Jewish comments: FW de Klerk weighs in on Marius Fransman

Written by Yazeed Kamaldien

South Africa’s last apartheid era president FW de Klerk has blamed the ANC’s Western Cape leader Marius Fransman for using racial sensitivities to divide locals.

De Klerk said in a statement via his foundation at the weekend that Fransman’s alleged insulting of Jews in February was “another example of unacceptable racial mobilisation in our political discourse”.

“It is a continuing theme at the national and provincial levels that seeks to cast South African politics in simplistic racial terms; of rich exploitive whites and poor exploited blacks,” said De Klerk.

“South Africa cannot afford politics that are consciously intended to inflame divisions and animosities between our communities and our religions.”

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) accused Fransman of discrimination when he apparently told Muslim community radio station Voice of the Cape that the Democratic Alliance had building contracts to Jews.

Fransman is said to have told the radio station these contracts has previously been awarded to Muslims.
SAJBD has taken the matter to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and it is under way. Fransman last week issued statement that blamed SAJBD of “nose-picking” and not dealing with “real human rights issues”.

De Klerk responded that SAJBD’s “complaint is not frivolous”.

“It is the task of the SAHRC and not that of Marius Fransman to define the boundaries of acceptable political discourse and to determine whether or not his remarks crossed the line into the forbidden territory of hate speech,” he said.

De Klerk added: “SAJBD’s complaint to the SAHRC was probably based on the possibility that Fransman’s statement constituted hate speech in terms of the promotion of equality and prevention of unfair discrimination act.”

The SAHRC would consider submissions from Fransman and SAJBD in determining whether the radio interview comprised insulting remarks to Jews.

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About Yazeed Kamaldien

Self-employed journalist and photographer from South Africa.

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