Deputy Speaker’s Racist Remarks a Blow for Reconciliation

James Masango MPL

Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition.

The DA absolutely condemns the racist remarks made by the Deputy Speaker of the Mpumalanga Legislature, Ms Violet Siwela’s last night and demands an immediate apology both from her and the provincial chairperson of the ANC, premier David Mabuza.

During a meeting with local pastors in Lebohang near Leandra last night, Ms Siwela claimed that black people belong to the ANC and not other opposition parties, whom she claimed are not committed to peace and democracy in South Africa.

Ms Siwela further added that Coloured people “don’t know their past, where they come from, or know who their grandfathers are”, and that their existence is a direct consequence of Jan van Riebeeck’s arrival at the Cape in 1652. At this point one pastor called Ms Siwela to order and said that remarks such as these were inflammatory, and could not be preached in church, to which the reply was that “it is part of our history, and cannot be denied”.

These distasteful remarks clearly show both Ms Siwela’s and the ANC’s complete disregard for reconciliation and redress in Mpumalanga, and she must be called to order immediately. To this end, the DA demands a written apology from Ms Siwela, as well as from premier Mabuza, distancing the ANC and its members from racism and racist remarks.

South Africans need the reassurance that all our public representatives are committed to reconciliation and healing the wounds of the past, and this instance should serve as reminder of government’s continued commitment to do so.

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