In his Heritage Day message (The Witness, September 25), DA leader Maimane urges people to “negotiate their future.” Although that is a sensible approach, given the cultural diversity that exists, his appeal needs to appreciate that the future can never be divorced from the past.
Fundamental to heritage is the fact that it provides identity through context. It is natural for each generation to enquire about its heritage in order to qualify its identity. Harking back only to the early 1990s and the Codesa talks, as Maimane advises, is meaningless without the context of what preceded it.
Unfortunately, Maimane’s perspective on heritage is a very jaundiced one as we saw with his dogmatic denouncement of the entire colonial and white-ruled periods in 2017 when Helen Zille attempted to suggest, objectively, that those periods did contain some positives. So when Maimane invites discussion about culture, depending on one’s demographic affiliation, it would seem that terms and conditions apply, despite the exhortation in the preamble of the constitution that respect is accorded to all those who have contributed to the development of the country.
In that Maimane exaggeratedly claims there is a “class and racial war” within South Africa, he needs to appreciate that politicians have exacerbated that situation by ignoring the differences that are natural and inescapable amongst the different population groups. This is particularly evident in the pursuit of employment, procurement and promotion policies which adhere to demographic profiling – better known as affirmative action.
As long as the DA embraces such discriminatory views and policies, its slogan of ‘”one South Africa for all” is disingenuous and will not negotiate a better future. If Maimane is sincere in wanting to minimise class and race differences, then the DA needs to revert to its liberal roots and embrace merit as the arbiter of its aims.
Sent into The Witness and published, 26 September 2018.