2000

UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE


DAY OF RECONCILIATION 2000

UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT
MEDIA STATEMENT BY ANNELIZÉ VAN WYK
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

16 December 2000 continues to hold great symbolic value for South Africans, though for different reasons. As a nation we must attempt to turn this annual event into an opportunity to remind each other of what we have in common, not what separates us.

The pledge by white South Africans regarding their role and responsibility for Apartheid could go a long way towards finding that common ground. It is unfortunate that some have seen this pledge as an attempt to paint whites into a corner of perpetual collective guilt and shame.

The pledge is in our opinion simply an affirmation, by those who sign it, that they are committed to redressing the wrongs of the past. It is not implied that all whites are guilty, or opposed to the new South Africa, and it certainly does not deny their contributions to date. At no stage does this pledge bind white children of the new South Africa to a history over which they had no control. Many open-minded white people, who have shown their commitment and desire to redress past wrongs often before, have done so again; not because once is not enough, but because it is necessary to remind our fellow citizens that botched racism hearings and police dog incidents are not what whites wish to be associated with. It is a gesture of reconciliation, and we need a lot more gestures and actions in this regard by all South Africans.

In the end this pledge provides a public opportunity for white individuals to be freed of the collective guilt they perceive as being forced upon them.

We must come to recognise that discrimination is a scourge that we must be vigilant against for many years to come. This includes discrimination against whites. Reverse discrimination does exist; we cannot become blind to one form of discrimination in our eagerness to deal with another type. Discrimination is discrimination. Reconciliation is in the end something much bigger than the fight against discrimination. We can only beat discrimination through reconciliation, by coming together and acknowledging our mutual basic humanity.

South Africa remains a nation per occasion. On the occasion of great sporting success (Africa Cup of Nations, World Cup Rugby) or failure (losing the Soccer World Cup bid) we come together as one. Government, and all sectors of society, must realise that we require continuous programmes to unite us in this way on a daily basis; when together we are able to attain those momentary heights of greatness that we have on occasion experienced as one colourful nation.

The UDM would suggest that for next year's Reconciliation Day all South Africans are invited to sign a new pledge to reaffirm our mutual dependency as equal partners in our quest for greatness.

ENQUIRIES

ANNELIZÉ VAN WYK, MP
UDM MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT