“Don’t deny impact of apartheid” – Presidency

Apartheid sign. Photo courtesy of: EL C
Apartheid sign. Photo courtesy of: EL C

Pretoria – The Presidency says it is concerned about the “knee-jerk and ultra-sensitive reaction” of some sections of the media to any reference to the impact of apartheid colonialism on South African society.

“The tendency to overreact to references to the impact of decades of apartheid does the country a disservice,” the Presidency said in a statement.

This has been the case with the reporting of President Jacob Zuma’s speech to the National House of Traditional Leaders in Cape Town on Thursday.

“It has happened on other occasions as well. Such denialist reporting of what the President said infringes on the public’s right to information.”

The Presidency said Zuma said, among other things, in his address to traditional leaders that South Africa had emerged from a highly violent society, where any demand by the oppressed was met with violence.

“Some newspaper houses have run headlines taking the angle that the President blamed apartheid. They omitted to give their readers an opportunity to read what exactly the President said about the need to rebuild our communities and create a more caring society.”

Apartheid had a profound impact on South Africa.

“It will take years to reverse the legacy and build a caring, equal and prosperous society. The President’s continuous message is that we should work together and take responsibility for building our country.

“To be able to do so, we should all accept the impact of the past, and work to reverse it and also to prevent its recurrence.”

In describing the impact of apartheid, the President had said: “These incidents remind us that we come from an immensely violent culture. We survived a cruel system of governance which was described as a crime against humanity by the United Nations…”

Zuma emphasised that the country’s struggle sought to reverse the violent legacy. The democratic government also sought to continue to reverse this legacy but needed the support of all sectors of society, including the media.

“Apartheid had a profound impact on our country. It will take years to reverse the legacy and build a caring, equal and prosperous society. The President’s continuous message is that we should work together and take responsibility for building our country.” – SAnews.gov.za