POLITICS

What The ANC Will Be Saying About White People

There is more integration than before, but white privilege is still a problem, the ANC says.

10/03/2017 14:38 SAST | Updated 15/03/2017 11:45 SAST
Gallo Images/Foto24/Nicolene Olckers
President Jacob Zuma outside the ANC headquarters Luthuli House at the ANC's victory party after the 2011 local government elections.

White and black people now support the constitutional order, and there is more integration, but white privilege is still a problem, the ANC says in its policy discussion documents.

In a draft discussion document entitled Organisational Renewal and Organisational Design, to be released on Sunday, the ANC says there is a historical assertion that the "long-term interests of the white community lie in the liberation of their black fellow citizens". It then rhetorically asks "is this not starting to manifest, more than two decades into the democratic dispensation?"

The document continues: "Unlike before, support for a non-racial constitutional order is shared across the racial divide. Many in the white community have come to appreciate that their interests are indeed intimately linked to the interests of their black compatriots.

"Greater interracial interaction and processes of acculturation, the intersection of class interests across the racial divide especially among middle and upper strata, and the gradual impact of programmes of civic and formal education have seen to this."

The party, however, says "the class interests of a community that historically enjoyed privileges which continue to advantage them across generations does (sic) put a damper on this tendency.

"All manner of rationalisation is used to justify entitlement to historical privilege, and a trickle-down approach to change rather than actual transformation is punted. In voting patterns, virtually all white voters supported parties that, in various historical periods, identified with variants of white privilege."

According to the documents, white privilege features in contestation "within the framework of the Constitution, and it forms part of a legitimate political discourse."

In order to "fish from a bigger electoral pond, parties popular within these communities are repositioning themselves to embrace, or be seen to embrace, the basic ideas of change".

This is the party's usual criticism against the Democratic Alliance, which has moved closer to the ANC in its policy outlook.

At the same time, those who traditionally supported the ANC are now voting for these parties, the document said. These people still, however, support fundamental change but don't think the ANC leadership is needed to do this.

"Their electoral choices, however misplaced, reflect a sense of impatience and urgency. In other words, some among the motive forces [for change] contend that continuing social transformation does not necessarily require ANC leadership as such," the document says.

The discussion documents will be debated at the ANC's national policy conference in June.