Deputy President David Mabuza has said that he does not believe that President Cyril Ramaphosa supported the racial tensions witnessed at Phoenix, Durban, during the civil unrest in July.
Mabuza was on Thursday responding to a question from an Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) member of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), who asked the deputy president whether it had been wise of the president to applaud “minority groups” who took up arms in defense of their communities, including in Phoenix, “at the expense of African people”.
36 people were killed in Phoenix during the unrest in the province.
“I don’t believe that the president can stand up and support racial tensions, support one group over one group, that is not the president I know. That is not the president who fought for our freedom,” Mabuza said.
Ramaphosa, Mabuza said, had been central in working towards reconciliation during the transition from apartheid to democracy and was one of the key figures involved in the drafting of the country’s Constitution, which envisages a non-racial society, and so would not support racial tensions.
Mabuza said it is important that South Africans stop pointing fingers at each other and “join hands” in the fight to erase racism “from our vocabulary”.
The deputy president urged South Africans to unite in their diversity and for the country’s leaders to fight against racism and tribalism.
As we committed in the preamble of our Constitution, we must decisively deal with the scourge of racism which is not in our collective interest because South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity. pic.twitter.com/xmh1QKYF63
— David D Mabuza (@DDMabuza) August 26, 2021
Another EFF NCOP member interjected on a point of order, accusing Mabuza of defending Ramaphosa.
Mabuza acknowledged that it was right to blame the government for responding late to the violence in Phoenix, adding that the government will, however, investigate the cause of the racial tensions in the area with the aim of identifying the perpetrators.
Mabuza called on all South Africans to work towards ensuring that the violence that unfolded at Phoenix is not repeated and that social cohesion is strengthened.
Police Minister Bheki Cele told the NCOP on Wednesday that 42 people have been arrested for the racially motivated murders in Phoenix.