JM Coetzee, Disgrace and the demon of white racism - ANC

Submission by the ruling party to the SAHRC hearings on racism in the media, 5 April 2000

Statement of the ANC at the Human Rights Commission Hearings on Racism in the Media: 5 April 2000 as delivered by Jeff Radebe. Actual authorship was attributed to Thabo Mbeki at the time.


Ladies and Gentlemen.

We are grateful for the opportunity given to us to make our submission.

Throughout the history of the struggle for liberation, the ANC has been consistent in its call for the creation of a non-racial, non-sexist, free, united and democratic South Africa.

To us liberation has always been about the eradication of racism and the creation of a non-racial society. We therefore felt obligated to participate in these hearings that seek to deal with racism so that we make our contribution in the fight against racism. We also appreciated the call made by certain stakeholders for our participation. (H. Barrel, March 17 to 23, 2000 M & G).

0.0 Our Constitution imposes an obligation on all of us to create a non-racial society. This is a fundamental feature of the objective we continue to pursue to entrench and protect the human rights of all South Africans.

1.0 Our society continues to be characterised by the racial divisions and inequalities imposed on us by centuries of colonialism and apartheid.

2.0 The struggle to create a non-racial society will therefore be both complex and protracted. This struggle must address both the subjective and the objective manifestations of racism.

3.0 It must recognise the fact that racism is most pernicious when the subjective factor provides the ideological framework to justify racially oppressive and discriminatory social relations.

4.0 Our struggle to create a non-racial society must therefore recognise the fact that, centrally, the offensive against racism addresses the issue of power relations in our society.

5.0 This presentation starts with a description of some elements of the ideology of racism (the subjective factor) and concludes with the social implications of this ideology (the objective factor).

6.0 Earlier this century, representing ‘pure’ Afrikaner nationalism, General Hertzog said:

7.0 “As against the European, the native stands as an eight-year-old against a man of mature experience—a child in religion, a child in moral conviction; without art and without science; with the most primitive needs and the most elementary knowledge to meet these needs… Differences exist in ethnic nature, ethnic custom, ethnic development and civilisation and these differences shall long exist…” (Hertzog Gedenkbock”, P.J. Nienaber (ed) Johannesburg 1965, quoted in Moodie, “Afrikanerdom”.)

8.0 This faithless, immoral, uneducated, incapacitated and primitive child is reported on by the eminent South African novelist J.M. Coetzee, in his 1999 novel “DISGRACE”. In the novel, a young white woman (Lucy) is gang-raped by three black men who, afterwards, also steal her car and household goods. The following then appears in the novel:

9.0 “It was so personal,” she says. “It was done with such personal hatred. That was what stunned me more than anything. The rest was…expected. But why did they hate me so? I had never set eyes on them.”

10.0 (Her father, David, responds): “It was history speaking through them,” he offers at last. “A history of wrong. Think of it that way, if it helps. It may have seemed personal, but it wasn’t. It came down from the ancestors.”

11.0 (David says): “You were in fear of your life. You were afraid that after you had been used you would be killed. Disposed of. Because you were nothing to them.”

12.0 (David thinks by himself). “They do rape. He thinks of the three visitors driving away in the not-too-old Toyota, the back seat piled with household goods, their penises, their weapons, tucked warm and satisfied between their legs—purring is the word that comes to him. They must have had every reason to be pleased with their afternoon’s work; they must have felt happy in their vocation.”

13.0 (Lucy says): “I think I am in their territory. They have marked me. They will come back for me… What if… what if that is the price one has to pay for staying on? Perhaps that is how they look at it; perhaps that is how I should look at it too. They see me as owing something. They see themselves as debt collectors, tax collectors. Why should I be allowed to live here without paying? Perhaps that is what they tell themselves.”

14.0 Later in the novel, when she accepts that, to secure her personal protection, she might have to ‘marry’ one of her black farm workers and cede the land to him. (Lucy says) to her father David:

15.0 “Yes, I agree, it is humiliating. But perhaps that is a good point to start from again. Perhaps that is what I must learn to accept. To start at ground level. With nothing. No cards, no weapons, no property, no rights, no dignity.”

