Reconcile right to difference

The behaviour of Lekwa municipality mayor in Standerton, Queen Radebe-Khumalo, is an example of how someone holding a significant political position should not behave.

The behaviour of Lekwa municipality mayor in Standerton, Queen Radebe-Khumalo, is an example of how someone holding a significant political position should not behave.

As a society, South Africa is aware of the need to redress the ills of apartheid. But this must be done in a way that encourages reconciliation and nation-building.

Ordering the destruction of a cultural and historical symbol of one section of the community negates efforts to unite South Africans of all races.

Earlier this year Radebe-Khumalo ordered the destruction of a Great Trek memorial situated in front of the city hall.

She is reported to have said that the monument "meant nothing to us".

The memorial does mean something to the Afrikaner community.

Radebe-Khumalo should have consulted the affected communities first.

Failure to respect this process can only lead to polarisation and racial tension.

Unfortunately ordinary people tend to become victims when such racial tensions are acted out.

To redeem herself Radebe-Khumalo must pay for the memorial's repairs as ordered by the Pretoria high court.

Failure to do so will undermine the path of reconciliation this country has chosen.

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