Student turmoil at Parliament statement by Roelf Meyer (28 October 1997)

The incident where students voiced their grievances from the parliamentary gallery, displayed a crudeness and an unacceptable lack of discipline that the UDM repudiates in the strongest terms. This is exactly the kind of counter-productive and repellent behaviour which actually does a disservice to the cause of the perpetrators.

What is true, though, is that Government should heed the cultural needs and problems of communities in South Africa. This incident was about the perceived nonchalance from Government to enforce the constitutional rights in this case of the Afrikaans language. Government should do well to listen to the voices of all cultural communities and to see to it that their rights are scrupulously guarded.

The notion by any cultural community of expressing themselves in political terms, however, is unfortunate and one that does not bode well in a multi-cultural country. Cultural expression is a group activity, but any attempt to form a political grouping around cultural unity, is an alienating process which does not serve the cause of the cultural group or the interest of the country.

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