16.0 “Like a dog.” (David).

17.0 “Yes, like a dog.” (Lucy, who keeps many dogs in her kennels).

18.0 In the novel, J.M. Coetzee represents as brutally as he can, the white people’s perception of the post-apartheid black man. This is Hertzog’s savage eight-year-old, without the restraining leash around his neck that the European had been obliged to place, in the interest of both the native and society. It is suggested that in these circumstances, it might be better that our white compatriots should emigrate because to be in post-apartheid South Africa is to be in ‘their territory’, as a consequence of which the whites will lose their cards, their weapons, their property, their rights, their dignity. The white women will have to sleep with the barbaric black men. Accordingly, the alleged white “brain drain” must be reportedly (sic) regularly and given the necessary prominence!

19.0 J.M. Coetzee makes the point that, five years after our liberation, white South African society continues to believe in a particular stereotype of the African, which defines the latter as:

- immoral and amoral;

- savage;

- violent;

- disrespectful of private property;

- incapable of refinement through education; and,

- driven by hereditary dark, satanic impulses.

20.0 To understand the phenomenon of racism in our media, we must start from this basic point—that many practitioners of journalism in our country (including the foreign correspondents) carry this stereotype in their heads at all times. Accordingly, this stereotype informs the entirety of their work, including:

- the determination of what is news;

- the prioritisation of news items;

- the interpretation of the news;

- the presentation of the activities and views of blacks in positions of authority; and,

- the portrayal of blacks in positions of authority.

21.0 We will now proceed to document how this stereotype has impacted on the reporting of some important elements of our political evolution.

22.0 As it became obvious, during the 1980’s, that the apartheid system was nearing its end, a particular category emerged in our national politics. We refer here to the concept of “white fears”.

23.0 An important part of the discussions with representatives of the white population prior to 1990 and the negotiations after 1990 focussed on the issue of what needed to be done to address white fears, since these were an obstacle to change.

24.0 Many of the compromises the ANC agreed to as reflected in the 1993 and the 1996 Constitutions were a response to the demand that it was necessary for us to respond to these white fears.

25.0 Throughout the period when the expression white fears gained acceptance as a legitimate category in our politics, virtually no public discussion took place of what it was that the whites feared!

26.0 Had this discussion taken place honestly, the point would have been made that these fears arose because white South Africa was convinced that the stereotype of black people indicated earlier in this presentation, in fact reflected the truth about what the black people are.

27.0 The category of white fears emerged at the time it did, and as a legitimate category, because it became clear to white South Africa that General Hertzog’s eight-year-old was about to be let loose, leading to the inevitable consequences which J.M. Coetzee recounts.

28.0 To address these white fears, consistent with the long standing policies of our movement, we placed high among the challenges that face our people the objective of achieving national reconciliation.

29.0 Inherently, the programme to achieve national reconciliation had and has as one of its central objectives the aim to allay the white fears that derive from the white (domestic and international) stereotype of the black people.

30.0 As the first black President of a democratic South Africa, Nelson Mandela had to lead our campaign to promote this national reconciliation. His personal conduct, the behaviour of our movement and its allies and the Government’s adherence to our country’s Constitutional structures reassured the white world, nationally and internationally, that, in fact, there was nothing to fear.

31.0 Accordingly, correctly, the white media poured praises on Nelson Mandela as an outstanding architect of the new South Africa, with the transition described as ‘a miracle’.

32.0 As ‘the miracle’ was sustained through collective effort, Nelson Mandela began to be presented by the white media as a ‘saint’, with mystical powers to dispense ‘Madiba magic’.

33.0 Ambassador Andrew Young of the United States put the matter thus in a recent speech he made in Durban:

“… It was very interesting when I read in the United States that Mandela was going to be the Saint that was going to save this country; but nobody would invest because there was only one Mandela. And after him it would probably fall apart and people would be fighting amongst themselves.”

