It is difficult to have any sympathy for the DA’s chagrin over being denied the use of the Mandela capture site to launch its election campaign details.
Already sharing the ANC’s views on affirmative action, BEE and demographic representivity, which the DA semantically terms ‘diversity,’ its attempt to appropriate the aura of the Mandela legend is shabby but not surprising. No matter how the DA chooses to spin its commonality with Mandela, historically he belongs to the ANC.
In claiming that it shares Mandela’s values, the DA would do well to appraise them more closely. Much is made of Mandela’s conciliatory role, yet he never renounced violence during the negotiating years leading up to the 1994 election. In his book titled The Prince and I, the late IFP MP, Mario Oriani Ambrosini, listed the following in his deconstruction of the Mandela myth (pages 265-268):
- Although a civil war raged in KZN, Mandela delayed meeting Chief Buthelezi for a year after his release from prison. When they did meet, Mandela failed to implement the agreement to hold joint meetings to pacify violence-torn areas. As a result, a further 1,000 lives were lost.
- In 1995 Mandela admitted giving the order to shoot unarmed Zulus gathered outside the ANC’s Shell House HQ in Johannesburg on March 28, 1994. Fifty Zulus were killed and 180 injured.
- Mandela allowed the ANC to defy a court order on behalf of the families of those killed in the Shell House massacre.
- While Buthelezi was a minister in his cabinet, Mandela requested former SADF General Constand Viljoen to prepare a plan for the army to take military control of Ulundi and impose martial law in KZN. Viljoen declined the task.
- The controversial arms deal began during Mandela’s presidency.
- He never presided over a single cabinet meeting. They were run by Thabo Mbeki.
So much, then, for Mandela’s style of politics and values.
Sent into The Mercury and published, 16 Jan 2019.