Fresh from her Paul Kruger photo controversy, DA MP Anchen Dreyer warned that the ANC would “grab at any crumb” to use racism accusations as an election strategy.
“They may think they are going to get short-term gain from it, but in the long term it can actually tear the nation apart and I don’t think we want to see a race war in this country,” she said on Tuesday.
“They are playing with fire.”
Most of the information on her attendance at the Toekomsberaad hosted by lobby group and trade union Solidarity was incorrect, she said. The event happened to fall on Kruger’s birthday, October 10 last year.
Representatives of other political parties were also present – the IFP, the FF Plus, and possibly the ACDP, she said.
The conference agenda contained inputs on different subjects and included a skit on Kruger, acted by Leon van Niekerk of 7de Laan and Nommer Asseblief fame, journalist and television anchor Freek Robinson, and another man.
The skit was light hearted and dealt with questions such as where the old Transvaal Republic president had hidden his millions.
Afterwards, participants could have their photo taken with to a cardboard cut-out of Kruger, and Dreyer joined in. The photo shows her holding a sign with the words “Lekker verjaar [Happy birthday] Oom Paul!”.
“There’s nothing wrong with it. He is greatly respected by Afrikaners and Mamelodi [A Pretoria suburb] is named after him.”
Mamelodi was the name Africans gave Kruger because of his ability to whistle and imitate birds, according to a Wikipedia entry.
Dreyer said that according to an unpublished SA Institute of Race Relations survey, out of 10 issues that most concerned South Africans, unemployment was number one. Race was number 10.
The biggest problem in the country was youth unemployment, which the DA was addressing, she added.
“Clearly the ANC does not have answers and so they want to deflect the attention away and that is how they are doing it,” she said, with DA MP Kohler Barnard present.
Kohler Barnard is facing a law suit of R500 000 filed by the ANC. The party alleges that her sharing a Facebook post calling for the return of apartheid era president PW Botha is hate speech.
The Dreyer controversy followed a succession of racist posts on social media since January 1.
Former KwaZulu-Natal estate agent Penny Sparrow was rounded on for calling black people monkeys in a post about black New Year’s day revellers on beaches.
Gareth Cliff was in the High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday seeking an interdict to postpone the next season of Idols until he got his job back as a judge on the talent show. M-Net fired him for a tweet expressing support for freedom of speech during the Sparrow furore.
M-Net and Idols said a poll had found him to be “poisonous” to their brand.
Dreyer believed she would not be the last to be accused of racism.
“This week it was me, and in a week or two, I am sure they will find another crumb somewhere, and try and blow it up and manufacture.NEWS24