'Black people are just darker brown people': Flamboyant Peter Marais joins FF Plus

22 January 2019 - 15:21 By Andisiwe Makinana
Peter Marais during an interview on August 9 2018 in Cape Town.
Peter Marais during an interview on August 9 2018 in Cape Town.
Image: Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Jaco Marais

Flamboyant Cape Town politician Peter Marais has re-entered politics - this time resurfacing in the Freedom Front Plus (FF+).

The party announced the former Cape Town mayor and Western Cape premier as its premier candidate ahead of the general elections later this year.

Marais told parliamentary journalists when his candidacy was announced on Tuesday that his decision to run as the FF+ candidate came after numerous probing conversations with the party's leadership.

He also has the blessing of the Bruin Belange Beweging (Brown Empowerment Movement), a "brown consciousness" movement he started about five years ago.

For every general election since 1994, Marais has found himself a new political home. He has previously been a member of the National Party, the New National Party, the Democratic Alliance, the Congress of the People and Icosa, which he joined a few months ago.

But on Tuesday he denied joining Icosa, saying he was consulting for that party as a political adviser, and that he quit when they were not following his advice.

Marais resigned as Western Cape premier in 2002 following allegations of sexual harassment. The high court in Cape Town later acquitted him of the charges.

Marais was followed by controversy both as mayor and later as premier, which at times found him at odds with his political parties.

Marais sought to assure South Africans that in his new position he will present FF Plus's alternatives, which "will lead to far greater stability and accountability to the electorate than the present system".

"We will fight a positive election not based on personal disputes with people of other parties. We will present alternatives to the present systems.

"Everything is imploding, the economy is imploding, there is no good governance, the municipalities are in a state of despair. Inflation is our biggest enemy, above inflation we have corruption. Everybody wants to steal as much as they can steal and nobody goes to jail for stealing," he said.

Marais emphasised that his was a fight for minorities, especially "the brown people".

He complained that "the majoritarian" government had failed, the state was imploding and corruption was rife because the minorities didn't have a say in the standards, quality and appointment of senior government personnel. "That is why we have an implosion in Eskom, the SABC, SAA," he said.

Marais praised the FF+ as a party of builders, saying the country consisted of builders and wreckers with one party building nothing, instead wrecking what it had already found.

FF+ leader Pieter Groenewald charged that Marais's experience in government was an advantage that other parties' premier candidates will not have in the election campaign.

"He is a former mayor of Cape Town, a former premier of Western Cape and other parties must take note that after elections, they will be kept on their toes when Marais is in the provincial legislature, because he is experienced."

Groenewald hinted that the fight for the interests of minorities and for equal rights may have been what attracted them to Marais when he said minorities had to be protected against the tyranny of the majority.

"If you look around South Africa, the race-based legislation of affirmative action is against white people and brown people and their communities. Therefore we welcome Peter Marais as the candidate for the FF Plus in the Western Cape … He is proud representing his community," Groenewald said.