Placed below Mercury’s front page masthead is the statement “Racism stops with me.” But in attempting to stop racism, it makes sense to establish what is causing racism. After all, prevention is better than cure.
Besides the racial prejudices lurking amongst all population groups, whether by nature or nurture, the accusation of racism seems to be particularly focused on whites following the Penny Sparrow and Vicki Momberg cases. As I argued on September 5 in these columns, racial outbursts from whites need to be considered within the context of the structures and strictures within which white people find themselves today.
The architect of our social and economic structures is the ANC. By practising demographic representivity, which is not what sections 9, 195 and 217 of the constitution advocate, the ANC has prioritised cadre deployment in all levels of government, state-owned enterprises and through BEE. Besides re-racialising employment, promotion and procurement, despite claims of non-racialism, the ANC government, wittingly or unwittingly, has legitimised the outcomes of incompetence and kleptocracy.
As RW Johnson stated in his book How long can South Africa survive? (2nd edition, p. 241), dealing with so-called officials, in many cases, requires walking the pretence that they are proficient in their jobs when the opposite is often apparent. Such experiences are fuelling racist outlooks and comments. There can be few people reading this who have not felt frustration and resentment at having to deal with incompetence by someone whose position was acquired purely through political connectivity and racial demography. The consequences of this jobs- for-black-pals policy is that at all levels of government, governance has collapsed or is near to that stage. Billions of Rands are expended on the remuneration of many who have neither proficiency nor professionalism.
This ugly situation is the result of ANC policies. Whilst there are certainly those within government structures who are competent and whose role is sincerely appreciated, the image of government as a whole, is negative. And therein, unfortunately, lies a great deal of the provocation and derivation of racist mindsets.
To improve the proficiency of government and consequently minimise racial outbursts, merit should be the only criterion in job allocation. As the 2019 election approaches, significantly only the Freedom Front Plus has made merit one of its key principles.
Sent into The Mercury and published, 28 October 2018.