Professor of political studies at Unisa says the ANC has long shifted from accommodating minorities – not only the so-called coloureds, but also whites and Indians.
Leading political commentators side with ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, saying the ANC has abandoned coloured people in favour of black Africans – and they blame it on Jacob Zuma.
Political analyst Dirk Kotze, professor of political studies at Unisa, said the ANC had long shifted from accommodating minorities – not only the so-called coloureds, but also whites and Indians.
Coloureds actively participated in the struggle, particularly in the Western Cape, he said, pointing to Allan Boesak, who mobilised coloured people under the United Democratic Front (UDF), an internal formation of the then banned ANC.
Duarte, who delivered the Albertina Sisulu Memorial Lecture in Soweto, reportedly said the ANC was “tribally chauvinistic”.
She attacked some ANC members for saying the so-called coloured people benefited from apartheid.
ANC headquarters Luthuli House subsequently issued a statement without Duarte’s reference to the ANC being tribalistic or racist.
This is despite the fact that she was quoted by several media outlets saying: “We have almost become tribalists in the way we present ourselves. We are racist in the ANC because we marginalise people who are not black African people; keep them out of the ANC at all costs … we won’t accept the fact that nonracialism is a core value of the ANC. We don’t want to accept that we even go as far as creating myths.”
Kotze said the ANC had abandoned minorities.
“Duarte has a point. It is clear that the ANC is not strong among the coloureds and it was during the Jacob Zuma period that the ANC lost coloured votes because he concentrated on consolidating his power in Kwa-Zulu-Natal.”
Cape-based political economy analyst Daniel Silke said the ANC had realised it could not make headway among the minorities.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, therefore, was concerned that the party had deviated from Nelson Mandela’s message of national reconciliation and racial harmony.
“The penny has dropped and the ANC has realised it needs to be sensitive to the concerns of the minorities particularly when it came to employment and black economic empowerment,” Silke said.
“Duarte’s views will resonate with those who feel the ANC no longer represents the minorities. Her articulating a particular view is very important and needs to be addressed.”
Kotze and Silke agreed that the ANC saw an opportunity in the light of the recent Democratic Alliance leadership crisis.
“This is an attempt by the ANC to muscle in with the hope of stealing the DA support, should the coloured people see that the DA is becoming too white,” Kotze said.
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