When opportunity arises, I engage politicians who were active in the former National Party during Apartheid. It is ironic that so many old Nat politicians remain active. What must be admired is their ability to survive no matter what ideological changes occur or which political parties they embrace.
In recent conversation, a former Nat confessed that one major mistakes made was racist legislation. He used India as an example where a racial caste system remains endemic and intact after centuries even though they have democratic governance.
He also used several western democracies where prejudice and a class system was part of society and accepted as the norm.
The insinuation was that, had the National Party abstained from legislated racism, a class and race structured society would have evolved naturally, like in India, Britian, and United States and so on.
Since it is a global reality that rich, middle class and poor people generally do not live and socialize in the same material spaces, what is meant by politicians when they talk about social integration.
Example, politicians who base their appeal more on rhetoric than on logic, love to state that should they be elected to govern, they will build low cost housing in Constantia, Newlands and Camps Bay.
Questions that remain unanswered include: if low cost housing is built in rich suburbs will new tenants who receive the free housing, pay market related rates? If not, why must existing residents pay inequitable rates? Since the middle class carry the majority tax and rates base of any country, by conveying valued land for low cost housing, will the nil rates of the properties not negatively impact struggling municipalities? Does racist historic urban planning imply ignoring good judgment in future?
In the words of the wise, is it not logical to have more people paying rates and taxes thus having more funds to spend on the poor instead of social engineering at the long term expense of the poor?
Cllr Yagyah Adams
Cape Muslim Congress