We need state to lead process of normalising our society

HARDLY a day passes without many of us hearing sad stories about the present that make some hanker for days of white rule.

HARDLY a day passes without many of us hearing sad stories about the present that make some hanker for days of white rule.

In the wake of the tragedy of the death of the four schoolchildren when they were hit by a car racing on a busy public road, I heard the line again: "For all its ills, there was order during apartheid. You could never have had a situation in which people simply take over a public road in broad daylight and race their cars."

As author and journalist Jacob Dlamini pointed out in his excellent book Native Nostalgia, it is dishonest to think that the oppressed found no succour in any of apartheid created institutions.

Dlamini goes beyond the politically correct line that only those who were sell-outs will think that there was nothing black people could fondly remember about apartheid.

That is not to say that apartheid by and in itself had saving graces. It simply means that there are many who say they miss the order, albeit authoritarian, that was created by apartheid.

This kind of thinking scares me because it feeds into the worst stereotypes that racists held about black people's ability to rule.

Unfortunately, the ANC-led government has become the racist and neo-racist rightwing movement's most efficient organiser.

It was an ANC-led municipality that flouted a simple rule that it should consult residents and simply renamed Louis Trichardt, Makhado. By not doing what it should have done, the local council there mobilised right-wingers who now believed that their history was being eroded. The council lost the court application and the town, which by rights should be called Makhado, is still named Louis Trichardt.

We know that many competent white people had to be chased out of their jobs in municipalities to make way for comrades, even if these did not have the requisite skills.

The latest manifestation of this "get whites off state institutions" played itself out at the labour court when it was ruled that for SAPS not to promote a deserving white female officer on the grounds of her colour amounted to unfair discrimination.

Though it would be stretching it to say that the police acted at the behest of the ANC, the decision not to appoint a qualified and deserving policewoman sent yet another message that there is no place for white people in spaces that are controlled by the ANC or the government.

Just last week the party defended its lout-in-chief Julius Malema's singing a song that says whites must be shot because they are racists. Sure the song has a history.

But so does the apartheid flag or discriminating against people on grounds of colour.

The Freedom Front Plus accuses Malema of hate speech. The courts will have to rule on the matter. I hope that it finds in favour of the FF+.

It is not enough to mouth slogans such as South Africa belongs to all who live in it and then go around saying that white people are bullet deserving rapists.

A democratic state based on non-racism has no business trying to compete with people who perfected racism into an art-form.

We need the state to lead the process of normalising our society, not dwelling on its past abnormalities in the name of history.

It is the ANC's responsibility as the party that led the march against apartheid and all other forms of bigotry to ensure that it cuts the legs of anyone who harbours thoughts of race exceptionalism, including those from within the ranks of the liberation movement.

To do that the party must first acknowledge that there are as many whites as there are blacks who have to learn what it requires to live in a South Africa founded on the values of human dignity, equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms.