Budget Vote Debate: President Zuma

2014-07-23
Dr Pieter Mulder

Honourable Speaker,

I have visited many countries throughout the world. Only when one returns from such a visit, does one appreciate how exceptional a country South Africa is; our beautiful nature, our unique people with their diverse languages and cultures and then the unbelievable economic and mineral potential of South Africa.

At the same time I look at the conflict in Israel and in the Ukraine and realise how easily wrong decisions can overnight turn a beautiful country into a warzone.

This will never happen in South Africa, some political commentators claim. I disagree. Short-sighted political leaders who, selfishly only promote their own supporters and disadvantage minorities through their decisions, could cause such a conflict situation overnight. Take the Ivory Coast as an example. From independence in 1960 the Ivory Coast was a model of peaceful co-existence and economic growth in Africa. Suddenly, after 40 prosperous years the Ivory Coast erupted in 1999 with a coup d’ état followed by political instability and civil war because the government had not been sensitive to all the conflict elements.

The majority of South Africans want to live in peace and prosperity but most of the elements which cause conflicts in other countries are also present in South Africa. In South Africa we have rich and poor; low economic growth and unemployment; race, ethnicity, language and cultural differences, religious differences, emotions about land from all sides, etc.

President Mandela realised this and went out of his way to reach out to all groups and deal with the conflict elements sensibly.

My criticism is that the current ANC leadership is increasingly irresponsible with their comments about these conflict elements. People expect it of radicals who want conflict but not from government leaders.

When honourable Nkwinti announces that 50% of farmer’s land will be taken away, it creates huge expectations with ANC supporters and fierce resistance with white and black land owners. Conflict potential. With more time I would be able to mention more examples.

When I listen to the young and future leaders on all sides, they irresponsibly propogate nothing else but camouflaged revenge and conflict. Listen to their speeches. Read the social media debates.

For the first time I am again hearing talk about leaving the country. Not only from white people but from professional people from all groups. We need every professional person here because they create jobs and economic growth.

President, you have to indicate to which extent you agree with the radical statements. Is their a place in South Africa for everyone or only for ANC supporters? You have to give hope for the future, not only with words but also with actions which reach out to everyone.

Is it a crisis? Yes. When government leaders do not react to these radical statements it creates a climate within which these young people act in a racist way and believe that it carries the necessary approval. Once these views become the view of the majority of people in the country, we find ourselves in an Israel or Ukraine crisis situation. South Africa is a beautiful country with beautiful people, but do not think it cannot happen here.