Terre’Blanche: martyr for all who question the ANC?
ANC ‘lashing out’ at anyone they can blame for South Africa’s misfortunes, claims think tank
Following the murder of Eugene Terre'Blanche, a South African think tank has issued a report warning that the Afrikaner extremist's death may yet become a rallying cry for all those with legitimate grievances against the country's ANC government.
The briefing, by the Johannesburg-based South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR), argues that the ANC is unilaterally destroying nearly two decades of "racial rapprochement" with its "shoot and kill" verbal attacks on the Afrikaans population.
Though no-one serious can mourn Terre'Blanche or what he stood for, his killing last weekend very possibly incited by the ANC's latest crescendo of "kill the Boer" rhetoric risks making him a martyr not just for South Africa's hard right (a tiny and hitherto defunct minority) but for all minority groups who feel they have been on the receiving end of "racist and now also violent abuse from the ANC".
The ANC's unwillingness to take responsibility for Terre'Blanche's death is a troubling instance: the party claims to be the voice of all (black) South Africans, but denies that its violent speechifying may have inspired Terre'Blanche's killers; police are already on record as saying they will not even consider a political motive for the killing.
But it may also be more broadly symptomatic. Against a background of spiking racial tensions and rampant criminal activity, the SAIRR report continues, the ANC has reached such a stage of corruption and incompetence (and resulting unpopularity) that, like Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF (recently endorsed by the ANC Youth League), they are lashing out at anyone whom they can blame for the country's declining fortunes.
It goes without saying that these targets will not, cannot, be black ANC voters and so will be, de facto, members of minority groups. But the very future of South Africa is dependent on workable race relations, and the ANC's "whites under the bed" hysteria is threatening to drive out the disproportionately non-black skills and tax base which has helped to keep the new South Africa afloat. Those threatened minorities who do not form a new right-wing opposition, SAIRR warns, will simply pack up and leave.
In this respect, the ANC seems bent on snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, overturning the near-miraculous peaceful transition of the early '90s (a key element of which was the conscious decision by radical Afrikanerdom not to take up arms) in favour of an "our turn to eat" blacks-only attitude. This is the worst-case scenario prophesied by the likes of Eugene Terre'Blanche, and a reversal of the single greatest achievement of the Mandela era.
Furthermore, the ANC is doing itself untold damage. If it did not directly authorise Terre'Blanche's murder, recent ANC pronouncements "have created a context where" in SAIRR's diplomatic prose "the killings of white people will see a degree of suspicion falling around the party and its supporters". This will not only reflect badly on the ANC party domestically, but also, from the international perspective, on the government of South Africa.
A great deal of ink has been spilled on the question of the forthcoming World Cup, and whether South Africa is in a fit state (socially, politically, logistically) to host it, and what it will mean for the country if the competition goes well or goes badly. Pertinent as these questions are, however, the World Cup is only the tip of the ice-berg and it only plays to the ANC's agenda for us to believe that so long as they pull it off in June everything is well with South Africa. ·
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