Ramaphosa says ‘boer’ comment was misunderstood

ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday it was unfortunate that his use of the term "boer" had caused offence.

"In my conversation with a Seshego resident, I warned of the danger of the country going backwards, and used a term that has commonly been used by black South Africans to refer to the erstwhile apartheid regime," he said in a statement.

"It is a term that continues to be understood in that way." 

The Star reported on Monday that Ramaphosa had urged Limpopo residents to vote or the "boers" would take back power.

"If you don't vote, the boers will come back to control us," Ramaphosa apparently said in Seshego.

He was speaking to disgruntled resident Johanna Phala (49) who had vowed not to vote in next year's elections because the ANC had disappointed her.

AgriSA on Tuesday said the politicising of "boere" had to end.

"The diverse political connotations attached to the term 'boer' is detrimental to the agricultural industry," AgriSA president Johannes Moller said.

"To equate 'boer' to Afrikaner people or a minority group or government, creates a generalised view that actual farmers [boere] represent a particular political profile."

'Shameful disregard'
Opposition parties criticised Ramaphosa for his comment. Congress of the People president Mosiuoa Lekota said it showed shameful disregard for the Constitution.

The Democratic Alliance said the comment showed how much Ramaphosa was stuck in the dark ages.

The Freedom Front Plus said the comment was racist. 

On Tuesday, Ramaphosa said the comment was not meant to be derogatory.

"My comments were not meant to refer to a particular section of our population, and it is unfortunate if such an impression was created.

"If South Africa is indeed to move forward, all South Africans, regardless of language or background, need to work together as equal citizens," he said. – Sapa

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