/ 16 January 2016

Letters to the editor: January 15 to 21 2016

No solution: Land reform will merely create more problems
No solution: Land reform will merely create more problems

No to racists of any colour

Andile Mngxitama’s article (Penny Sparrow: Racism’s sacrificial lamb) seeks to argue that land restitution will solve racism. It will not. It may give (temporary) pride to land recipients, but will cause further racism among the threatened, and significant issues as new landowners struggle to produce sufficient food for urban inhabitants. It will also mean a departure of the middle class of all colours as they seek better pastures elsewhere.

The ANC has been dabbling unsuccessfully with land reform for years, the biggest inhibitors being a culture of subsistence farming, poor education of prospective black commercial farmers, and civil servants who are misdirecting our tax money primarily because they have not had time to develop the necessary competencies.

And for highlighting such deficiencies, I fear I may also be deemed racist for mentioning what are societal and institutional shortcomings.

I am one of the few Canadians living in South Africa, given the tide that has been heading in the other direction. I have encountered both white and black South Africans whom I would define as racist. It is almost always people who feel insecure, either because they feel threatened or need to feel superior.

Should Mngxitama’s ideological proposals be put into place, my family and many others will be joining the exodus to enjoy a more secure future. There are already 30 South African doctors in my hometown, a small Canadian city. That is a lot of human capital for any country to lose. – Raymond Anderson, Johannesburg

? I read Mngxitama’s article with much interest and, though I agree with much of what he says, he has missed the mark when he states: “For the law to protect blacks it has to operate within a power arrangement that […] blacks can’t be racist.”

You can’t say that for the law to operate it has to be guided by a principle that blacks can’t be racist. Yes, let’s talk about the injustices of the past, let’s redress inequalities and economic imbalances, and let’s do what we have to do to rectify that. But racism cannot be tolerated.

The ending of his article contains a subtle undertone of what he says may happen: “The victims will one day refuse to play the game and engulf us all in a black inferno.” This is a highly irresponsible statement, because it only adds fuel to an already volatile fire.

We have to find a way to get through this together, in a way that doesn’t just treat the symptoms. – Robert Parker

The NHI is sanity for the apartheid poor majority

I found James Hunt’s letter Aaron, let sanity prevail in the health sector distasteful, insensitive and appalling.

One would have thought that, given the urgency of the need to undo the apartheid legacy, including in the health sector, that as a South African he would welcome the National Health Insurance (NHI) as spearheaded by Dr Aaron Motsoeledi.

The NHI is one of the most radical and commendable steps to have been undertaken by the democratic government for the simple reason that it will benefit the downtrodden black majority. These are the historical victims of what the international community declared a crime against humanity: apartheid. They’ve nothing to contribute in terms of taxes and so on, unlike Hunt’s ilk who are beneficiaries of the very criminal apartheid system that enabled racial intergenerational accumulation of wealth by the minority at the expense of the majority.

That’s why this downtrodden black majority has given and continues to give the democratically elected government a political mandate to implement, as a matter of urgency, the policies that will have a meaningful effect in their daily lives. They are tired of being held to ransom by anybody, including the invisible spirits of the markets.

Patriotic South Africans of all races have a duty to support endeavours such as the NHI and free education. If there are shortfalls, constructive contributions towards the goals, rather than dangerous scare tactics, should be made. Otherwise the stability of this country may be too ghastly to contemplate. – Joseph B Gumbi, Pietermaritburg

It’s simple: find and fix the leaks

Sipho Kings went to a great deal of trouble to tell readers about the lack of respect we have for water (Respect water – or pay the price).

However, about 50% of our water is lost because of poor maintenance of the water pipes.

If our government and municipalities were to identify every water leak, particularly in pipes that were laid before the ANC came into power, and if they were then to send teams to make the repairs, or hire private companies to do the job – or if they were to rehire many of the plumbers who were often forced into early retirement – much of this wasted water could be saved and the massive national shortage would be reduced.

Sometimes our leaders look for complicated solutions where a simple one can makes a difference.

In addition, these same teams that hunt out and repair leaks could repair the machines that are supposed to treat our sewage. – Richard Stewart, Linmeyer