South Africa in breach of its treaty obligations to minorities

by Anton Alberts

I refer to the column “Massacre reveals our deficit in human solidarity” (Business Day, September 18) by Aubrey Matshiqi.

In his introductory remark Mr Matshiqi attacks the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) for daring to propose a national department for minorities, to assist in protecting national minorities such as coloured, Indian and white communities.

While I enjoy reading Mr Matshiqi’s insights, this broadside from him is disconcerting.

First, it shows up his prejudices against minorities by making assumptions without actually researching the merits of the proposal, and without contacting the FF Plus to properly gauge the party’s position.

Second, it stifles debate about an important issue that can contribute tremendously towards social cohesion, which can go a long way to wiping out the country’s “deficit in human solidarity”.

The FF Plus is on record as saying that a department of minorities will be an appropriate institutional tool to safeguard the rights of the coloured, Indian and white communities.

We have members from all those communities who believe in the value of minority rights.

The very fact that President Jacob Zuma has stated in Parliament that only the majority has rights, and given the structural de facto economic discrimination against coloureds and Indians, and the de jure discrimination against whites, such a department is an imperative to bring about an equilibrium against the unfolding “tyranny of the majority”.

SA is in breach of its international obligations to give effect to minority rights as prescribed by the United Nations. This department can therefore go a long way to fulfilling that obligation and drawing minorities back into the mainstream that have been alienated by, amongst others, the likes of African National Congress apparatchiks such as Julius Malema and Jimmy Manyi.

Further to this, should pent-up minority expertise and capital be released as a result, one can only imagine the broader socioeconomic effects thereof. This can indeed be a case of win-win for everyone in SA. Therefore, this should become a national debate.

Anton Alberts is an MP for the Freedom Front Plus