home Featured, Politics On white arrogance and the SASSA saga

On white arrogance and the SASSA saga

By BO Staff Writer

Yesterday, Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, held a press conference in Pretoria to assure the nation that despite scare tactics by the white-owned media, social grants would be delivered to their 17 million recipients in April.

Visibly frustrated at the ongoing attacks and calls for her resignation, Dlamini, who is a qualified social worker, defended her department and painstakingly explained why she said the grants would be paid out.

“We will continue paying social grants beyond March 31,” Dlamini said, then after repeated herself, “let me repeat, we will continue paying social grants beyond March 31.”

But evidently, that was not enough for white eNCA journalist, Karyn Maughn. Maughn, who is now being praised as a crusader for press freedom and corruption busting, blasted the minister, going on a loud back-and-forth with her. She was cheered by other journalists, specifically her eNCA white colleague, Nicklaus Bauer (an ANN7 reporter even had to ask the two to shut up so that Dlamini could answer his question properly).

Like the true white liberal she is, Maughn appoints herself the custodian of poor black people who are recipients of grants. She is their self-proclaimed mouthpiece – just like the Democratic Alliance (DA), which on any other month shames and calls lazy grant recipients, but have now conveniently become number one ‘grant activists’.

Here we see how white people use the genuine struggles of black people for career and political upward mobility – something disgustingly present at large in the NGO/civil society sector too.

Maughn addressed Dlamini like she was a tea-girl and she the Madam. No black journalist would have the zeal or arrogance to speak down to a senior government official in that manner. Maughn, emboldened by white privilege, was able to scold Dlamini (in the same way that many white journalists are emboldened to ridicule Jacob Zuma) because to her, the minister is a non-thinking black body, flying through her department like a ghost. Not present, not absent. Just there.

Here, one is reminded of Steve Biko’s frank and accurate description of the section of the white community which Maughn represents.

He called them a “curious bunch of nonconformists who explain their participation in negative terms: that bunch of do-gooders that goes under all sorts of names -liberals, leftists etc.” Biko said. “These are the people who argue that they are not responsible for white racism and the country’s “inhumanity to the black man”. These are the people who claim that they too feel the oppression just as acutely as the blacks and therefore should be jointly involved in the black man’s struggle for a place under the sun. In short, these are the people who say that they have black souls wrapped up in white skins.”

Like the rest of the white media, Maughn views Dlamini with utter disdain. They not only write about Dlamini like she is a non-thinking shell, but even the images that they use of her prove this fact. The media use pictures where her skin is extra-dark, where her shoulders are slumped or where her face is distorted in one way or another, thus playing into white supremacist, patriarchal notions of the incompetent, unthinking, ugly black woman who is only good at drinking alcohol (as Dlamini is always accused) or making babies (the lazy black mother on social welfare).

The SASSA story has been in the news, non-stop, for more than two weeks. Interesting enough, in a preliminary report by the public protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, ABSA bank was found guilty of apartheid looting and ordered to pay back R3.2bn to state coffers. There was no media furore over this gross corruption, only apologies and justifications.

The same ABSA was again involved in a forex trading scandal with 2 other South African banks – Investec, Standard Bank. It is like the Competition Commission report was never released! The media never wrote endless stories or attacked these entities whose corruption resulted in inflation – particularly disadvantaging black people.

Unilever, which Johann Rupert’s Remgro owns 25.8% of, was found guilty of collusion and cartel behaviour last week. None of the media houses went mad on the story, which saw South Africans having to pay more for cooking oils and margarines.

The interests of the racist white media are clear. Black government officials are guilty even before they have done anything wrong. Like all black people, merely by appearing black the witch hunt for your neck is on.

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