“When I went to the North West Province, I saw not anything to do with Mandela, not anything to do with Bishop Tutu. I saw people from the Delmas Treason Trial coming together and forgive those who put them in jail and persecuted them. This is not a Mandela spirit, but an African spirit”.

34.0 The journalist Pattie Waldmeir writes: “Ordinary Afrikaners, even conservative ones, prayed nightly for his safety. Many said simply that he was a ‘gift from God’ (including one who told me Mandela was like the crooked stick in the Bible—God could do much good with it, though it be flawed)” Anatomy of a Miracle: Patti Waldmeir, Viking 1997. p 291

35.0 All this derived from the fact that the consequences that white South Africa expected, consistent with the black stereotype, were not realised.

36.0 Thus Nelson Mandela’s success as a leader came to be measured by the white media according to the degree to which what he said and did was consistent with what this media considered as necessary to allay white fears.

37.0 In time, this led to the white media trying to set the agenda for Nelson Mandela, undertaking that as long as he followed its agenda, so long would it sing his praises as ‘a saint’.

38.0 The problem however was that Nelson Mandela was a black person. By definition he, like his people, was the Biblical “crooked stick”. Clearly (thanks be to God!), he was behaving in a manner inconsistent with the stereotypical behaviour of the black people among whom he belonged. How was this to be handled!

39.0 The white media resolved that the way to resolve this problem was to proclaim Nelson Mandela as exceptional relative to the rest of the black leadership in our country, especially the black leadership within the ANC. He was atypically good whereas the rest of his colleagues were, necessarily and by definition, primitive and the very cause of white fears.

40.0 This was clearly stated in a SUNDAY TIMES editorial which appeared on February 18, 1996.

41.0 Among other things, the editorial said of President Mandela: “his extraordinary stature as a peacemaker and conciliator remains a pivot of international confidence in our future”.

(He) “projectes warmth and generosity.”

(He) “reached out to nervous minorities, especially Afrikaners and rightwingers…”

(He) “inspires affection, even love...”

42.0 The editorial argues that once President Mandela steeped (sic) down in 1999, we would have “to overcome the dreadful image of African venality and incompetence…”

43.0 So offensive was this article that Nelson Mandela responded to it in person by writing his own article in response. (SUNDAY TIMES February 25, 1996)

44.0 Having correctly understood the intent and meaning of the editorial, President Mandela wrote:

“Further, we should all be proud the (South African) success of the world wide significance has come out of a downtrodden people—out of Africa! Yes, Africans, with their supposed venality and incompetence have achieved this feat! Thus, I find quite distressing any insinuation that I do not belong to these African masses and do not share their aspirations.”

45.0 By attributing exceptional (national reconciliation) qualities to Nelson Mandela, which it was said the rest of his ANC colleagues did not have, the point was being made that the latter would behave in a manner inconsistent with the white stereotype of the black people. The SUNDAY TIMES editorial states this matter plainly:

“The second rank of the ANC leadership will have to convince the world that it is able and willing to carry on the policies of reconciliation that have made Mr Mandela an international symbol of peace.”

46.0 In other words, relative to the rest of the black people, Nelson Mandela was a celebrated departure from the norm, a solitary (Hertzog) ‘European’ among hordes of black savages as described by J.M. Coetzee.

47.0 Accordingly, white society awaited President Mandela’s retirement from politics in 1999 with foreboding and trepidation. The SUNDAY TIMES editorial put the matter thus:

“The idea that Mr Mandela may be replaced by Mr Mbeki inspires great nervousness.”

48.0 To ensure that those who were not already nervous became nervous, the editorial proceeded to make some remarks about Mr Mbeki:

- (He) “simply does not inspire confidence.”

- (He has) “a mildly discomfiting image.”

- (He) “appears manipulative and calculating.”

- (He) has become associated with the angry Africanist wing of our politics.”

