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Dawn of a new era

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Last week’s elections brought about a seismic change to the political landscape, with the African National Congress (ANC) decisively losing its one-party rule after 30 years in office. Though the party will remain the dominant faction in whatever new government emerges, the all-but-unchallenged control it exercised in the three decades following the democratic transition is now a thing of the past, with the ANC receiving less than 50% support in the three most economically significant provinces.

We can now truly say that the country stands on the threshold of a new era. We can also say that the true winner of South Africa’s seventh elections since 1994 is democracy itself. It was this that made possible the peaceful and lawful removal of a party that dominated South African politics for so long, something rare on this continent and indeed far from being the norm in many other parts of the world. Complex negotiations are now taking place to form a new government, at national level and in the provinces where the ANC has lost its majority. Following our #MakeUsCount pre-election education and awareness-raising campaign, which was again an inspiring success, we’ve now organised an “Elections 2024, the day after” event where experts will unpack the results and implications of this historic poll. It’s taking place this Thursday evening, 6 June, so I urge those who are interested and haven’t yet registered to do so: Zoom link: Meeting ID: 864 9856 1994 Passcode: 2024

A tragedy cynically exploited

We were deeply shocked to learn about the recent heinous and deadly attack on a Muslim family in Durban by a member of our community. The perpetrator has a history of mental illness and drug abuse, and reportedly knew the family he attacked.

Unfortunately and perhaps inevitably, given the context in which we live, certain factions were quick to exploit this appalling tragedy and use it as an opportunity to vilify and even threaten the Jewish community as a whole. Particularly shocking were comments outside the Durban Magistrates Court by the Economic Freedom Fighters KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Chairperson Mongezi Twala, who while addressing the crowd gathered declared, “Starting from today, we cut the ugly throats of the Jewish” [sic] and we must “cut the head of the snake”. The South African Jewish Board of Deputies’ KwaZulu-Natal branch is following up with its legal advisors in taking appropriate action against this criminal incitement, which is all the more inexcusable in that it came from the representative of a political organisation. In the statement released by the Board, we said it was “appalling and unacceptable that a tragic situation has been turned into a vilification campaign of the broader Jewish community” and that it was “reckless, bigoted, and inappropriate to hold all the members of a religion responsible for a reprehensible act by an unstable individual”.

  • Listen to Charisse Zeifert on Jewish Board Talk, 101.9 ChaiFM, every Friday from 12:00-13:00.

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