NEWS & ANALYSIS

Raceballs 17: Beach balls

Official Almanack of the People’s Republic of Racial Lunacy

I

Eusebius McKaiser in the M&G responding to Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato’s observation that beach goers of all race had been asked by security guards to vacate Clifton’s fourth beach at dusk on the 23rd December 2019:

“Wealthy business and property owners in the area aren’t targeting white South Africans. It is people who look like me that they fear because of the racism that runs in their blood. Plato falls for this. His question is exactly what racists want to hear from a black politician. This is why the question is disappointing in its naivety.

Racism operates on many different levels. Sometimes when we are prejudiced towards a particular group, we sacrifice some of our own so that we can injure the entire group we are targeting. This is also why, even if some of the property owners or business owners in the Clifton area are black, the argument holds. The actions of the private security company are racist even if one of the houses in the area belongs to a Mr Khumalo.”

“Open letter to white people about #Skaapgate” (the slaughter of a sheep on Clifton’s Fourth Beach on 28th December in protest) by Nigel Branken, a “recovering racist”, in the Daily Maverick:

"It seems there is a hierarchy of what needs protecting for most white people engaged in this conversation and it is revealing:

1. White feelings … do not disrupt white feelings at all cost.

2. White privilege … protect white spaces and white lifestyles at all cost.

3. White children… don’t show them anything traumatic, like where their food comes from.

4. Animals like sheep… make sure they have a decent life and dignified death.

5.  … and then only…

99. Black pain, racism, systemic injustice… but only to be discussed if it does not come at the cost of disturbing items 1 to 4.

When you focus on the sheep in this conversation you are protecting the ongoing pillaging of what is in the commons by a racist system."

Omphemetse S Sibanda in the Daily Maverick on the Clifton controversy:

“The question I hope we can begin to seriously consider is: What progress has been made in South Africa to instil the Rainbow Nation coherence and to eradicate the ills that render the Rainbow Nation a fallacy? Unfortunately, minuscule progress has been made. To start with, for example, the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996 has been abused to normalise and perpetuate inhumane treatment of blacks in South Africa. The best intentions of the Truth and Reconciliation processes have been abused by racists to elevate “pleas for forgiveness” and “regrets for racial remarks” as legal defences.… Perhaps we must consider declaring hardcore and unrepentant racists personae non gratae; and consider depriving them of their right to citizenship or certain rights in the Bill of Rights. But how then do you declare racist South African-born citizens personae non gratae?”

II

Max du Preez on News24 describing two recent experiences of being subjected to unprovoked racial abuse, and his reaction to it:

“I never met these individuals before or after, so I can't know anything about them. Of course, they could just be unpleasant human beings, but I think there is a bigger chance that their past experiences with white people have made them suspect racism or rudeness when they encounter a white person. If that's the case, I should admire rather than resent their willingness to engage in confrontation. I have now resolved to try and look demurer and friendlier, extra polite and extra careful, when I deal with black strangers in the future. But wouldn't it be dishonest and racist in its own way to treat black people differently from white people? Well, that's our reality in South Africa right now.”

III

Pierre de Vos in the Daily Maverick defending the removal from public display of anti-apartheid art work at UCT that young race-ultras had declared offensive:

“Those who are economically and socially dominant (and whose values and beliefs are culturally embedded in, and animate, decisions about what constitutes art, or what is good or bad art) often find it particularly upsetting when these unwritten rules (which may even be invisible to them) are criticised and the choices made in accordance with these rules are challenged. It is therefore not surprising that some respond to politically motivated criticism of art by largely avoiding engagement with the substance of the criticism, either by ridiculing those they disagree with or by invoking the right to free speech and the spectre of censorship.

IV

Statement issued by the UCT Debating Union on the decision by the World University Debating Championships 2019 to hold the open final, being held at the university, behind closed doors. This was after a rally was held protesting “racism” after an Irish participant circulated a rude message on social media about a judge, from Namibia, who was late:

The UCT Debating Union would like to express our deepest concerns regarding the way in which the final day of the Cape Town WUDC was run. Hosting the Open Final behind closed doors was abhorrent, and completely undermined the rally against the structural racism that exists at Worlds, as well as the sincerity of any apologies that the Org Comm, Adj Core or Tab Team made during that rally.

As the UCTDU committee, we recognise that UCT occupies a privileged space within the African Debating Community, and did not use this privilege as responsibly as we could have. While we have been committed to a process of transformation, the rally that took place on Thursday night has highlighted the urgency with which this transformation needs to take place, and that the wrongs of the Org Comm must become the incoming UCTDU Committee’s mandate to rectify….

