Tolerance is a character trait which in a perfect world should be possessed by all.
In a society such as South Africa, tolerance of the other is important, especially with our constitutional right of free speech.
But we are not always tolerant, are we? And as we head towards the ANC’s elective conference in December and the 2019 national elections, toleration of each other seems to be running short.
Intolerance and clear intimidation seem to be the order of the day – which is apparent by events orchestrated for political scoring.
This week, former finance minister Pravin Gordhan was scheduled to speak at a private fundraiser in KwaZulu-Natal, hosted by the Concerned Citizens Group.
What met the gathering was nothing short of nauseating.
Prior to Gordhan’s address, organisers were met by a raging group of protesters, armed with buckets of human waste.
These buckets were then dumped at the entrance of the hall.
Worse still, while Gordhan tried to speak, food meant for those who attended had been flung inside the hall – discarded as some go hungry in the country daily. The culprits?
The ANC Youth League – who have since denied this. The motive? Contempt for Gordhan who refuses to bow down to the unethically corrupt, the politically incorrect and those who choose to line their pockets with the hard-earned money of the taxpayer through state capture.
A video surfaced showing those who attended form a human chain at the entrance, trying to allow proceedings to continue.
Gordhan however, did not manage to speak – but did air his views in a statement afterwards.
“The constitution of South Africa has, as a fundamental right, the freedom of association and the freedom of speech,” the former minister said.
“The members of the community who were present to express their support for the issues raised by the Concerned Citizens Group, had every right to safety and a peaceful event.
“Clearly, it appears that some people related to the issue or the current political events unfolding in the country, had organised a group of young people to violently disrupt this event.
“This kind of intolerance is what we experienced in the ’80s in particular. The violence, physical attacks on people, the stealing of food prepared for the evening cannot be the conduct we either expect or condone in the lead up to decisive meetings later in December.
“I condemn this intimidation,” Gordhan said. “This violent and intolerant conduct must be condemned by all democratic organisations.”
According to witnesses, some protesters wore T-shirts adorned with the face of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Dlamini-Zuma, a presidential hopeful, is a favourite among one faction of the ANC, while the other supports deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.
The ANCYL have accused Gordhan of trying to influence the conference by pointing to Ramaphosa being better placed for SA’s economy to prosper, and have asked ratings agencies to distance themselves from his utterances.
There lies the perfect example of intolerance and the downright bullying of those who have held on to their moral compass – in trying to ensure South Africa is pulled out of the quicksand.
Shame on you.