Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane is due to address an open forum of journalists, opinion makers and party members at a meeting at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg on Tuesday to discuss the issues of race and identity.
The DA has been in a verbal tug of war with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) recently, following public debates on racism sparked by a racist social media post made on New Year’s Day by Durban realtor Penny Sparrow.
Maimane said that the issue of race was an important one to him, and that he would give a “personal” speech on Tuesday that would affect the party’s structures and its members.
“It [the forum] will be a discussion about race and inequality, both as a general discussion, but also within the party that I lead,” he told News24 on Monday.
“The discussion about race [though] can’t be assumed to be specific to one party, it affects us all.”
The DA leader confirmed that #SparrowGate would be one of the issues addressed, after the KwaZulu-Natal realtor’s party membership was revoked following her post that compared black beach goers to “monkeys”.
Maimane stressed that the issue was a “phenomenon” that was manufactured during apartheid, and should be tackled by everyone across party lines.
“Racism is a global phenomenon, but in South Africa, the birthplace of racism was apartheid. Apartheid was the factory that created this idea that people were different on the basis of race.
“The challenge now will be to discuss how we can take the reconciliation we won in 1994 and address it today, given such high levels of inequality.” News24