Harmonious rainbow coloured society? South Africa finally faces reality

Publié le par hort

 http://www.hindu. com/thehindu/ holnus/001200806 130922.htm

Mbeki cites Ambedkar during speech in Parliament

Friday, June 13, 2008

Durban, Jun 13 (PTI) South African President Thabo Mbeki has cited BR Ambedkar, one of India's great political leaders and constitutional experts, to point out that the country's socio-economic development will not be an easy task owing to the colonial and apartheid past.

He was speaking in Parliament in Cape Town yesterday in response to members who criticised the vast gap between the rich and poor; the rising anger of the former oppressed and his policy towards neighbouring Zimbabwe where its leader, President Robert Mugabe, has reduced the country to ruin. Mbeki quoted Ambedkar as saying soon after India's independence in 1947 that India would enter a life of contradictions. He quoted Ambedkar as follows:

"In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognising the principle of one man one vote and one vote one value. In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value. "How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril."

Mbeki went on to tell the members of parliament that "Sixty years after its independence, India today continues to live the life of contradictions which Dr Ambedkar, an Untouchable Man, decried 59 years ago, while it is engaged in a continuing struggle to resolve these contradictions. " Mbeki also referred to the civil war in the US and the French revolution and said despite the victories, the people in those countries were also living social and economic contradictions.

Drawing parallel among Americans, French and the Indians, Mbeki said South Africans were also caught up in a world of social and economic contradictions. "We achieved our own emancipation a mere 14 years ago. We adopted our current Constitution only 12 years ago.
"Clearly, the inequalities in social and economic life, born of our social and economic structure, of which Dr Ambedkar spoke, will persist in our country for a significant period of time.

"The contradictions he spoke of will continually put to the test the durability and resilience of our political democracy. He said "consequently, we must continue to insist upon, and pursue programmes aimed at the eradication of the legacy of colonialism and apartheid." "In our case, given the fact that the social and economic structure has very deep roots, the leaders in this House and Parliament as a whole, the Honourable Members, and other leaders in our society, have at last to understand that the task we face and have faced for the last 14 years is truly revolutionary in character.

"What our country has been about in our years of liberation has been to give itself a new birth not merely new houses, and new clinics, and new schools, and new roads, and more jobs, and much else besides but also a new national identity, of equal citizens in a non-racial society, of equal citizens in a non-sexist society, of equal citizens in a society liberated from poverty, of equal citizens in a truly popular participatory democracy."

Publié dans contemporary africa

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