The fresh discussion began with reported comments by National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel that South African officials should assume full responsibility for the nation’s problems and resist the temptation to continually blame apartheid.
Those include a faltering education system, an uneven record on providing basic services and allegations of corruption and cronyism that drain public faith in the government. The African National Congress, in power since the first all-race elections in 1994, has improved housing for many poor people and presides over a society that is immeasurably more tolerant than its predecessor. But the gulf between the wealthier white minority and the millions of blacks who can’t find work and live in shacks remains wide.
“While wanting to see change happening fast in every corner of the country, we are under no illusion that South Africa will automatically and comprehensively change in only 20 years. That is impossible,” President Jacob Zuma said this week. “The legacy of apartheid runs too deep and too far back for the democratic administration to reverse it in so short a period.”
Evidently, the race card is an effective political tool in South Africa, too.