49.0 The MAIL & GUARDIAN (March 27 to April 2, 1998) also did its bit to increase the state of nervousness. Of Mbeki this publication said:

- “It is widely believed that the IBA’s choice (for the free-to-air television licence) will coincide with the applicant Mbeki deems to be closest to the ANC, particularly now that the 1999 election is upon us.”

- “A perception has been created of a Mbeki who ferrets behind closed doors and sticks his fingers in every pie”.

- A picture emerges of Mbeki seeking to usurp all powers…”

- (He) “remains an enigma.”

- “So a class of fat cats who seek to fatten their wallets even further get away with supplanting democratic institutions with patronage to one man (Mbeki). We could be creating a monster.”

- “The leap from this benevolent Joshua Doore to the more sinister Robert Mugabe is not so far. Soon there won’t be a need even for ministries, except to rubberstamp decisions that have already been made. Those who worry about a one-party state should contemplate the spectre of a one-man show. There’s a name for that: dictatorship.”

- “Matanzima’s (Transkei) sycophants looted and impoverished that beautiful part of the country because, after the departure of the whites, greed flourished among people who felt it was their turn. Unfortunately, there are signs that this evil culture of entitlement has found a home in sections of the liberation movement.”

- “And if the country’s soon-to-be-first-citizen (Mbeki undermines the watchdog structures that have been put in place to safeguard our democracy, that democracy cannot be safe.”

- “Mandela… showed respected for the judicial system and obliged (SARFU by appearing in court). We all laugh and say if he thought he was setting a precedent for Mbeki, he can think again. But this is no laughing matter.”

- “Why should there be one set of rules for a lot of us and a different set for Mbeki?”

50.0 The following week, the Editor of the MAIL & GUARDIAN repudiated some of these assertions aimed at discrediting Mr Mbeki. Nevertheless he defended the article in which they appeared on the grounds that it was “an opinion piece” and that “in a democracy, robust criticism and debate, even if it is wrong, should be encouraged, not stamped out.”

51.0 Of course, he did not say that the article was in fact not written by the black woman journalist, and specifically the editor! (It is obvious that so overriding was the need to confirm the racism stereotype that the Editor was ready to throw all ethics out of the window. Accordingly, he abused a member of his staff to enable him to say that the alarm had been sounded by an African woman journalist.)

52.0 In the same issue of the MAIL & GUARDIAN (April 3-8), Ronald Suresh Roberts wrote very perceptively as follows:

“We must inoculate the culture of public debate against the ubiquitous mental imagery of black barbarism. This racialised imagery lurks close to the surface of post-apartheid discourse and is easily deployed by white reactionaries and black opportunists alike.”

He described the article that had appeared as “an unprecedented and conspicuously fact-free attack on the personal integrity of Deputy President Thabo Mbeki.”

53.0 The problem however is that “the ubiquitous mental imagery of black barbarism” is fundamental to the understanding by many in white society, including the media, of who and what the black people are. Therefore, inoculation will not work.

54.0 This MAIL & GUARDIAN article, like the more tentative SUNDAY TIMES editorial two years earlier, is important not so much for its “fact free attack on the personal integrity of… Mbeki”, its significance lies in the fact that it signalled that the white media was determined to reaffirm its belief that its racism stereotype of Africans was correct.

55.0 And what this stereotype, as exemplified by Mr Mbeki, indicated was that the Africans, necessarily with the exception of Nelson Mandela, are:

- corrupt;

- anti-democratic;

- dictatorial; and,

- contemptuous of the people.

56.0 What is remarkable about the pieces of unashamedly racist journalism we have cited is that they do not go further to portray Mr Mbeki as a criminal and an HIV-positive rapist of white women.

57.0 Not to be outdone, LEADERSHIP carried its own portrait of Deputy President Mbeki which was, once again, expressive of white fears. (Vol 17 No. 4: 1998)

58.0 The texts we have quoted constitute an important part of the image of the African government, at all levels, which the media would consistently seek to portray—working hard to find, highlight and dramatise the news items that would confirm the white stereotype of the African barbarian. After all, as Professor Shrire (sic) put it in LEADERSHIP, if the “darker instincts” of the barbarians are allowed to dominate, South Africa will be doomed!

