RACISM: ‘Discontent SA going Zim way’
by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNEBSURG, (CAJ News) – SOUTH Africa is sitting on a ticking time bomb and could suffer dire consequences if tensions emanating from an increasingly agitated majority explode, a Johannesburg-based legal expert has warned.
Advocate Gabriel Shumba, a human rights lawyer, pointed out colonial imbalances had not been addressed, almost 22 years after independence while racism, which was commonplace during the internationally-condemned apartheid system, was rearing its ugly head again.
“South Africa comes from a tragic past where racism was the bedrock of social, economic and political relations,” Shumba said in an interview.
“Unfortunately, today’s society remains segregated on the basis of one’s colour, and albeit the political matrix is now in favour of the majority, economic relations remain very much in favour of a few.”
He called for legislation to address the imbalances, hinting some frustrated members of the community could take matters into their own hands over the snail pace at which reforms were progressing.
“If the country wants to avoid the rule of the jungle that obtains in Zimbabwe, aggressive legislation and policies are needed to quickly redress this imbalance,” said Shumba.
“If the African National Congress doesn’t wake up to that reality, it will be the Economic Freedom Fighters laughing last. As things stand, the ANC has dismally failed to curb imbalances, instead choosing a few to wine and dine with those whose thinking remainss fossilized in the past.”
Unemployment is worsening youths’ woes. According to statistics, the jobless rate in South Africa increased to 25.5 percent in the third quarter of 2015 from 25 percent in the previous period.
Shumba also raised concern at the recurrence of racism.
“Black Africans need dignity. That dignity is denied them on the basis of their race on a daily basis by a minority colonial fundamentalists like Penny Sparrow who forget that we remain quiet in the face of abuse, not out of cowardice, but because we are civilised,” said the lawyer.
Sparrow is a Durban woman who caused a stir in January after comparing black people to monkeys.
While there was widespread outrage initially, it appears unlikely Sparrow and other racists would be punished anytime soon as racism is not criminalised.
Shumba warned of the consequences.
“Our patience has already endured a huge beating and should not be further strained, lest it snaps. If that happens, I am sure the results will be very tragic.”
Meanwhile, Rorisang Lekalake, Afrobarometer Assistant Project Manager for Southern Africa, concurred.
Afrobarometer is a research project that measures public attitudes on economic, political, and social matters in sub-Saharan Africa.
Its lastest survey published last week indicated South Africans are increasingly discontent with the country’s democracy.
“South Africa is angry, restless and divided – fatigued by bleak economic statistics, a failure of leadership and pervasive racism,” Lekalake said.
– CAJ News
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