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Mathews Phosa: Let’s Welcome Back the Afrikaners and Whites Who Abandoned SA

Chants of FreedomSouth Africa should make it easy for skilled Afrikaner whites and other whites who abandoned the country to return and stay‚ says ANC stalwart Mathews Phosa.

Phosa, whose book of poetry Chants of Freedom: Poems Written in Exile was recently released, was addressing a roundtable on “Whiteness – Whites‚ Afrikaans‚ Afrikaners” hosted by the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA).

Phosa said the economy was ambling along at a substandard level as a result of the country’s inability to gather and direct the skills and expertise that was available as well as from the interference by government in employment policies and practices.

“This economy can only grow at expected levels once we acknowledge that everybody has an equal role and responsibility in making it successful‚” he said.

Successful nations‚ Phosa added‚ were built on education‚ skills development and harnessing experience. They also allocated substantial resources to research and development and entrepreneurial support.

“Let’s open the doors and welcome those skilled and experienced Afrikaners and other whites that abandoned their beloved country in search of security‚ stability and acknowledge their skills in our economy. Let’s make it easy for them to return and to stay‚” he said.

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As for social stability‚ he said‚ the momentum of the student challenge of the past weeks appeared to be unstoppable and should provide a guide for what might come in the future.

“We have seen dissent in the past. Protest action‚ occupation of public spaces‚ militant rhetoric and destruction of critical infrastructure. We have indeed seen it happening time and again.

“Following this‚ as always‚ is a nervous middle class joined by business and institutions‚ scrambling to protect assets and making plans to abandon projects and growth plans.”

Often‚ government was nowhere to be found‚ only arriving on the scene when the smoke was thick and the security forces tested to their limits‚ he said.

“Then we get the promises‚ the political jostling for position and the masses dispersing. They often regroup in another form‚ with another agenda. But they certainly regroup.

“Will the next crisis stem from the grannies occupying Parliament in search of higher pension and other social welfare benefits putting a further strain on the economy?” Phosa asked.

He added that a conflict free South Africa‚ reinforced by sustainable economic growth and full employment‚ would support the long-term economic and political stability of the continent and the world.

“Whereas human rights and human development feature equally high with regards to economic stability and development‚ conflict resolution‚ the establishment of stable democracies and long term capital investment and economic growth are preconditions to fairness and regional stability.

“A successful and cohesive nation engages in practices where everybody is treated equally‚ without favour. They apply the law in all aspects of social life consistently and without prejudice. Their leaders leads from the front‚ engaging in constructive debate taking responsibility for nation building and condemn corrupt activities‚” Phosa stated.

He added that with powerful functioning business and community structures such as the Afrikaanse Handels Instituut (AHAI)‚ the Afrikaanse Taal en Kultuur Vereniging (ATKV) and local Sakekamers‚ the Afrikaners had an important role to play in the development of South Africa.

“Our antagonism towards a language or those peaking it as a first language at home is often based on our perceptions or lack of information‚” Phosa said.

He added that an analysis of the results of the 2011 census indicated that more black‚ coloured‚ and Indian South Africans spoke Afrikaans at home than white South Africans.

According to a study by the SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR)‚ only 40 percent of those who spoke Afrikaans at home were whites. This meant that out of 6.9 million people who spoke the language at home‚ 2.7 million were white‚ while the rest were from other racial groups.

“In short‚ the results from the 2011 census indicated that Afrikaans is spoken at home by 13‚5 percent of the population‚ second only to the 22‚7 percent of the population that speak isiZulu at home.

“I call on all white Afrikaners to engage in forming an inclusive and cohesive cultural bond between all Afrikaans speaking South Africans as the foundation for inclusiveness and nation building without elitism and exclusion of other cultural and population groups.

“We are all South Africans‚ be it by birth‚ descent‚ naturalisation or another Home Affairs action.

“Let us not overemphasise Whiteness‚ Afrikaners‚ Afrikaans or any other popular term‚” Phosa concluded.

RDM News Wire

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