“The president’s undertaking to protect minorities remains empty words as long as he distorts history,” AfriForum said in a statement.
AfriForum said it was responding to President Jacob Zuma’s undertaking that the ANC would protect minorities in South Africa. The organisation said Zuma was distorting historical facts to suit his ideological agenda.
Responding to debate on his State Of the Nation Address, Zuma criticised Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder, who on Wednesday warned Zuma he was playing with fire by singling out minorities.
“I fight against those who suppress minorities,” Zuma told the joint sitting.
AfriForum deputy chef executive Alana Bailey said Zuma’s reiteration of his claim that all problems started with Jan van Riebeeck’s arrival was removed from historical fact and it may be regarded as ridiculous.
“The president is now singling out Afrikaners as scapegoats and is representing his misleading version of events, based on ideology and not historical facts, as a true account of the past,” she said in a statement.
“Regarding the positive contribution made since the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck, the president keeps quiet. As long as this remains the case, his words will be divisive and devoid of meaning, stripped of recognition and respect for Afrikaners.”
Zuma said that the ANC remained bound to the principles espoused by the country’s first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela. “When arrested by the white oppressor he [Mandela] told them in court: ‘I have fought against white domination. I have fought against black domination’,” Zuma said. “What we do in government is informed by those principles and policies.”
Pointing at Mulder, Zuma said the ANC would never chase white people out of the country.
Trouble began with Van Riebeeck
At the same time Zuma remained unapologetic about remarks he made last month at an ANC fundraiser in Cape Town, where he said “all the trouble began” in 1652 when Jan van Riebeeck landed at the Cape.
“Our children must know where we come from so that coming generations should not repeat the mistakes of the past,” he said. During Wednesday’s debate, Mulder accused Zuma and his party of resorting to “scapegoat politics” to stem their support losses.
“The honourable president says a man called Jan van Riebeeck arrived here, and that was the start of problems in the country. I can prove the president is wrong. But what did he say in plain language? He said, when white people arrived here, the trouble started.
“What is the understanding of ordinary ANC supporters? They understand that if one gets rid of the white man, all problems are solved. Get rid of the cockroaches and all problems go away.”
He questioned the ANC’s commitment to the Constitution, and whether the ruling party would hand over power peacefully if it lost an election. “Does the ANC really believe in the Constitution and democratic principles? I say no.”
He told Zuma: “You are currently the problem. Please leave scapegoat politics. Respect democratic values and stop attacking and driving me, as an Afrikaner, and other groups away.” – Sapa