Opinionista Refiloe Nt'Sekhe 17 January 2018

EFF and H&M: History has taught us that violence only perpetuates violence

The EFF’s inclination to resort to superficial remedies to the deeply entrenched issues facing our country is proof that it does not have the political maturity to advance democratic processes.

This past weekend we witnessed shocking displays of disruption and absolute contempt of law when protesters wearing EFF regalia vandalised H&M stores across South Africa in reaction to a racist advert involving a black child modelling a racially insensitive design.

It is of great concern as this level of lawlessness was endorsed by a political party which purports to want to govern, at the heart of which is upholding the rule of law.

The EFF’s disruptive and sometimes violent forms of protests constitute a serious threat to the stability of our democracy.

It is true that racism is in itself violent and deserves a trashing, but incitement to violence is totally unacceptable and should be condemned with the same ferocity as we do whenever racism rears its ugly head.

South Africa is a democracy and we are fortunate to have laws and institutions which guide us in terms of dealing with discrimination. Instead of resorting to violence, the EFF should explore the appropriate mechanisms to deal with racism as per our Constitution.

Ultimately the most effective means to combat institutional, systemic and corporate racism, is through financial boycott and judicial processes. Racists such as Penny Sparrow and Vicki Momberg are classic examples of what happens to those who perpetuate racism and are held accountable for their utterances.

The EFF’s method of fighting racism constitutes criminality and the DA strongly condemns their shallow populist agenda.

Wreaking havoc and destroying property does not make one more equipped to fight racism, just like following due process does not make one less equipped to fight racism. History has taught us that violence only perpetuates violence, that it doesn’t even begin to chip away at the edifice of institutional racism and it should have no place in a constitutional democracy.

The EFF’s inclination to resort to superficial remedies to the deeply-entrenched issues facing our country is proof that the EFF does not have the political maturity to advance democratic processes. Violence has no place in South Africa and the DA is committed to eradicating it wherever it may arise.

The DA has written to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to lodge an official complaint against H&M for the racist campaign.

H&M’s racism is an appalling act against black South Africans and the black community abroad. This is why the DA has once again approached an international regulatory body to investigate and seek justice for H&M’s shameful campaign. DM

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