59.0 We attach a copy of a detailed response by a member of the ANC to the article by Schrire. This response demonstrates that what LEADERSHIP published was as “fact free” as was the earlier MAIL & GUARDIAN article. (Not unexpectedly, LEADERSHIP did not publish this response.)

60.0 Regardless of everything we have done to discourage the propagation of falsehoods about our leadership, the media has proceeded ‘full steam ahead’ to do its best, relying on outright lies, to project the repulsive and terrifying stereotype of the African barbarian. (Please find attached copies of various articles that illustrate the point we are making.)

61.0 As we have said, the stereotype of the African barbarian, with his/her “darker instincts”, requires that the barbarian should behave in certain ways.

62.0 The Mail & Guardian article of March 17, 1998 have already cited, includes the following interesting observation: “Matanzima’s (Transkei) sycophants looted and impoverished that beautiful part of the country because, after the departure of the whites, greed flourished among people who felt it was their tur.”

63.0 “After the departure of whites”, as is their wont, the African barbarians set about looting and impoverishing the “beautiful” and presumably erstwhile prosperous Transkei!

64.0 This assertion is consistent with what the white stereotype of the African dictates must result from the formation of an African government. Among other things, it is therefore expected that:

- crime will increase, expecially all forms of theft, with murder thrown in

abundant measure;

- rape will increase, with white women being the most threatened, the jeopardy doubled by the ‘fact’ that the rapists are most likely to be HIV-positive;

- corruption will become the norm rather than the exception; and,

- democracy and human rights will be subverted and ultimately destroyed.

65.0 It is true that:

- like all other countries, we have to confront the problem of crime;

- like all other countries, we have to confront the challenge of rape;

- like all other countries, we have to fight against corruption; and,

- like all democratic countries, we have to be vigilant to defend and advance democracy and human rights.

66.0 Accordingly, there is nothing racist about the reporting of crime, rape, corruption and issues of democracy and human rights in our country.

67.0 However, racism, driven by the white stereotype of the African, informs such reporting, which falsely asserts that:

- Violent crime in our country has grown by leaps and bounds since 1994;

- South Africa is the “rape capital” of the world;

- Corruption has escalated out of control since 1994; and,

- An ANC overwhelming (or two-thirds) majority in parliament, the restructuring of national government etc. constitute a threat to democracy.

68.0 All these statements are false. Facts have been advanced unequivocally demonstrating that these statements do not reflect the objective reality of what is happening in our country. Nevertheless, sections of the media, at home and abroad, have not ceased their vigorous promotion of these falsehoods as the truth.

69.0 Why is it that these sections of the media seem to have taken the decision that it is necessary to propagate lies, at all costs! The answer to this is that the racist paradigm dictates that facts seen to be inconsistent with the white stereotype of the African savage should not be given such weight as would negate this stereotype.

70.0 Constistently, when white Editors are challenged publicly to admit that their reporting of a particular instance was driven by racist stereotype they refuse. Instead they offer to publish a “Letter to the Editor”. This absolves them from the responsibility to admit their failings while enabling them to pretend that they are properly supportive of the notion of freedom of speech and the opening of their publications to all points of view.

71.0 At this point, we also need to refer to the role of the “black media” in the propagation of the white stereotype of the African. The “BAILEY PUBLICATIONS” such as DRUM, are an important reference point in this regard.

72.0 Throughout the Fifties, these publications consciously cultivated the notion that African news was necessarily about alcohol abuse, sex, crime, rape and corruption. The model African reporter was he/she who reported best on these subjects, and the best publication, the one that reported the most sensational scandals.

73.0 The fact of the matter is that many contemporary African journalists have not broken with this tradition. They believe that the fact that they are African, with easier access to the African communities, gives them a good possibility to feed the media with a rich diet of salacious stories which are believed to sell newspapers among African readers. Whatever they gain from their work, they also help to sustain the racist images that white South Africa has of both themselves and the people from whom they are drawn.

