Fri Oct 21 23:56:37 SAST 2016

Let's do away with politics of racial bias

By unknown | Sep 28, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

NEWS that Cape Judge President John Hlophe had failed to make it for the Constitutional Court shortlist gave me a deep sense of relief.

NEWS that Cape Judge President John Hlophe had failed to make it for the Constitutional Court shortlist gave me a deep sense of relief.

I was confident that right had prevailed over narrow racial identity politics.

There is no doubt that Hlophe is one of the most able jurists in the country, but we cannot pretend that he does not have some outstanding matters pertaining to his ethical conduct that must be sorted out before he assumes a higher position.

This is also contingent on his having the humility to tap into South Africans' capacity to forgive those who acknowledge the errors of their ways and shunning the mob that claims to be acting in his name when all they are doing is damaging him even further.

But my Hlophe moment ended too soon.

In almost the same way that some had chosen to place Hlophe's blackness above all else, the people entrusted with running athletics in South Africa have decided that they will be led by a man who lied to all of us.

As Sowetan had reported last Wednesday, the racial make-up of the provinces that control athletics in South Africa was going to be a factor in deciding whether the bugger stayed or left in deserved shame. Alas, the matter went to the vote. And black folk being in the majority, decided to spite their white counterparts and keep shameless ASA president Leonard Chuene.

They probably assumed that they have heard the last of the matter. I have a feeling they are wrong.

As was shown with Judge Hlophe and to a much lesser extent the chastising by President Jacob Zuma of those lobbying for Siyabonga Gama to be made the next Transnet chief executive because, among other reasons he is black, the space is gradually closing on those who use race as their primary or sole argument.

This is not because we have forgotten about our oppression or we turn a blind eye to white racism, but rather because if apartheid has taught us anything it is the futility of thinking that virtue or vice knows pigmentation.

Having been oppressed and exploited by white people for more than 350 years on the basis of our skin colour, we should refuse those who wish to emotionally blackmail us on the same grounds as we were oppressed. We must not allow Chuene and his sycophants to exploit our blackness and memory of white supremacy rule.

Furthermore, as the majority, black people must set standards by which our country will live. By choosing not to have Hlophe at least until some questions have been answered, we have made great strides. We cannot allow ourselves to be derailed by the athletics fraternity's 1979 state of mind.

Instead of spiting the racists as the athletics bosses delude themselves to have done by condoning Chuene's behaviour, they have played right into the hands of bigots who believe black people are genetically incapable of running sound administrations.

We could ask what type of precedent ASA think they are setting by justifying a lie, but this is bigger than them. It is much more than how a sporting organisation chooses to run its affairs. The Caster Semenya issue has long stopped being theirs. It is ours all as South Africans.

We cannot let them get away with this. If they cannot find anything wrong with being led by a man who was prepared to lie to his head of state and to lead the nation to a war of words against the International Association of Athletics Federations, then they must join him in the dustbin of history.


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