It's simple - Maimane is right about white privilege‚ says party man

07 May 2018 - 07:49 By Siyamtanda Capa
DA leader Mmusi Maimane.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane.
Image: ROGAN WARD

Democratic Alliance (DA) Eastern Cape leader Nqaba Bhanga has come out in support of party boss Mmusi Maimane’s views that South Africans need to confront white privilege and black poverty.

Maimane’s comments at a Freedom Day rally last week reportedly led to disagreement in the party‚ with some fearing they could alienate white voters.

Bhanga said in a statement on Sunday that the matter was simple and he agreed with Maimane.

This contradicted the view of DA MP Ghaleb Cachalia‚ who was quoted in City Press as saying the matter was complex and required ongoing engagement.

Cachalia told City Press his concern was Maimane’s juxtaposition of white privilege and black poverty.

And in a television interview yesterday‚ DA MP Natasha Mazzone said she agreed that the matter was complex and needed careful engagement.

But Bhanga said he agreed with Maimane and that “white privilege cannot be ignored or swept under the table”.

“It’s a fact that apartheid in its subtle form was created to give privilege to a group of people‚” Bhanga said.

Apartheid had ensured that white people were at an advantage while black people were at a disadvantage‚ and this was evident in the country’s socioeconomic structure.

“That’s why you see that black people stay in the townships while white people stay in the suburbs‚” he said. “We are still suffering from that inequality in South Africa.

“The DA’s position is to redress that and make sure that we change it.”

“We can’t use semantics‚” Bhanga said. “Mmusi is correct‚ there is white privilege and the fact that white people continue to live better‚ and the inequality is that the majority of black people live in poverty and in squalor.”

Maimane tweeted yesterday: “I firmly stand by [my Freedom Day] comments. SA remains deeply unequal‚ with black South Africans locked out of opportunities. We must focus on solving the problem. Liberation of one race is not the enslaving of another – all of us‚ black & white‚ must come together to build.”

His tweet was supported by DA Gauteng MPL Makashule Gana‚ who tweeted “(Speak!) Hear hear! There was never a question.”

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba and Gauteng DA leader John Moodey also tweeted in support of Maimane.

Maimane said: “The racists from all backgrounds will seek to divide. South Africa still remains deeply unequal on the basis of race. I won’t pander to the racists‚ [I] will work with all to ensure that South Africa belongs to all who live in it.

“Let us dismantle our yesterday and build our tomorrow.”

Mazzone told eNCA that discussions within the DA caucus were confidential. She said there was no attack on Maimane whatsoever.

“I haven’t had a more constructive discussion in the caucus in a long time. We are a political party and have to discuss subjects of this nature all the time‚” she said.

Mazzone said she used herself as a perfect example.

“I consider myself a product of 100% white privilege.

“I grew up in a most privileged environment but‚ I am proud to say‚ my father arrived in this country with absolutely nothing.

“He could not have been considered to be privileged‚ but as his daughter though‚ I was privileged‚” she said.

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