74.0 Accordingly, they too become part of the media establishment which necessarily must portray the ‘new South Africa’ in as negative a light as possible because they too have absorbed into their consciousness the white stereotype of the black savage.

75.0 The racist stereotype of the African is fundamental to the important issue of the determination by our country’s media organisations of what is news in the democratic South Africa. Having determined what will necessarily happen the stereotype directs that the news that must be found and reported are precisely of the events and occurrences the stereotype prescribes as being typical of the behaviour of the African barbarians, ‘once the whites have departed’ from their positions of power.

76.0 The news must therefore be about crime, corruption, government ineptitude, moral decay and economic collapse. This news must also show not only incidents of these phenomena. It must argue that the situation is getting worse. It must show that when the African barbarians took over from the civilised whites, the rot started and is escalating beyond control.

77.0 Accordingly, within this paradigm, facts must not be allowed to stand in the way of the propagation on (sic) of the white stereotype of the African barbarian.

78.0 The truth is that violent crime, a serious problem in our country long before 1994, has been declining in our country since 1994!

79.0 The truth is that the figure of ‘a rape every 26 seconds’ is entirely false!

80.0 Corruption has been endemic in South Africa for very many years, deriving from the fact of white minority rule, and is only now being confronted, precisely be our democratically elected government!

81.0 The truth is that for six years we have had a democratic government, which has governed according to a democratic constitution and worked very hard to defend and promote human rights, whereas all previous white governments have upheld tyranny and oppression most brutally!

82.0 Since none of these truths are consistent with the racist stereotype, at best they must not be reported and, at worst, they must be denied.

83.0 It has been argued that as a country, we also have to deal with the challenge of black anti-white racism. The ANC fully agrees with this view, itself having conducted this struggle throughout the 88 years of its existence.

84.0 Nevertheless, we must make the point that the racism that is peddled by our media is not anti-white racism but anti-black racism. The attempt to equate these expressions of racism is nothing but an effort to minimise and therefore perpetuate the white racism which as been a factor in our lives and society since the first European settlers arrived in the 17th century. The manoeuvre to establish a fake equivalence must therefore be rejected.

85.0 Almost six years after our liberation, South Africa (sic) society continues to be structured according to the racist prescription that the whites are superior and the blacks inferior.

86.0 Racism in our country is therefore not merely a subjective problem which can be solved simply by educating all our people out of racist ideas and prejudices.

87.0 Racism is a deeply entrenched, objective and stubborn structural and defining feature of our society. It therefore defines not only inter-personal relations but represents a subset of power relations which continue to position some as the dominant and others as the dominated. Strydom understood this very well when he address the apartheid parliament on January 31, 1949 and said:

“The European population in this country, which is the minority, can only remain White if it retains its sense of colour… South Africa can only remain a White country if we continue to see that the Europeans remain the dominant nation and we only remain the dominant nation if we have the power to govern the country and if the Europeans, by means of their efforts, remain the dominant section.”

88.0 Apart from the insult which racism entails, in our country it is particularly dangerous and offensive because it provides the ideological framework to buttress and perpetuate a system of social relations that constitutes the gravest violation of human rights.

89.0 Structural racism in our country is expressed among others by:

- gross racial disparities in the distribution of wealth, in favour of the whites;

- gross racial disparities in the distribution of income, in favour of the whites;

- gross racial disparities in the distribution of skills, in favour of the whites;

- gross racial disparities in the levels of education, in favour of the whites;

- gross racial disparities in access to opportunity, in favour of the whites;

- gross racial disparities in the exercise of the management function, in favour of the whites;

- gross racial disparities in infrastructure development, in favour of the whites; and,

- racial human settlement patterns, in favour of the whites.

90.0 It would be not be difficult to present a report on how racist ideology has been used, even after the liberation of our country, to justify and promote the further entrenchment of the unacceptable reality represented by these disparities.

