MEDIA STATEMENT BY ANNELIZÉ VAN WYK
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
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
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.
ANNELIZÉ VAN WYK, MP
UDM MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT