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Wed Dec 07 20:14:58 SAST 2016

Manipulation of race for gain has no place in this SA

The Editor, The Times Newspaper | 2011-10-20 00:25:49.0

The Times Editorial: We all know the stereotypes about race that surface in conversations around the braai or the dining room table when we are among our own, like-minded, kind.

But when public officials, in positions of power and responsibility, use race to deny, blame and negate the value of others it becomes dangerous.

Such talk, whether in private chatter or a public utterance, is unacceptable.

But it is an especially sad day for this country when a judge, being interviewed to occupy a leadership position on the bench, uses race to dismiss the ambitions of a brother judge.

Yesterday, during a Judicial Service Commission hearing in Cape Town, Judge Isaac Madondo, ambitious to become Judge President of KwaZulu-Natal, told the interviewing panel that Judge Chiman Patel was less worthy of the job than he. "We were all oppressed but we were oppressed differently," Madondo said, arguing that the job should go to a black African candidate.

His dismissal of Patel was not on the basis of his judgments and views on the judiciary.

If the commission appointed Madondo, could Indian South Africans expect an unbiased judge if they were to appear before him?

Also, can we then expect any better from Julius Malema, who used an extremely derogatory term ( amaKula ) in reference to Indians when he addressed residents of Thembelihle, in Lenasia, yesterday. Lenasia is home to a significant Indian community.

What is Malema's intention in using such language - perhaps to incite a Rwandan-style genocide?

We are no rainbow nation. That much is clear. And the glibness with which supposed leaders manipulate race and dispossession to fight their causes will surely come back to haunt us all.

We have already witnessed the shocking atrocity of foreigners being attacked and killed in South Africa. This time, if we are not careful, it will be our people who are targeted.

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