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Government's failure to condemn 'racist' social media posts sets SA back‚ warn experts

Government's failure to condemn 'racist' social media posts sets SA back‚ warn experts.
Government's failure to condemn 'racist' social media posts sets SA back‚ warn experts.
Image: Thinkstock

Most South Africans do not want to their politicians playing race games – instead‚ they want them to focus on creating jobs and fixing the economy.

This is according to Institute of Race Relations (IRR) associate Gabriel Crous‚ who was responding to the latest social media storms created by Zindzi Mandela and Panyaza Lesufi.

"Since the new dawn‚ we have expected a retreat in government-issued racial rhetoric‚ but instead of this we have seen it being ramped up again and again‚" said Crous.

He said what was taking place on Twitter and within certain elements of the ANC‚ the hallways of parliament‚ "and now Denmark and diplomatic corridors is different to what is really going on in South Africa".

"While there have always been elements within the ANC which have punted race nationalism and have talked up White Monopoly Capital to deflect attention from state capture‚ our surveys show that for the majority of South Africans‚ racism is seen as something politicians use as an excuse to make up for their shortcomings.

"Most South Africans‚ who are poor and suffering‚ do not want their politicians playing racial politics; rather‚ they want them to get on with the job and help build social cohesion and not divide and destroy it‚" said Crous.

Alleged racist tweets and comments by prominent government staff - including by Nelson Mandela's daughter‚ which have garnered a groundswell of public support - have cast doubt on how serious the state is in cracking down on public servants whose comments appear to threaten South Africa's social cohesion and image.

Mandela‚ South Africa's ambassador to Denmark‚ caused a storm on Twitter on Youth Day with a string of posts using the hashtags #OurLand and #TheLandIsOurs.

While her tweets are gaining support‚ the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has confirmed it has received a complaint. The government‚ which has yet to condemn the comments‚ has been left red-faced as it battles to track down the ambassador and verify the tweets.

Mandela's tweets included:

"Dear apartheid apologists‚ your time is over. You will not rule again. We do not fear you. Finally #TheLandIsOurs"; "Whilst I wine and dine here … wondering how the world of shivering land thieves is doing #OurLand"; and "Miss all these trembling white cowards‚ shem Botha‚ Potgieter‚ thieving rapist descendants of Van Riebeck‚ etc. How are you my babies? We shall gesels more Mr Skont and Ms Unus #OurLand".

Source: TMG Digital.

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