Finally, the UCTDU would like to commend all participants in the rally. You are responsible for actively challenging the WUDC Org Comm, and the international debating community at large, and your courage and bravery will not be forgotten any time soon. An official conversation around structural racism and exclusion at WUDC is on the table now, something that has not been done before (or at the very least, has not been taken as seriously before).

While this tournament may have ended disappointingly, the international debating community is no longer the same, and that is an incredible feat. The UCTDU supports the call to #DecoloniseWUDC and would like to be an active part of the solution, in the capacity that the Movement deems appropriate."

V

A report by the Mail & Guardian’s “data desk” on the colour composition of various media entities in SA:

“The media is not unlike many companies in the country; it’s run mostly by white people. An analysis of ownership structures, demographics and funding models shows that the boards of media houses comprise 41% white, 24% African, 17% coloured, 16% Indian and 2% of people from elsewhere.

VII

From the statement of claim by Solidarity in their (successful) Labour Court challenge to the SAPS over the latter’s refusal to take action against Major General Malebe-Thema for racially abusive conduct towards subordinates:

“Incident of 7 November 2016

On 7 November 2016, Major General Malebe-Thema (the Head of Basic Police Development) stationed at the Division Human Resource Development in Pretoria, entered the Training Academy Oudtshoorn on an official visit. Major General Malebe-Thema firstly interviewed all personnel involved at the Academy (including both academic personnel, operational trainers and administrative personnel).

The rank level of the personnel ranged from Level to Level 10, both Police Act Members, as well as Public Service Act personnel. During the first interview General Malebe-Thema requested the personnel employed at all the different sections/sub-sections to stand up sequentially. The first group of personnel who were called to stand were the trainers.

During the interview General Malebe-Thema on numerous occasions made remarks concerning the white personnel, one of the remarks, inter alia, being "whites think they are too good to work in lower level posts" - referring to the most junior level posts.

A second meeting was held in the hall whereby all the training personnel as well as all the recruits (approximately 450 students) had to attend. General Malebe-Thema called on all the trainers that were not dressed in uniform to stand on the stage in front of the students. She, again made discriminatory remarks pertaining to the trainer's weight, physical appearance and race. These remarks were, inter alia, "they are too white" and "too fat'.”

VIII

BMF spokesperson Philippe Bakahoukoutela explaining to City Press why his organisation had sent a lawyer’s letter to Minister Pravin Gordhan objecting to the appointment of Daniel du Toit as CEO of Denel:

“The BMF believes that there are capable black men and women – and, in particular, highly skilled youthful professionals aged 33 to 45 – who are capable of successfully running SOEs. These talented blacks require government support and the opportunity to prove their managerial and leadership skills.

The BMF is the vanguard of transformation and will not sit by when transformation is regressing year after year, as confirmed in employment equity reports. The BMF believes that SOEs must be at the forefront of ensuring that capable black professionals are appointed to executive positions.

We believe that the continued appointment of white males to run SOEs will do little for the transformation agenda. We are tired of complaining year after year about the slow pace of transformation, and yet nothing happens. We will, among other things, request the court to set aside the appointment on the grounds of a failure to adhere to the country’s laws on transformation.”

Extract from the letter:

“We are instructed that the Employment Equity Act in particular makes it compulsory for organs of state like Denel to implement affirmative action measures in their workplace. In addition, our client notes the lack of gender parity in the appointment of Mr Du Toit.”

IX

A September 2017 circular, confirmed last year, from the Department of Health in KwaZulu Natal instructing Registrar Recruitment Panels that non-Africans should not be considered for positions in 2019. This was because the existing pool of registrars did not conform precisely to the racial proportions of the Economically Active Population in the province (note: not the racial proportions of recent medical graduates, let alone that of top graduates.)

“The below table shows that as a Department, between salaries levels 10 to 12, based on currently filled posts, there is a shortfall of Africans and an excess on the other population groups.


The below table then takes it specific to the filled Registrar posts. Based on the current filled posts, 277 of these should have been filled by Africans. On current filled posts, there is a shortfall of 149 Africans and all other groups are in excess.

With the new intake of 100 for January, 2019, the target is to have 366 posts of the new total of 414 posts. This means 238 posts must be filled with Africans, to take the current 128 filled posts to the target of 366. This implies that the 100 new posts must go to Africans in terms of the targets, else if there are no suitable Africans, the posts must be re-advertised.

Departmental spokesperson Ncumisa Mafunda quoted in TimesLive defending this position:

“South Africa, including KwaZulu-Natal, remains an unequal society with limited opportunities for self-development for those who were historically oppressed.” Mafunda also said historical redress was a government imperative and “the morally and socially right thing to do”. However, “After difficulties were experienced in recruiting black African candidates for these posts, a deviation was sought from the accounting officer and, out of a total of 77 registrar posts, 21 posts will be offered to non-Black Africans.”