A black student from Open Stellenbosch taps meaningfully on his upper arm and says: “We will only feel at home when everyone looks like this.” Non-black minorities should be absorbed into the black majority in the name of nation-building.
How should South Africans, Afrikaans-speaking persons and Afrikaners respond to this? The answer will vary in the extent to which people agree with the diagnosis or their personal experience, but there are two broad reactions: go or stay.
Some physically emigrate to parts of the world that are colder or have more flies. It is their right. Some emigrate to Orania and live in their self-created world. It is also their right. Some semigrate to the Western Cape and the DA government. Some emigrate in their minds and retreat behind high walls with elaborate security systems and private schools – and try to make (more) money. They too are exercising a choice.
Others live here – and act differently. Some believe and support the ANC’s nation-building recipe, that minorities should know their place or should become part of the majority. Others believe in the ideal of a non-racial society and raise their children with that belief. Some criticise the government, and others are too politically correct to do it (openly).
According to their Plan, the Solidarity Movement also wants to stay and tackle the crisis – while acting within the law and claiming certain constitutional rights. They want to help themselves and others where the government cannot, or will not.
From what I’ve read, it’s clear they will be doing certain things that will benefit all South Africans: fixing potholes, sewer and water systems, as well as improving community safety.
They plan to do some things that will benefit all Afrikaans speakers (including Coloured and black Afrikaans speakers) in relation to language and minority rights.
And they will do certain things for the benefit of Afrikaners – the promotion and preservation of culture, heritage and history. Flip Buys’s speech last Saturday made it clear that they want to create space for Afrikaners to remain in South Africa.
I’m sure Plan B is fundamentally influenced by the “racialising” of society by the ANC government. The stated purpose of “transformation”, a word that sounds positive, is “African hegemony” (domination) – through demographic representivity, the well-known 80-9-9-2 formula. Literally every part of society and every subdivision of the public and private sectors must comprise 80% black people, 9% white people, 9% Coloured people and 2% Indian people – from the Bible study group in Koekenaap, to the stokvel in Thohoyandou. In practice, this means that minorities are pushed into the proverbial corners.
It’s also clear from what I’ve heard and read that critics of “Plan B” are either ignorant or create a straw man of the dangers of the Plan – which they then destroy – or are simply biased.
The fundamental question is: Is Plan B in line with the Constitution?
In terms of sections 30, 31 and 185 South Africans have the right to use their language and practice their culture. This is precisely what Plan B promotes, especially since it is clear that the government is not willing to protect and promote the language and cultural rights of minorities – including the right to education in the language of choice. Plan B works on the principle of strong civil society organisations as the foundation of a good democracy. There is nothing unconstitutional about that.
Critics also say it is not “smart” to stand up for your rights now and that one should rather keep things quiet and under the radar. Let me be blunt: Afrikaners who think they are going to please the ANC or prevent the ANC government from discriminating against them by laying low and not being critical or not demanding or exercising their constitutional rights, live in la-la land.
Their political correctness is (rightly) regarded as weakness, and the ANC laughs at them behind their backs.
Solidarity and I might not agree about everything, but the ANC and others respect them for what they do and what they stand for (although they often irritate too).
The point is: the ANC will not suspend the destructive policies of demographic representivity and racial transformation because Afrikaners lie low and behave. And in the short term, the ANC cannot get rid of incompetent government officials to improve service delivery.
I’m not a very traditional Afrikaner. I don’t go to festivals and don’t actually like volkspele. I hate racism, pettiness and negativity. I probably don’t agree with many of Solidarity’s members on a wide variety of issues.
However, this is irrelevant when it comes to the assessment of Plan B. There is nothing unconstitutional about the Plan. The authors have to be taken at their word that they will do what they say they will do. If not, heartily criticise them. If they do as they say, thank them for making South Africa a better place.
It is interesting that black groups and the even the ANC, as far as I could ascertain, have not voiced any criticism of Plan B; the criticism has mostly come from the “inside”. A source tells me that black professionals have adopted a wait-and-see attitude. If Plan B works, they would also like to implement it in black communities.
Why do other Afrikaners not give Plan B this same benefit of the doubt?
Dr Theuns Eloff, Chairman of the FW de Klerk Foundation
This article first appeared in Afrikaans in Rapport Weekliks [18 October 2015].