While the murder of Eugene Terre'Blanche wasn't politically motivated, it has certainly taken on a potentially divisive political tone now as the ruling alliance has undertaken to pay for the defence of the alleged killers (see YCL statement).
This sends out the wrong message to South Africans as the ruling alliance has effectively signaled that it will defend, with all the vast resources at its disposal, anyone who kills a prominent white person. While we acknowledge that every South African has the right to an adequate defence in a court of law, the current climate of mistrust between people in this country makes this politically clumsy at best, and at worst it is cynical, political opportunism.
The ruling party has finally seen sense and called for calm and for people not to provoke each other through racial taunts. But this move by the alliance to defend these alleged killers has undercut its good work.
It is time for all South Africans to acknowledge that the ruling alliance is no longer that of Mandela and the flame of reconciliation that he so passionately championed must be reignited by ordinary South Africans. It does not appear that the ruling alliance have the will, nor the motivation to do so.
Statement issued by Phillip Dexter, MP, COPE's head of communications, April 8 2010
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