91.0 The Reconstruction and Development Programme is an integrated and comprehensive formula introduced to changed (sic) the quality of lives of people, particularly those who were racially discriminated against.

92.0 Those who argue in favour of the equivalence of black and white racism, as they actually express themselves in our country, will not make the point that the former has no impact whatsoever in the ordering of power relations in our society.

93.0 A black workers can be as anti-white as he or she wishes. This will have no effect on the social position of and the power exercised by the employer. The reverse is obviously not true.

94.0 It is this inherent imbalance in power relations which dictates that the worker must develop collective power to counter-balance the immanent dominance of the employer.

95.0 It is for this reason that those who continue to occupy positions of advantage and privilege argue for the reduction of the power of the democratic state, claiming that the ‘smaller the state the greater the degree of individual freedom’. This is driven by the desire to ensure that the state does not use its collective strength to improve the power position of those who are disadvantaged and allow those whose social position exercise power that is inherent in those positions so to exercise that power, unfettered by anything.

96.0 What we have said in this presentation suggests that a number of things need to be done to address the issue which the Human Rights Commission is seized, viz racism in the media. Among these are:

- there is a need to conduct a systematic and protracted campaign to destroy the white stereotype of the black, and especially African, people and publicly to challenge the expression of this stereotype whenever it raises its head.

- a serious and transparently monitored effort must be made to deracialise the ownership of the media in our country;

- a serious and transparently monitored effort must be made to deracialise the management of our media organisations;

- a serious and transparently monitored effort must be made to deracialise editorial control in our media organisations;

- a serious and transparently monitored effort must be made to improve the professional capacity of especially the black journalists and deracialise especially the echelon of the senior journalist corps;

- a serious and transparently monitored effort must be made to deracialise the ‘panel’ of outside (non-media) commentators on whom the media relies for ‘independent’ comment;

- a serious effort and transparently monitored effort (sic) must be made to discourage an ‘advertisers boycott’ in response to black ownership, management and editorial control; and,

- a serious effort must be made to convince everybody working in the media that they, like the rest of our society, have a responsibility to contribute what they can to the achievement of the constitutional objective of the creation of a non-racial society.

97.0 We are aware of the fact that such a programme of action throws up many challenges but a serious and (sic) effort must be made generally to improve the quality of our journalism, the professionalism of journalists, professional ethics and pride in the profession;

98.0 In its implementation, care would have to be taken that we do not compromise the necessary and constitutionally guaranteed freedom of the press.

99.0 The Human Rights Commission itself would have to take lead (sic) in this matter and not merely close its inquiry into racism in the media by publishing “findings” for the record.

100.0 Such processes as are instituted should include the voluntary participation of the press itself.

101.0 Everything would have to be done in as transparent a manner as possible.

102.0 Politically non-partisan institutions would have to be identified which would have the responsibility to ensure that this programme of action is carried out.

103.0 Social rather than legislative sanctions would have to be used to encourage all those concerned to abandon the evil practice of the propagation of racism.

104.0 It would be important for the Human Rights Commission to take into consideration some of the proposals made by SANEF in its submission, to take the process forward.

105.0 One of our newspaper editors has written:

“…racial stereotyping and insensitivity run counter to the kind of society we believe South Africa should become… (We) accept that there is no way The Citizen, as a paper or a business, will prosper if it exists in a society racked by racial tensions and animosities.” (Tim Du Plessis. THE CITIZEN March 31, 2000)

106.0 Our society will not survive if it is racked by racial tensions and animosities.

107.0 It is for this reason that we congratulate the Human Rights Commission for responding to the complaints against racism in the media presented to it. We will continue to support it as it carries out a sustained fight against racism within this important social institution and in our society as a whole.

In conclusion, to deal with racism in the media is but only a part of a broader challenge of a struggle against racism. Therefore we shall aways fight racism as we said at the beginning up until a completely non-racial, non-sexist, free, united and democratic South Africa is firmly established.