The DA welcomes the outcome that rejects the EFF motion to remove various items and symbols that include the statue of General De Wet in the Free State Legislature.
During the discussion on this issue the Freedom Front Plus opted to accept the motion with amendments, whilst the DA and ANC rejected the motion outright. It is a pity that the Freedom Front Plus did not join the DA in rejecting the motion in its totality, but rather opted to turn the motion into a semantic exercise. See pictures here, here, here and here.
The DA believes that heritage resources are valuable, finite, non-renewable and irreplaceable. The Free State Legislature has a collective responsibility to act as inclusive trustees of our provincial heritage resources. These resources should be used to promote an understanding and respect for our cultural diversity and this why the DA rejected the populist and divisive motion by the EFF. The EFF are clearly confusing transformation with retribution by targeting pre-Apartheid Afrikaner heritage, for political purposes. General Christiaan De Wet was a Afrikaner who fought against British imperialism and was even imprisoned for being part of a rebellion against the Union Government. The EFF should do more research before attempting to vilify all cultural and historical heritage linked to Afrikaners in the Free State.
There is enough space at the Fourth Raadzaal to include heritage that has been previously excluded. The DA believes that our heritage resources have an important historical and economic value. Heritage resources promote important understanding and respect among people and contribute to a process of reconciliation.
Any proposals to remove or modify heritage resources have to follow the relevant legal prescripts. As the DA we believe that we must acknowledge our past but take ownership of our future in a manner that includes and enhances our country’s diversity.
We must also take into account that we have many social challenges that require urgent attention and that people who are unemployed and living in poverty require improved, education, improved healthcare, and employment. The EFF must rather look at the value that our diverse heritage can play in improving the lives of our people through heritage tourism, than concentrating on cheap populist political point scoring.