Editorial- Agents of hate, violence must pay the price

Johannesburg- South Africans should be wary of the growing and hot-blooded public discourse from certain quarters which seeks to engrain fear, violence, racial hatred and hostility among other things.

Our national conscience was suddenly absorbed this week by the explosion of two separate incidents which unsurprisingly went unpunished, as rogues within our midst sought to instil fear and promote violence against opponents.

Earlier this week, National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) general secretary Irvin Jim addressed thousands of union members in Johannesburg, where he referred to non-striking workers as rats who must be prevented from reporting for duty amid the national strike in the engineering and metal sector.

However, instead of apologising, Numsa saw it fit to defend Jim as the union sought to deny that the statement aimed to incite violence against non-striking members.

The lame excuse by the union that the term has been used many times before, in many strikes “and it’s commonly used, and it is not inciting violence” is twaddle. Referring to a person as a rat in the context of a strike is without a doubt highly inflammatory.

We all know how the use of incendiary words like rats, cockroaches, and necklaces, among others, has caused untold violence against people who hold different views or opinions.

These fire-raising labels should not be allowed in this age of our democratic order, no matter how deeply people differ from each other.

Jim has on occasion proved to be a short-tempered leader incapable of controlling his emotions.

Perhaps this recklessness is one of the reasons that South Africans in general, and workers in particular, rejected his bid for political office when they spurned his Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party during the previous national elections.

Jim was, of course, not to be outdone as South Africa’s official opposition saw it fit to further sow the seeds of hatred with its election posters in Phoenix, outside Durban.

The DA effectively spread and deepened racial hatred and divisions in Phoenix. According to the DA, those who killed black people in Phoenix during the recent unrest are heroes.

It is against this background that the DA can no longer deny its racist posture despite the party’s latest attempts to do damage control with its half-hearted apologies.

Thank God that South Africans have consistently failed to vote the DA into power. It is no exaggeration to say that the party would try to reintroduce apartheid and white supremacy in a different guise were it to be given the chance to govern.

That law-enforcement authorities have not considered pressing criminal charges against the DA and Jim is beyond comprehension. It gives the impression that it is acceptable in South Africa to fan the flames of violence without consequence.

We urge South Africans to be wary of leaders like  Jim and political parties like the DA. They have shown themselves to be serious threats to the stability of South Africa’s democracy.


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