Overplaying the race card

THE intervention by the National Union of Mineworkers' Frans Baleni and his Cosatu counterpart Zwelinzima Vavi in the Eskom leadership squabble is useful and exemplary.

THE intervention by the National Union of Mineworkers' Frans Baleni and his Cosatu counterpart Zwelinzima Vavi in the Eskom leadership squabble is useful and exemplary.

Both leaders have rejected the cheap shot that Bobby Godsell "is racist". This after the ANC Youth League closed the debate on whether its leader, Julius Malema, is entitled to the taxpayer forking out R300000 a month for his personal security, by accusing the official opposition Democratic Alliance of being racist for raising the issue.

While we are aware of the reality that racism is still alive and well in our country despite the 1994 project, we reject the notion that all criticism of black individuals or groups by whites is necessarily racist.

Black-led formations, especially professional outfits such as the Black Management Forum or Black Lawyers Association, do themselves no favours when they limit arguments for or against an issue to the skin colour of the main protagonists.

It is important that other credible black leaders join Baleni and Vavi in rejecting the use of the race card by blacks to avoid debate. As Baleni said, invoking the race card where it has no place makes it difficult to confront issues that need dealing with.

We should expose the race card for the last refugee of scoundrels and charlatans that it is. Like the boy who cried wolf, those whose imaginations make them see racists under their beds will have nobody to come to their rescue once real bigots require dealing with.

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