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Congress of the People urges the ruling party to exercise restraint and to act with utmost responsibility in respect of the mounting racial tension in our country. The ruling party and all political parties must studiously address racism and racial friction, not use it to canvass electoral support.
The Sparrow incident, in particular, has thrown up a challenge for all to do our utmost to defeat racism, not thrive from it. Condemning racism is much less important than conquering racism through moral, informed and inspiring leadership.
Congress of the People roundly condemns political parties wanting to make capital of racism. In as much as racists need a dressing down, criticism must also apply to political parties for their own failures to do lead South Africans to a new conceptualisation of commonality and universality. Political parties must never reinvent apartheid nor seek to vilify other race groups because of residual racist inclinations and tendencies.
COPE will always embraces the ideal of a non-racial South Africa where everyone respects everyone else without reservation. We are quite certain that the majority of South Africans share our vision.
Ms Sparrow and others who think like her will undo in a moment the work of a lifetime of others. Their offensive remarks ignite hatred. As a nation we cannot be taken hostage by people of that ilk. Good and noble South Africans must not allow bigots to set our national agenda..
COPE urges the ANC not to exploit the Sparrow incident for narrow political gain and urges the DA to do more to make racism in every form totally unacceptable. The consequences of playing the race card will be too horrendous to contemplate. The racial screaming that is going on at present is merely putting petrol on a fire that is already threatening to get out of control. Both parties must proffer viable and lasting solutions on how to eradicate racism once and for all. Other parties must do the same. Political point scoring on the race issue should be made “verboten”.

Issued by Dennis Bloem, COPE spokesperson

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