Letters to the editor: January 11 to 17

A lesson about facts and opinion for McKaiser

RIGHT OF REPLY
Dan Plato

I am reluctant to engage with individuals who, despite all the information available to them, continue to promote their own opinion and choose to ignore what others have to say.

However, the Mail & Guardian has given Eusebius McKaiser a platform and I believe it is necessary to respond to his column addressed to me last week (“A racism lesson for Mayor Plato”) because of the ongoing distortion in the media and the rampant political exploitation by the ANC to purposefully drive a racially divisive narrative before the upcoming elections.

The readers of the M&G should be given the facts about the Clifton case and not merely the many broad accusations and assumptions that have been flying around.

It would seem that, in his column last week, McKaiser conflates a number of legitimate issues with false accusations to paint them all with the same brush. There is no question that institutional racism still exists and it is a problem that affects individuals all over the world. We continually need to challenge racism wherever we find it, but what happened at Clifton wasn’t racism and in last week’s column McKaiser is wrong on many counts.


He is wrong to label local ratepayers with legitimate safety concerns as “white supremacists”. He is wrong to dismiss the legitimate safety concerns experienced by local ratepayers and beachgoers alike from all communities as people with “racism that runs in their blood”.

The following is an extract from an online column by Marie-Louise Antoni addressing the Clifton incident, which demonstrates the level of the area’s safety concerns. “There’s been a very bad decline in policing in Camps Bay,” said Bernard Schäfer, chairperson of the Camps Bay Community Policing Forum. “I’m talking about a literal collapse within SAPS [South African Police Service] in terms of our shift capability.”

The Western Cape has about 4 000 fewer SAPS members than it should have. This has been the result of years of under-resourcing by the national government. Policing shortcomings, while considerably more pronounced in this province, are not exclusive to the Western Cape, as we have seen many communities across the country employ the services of private security in an attempt to fill the hole left by official law enforcement.

The city, too, needs additional law enforcement, which is why I will be ensuring more law enforcement officers are recruited for Cape Town this year, and in coming years.

I visited several beaches during the holiday season and I engaged with beachgoers of all ages and races, enjoying themselves side by side. I visited Clifton beach, too, in the heat of the political exploitation by the many political opportunists. I spoke to the Professional Protection Alternatives’ (PPA) management, I spoke to local ratepayers, and I spoke to beachgoers to get the facts first-hand.

The “protesters” were not interested in speaking to anyone other than the media and tried to prevent others from expressing their views.

Beachgoers who were present on December 23 last year have made it clear that people of all race, and not just specific races groups, were informed about safety concerns and advised that it may be in their best interest to leave. The PPA may have over-reached itself in its duties and the city has opened a case with the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority to determine whether any wrongdoing was committed and, if so, to ensure that the appropriate action istaken. The ANC did not make any official complaint; instead, it chose to issue a media release with false accusations, which was published in the media before any of the facts were established.

This incident could have been managed very differently with a simple complaint to the right authorities, who could have immediately acted to prevent any repeat of private security over-reaching in its duties.

The city, however, found out through the ANC’s media release claiming a return of “beach apartheid”, and we acted immediately when we became aware of the claims.

Last week’s column does legitimate cases of racism a disservice as it ignores the blatant and highly damaging political opportunism and race-baiting that took place.

One just needs to visit any of Cape Town’s beaches, where all race groups and demographics enjoy the space together, to see the inclusivity.

With fake news drowning out our news channels and sloppy reporting turning away readers, our media have a duty to report accurately and responsibly.

Where there are legitimate cases of racism, blatant or covert, we must always call them out but we should equally guard against driving a racially divisive narrative that fuels more racism instead of building cohesion and unity. Let us never sweep these matters under the rug but let us also watch out for those who cry wolf and use the accusation to drive their own agendas.

Dan Plato is the executive mayor of Cape Town


Letter to the editor

Eusebius [McKaiser] is the one person who is always writing about racism, yet he is the biggest racist of all.

He is always trying so hard to find racism in anything to do with the Democratic Alliance or any white person. Ninety-five percent of what he writes about is about racism. Shame. He should have got that chip off his shoulder by now.

No, Eusebius, we are not racist when we do not like sheep being slaughtered on a beach, when #FeesMustFall groups gather on a popular beach for all, including tourists, especially at this time of the year.

They have made sure that they receive all the publicity they can. That is racist, as it is always pointing at whites. — Elbie Steytler, Welgelegen

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Steenhuisen remains simply the best

With reference to Eusebius McKaiser “The DA’s next leader should have a diverse political toolkit” (Mail&Guardian, September 23)

Housing activists want probe into City of Cape Town ‘spying’

The City of Cape Town admits it monitors the social-media pages of housing activists but denies that this is spying, as tensions surrounding land occupations increase

McKaiser needs to challenge his inner racist too

COMMENT: Clicks - or some of its employees - demonstrated culpa, not dolus

Rich vigilantes have no fear of consequences

The City of Cape Town tacitly condones it when wealthy landowners behave illegally, something that is not the case if you’re poor

702: Vitriol dims the radio’s star

702 has recently lost a number of high-profile presenters. It says this is part of a shift to gain listeners. But insiders say something is rotten

Hashtag lessons from the US and South Africa about racism and antiblackness

The #Black Lives Matter, #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall movements show that democracy cannot happen without decolonisation
Advertising

Subscribers only

Covid-19 surges in the Eastern Cape

With people queuing for services, no water, lax enforcement of mask rules and plenty of partying, the virus is flourishing once again, and a quarter of the growth is in the Eastern Cape

Ace prepares ANC branches for battle

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule is ignoring party policy on corruption-charged officials and taking his battle to branch level, where his ‘slate capture’ strategy is expected to leave Ramaphosa on the ropes

More top stories

See people as individual humans, not as a race

We need to ingrain values of equality in education, businesses, society broadly and religious groups to see people

JJ Rawlings left an indelible mark on Ghana’s history

The air force pilot and former president used extreme measures, including a coup, enforced ‘discipline’ through executions, ‘disappearances’ and floggings, but reintroduced democracy

Sudan’s government gambles over fuel-subsidy cuts — and people pay...

Economists question the manner in which the transitional government partially cut fuel subsidies

Traditional healers need new spaces

Proper facilities supported by well-researched cultural principles will go a long way to improving the image and perception of the practice of traditional medicine
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…