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ANC goes after another senior DA MP over race

After launching a court application accusing Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Dianne Kohler Barnard of hate speech, the African National Congress on Friday said it was mulling action against fellow DA MP Anchen Dreyer for attending an event celebrating Transvaal Republic president Paul Kruger.

The DA retorted that it was part of a desperate bid by the ruling party to divide the country along racial lines ahead of municipal polls likely to see it shed support.

ANC chief whip Stone Sizani has this week issued a steady stream of statements painting the DA as a political home for racists.

On Friday, he said Dreyer did not deserve to hold a seat in Parliament because of her presence at a function staged by trade union Solidarity on October 10 — a date known which was known as “Kruger Day” during the apartheid era.

“Not only did Dreyer partake in the commemoration of Paul Kruger, she even addressed the event on behalf of the DA and also posed for a picture next to the cardboard cut-out of her hero Paul Kruger, with a hand-held placard written: ‘Lekker verjaar Oom Paul!!’ (Happy birthday Uncle Paul!!),” Sizani’s office said.

“This once again confirms the view held by many South Africans that the DA, whose origins are rooted in apartheid, continues to be a sanctuary of hard-core racists that unashamedly perpetuate racism and promote apartheid.”

Dreyer, the chairwoman of the official opposition’s caucus in the National Assembly, told EWN she had attended a gathering with a diverse programme which just “happened” to coincide with Kruger’s birthday. Her presence at the event was reported at the time.

DA spokeswoman Phumzile van Damme said Sizani was trying to divert attention from the ruling party’s failings at local government level.

“This is a cheap election ploy to distract attention away from its record at local government,” Van Damme told ANA.

She called on the ANC to desist from “gimmicks” and said it was pointless to try to sanitise South African history. “Rather, the injustices of the past must be recognised and learnt from. And those who violated the rights of our fellow South Africans must be remembered for that crime too. “The project of reconciliation cannot be achieved therefore by a historical McCarthyism.” Pre-election rhetoric has escalated since a billboard bearing the legend “Zuma Must Fall” went up in central Cape Town. Though it remains unclear who sponsored the sign, ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa and Sizani have sought to implicate the DA, which holds political control of the city. The sign was torn down by angry ANC supporters last Saturday and the city council has pressed charges against the signage company which rents out the billboard space. On Monday, DA leader Mmusi Maimane in a speech at the Apartheid Museum said his party had no place for racists.
But Sizani described this as “cheap theatrics” and said anybody who celebrated Kruger was racist. “The DA MP’s unashamed glorification and admiration of such a reprehensible figure is a tacit endorsement of the heinous crimes against humanity he perpetuated against black South Africans. Anyone who regards Kruger as a hero is also a racist who shares all that he stood for, including a belief that blacks are inferior savages who deserve the untold suffering they endured for many years under colonialism and apartheid.” He added: “Dreyer, who like Kohler-Barnard is racist and an apartheid apologist, has no place in this Parliament or our society. We will consider which necessary steps to take to ensure recourse regarding her disturbing conduct.” The Solidarity event held in Centurion last October was billed as a “toekomsberaad” (summit on the future) to protect Afrikaans culture. Kohler-Barnard successfully appealed a decision by the DA last year to expel her from the party after she shared a Facebook post calling for the return of apartheid prime minister PW Botha.

– By ANA

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